Should you buy the new MacBook Pro or Mac mini?

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Should you upgrade?
Should you upgrade to the new MacBook Pro, Mac mini or HomePod?
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The new Mac mini and the high-end MacBook Pro are the first Macs to receive Apple’s powerful new M2 Pro and Max chips. But should you upgrade to the new MacBook Pro (or Mac mini) or not?

That depends on what Mac you already have. Our charts and video will walk you through the decision-making process if you’re considering buying a new Mac. (Bonus: We also break down the pros and cons of the new HomePod versus the original and the HomePod mini.)

Here’s everything the Apple Watch buttons do

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What Do The Buttons Do? (old version)
The buttons on the Apple Watch switch apps, activate Apple Pay, open Siri and more.
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The Apple Watch borrows a lot from the iPhone, but the biggest difference between them is down to the extra buttons. They each do different things whether you click, double-click or hold them down. What do the Apple Watch buttons do?

This guide was written before watchOS 10 changed and moved a lot of these features. See our updated guide if you’re confused why your Watch suddenly works differently.

Apple releases new watch band, wallpaper and more for Black History Month

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Apple Watch with Unity watch face and band alongside iPhone with Unity wallpaper
Apple’s 2023 Unity watch band, watch face and wallpaper have a really cool geometric pattern using Pan-African colors.
Photo: Apple

Apple has released a special new Apple Watch band, watch face and iPhone wallpaper celebrating Black History Month. Apple has done this every February in 2021 and 2022.

The Black Unity Sport Loop is available today in the online store and in “select Apple Store locations beginning January 24” Apple said in its press release. It will cost $49, the same price as other Sport Loop bands. The watch face and iPhone background will be released in a software update next week.

Listen to Apple’s AI-generated audiobooks

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Read Me A Story, Computer
Listen to romance novels with a soothing robot voice.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac/Mads Dyrmann/John Salatas/Anna Schroeder/Wikimedia Commons

It’s annoying when a book you want to read doesn’t have an audiobook version — they’re great while you’re driving, doing dishes or folding laundry. Apple is now offering authors AI-generated audiobooks of their work. Novels you otherwise wouldn’t be able to hear, you can now find in the Apple Books app. Let me show you how you can find and listen to them if you’re curious.

Apple launches powerful new Mac mini at a lower cost

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Mac Mini with Studio Display editing video in Final Cut and editing audio in Logic Pro.
“With its powerful media engine with ProRes acceleration, Mac mini with M2 Pro delivers unbelievably fast video processing.”
Photo: Apple

Apple launched a new Mac mini Tuesday, an upgraded model that uses the M2 chip seen last summer in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. A higher-end version runs on the brand-new M2 Pro chip, which also powers the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, also introduced today.

“Bringing even more performance and a lower starting price, Mac mini with M2 is a tremendous value,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, in a press release. “And for users who need powerful pro performance, Mac mini with M2 Pro is unlike any other desktop in its class.”

The computers are available to preorder today and will arrive January 24.

Multiple missing Macs might be unmasked tomorrow

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What we're expecting from 2022 MacBook Pro with M2 Pro or M2 Max
The new MacBook Pros could be coming in hot tomorrow.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Update: This prediction came 100% true. Apple took the wraps off a pair of Macs on January 17. Don’t miss Cult of Mac‘s full coverage:


Rumors suggest Apple is preparing for a quiet release of new Mac computers as early as Tuesday. These will include updates to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in addition to the Mac mini. The updates reportedly will be minor, bringing the new M2 chips to the computers.

There won’t be an Apple event — the company will announce the new computers by press release, if the rumors prove correct.

Turn on gentle rain and ocean sounds while you work

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Relaxing Rain Sounds For Work
Chill out and silence the sounds of your environment with the sounds of rain, the ocean and more.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac/W.carter/Wikimedia Commons

Working in an office or in the city, you’re probably inundated with noise from people chattering, cars running and nearby music. Your iPhone has a built-in feature called Background Sounds for playing rain noises or white noise to tune it all out.

You don’t need to download any apps or pay a cent; it comes for free on your Mac and iPhone. Let me show you how it works.

The new Model F Keyboard is the best Mac keyboard I’ve tried [Review] ★★★★☆

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Straight-down shot of the Model F on a desk.★★★★☆
It’s a dramatic and radical keyboard that feels right at home with a Mac.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

I’ve been on a quest to discover the perfect Mac keyboard. I’m looking for a compact keyboard with modern Mac styling — and the best key switches money can buy.

That’s when I discovered Model F Labs, whose keyboards are truly one-of-a-kind. They offer plenty of normal designs — but I ordered one in silver with blank unprinted keys. Keep reading to find out why I ordered what I did, why I love it and why I’ll be keeping it on my desk.

