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Macworld Podcast: Join us on Wednesday, May 30, at 10 a.m. Pacific

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 17:30

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference starts on Monday. What do we hope and expect to see? We also talk about various other Apple news and feature your comments and questions for Jason Cross, Leif Johnson, Roman Loyola, Dan Masaoka, and Michael Simon in the Macworld Podcast, episode 607.

Watch us live

The Macworld Podcast broadcasts live on the internet on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Pacific. You can watch on Twitter via Periscope or on the Macworld YouTube channel.

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How to enable Messages in iCloud on your iPhone and iPad

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 16:30

Nearly a year after it was first announced, Messages in iCloud is finally available. All you need to enable it is iOS 11.4 on your iPhone or iPad.

You’ll almost certainly want to turn this feature on as it improves on the sort of half-baked syncing feature that was the only option in previous releases. Before, if you were signed into the same Apple ID on your iPhone and iPad, then the Messages apps on each device would simply show incoming messages at the same time. As you replied back and forth, each device updated the conversation threads in unison. 

But this had big limitations. The devices all needed to be powered on and connected to the internet at once; if a device was offline, it wouldn’t ever get the messaging changes from your other devices. And if you deleted a conversation—say, a list of two-factor authentication codes—they would only disappear from the device you’re currently using.

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Apple releases watchOS 4.3.1, tvOS 11.4

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 14:16

In addition to releasing the iOS 11.4 update, Apple on Tuesday also released updates to watchOS and tvOS. Compred to iOS, the updates in watchOS and tvOS are smaller but still important.

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Save $250 on a current-gen 27-inch iMac at B&H today

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 13:37

Memorial Day weekend may be over, but fortunately you’ll still find some good deals lurking about. B&H, for example, is selling the current 27-inch 3.4GHz iMac with 5K Retina display for $250 off, which brings the price down to a considerably more agreeable $1,549 shipped. It’s the best deal we know of for this specific model at the moment.

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iOS 11.4 now available with Messages in iCloud, AirPlay 2, and HomePod stereo pairing

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 13:24

Updated 05/29/18:  iOS 11.4 is out today with HomePod stereo pairing, AirPlay 2, and Messages in iCloud.

iOS 11.3 was released on March 29 after more than two months of beta testing. It added several new features, including battery health and performance settings, four new Animojis, Business Chat and Health Records betas, and a bit upgrade to ARKit.

Now, iOS 11.4 delivers the rest of the features Apple spoke about at WWDC last year, just a week before this year's WWDC. The big-ticket items are Messages in iCloud, AirPlay 2, and stereo pairing for HomePod.

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Rock out with a pair of Beats Solo3 wireless headphones for less than $200

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 11:18

Beats Solo3 wireless headphones  are among the most popular headphones on the market, and for good reason—they’ve got deep, bass-heavy sound and come in an array of hip colors. But all that coolness doesn’t come cheap. So, if you’ve been waiting for the price to drop, today’s the day to buy them. Amazon is selling the Beats Solo3 wireless headphones in numerous colors for less than $200 down from the $300 MSRP and the lowest we’ve ever seen them.

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The addiction: That thing we made up is all Apple’s fault

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 07:00

Technology addiction. You have it. Your spouse has it. Your children have it. Your dog has it. Your dog’s spouse has it.

Remember? Before you got addicted to technology, you used to do wacky things like throw dog weddings. This is why everyone was so happy when you got addicted to technology, Gail. Who wants to spend $50 buying a present for Sparky and Miffy’s wedding? Also, who registers their dogs at Sur La Table? It’s ridiculous.

Dogs can’t cook, Gail, we know you were just keeping the presents for yourself.

There’s a lot we don’t know about technology addiction, but the one thing we know for sure is that it’s mostly Apple’s fault. Apple created the modern smartphone, after all, and the modern smartphone is the source of all ills. Q.E.D. with jelly on it.

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The best cloud storage services for Apple users

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 06:00

These days, if you want to really make the best use of your laptops, tablets, and phones, you need a cloud storage service. The concept of storing files in the cloud may have started as a way for consumers to back up their data in case of disaster, but today’s best services offer so much more.

A good cloud storage solution backs up your important documents, photos, and videos, but it also helps keep all your devices in sync. It’s a great way to make sure your laptop, phone, and tablet all have instant access to all your digital content. Plus, you can access and edit documents from a web browser and easily share files and folders with others.

If you use Apple products—whether that’s just a single iPhone or you’re all-in with tons of Apple gear—we think these are the best cloud storage solutions to subscribe to.

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iOS 12: NFC capabilities expand beyond Apple Pay to locks, transit systems, and more

Mon, 05/28/2018 - 15:43

Updated 05/28/18: A new report from The Information claims that iOS 12 will allow developers more access to the iPhone's NFC readers, allowing iPhone to work with NFC-enabled locks, transit systems, and more.

It’s rare that Apple fans cheer a lack of new features in an upcoming product, but that may be the case with the next round of iPhone updates. After a flurry of embarrassing bugs in this year’s release of iOS, Apple is reportedly scaling back its plans for iOS 12 as it shifts its focus to quality and performance. And iPhone users should applaud this decision.

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Understanding how iCloud stores data

Mon, 05/28/2018 - 08:00

Contrary to what you might think, Apple's iCloud isn’t a central storage system. Rather, it’s a synchronization system that requires data remain on the end points, such as your Macs and iOS devices. Deleting data off end points manually typically deletes it from iCloud’s central servers, used to manage sync, and from every other connected device.

