How to get ready to pre-order iPhone 13 with the iPhone Upgrade Program

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How to get ready to pre-order iPhone 13 with the iPhone Upgrade Program
The iPhone Upgrade Program gets you a new model every year.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

The iPhone Upgrade Program is Apple’s equivalent of a carrier’s monthly contract. You can upgrade your iPhone every year, and pay a monthly fee instead of buying the handset outright. The upgrade path is simple — there’s a new iPhone every year, and you can upgrade every year.

Here’s how to get ready so you can be ready for iPhone 13 preorders this Friday. Don’t wait until the last minute.

How to use a long, alphanumeric iPhone passcode so cops can’t hack it [Update]

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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 six-digit passcode on your iPhone. Now that cops around the United States 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.

Plus, now that GrayKey is available, it won’t be long before they’re in the hands of the bad guys, too, if they’re not already. In fact, instructions on how GrayKey works surfaced online last month.

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

How to change Siri’s accent on iPhone, iPad and more

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australian siri
Changing Siri's accent is easy.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Most folks refer to Siri as “she,” but that’s not always true. The original British English Siri, for example, was male-only up until iOS 7.1 added a female version. And in the latest iOS 14.5 beta, a female Siri is not the default option.

No matter what, you don’t have to stick with your local version of Apple’s comically bad voice assistant. U.S. English speakers, for example, can currently choose from American, Australian, British, Indian, Irish and South African accents for Siri, and also pick male or female versions — with more voices coming soon.

So, if you’re a U.S. native who views the U.K. Standard English accent as quaint, cute, respectful, sexy or reproachful, it’s easy to set your iPhone or iPad to sound like a Brit or whatever you want. And your choice of Siri accent will follow you on all Apple devices logged into with your Apple ID. (In addition to iPhone and iPad, Siri works with just about everything now: Mac, AirPods, iPod, Apple Watch, CarPlay, HomePod and Apple TV.)

Let’s see how to change Siri’s accent.

Best apps to download now for your new Mac

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Best apps for your new Mac
Your new Mac deserves these amazing apps.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

If you were lucky enough to bag a new Mac for the holidays, you’re probably on the hunt for some awesome new apps to use on it. We’ve rounded up five of the best that we think every Mac owner should be using.

These apps will let you play any video, keep a close eye on precious storage space, extract important data from your iPhone and iPad backups, and more!

How to set up your new Apple Watch the right way

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Apple-Watch 6
Get your new Apple Watch up and running in no time!
Photo: Luke Chesser/Unsplash CC

New Apple Watch? Congratulations! Whether you got the Series 6 with its always-on screen, or snagged a bargain with the still-useful Series 3, you might be wondering how to get it set up. After all, the Watch is unlike any other Apple device, both in its dependence on your iPhone, and in the way it works.

The good thing is, Apple has made it really, really easy to get things up and running. Let’s take a look.

How to set up your new iPhone the right way

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The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 price is now the same for all the top US telecoms.
Rip that iPhone out of the box right now!
Photo: Apple

In recent years, the iPhone setup process has changed as dramatically as the iPhones themselves. Apple just keeps making it easier to do. So easy, in fact, that there are just a few things you need to do to move from your old iPhone to a new one. And setting up a new iPhone from scratch isn’t much harder — gone are the days of manually copying passwords just to get to the Home screen.

There are still a few tricks, though, that will help things run smoothly. Let’s see how to set up your new iPhone the right way.

Optimize your new iPhone experience with these expert setup tips

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iPhone Xs
Get your new iPhone set up the right way.
Photo: Apple

For many people, iPhone 12 will be radically different from previous iPhone models. Despite this, the iPhone setup process hasn’t changed much. However, while you might find yourself on familiar ground, there are still plenty of little things you really ought to do before you fire up your new phone for the first time (or pretty soon thereafter).

Let’s take a look at all the things you can do to get your iPhone set up exactly how you want it.

The 2008 MacBook is better than your modern MacBook in many, many ways [Review]

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macbook review ports
Look and weep, modern MacBook owners.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

This is Apple’s 2008 aluminum unibody MacBook, model A1278. It replaced the white polycarbonate MacBook, but was itself replaced by, or rather rebranded as, the MacBook Pro, which was more or less the same computer1.

Apple introduced this magnificent MacBook on October 14, 2008, and produced them until June 8, 2009. And it was one of Apple’s best notebooks ever. It had a fantastic keyboard, and many comfy extras that today’s skinny MacBook owners can only dream about, from a battery indicator light to an almost hot-swappable hard drive (or SSD).

It’s so good that it’s still viable today as a daily driver, with the added bonus that its weight will help keep you fit during lockdown. How do I know? Because I have one right here, and I use it for music recording and production. I’m also using it to write this article. I thought, as my last post for Cult of Mac, that I’d review the 2008 unibody MacBook as if it were new. Let’s go.

How to find a COVID-19 testing station with Apple Maps

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See all the local COVID-19 testing locations on a map.
See all the local testing locations on a map.
Photo: Capturing the human heart/Unsplash

As of yesterday, Apple Maps can now show you local COVID-19 testing stations, so you can find the nearest one and get yourself checked out. It’s really easy to do, but it does require a search to activate the new map layer.

Here’s how to find a COVID-19 test near you. Note: This currently only works in the United States.