How to make iCloud more secure with Advanced Data Protection

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You now have the option to have more of your iCloud files encrypted, including images. Here's how.
The latest versions of Apple's operating systems give you the option to encrypt more of your iCloud files, including images.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple recently added end-to-end encryption for more types of iCloud data. Now, you can turn on Advanced Data Protection to encrypt iCloud Photos, Notes and more. Activating this new security feature is easy … once you find the switch buried in Settings.

We can save you some time. Here’s how and why you should activate it.

How to stop unwanted app launches on Mac startup

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If starting up your Mac launches a plethora of windows you don't need or want, you may want to try our tips.
If starting up your Mac launches a plethora of windows you don't need or want, you may want to try our tips.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

Years ago I was a regular Mac user who switched to PC for a long time. When I fully re-immersed myself in the Apple ecosystem, an old annoyance came right back — all those unwanted apps launching for no apparent reason on startup, slowing things down.

Like many folks, I don’t restart my Mac very often these days because Sleep mode has its benefits. So having to close a bunch of apps is not a massive annoyance. But for anyone who wants a fix, there are easy ways to disable startup items.

And if those don’t work, you can try a couple of tricks to get rid of hidden launch agents.

Don’t make the same mistake I did with new AirPods

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Why isn't that case festooned with hilarious emojis? Foolish me.
Why isn't that case festooned with hilarious emojis? Foolish me.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

As soon as AirPods Pro (2nd generation) launched, I ordered them. I got them into the shipping queue so fast, in fact, I skipped any option that looked like it might take extra time or add expense. That included “Personalize them for free,” which would have done neither.

Apple has been letting users monogram AirPods cases with letters and numbers since 2019. It added emojis the following year. Now you can even choose your own Memoji via the Apple Store app.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that whatever you have etched on the case shows up on your devices wherever your earbuds are indicated, like when you pair them. Now I wish I’d monogrammed mine because it’s so much easier to identify your own personal AirPods.

How to set up your new iPhone the right way

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Set Up Your New iPhone: We can get your new iPhone set up easily — no need to phone it in.
Rip that iPhone out of the box right now!
Photo: Apple

The iPhone setup process gets easier every year. So easy, in fact, that there are only a few things you need to do to move from your old iPhone to a new one. You can even directly transfer your data from an Android phone. Setting up a new iPhone from scratch isn’t much harder — you just have a few extra steps you need to go through.

There are still a few tricks that will help things run smoothly, though. Let’s see how to set up your new iPhone the right way.

How to get started using Stage Manager on iPad

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Hands on: Stage Manager in iPadOS 16 brings the floating app windows we asked for
iPad can now show applications in resizable floating windows. Here's how to use the new multitasking system.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Stage Manager in iPadOS 16 makes Apple’s tablets act much more like a Mac. The optional multitasking system puts applications into floating, resizable, overlapping windows.

Even better, the system can also be used on external displays, greatly increasing the available space to work in.

Here’s how to get started using Stage Manager.

Use Apple Music Sing to throw your own karaoke party

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Now you can sing along!
Apple Music now has a karaoke feature for singing along.
Image: Ronyyz/Wikimedia Commons, D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple Music just added a great feature for people who love to sing along as they listen. Apple Music Sing lets you turn down the lyrics so you can karaoke to your favorite hits with just one tap.

In fact, I’m using it right now to listen to some of my favorite music without the lyrics distracting me from reading and writing. Let me show you how it works!

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.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Shopping for an iPad can be overwhelming. Apple sells six iPad models in a wide range of sizes, prices 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.

Use the all-new iCloud online web app

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Find your photos and files online.
All of your photos and files are in the cloud anyway — with iCloud.com, you can access them from any computer.
Image: Matthew Bowden/Wikimedia Commons, D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You can use iCloud online to access all of your online Apple services from any computer, tablet or phone. This includes Find My, Mail, Photos, Files, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Notes, Calendar and Reminders. It’s really convenient if you need to find a lost device, print a file or download a picture from a different computer you’re not signed into.

The site has just been redesigned to make it easier to use than ever before. Let me show you how it works.

How to get started using Mastodon

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Leave Twitter, join us! …please
Mastodon is a good Twitter clone, but it needs some more active users like you.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Perhaps you, like many others, would like to move away from Twitter. If you read news, webcomics or blogs, you can follow all the same stuff with an RSS reader. But if you want to follow people in your community and talk to others online with the same interests, there’s a Twitter alternative you may have heard about: Mastodon. It’s a full-blown Twitter clone that a lot of people you may know are moving to.

Recent changes at Twitter did not instill confidence in the platform’s future. That’s about the shortest and most diplomatic way I can summarize the cavalcade of poor decision-making that has trickled down from their new CEO, he-who-shall-not-be-named, Rocket Car Tunnel Guy. It’s the last straw for a lot of people.

Despite the memes you may have seen, signing up for Mastodon isn’t that hard. There are just a few things you need to consider. Let me show you how to use Mastodon.

