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iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

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Hands On with ToughTested's Wireless Charging Pad for your Car

Jan 9, 2019, 6:59 PM   by Rich Brome

ToughTested has a new Qi wireless charging pad designed primarily for cars. Its grippy all-rubber construction ensures it stays put, and that your phone stays put while charging. It supports wireless fast charging up to 10W, including Apple's 7.5W fast charging mode for iPhones. It's large enough to accommodate the largest phones, but designed so that a phone placed anywhere in the tray will charge; no centering needed. It has foreign object detection and is Qi-certified to ensure it won't overheat the phone. It includes a Quick Charge power supply that plugs into a car's 12V power port. It will go on sale in March for about $50. Read on for photos and first impressions.

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LA Launches Earthquake Early-Warning App

Jan 2, 2019, 4:41 PM   by Rich Brome

Residents of Los Angeles can now download an app that can provide early warning of many major earthquakes. The app, offered by the city, is called ShakeAlertLA and is available now for both Android and iOS. The app was developed under contract with AT&T and is powered by the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) earthquake early warning system. The USGS system currently includes 615 earthquake-sensing stations in California, with another 500 to be added by 2021. Similar services are already available in Mexico City and Japan, and have proven effective in giving citizens time to find safety in the event of a quake.


Instagram Revs Up the Power of the Sticker

Dec 18, 2018, 12:37 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today announced several new ways people can interact with one another via the social network. First, it has added the ability to ask friends for music recommendations, or to make your own recommendations, using the questions sticker. A new music icon appears in the sticker that lets people browse or search through the music library and then share. Opening the viewer's list will reveal all the responses and recommendations. Instagram says people can take a picture or video as the music plays in the background. New effects in the camera respond to the beat of the music. These features are rolling out for Android and iOS in select regions. Second, Instagram says people can use the question sticker in Live to interact with people in real time. When users go Live, a "Q&A" indicator will show up in the stories tray. Join the Live video to see questions and answers as they happen. Those broadcasting Live can share photos and videos from their camera roll directly to the Live feed. Instagram says questions in Live will be rolling out on the latest version of Instagram for iOS and Android starting today. Last, Instagram has added a new interactive countdown sticker for stories. It lets people count down to upcoming moments, such as holidays, with their friends. People can follow the countdown and they will receive a notification when the countdown ends. Once users create a countdown, it will remain available for use in other stories. This feature will reach all users globally today.


Twitter Delivers On Promise to Let People View Tweets In Order

Dec 18, 2018, 12:17 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter today said iPhone owners can now choose to view tweets in the order they were published. This generally means in reverse chronological order, which is how Twitter originally operated until it later introduced the algorithmic feed. The company has been testing the tool since September and made it available through its mobile app for iPhones. It will reach the Android mobile app soon, says Twitter. People will see a sparkle icon in the app. Tapping it re-orders the timeline. The default experience is still based on Twitter's algorithmic feed, which showcases "top tweets" first. Twitter made the change based on customer feedback.


Apple Distributes iOS 12.1.2 to Squash Bugs

Dec 17, 2018, 4:29 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 12.1.2 available to iPhones and iPads. The update targets several bugs related to eSIM activation on the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max. It also addresses an issue that could affect cellular connectivity in some markets on those same phones. iOS 12.1.2 is free to download over the air.


Fitbit Upgrading Ionic and Versa Smartwatches

Dec 17, 2018, 1:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Fitbit today said it is distributing Fitbit OS 3.0 to its two most powerful devices, the Ionic and Versa smartwatches. The upgraded platform is more personal and customizable. It includes a revised Fitbit Today dashboard that features new tiles so owners can see their sleep quality, weight, water intake, and food at a glance. The Fitbit app gallery boasts several new apps. For example, a fresh health and fitness app helps people remain on target each day. Another new app, TRX, offers quick guided workouts, and FitBark lets people add their pet’s activity to their own. Last, revised goal-based exercise modes let people set targets and ensure real-time stats are properly recorded for more than 15 different activities. The Fitbit Ionic and Versa are compatible with Android and iOS devices. The watch update is available via the associated mobile phone app.


