iMessage and FaceTime just got a lot harder to hack

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iMessages are safer from the NSA. Photo: Apple
Your iMessages are now safer from the hackers. Photo: Apple

Apple is making iMessage and FaceTime harder to hack by turning on two-step verification for both services in an effort to tighten security for iOS and Mac users.

The extra security goes into effect today and gives users an extra layer of protection against hackers or anyone else trying to log in to your iMessage account to either impersonate you or steal data.

If U.K. prime minister has his way, Apple will stop encrypting iMessage and FaceTime

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Photo: Cult of Mac
Photo: Cult of Mac

One of the great things about iMessage and FaceTime is that it encrypts your messages automatically, making it very, very difficult for hackers to spy on the messages you send.

But guess what? If U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron gets his way, iMessage and FaceTime encryption might soon be a thing of the past.

How Steve Jobs helped make the iPhone more accessible to the deaf

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Deaf users take advantage of FaceTime to use sign language instead of verbal communication. Photo: Apple
Deaf users take advantage of FaceTime to use sign language instead of verbal communication. Photo: Apple

Tim Cook may be the Apple CEO we picture when we think of the mission to make Apple a “force for good” in the world, including enhanced accessibility for deaf users. But Steve Jobs was the person who first got the ball rolling.

During the Tampa Bay Business 100 awards last night — an event dedicated to honoring the 100 largest private companies in Tampa Bay, Florida — the CEO of a company which makes Internet video communication tools recalled how Jobs helped him use the so-called ZVRS technology with FaceTime.

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).