Monitor air quality with Aqara’s new accessory for HomeKit

By

Aqara's new air quality monitor works with HomeKit and other smart home systems.
Aqara's new air quality monitor works with HomeKit and other smart home systems.
Photo: Aqara

Smart home accessory maker Aqara’s new gadget for HomeKit lets you monitor air quality in your house. As pollution rises from wildfires and other causes — depending on where you live — you may find it handy to glance at the Aqara TVOC Air Quality Monitor to know whether you need to do something about the air you breathe.

How to allow a guest to control your HomeKit devices

By

Add a guest to the Home app
The safe and easy way to share HomeKit control.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

If you’re going away this summer and leaving your home in the hands of someone else, you might want to give them control of your HomeKit devices. And it’s really easy to do that inside the Home app.

Here’s how to invite anyone with an iPhone, iPad or Mac to control your smart home gadgets as a guest.

Give your drab Home app a spiffy remodel with HomePaper

By

HomePaper for HomeKit lets you customize the Home app.
HomePaper lets you quickly give the boring Home app a fresh coat of paint.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

New app HomePaper for HomeKit lets you quickly customize the look of Apple’s notoriously bland-looking Home app — with zero hassles.

With the app, you simply select a photo from your iPhone or iPad camera or take a new one. Then you can quickly adjust the color(s) and make your own customized wallpaper for the Home app. There’s no fussing around with a complicated image editor or painstaking resizing required.

Here’s how to use HomePaper, which runs on iPhone and iPad, to give your Home app the remodel it deserves.

How to reset HomePod and HomePod mini to fix strange glitches

By

How to reset HomePod and HomePod mini
Bring an unresponsive HomePod back to life.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Many of the glitches and frustrations you might encounter with HomePod and HomePod mini can usually be fixed with a simple factory reset. It’s easy to do and doesn’t take long, but Apple doesn’t make it immediately obvious how a reset is performed. So we’ll show you what you need to do.

How to use Intercom on HomePod, iPhone, AirPods and more

By

How to use Intercom
Intercom is on its way. Here's all you need to know.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple’s new Intercom feature lets you use HomePods to send short audio messages to almost anyone with an Apple device. While Apple showcased Intercom when unveiling the upcoming HomePod mini smart speaker, the feature also works with the regular HomePod as well as iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and more.

If you a HomePod, and you’ve updated it (and your other Apple devices) with the latest software, you can use Intercom to communicate with your family or housemates in new ways.

Stop other HomePod users from polluting your music recommendations

By

Apple HomePod smart speaker Listening History
Don't let everybody else's bad taste ruin your music recommendations.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Instead of recognizing the voices of various users and serving up their personal tunes, HomePod is tied to one person’s Apple Music library. That leads to an unfortunate side effect: Whenever anyone in your home tells your HomePod to play a track, that song is added to your listening history.

That means your teenagers’ ironic Ramones session, or your spouse’s un-ironic David Hasselhoff listen-a-thon, will pollute your listening history — and affect your future recommendations. Here’s how to stop that from happening.

Samsung nearly tops Apple in J.D. Power smartphone rankings

By

Samsung
The exploding Note 7 didn't hurt Samsung's status.
Photo: Jim Merithew / Cult of Mac

The gap between Apple and Samsung is narrower than it has ever been, according to J.D. Power’s 2017 smartphone satisfaction rankings that have the iPhone-maker in the lead by just one point.

Apple took the number one spot with a total score of 840. Meanwhile Samsung somehow crept up to the second spot with 839 points, even though it had a disastrous last half of 2016 with the exploding Note 7 fiasco.

Apple’s smartest moves of 2016

By

2016 wasn't all missed deadlines and mysterious battery problems for Apple.
2016 wasn't all missed deadlines and mysterious battery problems for Apple.
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

2016 Year in Review Cult of Mac Apple pissed off a lot of people in 2016. In hindsight, some of Cupertino’s moves look clumsy, and others seem truly clueless, but Tim Cook and Co. also made some brilliant moves during this turbulent year.

Let’s go to our happy place and relive the smartest moves made by Apple in 2016.

World’s first HomeKit community springs up in San Jose

By

HomeKit is now getting packaged into new homes.
HomeKit is now getting packaged into new homes.
Photo: KB Home

Apple’s HomeKit platform is set to power an entire community currently under construction in San Jose.

Real estate development firm KB Home revealed today that its new community, Promenade at Communications Hill, will be the first ever in the US to have HomeKit technology built-in, providing a seamless experience from the foundation up.