Everything you need to know about your iPhone camera’s shutter speed

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iPhone shutter speed
Camera blur can be your friend.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Your iPhone camera is pretty good at taking photos automatically. You just point it, shoot, and the camera works out all the tricky stuff. But what is actually going on in there? How does it take the light that you see and render it as an image on the screen?

In this short series, we’ll look at the physical parts of a camera — the aperture, the shutter, the magnification of the lens, and so on — and see how they affect the final image. Today’s topic: shutter speed.

How to rip and save audio from YouTube videos with your iPhone

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rip youtube audio
This screen represents YouTube, and the telephone represents audio. Or something.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

YouTube isn’t just for video. Lots of folks use it to post audio files, only they gum up the songs with slideshows so they can upload them to the video-publishing service. There are all kinds of apps that let you convert a YouTube video back into an MP3, but today we’re going to see how to convert a video to an MP3 right in Safari, using Apple’a own Workflow/Shortcuts app.

This Siri Shortcut will automatically text your commute time to your spouse

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Siri shortcuts knows how long your bus will take to get you home.
Siri knows how long your bus will take to get you home.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

This Siri Shortcut will send an iMessage to a friend, spouse or other contact telling them how long it will be until you get to their location. Once set up, all you need to do is say something simple (and easy to remember) like “Home soon.”

This shortcut uses a brand-new feature in Shortcuts beta 2.0 that allows the sending of messages in the background, without having to confirm them first. It’s a small but powerful addition. Once Apple irons out the kinks, this feature could make a huge difference in how useful Siri Shortcuts will be day to day.

How to enable iPhone Photos extensions

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Photo filters can be subtle or … not.
Photo filters can be subtle or … not.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Apple’s Photos app offers a very good set of editing tools. On both Mac and iOS, you can pick filters or perform a quick fix with the auto feature. You can also really dig in with some tools that are easily as comprehensive as anything on iOS.

These tools rival many desktop photo apps, but sometimes you want to do something extra-fancy. Maybe you have a favorite filters app. Or you want to combine two photos side by side in one frame or overlay one picture on another. Or use an app that lets you remove distractions in the frame, like power lines, cars or trash. Then you need to turn to Photos extensions.

Castro, Hookpad 2, Ribn, and other awesome apps of the week

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Awesome Apps
'Appy weekend.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Did you know that Adobe’s Lightroom CC for iPhone has a fantastic camera built in? Or that you can now listen to any audio file in the Castro podcast app, just by dropping it into an iCloud folder? Or that you can make a catchy song in your iPad’s web browser using Hookpad 2? Well, now you do.

These are the awesome apps making waves this week.

How to delete all your tweets

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Even this little birdy is deleting his tweets.
Even this little birdy is deleting his tweets.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Twitter is like that part of town where City Hall just lets anyone open up a bar or a restaurant. It’s lively, and it’s where everyone hangs out, but you certainly don’t want to take the wrong side street late at night. Maybe you’re ready to leave Twitter, thanks to its continued censorship of unknown individuals and simultaneous encouragement of hate speech and lies by more famous people and organizations.

If you’re serious about ditching Twitter, then you probably want to delete your tweets. Twitter feeds off “engagement.” If you delete your tweets, you leave nothing to engage with (although their “content” has probably been mined clean already). If you delete your tweets, and change your Twitter bio to say you’ve quit, this sends a stronger message than just slipping out the side door. It also helps stop someone else from pretending to be you.

Write catchy songs in your browser with Hookpad 2

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Anyone can compose a hit song in Hookpad 2
Anyone can compose a hit song in Hookpad 2
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Hookpad is a web app for music composition, and it’s also a killer way to learn about music theory. Hookpad and its companion theory app/book have been around for a while. The problem was, it only worked on the desktop. Hookpad 2 is a complete rewrite, and it works just great in mobile Safari. You can even save it to your home screen.

Use an Apple Pencil with your iPhone with this dumb hack

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Apple Pencil Hack
Wrap this paper napkin around an Apple Pencil, and add water. What could possibly go wrong?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Apple Pencil is easily the best stylus for any tablet computer, but thanks to the deep hardware ties that make it work so well with the iPad, it won’t work with anything else. Or will it? With this messy hack, you can make your Apple Pencil work with your iPhone. Or with any smartphone or tablet.