Should you buy the iPhone 15, Apple Watch or AirPods?

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Should You Upgrade?
Do you need any of Apple’s new products?
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac
Wonderlust 2023

Should you buy the new iPhone 15, Apple Watch Series 9 (or Ultra 2) or AirPods? The new iPhones brought big changes this year. The Apple Watch and AirPods… not so much.

Now that the products are available to order, you might be wondering if it’s time to upgrade. That depends on what devices you have, so I’ve put together a buying guide with charts and a video to help you decide.

Apple pushes out final versions of iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and macOS [Updated]

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iOS 17 Coming Soon
Its final form is here. Its release is a little later.
Image: Ed Hardy/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac
Wonderlust 2023

Shortly after today’s announcements, Apple pushed out the release candidates for iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and watchOS 10. These operating systems will all be available on Monday, September 18.

macOS Sonoma has a later release date of September 26 and did not receive a release candidate today. Update: The macOS Sonoma release candidate is now out.

There are two important PSAs for developers: The release candidate of Xcode 15 does not support the visionOS SDK. App submissions for the new operating systems are now open, though.

Apple updates AirPods Pro 2 and EarPods with USB-C

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AirPods Pro with USB-C port and charging cable
Updated AirPods Pro 2 look the same, but feature a new connector on the bottom.
Photo: Apple
Wonderlust 2023

At Apple’s “Wonderlust” event today, the company released an updated version of AirPods Pro 2 and EarPods with USB-C connectors. The earbuds themselves are largely unchanged from before, but the AirPods Pro 2 charging case and wired EarPods have switched from the once-inescapable Lightning port to the universal USB-C standard. Minor improvements to the former include dust resistance and lossless audio when paired with Vision Pro.

The new earbuds were announced alongside iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, which also come with a USB-C port. Both pairs of buds are available to order today at the same price as before and will be available on September 22.

Apple Vision Pro remains on track for launch ‘early next year’

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Tim Cook kicking off Wonderlust event Sept. 12, 2023
Tim Cook kicks off Apple's Wonderlust event Sept. 12, 2023
Photo: Apple
Wonderlust 2023

Today at Apple’s “Wonderlust” event, while people tuned in to hear about iPhone 15 and Apple Watch, Cupertino had just one piece of news to share about Vision Pro. Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the event saying the device is still “on track to ship early next year.”

5 best iMessage, FaceTime and phone features in iOS 17

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Live Voicemail & More Best Features
Live Voicemail, FaceTime video messages, Check-In and others are some of the best iOS 17 features.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

iOS 17 brings with it a lot of new features to the apps you use to communicate every day: iMessage, FaceTime — and last and certainly least — Phone. If you’re trying to call someone and have a missed connection, you have many more options for leaving them a message to pick up later. Changes to iMessage bring small but impactful improvements to stickers, threaded replies and sharing your ETA.

iOS 17 is out now. If you bought a new iPhone 15, you’ve got it already. Otherwise, head over to Settings > General > Software Update to get it. Upgrading may take about 20 minutes after downloading, so make sure you don’t start it at a bad time.

How to save your Live Photos as a video

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Make A Video Out Of Your Pictures
Turn your many, many cat photos into a few great videos.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You can turn multiple Live Photos shot on your iPhone into a video. Simply select a group of Live Photos taken in a burst, and you can create a single, stitched-together video that you can save to your library and share on social media.

Here’s how it’s done.

Philips Creator Series 27E2F7901: A high-quality desktop display at a lower price

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Philips Creator Series 27E2F7901
This Mac-style display doesn’t come with a Mac-style price tag.
Photo: Philips

The Philips Creator Series 27E2F7901 is an expansive 27-inch desktop display for your Mac that offers a high degree of color accuracy and quality in a crisp 4K resolution.

SPONSORED
This post is brought to you by Philips.
Its specs make it a compelling choice for creative work on a big, beautiful screen. The slim and modern aluminum design will make it an attractive centerpiece to any Mac setup. And it comes at a much lower price than other displays in the same category at an affordable $499.99, with an industry-leading four-year warranty.

Find new music you’ll love with Apple Music’s Discovery Station

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Let’s Try Something… New?
New music — what a concept!
Image: Pedro Ribeiro Simões/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You can find new music on the Apple Music Discovery Station, which gives you a tailored playlist to suggest new artists and jams you’ve never heard before but should like based on your personal musical tastes.

Personalized recommendations have long been a reason people cite for sticking with Spotify over Apple Music. Now, you can add the Discovery Station to my list of eight reasons you should make the switch. Apple Music offers personalized music picks, too, and the system works great.

I’ll show you where to find Apple Music’s Discovery Station and how to make the most of it.

What could the ‘Wonderlust’ event invite mean?

