How to unlock your Mac with Apple Watch

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Apple Watch Unlock in action.
Apple Watch Unlock in action.
Photo: Apple

Maybe my favorite Continuity feature is Apple Watch Unlock for the Mac. Once you set it up, you’ll never need to enter your password to unlock your Mac ever again — not until you restart it, anyway. It’s one of the best examples of Apple’s It Just Works™ philosophy, and it will change the way you use your Mac.

Continuity Sketch turns the iPad into a graphics tablet for your Mac

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Continuity Sketch is like having an Apple Pencil for your Mac.
Continuity Sketch is like having an Apple Pencil for your Mac.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You can sign a PDF on your Mac using the giant MacBook trackpad, and you can mark up PDFs and screenshots, too. But all that stuff is much easier on the iPad, especially if you have an Apple Pencil. The problem is getting it there. But in macOS Catalina, you don’t have to “get it” anywhere. Screenshots and PDFs magically show up on nearby iPads, where you can sign them or mark them up. Then you can return them to your Mac. These features are called Continuity Sketch and Continuity Markup, and they’re killer.

You know how the UPS guy holds up his brown scanner box for you to sign? PDF markup is like that, only on your iPad — and you never feel guilty about ordering too many parcels.

How to run iOS shortcuts from your Mac

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Shortcuts on Mac.
Shortcuts on Mac — kinda.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

While it is possible to get the Shortcuts app running in macOS Catalina via Catalyst, you can’t do much with it. But what about the next best thing? How about selecting something on your Mac, then tapping a shortcut on your iPhone, and then having the result show up back on your Mac?

I’ve been doing this for the past few weeks, and it’s not only a workaround, but a genuinely useful — and reliable — way to “run” iOS shortcuts on the Mac. Let’s get right into it.

How to send a green-bubble SMS from your iPad

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Old mobile phone toy: This is how
This is how "texts" were sent before the flux capacitor made Skynet possible.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you know you can send regular old green-bubble SMS (and MMS) messages from your iPad? And even from your Mac? Well, you can, and it is dead easy. It’s called Text Message Forwarding, and it works by using your iPhone as a conduit to the cellular phone network.

Let’s set it up and see how it works.

Mac app lets you enjoy Continuity with Android devices

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MacBook-Pixel-3-Android
KDE Connect is free to download and incredibly useful.
Image: Cult of Mac

Not every Mac owner uses an iPhone, and that means they often miss out on first-party features like Messages and iCloud. But there’s one feature Android users can now enjoy.

KDE Connect is a new macOS app that allows for Continuity between Mac and Android devices. You can enjoy desktop notifications, file sharing, and more — and it’s free.

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iPhone survey
I wanted a Galaxy S10, but I'm stuck with iPhone.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

How to place and receive phone calls on iPad

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Remember these?
Remember these?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Ever looked at your iPad and thought, “I’d love to hold that huge thing up to my ear and make a phone call. I’d look to-ta-lee badass. Now, where’s my cellphone holster?”? Bonus points if you had this thought while looking at a huge 13-inch iPad Pro.

Of course, it might actually be handy to make calls on your iPad, especially as you probably would use AirPods or EarPods to do so. Your iPhone may be charging, or in another room, or maybe you’re there with a number ready to call on your Mac or iPad. Now, the iPad still can’t use its cellular connection to send or receive SMS messages, or make phone calls, but if you have an iPhone nearby you can use it as a bridge to do both. Bonus: This even works with the Wi-Fi-only iPad.

Everything you can do with MacBook Pro’s new Touch Bar

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macbook pro touch bar
Want to try the new MacBook Pro Touch Bar without dropping a few grand?
Photo: Apple

Apple’s new Touch Bar looks like the most exciting new feature we’ve seen on the MacBook Pro in years.

Instead of fumbling to remember shortcuts, Touch Bar puts a handful of commands at your fingertips and dynamically adjusts to whatever app you’re in.

That sounds pretty magical, but what will that actually be good for? Developers will need to add support for their apps, so it might take a few months before Touch Bar really takes off. But if you’re doubting the usefulness of having a touch screen bar at the top of your keyboard, here are the cool things you can do on the Touch Bar.

Apple drops third macOS Sierra public beta

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Picture in Picture macOS Sierra
A new macOS Sierra beta is here.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Public beta testers can download the third public beta of macOS Sierra starting today, one day after Apple seeded the 4th developer beta.

The new macOS Sierra update includes a number of new additions, including the new set of over 100 emoji that promote gender diversity and disarm the pistol emoji by changing it into a squirt gun.

Pro Tip: How to disable calls on other Apple devices

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Keep your Amazon details safe with two-step verification.
Keep your Amazon details safe with two-step verification.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bug

We received a message today on our Cult of Mac Facebook page asking about calls showing up on an iPad when the call originated on an iPhone.

There are a couple of different places to turn this feature off so you’re not juggling all your iPads and MacBooks when you make or receive phone calls.