6 tricks to master Preview on the Mac

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6 Secret Features in Preview
Make the most out of the app you use all the time without a second thought.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You might only use Preview on the Mac when you need to read a PDF or zoom in on a picture, but there’s much more than meets the eye. It’s a pretty robust editor, too.

I’m going to show you the six features that will let you make the most of Preview, a handy tool that’s an overlooked benefit to the Mac. I have three tips for working with documents and three for editing pictures.

Get your news, blogs, YouTube and webcomics all in one place [Awesome Apps]

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NetNewsWire on iPhone and Mac
Keep up with everything from NetNewsWire.
Image: Roland Unger/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac
Awesome Apps

NetNewsWire is a delightfully simple RSS reader for Mac, iPhone and iPad that syncs over iCloud. What’s an RSS reader? It’s the best way to keep up with your news, read blog posts, get YouTube videos, read webcomics and follow anything online.

NetNewsWire is an app I leave open perpetually on my Mac and open dozens of times a day on my iPhone. Since its relaunch a few years ago, it’s become one of the most important, core apps for my work and relaxation. Best of all, it’s totally free and open-source with no ads or tracking.

Save your iPhone by unlocking with an old passcode

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Can I Get A Little Help Here?
In iOS 17, you have an easier path forward if you forget your iPhone's new passcode.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac/Pexels

If you forget your new iPhone passcode, you can reset it with your old one for up to three days later. This can save you hours of trying to remember the new passcode, or worse, resetting your phone from a backup.

You just have to tap Forgot Passcode? on the Lock Screen after you enter it several incorrect times.

Keep reading for a detailed walkthrough. And don’t worry — if you change your passcode intentionally to keep someone out, you can instantly expire your old one.

Apple Watch widgets: How to use the hot new feature

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Work The Widgets On Your Watch
Make the most out of your widgets.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Editing and customizing the widget stack in watchOS 10 on your Apple Watch is a great way to clean up your watch face. If you have a Tim Cook-esque watch face full of complications, you can use widgets to pare it down to a simple, classy design with the same quick access to your apps and activities.

Today, I’ll show you how to make the most of your smart stack of widgets.

10 tweaks to make iOS 17 awesome

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What Do I Do Now?
Finally, you’re on iOS 17. What’s next?
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

There are a lot of awesome features in iOS 17 — Contact Posters, StandBy, Safari profiles, shared passwords and much, much more. Here’s a simple to-do list on how to make the most of Cupertino’s latest and greatest iPhone operating system.

Build a reading list and track your progress [Awesome Apps]

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Reading Time for iPhone
A smarter way to keep your reading list organized.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac
Awesome Apps

Reading Time for iPhone and iPad lets you build a library of books, then tracks your progress as you read. It encourages reading by making everything easier and more fun.

You can easily scan books by their barcodes to add them to your library. When you start a reading session, a Live Activity will show up on your Lock Screen, in the Dynamic Island or in StandBy.

The Reading Time app keeps track of your progress with detailed stats — like your reading speed, and estimated time until you’re finished — in an organized dashboard of books.

How to stop Siri from randomly activating all the damn time

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An Apple Watch with Siri Activated and the caption:
Siri always interrupts at the wrong time.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

How can you stop Siri from randomly turning on? As if Siri’s unhelpful answers were not irritating enough when you actually want them, Siri often interrupts a conversation, meeting or TV show when you haven’t asked for anything at all.

Yes, Siri can be helpful — we previously covered six surprisingly useful things Siri can do — but it can oftentimes be an unwelcome guest, activating when you want it to zip it. And now in iOS 17, it’s going to activate every time it hears “Siri,” not just “Hey Siri.”

How do you stop Siri from activating all the time?

Speed up Haptic Touch with this hidden iPhone setting in iOS 17 [Pro Tip]

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Make your phone snappier
Speed up this common gesture on your iPhone.
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Pro tip bug This hidden setting in iOS 17 will speed up Haptic Touch, the fantastic feature that lets you preview links and bring up option menus on your iPhone.

If you use Haptic Touch all the time like I do, changing this setting will make your iPhone feel supercharged. It brings up handy shortcuts — hidden actions, content previews and contextual menus in a flash, saving you precious time as you tap around your screen.

Alternatively, if you find Haptic Touch annoying and trigger it accidentally all the time, you can slow down the time needed to activate the gesture. That way, a tap won’t be mistaken for a tap-and-hold.

Hands-on with 5 powerful accessibility features in iOS 17

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Awesome Features for the Rest of Us
What’s new in iOS accessibility? You might be surprised.
Image: Antonio Cruz/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you haven’t looked at any of Apple’s accessibility features because you’re not blind or deaf, and don’t think they would make your life easier, you might be surprised.

Apple built a handful of accessibility features into iOS 17 that let people with various disabilities use the iPhone in new and unexpected ways. However, absolutely anyone can take advantage of these tools, which prove surprisingly helpful in certain situations.

You can already get live captions to watch videos silently, lock your phone into one app to keep people from snooping around, play soothing ocean or forest sounds and more.

