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Updated: 5 min 48 sec ago

iOS and iPadOS 13.4.5 first developer beta is now available

Tue, 2020-03-31 13:40

Having just released iOS and iPadOS 13.4 on March 24, with big new features like trackpad and mouse support for iPads and iCloud folder sharing, Apple is moving on to its next minor release.

For some reason, the company has skipped over iOS 13.4.1 through 13.4.4 and gone right to iOS 13.4.5. That doesn’t mean we won’t see those minor point-releases, only that if we do, we can expect them to be such minor bug or security fixes that Apple would directly release them without an external beta test. We may not see any other significant releases beyond 13.4.5—Apple has never gone to a point-five release in the past. After this, it's likely on to iOS and iPadOS 14 beta testing.

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Spotify Kids beta app finally arrives in U.S., Canada, and France

Tue, 2020-03-31 10:36
Available for months in other territories, the family-friendly Spotify Kids music app is making its stateside debut.

Fitbit launches the Charge 4 with built-in GPS, few other reasons to upgrade

Tue, 2020-03-31 09:55

In a world where I wasn’t confined to my home, this article would be filled with my impressions of Fitbit’s latest fitness tracker, the Charge 4. I would have written about the feel of it on my wrist, the responsiveness of the display, and tested the new Spotify integration that brings playback controls to a Fitbit tracker for the first time.

But it's possible that those features wouldn’t have added all that much to my impressions of the device. You see, on the outside, the Fitbit Charge 4 is identical to the Fitbit Charge 3, with an inductive button, 1.36-inch display, and swappable band system. Even the $150 price tag remains. The only  visible thing that’s changed is the color: Instead of rose gold, Fitbit now offers a “rosewood” color that’s something of a cross between dark magenta and a deep red wine.

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MacBook Air (2020) review: More bang for your buck

Tue, 2020-03-31 07:15

The MacBook Air is Apple’s best-loved and best-selling laptop. It’s thin, light, powerful enough for most people, and it’s the least expensive option in Apple’s laptop lineup.

Apple finally brought the MacBook Air into the modern Mac era in 2018 with the addition of USB-C, Touch ID, a Retina display, and the removal of MagSafe and USB-A. But that laptop also ditched the old scissor-switch keyboard for the much-maligned butterfly keyboard, and boosted the starting price to $1,199 without giving you more storage.

In 2019, Apple knocked $100 off the price and added True Tone to the display, but that was it. It’s a fine laptop, but not a particularly good deal. This year, with faster processors, double the starting storage, the new Magic Keyboard, and a $999 starting price, the MacBook Air is back to being the great deal it was before.

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How YubiKey Bio could make remote security concerns a thing of the past

Tue, 2020-03-31 06:30
Yubico will soon be launching its first biometric-powered security key, and in our new work-from-home world, it could be the way of the future.

The iPhone buying conundrum: Outlook hazy

Tue, 2020-03-31 06:15

Let us begin this week’s column with a very clear disclaimer: in the times we currently find ourselves stuck in—possibly through some accident involving a warp bubble or rift in the space/time continuum—wondering when you’re going to get a new smartphone is not a critical thought experiment. Let us consider it instead a diversion from having to think about [gestures to everything] than an activity that is currently mission-critical. Assuming you already have a smartphone and it’s not on its last legs, you’ll be fine.

Consider The Macalope’s position. His beloved iPhone SE is four years old… [checks watch]… nnnnNOW. Isn’t it adorable? They grow up so fast.

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ADT Blue Indoor Camera review: Watches for intruders, listens for alarms

Tue, 2020-03-31 06:00
The Blue Indoor Camera is a DIY home-security cam from ADT that will alert you should it hear a CO2 or smoke alarm going off.

iSmartgate Pro review: This smart garage door opener fails to deliver on its big promises

Tue, 2020-03-31 06:00
This garage door controller is difficult to install, and suffers significant problems, including frequent disconnects.

The best smart garage door controllers deliver convenience and peace of mind

Tue, 2020-03-31 06:00
Even if you use your garage only as an oversized storage locker, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without a smart controller for your existing garage door opener.

Apple TV+ originals: Apple releases trailer for British comedy-drama Trying

Mon, 2020-03-30 12:19

Apple is planting its own flag in the streaming wars with Apple TV+, its in-house streaming service that features only original programming—no reruns of hit TV shows or last year’s blockbuster movies.

The company is said to be spending several billion dollars a year on original programming. That’s a lot of TV! Apple is attracting some of the best talent in TV and film production, including huge stars and directors, and locking down the television and movie rights to best-selling books.

Though the service is relatively new and has few shows available, there’s a lot in the works. This is a list of all its content for it that we know of so far, along with details about prominent stars, directors, producers, and release dates.

