Five keyboard shortcuts every iPad user should know

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Take control of your iPad and external keyboard with these essential keyboard shortcuts.
Photo: Apple

The iPad might be designed for touch, but it’s also surprisingly good with an external hardware keyboard, and includes excellent support for keyboard shortcuts. What’s more, it shares many keyboard shortcuts with the Mac, so if you have these already ingrained in your muscle-memory, they’ll carry right across. Let’s take a look at five of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for the iPad (and iPhone).

How to use 3-D Touch to select and manipulate text

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3-D Touch makes iPhone text selection as easy as it is on the Mac.
Photo: Cult of Mac

At launch, 3-D Touch was seen as a bit of a gimmick. A very neat gimmick, but perhaps not a useful one. Over time, though, it has become as natural as using your finger to jab at an icon on the screen. And no part of 3-D Touch is as crazy useful as text selection. That may sound a little dull, but if you ever got frustrated trying to place the iPhone’s “cursor” precisely between some letters in order to correct a typo, you will L-O-V-E love this tip.

Quick Tip: Check if a used iPhone is stolen before buying

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Make sure you never buy a ripped off iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone users’ data is pretty well-protected if our iPhone is ever stolen, what with encryption, activation locks, and Find My iPhone. But theft still happens. How do you protect yourself when buying used phones, both iPhones and Android? One way is to avoid anything dodgy-looking, and to ignore suspiciously good deals (if it looks to good to be true, then it probably is).

Scan text with your iPhone and make the real world searchable

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Scanning with your iPhone is almost as quick as taking a photo, and way more useful down the line.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Paper is still great for a lot of things. It’s lightweight, it’s fairly water-resistant, and is just about the best tool available for reducing the number of trees in the world. But it doesn’t sync with iCloud, and anything written on it is not searchable.

Luckily, there’s an easy way out of this dark age. You can scan all those clipped recipes, and those receipts, all those sheets and scraps you have laying around, and which annoy you until you ned one, at which point it disappears. Today, we’re going to use Readdle’s excellent Scanner Pro to turn your paper into pixels. You may be surprised at just how easy and useful this can be.

Quick Tip: 3-D Touch Control Center icons for some surprising shortcuts

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Look at all the neat stuff you can do with Control Center, just by pressing a little harder.
Photo: Cult of Mac

It pays to experiment with 3-D Touch, the feature that lets you press harder on your iPhone’s screen to get extra functions. But while we may be used to force-touching app icons, there are all kinds of other spots where it works. For instance, you press on the row of icons at the bottom of the Control Center to access some fantastic shortcuts.

Forget taking photos — the iPhone’s flash is way more useful than that

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Flashlight, heart-rate-monitor, mosquito killer… The iPhone's LED lamp is a real multitool.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone’s Quad-LED True Tone flash is pretty good as camera flashes go, but you should never use it to take actual photos, unless you want shiny-faced, red-eyed people in your portraits. Instead, you should put it to work in more useful applications. And no, we don’t just mean using it as a flashlight next time you take a trip into the basement.

Best wireless Bluetooth headphones for iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus

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Maybe the best thing Apple has invented in years.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Updated: May 11, 2017

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are Apple’s first iPhones to drop the headphone jack. And while you can keep using your old headphones by plugging them into the adapter that comes in the box, that gets old as soon as you discover you left the little dongle at home connected to a speaker, and you can’t listen to any music.

You’ve got two options. One, stick with a cable and buy some Lightning headphones. That’s fine, but then you can only use them with recent-vintage iOS devices, and you can’t charge your device while you use them. Or two, go wireless. That means Bluetooth, either the vanilla kind, or Apple’s augmented Bluetooth headphones, with the special W1 chip added to make pairing easier.

Shrink PDFs without losing quality for easy emailing, with ColorSync Utility

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You probably never even noticed ColorSync Utility was on your Mac, but if you work with PDFs, it may turn out to be the most useful app you have.
Photo: Cult of Mac

PDFs are fantastic. If you send somebody a PDF, you know it will look exactly the same on their computer as it does on yours. Same if you print it. But if your PDF contains a lot of images, it can quickly swell to an impractical size, making email impossible. Today we’re going to find out how to shrink that huge PDF dramatically, while making almost no difference in quality to the images therein. And we’ll do it using an app that’s already on your Mac, hidden in the Utilities folder: ColorSync Utility.

How to get iPhone alerts when someone replies to that super-important email thread

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Make sure you never miss an important reply with thread alerts.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The VIP mailbox in Apple’s Mail app helps stem the torrent of incoming email alerts by limiting the notifications you see to folks you mark as important. But what about when you want to get an alert for a one-off reply?

Perhaps you’re waiting on an email from an eBay seller about that sweet vintage guitar, or you’re desperate for a reply from your landlord about switching off the heating because, c’mon, it’s almost summer already. Then you need email thread alerts.

Forget Apple News: Here’s how to use Safari Shared Links instead

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Safari packs some surprisingly powerful features, like Shared Links.
Safari packs some surprisingly powerful features, like Shared Links.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Apple’s News app is pretty great, but only if you’re happy reading stories from Apple-approved sources. There’s plenty of news in the default configuration to keep you going, and you can also dig in and easily pick your own sources and subjects to make it more relevant.

But what about those oddball sites that you read every day? Your favorite ferret-legging forum, for instance? Is there a way to include those in the News app? There used to be, but Apple removed the ability to subscribe to any and all sites somewhere around iOS 10. The goods news is, you can still subscribe to your favorite sites right in Safari’s Shared Links.