How-To

Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on How-To:

How to watch Apple’s ‘Far Out’ iPhone 14 event

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How to watch Apple’s 'Far Out' iPhone 14 event live
It's a big day for iPhone and Apple Watch aficionados. Here's how to tune into today's Apple event.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Today is the day! Apple’s “Far Out” product launch event kicks off in just a few hours. The iPhone 14 series, three new Apple Watch models and more are all expected.

Just like past such events, this year’s will be streaming online, so you’ll be able to watch it in its entirety as it all unfolds. Here’s how.

How to stream AirPlay video on the cheap

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How to stream AirPlay video from iPhone to TV on the cheap
The days when you had to pay $150 or more to get an AirPlay-compatible device are over.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

You don’t need cables to stream video from your iPhone or iPad to a TV. Apple’s AirPlay 2 system is wireless and easy to use. That’s been true for years — what’s changed is the necessary equipment has become very affordable.

Here is what you need.

How to make apps avoid MacBook Pro camera notch

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How to make apps avoid MacBook Pro camera notch
Got an app that doesn’t play well with the MacBook Pro notch? There’s an easy fix.
Photo: Cult of Mac

If one of your favorite applications doesn’t work well with the screen notch in the 2021 MacBook Pro, there is a solution. Apple created a “Scale to fit below built-in camera” setting that always puts the app into the space below the notch when in full-screen mode.

And it can be set for individual apps. Here’s how.

How to do multitasking in iPadOS 15

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How to do multitasking in iPadOS 15
iPadOS 15 makes multitasking much more intuitive. Here’s how to use it.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Your iPad could show you two or three applications at the same time for years … if you could figure out multitasking. Thankfully, iPadOS 15 makes the iPad’s multitasking system much more intuitive

Here’s how you can start taking advantage of this powerful capability right now.

Apple leaks new Logic Pro X Live Loops feature

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Logic Pro X Live Loops
This screenshot shows an as-yet unreleased version of Logic Pro X.
Photo: Apple

Sometime before this past weekend, Apple posted a screenshot of what is presumably an upcoming new version of Logic Pro X, its pro music-creation app, onto its education page. It shows a brand new feature, previously only seen in the iOS version of GarageBand: Live Loops. Live Loops is a way to trigger music clips live, on-the-fly, so you can create music like a DJ.

And the Logic version looks great. And more importantly, it finally adds Apple’s take on the Session View from Logic’s biggest rival, Ableton Live.

How to “screenshot” music and videos on your iPhone

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just-press-record
Just press record.
Photo: darkday/Flickr CC

On the iPhone and iPad, you can capture any image you see just by grabbing a screenshot. Pretty much everyone knows the power+home button, or power+volume-up button combo that snaps a screenshot and saves it to your photo library. You can even crop the image before saving it, to remove surrounding distractions. But what about video? Or music? Is it possible to take a “screenshot” of the music playing on your iPhone? Or capture a YouTube video? Yes it is. In fact, you can even “screenshot” a video, and then extract the music from within. Here’s how: with screen recording.

Take control of your family photos this Christmas

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headless Santa holiday photos
Ho ho ho!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

This weekend, you’re “enjoying” some extended time with your family. After you’ve fixed their devices, and taught them that the battery of their iPhone lasts way longer if they don’t leave the damn screen on the whole time, you might decide to swap some photos. You may grab the your old childhood snaps off your mother’s iPad, or photos of the family recipe book off your father’s iPhone. There are a few ways to do this — slow, fast and faster, wired or wireless. Let’s see how to transfer photos between iPhones and iPads, and how to share the best holiday photos with everyone.

How to make your Mac’s dictionary popup way, way faster

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spotlight popup
A spotlight, looking something up.
Photo: Richard Ciraulo/Unsplash

What happens when you use a three-finger tap on your Mac’s touchpad to look up a word? In olden times, it would bring up a dictionary definition, instantly. Today, it probably doesn’t do anything. Not for a few seconds at least. Or rather, it pops up a panel right away, but then it takes a few seconds to load whatever Siri reckons you might be looking for.

