How to enter Mac passwords with your Apple Watch

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Apple Watch password
Is there anything the Apple Watch can’t do?
Photo: Jens Kreuter/Unsplash

You know how you can double-press the side button on your Apple Watch, and then wave it over a contactless terminal to pay with your credit card? Wouldn’t it be great if you could do the same with your Mac login password? Instead of having to type your password to authenticate yourself, you’d be able to double-tap the Apple Watch’s side button to do it instantly.

Well, now you can do exactly this — if you’re running macOS Catalina.

iOS 13’s powerful new Slide Over features make it useful at last

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Slide Over in iPadOS 13 is like having an iPhone inside your iPad.
Slide Over is like having an iPhone inside your iPad.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

In iOS 13, Slide Over goes from being a useful-but-annoying novelty, to being an essential utility. Instead of only letting you dock one app window to the side of the screen, and sliding it out for a quick look or edit, Slide Over is now fully integrated.

In iOS 13, you can have multiple Slide Over panels, you can switch between them as easily as switching apps on an iPhone, you can open almost anything into a Slide Over pane, and you can easily turn a Slide Over app into a full-screen app. Here’s how it all works.

How to fix a stuck iOS software update

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iPhone ios stuck update
Press a button while updating to see this message.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS updates usually prove pretty reliable. Even during the buggy beta phase of a new iOS version, the updates themselves usually run without a hitch. But sometimes they do get stuck. Or they seem like they got stuck.

Here’s how to tell the difference between those two scenarios. And, if your iOS update really did hang, what to do about it.

How to master the Apple Watch Dock

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Apple Watch dock

Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

There are two buttons on the Apple Watch. You can press the Digital Crown, and you can press the side button. If you press the side button when your watch is displaying its watch face, then you’ll pop up the Dock. But what, exactly, is the Apple Watch Dock?

Just like the docks on macOS and iOS, it provides quick access to your most-used apps. But the Apple Watch Dock doesn’t work like the docks on Apple’s other devices. Here’s how to use it — and how to customize it.

Why can’t you turn off Personal Hotspot in iOS 13?

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Personal hotspot
No, not that kind of hot spot.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 13 isn’t just about exciting new bugs. Apple did a lot of cleaning up and moving things around in its latest mobile operating system. One big, behind-the-scenes feature change comes in the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot. You can no longer turn it off. Or rather, you haven’t been able to turn it off for a while now. It’s just that iOS 13 finally makes it explicit.

However, this doesn’t mean your iPhone will constantly broadcast its hotspot status, or that it will run down your battery. In fact, this feature is now easier to understand, and more sensibly described, than ever. Here’s what the Personal Hotspot changes in iOS 13 mean.

How to make your Mac’s dictionary popup way, way faster

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spotlight popup
A spotlight, looking something up.
Photo: Richard Ciraulo/Unsplash

What happens when you use a three-finger tap on your Mac’s touchpad to look up a word? In olden times, it would bring up a dictionary definition, instantly. Today, it probably doesn’t do anything. Not for a few seconds at least. Or rather, it pops up a panel right away, but then it takes a few seconds to load whatever Siri reckons you might be looking for.

So, how do we stop this madness? Easy. We switch it off in the Mac’s settings, aka System Preferences.

New iRig audio gadgets for iPhone-toting podcasters and YouTubers

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IRig stream podcasting setup
The new iRig gear makes podcasting portable.
Photo: IK Multimedia

A new batch of iRig accessories from IK Multimedia should make life easier for podcasters and YouTubers who produce on their iPads or iPhones. The gear looks pretty sweet, and — if my experience is anything to go by — it should be well-built, and sound great, too.

Let’s take a look at the new IK Multimedia gadgets.

How to stop Siri from snooping on you

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Stop siri snooping: LOL look how small Apple made the
LOL look how small Apple made the "Not Now" button.
Photo: Cult of Mac

iOS 13.2 adds controls for Apple’s unpopular Siri data collection program. Now, users can opt in to “Siri and Dictation Analytics,” which translates to letting your iPhone or iPad upload all your Siri interactions so Cupertino can improve the virtual assistant’s accuracy.

Previously, Apple disabled this program because of its unpopularity. Now, it’s back — but under your control.

How to make Siri announce and read your messages

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Announce Messages with Siri
Siri can now read out your incoming messages, automatically.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

In iOS 13.2, Siri can announce your incoming messages and read them to you. This is the kind of feature that is so useful, and obvious, that it seems like it should have always been there. It’s called Announce Messages with Siri, and it does just that.

Here’s how to set it up and use it