How to set up the best Mac screensaver, Aerial

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Aerial screensaver on a Mac
Beautiful.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Screensavers fell out of fashion a long time ago, but Apple’s Aerial screensaver looks so beautiful, it just might make you reconsider. In fact, with its stunning visuals, it might just be the best Mac screensaver around.

The Aerials started on the Apple TV, showing gorgeous, sweeping helicopter photography of the world’s greatest natural landscapes, underwater sights and cityscapes — even shots from space. Now, if you have a desktop display set up somewhere prominently in your house, you can get the same beautiful vistas on your computer with the Aerial screensaver for Mac.

Here’s where to find this beautiful Mac screensaver, plus some setup tips that will really help it shine.

How to make a shared, collaborative Apple Music Playlist

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Playlists With Your Friends
Come together.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

A hot new feature in iOS 17.3 is Apple Music playlist collaboration. In advance of a party, road trip or any kind of themed event, you and others organizing the music can build a playlist together.

This isn’t to be confused with a similar feature, SharePlay, which lets people in the same room add songs to a live queue. SharePlay is more ephemeral; it lets others nearby play songs in the car or to a Bluetooth speaker without passing around your unlocked phone.

A shared Apple Music playlist is saved and can be replayed at any time. To find out everything you need to know about Apple Music playlist collaboration, keep reading or watch our quick how-to video

How to download, set up and use the new Apple Sports app for iPhone

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Follow the Score Live
Apple Sports is easy to use, and packed with detailed information on upcoming games and yesterday’s scores.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The new Apple Sports app gives iPhone users a handy tool for tracking sports scores and stats. Previously buried inside Apple News, the constantly updated sports data becomes much more accessible when delivered via a dedicated iPhone sports app.

You can choose which teams and leagues you follow, get live updates on scores (and betting odds), and tap to open live coverage of the game in a streaming app.

The official Apple Sports app is available on the App Store now. Here’s how to use it.

Connect a Bluetooth keyboard, trackpad or controller to Vision Pro

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Vision Pro sitting on a pine table next to a Bluetooth keyboard
A Bluetooth keyboard can turn your Vision Pro into a real productivity machine.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you want to get work done on your Vision Pro, you’ll really want a Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad for precision input and pointing. And for gaming, you can connect a controller, too. The Vision Pro officially supports Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch controllers, with support for some other Bluetooth models as well.

Follow these instructions to pair a Bluetooth device with Vision Pro.

Here are all the best apps and games for Vision Pro

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Vision Pro Home View Apps
We’ve found all the neatest apps for Apple’s latest device.
Image: Apple

The best Vision Pro apps, games, demos and experiences showcase the AR capabilities of Apple’s headset.

If you own a Vision Pro and don’t know where to start, I put together a list of apps and games to try out first. Alternatively, if you can’t afford a headset (or if you live outside the United States), you can live vicariously through me as I show you all of the most interesting Vision Pro apps I’ve found.

I highly recommend you check out the companion video to this article to see these apps in action. Alternatively, you can continue reading below.

Bullet-dodging game Void-X is a total blast on Vision Pro [Awesome Apps]

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Playing Void-X on an iPhone
Void-X plays like a classic from the ’80s. It's great on iPhone, but even better on Vision Pro.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Awesome AppsI’ve had a lot of fun playing Void-X, a modern arcade shooter game. If you’ve ever emptied a whole pocketful of quarters into Galaga or Zaxxon, then you’ll love playing it, too. And you’ll like it even more if you play Void-X on Vision Pro. (You can play the tame on iPhone and iPad, too.)

Why I don’t want to return my Vision Pro

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Selfie taken wearing a Vision Pro
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m actually wearing the Vision Pro in this picture! You probably didn’t notice because you can see my eyes so clearly.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The two-week return window for my Vision Pro is fast approaching, so I need to make my keep it/toss it decision in a matter of days. And I desperately want to keep it.