So, how do we stop this madness? Easy. We switch it off in the Mac’s settings, aka System Preferences.

How to use the Apple Watch to snap remote selfies

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Apple Watch camera remote
Apple Watch camera remote inception.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Apple Watch is an amazing fitness tracker, and a pretty good notification device. But it has other tricks — tricks that you maybe didn’t know about, or didn’t realize would be quite as useful as they are. One is the Camera app. The Apple Watch doesn’t have its own camera, but it does give you remote control of your iPhone’s camera.

This lets you trigger the camera’s shutter, or record a video, from anywhere in range of your iPhone’s Bluetooth radio. Why? Group self-portraits, without having to set the timer and run back to your friends in time to smile. Videos: I used the video camera function just this week to record my progress for my guitar teacher. Like I said, it might be more useful than you’d expect.

Here’s how to use the Apple Watch camera remote.

How to use the new copy, paste and undo gestures in iPadOS 13

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iPadOS productivity gestures
This is how text editing used to feel on iOS.
Photo: Jason Leung/Unsplash

It wasn’t until I installed iPadOS on my regular iPad that I realized how great iOS 13 is. It’s one thing to run it on an old, battered test unit, but a whole other thing to use it day to day. And, surprisingly, it’s the small features that make the biggest difference. The per-page view setting in Safari, for example. Or the new multi-app Slide Over panel. And, more than anything else, the new text-editing gestures, which are finally good enough to replace a mouse and a Mac.

Let’s take a look at how to use iPadOS 13’s new copy, paste, undo and redo gestures, plus text selection in general.

How to use a GIF for your iPhone wallpaper

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Look at this wallpaper. Just look at it.Look at this wallpaper. Just look at it.
Look at this wallpaper. Just look at it.
Photo: Jake Cvnningham/Flickr CC

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take that awesome (and hilarious!) GIF, and use it as an animated wallpaper for your iPhone? You could wake your iPhone, press on the screen, and watch the action unfold. Over and over. And over.

Sadly, GIF wallpapers are impossible. Or are they? Well, you can’t set an actual GIF to run as your lock-screen wallpaper, but you can convert any GIF into a Live Photo, and use that to animate your iPhone’s lock screen.

Here’s how.

How to add your own music to your iPhone without iTunes

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Add your own music to your iPhone without iTunes.
Add your own music to your iPhone without iTunes.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac


Maybe in iOS 13 we’ll be able to add songs to our music iPhone libraries without having to wake up a Mac or PC running iTunes. Until then, there’s no way to listen to songs downloaded from Bandcamp, or exported from GarageBand, alongside the rest of your music collection.

But there’s a workaround. Vox is a slightly confusing music app that combines your built-in Apple Music library with your Soundcloud, Spotify, and other services. And it will also let you import any audio file, and then add it to playlists and so on. Let’s check it out.

How to fix your parents’ messed-up computers when home for the holidays [Cult of Mac Magazine No. 276]

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Cult of Mac Magazine No. 276 cover
Get ready to fix your parents' computer.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac


Christmas time means packing up your daily troubles, forgetting work for a week, and heading home to … troubleshoot your parents’ broken computers and gadgets? Oh man, is it that time of year again already? That’s the problem with being the family’s only geek — you get handed all the geek jobs. However, you can turn this to your advantage, and make it a lot easier, by going in prepared.

Find out how to be the family tech support in the latest free issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. Get it now on iTunes, or keep reading for the week’s best Apple news, reviews and how-tos.

Apple Watch fall detection disabled by default … unless you’re old

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apple watch series 4
If you’re under 65, fall detection isn’t enabled.
Photo: Apple


Don’t just assume your new Apple Watch Series 4 will be there to help you when you drunkenly fall into a neighbor’s flowerbed on your way home from the bar. If you’re under 65, fall detection is disabled by default.