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Click to export albums from Photos for macOS? It’s not quite that easy

Mon, 2020-03-30 08:00

Apple’s Photos app isn’t a walled garden. You can import images and videos into the app and export them back out, both in their original form and with any modification you made or as a transformed objected into a different format or resolution. However, what you can’t do is exports albums with a simple click.

You’d think this would be relatively straightforward, because the album is the unit of storage in Photos for macOS and other Apple platforms. There are albums you assemble as manual collections of media and smart albums that gather their contents dynamically based on criteria you sent. And yet, while you can choose albums in Photos by clicking the My Albums link in the sidebar and then selecting one or more albums, you cannot export them and retain album organization.

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How to multitask on the iPad: Split View, Slide Over, and more

Mon, 2020-03-30 06:15

Apple has done a lot over the last couple of years to make the iPad more attractive as a laptop replacement, and many of those improvements center on multitasking. That’s great, but the problem is figuring out how to use all these multitasking tricks.

We’re here to help. Below, we’ll show you all the multitasking features that work with most current iPads as of iPadOS 13.4, ranging from relatively familiar concepts like Split View and Slide Over to trickier features like Picture in Picture. Once you learn them all, Apple’s tablet can feel like a vastly different device.

Keep in mind that not every app supports all these features (although plenty do). In other words, if you’re having trouble, say, getting an app to work in Split View, that may simply be because the app doesn’t support it.

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Andover Audio Spinbase review: An all-in-one speaker system for your turntable

Mon, 2020-03-30 06:00
A great-sounding, compact, vibration-free solution for vinyl lovers.

Awair Element indoor air-quality monitor review: new look, lower price tag, same accurate readings

Mon, 2020-03-30 06:00
Awair's latest indoor air-quality monitor has an updated design, but still makes it easy to track indoor pollutants.

How to turn off and restart your iPhone 11, 11 Pro, X, XS, and XR

Mon, 2020-03-30 04:00

You shouldn’t have to turn off your iPhone very often. If you’re not going to use it for a few hours, it’s not worth the hassle (and minuscule battery life savings) to shut it down.

But, if you know you’re not going to use your phone for a couple days, or on a very long international flight, and you want to save every last ounce of battery life, shutting it down can be an effective option.

Also, if you suspect some bug has made your phone unresponsive or slow, the first troubleshooting step should be that old IT standby: turn it off and on again.

You used to be able to force a restart on iPhone by holding down the side and Home button for awhile—10 seconds or so. With no Home button, you have to force a reset a little differently.

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iOS 13: How to to customize your iMessage profile

Sat, 2020-03-28 14:44

Beginning with iOS 13, you can automatically beam your preferred name and photo (or Memoji) to other iOS users when they chat with you in the Messages app—although they can choose whether to use them or not. Not only does this option let your friends and contacts see you as you want them to see you, but it also eradicates some of the more tedious steps of adding new people to your Contacts app.

Here’s how to do it.

How to set a custom name and photo through the Messages app

You can set this up straight through the Messages app, which is super convenient when you want to swap photos on the fly. You’ll have to do a little extra leg work for the first-time setup (which is what we’re focusing on here), but it’ll get a lot simpler afterward.

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How your Apple, WearOS, and Fitbit smartwatch can help track your coronavirus symptoms

Sat, 2020-03-28 08:34

We're all concerned about diagnosing the Coronavirus, so it's a shame Apple Watch can’t take our temperatures. Neither can an WearOS smartwatch or the Fitbit Versa. During a time when more people than ever are concerned about having a fever, it’s a shortcoming that seems particularly glaring.

It’s not your watch’s fault, however. Skin readings, particularly on the wrist, are less than ideal for monitoring body temperature due to stress, sweat, and other external oscillating factors. For now, any attempts to do so would be inaccurate at best. If you’re worried about whether a lingering cough could be caused by a coronavirus infection, you’ll need to track your temperature the good old fashioned way and then input your results manually in Apple Health or Google Fit for now. Then you can consult your physician if you see an upward trend.

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How to host virtual Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Disney+, and YouTube watch parties

Fri, 2020-03-27 19:41
Browser extensions make it possible to hold a movie watch party on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Disney+ with friends and family—all while still social distancing.

Apple releases new self-screening tool for COVID-19 symptoms

Fri, 2020-03-27 13:03

As part of its ongoing efforts to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple has released a new website and iOS/iPadOS app with a screening tool for coronavirus symptoms, along with updated information about prevention practices. In a statement this morning, Apple said the site arose out of a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control, the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Cord cutting: A beginner's guide

Fri, 2020-03-27 13:00
How to cut the cord: All the devices, services, and knowledge you need to ditch cable and save money.

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