In iOS 17, five accessibility features take things even further. Assistive Access simplifies your phone to its bare features to make it easier to use; Live Speech and Personal Voice let you type on the keyboard to speak using your own voice; Detection Mode and Point and Speak help you get around using your iPhone camera.

Our hands-on demo will show you what these features can do for you.

Top 7 Macs that Apple should make

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The Mac lineup has never looked better.
Apple makes a lot of Macs, but they still leave some stones unturned.
Photo: Apple

The transition from Intel processors to Apple silicon changed every Mac for the better … almost. But there are a few niches in the lineup that have yet to be filled.

While Apple’s computers are best-in-class, there are a few categories the company does not currently compete in. These are the top seven Macs that Apple doesn’t make.

How to turn your iPhone into a smart display with StandBy

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The Smart Display You Already Own
Turn your iPhone into a smart display on your desk.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

StandBy is a headline iOS 17 feature that turns your iPhone into a smart display on your nightstand, at your desk or in the kitchen. It’s an attractive way to put your phone to work as a small information board or digital clock when you’re not using it.

Of course, it works best if you have a phone with an always-on display like the iPhone 14 or 15 Pro. However, it works on any iPhone with MagSafe running iOS 17. Best of all, StandBy remembers different preferences for different rooms, so you can set it up as a bedside clock in the bedroom, a digital photo frame in the living room, or a music controller in the kitchen. Here’s everything you can do with StandBy on your iPhone.

Why Glass is a great social network for photographers [Awesome Apps]

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Glass social network
I don't miss Instagram since moving to Glass.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Awesome AppsGlass is a return to the simplicity of Instagram circa 2012. It’s a social network specially tailored for looking at and posting beautiful photography. I have a thing for niche social networks, I guess.

I was an early adopter of Instagram, which initially was a picture-first social network. It’s lost focus in the years since, getting crowded with Stories, Reels, shopping and countless more half-baked features that don’t make sense. I now avoid it at all costs.

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to use it — although you do need $30/year.

How to find your lost Apple TV remote

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Where’s The Clicker?
A modern solution to an age-old problem.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

How can you find a lost Apple TV remote? Whether it’s wedged between the cushions or kicked far under the couch, a handy-dandy new feature in iOS 17 and tvOS 17 lets you find the remote using your iPhone.

The mind races when one imagines how many hours of human life might have been saved if everyone had this feature 30 years ago.

Sure, you can take the L and simply use your iPhone or Apple Watch to control your Apple TV. But I like having the physical remote on hand, too. Let me show you how to find it.

Save Home Screen space with two shortcuts in one small widget [Pro Tip]

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Two for the space of one
Double the shortcuts in the small widget.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Pro tip bug

You can fit two shortcuts into one small widget in iOS 17, a significant change for power users of Apple’s time-saving Shortcuts app. A lot of shortcuts I make are in pairs — and now, you can put two shortcuts of a kind in one small space on your Home Screen.

Shortcuts, if you’re not aware, let you automate the things you do most often on your iPhone, Mac, iPad or Apple Watch. For instance, you can create a shortcut that sets a Focus mode when you get to work, one that suggests easy-to-remember passwords, one for converting units — the possibilities are endless. (Read Apple’s helpful Shortcuts guide if you want to familiarize yourself with the powerful app.)

Home Screen widgets are a great way to launch the shortcuts you use every day. On the iPhone, where space is limited, fitting twice as many shortcuts without losing any icons could be a game changer for your Home Screen. Let me show you how to set it up.

8 super-cool things you can do with the iPhone 15 Pro Action button

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What Else Can You Use It For?
The Action button opens a world of possibilities.
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

What can you do with the iPhone 15 Pro’s new Action button? Lots of things, if you customize it: You can make a fart sound, or get ChatGPT to help you write an email.

Apple lets you assign the iPhone’s Action button to one of eight preassigned things — or, if you set it to Shortcuts, you can do a lot more. Shortcuts are a way for you to reach inside an app and automatically run a feature without opening it. With the Action button, you have a physical button you can press no matter where you are, adding an extra layer of convenience.

Let me show you what some power users are doing with Apple’s latest hardware innovation — and how you can trick your phone into assigning two or more Shortcuts to the single Action button.

Apple Watch Series 9 is a surprising package of new features [Review] ★★★★☆

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Apple Watch Series 9 with Mulberry Sport Band on desk★★★★☆
Apple Watch Series 9 is a fine watch, but some of its best features won’t come until later.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch Series 9 is the biggest year-over-year leap in recent years. It has not one, not two, but a whopping four new features, most powered by its updated chip. Apps load faster, voice dictation is near instant and the display gets both brighter in the sun and dimmer in darkness.

A couple of the best features I haven’t been able to test — double tap promises to make tapping the screen with your nose obsolete; improved connectivity with your phone will make it easier to find, if paired with a new iPhone. And with this release, Apple dips their toe into more sustainable manufacturing practices.

The Apple Watch Series 9 a good product. In the end, with big releases like this so few and far between, I can’t help but wonder if it’s close to reaching its potential.