Apple ‘seriously considering’ a touchscreen MacBook

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A Macbook with the words: Macs? With touchscreens? Seriously?!?
Apple might right-size the Touch Bar lol.
Image: Devin Pickell/Unsplash License/Modified by Cult of Mac

Apple now has engineers “actively engaged in the project” of adding touchscreens to Mac computers, starting with the popular MacBook Pro. According to Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, a consistent and reliable leaker, the first Mac with a touchscreen display could ship as soon as 2025.

The product is evidently still being tested internally, with no definitive plans for a product launch set in motion.

Type faster with these essential Mac keyboard shortcuts

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magic keyboard refurb
Learn how to get around the keyboard and edit text faster.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

You want to get faster at typing? Sure, you can hold down the Backspace key or mash it really fast. But there’s a better and more precise way to backspace and delete text on the Mac, using the Option (⌥) and Command (⌘) keys. These Mac keyboard shortcuts can make editing text lightning-fast and seamless. Here’s how you can be a keyboard wizard.

All of these work on the iPad, too, if you have a physical keyboard connected.

Top tips for traveling with AirTags

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Travel smarter with AirTags
An AirTag in a bag can find a solution to an absolute calamity.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Traveling is a lot easier if you can keep track of your luggage with AirTags. It’s been in the news lately: Airlines have lost flyers’ bags and people have recovered them because they had the foresight to put an AirTag in the luggage. You can make sure it’s with you all the way along your journey and quickly find it among the baggage claim at your final destination.

Read on for my tips on traveling with AirTags.

Stream live music, podcasts and radio with Broadcasts

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Listen to Internet Radio
Use your phone to tune in to radio broadcasts all around the world.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac/Arianit/Wikimedia Commons

Most people don’t really use AM and FM radios anymore, but streaming live content is hardly dead. Lots of podcasts do live streams — and you can still tune into radio stations online. Broadcasts, an app by independent developer Steven Troughton-Smith, makes listening to live music and streaming radio on your iPhone very easy.

Let me show you how it works.

The best of CES for the Mac? More Retina displays.

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Left to right: The Samsung ViewFinity S9, Apple Studio Display and Dell UltraSharp 32.
Left to right: The Samsung ViewFinity S9, Apple Studio Display and Dell UltraSharp 32.
Image: Samsung/Apple/Dell

The Mac is hardly ever the focus of events like CES. But at this year’s massive tech conference in Las Vegas, two promising displays were announced by Samsung and Dell.

Any new Retina display options for the Mac are a welcome treat. Let’s see how these new monitors stack up.

20 years of Safari: A visual history

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Safari @ 20: Visual history.
Safari, the web browser of choice for Mac users since 2003.
Image: Cult of Mac

Over the past 20 years, Apple’s Safari web browser grew from a speedy young upstart to a polished professional. Released on this day in 2003 as a free download, Safari has been bundled with every version of the Mac operating system since.

Take a trip down memory lane as we look at how Safari has evolved over the years.

How to use Water Lock on Apple Watch [Pro Tip]

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Person swimming underwater wearing Apple Watch
Apple Watch makes for a good fitness tracker underwater.
Photo: Apple

Pro tip bugApple Watch is highly resilient to being submerged in water. You don’t have to worry much about ruining the electronics inside — your biggest concern is the water triggering random stuff on the screen. If your Apple Watch feels like it’s not responding to your tapping, it’s probably in Water Lock mode.

Water Lock will make sure your Apple Watch doesn’t glitch out when you’re in the shower, having a bath or going for a swim. Read on to see how to (and how not to) use it.

Dark Sky is gone, but you can re-create its weather magic

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Get The Best Weather App Back
Ceci n'est pas une Dark Sky.
Image: jerry van mouseling/Wikimedia Commons and D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

After Apple killed Dark Sky on January 1, many fans found themselves lamenting the loss of the groundbreaking weather app that offered hyperlocal forecasts. Luckily, you can re-create Dark Sky’s main features using a competing app called Carrot Weather. Alternatively, you can quickly tweak Apple’s built-in Weather app so it acts more like Dark Sky.

Let me show you how to enjoy Dark Sky’s beautiful user interface, and its uncannily accurate weather alerts, using other weather apps.

Apple headset uses waist-mounted battery pack — new details emerge

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A virtual reality headset (not Apple's).
New details emerge about Apple's long-rumored AR/VR headset and how it will differ from competitors.
Photo: James Yarema/Unsplash License

After testing a version of Apple’s upcoming AR/VR headset with an internal battery, the company’s engineers have resorted to using a separate battery pack connected by a wire, according to a new report about the secret project.

Other technical details emerged Tuesday about the long-rumored headset as well. The cutting-edge device reportedly delivers a surprisingly short two-hour battery life. And it reportedly comes with an H2 chip to pair with AirPods Pro, a dual-chip architecture that supports more than a dozen built-in cameras, and an adjustable dial to turn VR on and off.

