Extensions to make Safari even better [Awesome Apps of the Week]

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Awesome Apps of the Week
iOS 15 brings plenty of new features to iPhone and iPad. Safari Extensions in iOS 15 make Safari the best mobile browser.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

iOS and iPadOS 15 have been out for a couple weeks now, and as with most new iOS releases, they usher in plenty of new apps to take advantage of the latest features. This week, we’re talking all about iOS and iPadOS Safari extensions.

Free up space on your Mac with BuhoCleaner

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If your Mac's running low on storage, you can quickly turn things around with BuhoCleaner.

Photo: BuhoCleaner

This Mac software post is brought to you by BuhoCleaner.

Macs have always been known for their stability and ease of use. But even the most perfect operating system can collect a few cobwebs or start to feel slow after years of use. BuhoCleaner for Mac is designed to clear out the junk and get your Mac back in fighting shape in just a few clicks.

Picture-in-picture, video editing in your pocket, and another great email app [Awesome Apps of the Week]

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Awesome Apps of the Week
YouTube finally gets a much requested feature, Clips can make you a short-form video star, and another email app is a contender.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Maybe it’s the impending iOS, iPadOS and macOS updates, but in checking out the App Store this past week, everything seemed to be “bug fixes and stability improvements.” Those are great things to have, but they aren’t as cool or exciting as fresh features or hot new apps!

Fortunately, a long-awaited feature is finally coming to the YouTube masses. Plus, I found another email app worth checking out. And, if you’re hoping to become an influencer, we’ve got an app to help you level up your videos in this week’s Awesome Apps of the Week.

One of Apple Arcade’s best games, a great notes app, and the best Twitter client [Awesome Apps of the Week]

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Awesome app icons fading into distance
There’s plenty to love in this week’s installment of Awesome Apps!
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Whether you’re a gamer, a social media junkie, a productivity geek, or just love adding personality to your device, this week’s Awesome Apps of the Week offer something for just about everyone.

For those of you that don’t feel like any of those describe you, some of this weeks apps may still check a box or two for you.

Track pins, identify birds and boost your productivity [Awesome Apps of the Week]

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Awesome Apps of The Week for Aug. 8, 2021
Whether you want to bring technology to your hobby or boost productivity, this week’s Awesome Apps are worth checking out!
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

The “Shazam for bird sounds” and a genius way to digitize your pin collection kick off the “Awesome Apps of the Week” series this week. On top of that, a couple of interesting new productivity apps to simplify your calendar, task list, email, and notes. And best of all, they’re all free, so you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Apple adds powerful new privacy features to Mail and more

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Apple Privacy Slide from WWDC 2021
Apple is taking even more shots at advertisers in the WWDC 2021 Privacy updates
Screenshot: Apple

Apple is bringing big privacy-focused changes to its Mail app and other parts of its ecosystem, the company said Monday.

“At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering. “We don’t think you should have to make a tradeoff between great features and privacy. We believe you deserve both.”

I want a folding iPhone and I want it now

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Why should Android users have all the folding fun?
Why should Android users have all the folding fun?
Photo: Mika Baumeister/Unsplash CC

If you’ve been paying attention to cutting-edge smartphones, you probably noticed a trend — foldable screens. And while folding phones might seem gimmicky, I think they present the perfect solution to a market-inflicted problem.

Unfortunately, while Apple is reportedly working on folding iPhone prototypes, the latest report suggests it we might wait nearly three more years for Cupertino’s first crack at such a device.

That’s way too long when the Android market is pressing forward fast. Please, Apple, don’t make us wait for a folding iPhone.

5 ways AirPods Max let me down

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AirPods Max playing music on Spotify
AirPods Max are great for lots of genres of music, or for watching video content, but...
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

I love the idea of good-sounding, comfortable, high-quality headphones. And Apple’s new AirPods Max definitely check those boxes.

They offer great sound and they’re super-comfortable to wear, even for longer periods of time. On top of that, they pack all the things that make AirPods magical in a very premium package.

But even with those awesome features, AirPods Max aren’t for everyone, and that includes me. As much as I’ve loved my AirPods and AirPods Pro, these kind of let me down.

Family-friendly games to play at your virtual Thanksgiving

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iOS Games on iPhone 11 Pro
There are plenty of great, classic games to play virtually with family this Thanksgiving
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

2020 has been a year of change and adjustment, and Thanksgiving is no exception. With family gatherings put on hold and more people looking for ways to interact virtually, there’s still plenty of fun and games to be had with your distant friends and family.

Whether you’re into board games, card games, or just looking for ways to interact between turkey and pie, these are some of the best iOS, Apple TV, and Mac offerings you can play virtually.

iPhone 12 Pro puts premium in your pocket [Review]

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Pacific Blue iPhone 12 Pro on wooden table
The iPhone 12 Pro looks like a piece of jewelry, and offers a ton of powerful features, too,
Photo: Ian Fucs/Cult of Mac

Back in September 2012, Apple released what was arguably the best iPhone, the iPhone 5. It looked beautiful, felt great in hand, and signaled the shift from 3G to LTE.

Now, eight years later, Apple is revisiting that playbook with the iPhone 12 lineup. And after about a week of using the iPhone 12 Pro, and putting it to the test on my family’s vacation to Disney World, I think I can safely say this is both my new favorite iPhone, and possibly the new best iPhone of all time.

iPhone 12 Pro review

All the things we didn’t get at Apple’s ‘Hi, Speed’ event

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Hi, Speed event image with wishlist in background
Apple's "Hi, Speed" event offered up some nice updates to the iPhone 12 and HomePod, but left some boxes on the wishlist unchecked.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

It happens before every Apple event. The rumor mill, tech blogs (hello), and iPhone-obsessed nerds pin every hope, dream and desire on the next version of Apple’s devices.

More often than not, those desires are dashed, pushing those wants off to another event. While Apple’s iPhone 12 event showed the steps the company is taking toward iterating on its most popular device, there were also some things left on the wish list.

Scribble and Smart Selection make Apple Pencil way more productive

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Apple Pencil 2 in Hand
The Apple Pencil is fancy, and finally getting more useful.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Back when Apple introduced the Apple Pencil, the company positioned the stylus primarily as a tool for artists. And try as I might, I’ve never been particularly great at drawing. That said, it didn’t stop me from picking up an Apple Pencil to annotate documents, edit photos or use as an alternative way to touch the screen.

Then the Magic Keyboard came along with a fantastic trackpad experience. It offered a different way to interact with the screen without touching it with my finger. But now, with iPadOS 14, Apple has rewritten the story of what Apple Pencil can do, and it’s completely changed how I use my iPad once again.

SmartDesk 2 lets you sit or stand at a stellar price [Review]

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SmartDesk 2 full setup with monitor and light
The SmartDesk 2 can turn your boring desk into a versatile workspace.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Until very recently, I never spent a lot of mental energy thinking about the desk I worked at. As long as there was enough space for whatever I was doing, and it wasn’t getting in the way, I was pretty flexible.

As I’ve started spending more time working and taking meetings from home, I have started to notice when certain “desks” don’t work as well. Sitting on the couch, standing at the bar in our kitchen, or working from the dining table are all OK from time to time, but none are particularly comfortable long-term. Some of this comes down to having a desk at the proper height, and some of it is the lack of flexibility I get in those situations.

That why, when the folks at Autonomous asked if I wanted to check out their SmartDesk 2 adjustable standing desk, I saw it as an opportunity to see if the hype about standing desks is all it’s cracked up to be.

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.