Add rad text captions to your Instagram photos without an app

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Captions
I couldn’t find any good cat pictures in my photo library.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Do you want to overlay captions onto your Instagram photos? Of course you do. How else can express your inner poet, while simultaneously re-creating the worst of history’s inspirational posters? Where would humanity be without the “Hang in there, baby” cat poster? Doomed, that’s where.

Today we’re going to see how to add captions to any photo, without using an app. I won’t even force you to use a Siri Shortcut (although that’s a good option). And, of course, you don’t ever have to post the result to Instagram.

This Command key shortcut will change how you use your Mac

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command key
Take command.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

There are two kinds of Mac users. The sad, harried folks who don’t know how to use this easy, essential, life-changing Command key trick. And the happy, efficient, relaxed people who learned it years ago. If you’ve seen the movie Back to the Future, it’s like the difference between the two 2015 versions of George McFly, before and after Marty screws around with the 1950s. This trick will change your life.

Are you ready?

How to block privacy-invading read receipts in email

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email read receipts
An untracked, artisanal email.
Photo: Erica Steeves/Unsplash

Did you know that your boss might be tracking when you open and read her emails? Or that anyone who operates a mailing list can see when you open their emails, thanks to read receipts?

But did you also know that it’s trivially easy to block read receipts? You can make your overreaching boss think that you never read her emails, or at least make her a bit more paranoid. Email tracking uses something called tracking pixels. Let’s see how to block them, and disable email read receipts on Mac and iOS.

How to preview installed fonts on your iPad

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More terrifying than a blank Pages document.
More terrifying than a blank Pages document.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 13 and iPadOS added official support for adding fonts to your iPhone and iPad. You’ve been able to do it for a while, using third-party apps that hack their way around the problem using software configuration profiles to install typefaces on your system.

And you can still use those. In fact, you may have to, as we’ll see in a moment. But now you can also install fonts from the App Store, as well as previewing them in a new built-in panel. Let’s take a look.

Share your music with other AirPods, wirelessly

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AirPods sharing
Things are about to get romantic.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you and a friend both have AirPods or Beats headphones, you can share audio coming from a single iPhone or iPad. This is great for listening to the same music track or podcast, or — most useful I reckon — watching a movie together. Apple makes it really easy for you to share your audio stream with someone else. In fact, you could say it’s easier than doing it the old way, because A) there are no wires to get tangled and B) there’s no splitter adapter to lose.

Here’s how to set up audio sharing on AirPods.

How to stop accidentally switching off noise cancellation in AirPods Pro

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Keep AirPods Pro noise cancellation switched on -- permanently.
Keep noise cancellation switched on -- permanently.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you have a pair of AirPods Pro, then you know all about noise cancellation. That’s kind of the whole point of Apple’s top-tier AirPods, from the noise-sealing silicone tips to the software Ear Tip Fit Test. You probably also know that you can deactivate noise cancellation, and even quick-switch modes by squeezing the shaft of one of the earbuds.

But what if you never want to disable the excellent active noise cancellation on your AirPods Pro? Maybe you keep accidentally deactivating the feature (like I do). Today we’ll see how to switch off the shaft-squeezing shortcuts — and how to access them from your iPhone’s lock screen instead.

Siri’s been reading my messages and I love it

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Announce Messages with Siri
Getting Siri to read iMessages is AirPod Pro’s best feature.
Photo: Cult of Mac

As of iOS 13, you can have your iPhone read out incoming iMessages through your AirPods. And this — along with their awesome sound and noise-canceling abilities — is my favorite feature of the AirPods Pro. On paper, it’s a small feature in a long list. But in everyday use, Announce Messages with Siri makes a huge difference in how I use my iPhone.

Pro Tip: Your Apple USB-C headphone adapter works anywhere

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USB-C headphone adapter
The dongle works pretty much anywhere.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip: This to-do list hack turns your tasks into questions If you own a 2018 iPad Pro, you probably also bought Apple’s USB-C-to-3.5mm headphone jack adapter, just so you can plug headphones into your $1,000-plus computer. But what if you want to do something totally crazy like, I don’t know, listen to music and charge the iPad at the same time? Or, given that this a pro machine, maybe you want to hook up a MIDI piano keyboard, or other gear, and use headphones at the same time?

Tough luck, right? No! If you have any old USB-C hub or dock, you can plug Apple’s cheap little dongle into the hub itself. Check it out.

Audient Evo ‘evolutionizes’ iOS audio recording

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Audient's new Evos look as good as they (probably) sound.
Audient's new Evos look as good as they (probably) sound.
Photo: Audient

Audient’s Evo is an excellent-looking new iOS-friendly USB audio interface. Like all other “sound cards,” the Evo lets you hook up speakers, headphones, and connect microphones, guitars, and so on. It then connects to a computer or iDevice via USB, so you can route all that audio in and out of your apps.

But the Evo brings a few clever extras. One is the Smartgain feature, which automatically sets your input levels. The other is something called loopback, which lets you record your iPhone’s own output. This is handy on the Mac and Windows, but essential on iOS, and very welcome.