Apple Says It Will Update iPhones to Circumvent China Ban

Dec 14, 2018, 8:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple plans to issue a software patch to its iPhones to appease Qualcomm and Chinese authorities. Earlier this week, a Chinese court found Apple to be in violation of two Qualcomm patents pertaining to resizing pictures and managing apps with a touch screen. The court issued a ban against Apple, blocking it from importing a range of phones into China. Though Apple is appealing that decision, it claims it can mitigate the issue via software. "Based on the iPhone models we offer today in China, we believe we are in compliance," said Apple in a statement provided to Reuters. Even so, the company went on to say, "Early next week we will deliver a software update for iPhone users in China addressing the minor functionality of the two patents at issue in the case." Apple didn't provide details concerning how the update will resolve the issue. As part of its appeal to the Chinese court, Apple said any ban would impact Chinese suppliers, Chinese consumers, and tax revenue it pays to Chinese authorities. Though the ruling called for an immediate ban, Apple's devices still remain available for sale in China. The patent spat between Apple and Qualcomm is part of a global battle over patent licensing practices and royalty payments.


YouTube Music App Integrates Charts as Playlists

Dec 13, 2018, 4:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today updated its YouTube Music mobile app with YouTube Charts. The charts are available as playlists within the YouTube Music app and are accessible from all 29 markets where YouTube Music operates. Google says the charts contain the freshest, hottest songs and videos, which can be streamed or downloaded (for premium subscribers). Each country is given access to five charts: three from their own region and two world charts. Users can add the charted playlists to their own library if they wish. Some of the charts include the top 100 songs, top 100 videos, and top 20 trending songs, based on fast-rising new releases. YouTube Music is available to Android and iOS devices via the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively.


Google Maps Will Help You Find Lime Scooters and Bikes

Dec 13, 2018, 9:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today announced a new partnership with Lime that hopes to help people get across the "last mile" of their journey. In 13 cities around the world, Maps will display the location of nearby Lime scooters, bikes, and e-bikes. The option to use Lime will appear under the transit icon when navigating between points. Maps will detail the closest Lime vehicle, the vehicle type, how long it will take to walk to the vehicle, how much the ride will cost, and the total journey time. Lime users can integrate their Lime card with Google Maps. Tapping on Lime in Maps will then take people to the Lime app and provide all the necessary details to book a scooter, find it, and unlock it. In the U.S., Lime scooters will be visible in Austin, Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose, Scottsdale, and Seattle. International cities include Auckland, New Zealand, and Brisbane, Australia. The feature is available in Maps for both Android and iOS.


Google App for iOS Gains Google Lens Visual Search

Dec 11, 2018, 8:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google recently updated the Google Search app for iOS devices and added the Google Lens visual search feature. The Google Lens icon now appears in the search bar. Pressing it turns on the camera, which can then be aimed at objects, text, plants/animals, books/media, and QR/barcodes. Objects and items that Google recognizes will generate results that are displayed on the screen. Google Lens is already part of Google Photos on iOS. This latest feature simplifies the process of searching based on images rather than words. The updated version of Google Search for iOS is rolling out to users now.


Instagram Users Can Now Send One Another Voice Messages

Dec 10, 2018, 4:58 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today said users can put the direct messaging tool inside its mobile app to work with their voice. The private messaging function now supports voice messages. "Talk the way you want to be heard, whether by whispering what you’re up to or shouting a compliment," said Instagram. The feature is rolling out to Android and iOS devices over the next few days.


Google Maps' 'For You' Tab Reaches iOS

Dec 10, 2018, 8:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today extended the availability of its For You feature in Google Maps to iOS devices. The feature was first rolled out to Android phones earlier this year. Moving forward, iPhone owners will be able to follow their favorite places, such as coffee shops or record stores. News from the followed place will then appear under the For You tab within maps. Places can advertise sales, offers, and events in this space where followers can check in for updates any time. Google Maps is also making it possible to keep tabs on places that haven't yet opened. Businesses prepping new locations can add profiles to Maps as much as three months before launch. People can follow the profile as soon as it becomes available, where they can be kept up-to-date on launch details. The For You tab will reach iOS devices in more than 40 countries over the next few days. At the same time, Google says it expanded the availability of For You in Maps for Android to a total of 130 countries. Google Maps is free to download.


