iOS widgets: 6 of the best to replace Apple’s own

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These apps' iOS widgets will give your iPhone superpowers.
These apps' iOS widgets will give your iPhone superpowers.
Photo: Gilles Lambert/Unsplash CC

iOS widgets are a great way to check in on your day. Apple gave us its own take on widgets with the core apps built into iOS 10, but you can do better.

If you’ve never taken a look at some of the great third-party iOS widgets available, you’re missing out. Here are six of our favorite iOS widgets to replace the stock Apple widgets. (If you don’t know how to add widgets, go to the bottom of this post for instructions on adding and using them.)

How to get the most out of Instagram

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These Instagram tips will help you connect with photographers who share your interests.
These Instagram tips will help you connect with photographers who share your interests.
Photo: Lee Peterson/Cult of Mac

Instagram isn’t simply a social network for sharing images. Used properly, it’s a powerful tool for connecting with like-minded photographers and getting feedback about your images.

I’m passionate about photography, and finding communities I can engage with is really important when it comes to helping me improve and get ideas for new projects. These Instagram tips and tricks, which I use on a daily basis, can really help you grow as a photographer.

How to use Night Shift while saving power

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iPhone 6s Night Shift Low Power Mode
Oh, yeah. It's possible.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

We’ve been using Night Shift on our iPhones and iPads since it launched with iOS 9.3. We aren’t sure if it actually promotes good sleep, but we figure that lowering the amount of blue light that hits us after the sun goes down can’t be a bad idea. The only problem we’ve had with it is pretty simple, though: You can’t use it while Low Power Mode is on.

Low Power Mode is another cool feature; it turns off high-consumption stuff like Siri’s hands-free mode, mail fetch, and automatic downloads to stretch your battery life out until you can get your ailing iPhone to a charger. We assume that the reason you can’t run both simultaneously is that Night Shift is a juice-chugger, but we still miss it when our battery hits a critical low at night. But it is possible to have them both on at once. You just have to trick Siri a little.

Here’s how to do it.

8 killer Instagram tips and tricks

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InstagramCloseiPhone
Become an Insta-master with these killer Instagram tips and tricks.
Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Make the most of your Instagram feed with these eight killer Instagram tips and tricks that will make you an Insta-master.

Learn how to put together video in the Instagram app itself, keep stalkers off your Instagram feed, find amazing photos near your current location, and much more.

How to streamline your Touch ID setup

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The iPhone is Time's most influential gadget of all time.
The iPhone is Time's most influential gadget of all time.
Photo: andri333 / Pixabay CC

If you’re setting up your new iPhone for the first time, one of your must-do steps will be setting up Touch ID. Apple’s biometric security system lets you map your own fingerprint to the Home button so nobody can unlock your device but you (or the bad person who has gained control of your thumb somehow, but that’s a bit grim).

When I set up my Touch ID the first time, I mapped the thumbs of both hands separately, and that was a good idea because I frankly have no idea which side my phone is going to be on when I want to get into it. And that’s served me well, but we’ve found an even more efficient way to do that same thing thanks to some sharp internet investigators.

Change your Apple Watch language in a flash

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Force touch Apple Watch
Here's a hint.
Photo: Apple

This tip won’t help everyone, but it should be a huge timesaver for multilingual users: You can change your Apple Watch language for Messages with just a couple quick taps. And you can do it directly on the device without having to go into the companion app on your phone.

Here’s how to make it happen.

How to clock in for the Night Shift in iOS 9.3

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iOS 9.3 Night Shift
Here's how to turn the lights down and settle in for the Night Shift.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Yesterday, the launch of iOS 9.3 added Night Shift to Apple’s mobile devices. It’s a really cool feature that might help make you healthier. Jailbreakers have enjoyed an app with the same functionality for years, but now it’s legitimate and poses less of a risk of completely jacking up your iPhone or iPad.

Night Shift gives you the option of warming up the light your display emits so that you get less harsh, blue rays before bed. The idea is that your screen’s usual output tricks your body into thinking that it’s still daytime, and that can make it harder to fall and stay asleep. So if you’re used to checking some e-mails or reading some news before you conk out, it might help you rest easier.

Here’s how to activate Night Shift’s soothing beams.

5 tips to keep your iPhone on lockdown

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iphone_disabled
Secure your iPhone with these handy tips.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone security has dominated the news for the past couple of weeks, so it’s understandable if you’re worrying about your own iPhone.

Have no fear, though: here are some handy tips to help keep your iPhone secure, from both hackers and the FBI.

Today’s video will walk you through 5 easy-to-do tips that will make your iPhone more secure.

How to hide your apps in iOS 9 without a jailbreak

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I promise, there's a folder between those two app icons.
I promise, there's a folder between those two app icons.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Every once in a while, you might have an app or two that you really don’t want to show off. Whether it’s a racy game or two or dating apps you don’t want your children seeing when you hand them your phone to keep them occupied, being able to hide those apps from general view is a handy thing.

Until now, you had to jailbreak your iPhone to make that happen. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case, and you can–thanks to the fine folks over at Redmond Pie, who originally found this tip–hide apps on your own iPhone, with no jailbreak required. It’s a bit involved, and requires that you change your wallpaper to something boring, like white or grey, but it works.

Here’s how.

Pro Tip: The secret meaning of Apple Watch notifications shapes

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Apple Watch notifications siri
When it comes to Apple Watch notifications, round is better.
Photo: Apple

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugIf you’ve not paying really close attention to your Apple Watch notifications, you might have missed out on a really subtle and clever design decision the company built into them.

It turns out that Apple uses two different shapes for its watch Apple Watch notification badges. And here’s why.