Everything you can do with MacBook Pro’s new Touch Bar

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macbook pro touch bar
Want to try the new MacBook Pro Touch Bar without dropping a few grand?
Photo: Apple

Apple’s new Touch Bar looks like the most exciting new feature we’ve seen on the MacBook Pro in years.

Instead of fumbling to remember shortcuts, Touch Bar puts a handful of commands at your fingertips and dynamically adjusts to whatever app you’re in.

That sounds pretty magical, but what will that actually be good for? Developers will need to add support for their apps, so it might take a few months before Touch Bar really takes off. But if you’re doubting the usefulness of having a touch screen bar at the top of your keyboard, here are the cool things you can do on the Touch Bar.

Apple drops third macOS Sierra public beta

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Picture in Picture macOS Sierra
A new macOS Sierra beta is here.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Public beta testers can download the third public beta of macOS Sierra starting today, one day after Apple seeded the 4th developer beta.

The new macOS Sierra update includes a number of new additions, including the new set of over 100 emoji that promote gender diversity and disarm the pistol emoji by changing it into a squirt gun.

Pro Tip: How to disable calls on other Apple devices

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Keep your Amazon details safe with two-step verification.
Keep your Amazon details safe with two-step verification.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bug

We received a message today on our Cult of Mac Facebook page asking about calls showing up on an iPad when the call originated on an iPhone.

There are a couple of different places to turn this feature off so you’re not juggling all your iPads and MacBooks when you make or receive phone calls.

Everything that’s new in iOS 9 beta 2

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iOS 9 beta 2 goodies are here

Apple seeded iOS 9 beta 2 to developers today and while there aren’t any groundbreaking new features or drastic improvements, the company did manage to add a bunch of little changes and tweaks across the OS.

Most of the improvements are small design changes, but there are a couple really useful additions too, like adding Handoff to the app switcher, search improvements are more.

Take a look at everything that’s new in iOS 9 beta 2:

Messages master class: How to set up Continuity in iOS 8 and Yosemite

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Messages 1

The new messaging capabilities built into OS X Yosemite make your Mac even more useful for day-to-day communication. With this new set of features (part of Continuity), you can send SMS text messages and make phone calls from your Mac. Than can be super-helpful if you’re forgetful and leave your iPhone in another room.

It doesn’t take too long to set it all up; in fact, we’re going to show you how to set up Continuity in less than two and a half minutes! Check it all out in our video below.

How to add Continuity to any Mac using just a cheap Bluetooth dongle

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This simple hack will add Continuity onto your Mac. Photo: Apple
This simple hack will add Continuity onto your Mac. Photo: Apple

A couple months ago, we wrote about the Continuity Activation Tool, an app that hacks Continuity into older Macs that can’t support Handoff, Instant Hotspot, and AirDrop by default.

The only problem? It was rough: you needed to physically break open your Mac and replace it’s wireless and Bluetooth card. Dongles just wouldn’t work. But guess what? Two months later, and things are very, very different.

This app will hack Continuity to work on your older Mac

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OS X Yosmite 10.10.1 is comes with Exchange support for Mail. Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

Continuity is one of the best features of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, allowing your iPhone, iPad, and Mac to all operate more seamlessly together than ever before. But there’s a problem: Continuity requires Bluetooth 4.0 LE to work, and many older Macs don’t have it.

But don’t despair. A new tool has been released makes it possible to easily hacktivate Continuity, even if Apple doesn’t want you to.

Get iOS 8.1 now for Apple Pay, iCloud Photo Library and more

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Photo: Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple just released iOS 8.1, bringing Apple Pay, iCloud Photo Library and other new features to the mobile operating system.

Available now via Software Update, iOS 8.1 will let you quickly set up Apple Pay on compatible devices. Upgraders running OS X Yosemite will also notice additional Continuity features that let iOS 8 work with the latest version of the Mac operating system.

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

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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).