Apple how-tos: Tips and tricks for all Apple devices | Cult of Mac

How to make sure your iPhone fireworks photos go off with a bang

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These tips will help you take better fireworks photos.
These tips will help you take better fireworks photos.
Photo: Richard Dongses/Flickr CC

Last year’s Fourth of July fireworks made you say ooh and ahh, but when you look at your iPhone photos from that night, the sound you make is more of an ugh. Want to shoot better fireworks photos this time around?

Don’t blame Siri or some engineer in Cupertino for previous photo fails. The iPhone camera, as mighty as it is, can’t do all the thinking for you — especially in challenging lighting conditions like a fireworks display. But with a little thought and preparation, you can make this holiday worth reliving on your iPhone camera roll.

Below are some simple tips to make your iPhone fireworks photos sizzle.

How to keep menstrual cycle-tracking data private on iPhone

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Is your cycle tracking data secure?
Is your cycle-tracking data secure?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The iPhone Health app’s Cycle Tracking feature provides a simple solution for logging menstrual cycles. If you menstruate, it’s an effective way to monitor your overall health and estimate when you’re most likely to get pregnant.

Given the personal nature of Cycle Tracking data, you need to be sure that it’s stored securely, away from prying eyes. The good news is, Apple’s security for health and fitness data is very robust. There are just a few things you need to know to ensure your data is safe.

Forget blur: How to cover faces and add emoji to photos

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The emoji in this picture are accurate representations of every picture of me until I was about 8. I didn't know how to smile for pictures and I did not care to learn.
The emoji in this picture are accurate representations of every picture of me until I was about 8. I didn't know how to smile for pictures and I did not care to learn.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

There are lots of times when you might want to cover up faces before posting pictures: Teachers often want to censor the faces of their students. Boudoir photographers (Google it) can censor explicit portions of their photography for social media. Foster parents who are legally prohibited from posting identifying pictures of children in their home can quickly cover them up. Forget trying to blur faces — there’s an app that makes covering up faces dead easy: MaskerAid.

If you’ve ever wanted to hide a face before posting a picture, MaskerAid (a pun on “masquerade”) will quickly censor faces with emoji. Unlike apps like Snapchat, MaskerAid will preserve the full quality and resolution of your pictures.

MaskerAid is the latest app by independent podcaster and developer Casey Liss. You can download MaskerAid here on the App Store for iPhone (there is no Android version). The app is free to try out with your own pictures, but to use the full set of emoji, you must pay a one-time purchase of $2.99.

Get emulators, clipboard history on your iPhone without jailbreaking

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Install the apps Apple doesn’t want on the App Store with AltStore.
Install the apps Apple doesn’t want on the App Store with AltStore.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple bans apps like emulators and clipboard history on your iPhone, but there’s a clever way to sideload these apps without jailbreaking.

The official App Store is the only way Apple wants you to get apps on the iPhone. If there’s an app that doesn’t fit Apple’s strict rules, it doesn’t get on the App Store at all.

Apple strictly forbids a few categories of apps. Emulators — apps that play games from old consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System and GameBoy — are prohibited. Porn is not allowed either. System-wide features like clipboard managers — which are very popular and even downloadable on the Mac App Store — are not allowed on the iPhone. (My favorite is Maccy.)

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get these types of apps, though. You can install an alternative App Store for iPhone called AltStore right now with the help of a Mac or PC. With AltStore, you can install verboten apps like emulators and clipboard history without jailbreaking your iPhone.

How to edit and unsend messages in iOS 16

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Edit messages, undo send and mark messages as unread in iOS 16.
Edit messages, undo send and mark messages as unread in iOS 16.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Have you ever wanted to edit and unsend messages in iOS? Like when you texted your mom “Finally got laid today” when you meant to say “paid.”

Thankfully, with iOS 16 and Apple’s other upcoming OS upgrades, you can edit and unsend iMessages. Let me show you how this feature, currently available in the iOS 16 developer beta, works.