Use Apple Health to track your mental well-being

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How do you feel, pointy or circular?
Apple’s mental health tracking feature makes it easy to log your feelings and see what’s bothering you most.
Image: Duke kgomotso/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Here’s how to keep track of your mental health using the new mood-tracking feature in iOS 17. Logging how you feel throughout the day, your iPhone will help you identify what’s causing you trouble or what works for you, whether it’s work, family, exercise, sleep or other things.

In order to make any kind of meaningful change, you need to understand fully what helps, what doesn’t, and what you can do. Starting your log is easy. Set it up once, and your phone will ask you every day so you don’t forget.

Let me show you how to start a log of your mental wellness in iOS 17.

Extend your MacBook’s battery for years of use with Energiza Pro

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Energiza Pro battery health panel in the Mac menu bar
Energiza Pro gives you full control over your battery health.
Image: appgineers

How can you best save your MacBook battery life for many years of use? Your laptop’s battery is the most likely component to wear out, and one of the biggest problems is keeping it plugged in all the time. Apple offers some built-in controls, but they’re pretty basic and inflexible. Energiza Pro, on the other hand, gives you far more options, extending your MacBook’s battery life for years to come.

It’s the smart battery manager you need to keep your MacBook alive for longer.

How to block unsolicited dick pics in iMessage in iOS 17

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Text: “Don’t Send Me That” with screenshot of blocked image in iMessage
Block unwanted images from iMessage.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you’ve ever been the victim of unsolicited dick pics, or “cyberflashing,” you can now automatically hide obscene images in iOS 17. Censoring NSFW sexts can give you an extra line of defense against unwanted, creepy texts. This feature, new in iOS 17, puts suspected nude images and videos behind a blurred gray background.

Unsolicited dick pics are a widespread problem. Among adults who reported receiving nude images, 91% of respondents say they were sent without their consent, according to Indiana University research. And one shocking study published in the Journal of Sex Research found 50% of heterosexual men admitted to sending them!

This new Sensitive Content Warning feature in iOS 17 isn’t just for protecting children. A lot of people likely will find it useful.

How to create a great Contact Poster in iOS 17

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Text: “Make a killer contact card” next to a screenshot of an iOS 17 Contact Poster
When I say “killer,” I mean in the awesome way. I do not endorse committing murder with your contact card. But if you can figure out how that works, I’d be curious.
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

How do you create a Contact Poster in iOS 17? Contact posters are a brand-new feature that lets you customize how your contact card looks to other people. If you call someone — and they have your contact info in their address book — your Contact Poster appears on their screen. It looks great; way better than the old thumbnail that was displayed. You set it up once, and everyone with your matching phone number and/or Apple ID will see your chosen contact picture and personalized poster.

It’s really easy to turn an ordinary picture into a gorgeous-looking contact poster. Let me show you how it works — the process might look familiar if you’ve set up a custom Lock Screen.

The 36 best macOS Sonoma features you should try after you update

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While almost nothing about macOS Sonoma leaked ahead of WWDC23, Apple showcased plenty of upgrades during the keynote.
This is a big year for the Mac.
Photo: Apple

macOS Sonoma may not have the same buzz as iOS, but there are loads of new features this year to try out on your Mac. You can get beautiful Apple TV-style aerial screensavers, widgets on your desktop, powerful enhancements to Safari and more.

macOS Sonoma will be released at about 10 AM Pacific on Tuesday, September 26. Here are the 36 best features you can look for after you update.

How to reset your iPhone before trading in or selling

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Erase Your Everything First
Erase everything before you pass off your iPhone.
Image: Ahmadkurdi44/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

How do you reset an iPhone if you’re trading it in, selling it or passing it down to another family member? There’s a right way and a wrong way. If you don’t fully reset the phone, it’ll still be locked to your Apple ID — and the phone will be effectively useless to anyone who tries to use it.

Follow along to make sure you reset your iPhone the right way.

What do the Apple Watch buttons do? Click, double-click and hold.

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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

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

In watchOS 10, Apple changed a lot of these features. The software update added a new Widgets view, assigned Control Center to the side button and changed what double-clicking the dial does. (For older devices, consult our article about what Apple Watch buttons do in watchOS 9.)

Here’s a guide to the buttons on the Apple Watch.

The 50 best iOS 17 features you should try after you update

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iOS 17 preview
iOS 17 is packed with features.
Photo: Apple

What’s new in iOS 17? This is a big year for iPhone and iPad. You should definitely check out the biggest new features — Contact Posters and Standby — first. But there are dozens of other great features for you to learn, explore and take advantage of, too.

iOS 17 is out now. I have all the 50 best tweaks and changes organized in this overview.

No, Apple didn’t change the iPhone connector to make money

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iPhone 15 and USB-C cable with money falling in the background
It's not about money this time.
Photo: Apple/Public Domain

No, Apple didn’t change the Lightning connector on the iPhone 15 to make more money selling you new cables and dongles. It’s a common conspiracy theory that Apple switches the connector all the time for lining their pockets, but it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

First of all, Apple changes the connector very rarely; this is only the second occurrence in 16 years. Secondly, Apple is actually giving up money to make the switch happen. Not that there’s much money to be made selling Lightning cables, anyway. And all that aside, it’s out of Apple’s hands — USB-C is European Union law.