How to use iOS 12’s new Measure app to measure virtually anything

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Apple's Measure app rules
Apple's Measure app totally rules.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 12 adds a brand-new Apple app to your iPhone and iPad. It’s called Measure, and that’s exactly what it does. With it, you can use your iPhone’s camera to measure distances instead of breaking out a tape measure or ruler. Also, the level tool has moved from its old home in the Compass app, and now lives in Measure. Let’s see how the new app works.

When did Apple’s built-in apps get so good?

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Look at this blank home screen. Just look at it.
Who needs third-party apps anyway?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

It used to be that the first-party iOS apps were only used by people who didn’t care enough to download something better. Mail, Notes, Contacts, the Calendar — all of these were immediately dumped into a junk folder by experienced users, to be replaced with a proper app. But something happened along the way to 2018. Now, Apple’s apps are every bit as good as third-party apps. (Well, mostly. The Contacts app is still awful.)

Today we’ll take a look at a few of Apple’s surprise hits.

Google makes iPhones extremely secure

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Advanced Protection Program
The Advanced Protection Program makes accessing Google accounts on your iPhone much harder to hack into.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Google’s service making its accounts uncommonly secure has been extended to iOS native apps. This is only for people who carry around really sensitive information and who therefore expect their iPhone or iPad to come under sophisticated attack.

Starting today, the Advanced Protection Program supports Apple Mail, Calendar, and Contacts. Naturally, this is only for those who connect these iOS apps to Google accounts.

5 stock iOS widgets to keep your day on track

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iOS 10 Widgets
If you're not using iOS widgets yet, it's time to get started.
Photo: Apple

iOS widgets can put loads of useful data at your fingertips. A simple swipe to the right on your iPhone’s Home screen brings up the Today view, where widgets give you a quick glance at info pulled from your favorite apps.

If you’re using iOS 10 and you’ve never taken the time to customize your widgets list, you’re missing out. Here’s how to set up iOS widgets and keep your day on track.

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MailButler turns Apple Mail into a bona fide productivity platform.
MailButler turns Apple Mail into a bona fide productivity platform.
Image: Feingeist Software

How to turn your iPhone’s Health app into an essential fitness dashboard

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A dashboard for your body: all your key stats at a glance.
The Health app can become a dashboard for your body, offering all your key stats at a glance.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Despite its heart-shaped icon, Health is an unloved app. It tends to gets relegated to a junk folder, along with other un-deletable Apple cruft, like the Stocks app.

But when you get past its garish colors and clunky user interface, Apple’s Health app turns out to be genuinely useful — if you customize the dashboard to match your personal fitness goals.

Apple’s new Music Memos app makes songwriting chimp-simple

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Easy to use music creation app means the end of complex demos.
Easy-to-use music creation app Music Memos does away with complex demos.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Apple’s new app, Music Memos, is hands-down the best free music-creation app I’ve ever used on my iPhone. The amount of tech packed into this tiny little iOS app is nothing short of amazing, and it shows Apple’s continuing commitment to the creative community.

Music Memos lets you sit down with your iPhone, tap the screen, and record music. Then it will totally figure out what you played, and supply fairly decent drum and bass tracks to complement your chords. Wow.

I’ve played in live bands that can’t even do that.

Take my word on this: If you can play even rudimentary guitar, piano or even ukulele, you owe it to yourself to give Music Memos a try.

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iphone-6s-3d-touch-780x414
3D Touch is becoming more indispensable.
Photo: Apple

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It's not easy, but you can restore old versions of apps on iOS.
It's not easy, but you can restore old versions of apps on iOS.
Photo: Jeff Benjamin