D. Griffin Jones, author at Cult of Mac

Pro Tip: Adjust portrait blur after you take the shot


Adjust the blur effect
Add more blur to the background or bring it into focus.
Image: King of Hearts/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Pro tip bugYou can adjust the Portrait mode blur on iPhone and Mac — even after you’ve taken the picture. Your iPhone stores the depth data that it uses to make the blur effect along with the photo, so if the picture was taken on a recent iPhone, you can adjust how blurry or clear the background is. It’s super easy to get just the right amount of bokeh.

A blurrier background, under the right conditions, can make for a really dramatic picture with emphasis on the subject. You might want to turn up the blur to intentionally hide details behind you. On the other hand, if you’re in a photogenic spot of scenery, you might want to see more of the landscape.

Either way, I’ll show you how to edit Portrait mode on iPhone and Mac.

Make your selfies pop using this TikTok-proven formula


Editing a selfie using TikTok’s recommended filters
There’s a lot of filters to brighten your pictures, but sorry, there’s not a filter that makes you look like you’re in your 20s.
Image: Levi Clancy/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Viral clips on TikTok show you how to edit your selfies for a more stunning, popping image on your iPhone. I live in a part of Ohio that’s perpetually overcast, but you would think I’m on my way to the beach with the warm hues this method gives your pictures.

Read on for detailed instructions on how to use TikTok’s winning selfie formula, apply the same filters in bulk on all the pictures from a photo shoot, and my recommended selfie stick for taking great group shots and landscapes.

5 hidden features in iMessage


Hidden iMessage Features
You probably won’t find these features on your own.
Image: Jonatan Svensson Glad/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

In the United States, iMessage is one of the first features iPhone users mention as a benefit over Android. In the rest of the world, nobody cares, because everyone uses WhatsApp and other cross-platform services.

But there are a lot of cool features inside the Messages app these days — we’ve previously covered how to edit and unsend messages and share your screen. Here are five more hidden features inside Apple’s messaging app. Keep reading or watch the video below.

Why Humane’s screenless AI gadget will not replace your iPhone


Imran Chaudhri standing on stage at a TED Talk with the phrase “Screenless Seamless Sensing” written on a slide behind him
People want seamless. They might want sensing. But they absolutely do not want screenless.
Photo: Humane/TED Talks

Humane, the hot Silicon Valley startup that’s been drumming up interest in its secretive product recently, finally showed the world what its A-list talent has been working on. In a TED talk released on Tuesday, Humane co-founder Imran Chaudhri unveiled a small, screenless, badge-like device that the company hopes will replace the smartphone.

Humane is  a buzzy startup that’s raised more than $230 million from investors and has hired a lot of ex-Apple talent. It’s estimated 50% of the company’s 200 employees are from Apple. Chaudhri was one of the lead designers of the original iPhone, and contributed to dozens of Apple’s biggest products (the Mac, iPod, Apple TV, Apple Watch, AirPods and HomePod). His name is on thousands of patents. He met his wife, Humane co-founder Bethany Bongiorno, at Apple. And they hired Ken Kocienda, who literally wrote the book on Apple’s creative process.

I’m laying out their credentials here at the top because it is remarkable to me how such a team could miss the mark by such an incredible margin. Humane’s badge thing cannot and will not replace your iPhone, no matter how hard Chaudhri wishes that to be the case.

8 secret features in Apple Maps


Find Your Way Around Apple Maps
Apple Maps can help you find your way anywhere you need to go — but I can help you find hidden features in the app.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple Maps is now a fully featured competitor with the likes of Google Maps and Waze. Despite its bumpy start, Apple has mapped significant parts of the world and added tons of sweet features you probably don’t know about.

I put together a big list of the best eight features hidden in Apple Maps. Learn them all in the post (or our video) below.

How to join the awesome password-free future and use passkeys


No More Passwords
Passkeys are here, and I’m here to tell you they’re awesome.
Image: Santeri Viinamäki/Wikimedia Commons, D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Managing passwords is and always has been a giant pain. It isn’t the best system, but it’s the system we’ve got. Well, not if Apple can do anything about it. Passkeys are a new system that automatically signs you in to online services using your phone’s Face ID (or Touch ID) or your computer’s password. It’s one less thing to remember; it works without fiddling around with a password manager.

Passkeys aren’t an Apple-exclusive feature. You can bet the technology will be supported no matter what devices you have because all of these companies are part of the FIDO Alliance that created the system … eventually.

Apple fully supports it in iOS 16 and Safari 16 for Mac, as does Google’s Chrome browser on multiple platforms. Android 9 and above supports passkeys via Credential Manager, and Google just this week added passkey support to user accounts on “all major platforms.” (Microsoft won’t add it to Windows until later this year. Until every platform supports passkeys, you can still use your passwords to sign in.)

Follow along as I show you how passkeys work.

How to fake your GPS location for Pokémon Go and other fun stuff


Fake It Till You Make It
This free, open-source app makes it easy to fake your GPS location.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You can use a free Mac app called LocationSimulator to spoof GPS in Pokémon Go or to hide your real location on your iPhone. After setting it up, you just plug your phone into a Mac and tell it where you want to “be.” You don’t need to jailbreak and you don’t need to install anything on your iPhone.

Every app on your phone will use it as your GPS location. It’s useful for maintaining privacy — for instance, if you’re posting screenshots online, it’ll mask your real home address. Developers can use it, too, for testing location features in their apps.

Best of all, you just need a Mac. LocationSimulator is free and open-source.

6 hidden tips and tricks for AirPods


6 Secret AirPods Features
Master your AirPods with these six tricks you’d have to really dig to find.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

AirPods are the wireless earbuds that ordinary Bluetooth headphones want to be when they grow up. They’re seamlessly integrated with your iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Mac. They’re deceptively simple — but if you want to get more out of them, you need to dig through Settings.

I’ve done some spelunking and found six super-handy hidden features you might not know about.

Pro Tip: Hot corners make it easy to mouse around your Mac


Who needs multitouch?
If you don’t have a trackpad or Magic Mouse, you can set up Hot Corners to get some of the features back.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Pro tip bug Hot corners are shortcuts for your mouse. Just throw your mouse cursor to the corner of the screen (the easiest place to hit) and you can instantly lock the screen, start a screensaver, show the desktop, show all windows and more.

If you use your Mac with a standard two-button PC mouse instead of Apple’s Magic Trackpad or Magic Mouse, hot corners can replace the multitouch gestures that you miss out on.

Hot corners area really quick and easy way to help navigate your Mac, and I recommend you turn them on and use them.

How to back up your iMessage history and save on storage space


Back Up Just A Minute
Or, more accurately, back up your iMessage history.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You can back up your text messages (and iMessages) with iMessage Exporter, a free tool for the Mac. Whether you want to preserve your family message history for sentimental reasons, or need to keep conversation records for business, iMessage Exporter will get the job done.

You might already back up your messages in iCloud, but Apple charges an arm and a leg for space. You can save space (and money) by making a local backup and clearing out your cloud storage.