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.