How to find an iPhone with Apple Watch

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There are several ways you can quickly find a misplaced iPhone with another Apple device.
There are several ways you can quickly find a misplaced iPhone with another Apple device.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Everyone misplaces their iPhone.* You’re walking around, you set down your iPhone, you do some chores, you get ready to go. Where is it? If you own an Apple Watch, it really is the fastest way to find your lost iPhone.

It’s totally easy to ping your iPhone from your Apple Watch. At the push of a button, you can make your iPhone ring, even if it’s on silent. And, while you might know about the basic feature that lets you ping your iPhone, the Apple Watch also offer advanced options for tracking down your missing device.

Bonus: Even if you don’t own an Apple Watch, anyone in your Family Sharing group can ring your iPhone even louder with the Find My app. And if you don’t have a family, you can use any other device signed into your Apple account.

How to choose the right iPad for you

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How to choose the right iPad for you
iPad options range from the 12.9-inch iPad Pro to the 8.3-inch iPad mini.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Shopping for an iPad can be overwhelming. Apple sells five iPad models in a wide range of sizes and capabilities. Each tablet has its strengths and weaknesses. You don’t want to get one that doesn’t have all the features you want, but you also don’t want to pay too much for features you won’t use.

Here’s some straightforward advice on picking the right iPad for you.

How to install the iOS 16 developer beta

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Get access to the new features and APIs in iOS 16 with the Developer Beta today.
Get access to the new features and APIs in iOS 16 with the Developer Beta today. Featuring my dog, Indy Anna Jones.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

iOS 16 was announced with some awesome, radical new features: a completely redesigned Lock Screen, a shared Photo Library for families, editing and un-sending iMessages, advanced new features in Maps and more. It’s especially hard this year to wait until September to get your hands on it.

Developers have a busy summer ahead of them, too. I spoke with some developers while at WWDC (no, I’m not done flexing that yet) and afterwards on Twitter. Developers are especially excited about creating Lock Screen widgets for their apps, using the new advanced features of SwiftUI and experimenting with the Live Text API.

But you don’t have to wait to get your hands on the beta. Registered developers can install the iOS 16 developer beta today. According to Apple, the Public Beta will be coming sometime in July. If you pay $99 for a developer account, installing the beta on your device is fast and easy. Here’s how.

How to master the Siri Remote scroll wheel

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Does the Siri Remote have you going around in circles?
Does the Siri Remote have you going around in circles?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

When Apple TV 4K launched last year, it had fans salivating. But not for the sharper picture or faster processor. It was the new Siri Remote that caught everyone’s eye. Had Cupertino finally made a TV remote control that didn’t suck?

With its iPod-style scroll wheel, the second-generation Siri Remote promised to make scrolling through content effortless. In reality, the scroll wheel turned out to be hard to use, and lacked support from third-party apps like YouTube.

But don’t throw your remote at the TV just yet. When you get the hang of its quirks, the Siri Remote scroll wheel works surprisingly well. And you can use it with loads of essential apps, including Netflix, HBO Max and, of course, Apple TV+.

Free up space on an iPhone and iPad

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Get some space back on your phone to install the upcoming iOS 16 beta.
Get some space back on your phone to install the upcoming iOS 16 beta.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you have an older phone, you may struggle with storage space. The iPhone 6s and first iPhone SE, the oldest devices to run iOS 15, shipped with as little as 16 GB of storage space. Even the 7th generation iPod Touch, a product that was long in the tooth when it debuted, shipped with 32 GB on the base model. How can you clear iPhone storage when you have such little wiggle room?

Perhaps you’re dedicated to keeping your old phone working until the iPhone 14 models are released this September. Maybe you need to clear up space on a spare device to install the anticipated developer beta of iOS 16 when it is released this June.

Whatever the case, read on to clear storage on your iPhone and iPad.