How to add any audio file to iPhone’s Music app

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Your music is so hard to get into the iPhone's Music app, it may as well be on CD
Photo: Lost Places/Flickr CC

It’s 2017, and yet you still can’t add music to the Music app on your iPhone. If you have an MP3 file that somebody sent you, that you downloaded, or that you created with one of the zillions of powerful apps on iOS, you can’t just add it to your library. Instead, you must add it to iTunes on your Mac or PC, and then manually sync it to your iPhone, either over Wi-Fi or with a cable.

It’s absurd, and today we’re going to fix it. You’ll still need a Mac to be running, but at least you don’t have to actually touch it.

How to share and collaborate in GarageBand using iCloud

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With iOS 11, you don't need to go to a recording studio to collaborate on a song.
Photo: Iñaki de Bilbao/Flickr CC

One of the great new features in iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra is shared documents. You can create almost any kind of file, and collaborate on it with other people. This can be a simple Pages document, or a complex song in GarageBand. In theory, the file will be updated with everybody’s changes, so you can work on the same project without emailing a zillion copies back and forth.

Currently, this feature ranges from a little shaky, to rock solid, depending on what apps you are using. Here’s how to share and collaborate using GarageBand in iOS 11.

Apple’s ‘fast’ iPhone 8 charger isn’t as quick as you think

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The MacBook's USB-C charger won't charge your iPhone much faster.
Photo: Maurizio Pesce/Flickr CC

The iPhones 8 and X both support Apple’s “fast-charging” option, which has been available on the iPad Pro since the first 13-inch model. Fast charging lets you use a powerful USB-C charger, along with a USB-C-to-Lightning cable, to charge your iPhone quicker than you can with the standard iPhone or iPad chargers.

But is it worth the $75 that those accessories will cost? Is charging really so much faster? According to tests run by software engineer and startup investor Dan Loewenherz, the answer is no.

Undisturbed takes control of your Mac’s Do Not Disturb mode

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Undisturbed
Undisturbed turns off those annoying red badges.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Do you know how to turn on your Mac’s Do Not Disturb mode? That’s right, you open up the Notification sidebar, pull down, and toggle the switch. It works great. Right up until you look at the Dock, or the app switcher, and see a bunch of big red badges hassling you to read your email or check your boss’ Slack messages.

That’s where Undisturbed comes in. It’s an app that improves Do Not Disturb, so you really don’t get disturbed.

How to teach Siri to pronounce a name correctly

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Siri will teach you how to teach her.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Siri is great for setting reminders and timers, but in recent times Apple’s AI assistant has gotten a lot better at other things, too. For instance, sending iMessages to folks via your EarPods or AirPods, with your iPhone still in your pocket, works well enough that you can use it reliably all the time.

However, if Siri can’t pronounce the names of your contacts, then it’ll drive you crazy. Luckily, you can teach Siri to say these names correctly.

How to quickly trim video on Mac and iOS

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How to quickly trim videos on Mac and iOS
Editing your video clips will make them way less boring.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The secret of a good movie is in the editing. Well, the script, the lightning, the directing, the photography, and the acting are all important, but for home movies, you have little control over those.

So it’s down to the edit. And the most basic of edits is to lop the ends off a clip, to trim video and make it shorter. Watching excessively long clips is the equivalent of a conversation with someone who can’t ever get to the point. “Let me tell you about that time I fell out of the plane. It was a Tuesday. No, I think it was Wednesday. Wait, it must have been a Tuesday because …”

It’s painful. So, do yourself a favor and trim your video clips. Even if you’re not planning on combining your edits into a short movie, you should at least remove the cruft from anything you’re going to show. The good news is that it’s dead easy to trim video on Mac and iOS.

How to add quick keyboard shortcuts for emojis on Mac and iOS

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Adding shortcuts for your favorite Emoji is easy.
Photo: Cult of Mac

If you use emojis, the iOS keyboard is fantastic. It suggests emojis for you as you type words, and you can insert them into your messages with a tap. But what about the Mac? How can you add emojis with the keyboard on the desktop? And how can you force iOS to remember shortcuts for your favorite emoji on the iPhone and iPad? The answer to both is Text Replacement, which is built into both macOS and iOS.

How to use external storage with Files app on iPad or iPhone

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You can even browse wireless SD cards from Files app.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you ever hold your iPhone in one hand, and a USB hard drive in the other, and look back and forth between them, muttering “Why, oh why?” Well, today we have good news for you. You still can’t hook them together with a wire, but with one app you can browse all kinds of external storage devices right from iOS 11’s new Files app.

Hard drive hooked up to your Time Capsule? Check. USB storage connected to your fancy router? Check. Home network storage devices that work great but have really hideous iOS apps to access them? Check. With this tip, you can put any of these in your Files app’s sidebar using the excellent FileBrowser app.