The Magic Keyboard changes the iPad all over again [Review]

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The 12.9
The Magic Keyboard finally makes the iPad Pro a full-on laptop.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

It should come as no surprise that the iPad is one of our favorite devices here at Cult of Mac. Ever since the introduction of the 2018 iPad Pro models and iPadOS 13, Apple’s tablet has made huge strides in being more capable and powerful for tons of things I do. So, needless to say, when I saw the Magic Keyboard, I had high hopes.

One critical factor for the iPad to be a useful tool for me has been a good keyboard experience. Even more important is the ability to shift from typing on the keyboard to interacting with the touchscreen when I want to go mobile around the house or office. 

Now, with the Magic Keyboard, Apple offers a new option for the iPad Pro. The new case lets you effortlessly jump between keyboard and tablet mode whenever you want. Or you can forget about the touchscreen entirely, turning the iPad into more of a laptop than ever before.

Apps to boost your work-from-home productivity

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App icons for TickTick toggle outlook and dayone
It only takes a few key tools to make working remotely much more manageable.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

COVID-19 lockdown certainly brought a swift change from the norm for many people. We’re dealing with the added stress of different working situations, the struggle to get groceries, and in many cases, even acting as teachers or child care providers.

All of that can make it really challenging to feel accomplished and productive. Luckily, I finally found my groove in the last week or so, thanks to a couple of really useful apps (and some self-imposed rules).

This one trick will make the Apple News app way better

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Scrolling Apple News on iPhone
Scrolling Apple News doesn't have to be about ignoring dozens of articles.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Ever since its launch, people have mostly been dismissive about Apple News on iPhone, iPad and Mac. One big reason is the way it interacts with links on the web, boxing users into the News app instead of letting them visit the open web.

For me, that’s actually a pretty desirable thing, because I really like the News app. It’s much cleaner-looking than many ad-bloated websites, and far less emotional and combative than getting your news on social media.

But making the News app show you the things you care about, with less clutter and noise, requires one simple trick.

Peek-a-View lets you safely limit the photos someone can see [Review]

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Peek-a-View lets you limit a photo album to be view-only.
Peek-a-View lets you limit a photo album to be view-only.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

If you’ve ever found yourself showing other people pictures on your phone, you’ve probably also been trying to micromanage what they can and can’t see. And, if you’re a parent of a young kid, it’s likely that you’ve let your child look through a photo album on your device. In that case, you’ve certainly been worried about their ability to delete or accidentally modify an image.

There are ways to limit what a person — or child — can or can’t get to on your device through the Guided Access settings in iOS. But nothing is as simple as using a new iOS app called Peek-a-View to lock down your photos.

These stocking stuffers are the perfect gift for tech lovers

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stocking stuffers 2019
You don't have to give a big gift to make someone's holiday memorable with these great stocking stuffers.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

The holidays are near, and the season of gift-giving is here. Finding that perfect something for your loved ones can be tricky, but sometimes it’s the little things that really make the difference.

Whether it’s a stocking stuffer, a secret Santa gift or you just need something quick and easy, these are five excellent gift ideas to point you in the right direction.

Forget the MacBook Air. Roll your own Apple ‘laptop’ for less than $600.

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The Brydge Keyboard on the 10.2 iPad
An iPad with a Brydge keyboard is a pretty good replacement for a Mac!
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

A year ago, when Apple introduced the latest iPad Pro models, I called the tablet the computer for everywhere. To this day, I still think the 2018 iPad Pro, complete with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio, is an incredible setup for tons of situations. At the same time, it’s anything but cheap, starting at $1,107 for an 11-inch model with keyboard and Pencil.

Then there’s the Mac laptop lineup. Apple’s current cheapest offering is the MacBook Air, also starting at $1,100. Fortunately, you don’t have to drop over a grand to get an incredibly versatile, powerful, and portable budget laptop made by Apple.

Pro or no: Which AirPods should you get?

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AirPods vs. AirPods Pro: Which is better? Feature-packed, or sleek and simple?
Which is better? Feature-packed, or sleek and simple?
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Apple’s AirPods are brilliant. They’re incredibly convenient, sleek and offer pretty good sound. They also add a layer of functionality you don’t get with many other Bluetooth headphones or earbuds. And I’m not even talking about the new AirPods Pro.

So, now that Apple expanded the AirPods line to include both the standard AirPods, and the pricier (although more feature-packed) AirPods Pro, choosing the right option might not seem so clear. How do you choose the AirPods that are best for your life?

One month in, I’m hooked on Apple Arcade [Review]

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iPad browsing Apple Arcade games catalog with iPhone and Xbox Controller
I was sure I was going to cancel, but I'm actually enjoying Apple Arcade games quite a bit!
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

I don’t consider myself much of a gamer, but the idea of games always seems to appeal to me. That’s why, when Apple Arcade launched, I activated my subscription to test the waters. My hope was that I’d get some clarity before it cost me anything to try.

Now, a month has passed, and I’ve got some mixed feelings about the service. Should I keep paying for it? Are its 100-plus games worth the monthly fee? Can I play it when and where I want? Get the lowdown in my Apple Arcade review.

Apple Watch Series 5: Big little changes [Review]

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Apple Watch Series 5 info graph face with little alien
Apple Watch could soon help you get better sleep.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

During the past week with Apple Watch Series 5, I’ve been testing the device. Once again, I took a new watch on my family vacation to Disney World, using it whenever possible to make my life easier.

So does the Series 5, with its always-on display, live up to the hype? And is it worth the upgrade if you’re on an older version? Watch our video review, or read our full Apple Watch Series 5 review, to find out if the new watch is right for you.

Files app makes iPad more Mac-like in iOS 13 [Video]

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Files app on iPad in iOS 13
File sharing was pulled from iCloud Drive during beta testing.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Apple has slowly been turning up the dial on what iOS can do, trying to make it more and more “computer” like. With iOS 13, one of the points of frustration with computing on iOS – and especially on iPad – is finally being addressed thanks to changes in the Files app.

With iOS 13, the Files app is taking a huge leap toward the Mac model of file management. There’s a whole bunch of smaller changes, as well as some big upgrades that make it really compelling.