Macworld reader Tom wrote in asking about this topic, which is extremely confusing, as some iCloud services can reduce storage required in varying ways, but you have to use their interfaces to let them manage it automatically. If you delete items manually, they’re just removed.

Tom asks:

Is there any way to create folders (or an album) in iCloud, store files in that space, but delete the files from the general Photos group?

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Tweetbot 3 for macOS review: Twitter app pushes forward in usefulness and design

Mon, 05/28/2018 - 07:00

The new Tweetbot 3 for macOS remains fundamentally the same, though it has modest but noticeable improvements and new features that give the app a little more sparkle. For example, a new autoplay mode for animated GIFs and embedded video lets you mouse over to start the playback instead of requiring a click, though audio fortunately still requires one. (The feature can be disabled.)

IDG To start an animated GIF, all you need to do in Tweetbot 3 is move your cursor over the image. Tweetbot 3: Usability

The app’s approach focuses on what would now be called “classic” Twitter: a chronologically organized timeline with the newest tweets at the top, and an option to autoscroll as new tweets appear. Like other third-party apps, Tweetbot 3 doesn't show Twitter ads.

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Nightingale Premium Edition: This sleep system blankets you in soothing sound

Mon, 05/28/2018 - 06:00
White noise and nature sounds are specifically tuned to the acoustics of your bedroom to mask disruptive noises.

Let’s do it again: One iPhone killer dies, another is born

Sat, 05/26/2018 - 07:00

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the Essential phone was first teased, heralding an avalanche of unbridled enthusiam as pundits pointedly predicted its iPhone-killing ability.

The Verge called it an “incredibly audacious and ambitious project” even before it even launched. And, to be fair, it launched almost two months late so The Verge was right because “over-ambitious” is a kind of “ambitious.”

Anyway, how’d that all turn out? Surely everyone has tossed their iPhones into the lake and is using the Essential phone now with its amazing “thing” it was going to have that no iPhone had whatever that turned out to be.

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Take $50 off an Apple Watch Series 3 at Best Buy today

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 14:04

It’s almost time for Memorial Day weekend, and it may also be time for you to finally buy an Apple Watch Series 3. Most of the deals we’ve been seeing on Apple’s popular wearable focus on the Series 1, but Best Buy is selling the Series 3 for just $279 for the 38mm version and $309 for the 42mm version as part of its Memorial Day sale.

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Apple awarded $539 million in Samsung patent trial, but iPhone 6 revelation may be more damaging

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 12:41

These days it seems like Apple is always fighting several cases in court, but it’s rare that we hear much about them. In two separate cases presided over by U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh this week, however, quite a bit of news was made. In one, Apple won a bundle of money from Samsung. In another, it may have lost some face with its customers.

In the ongoing patent battle with Samsung that reaches way back to when Steve Jobs was still alive, a jury has awarded Apple $538.6 million in damages regarding the design of its phones. The jury took five days to decide the wide-ranging case that is as much about innovation as it is about rectangular pieces of glass.

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How to save an MP3 or AAC file to your iPhone or iPad

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 08:00

Legal music acquisition these days seems to be all about subscription services like Apple Music or Spotify, but there are still plenty of reasons to have lots of MP3 or AAC files lying around on your hard drive. Maybe you downloaded them from Bandcamp. Maybe you own CDs and ripped them yourself. Maybe you converted some old bootleg recording. Maybe they “fell off the truck.” 

Whatever reason you have an MP3 or AAC audio file you want to listen to on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll have to first transfer it there. Here’s how you do it.

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Enter to win Spigen's Bondi Blue iPhone X case inspired by the iMac G3

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 07:00

The recent 20-year anniversary of the iMac G3 reminded many folks that “fun” is as much a hallmark of Apple design as aluminum and understatement, and we were impressed by the response to our announcement that Spigen had released a series of iPhone cased that riffed off that colorful Mac’s quirky design. So get this: We’ve got one of those cases for the iPhone X that we’ve love to give to one of you.

And it’s a cool one, too. The case we’re giving away boasts the iconic blue-green “Bondi Blue” of the original iMac, and it’s the color that’s most likely to draw attention from fellow Apple admirers. At the time of writing, Spigen is selling the case for $25 as a part of its Indiegogo campaign. As the campaign continues over the next 23 days, the price will go up to at least $40.

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15 great movies for Memorial Day streaming

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 06:00
These 15 movies pay tribute to the men and women who gave their lives for their country—a fitting way to spend the Memorial Day weekend.

macOS 10.14: Improvements that Apple’s Mac operating system could use

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 06:00

It’s that time of the year when we pull out our prognosticating hats—you were issued yours, right?—and try to imagine what Apple might announce a couple of weeks hence when they take the stage at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

The main event at WWDC is generally the future of Apple’s software platforms, most crucially macOS and iOS. So, with that in mind, it’s time to whip out that old standby: features that Apple’s platforms still need.

This week we’ll start with macOS, which just celebrated an important milestone, as the current generation of macOS (formerly OS X and Mac OS X) has now been shipping as long as the classic Mac OS was when Mac OS X first arrived on the scene. Seems like only yesterday, doesn’t it? 

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The Steam Link app for iOS is dead, rejected by Apple

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 19:46

And just like that, Apple has killed the the Steam Link app. Earlier this month, Valve, the owner of the wildly popular gaming digital marketplace Steam, announced that it would soon release a Steam Link app that would allow players to stream games from gaming PCs directly to their iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs (as well as Android devices). The Android app made it into the wild last week, but for the last few days we’ve been patiently waiting for the app to make it through Apple’s approval process. This afternoon, Valve sent an email to Macworld letting us know that Apple had rejected it.

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