Many publications (including Cult of Mac) are reporting on the mass of people selling their Vision Pros after the two-week return window. A lot of it, I think, is for the drama — Apple is taking a big swing on a brand-new product, people aren’t keeping it, instant controversy. (I bet a lot of these people bought their headsets to produce content on the buzzy device and never planned on keeping it, no matter how good it was.)

Well, here’s the other side of the coin. My Vision Pro has fit into my life perfectly. I use it for hours every day. But justifying the purpose is a financial stretch.

Customize Control Center on Vision Pro to be more useful and less irritating

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Vision Pro Control Center settings floating in a forest
Adjust Control Center settings from the comfort of a peaceful forest environment.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Control Center in Vision Pro works very differently than on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac. But as with Apple’s other platforms, you can customize the Vision Pro Control Center to make it far more useful.

The first few days after I got my Vision Pro, I found Control Center to be intensely irritating. It constantly appeared in my field of view, bugging me like a hair in my mouth or a piece of popcorn in my teeth.

Luckily, with just a few changes, you can make Control Center way less annoying.

How to charge the battery on your Vision Pro

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Vision Pro battery plugged in, sitting on a pine desk
It’s not a small battery.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you get a Vision Pro, you’ll soon need to learn how to charge up that battery. Apple only promises two hours of battery life on its revolutionary headset. Although real-world usage is pushing closer to three, if you want your spatial computing to be untethered, you’ll need to charge the Vision Pro battery often.

Here’s how to do it — along with some tips that will keep you (and your data) safe.

Typing on Vision Pro: A scientific test with surprising results

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Hand touching a floating keyboard typing on Vision Pro
Using Vision Pro's virtual keyboard, you just reach out and touch parts of the screen when you need to.
Photo: Apple

The Vision Pro’s virtual, floating-in-the-air keyboard has been nearly universally condemned. There’s no way around it: Typing on Vision Pro sucks.

But people said the same thing about the original iPhone, which ditched a physical keyboard compared to the BlackBerry. And these days, physical keyboards for your iPhone are more of a novelty than a standard accessory that everybody buys.

So to get to the bottom of exactly how bad the Vision Pro keyboard is, I took a bunch of different typing tests across a bunch of different keyboards. And the results I found were incredibly surprising. I accidentally discovered the best way to input text in Vision Pro.

Check out our latest YouTube video or keep reading to see what happened.

How to let other people see what you see in Vision Pro

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Apple TV showing a screen mirrored Vision Pro with the Explore Mars app
Let other people see what you’re seeing. (Featuring the Explore Mars app.)
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

It’s possible to share your screen in your Vision Pro so that other people can see what you’re seeing, too. This is especially helpful in Vision Pro Guest Mode, to help you guide newbies through the unfamiliar headset.

Vision Pro is an exciting new product, but it can be isolating. The incredible experiences it enables aren’t social. However, you can AirPlay your screen to a nearby Apple TV, iPad, Mac or iPhone.

Here’s how.

How to fix eye and hand tracking on Vision Pro

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Man sitting on a couch with a Vision Pro making a pinch gesture with his fingers
You won’t be smiling when your Vision Pro refuses to follow your eyes correctly.
Photo: Apple

You can easily fix Apple Vision Pro eye tracking and hand tracking if your headset starts to act up. You’ll want to follow the steps below if the device stops accurately tracking your gaze or your hand gestures.

As you probably know, hand tracking and eye tracking are essential to using Vision Pro. When they don’t work as well as possible, it’s incredibly frustrating. I know, because sometimes the headset’s sensors have a hard time tracking my eyes up and down. It’s like using an iPad stylus on a touchscreen that’s slightly uncalibrated.

The quick methods below can fix some Vision Pro eye- and hand-tracking problems for you.  You can approach trigger a reset three different ways — by pressing a button on the headset, going into Settings or asking Siri for help — all with the same ultimate result. (In my experience, this is one situation in which Siri excels.)

