Yes, you can wash your iPhone with soap and water

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washing iPhone with soap and water
It's fine to wash newer iPhones with soap and water.
Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

Thanks to abject terror of the COVID-19 virus, I’ve started washing my iPhone along with my hands with ordinary soap and water.

It may prove to be a big mistake, but so far it’s fine. My iPhone 11 Pro Max is highly water-resistant and seems quite happy being soaped down a couple of times a day.

Nail your New Year’s fitness resolutions with Apple Watch

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Cult of Mac magazine cover, issue 330
Your Apple Watch can help you nail your New Year's fitness resolutions.
Photo: Graham Bower / Cult of Mac

New year, new you! With the Twenty-twenties just getting started, it’s time to get rolling on your New Year’s resolutions.

If you want to make amends for pigging out and get in shape for the new decade, we have an essential guide to nailing your New Year’s resolutions with Apple Watch.

Plus we have a guide to getting started with HomeKit automation, some juicy new iPhone 12 rumors, and advice on how to control a remote Mac using iMessage screen sharing. It’s all in this week’s free Cult of Mac Magazine.

Setting the best Move Goal in Apple Watch [Cult of Mac Magazine 329]

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Cult of Mac Magazine cover number 329
Get moving with the perfect Move Goal.

The Move Goal on your Apple Watch is a tricky beast. Set it too low, and it’s just not challenging enough. Set too high and it’ll be demotivating. So how do you pick the perfect Move Goal on Apple Watch?

Add that to a new dummy iPhone 12 that may be a sneak peek at next year’s device, and timely advice on setting up a new iPhone or erasing Apple devices before returning them to a store. It’s all in this week’s free Cult of Mac Magazine, along with reviews of a retro keyboard-speaker-combo and the week’s best new apps.

Download your free issue now to enjoy it on your iPad, or read the stories in any browser below.

The Cult of Mac, 2nd Edition finally hits stores, so let’s party tonight [Book signing]

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Innovative design: The Cult of Mac, 2nd Edition looks like a MacBook.
If you're in San Francisco, come out tonight for a book signing and sale.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Our new book about the Apple community, The Cult of Mac, 2nd Edition, is finally available in book stores and on Amazon.

To celebrate, we’re throwing a book-signing party tonight at the publisher’s HQ in San Francisco — and all Cult of Mac readers are invited. Please join me and the book’s award-winning designer, Derek Yee, at the No Starch Press offices. There will be a big sale (and free Chinese food, too)!

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items. Read our reviews policy.

The new AirPods Pro are fandabbydosey [An appreciation]

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AirPod Pro
Apple's new AirPods Pro earbuds are a super-great update to the original.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Hot dang, Apple’s still got it. The new AirPods Pro are fantastic.

They’re truly great headphones, and every major new feature improves on the old AirPods in big and significant ways.

  • The sound is fantastic — a big upgrade.
  • Their active noise cancellation is as good as Bose and Sony headphones (and maybe even better). Finally, you can use AirPods on airplanes.
  • Transparency mode is weird magic.
  • Best of all are the new Force Sensor touch controls, which take a minute to get used to but are way better than tapping. They’re my favorite new feature, and I burst out laughing with delight when I got the hang of it.

I freakin’ love the new AirPods Pro!

iPhone 11 Pro Max: The best gets even better [Review]

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How gorgeous is the iPhone 11 Max Pro?
How gorgeous is the iPhone 11 Max Pro?
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

This thing is a beauty. The first thing you notice is the glass back. The frosted matte finish makes it semi-translucent, giving it a weirdly illusory depth. It looks great. Not even the controversial, compound-eye camera bump can spoil its good looks. The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the best-looking iPhone to date, and I love it.

But don’t be fooled by the familiar design. This year’s refresh makes almost everything about Apple’s most expensive handset better than ever.

It’s faster, stronger and more water-resistant. It packs the best display you’ll find in a phone, and the best camera you’ve ever used. The battery lasts forever. Is it worth its hefty price tag? Absolutely.

Find out more in our full iPhone 11 Pro Max review.

Rumor mill fail: Apple delivers legit surprises at iPhone 11 event

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Tim Cook delivers the goods at Apple's iPhone 11 event.
Tim Cook has been outspoken about user privacy.
Photo: Apple

In an age when almost every detail of an Apple keynote leaks ahead of time, Tim Cook managed to pull some genuine surprises from the hat Tuesday. Taking the stage at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple HQ, Cook and Co. announced at least three big things we weren’t expecting at all.

This in itself is a surprise. Even though Cook pledged that Apple is “doubling down” on secrecy, most of the big details about new Apple products typically trickle out ahead of time. Most of the main features of the 2019 iPhones already leaked. Every Apple blog and YouTube channel under the sun has been playing with detailed iPhone mockups and models for weeks.

Still, Cook’s surprise trifecta did not consist of insignificant things. All three were fairly big and meaty announcements — and there wasn’t a peep about them ahead of time. Here’s what took us by surprise during the “By Innovation Only” event.

Why Apple will miss Jony Ive’s fabulous ‘fiddle factor’

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Apple will miss Jony Ive's tactile approach to technology.
Apple will miss Jony Ive's tactile approach to technology.
Photo: Mariah Dietzler/Flickr CC

As a design student back in the 1980s, a teenage Jony Ive spent a semester with a design agency in London, the Roberts Weaver Group. One of his first projects was designing a new pen for Japan’s Zebra Co. Ltd., a pen-maker based in Tokyo.

Ive’s TX2 pen was made of white plastic — the beginning of a life-long obsession with the color — and had a pair of rubbery side panels for a better grip. But what set the pen apart from every other was a nonessential feature — a ball-and-clip mechanism on the top that served no purpose other than to give the owner something to fiddle with.

Ive noticed that people fiddled with their pens all the time. So he decided to give his pen something he called the “fiddle factor.” This crucial insight ultimately became an essential element of Apple design as Ive rose to become Cupertino’s chief design officer.

How new Mac Pro borrows from Apple’s best designs

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Mac Pro cheese grater
You might be better off with iMac Pro instead.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2019 bug It’s obvious that the new Mac Pro, unveiled this week during Apple’s WWDC keynote, is a reboot of the venerable Power Mac G5, a machine released in 2003 that featured a distinctive “cheese grater” grille.

Aside from looks, there are many similarities to the G5, plus a couple of ideas from other older Apple machines. Here are some of the clearest design influences on the new Mac Pro.

Apple guns for Facebook with new ‘Sign in with Apple’ privacy feature [Update]

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Sign in with Apple
"Sign in with Apple" is a new privacy feature in iOS 13.
Photo: Alfred Ng

WWDC 2019 bug Update: Apple says “Sign in with Apple” will be mandatory for third-party apps that require sign-ins, according to these new App Store guidelines. That means apps that currently use Facebook or Google to sign in will also have to support “Sign in with Apple.”

“It will be required as an option for users in apps that support third-party sign-in when it is commercially available later this year,” the new guidelines say.

Apple is targeting Facebook with a new privacy feature in iOS 13 that privately logs users into third-party apps and services.

Called “Sign in with Apple,” it aims to replace popular cross-web login services like ones offered by Facebook and Google.

The new privacy feature prevents third-party apps and web services from tracking users via their logins. It creates private, disposable logins for every service or app.