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What does it mean?!? A modified version of Apple's
As usual, everyone's trying to divine hidden meanings from Apple's latest event invitation.
Image: Cult of Mac
Wonderlust 2023

Apple’s “Wonderlust” event invite features the Apple logo in a windswept, sandy visage. How could the artwork relate to the expected announcements of the iPhone 15 and Apple Watch Series 9 coming during the Apple event on September 12?

Here is some off-the-wall speculation — the reasonable and the ridiculous.

Copy text from a PDF on Mac the easy way [Pro Tip]

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It Doesn't Have To Be This Hard
Selecting text from a PDF can be easy. Imagine that!
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Pro tip bug Here’s a better way to copy text out of a PDF on a Mac using Live Text.

Although the Mac offers fantastic support for opening and editing PDFs in the built-in Preview app, the simple act of copying and pasting text from a PDF can still be a nightmare. For instance, selecting text on a two- or three-column document often selects across the whole width of the page, which is totally useless.

Taking a quick screenshot and using Live Text often yields better results — and it works with old document scans as well as PDFs. Here’s how it’s done.

Best monitors for your Mac in 2023

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The Studio Display, Pro Display XDR, iMac 24″ and 16″ MacBook Pro.
From left to right: The 16-inch MacBook Pro, the 24-inch iMac, the Studio Display and Pro Display XDR.
Photo: Apple

What’s the best monitor for your Mac? Desktop displays aren’t just for desktop computers anymore — 77% of you are buying MacBooks, but you probably want a nice setup when you’re at home. And if you do have a Mac mini or Mac Studio, you want to make sure you’re picking the right display.

Apple introduced its own Studio Display last year, which has been well-received and is reasonably priced (at least compared to Apple’s other offering). But what does the broader market for midrange displays look like?

Here’s a display buying guide to help you find an appropriate monitor to go with your Mac.

Take studio sound on the go with Røde Wireless Pro

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Røde Wireless Pro microphones, recorder, cases and cables.
It’s not just a microphone — it’s a whole set of recording gear.
Photo: RØDE

Røde, maker of high-quality audio products from Australia, has unveiled what it calls “the most powerful wireless mic ever”. The Røde Wireless Pro is a system of elegant and compact microphones with an audio recorder that “delivers crystal-clear, incredibly stable audio with a range of up to 260m.”

The kit comes with all the accessories needed to connect to any modern smartphone, computer and camera rig. Røde’s GainAssist makes sure you have balanced sound in any circumstance and the Røde Central software for Mac and PC easily syncs it with your video.

The Røde Wireless Pro kit retails for $399 and will be available later this month.

Rename multiple files on Mac the easy way

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Bring Method to Madness
Restore order to your file system.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

It’s easy to rename multiple files at once on a Mac using the Finder’s batch rename tool. If you have a big series of pictures, videos, screenshots or documents in a series, you can use this feature to rename them all in a similar format and sequence.

You don’t have to take on such a tedious task by hand.

6 useful apps hiding in your Mac

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No Downloading Required
Nothing to download or install — you’ve already got ’em.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you work on a Mac, these six useful apps can help you get that work done faster. And you don’t need to take time to download them or figure out if they’re worth the price — you already have these apps on your computer.

These come with every Mac, and you can locate them in the Applications and Utilities folders. If you’re in the Finder, just hit Shift-Command-A (⇧⌘A) or Shift-Command-U (⇧⌘U) to find them.

I’ll walk you through a few of the more useful Mac apps hiding there that you probably haven’t heard of.

Why the iMac was so revolutionary

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Will the iMac design ever be this exciting again? The original iMac G3.
The original iMac was more affordable than its predecessors. Much more exciting, too!
Photo: Apple

Twenty-six years ago, everyone knew personal computers were important, but the machines were too intimidating for non-technical people. Then, 25 years ago today, the original iMac changed that forever.

The first time I encountered an iMac was totally transformative. My core beliefs of what was possible on a computer were deeply shaken. It instilled in me a lifelong love for the Mac.

Split up payments with Apple Pay Later

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Give me my money! (In four scheduled installments)
Instead of paying once, you have the pleasure of paying four times! (But a little less.)
Image: DigiGal DZiner/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You can split up a big purchase across four smaller payments using Apple Pay Later. Unlike other similar services like Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm, there’s no interest — you pay the exact same amount of money as if you were purchasing at once.

Payments are expected every two weeks, matching the most common paycheck schedule in the United States. It’s easy to use and transparent about what you’ll pay when; it couldn’t be more straightforward.

Find out if Apple Music deleted one of your favorite songs

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Do you have banned music?
Find out of music in your library has been taken down by Apple.
Image: Public Domain/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Here’s how you can find out if any songs in your library have been removed from Apple Music. Songs are taken off Apple Music all the time if there’s a problem with licensing or if a controversial artist has been broadly disgraced. Spotify was caught up in similar heat last year, losing Neil Young’s discography in a protest of the streaming service’s association with podcaster Joe Rogan.

