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About Rob LeFebvre

Rob LeFebvre Anchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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The Force meets tower defense in new Star Wars game mashup

Picture courtesy DeNA

Picture courtesy DeNA

If the sheer volume of tower defense games on the App Store is any indication, people (and developers) love them. Defending your base against endless hordes of creeps is a wonderful way to spend some gaming time on your portable device; they’re not super twitch-dependent, and they definitely encourage the zen-like focus a lot of us enjoy when playing games.

Add a hot property like Star Wars to the mix, and you’ve got a game full of potential. Rebels and Stormtroopers in a tower defense game? Sign me up!

This is, however, a Mobage/DeNA free-to-play joint, so it’s hard to tell exactly whether it will be a compelling bit of playtime, or just another way to spam your friends with social media requests. The pre-release sign up allows you to earn some points to be used in-game already; this does not bode well, even with a Star Wars branding.

That said, I’m still pretty excited about playing this game. Check out the developer diary below to see if you’re just as excited.

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How to use Continuity and Handoff with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Continuity and Handoff are great — at least the parts that work. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Continuity and Handoff sound great on paper. They let you transfer certain documents and data between your Mac and your iPhone or iPad, provided both are running the latest Apple system software — iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, which is currently in public beta.

When Continuity and Handoff work, it’s a brilliant display of Apple’s vision for truly interconnected devices. When they don’t, it’s frustrating. Some of the features work flawlessly for me, while others don’t function as advertised (at least on my gear — here’s a compatibility chart that will tell you if your gear is new enough to work with Handoff and Continuity). It’s probably because Yosemite’s in beta — it makes sense that not all features work right now. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

Ready to take the plunge? Here’s how to get set started, plus a brief look at the Handoff and Continuity features I was able to get working (and a few more that I was not).

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How to use iCloud Drive the right way

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

With these handy tips (and warnings), you’ll master iCloud Drive in no time. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

If you haven’t been scared off cloud services by the Fappening or past horrors like MobileMe, you might want to try iCloud Drive, Apple’s answer to Dropbox and Google Drive. It’s a pretty great concept, an extension of the Apple philosophy from way back – documents are identified by the apps they were created by. Before, though, you needed to export a file from a drawing app to use it with a painting app. With iCloud Drive, you’ll be able to move from one app to another much more easily.

Before you begin, make sure you’ve read and understand the warning about using iCloud Drive if you haven’t yet installed OS X Yosemite on your Mac. If you haven’t installed the Yosemite public beta, apps on your iOS 8 devices will be unable to share data with companion apps on your Mac. Consider yourself warned.

If you choose to enable iCloud Drive on your iOS 8 device, and you have an OS X Yosemite beta installed on your Mac, here’s how to use it the right way.

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How to master Messages in iOS 8

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Tons of new features make iOS 8’s Messages app more powerful than ever. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I’ve pretty much become a full-time texter these days, using Apple’s Messages app on my Mac and iPhone to send iMessages (to friends and contacts who use iOS or OS X) as well as regular text messages (to people outside the Apple ecosystem).

iOS 8 brings great new changes to the mobile version of the Messages app, some of which might not be immediately apparent. Here’s a look at the new features and how best to use them.

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How to transfer all your data to your new iPhone 6 the right way

file-system-2

You can use iCloud or iTunes to transfer your entire mobile system from your old iPhone to your new one. It’s a clumsy, one-way process, though, and can be time consuming.

The folks over at DigiDNA iMazing (formerly DiskAid) have a secure solution that works a bit differently, giving you complete control over how you backup and restore your data, letting you create a complete snapshot of your iPhone before you head to upgrade to iOS 8 or a new iPhone 6.

Here’s how.

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Crazy lines for the iPhone 6 get bigger than big

Photo: Rachel Retallick

You call that a line? Photo: Rachel Retallick

Sure, folks have been lining up for several days now, causing equal parts consternation and praise, but with pre-orders selling out in hours – leading to record breaking pre-sales – it’s no wonder that the lines at Apple retail stores around the globe are beginning to super size themselves as well.

Reports of scarce supplies of the iPhone 6 Plus are only adding to the madness and we’re only going to see even crazier lines the countdown nears zero. It can only get more wild from here.

One Apple fan in Arizona told Cult of Mac he wants an iPhone 6 Plus so bad he actually paid a teen for their top spot in line at a local Apple Store. She charged him $80. Half up front as a down payment to hold the spot until 4AM, when he’ll come back and maybe get to buy a gold iPhone 6 Plus.

“Doing an after work drive-by to make sure.” he told us. “They seemed cool, and I grilled them. So, hopefully we are good.”

Other fans aren’t as nearly hopeful, but the lines are just getting crazy around the world. Take a look:

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The great global iPhone 6 sit-in begins!

Photo: Dan Benton

Getting kind of chilly out there. Photo: Dan Benton

It’s a mere 24 hours and change before Apple retail stores open their reservation system and doors to allow the hordes of adoring Apple faithful to pony up a bunch of cash for the privilege of walking out with an opening day iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus.

The lines are already forming, though, with hardy line sitters getting ready for the big event. This is a global phenomenon, as you can see from the images above, gleaned from Instagram and Twitter.

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Apple TV update adds Beats Music, new icons, iOS 8 features

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Apple TV updated Wednesday morning, giving the main screen a whole new look and adding Beats Music as a “channel.”

The icons for Music, Computers and TV Shows all have a new, almost pastel look, while all the icons seem a bit flatter, like iOS 8. The fonts seem thinner, as well, reflecting the overall new design ethos of iOS and OS X.

You can also connect to iCloud Photo and Family Sharing options, new iOS 8 features that also went live today for iPhone and iPad devices.

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How to track your UPS order with just a phone number

Screengrab: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

Screengrab: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

If you’re anxiously waiting on a brand new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus to come in the mail this week, you’re not alone.

Tracking the package as Apple’s ginormous new smart phone wends its way to you may be the internets new past time. You should have received a tracking number from Apple when your iPhone shipped, but there’s an even easier way to keep a watchful eye on that beautiful new gadget.

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Update: HealthKit bug forces Apple to pull fitness apps

healthkit

A bug in HealthKit caused Apple to pull several fitness apps from its App Store Wednesday morning, just as the company was rolling out its long-awaited iOS 8 update.

Apple said the problem could keep apps compatible with HealthKit, a key component of iOS 8 that facilitates sharing of data among health and fitness apps and hardware, out of the store for weeks. “We’re working quickly to have the bug fixed in a software update and have HealthKit apps available by the end of the month,” Apple said in a statement to Cult of Mac.

Brian Mueller, developer of Carrot Fit, said Apple called and emailed him to say his fitness app had been removed from the App Store due to a last-minute problem with HealthKit. His app, and several others including My Fitness Pal and WebMD for iPhone, are currently unavailable for download.

“The rep couldn’t clarify what was wrong,” Mueller told Cult of Mac in an email, “though users of the app who had already downloaded the update were able to use the HealthKit features without any issue.”

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