How to update Vision Pro software (and try visionOS betas if you dare)

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Vision Pro software update screen in a mountaintop environment
With Vision Pro, you can install software updates from a blissful mountaintop.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Whether to add new features or squash bugs, Apple releases Vision Pro updates from time to time. (The latest one, visionOS 1.0.3, arrived Monday. It eliminates a major headache that plagued Vision Pro owners who forgot their devices’ passcodes.) Luckily, downloading and installing visionOS updates is easy once you know how.

In fact, installing Vision Pro software updates proves very similar to the process for updating an iPhone, iPad or Mac. We’ll show you how it’s done — and also how to get visionOS beta updates. If you want to take a chance on betas, you can test upcoming Vision Pro features before they officially arrive.

What it’s really like to cook with Apple Vision Pro

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Screenshot of a recipe for pizzelles floating in a kitchen
Just look over to the right to see the recipe.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you’re addicted to your Vision Pro, with your apps floating around you all the time, you’ll have to cook yourself dinner at some point. After all, you may not be able to afford to eat out after buying one. Cooking with Vision Pro offers some fun surprises, but it’s not all gravy.

There are obvious upsides. Placing timers around your kitchen and having easy access to a recipe floating nearby seem incredibly convenient rather than fiddling with your iPhone. This is what I was most excited to try out.

But the downsides snuck up on me. I had a hard time reading my measuring spoons, nor could I tell apart my sugar from my flour. But worst of all, trying to lick the cookie dough off a large whisk without smearing the Vision Pro proved impossible.

Check out our YouTube video or keep reading below.

What’s it like working out wearing a Vision Pro?

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Me wearing workout clothes on a treadmill. Oh, and a Vision Pro on my face.
Is this the future of working out? Probably not.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

People have been spotted wearing Apple’s Vision Pro headset at gyms. I was curious whether they had unlocked a secret killer feature or whether they were bearing through aches and pains just to show off. What’s it really like working out wearing a Vision Pro?

To find out, I hopped on a treadmill, lifted some weights and did some crunches while wearing the headset to discover the pros and cons of wearing a Vision Pro while working out. Check out our latest YouTube video to see what it’s like first-person.

The overall experience proved unsurprisingly mixed — with one very surprising drawback.

How to FaceTime with Vision Pro

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FaceTime call on Vision Pro showing three people floating in windows in a hotel room
FaceTime on Vision Pro puts people around the room in your space.
Photo: Apple

Making a FaceTime call in Vision Pro is a bit more involved than on iPhone or Mac. After all, you have a computer strapped onto your face, which is not typical with other devices.

Step 0, of course, is setting up your Persona — the dynamic, digital version of yourself that Vision Pro uses for FaceTime calls. If you didn’t create a Persona during the Vision Pro setup process, or your Persona looks less fantastic than you’d like, we wrote a separate explainer for you:  How to create your Persona in Vision Pro (or make it better).

Once your Persona is set, here’s how to FaceTime in Vision Pro.

Vision Pro gestures: How to master Apple headset’s UI

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Man wearing Vision Pro tapping his fingers together
Tap your fingers to select in Vision Pro.
Photo: Apple

 Apple Vision Pro is controlled by just five simple gestures you do with your hands. The Vision Pro gestures even work in the dark!

If you’re going to try on someone’s Vision Pro, or you’re lucky enough to buy one yourself, here’s how to use what Apple calls “the most advanced personal electronics device ever.”

While Vision Pro takes a physical form resembling ski goggles, the whole idea is that, unlike with a MacBook or iPhone, you don’t have a screen, keyboard, mouse or trackpad to interact with. It’s an invisible computer. Apple has a bunch of breakthrough gestures to make it work — here’s how to use them.

Can you get real work done inside Vision Pro?

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Safari and Slack in Vision Pro
After a few days of testing, here’s what I noticed after trying to work on a Vision Pro.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Can you get real work done inside a Vision Pro? Yes — although it comes with many asterisks.

