Two months with iPad Pro and USB-C [Opinion]

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This is a great-looking hub, but it still has problems.
This is a great-looking hub, but it still has problems.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

In the nearly two months I’ve been using the new iPad Pro with USB-C hubs, I’ve found these accessories to be alternately miraculous and frustrating.

This isn’t a review, or a how-to. It’s just a look at what’s right — and what’s still very wrong — with USB-C and the 2018 iPad Pro.

How to free up storage on your iPhone or iPad

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There’s no need to buy new storage space for your iPhone — just free up what you already have.
There’s no need to buy new storage space for your iPhone — just free up what you already have.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

It’s happening again! You cheaped out and bought that 32GB iPhone or iPad a few years back, and it’s full up, again. But wait — before you go deleting your photos, or uninstalling apps at random until you recover enough space, take a look at this how-to. You might be able to recover tens of gigabytes from apps you’d totally forgotten about.

How to share photos safely with Shortcuts

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Removing geodata won’t always protect a photo’s location
Removing geodata won’t always protect a photo’s location
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you know that every photo you send via iMessage, or other messaging services like WhatsApp, contains all that photo’s location data? If you snap a picture in your home, anyone who’s receives that photo will be able to see where you took it on a map.

The same goes for uploading images to online auction sites, or internet forums. The good news is that it’s easy to sanitize your images with Shortcuts.

Switch on your iPad’s super-dim, low-light mode

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A glitter ball represents the concept of low-light and accessibility low-light filter
A glitter ball represents the concept of low-light and accessibility.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Turned the screen brightness on your iPad (or iPhone) all the way down? Still too much light for you? Reading in bed next to someone whose eyelids seem to amplify light the same way a magnifying glass turns the sun into a death ray for ants?

Then this tip is for you. With a simple triple-tap of the top button or Home button on your iPad, you can dim the screen way beyond its usual limit.

Although your whining, over-sensitive bed partner will likely just start complaining about the noise of those button taps instead.

Control Ikea’s new blinds with HomeKit

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Ikea’s new blinds work with your iPhone via homekit.
Ikea’s new blinds work with your iPhone via HomeKit or a dedicated app.
Photo: Ikea

Too lazy to get up and close the drapes? Then you need Ikea’s new HomeKit-enabled blinds, Kadrilj and Fyrtur. These new powered blinds have already launched in Germany, and can be integrated with your home hub, your Alexa, or your Google Assistant.

How to stick to your New Year’s resolutions

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Traffic lights as metaphor for motivation streaks
Traffic lights as metaphor for motivation and movement.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

During he hangover-fogged morning of January 1st, you scrawled a hasty list of things you thought you should quit or commit to in 2018. More yoga, more walking, less driving, fewer cakes, maybe start meditating. Probably this list is similar to the one you wrote at the beginning of 2018.

How’s it going? Bad, right? You’ve probably spent the last week feeling alternatively guilty, and useless. And that’s not because you can’t pick up a habit — god knows you’ve already got enough bad habits that you’re adept at maintaining. No, you’re just approaching it wrong. And you’re probably a little bit lazy. Let’s fix that, and learn how to create winning streaks

Check out how perfect these menus look on iOS

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Check out how good menus look on iOS.
Check out how good menus look on iOS.
Photo: Two Lives Left

Menus on iOS. The idea is ridiculous, right? Stop hanging onto the past. iOS is all about touch, etc. What next? A mouse? Except that iOS already has plenty of menus. They’re just hidden behind hamburger buttons, and other icons.

I was skeptical too, but then I saw these amazing iOS menus from Codea developer Two Lives Left. Now I want menus in all my apps.

How to fix up your janky Portrait Photos with Focos

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Portrait Mode is great, until it’s not. Fix failed focus with Focos.
Portrait Mode is great, until it’s not. Fix failed focus with Focos.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Portrait Mode in the iPhone XR and XS is hands-down amazing. In the time it take to snap a photo, the camera scans the depth of the image in front of it, and uses that data to blur the background, and make the subject pop out, sharp. But it doesn’t always work. The depth detection gets confused by glass, for example, ruining what could have been an amazing image.

Today we’re going to use and app called Focos to fix these depth glitches. Focos is an all-round focusing powerhouse of an app, recently updated to support the iPad, including the new iPads Pro. The area we’ll focus on today (sorry) is the ability to edit the depth map, and paint back in the glass or hair that the iPhone missed.

7 reasons people are keeping old iPhones much longer

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Old iPhones
The iPhone 5 might have been Apple’s coolest iPhone design.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple is set to make 5 billion dollars less this quarter than it previously expected. That’s a pretty big deal, and it’s down to two major things. One was an “economic weakness in some emerging markets.” The other was that Apple said it sold “fewer iPhone upgrades than we had anticipated.”

That second one is very interesting. Why aren’t people upgrading? There are two possibilities. One is that they’re switching to Android. The other is that people are holding onto their old iPhones for much longer. Why’s that?