Best USB-C accessories for Macs and iOS devices

By

Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C
USB-C battery packs, chargers, hard drives, cables and hubs will future-proof newer Macs.
Photo: Anker

USB Type C — it’s no longer a novelty but an emerging connectivity standard for Apple products. As a newer, more powerful variation of the same USB we all know and love (well, kinda), USB-C features higher power and faster data transfer than its predecessors via a smaller connector.

While older USB Type A and B were a great gift for Mac users — few mourned the passing of ADB and SCSI — USB is often finicky. Just plugging in an old-school USB cable can prove challenging, since you must position the connector just so for it to slide smoothly into the port. That often means several tries to achieve the proper angle and orientation.

Those obstacles disappear with USB-C because, in addition to its smaller size, it is designed to be reversible — with no up or down orientation, just like a Lightning cable — and the cables can have the same type of connector on both ends.

Replaceable batteries make Tile the tracker you’ve been waiting for [Review]

By

Tile has helped people find their car keys for years, and the newest version lets your Tile battery be easily replaced.
A 2018 Tile Pro can be used for years now that the battery can be swapped out.
Photo: Tile

For much too long, the best key finder had a significant flaw. A Tile Pro or Tile Mate helps you keep track of your keys, the remote, or other items, but each only lasts a year. Then you have to buy another one because the battery can’t be replaced. That finally changes in the new 2018 version. Plus they have a greater range.

We tested the latest versions of the regular and Pro versions of the Tile tracker to see if they live up to their promises. 

Taking the new Apple Watch Series 4 on vacation [Review]

By

Mickey Mouse Disney Apple Watch Series 4
The Apple Watch Series 4 made a vacation to Disney World more convenient.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

In 2015, I purchased my wife a stainless steel Apple Watch (series 0) for her birthday. Since then, she’s used it to track hundreds of workouts, reply to thousands of texts, and triage countless notifications. She’s also told me nearly every day for the past year that she hates it and it never works right.

While that might be a bit of an exaggeration, she has a point. The original Apple Watch is slow and unresponsive. Plus, some features have become frustratingly unreliable (looking at you, Siri).

This year, we decided to upgrade her Apple Watch in time for our family vacation to Disney World. It was the perfect opportunity to test Apple’s magical wrist communicator at the most magical place on Earth.

It killed me to return my iPhone XS Max

By

iPhone XS box gold
I knew it couldn't last, but we had a great time together.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

For the first time in 11 years, I did not get Apple’s latest iPhone delivered to my door on launch day. I’ve been using an iPhone X since last November and I was still happy with it; I certainly didn’t see the need to drop another $999 on what seemed like a slightly better device.

But then I got the chance to use an iPhone XS Max.

I had the handset for just over a week, and I loved every second I spent with it. I was wrong to not upgrade this year, and it killed me to return the device to its rightful owner.

Here’s why I’m sorely missing the iPhone XS Max.

Cult of Mac’s 50 Essential iOS Apps [The complete list, sorted!]

By

50 Essential iOS Apps
The best and most useful apps for iPhone and iPad
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

With our 50 Essential iOS Apps series, the goal was to help you find some of the best apps for iPhone and iPad. Picking the finest offerings from the more than 2.2 million iOS apps in Apple’s App Store proved challenging. But we highlighted apps that offer excellent features or make life easier in various ways.

To wrap up the series, we’ve sorted the apps by category to make the list easier to browse. We’re also showcasing Cult of Mac readers’ alternatives to our picks.

(You’ll find reader faves linked at the end of this post. That’s especially helpful since one of our must-have apps is about to die an unceremonious death.)

GPS workout maps prove far more accurate on Apple Watch Series 4

By

We took Apple Watch Series 4 to the running track for the ultimate test of GPS accuracy
We took Apple Watch Series 4 to the running track for the ultimate test of GPS accuracy
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch is pretty awesome at doing a lot of things. But mapping workouts isn’t one of them. At least, not until now. Back in 2016, I was pretty disappointed with the maps I got from my Apple Watch Series 2 (the first model that came with built-in GPS). When I tested it at my local running track, the maps it generated looked like random scribbles.

Fast-forward to today, and things look a whole lot better. Last week, I repeated that test with a shiny new Apple Watch Series 4 and got some very interesting results.

iPhone XS Max can replace your iPad mini [Review]

By

The iPhone XS Max is 25 percent larger than any previous iOS handset. So how is it as an iPad mini replacement?
The iPhone XS Max is 25 percent larger than any previous iOS handset. So how is it as an iPad mini replacement?
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple stopped updating the iPad mini a few years ago because sales dropped off at the release of the first iPhone Plus model. Seems lots of people prefer a large-ish smartphone to a small tablet, even if the iPad is bigger than the iPhone.

And now there’s the iPhone XS Max, Apple’s biggest smartphone ever. So we explored using one as a replacement for an iPad mini 4.

5 great apps that bust out the bokeh on iPhone XS

By

The iPhone XS' new bokeh tool is just the beginning.
The iPhone XS' new bokeh tool is just the beginning.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPhone XS camera is pretty incredible. The device uses its two rear cameras, plus the A12 chip’s Neural Engine, to record such an accurate 3D map of the scene that you can adjust the background blur with a slider. But that depth map is useful for more than just blurring backgrounds. It can be used by other apps to:

  • Add realistic lights to a scene.
  • Choose any subject to be in focus, not just the one you picked when shooting.
  • Add custom background blurs.
  • Remove and replace backgrounds, like movie green-screen effects.

Today we’ll look at the best depth apps for the new iPhone XS and XS Max.

Check out these awesome and unusual cases for iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max

By

Grovemade iPhone XS cases
From weird to wonderful, you won't have any problem finding the perfect case for your new iPhone.
Photo: Grovemade

You’ve got a shiny new iPhone XS or XS Max, and you want top keep it that way. Thankfully, there are already a ton of cases available for you. For simple protection, there’s Apple’s own leather or silicone case, but why stop there? You can choose for rugged cases, cases that hold two phones, cases that also work as wallets, and cases that can carry your EarPods.

Even if you don’t normally go for a case, you may like one just so it covers up the iPhone XS’ big camera bump, which really does make the phone wobble on the table. So, sit back, relax, and read our guide to the best iPhone cases around right now.