All your private data is being sold. Here’s how to opt out

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simple opt out
If you don't worry about your data being sold, here's a nice spot of sand where you can bury your head.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you know that Home Depot shares your “name, address and transactional information … with third party companies”? Or that Marriott Hotels discloses “Personal Data and Other Data with select Strategic Business Partners”?

What about this snippet from the New York Times privacy policy: “If you are a U.S. print subscriber, we may exchange or rent your name and postal mailing address…”.

The bad news is, pretty much any time you share your data with a U.S. company, it will sell that data onto somebody else. The good news is that you can opt out. And the even better news is that there’s one place to get all the information you need to do it.

How does iOS 13 measure up to previous iOS betas?

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iOS Days in Beta chart: Will Hains' excellent chart breaks down the iOS betas.
Will Hains' excellent chart breaks down the betas.
Photo: Will Hains

We’re up to the eighth beta of iOS 13, but that’s not nearly the record for iOS betas. That honor goes to iOS 11. It might seem like we’ve had a lot of betas this time around, but two years ago, Apple seeded 13 betas before hitting the Gold Master stage.

With just a few weeks left until the expected iPhone 11 launch, it seems unlikely that record will fall. In terms of sheer number of betas, iOS 13 is not even close. But what about total time spent in beta? Or the fewest betas? Let’s look at the chart.

How to clean your Apple Card. Seriously.

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This is the kind of thing your beautiful, clean Apple Card is going to have to deal with.
This is the kind of thing your beautiful, pristine Apple Card is going to have to deal with.
Photo: Matt Biddulph/Flickr CC

The Apple Card isn’t just another credit card. Apple is a hardware company, after all, so its card is special, mkay? If Jony Ive hadn’t disappeared from the Apple lot, then we’d probably even have a Making Of video, with Whispering Joni1 burning with quiet passion about how this is the thinnest, strongest card that Apple has ever made. How Apple’s designers needed to invent an entire new production process to recycle titanium plates reclaimed from broken legs. Etc.

So, if you have an Apple Card, Apple wants you to treat it with respect. And that’s why there is now an official support document telling you how to clean it.

How to remove the background from your Portrait photos

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Geese with transparent background
Honk honk! Goodbye pesky background.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPhone’s incredible Portrait mode does a great job of blurring the backgrounds of photos, making the subject stand out from busy backdrops. (Apple also uses this depth information for its truly awful Portrait Lighting effects — has anyone ever gotten a good result from the Stage Light filter? — but that’s another story.)

What if you could use the depth information inside Portrait photos to get rid of the background entirely? Wouldn’t that be something? Well, yes it would. And if you have the right app, it’s really easy to remove photo backgrounds.

How to opt out of Apple Card arbitration (and why you should)

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Opting out of Apple Card Arbitration is easy.
Opting out of Apple Card arbitration is easy.
Photo: Apple

The Apple Card is now potentially available to anyone in the U.S., so you’ll soon be able to use your (tough titanium) credit card to defeat locks, scrape paint, and open beer bottles. But it’s not all good news. Your Apple Card contract includes something called arbitration, and that’s a very bad thing. The silver lining is that you can easily opt out. Here’s how to opt out of Apple Card arbitration, and why you definitely should.

Check out these secret (and super-useful) settings for your Mac

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JPG screenshot location
Dust off your Terminal to use these great hacks.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

By using commands in your Mac’s built-in Terminal app, you can quickly change settings you probably didn’t even know existed.

Some of these Mac settings are just shortcuts — you can enable them in the usual way, using the mouse. But Terminal makes things simple. Instead of opening the System Preferences app, then finding (or remembering) a setting you want to change, and then searching further until you actually find the right checkbox, you can just type (or paste) a command, then  hit return.

Most of these are secret settings, though. They are impossible to change without Terminal. Let’s check them out.

Stop Apple’s spam notifications with this hidden setting

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Nobody likes spam. Here's how to stop Apple spam notifications, i.e. marketing notifications.
Nobody likes spam. Nobody.
Photo: Jesper Sehested/Flickr CC

On a podcast this week, I heard the hosts complaining that they get all kinds of spam notifications from Apple. Their iPhones pop up promotional alerts about Apple Pay, apps, Apple Music, Apple Pay, podcasts and more.

“WTF?” I thought, because I don’t get anything like that. I checked through my notification preferences, sure that I’d find something in there, but no. So why wasn’t I getting all this Apple spam?

Because Apple hid the setting. You can turn off all those junky Apple spam notifications. You just have to know where to look.

Ulysses adds iPad full-screen view, and keyword manager

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Ulysses Summer 2019 edition.
Ulysses Summer 2019 edition.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I’m writing this post in Ulysses, a text-editing app that separates the writing part from the printing/publishing/exporting part of the process. And today I’m writing in the brand-new Summer 2019 edition of Ulysses, which adds new features and a new, super-clean iPad full-screen mode.

Ulysses is therefore better than ever before. Come with me, and check out all the new stuff contained in Ulysses 17 for iOS.

How to stop your MacBook from powering up when you open it

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Walking boots on beach
AutoBoot joke.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Mac laptops made in the last few years have an annoying/convenient feature. Open one up, and it powers on. MacBooks have woken from sleep when you open the lid for years, but now they boot from cold, too. Want to clean the keyboard without turning the thing on? Tough.

Or is it? If you want to stop this behavior, it’s easy. Here’s how.