How to use the Dvorak keyboard on iPhone

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Apple’s digital Dvorak keyboard.
Apple’s digital Dvorak keyboard brings the alternative layout to iPhone.
Image: Michael Bunsen/Wikimedia Commons and D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The Dvorak layout is a different way of arranging the 26 letters on the keyboard. Dvorak puts all of the most common letters right on the center row for increased typing speed. It also balances the most common letters across all ten fingers for reducing strain. Physical Dvorak keyboards have been available for computers forever, but finally, you can get it on your iPhone and iPad. Now, you Dvorak aficionados can have a consistent keyboard across all of your devices.

Follow your favorite news, blogs and webcomics without Twitter

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Ditch Twitter, follow the news.
Ditch Twitter, follow the news.
Image: Mori aka ICE/Wikimedia Commons, D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

We all have our favorite news sites, independent blogs or webcomics. A lot of people keep up with new posts on Twitter — it’s where a lot of Cult of Mac traffic comes from. With a mass exodus of Twitter users after you-know-what happened, there’s a way you can still keep up with your favorite sites. It’s a technology that has powered the web for over twenty years called RSS; let me show you can follow the news without Twitter.

How to use Focus Modes in iOS 16

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Buckle down and focus up
Keep your distractions at bay with Focus modes — easier to set up than ever in iOS 16.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac and Nenad Stojkovic, CC BY 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes, you need your iPhone and your Mac to be very different tools throughout the day — Focus modes are all about customizing them for everything you do.

Apple’s Focus modes are a powerful way to change how your iPhone, iPad and Mac look and feel whether you’re driving, sleeping, relaxing or working. It’s all about fully immersing yourself in whatever you’re doing. You can change all kinds of things: from who can reach you and which apps send notifications to custom lock screens, home screens and more.

Track your online orders in the Wallet app in iOS 16

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Get Back On Track
Track online orders right in the Wallet app. You don’t really have a choice, it just happens automatically.
Image: AcrossTheAtlantic, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons, D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Order tracking is a mess. You might get a tracking number with your online order, but you have to bring up the tracking history on the carrier’s website or plug it into an app. With iOS 16, Apple hopes to end this madness with order tracking right in the Wallet app. You can see all* of your orders and their progress** in one convenient*** spot.

How to share an iCloud Photo Library

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Apple learned how to share!
Sharing a photo library with your family is finally possible in iOS 16.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

After a weekend getaway or vacation, my wife and I inevitably take half an hour when we get home to share our pictures back and forth. With iOS 16, that is no more. You can finally enable a shared iCloud Photo Library — and it’s really straightforward.

How to watch the Apple ‘Take Note’ event that never happened

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The highlight of the 2022 iPad Pro is the Apple M2 processor.
Pretend you're watching Apple's "Take Note" event with a video touting the M2 in the new iPad Pro.
Screenshot: Apple

The much-anticipated Apple October event never happened. Apple took the rare step of unveiling the latest iPads and Apple TV via underwhelming press releases. But the company apparently did preliminary work to hold an event that would have been called “Take Note,” and some of this is still available.

Most notably, there’s a glitzy 9-minute video preview for the 2022 iPad Pro and iPad 10, just like the ones for other products at previous such events.

Every new email trick in iOS 16 that you need to know

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Undo sending emails and schedule emails in advance.
Undo sending emails and schedule emails in advance.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Email doesn’t often get new features. Sending an email still works basically the same as it has since the ’90s. But these days, people want modern features — like scheduling emails or undo send. In iOS 16, Apple brings a bunch of new features to the stock Mail app for the first time.

You can quickly take back an email if you forget to include an attachment, or schedule an important email way in advance. You also can get smart reminders to read email later, or alerts to send a follow-up. If you catch a typo right after sending an email, or if you want to send an invoice on a specific day and time, both features will soon be available.

Read on to see how it all works.

Take high-resolution 48MP photos with your iPhone 14 Pro

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How to take 48MP ProRAW pictures: Learn how to make the most of the 48MP sensor in your iPhone 14 Pro.
Learn how to make the most of the 48MP sensor in your iPhone 14 Pro.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The iPhone 14 Pro can take incredible 48-megapixel photos that capture eagle-eye details at incredibly high resolution. To take 48MP pictures, you need to shoot in Apple’s ProRAW format, which pairs the lossless RAW format preferred by professional photographers with the iPhone’s computational photography data.

This means that your iPhone 14 Pro is capturing all of the sensor data, and the results can be stunning — better than anything possible with any previous iPhone. (The iPhone 13 Pro captured ProRAW images, but only sported a 12MP camera.)

ProRAW captures images at 8064 × 6048 resolution. That means you can crop in really far on your pictures and keep everything pixel-perfect. You can print your images on a huge 26-inch by 20-inch poster, even at a professional-quality 300 DPI. The high-resolution images also give you more control during the editing process, so you can tweak your most important images to your heart’s content.

There are some caveats, though. Images with ProRAW enabled take up three times the storage space, for one. And shooting pictures like this takes a little longer. (The image capture isn’t as instantaneous as we’re used to.) And for everyday snapshots, ProRAW results might even be less satisfying than simply letting the iPhone perform its computational photography magic.