Essential Products Picks Up Email Company

Dec 7, 2018, 7:27 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Essential Products has acquired CloudMagic, the company behind the Newton email service. Essential told TechCrunch that it is "always on the lookout for companies with great technology and talent to help accelerate our product roadmap." The deal has sparked curiosity, as CloudMagic shut Newton down in September, stranding about 40,000 subscribers who'd paid for the service. Essential's future is unclear. The company's only phone, the Essential Phone, did not resonate with consumers. Essential dropped about one-third of its hardware staff in October. It has not announced any new products for some time.


AT&T and Verizon Turning On Support for iPhone eSIM

Dec 6, 2018, 12:38 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T and Verizon Wireless have confirmed that the latest system update for iPhones from Apple has made it possible to support the eSIM on their networks. AT&T is activating eSIM support on the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR starting today. It won't cost AT&T subscribers to use the feature. "AT&T does not charge for a SIM Card/eSIM Card for device upgrades or new lines of service," said the company in a statement provided to Fierce Wireless. Verizon told Fierce that it will initiate support for the eSIM starting tomorrow, December 7. T-Mobile is still working to make eSIM happen, but has not provided a timeline for bringing the feature to its customers. The eSIM in the newer iPhones allows the devices to act as though they have dual SIM cards. Owners can designate one SIM as the primary and use that for calls, messaging, and data. The secondary SIM acts as a separate account and can handle calls and texts.


WatchOS Update Adds ECG App and Heart Rhythm Monitor

Dec 6, 2018, 12:28 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple said owners of the Apple Watch can expect to see watchOS 5.1.2 arrive later today. This update targets the new Series 4 smartwatch and introduces features Apple first revealed earlier this year. The Series 4 gains an ECG app, which gives people the ability to take an electrocardiogram (ECG). Electrodes built into the back of the Digital Crown support the feature. Watch owners need only launch the app and press and hold the Digital Crown for 30 seconds. In addition to taking the ECG, the app also looks for irregular heart rhythms. The Watch is specifically looking for signs of atrial fibrillation, which is a warning sign of imminent health events such as a stroke. Apple worked with the FDA for years in order make this possible. The results are stored securely in the Health app on the associated iPhone and can be shard in PDF form with health care providers. All Apple Watches gain access to an improved heart rhythm detector. The detector uses the optical heart sensor on the Watch to check the rhythm occasionally. If it detects any abnormalities, it will alert the wearer. This feature was validated by testing hundreds of people. Apple says these new tools will need to be turned on. An onscreen setup flow teaches Apple Watch owners what the features can do, what they cannot do, what types of results they may get, and how to interpret those results and take action if warranted. watchOS 5.1.2 will be available for download today.


Apple Makes iOS 12.1.1 Available with Broader eSIM Support

Dec 5, 2018, 2:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 12.1.1, an update for iPhones and iPads that introduces a handful of new features. To start, iOS 12.1.1 brings dual SIM support, via eSIM, to more carriers for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. The XR gains haptic vibrations for notification previews. The update reinstates the ability to flip between the rear and front-facing cameras during a FaceTime call with a single button tap. The software makes it possible to capture Live Photos during one-to-one FaceTime calls, as well as take advantage of real-time text when using WiFi calling on the iPad. Apple News gives iPad users the option to hide the sidebar when in landscape orientation. As to be expected, a number bug fixes are included in iOS 12.1.1. For example, it makes stability improvements to dictation when using VoiceOver, fixes a Face ID reliability problem, addresses a visual voicemail glitch, and resolves an issue in Messages that sometimes prevented predictive text suggestions when typing in Chinese or Japanese. Other fixes tackle a problem that prevented Voice Memos from backing up to iCloud and a bug that prevented time zones from updating automatically. iOS 12.1.1 is free to download over the air.