It’s closely correlated to how much work you can do entirely on the web without specialized apps, although the virtual Mac display can smooth that down a bit. Surprisingly, typing in Vision Pro is great.

Working on Vision Pro has its annoyances, quirks and limitations, but I think Apple has built a very solid foundation here for a version-one product.

Check out our video or keep reading below.

Here’s how to take spatial videos and photos with a Vision Pro

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Smiling man wearing an Apple headset and pressing the top button to take photos with Vision Pro.
Capturing incredibly immersive spatial photos and videos starts with a click of the Vision Pro's top button to launch the Capture app.
Photo: Apple

Spatial photos and videos look incredibly lifelike in full 3D while wearing an Apple Vision Pro headset. But how do you take photos with Vision Pro? It might be confusing at first since there’s no Camera app in the headset. Instead, Vision Pro uses a new Capture app.

But don’t worry. Any photos or videos you take with Vision Pro will sync to your Photos library. And they’re fully compatible with your other Apple devices, although you’ll only see them there in a boring two dimensions, like it’s still 2023. Yawn.

How to use your Mac with Vision Pro

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Virtual Mac display in Vision Pro
See a floating, virtual Mac display alongside your other visionOS apps.
Photo: Apple

Screen sharing from your Mac to Vision Pro is a great way to work inside the headset while using your Mac’s keyboard and trackpad. You can enlarge your Mac’s screen to enormous size, and surround it with apps that work inside Vision Pro.

It’s called Mac Virtual Display. Unfortunately, it’s limited to only one Mac screen. But set up right, it can be the ultimate big screen setup — without the actual big screens.

Here’s how to use your Mac with Vision Pro.

How to create your Persona in Vision Pro (or make it better)

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Woman holding a Vision Pro in front of her face, capturing her Vision Pro Persona
You need to hold the Vision Pro in front of your face to capture your Persona.
Photo: Apple

The Vision Pro Persona is a 3D representation of yourself that will appear to others in FaceTime calls. It also fuels the EyeSight feature, which shows a ghostly 3D version of your eyes on the outside of the headset to make the device seem less isolating. 

Many people criticize the Personas for looking unnatural, so the feature very much deserves its beta label. However, there are some things you can do to create a better one. If you didn’t create a Vision Pro Persona while setting up your headset, or want to redo it to make yours look a little less uncanny, I’ll show you how to do it at any time.

How to let friends try out your Vision Pro

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Two people, one person putting on a Vision Pro
Let a friend try your Vision Pro.
Photo: Apple

Vision Pro Guest User mode is how you get your Vision Pro ready to show to someone else. Because if you own one of Apple’s new AR/VR headsets, everyone you know is inevitably going to want to try it on. That’s where Vision Pro guest mode comes in.

I will be visiting my mom this weekend, who’s enormously excited to try out the new technology. This is how to set up a Guest User on Vision Pro.

Here’s a great take on Apple’s plans for opening up the App Store

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Riley Testut pictured in his office
Riley Testut, creator of the original alternative app marketplace.
Photo: Riley Testut

iOS developer Riley Testut, the brains behind AltStore (the original alternative App Store), has a great take on Apple’s plans to open up the App Store in the European Union

This is “everything I’ve been wanting for the past few years,” he said after Apple laid out its plans last week. “Even reading the announcement I was tearing up.”

Testut, who lives in Texas, has a vested interest in Apple loosening its grip on the App Store to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act. He’s the co-creator of AltStore, a hacky skunkworks project that enables sideloading of iPhone and iPad apps. Now he’s working to transition AltStore into an officially sanctioned app marketplace that complies with Apple’s new rules.

In an exclusive interview with Cult of Mac, Testut talks about the hidden upside for iPhone owners around the world; the downsides of Apple’s strict new framework and fees; and the joys of making AltStore one of the first legit third-party app marketplaces in the EU.

Testut’s take on Apple’s plans for opening up iOS is perhaps the best to date, and well worth a read.

You can also watch the full interview on YouTube.