Dongle-tangling: Use dark chaotic forces and never lose your headphone adapter again

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Dongle-tangling is the hottest thing since AirPods.
Dongle-tangling is the hottest thing since AirPods.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You know how headphone cables always get tangled? In the past, I have put a cable down carefully, and picked it up just moments later, and the wires have already tied themselves into knots. And you know what else is super-annoying? Apple’s stupid USB-C and Lightning headphone adapters, the kind that you have to use if you want to plug headphones or cables recent into iPads and iPhones.

But what if there was a way to take both these annoyances, and combine them into something … slightly less annoying?!? That would be amazing, obviously. Today we will see how to use the powerful dark force of tangling to stop you from losing your headphone jack dongles.

How to share an Apple TV+ subscription with your family

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Share Apple TV+
Subscribe to Apple TV+, and share it with your family.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple TV+ has turned out to be pretty good. Certainly, it’s a lot better than critics claimed. So, you may even want to share the shows with your family. And, thanks to Apple’s Family Sharing, this is not only possible, but easy.

You can all watch different shows at the same time, or you can just enjoy the lazy convenience of catching the latest episode of The Morning Show on whoever’s device is nearest. Let’s see how to share your Apple TV+ subscription with your family.

A used 2015 Retina MacBook Pro might be the best MacBook you can buy today

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Old macbook
Why not buy an old MacBook instead of Apple’s flawed lineup?
Photo: Mark Solarski/Unsplash

Since I wrote about Apple’s ongoing MacBook disaster last week, and then offered a bunch of alternatives to the current MacBook lineup, several readers got in touch to ask which — if any — older MacBooks we’d recommend. I haven’t bought a MacBook in years, so I did a little research, and asked around the Cult of Mac crew.

So, let’s find out which is the best (old) MacBook you can buy today.

Tap your AirPods Pro case to check if it’s charged

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AirPods Pro. Like regular AirPods, only more professional.
Tap the AirPods Pro battery case to show the charge status LED.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The AirPods Pro come in a Qi-enabled wireless charging case, which means you can just drop it onto a charging mat, grab them a while later, and everything is topped up and ready to go. But the LED indicator on the case blinks off soon after you start charging. What’s up? How do you find out if your AirPods are full yet?

The best alternatives to Apple’s disastrous MacBooks

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Macbook alternatives: The Surface Book comes with a 100%-working keyboard.
Unlike MacBooks, the Surface Book comes with a 100%-working keyboard.
Photo: Clint Patterson/Unsplash

Apple’s current line of MacBooks is probably its worst laptop lineup in years. The keyboards are so broken that even the newest MacBook Air is covered under Apple’s keyboard repair program. There are too few ports, and too much heat. And if you want to upgrade any internal parts? You’ll have to buy a new MacBook. But what are the best MacBook alternatives?

If you want to ditch the MacBook, you will find plenty of options. However, none of them offer one essential element: macOS. Switching to another operating system is like moving house and having to leave everything but your clothes behind. But there are workarounds even for that. Let’s check out the best alternatives to the MacBook in 2019.

This $10 dongle changed how I use my iPad

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USB-C adapter
Anker’s little dongle is super handy.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The latest iPad Pro comes with a proper USB port, in the shape of USB-C. Now, as long as you can find the right cable or adapter, you can plug in pretty much anything short of a printer, and it will work as expected.

But you still need to find the right cable, or resort to a USB hub (none of which are really designed to work well with a tablet). In the past, that meant buying lots of USB-C to microUSB, USB-C to miniUSB, USB-C to USB-B cables, and so on.

If only I’d discovered this USB-C adapter first.

How to make the most of the Files app’s column view in iPadOS

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Column view
Check out the columns on that!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 13 brought all kinds of neat new features to the Files app, aka the iOS Finder. But maybe the best of all these is the new column view, a very Mac-like view of all the files and folders stored on your iPad. It’s not just an easy-to-browse view, either. The Files app column view also introduces a preview panel with plenty of tricks of its own.

The MacBook is a disaster. Can Apple fix it?

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Macbook problems
The Mac is in serious trouble. Can Apple fix things before it’s too late?
Photo: Ales Nesetril/Unsplash

Despite the endless disappointments with iPadOS 13, there’s still no way I’d switch to a MacBook right now. MacBooks (and MacBook Pros) were always the gold (or aluminum?) standard for laptops — reliable, well-designed and long-lasting. Reviewers would even recommend that PC users buy a Mac and install Windows on it via Boot Camp. But today, MacBooks problems abound.

Apple’s laptops are a sorry bunch. And it’s not just the troublesome butterfly keyboard. Every week, I read tweets and blog posts about freelancers and employees of big companies alike losing valuable time as their MacBooks go back for repair for the third or fourth time. So what is happening? What are the biggest problems with today’s MacBooks? And can these MacBook problems be fixed?

How to search scanned documents in your Notes app

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Search scans on your iPhone in Notes app.
Search scans on your iPhone in Notes app.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you know that you can scan paper documents into the Notes app on your iPhone and iPad? The app turns them into PDFs, and trims them to make them look as if you scanned them in a proper scanner. Maybe you read our how-to article on scanning into the Notes app, and you already know this. But in iOS 13, things get better: You also can search those scanned documents.

That’s right. You can scan a sheet of paper into Notes, and anything printed on it will become searchable, as if you typed it in yourself. Let’s see how to search scans.