Microsoft Redesigns Outlook for iOS to Help Speed Users' Tasks

Dec 5, 2018, 12:49 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today revealed a wholly redesigned version of Outlook Mobile for iOS devices. Not only did Microsoft give the app a fresh coat of paint, it tweaked many of the tap and swipe actions to help speed up and simplify users' daily routines. For example, when users swipe left or right on an email they'll see changes in color and shape, as well as experience haptic feedback to make it more obvious what action is taking place. Microsoft has animated the calendar icon, which now fans forward or backward as people scroll their agenda, and the app now calls out calendar conflicts more visually. Microsoft has changed the color of the app, which is a bolder shade of blue across the inbox and calendar. Microsoft says this helps people visually identify apps faster as they swipe through the iOS app picker. Microsoft has embraced the native font and typography of iOS, giving the app a look that's more in line with those from Apple. Other changes impact the mechanics of the app, such as the Focused Inbox toggle and message list filtering, which now help people focus on content and account details. The app continues to support multiple accounts, and will now call them out visually with personalized avatars. These are meant to instantly alert the user as to which account they have accessed. Similarly, Outlook adds new avatars for contacts to aid in visibility. The new Microsoft Outlook Mobile for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


YouTube Will Now Play Video Previews Right Away On Mobile Apps

Dec 4, 2018, 1:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

YouTube has decided to make Autoplay On Home available to everyone. The feature, which has been available to YouTube Premium subscribers for several months, begins rolling video previews automatically. YouTube suggests that previewing videos helps people make a "more informed decision" about whether or not they want to view the entire video. The videos will play without sound, and can include captions if desired. Autoplay On Home can be set to roll videos only when on WiFi, or turned off entirely. The feature will reach all users on Android and iOS over the next few weeks.


Google Releases Flutter 1.0 for Android and iOS App Writers

Dec 4, 2018, 12:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made Flutter 1.0 available to developers. It has been in testing since the February and updated several times since. Flutter is a set of tools that lets developers create user interface designs that work on Android and iOS. Google says Flutter is quick and easy to use, and can be put to work by experienced and novice developers alike. It includes frameworks for windows, widgets, animations, and image libraries. It includes a GPU-accelerated renderer and native ARM code runtime. It supports accessibility features, right-to-left text, localization, and internationalization. On iOS, it supports inline video, additional image formats, and background processes. Other functions include support for hardware keyboards, barcode scanners, and video recording. Since the last release, Google has improved the video player package with broader format support and better reliability. It has also extended Firebase support to include dynamic links for handling links across platforms. Google hopes this will lead to mobile apps that look and run the same on Android and iOS.


Instagram Debuts 'Close Friends' for Sharing Stories with Smaller Groups

Nov 30, 2018, 8:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today gave people more control over who sees their stories. A new tool called Close Friends lets people create small groups and share stories that are only visible to members of that group. The Close Friends function appears in the side menu of users' profiles. Only those who create the lists will be able to see who is on the list, and no one can ask to be added. The option to share Stories with everyone or just the smaller group will appear when posting stories. People who are added to groups by others will see a green badge when viewing the story and a green ring around the profile photo in the Stories tray. Instagram says Close Friends is rolling out to Android and iOS globally today.


T-Mobile? More Like T-Money. The Un-Carrier Launches Mobile Banking Service

Nov 29, 2018, 11:54 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile has rolled out a digital banking service called T-Mobile Money. T-Mobile says T-Mobile Money is available to T-Mobile customers as well as non-customers. The service focuses on providing easy access to funds and banking services through a mobile device. T-Mobile Money can be managed from the Android and iOS platforms via dedicated mobile apps. T-Mobile says the service doesn't charge maintenance, ATM, overdraft, or minimum balance fees, and delivers guaranteed interest. All customers can earn at least 1.00% interest on an annual basis, and T-Mobile subscribers are eligible to earn up to 4.00%. T-Mobile Money is FDIC insured and provides protection against unauthorized purchases. It is compatible with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay for mobile transactions. Customers can receive a MasterCard-backed T-Mobile Money debit card if they wish. Other features include online bill pay, mobile check deposit, and easy setup for direct deposit. People can register via the T-Mobile Money app, which is available in the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. Customers can also sign up online.


