Cult of Mac Magazine: Essential iPhone X tips you need to know, and more!

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The iPhone X lacks the physical Home button that previously served as a touchstone of the iPhone user interface. That means you’ll need to learn a slew of new iPhone X gestures when you upgrade to Apple’s finest smartphone ever.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone X is radically different from every iPhone that came before it. As you strive to get accustomed to life without a Home button, Cult of Mac has rounded up iPhone X tips and tricks that will come in handy. Check out Ste Smith’s video to see nine iPhone X tips to master immediately!

In this week’s issue, you’ll find that story and more. Check out artists’ concepts for the Mac mini and iPad X. Learn how to turn any song into a ringtone with GarageBand for iOS. Check out our review of Just Mobile’s TimeStand charging stand for Apple Watch, and grab some great Black Friday deals. Get your free subscription to Cult of Mac Magazine from iTunes. Or read on for this week’s top stories.

How to use Live Loops in GarageBand

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GarageBand's Live Loops let anyone make amazing tracks.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Today we’re going to figure out how to use GarageBand’s Live Loops feature. These let you drop a little loop of music into a square on a grid (or record your own), and then trigger that loop by tapping the square. Everything plays in time, so you can use it to DJ with loops and samples and create sick drops like VITALIC. Alternatively, Live Loops are a fantastic way to remix your own recordings on the fly, letting you experiment with how your own songs progress, without all that tedious dragging of audio track in timelines.

How to turn any song into a ringtone with GarageBand for iOS

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This is a screenshot of the original iTunes, on an iPad.
Photo: Cult of Mac

There are very few iOS tasks that still require a Mac. One of those is getting your own ringtones onto your iPhone. You can buy them, but you can’t add a downloaded ringtone onto your iPhone without hooking up to iTunes. Or can you? GarageBand on iOS lets you save your own creations as ringtones, to be used immediately. Here’s how.

Cult of Mac Magazine: iPhone X is Apple’s finest smartphone ever, and much more!

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iPhone X looks right at home alongside the best products Apple ever made. We won’t forget this stunning smartphone for a long time.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

For iPhone X, Apple did away with aluminum unibodies, chunky bezels, Touch ID and the beloved Home button. In their place, iPhone X sports polished stainless steel and smooth glass, an edge-to-edge Super Retina HD display, and Face ID. The result proves stunning. Apple just made the iPhone exciting again. But is iPhone X worth $999? Red our full review on iPhone X.

In this week’s issue, you’ll find that story and more. Find out how Apple Pay Cash proves Apple hasn’t lost its attention to detail, and learn how to send money to friends using it. Learn how to squeeze more battery life out of iPhone X, and discover all the trick and tips to mastering your new phone. Check out our review of Juuk’s brand-new aluminum Vitero bands for Apple Watch, which are now available for pre-order. Get your free subscription to Cult of Mac Magazine from iTunes. Or read on for this week’s top stories.

Check out GarageBand’s amazing new features on iOS

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GarageBand, Apple's flagship iOS music-creation software, just got even better.
GarageBand's new Beat Sequencer would shine anywhere, not just on iPad.
Photo: StockSnap/Pixabay CC

GarageBand for iOS often gets dismissed as a toy by more experienced musicians. That’s partly because it’s free, and partly because it looks so simple when you first fire it up. And it is dead easy to use — making some great music is simple even for a first timer. But if you take a while to dig in, you might be surprised at just how music power GarageBand for iOS now packs. And the latest 2.3 update adds enough amazing new features that it really could be called 3.0. Lets take a look.

How to share and collaborate in GarageBand using iCloud

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With iOS 11, you don't need to go to a recording studio to collaborate on a song.
Photo: Iñaki de Bilbao/Flickr CC

One of the great new features in iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra is shared documents. You can create almost any kind of file, and collaborate on it with other people. This can be a simple Pages document, or a complex song in GarageBand. In theory, the file will be updated with everybody’s changes, so you can work on the same project without emailing a zillion copies back and forth.

Currently, this feature ranges from a little shaky, to rock solid, depending on what apps you are using. Here’s how to share and collaborate using GarageBand in iOS 11.

Best looper apps for iPad and iPhone

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You don't need a pedal, or even a guitar, to make amazing music with a looper app.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

A looper is a great musician’s tool, for practice and for making songs. Looper apps are also fantastic fun for anyone who wants to take a crack at creating a tune. Just hit record on a looper app, and make some noise. Then hit the button again, and your recording is played over and over, in a loop.

Then you then build on this, adding more layers. A guitarist can chop out drum beats, then some chords, and play a melody over the loop. A beatboxer can boom, boom, chick and spit into a microphone to build up what the kids call “sick beatz.” And Jimmy Fallon can sing a duet with Billy Joel.

There are many looper apps for iOS. Here are a few of the best.

Zoom’s Livetrak mixing desk turns your iPad into a music studio

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Zoom’s wonder-box has real knobs and faders, just like a proper music studio.
Photo: Zoom

Zoom’s new Livetrak L-12 could be the only box you need to turn your iPad into a mobile music studio. In one unit, the L-12 combines a mixer, a 12-track recorder, and an interface that lets you hook up all your musical instruments and gadgets to your iPad. And that’s just the beginning.

Groovebox turns your iPhone into a toe-tapping music machine

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You won’t be able to stop grooving.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you’re looking for a way to lose a few hours later today, you could do a lot worse than Groovebox, a free music-making app for iPhone and iPad. It’s simple enough to start making music as soon as you launch it, but offers enough depth (and enough in-app purchases) to keep you going for quite a while.

GarageBand for Mac now syncs your projects with iOS

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Now you can sync GarageBand projects from Mac to iOS.
Photo: Cult of Mac

GarageBand’s most recent update for macOS adds a few neat new Mac-only features, but perhaps its biggest addition is for iPad users. Now the Mac version of GarageBand can sync a cut-down version of any song with the iPad or iPhone, allowing you to add new tracks, then sync them back with the master project back on your Mac. It’s a feature that only came to Logic in January of this year.

This is big, because it lets musicians use the full power of the Mac GarageBand in their studio or bedroom, and still add tracks to that project from a phone. You could, for instance, take a mix with you to band practice, lay down some new tracks on your iPhone, then sync them back.