Read on to see how it all works so you can start taking 48MP photos with your iPhone 14 Pro, then edit them effectively.

How to use Live Captions to get subtitles for absolutely anything in iOS 16

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Live Captions will let you read a podcast! …kinda.
Live Captions are great! You’ can watch videos wherever you are, in places where you can’t be loud and you don’t have headphones, like late at night in bed or on the train. At least, you will once it works.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Live Captions, in iOS 16, generate subtitles of any audio playing in any app on your iPhone. Powered by the Neural Engine in Apple’s custom silicon, the capability to turn words from music and/or videos into real-time text is a boon to many users, in many different situations.

If you’re hard of hearing, for instance, the ability to see instant captions on the screen is a game changer. Or, if you don’t have headphones when you’re sitting in bed late at night and your partner is asleep – or you’re in any situation where you don’t want to make noise, like on the bus or in an office – you can turn on Live Captions to get subtitles.

The applications are endless and exciting. Here’s how to use Live Captions in iOS 16.

How to use iPhone’s Lockdown Mode in iOS 16

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Lockdown Mode is extremely useful for the select few who actually need it.
Lockdown Mode is extremely useful for the select few who actually need it and frivolous for ordinary people like me.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Lockdown Mode is a new option in iOS 16 that limits system features for maximum security. Apple designed it to protect its products from sophisticated spyware, like NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, which has been used to target journalists, politicians, dissidents and activists around the world.

Spyware like Pegasus may seem like an unlikely threat. But for some, Lockdown Mode could be life or death. U.S. citizens need not worry at the moment, but it doesn’t take a wild imagination to picture how such spyware might be embraced by slightly more fascist administrations.

Right now, Lockdown Mode is meant for high-profile activists and journalists. And I mean real journalists — the kind who expose state secrets — not bloggers like me. Read on to find out how to enable Lockdown Mode and how it affects your device’s functionality.

How to turn off iPhone 14 Pro’s Always-On display

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iPhone 14 Pro includes an always-on display.
Find the iPhone 14 Pro's Always-On display annoying? Time to turn it off!
Photo: Apple

Always-On display is a key new feature of the iPhone 14 Pro series. To ensure the feature does not consume a lot of battery power, Apple even added a dedicated co-processor to the A16 Bionic chip that powers the smartphone.

The Always-On display comes enabled by default on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, which many users might find annoying. It apparently looks a bit too bright for some folks. It makes your iPhone battery drain more quickly. And some folks just don’t like the new functionality because it makes them think they’ve got a new notification, even when they don’t.

If you find yourself in the same boat, here’s how you can disable Always-On display on your new iPhone 14 Pro.

iOS 16’s haptic keyboard is bloomin’ great: Here’s how to turn it on

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Turn on the clicky keyboard
Get keyboard clicks on your iPhone with iOS 16.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Studies show that haptic feedback improves touchscreen typing speed and input accuracy, and at last Apple has added it to iOS 16.

Android phones years ago had haptic keyboards, but without a precision vibration motor, the haptic feedback was too slow to complete the illusion. With the Taptic Engine — hardware in every iPhone since the iPhone 6s that can simulate all kinds of haptic textures — Apple created a perfectly convincing effect to enable the haptic keyboard in iOS 16.

Leaving the keyboard click sounds on in public is a minor social faux pas, but you really do type better when you have some sort of feedback for hitting the keys. It feels incredible. I turned it on early this summer on the iOS 16 beta, and every time I held my wife’s phone on iOS 15, it felt broken. You can’t go back once you turn it on — it’s that great.

Read on to see where to enable it.

How to follow your favorite sports teams with My Sports in Apple News

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Follow the team in Apple News
Follow teams to get scores, schedules and news, all in Apple News.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

New in iOS 16 is the ability to follow your favorite sporting pastime with My Sports. It allows you to get the latest scores, read coverage from newspapers and magazines, see scheduled games and watch highlights.

It works across multiple apps, including Apple News, Apple TV and others. You can follow teams from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NWSL, WNBA and MLS. It also includes college football and basketball. Here’s how to set it up.

How to remove the Search button from your iPhone’s Home Screen

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Turn off that Search button on the Home Screen.
Clean up your Home Screen and turn off the Search button.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

iOS 16 brings a lot of exciting changes, but no one seems to like the new Search button on the Home Screen.

It can clutter your aesthetic theme, it’s easy to press accidentally, and it’s not any faster than using the swipe-down gesture for search. Luckily, it’s possible to turn it off — read on to see how.

Read this before installing the iOS 16.1 beta if you plan to get an iPhone 14 ASAP

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iOS 16.1
You might want to avoid the iOS 16.1 beta for a bit.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple seeded iOS 16.1 to developers on Wednesday and could give the general public access on Thursday. But you should think twice about installing it if you intend to get an iPhone 14 as soon as it’s released.

It’s likely the new handset will launch running an earlier version of iOS, which might cause you difficulties.

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 works.