Project Fi Earns a New Name, Opens Up to More Phones

Nov 28, 2018, 11:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Nov 28, 2018, 11:50 AM

Google today renamed its MVNO, Project Fi, to Google Fi. Along with the name change comes dramatically expanded compatibility with phones. Moving forward, the service will work with most Android phones as well as the Apple iPhone. The process of activating Fi on Android devices will be straightforward. Google says compatibility with iPhones is in beta and will require people to jump through a few more hoops, including the use of an iOS app. Basic service will be available to the majority of devices. Fi operates on T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, and WiFi, dynamically jumping to the strongest connection. Subscribers will need specific phones, listed on the Fi web site, to get this benefit, as proper LTE support is required. Google recently added VPN protection to Fi. The base service costs $20 per month for unlimited voice and text. Google charges $10 per gigabyte of data. People interested in the service will need to order SIM cards from the Google Fi web site. The service does not require contracts.


Google Assistant for iOS Updated with Siri Shortcuts

Nov 21, 2018, 8:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google has made its Google Assistant app for iOS devices compatible with Siri shortcuts. This tool allows iPhone and iPad owners to combine Siri and Google Assistant actions. Using the Siri Shortcuts app, people can set up Siri commands that wake Google Assistant to perform tasks. It lets iPhone owners effectively bypass Siri if they wish in favor of Google Assistant. Google Assistant for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Amazon Gives Bluetooth Device Makers Broader Access to Alexa

Nov 21, 2018, 8:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Amazon has made the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit available to developers, which will enable them to build the smart assistant into headphones, wearables, and more. Amazon first announced the AMA Kit in January of this year and has been testing it since. This week marks the general availability of the kit. The kit supports Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy audio-capable devices so people can tap into Alexa from just about anywhere. Amazon says end users need only pair their Android phone or iPhone with a Bluetooth headset or smartwatch, install the Alexa mobile app, and perform a quick one-time setup. Most Alexa features are included, such as streaming media, controlling smart home devices, and interacting with tens of thousands of Alexa skills. The AMA Kit includes all the code developers need so they can focus on building their product. Developers interested in the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit can get started via Amazon's developer portal. Consumers can expect to see more Alexa-enabled gear in the months ahead.


Google to Nix SMS Notifications for Google Calendar

Nov 19, 2018, 12:37 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today said that it plans to stop offering SMS-based notifications for Google Calendar. "If you had previously been receiving Calendar notifications via SMS, they'll be replaced with in-app and email notifications," said Google. Google also plans to adjust the Calendar API to reflect this change, meaning developers will have to update their apps if the apps integrate with Google Calendar. Google Calendar's in-app notifications for Android and iOS include banners, badges, and sounds. People who had previously set SMS notifications for new events, changed events, canceled events, or event responses will now see those notifications via email. The change goes into effect January 9, 2019.


Google Photos Lets iPhone Owners Adjust Background Blur

Nov 19, 2018, 10:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Nov 19, 2018, 1:37 PM

The most recent update to the Google Photos app for iOS added a feature to help spruce up portraits. Photos for iOS allows users to adjust the background blur and change the focus of photos taken in portrait mode. These tools have been added to the editing menu of Google Photos, where new sliders appear for making adjustments. The Android version of Google Photos gained the blur adjustment feature earlier this year. Google Photos for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Verizon App Supports Up to 5 Separate Numbers On One Phone

Nov 16, 2018, 10:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Nov 16, 2018, 12:16 PM

Verizon Wireless today introduced a new application called My Numbers that lets any single phone use up to five distinct numbers. The app is available to Android and iOS devices. Customers who want or need to manage multiple numbers can add them to the app, where each will have its own voicemail inbox and SMS inbox. Each number added to the app costs $15 extra per month. The service uses software to mimic the idea of multiple SIMs in a single phone. My Numbers is available now.


AT&T's Secure Family App to Replace Smart Limits for Managing Family Phones

Nov 15, 2018, 2:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T plans to cease offering AT&T Smart Limits, a service that allows parents to control their kids' phones, on November 26. Smart Limits will no longer be available after that date. In its place, AT&T is launching AT&T Secure Family. The new app and service has more features, a simpler user interface, and lets parents manage more phones at a lower price. AT&T Secure Family includes live location tracking and detailed location history for each family member. Parents can set up arrival and departure alerts, such as when kids leave school or arrive home. Parents can also schedule location updates that are sent automatically throughout the day. Secure Family includes content and usage controls. Parents can pause access to the internet, such as at bedtime, filter and block apps and online content based on age, set time limits for kids' daily internet access, and prevent kids from making purchases on the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store. AT&T Secure Family is available to iPhone and Android devices and costs $7.99 per month to manage up to 10 lines.