Have any songs in your Apple Music library been deleted behind your back? There’s a way to find out if you have a Mac by building a smart playlist. I’ll show you how.

5 reasons to use Safari instead of Chrome

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Chrome isn't as good as you think
You should reconsider using Safari
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

A lot of Mac owners use Google Chrome as their web browser, and personally, I don’t get it. For Apple fans, it seems like a total disconnect not to use Safari instead of Chrome.

For starters, Apple markets its products as privacy-forward and seamlessly integrated with each other. And the web browser is an essential component of your computer, whether we’re talking Mac, iPhone or iPad. You have a lot to gain by using Safari on all your devices.

But look at the numbers: Although the Mac has 20% market share, second to Windows, Apple’s web browser Safari only captures 8.9% of the market.

Here’s my attempt to sway it the other way — the top five reasons I use Safari instead of Google Chrome.

Today in Apple history: MultiFinder brings multitasking to Mac

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MultiFinder running on the Macintosh
MultiFinder let you switch between running applications from the Apple menu — you could even see two apps side by side on your desktop!
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

August 11: Today in Apple history: MultiFinder brings multitasking to Mac August 11, 1987: MultiFinder brings the biggest software update to the Mac since its launch: multitasking with two apps on screen at once.

While MultiFinder brings an undeniable boost to the Macintosh’s technical capabilities, it is built on a shaky foundation that soon will begin to show its age.

College students, you don’t need a MacBook Air

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2022 iPad Pro gets speed boost from Apple M2 processor but no new ports
An iPad Pro or iPad Air with a Magic Keyboard is a better choice for most students than a MacBook Air.
Photo: Apple

Dear university students: While it’s tempting to buy the hot new MacBook Air, doing so would mean a huge loss of flexibility. You simply don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars more for a laptop that’s less versatile. An iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard and Pencil fits your needs much better, especially now that it has the very same M2 chip inside.

And beyond the versatility, the whole iPad lineup can do just about everything you can expect a Mac to do every day.

To be clear, there are exceptions to this — some students really do need a Mac. But odds are you’re not one of them.

Indie dev Casey Liss on how he came to love SwiftUI [Planet of the Apps]

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Casey Liss and Callsheet
Casey Liss, developer of a new app, Callsheet, that makes looking up movie and show trivia trivially easy.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Pro tip bug Planet of the Apps is a series of interviews with app developers about making, marketing and maintaining apps in the App Store.

Indie developer and podcaster Casey Liss used to hate SwiftUI, Apple’s controversial UI toolkit for crafting apps. A lot of developers have a deep and abiding animus for SwiftUI, including Liss himself. But after using SwiftUI to create his latest app Callsheet, a movie and TV database app, he’s now a huge fan.

“So much of SwiftUI, I love,” he said in a wide-ranging and surprisingly-interesting interview. “I went from nothing to a fully functional app … in the span of a couple of weeks… It was stunningly fast.”

All 25 iPhone Action and side button accessibility shortcuts, ranked

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All 25 Side Button Features
The side button does much more than you think. Who needs an action button?
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The iPhone 15 Pro replaces the mute/silent switch with a customizable Action button that can do a number of actions you pick. If you set it to an Accessibility feature, you have 25 different options that you can toggle on or off.

And on any older iPhone, you can simply triple-click the side button to access the same 25 accessibility features. You can’t do things like launch a Shortcut or turn on your iPhone’s flashlight, but a lot of people can benefit from these features.

Here are all 25 of the features you can assign to a button on your iPhone — and what they do.

Here’s what I use my Apple Newton for in 2023

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A MessagePad with the optional keyboard and carrying case.
A MessagePad with the optional keyboard and carrying case.
Photo: Adam Tow

They say the early bird gets the worm. But the bird that’s too early spends an hour looking for worms in the middle of the night and has to give up after a while. That’s an apt summary of the Newton Messagepad, Apple’s handheld computer that launched on this day in 1993.

The Newton launched at a high price and with a somewhat limited feature set. As a result, it never found a strong enough customer base or a “killer app” to make it a must-have device.

But all these years later, I still found two good uses for my Newton MessagePad 2000.

Change the X icon back to Twitter

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Give me back the bird!
Everyone’s favorite bird icon is back… kind of.
Image: Garrett Heath/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you miss the Twitter icon, you’re not alone. But there’s good news: You can easily change the app’s new X icon back to Twitter’s blue bird on your Home Screen by using a shortcut.

While it’s too late for Elon Musk to backtrack on many of the questionable business decisions he made since buying Twitter, you can at least patch over this latest one using my free downloadable Shortcut.

If you’re still using X, née Twitter, you might want the bright blue bird back on your Home Screen. I’ll show you how to get it.