Here’s how to enable it to ensure your emergency contact knows when you’re in trouble.

iOS 12 automatically saves iMessage photos to your Photos library

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The new iMessage photo filters are so good, you'll want them in the regular camera app.
iMessage photos are now saved to the camera roll, automatically.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac


If you take a photo inside the Messages app in iOS 11 and earlier, that photo stays trapped in the message thread forever, unless you explicitly long-press and save it to your camera roll. In iOS 12, that’s changed. Now, when you take a photo using the messages app, any pictures you snap are saved to your Photos library. But that’s not quite the whole story.

How to use Photos’ amazing new search in iOS 12

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iOS 12 Photos thinks that cabbages are melons.
iOS 12 Photos thinks that cabbages are melons.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac


Photos already has a pretty decent search function on iOS 11. Thanks to Apple’s machine-learning tech, and AI categorization, you can search for thousands of “scenes.” These include the places you took the photo, but also anything from abacus to zucchini, people in the images, and times the images were taken.

This has gotten even better in iOS 12. You can still search on many thousands of categories and keywords, but now you can combine searches. For instance, you could search for several different people, and see photos only containing them all. OR you can combine search terms like Christmas, Food, and 2015, for instance. Let’s take a look.

These apps just got an iOS 12 and Siri Shortcuts overhaul

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Not every shortcut is worth taking.
Not every shortcut is worth taking.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac


iOS 12 launches today, and there are a whole bunch of updates to apps that take advantage of the new features available in iOS 12. If you visit the App Store’s updates page, you’ll see that many apps are adding support for Siri Shortcuts. Shortcuts in iOS 12 can refer to several related new things, but in this case, Siri Shortcuts lets you interact with, and control apps just by talking.

For instance, say “Hey Siri, check my commute” to get a report of the disruptions, departures, and your ETA at work from Citymapper, or say “Show today,” and see a list of today’s tasks in Things app.

How to get a refund for accidental Fortnite purchases

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Fortnite Solo Showdown game mode
Get your V-Bucks back for unwanted Fortnite purchases.
Photo: Epic Games


Fortnite Battle Royale might be free-to-play, but you’ll have to spend hundreds of dollars on V-Bucks if you want to get your hands on all the new skins, gliders, and emotes that are available through its item shop.

If you, or, more likely, your kids, buy anything accidentally, you don’t have to be stuck with it. Here’s how to get a refund for accidental Fortnite purchases.

How to add AirDrop to your Mac’s Dock

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AirDrop is somehow conceptually related to balloons
AirDrop is somehow conceptually related to balloons.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac


AirDrop is a fantastic Apple feature. You can use it to share files of pretty much any size with anyone nearby, even in the middle of a desert with no Wi-Fi and no cellular. It Just Works, and once you get used to it, any other way of sharing files seems primitive.

Today, we’ll make AirDrop even easier to use on your Mac, by adding AirDrop shortcut to the Dock.

How to take a healthy break when using Mac

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take a break
Not this kind of break.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac


When you’re working on playing at your Mac, it’s too easy to just push through the current task, which — at the time — seems like the most important thing in the world. “It’ll only take five more minutes,” you tell yourself, as your carpal tunnels tighten, your back stiffens, and your upper arms atrophy.

What you need is a break. Just two minutes taken every half hour should do you. The problem is remembering. Luckily, there’s an app for that.

Pro Tip: Use emoji labels in Safari’s Favorites bar

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emoji-bookmarks
Emoji bookmarks labels look great.
Photo: Cult of Mac


Pro Tip Cult of Mac bug Safari’s Favorites bar is the handiest part of the whole app. On Mac and iPad, it sits permanently at the top of the screen, ready for you to tap bookmarks and bookmarklets, either for fast access to a site, or to execute some neat JavaScript trick. But it can get cluttered up there.

By using Emojis instead of text to label your bookmarks, you can fit more of them in, and you can easily identify them by sight.