D. Griffin Jones, author at Cult of Mac

No, Apple isn’t spying on the files in your Mac

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MacBook Pro with cryptographic nonsense on the display
Is Apple spying on your private files? Betteridge’s Law prevails once again.
Photo: mikemacmarketing/Wikimedia Commons

Claims that Apple is phoning home to analyze every image on your Mac have been proven false. Jeffrey Paul, security researcher and consultant, claimed early last week that his Mac was sending small bits of data to Apple every time he clicked on an image on his computer.

After Paul’s claims caused a bit of a stir, researchers got to the bottom of what was actually happening. Not only did they conclude the network activity was innocent — it was caused by a bug that’s already been patched in the latest macOS update.

How to remove duplicate photos on iPhone, iPad and Mac

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Get rid of all those copies
Find and delete copies of your photos on your iPhone.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You could have dozens of copies of the same images in your Photos library, taking up space on your phone and in your iCloud account. Luckily, Apple offers an easy-to-use little tool that lets you find duplicate photos and delete the copies, all right from the Photos app.

These types of duplicate images can accumulate more quickly than you might expect. They arise if you make a copy of a photo to edit, if you screenshot a photo to bump it to the top of your Camera Roll, or if you save the same image out of Messages twice by accident. In fact, I found a bunch of duplicates in my own carefully curated library.

It’s a surprisingly sophisticated feature that took Apple engineers a fair amount of smarts to cook up (more on that later). Here’s how to use Apple’s duplicate image remover and get rid of all those unnecessary files.

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?
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?

Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

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.