Drafts 5 for iOS goes free, adds fantastic pro features

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Drafts 5
Drafts is the best way to get text out of your head.
Photo: Agile Tortoise

Drafts 5 has launched, the sequel to Drafts 4, and you may be a little confused as too what it actually new. Should you upgrade, for example? After all, it’s just the same old note-creating app with a lick of paint, right? Well, the definitive answer to that is “Hmmm, kinda…” While Drafts 5 doesn’t get many big new features, it has been completely redesigned. It looks better, works better, and the settings are way less confusing.

Oh, and you can finally use it as your only notes app, without feeling like you’re doing something dirty.

How to translate webpages on iPhone or iPad

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translate webpages safari ipad
Cult of Mac in Catalan!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Do you ever find yourself staring at a web page, unable to understand a word? All the letters look familiar, only they’re arranged into some weird order? That’s called “foreign,” and it’s how people from outside America talk to each other. Some of them don’t even write their websites in English.

Fortunately, a good old American company has done something about this terrible habit. Microsoft Translator can fix up a web page and turn all that foreign gibberish into a language we can all feel comfortable with. You may already use Google’s translate bookmarklet for this, but Microsoft’s version is so much better it’s in a different league.

How to add extra filter packs to the iPhone’s Photos app

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filter packs iPhone
Captured, edited, and filtered, all inside the Camera and Photos apps.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One lesser known ability of the Photos app on your iPhone is that is can use third-party filter packs. If you install a photo-editing app that supports them, then you can apply that apps filters without ever leaving the Photos app. This makes it super quick to add sophisticated effects to your pictures, and you can revert to the original photo at any time in the future.

Today we’ll see how to use these filter packs, and look at a couple of great apps that have them.

Vulse app brings gestural and touch effects to guitar

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vulse for iPhone
Like an electronic whammy bar.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Vulse is a neat app for musicians. More specifically, it’s for guitarists. The app has been around for a while, but got a big old update this week that makes it worth a new look. The idea of the app is that you stick your iPhone onto your guitar, just below where you strum the strings, and then use a combination of wild flailing and screen-stroking to apply crazy effects on the fly.

The best Apple Pencil apps that aren’t for drawing

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apple-pencil-jar
Don't leave your Apple Pencil in the jar.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You have a new iPad, and you have a new Apple Pencil. Time to learn how to draw, right? Not necessarily. Just like a regular pen or pencil, there are ton of other things you can do with an Apple Pencil. You can write, of course, but you can also play games, compose musical scores, do coloring in books, edit photos, and even play the Apple Pencil like a musical instrument.

Let’s take a look at the best non-drawing apps for Apple Pencil.

How to change your iPhone passcode so the cops can’t hack it

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iPhone passcode
A strong passcode is the next-best thing to keeping your iPhone in a safe.
Photo: Rob Pongsajapan/FlickrCC

It’s time to stop using that useless 6-digit passcode on your iPhone. Now that cops around the U.S. are going crazy for the GrayKey, a little box that can crack your iPhone’s passcode in hours, it has become clear that the iPhone’s regular six-digit numerical code is no longer secure. And now these boxes are available, it won’t be long before they’re in the hands of the bad guys, too, if they’re not already.

The good news is, it’s super easy to change your passcode to something a lot better. The bad news? There isn’t any, unless you have the cops trying to break into your iPhone, in which case you’ve got plenty of bad news already.

Remove annoying clutter from iPad Spotlight searches

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spotlight
No, not this kind of spotlight.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you use Spotlight to find stuff on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll be familiar with the mess of results you get when you search. Maybe you’re searching for a note or an email about that really important thing, only the actual results you want are buried under a heap of nonsense from twitter, from YouTube, from all the Ebay classifieds you’ve viewed, and so on.

The good news is, you can trim these results, eliminating the noise you don’t need. The even better news is that recent versions of iOS do this is a much more elegant way.

This box turns your iPad into the ultimate guitar pedalboard

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iRig Stomp I/O Pedalboard
Nothing can bad can happen to your iPad down there on a stage floor. Nothing.
Photo: IK Multimedia

Electric guitar players have effects pedals. It’s an addiction, and a law of nature. We keep buying little stomp boxes in pursuit of the perfect sound, and of course we don’t even call it sound. We call it “tone.” But the sensible players don’t try to beat the addiction. They switch to software. Instead of buying and trading expensive hardware boxes, they move to something like iOS effects apps, which let you experiment at a fraction of the cost.

And that’s where IK Multimedia’s new iRig Stomp I/O Pedalboard comes in. It’s a hardware pedalboard that provides guitar players with a familiar front-end to all those amazing iOS effects.

This microcasting app is the easiest way to podcast on iPhone

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podcast on iPhone with microcast wavelength app
Microcasting is the new mouth-tweeting. Or something.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you ever fancy making a podcast, but as soon as you considered the logistics, your eyes crossed, and you felt suddenly sleepy? But what if creating and publishing a podcast was as easy as squeezing out a Tweet? That’s where Wavelength comes in. Wavelength is a brand new app that lets you record, edit, and publish your short podcast — or microcast — in record time. It can even add your podcast feed to the Apple Podcast Directory, so anyone can easily find and subscribe to your microcast. Here’s how to podcast on iPhone.