Instagram Ramps Up Shopping Tools Ahead of Holidays

Nov 15, 2018, 1:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram has integrated shopping deeper into its mobile app. The latest version of Instagram, which people use to share photos and videos, adds a shopping collection, or a way for people to save potential purchase items for later. People can return to the items they've saved via their profile. The company is testing a redesign of the Shop tab that appears on business profiles. The idea is to let people quickly see all the products from that retailer as they appear in Instagram posts/stories. Instagram says this is a good way to browse all the products from a single company at once. Last, Instagram has made it possible for people to shop from feed videos. A new shopping icon will appear in the bottom left corner of videos that contain products. Tapping the icon will open a page with details about that specific product. The new version of Instagram will reach Android and iOS devices over the next few days.


Yahoo Relaunches Comprehensive Android and iOS Apps

Nov 15, 2018, 8:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Media Group has launched a brand new version of the Yahoo mobile app. It combines all facets of Yahoo's online services in a single space. The app ties together separate services such as Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Sports, and Yahoo Finance, as well as various pieces of Yahoo's main web page. Users who create profiles and sign in can customize the app to show them local news and weather, local sports and highlights, as well as top news stories, stocks, daily deals, video content, and search. A separate tab called Watch contains the latest and most popular video on the web, curated by Yahoo's editors. Yahoo says app users will be treated to a "Deal of the Day" from partners during the upcoming holiday season, which delivers savings on potential gift items to Yahoo inboxes. The new Yahoo app is free to download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.


Microsoft Rolls Out Refreshed Cortana App for iOS

Nov 14, 2018, 5:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today dropped a rebuilt version of Cortana for iOS devices. Cortana is similar to Siri in that it can perform actions based on voice requests. Microsoft says the new Cortana is less robotic and more conversational. This helps interactions feel more natural. The app can be used to set up and manage Cortana devices, listen to music and podcasts on the go, and stay on top of tasks, reminders, and to-dos. Cortana for iOS also integrates with other Microsoft services more tightly, such as Skype and Teams, email and calendar. Cortana is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Spotify Introduces App for Apple Watch

Nov 13, 2018, 10:54 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Spotify today revealed a new way for people to manage their music. The company developed an app specifically for watchOS and the Apple Watch. Once installed, people will be able to play, pause, or skip to the next track; instantly set tempo-matching songs for runs; connect to home speakers; as well as access and manage playlists. The wrist-born controls also make it possible to favorite tracks and rewind podcasts on the go without reaching for your iPhone. The controls are built into the Spotify watch face. Spotify says its new app for the Apple Watch will be rolling out to users in phases over the coming weeks. Apple Watch owners will also need to update Spotify on their iPhone. The app is free. Spotify charges for some subscriptions.


Volkswagen to Let iPhone Owners Start their Car with Siri

Nov 12, 2018, 1:33 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

iPhone owners will soon be able to unlock and start their Volkswagen using Siri commands. Volkswagen of America today said it is bringing Siri support to its VW Car-Net mobile app. In order to access voice commands, iPhone owners will need to have iOS 12 installed on their phone and a compatible car. Once properly setup, owners will be able issue Siri commands to lock and unlock their car, check estimated mileage (fuel or charge), and turn on flash or honk and flash commands. The feature supports Siri shortcuts, allowing people to set up personalized phrases for tasks such as turning on the defroster or climate controls, or locating their car with a "where is my car" command. The VW Car-Net app already allows people to control certain aspects of their car via smartphone. Volkswagen didn't immediately say which models are compatible with the new Siri integration.