Get organized with advanced new features in Notes and Reminders

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Get yourself organized in there!
Get yourselves organized in Notes and Reminders using these advanced features.
Image: Fredericknoronha/Wikimedia Commons and D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Notes and Reminders, two stock apps that come with every iPhone, iPad and Mac, can do so much more than write shopping lists and apologies on Twitter.

With tagging, you can quickly filter and search through a big folder of notes or a long to-do list. You can easily put together a bunch of filters by date, location and tag to create a smart list of everything that needs your attention in Reminders. You can even set up template Reminders lists that you can copy at any time.

Let me show you how to set it all up.

Nyloon’s solid blue Durham band matches just about anything [Review] ★★★☆☆

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Silver aluminum Apple Watch Series 7 with the blue Durham band by Nyloon. Nyloon Durham band review: It is a straightforward watch band.★★★☆☆
Nyloon's Durham band looks and feels straightforward.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Do you find some of Cupertino’s more innovative Apple Watch bands a bit ridiculous? Well, feast your luddite eyes on the Durham band from Nyloon. It’s made of nylon and comes in exactly one color: navy blue.

It’s a very traditional Apple Watch band at a lower price than any of Apple’s offerings.

Use Apple Music Sing to throw your own karaoke party

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Now you can sing along!
Apple Music now has a karaoke feature for singing along.
Image: Ronyyz/Wikimedia Commons, D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple Music just added a great feature for people who love to sing along as they listen. Apple Music Sing lets you turn down the lyrics so you can karaoke to your favorite hits with just one tap.

In fact, I’m using it right now to listen to some of my favorite music without the lyrics distracting me from reading and writing. Let me show you how it works!

Nyloon’s colorful Stark band offers practicality without skimping on fun [Review] ★★★☆☆

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Silver aluminum Apple Watch Series 7 with the black, white and red Stark Nyloon band.★★★☆☆
The Stark band from Nyloon looks dramatic.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Daily practicality is often at odd ends with whimsy. A Nissan Pao will not carry your lumber back from Home Depot. A big, wacky phone case will not fit in your pocket or purse. No matter how much I desperately want one, I know that a plastic trumpet will sound terrible (even if it’s in gorgeous white). But you can have both practicality and whimsy with Nyloon’s Stark Apple Watch band.

Each one of these ballistic-grade nylon bands comes with a unique black-and-white pattern (with seemingly random splashes of red). And they feel soft enough for comfort, but rugged enough to take some abuse.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

Graphics breakthrough brings Linux on Apple silicon closer to reality

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Quake 3 running in a Linux environment on an M1 Mac
3D first-person shooter Quake 3 can run in Linux on an M1 Mac with the new graphics driver.
Screenshot: Alyssa Rosenzweig & Asahi Lina/Asahi Linux Blog

Independent developers working to get Linux running on Apple silicon have made a significant breakthrough — the release of the first graphics driver. This is an important step toward running operating systems other than macOS on Apple’s powerful new computers.

“We’ve been working hard over the past two years to bring this new driver to everyone, and we’re really proud to finally be here,” wrote developers Alyssa Rosenzweig and Asahi Lina in a Wednesday blog post announcing the GPU driver release. “This is still an alpha driver, but it’s already good enough to run a smooth desktop experience and some games.”

Use the all-new iCloud online web app

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Find your photos and files online.
All of your photos and files are in the cloud anyway — with iCloud.com, you can access them from any computer.
Image: Matthew Bowden/Wikimedia Commons, D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You can use iCloud online to access all of your online Apple services from any computer, tablet or phone. This includes Find My, Mail, Photos, Files, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Notes, Calendar and Reminders. It’s really convenient if you need to find a lost device, print a file or download a picture from a different computer you’re not signed into.

The site has just been redesigned to make it easier to use than ever before. Let me show you how it works.

Every keyboard Apple ever made — ranked!

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Mac keyboards in a pile.
Clockwise, from top: Apple Extended Keyboard II, Macintosh Plus Keyboard, Apple Keyboard (G4), Apple Keyboard (Aluminum)
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

In the 40-odd years that the Mac has been on the market, very few people have actually used all of Apple’s keyboards. I haven’t either, but I’ve come close. Here is my review of every Apple keyboard I’ve got my hands on — ranked from worst to best.

Røde’s refreshed NT-USB+ mic is easy for all kinds of audio

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The Røde NT-USB+ on a desk. The NT-USB+ is a great professional microphone for your Mac out of the box.
The NT-USB+ is a great professional microphone for your Mac out of the box.
Photo: Røde

Røde’s new NT-USB+ microphone brings exciting new features to the company’s well-reviewed NT-USB from 2014.

Like its predecessor, the NT-USB+ is an all-in-one microphone for streaming, capturing vocals, playing instruments and recording podcasts. The refreshed version adds higher bit depth, a built-in low noise/high gain preamp and a high-powered headphone jack to the classic model. Plus, it connects over USB-C at both ends.