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

Listen to Apple’s AI-generated audiobooks

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Read Me A Story, Computer
Listen to romance novels with a soothing robot voice.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac/Mads Dyrmann/John Salatas/Anna Schroeder/Wikimedia Commons

It’s annoying when a book you want to read doesn’t have an audiobook version — they’re great while you’re driving, doing dishes or folding laundry. Apple is now offering authors AI-generated audiobooks of their work. Novels you otherwise wouldn’t be able to hear, you can now find in the Apple Books app. Let me show you how you can find and listen to them if you’re curious.

Turn on gentle rain and ocean sounds while you work

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Relaxing Rain Sounds For Work
Chill out and silence the sounds of your environment with the sounds of rain, the ocean and more.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac/W.carter/Wikimedia Commons

Working in an office or in the city, you’re probably inundated with noise from people chattering, cars running and nearby music. Your iPhone has a built-in feature called Background Sounds for playing rain noises or white noise to tune it all out.

You don’t need to download any apps or pay a cent; it comes for free on your Mac and iPhone. Let me show you how it works.

How to save money by dumping unwanted App Store subscriptions

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Apple is raising some subscription services costs for the first time.
Start the year off saving cash by canceling any App Store subscriptions you don't want.
Photo: David Švihovec/Unsplash License/Modified by Cult of Mac

It’s a new year, a fine time to clear out some of the mistakes of the past. That includes no longer paying for subscriptions for apps or services you don’t use anymore.

Here’s how to find everything you’ve signed up for through the App Store, see what it’s costing you, and cancel it if you’ve lost interest. Or perhaps save a bit of money by changing how often you’re billed.

Type faster with these essential Mac keyboard shortcuts

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magic keyboard refurb
Learn how to get around the keyboard and edit text faster.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

You want to get faster at typing? Sure, you can hold down the Backspace key or mash it really fast. But there’s a better and more precise way to backspace and delete text on the Mac, using the Option (⌥) and Command (⌘) keys. These Mac keyboard shortcuts can make editing text lightning-fast and seamless. Here’s how you can be a keyboard wizard.

All of these work on the iPad, too, if you have a physical keyboard connected.

Top tips for traveling with AirTags

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Travel smarter with AirTags
An AirTag in a bag can find a solution to an absolute calamity.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Traveling is a lot easier if you can keep track of your luggage with AirTags. It’s been in the news lately: Airlines have lost flyers’ bags and people have recovered them because they had the foresight to put an AirTag in the luggage. You can make sure it’s with you all the way along your journey and quickly find it among the baggage claim at your final destination.

Read on for my tips on traveling with AirTags.

How to make parking in the city easier with Apple Maps and SpotHero

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How to make parking in the city easier with Apple Maps and SpotHero
Apple Maps now has the SpotHero parking-space finder built in. Here's how to use the new combination.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

iPhone users can now find a parking space with Apple Maps. Starting Monday, the navigation application has SpotHero built in, giving parking options for more than 8,000 locations across North America.

The feature is free, though the spaces are not. Here’s how to use it.

Stream live music, podcasts and radio with Broadcasts

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Listen to Internet Radio
Use your phone to tune in to radio broadcasts all around the world.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac/Arianit/Wikimedia Commons

Most people don’t really use AM and FM radios anymore, but streaming live content is hardly dead. Lots of podcasts do live streams — and you can still tune into radio stations online. Broadcasts, an app by independent developer Steven Troughton-Smith, makes listening to live music and streaming radio on your iPhone very easy.

Let me show you how it works.

How to use Water Lock on Apple Watch [Pro Tip]

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Person swimming underwater wearing Apple Watch
Apple Watch makes for a good fitness tracker underwater.
Photo: Apple

Pro tip bugApple Watch is highly resilient to being submerged in water. You don’t have to worry much about ruining the electronics inside — your biggest concern is the water triggering random stuff on the screen. If your Apple Watch feels like it’s not responding to your tapping, it’s probably in Water Lock mode.

Water Lock will make sure your Apple Watch doesn’t glitch out when you’re in the shower, having a bath or going for a swim. Read on to see how to (and how not to) use it.

Dark Sky is gone, but you can re-create its weather magic

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Get The Best Weather App Back
Ceci n'est pas une Dark Sky.
Image: jerry van mouseling/Wikimedia Commons and D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

After Apple killed Dark Sky on January 1, many fans found themselves lamenting the loss of the groundbreaking weather app that offered hyperlocal forecasts. Luckily, you can re-create Dark Sky’s main features using a competing app called Carrot Weather. Alternatively, you can quickly tweak Apple’s built-in Weather app so it acts more like Dark Sky.

Let me show you how to enjoy Dark Sky’s beautiful user interface, and its uncannily accurate weather alerts, using other weather apps.

Get organized with advanced new features in Notes and Reminders

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Get yourself organized in there!
Get yourselves organized in Notes and Reminders using these advanced features.
Image: Fredericknoronha/Wikimedia Commons and D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Notes and Reminders, two stock apps that come with every iPhone, iPad and Mac, can do so much more than write shopping lists and apologies on Twitter.

With tagging, you can quickly filter and search through a big folder of notes or a long to-do list. You can easily put together a bunch of filters by date, location and tag to create a smart list of everything that needs your attention in Reminders. You can even set up template Reminders lists that you can copy at any time.

Let me show you how to set it all up.