Cloudflare Makes 1.1.1.1 DNS Available to Android and iOS

Nov 12, 2018, 8:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cloudflare has extended its fast and private 1.1.1.1 DNS to mobile devices in a simple-to-use app. The 1.1.1.1 DNS is based on Cloudflare's global network, which the company claims is 28% faster than other public resolvers. This translates to faster web browsing. More importantly, the 1.1.1.1 DNS prevents internet service providers from snooping on DNS queries and the web sites people visit for private browsing. Cloudflare says it will never sell user data, or take advantage of user data to target ads. There are no in-app purchases and the 1.1.1.1 DNS is free to use for life. The app is available via the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.


Apple Updates Clips Video-Creation App with Selfie Scenes

Nov 7, 2018, 1:47 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today provided an update to Clips, its app for creating and sharing videos on the iPhone and iPad. First, the new version of Clips adds a half dozen Selfie Scenes, which are Apple's 360-degree background environments that let people put themselves into a 3D scene. The new Scenes rely on the TrueDepth camera on the newer iPhones and iPad Pros so people can record themselves against animated backdrops, such as from "Incredibles 2." Clips gains three new filters, too, including black and white comic book, monochrome watercolor, and aged film. There are new posters for creating title cards with fun scenes. Fresh stickers and text labels let people dress up their Clips, and 17 new soundtracks mean users can add background music to their Selfie Scenes. Clips 2.0.5 is free to download from the iTunes App Store. It is compatible with devices from the iPhone 5s and up, and the iPad Air, and up. Selfie Scenes requires a device with a TrueDepth camera.


Apple Selling Refurbished iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Online

Nov 5, 2018, 8:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple recently added the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus to its roster of refurbished phones. The iPhone 8 starts at $499 and the iPhone 8 Plus starts at $599 (a savings of $100 each compared to new). Apple's refurbished phones are given a new battery, a new outer shell, and are certified by the company. They ship with a standard warranty, are eligible for AppleCare, and include all the in-box accessories that come with brand new iPhones. Apple's refurbished iPhones are only available online. Supply is subject to change.


Shazam Lets You Add Songs to Your Instagram Story

Nov 2, 2018, 7:44 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Shazam has made your music discoveries more shareable. Thanks to new integration with Instagram, Shazam users on iOS devices can share songs directly to their Instagram stories. The latest version of Shazam includes the option to push music to Instagram, where it will show the song title, artist, and album cover art within your story timeline. People who see the song appear in their stories will be able to tap a "More On Shazam" button to view the songs details on Shazam. The latest version of Shazam is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


iOS 12.1 Brings Performance Throttling to 2017 iPhones

Nov 2, 2018, 7:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

People who purchased an iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, or iPhone X may see their phone's performance slow down thanks to new software. Apple distributed iOS 12.1 earlier this week and with it new tools for managing battery life and performance. People who own these phones can use the system settings to choose top optimize speed or battery life. In December 2017, Apple admitted to slowing down older iPhones in order to prevent them from shutting down. The issue pertained to how lithium ion batteries lose capacity over time. Apple placed a priority on keeping the phone up and running over raw speed. Apple later introduced software allowing customers to choose between the two. This same software is now on the 2017 batch of iPhones from Apple. "Starting with iOS 12.1, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X include this feature, but performance management may be less noticeable due to their more advanced hardware and software design," said Apple on its support page. Apple had initially implied that its 2017 iPhones wouldn't need this software.


Apple Gives Public Beta Testers Their First Taste of iOS 12.1.1

Nov 1, 2018, 12:53 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released the first public beta of iOS 12.1.1. iPhone and iPad owners who have registered for the public beta should be able to download the beta right away. This release is mostly expected to fix bugs, but it does include some feature adjustments. For example, Apple News users can now hide the side bar if they wish. The platform tweaks FaceTime controls a bit, as well. The bar at the bottom now offers buttons for switching cameras and muting calls, with other actions a short swipe away. Apple provided this beta to developers earlier in the week. It's likely iOS 12.1.1 will remain in beta testing for a month before a final version is released.


Twitter for iOS Gains New Floating Button

Nov 1, 2018, 7:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter recently tweaked its iOS application and added a few new tools for composing tweets. iPhone users can now share up to four photos, one video, and a link or text in a single tweet. The button for composing tweets is more prominent and ideal for one-handed use. Press and hold the compose button for direct access to drafts, photos, and the GIF gallery. Twitter says the app also features improved readability in the menus and settings. Twitter for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


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