US Senator proposes new law aimed at limiting Apple data flow to China

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China
Tim Cook meeting with China's vice premier.
Photo: Tim Cook

One of tech’s biggest opponents in Washington D.C. proposed a new bill this week that could have huge implications on Apple and TikTok’s business operations if put into law.

GOP senator Josh Hawley from Missouri introduced legislation today that would prevent the Chinese company that owns TikTok from collecting information on American users and sharing it with the Communist Party of China. The bill would also stop American companies like Apple from storing user data in China.

The best alternatives to Apple’s disastrous MacBooks

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Macbook alternatives: The Surface Book comes with a 100%-working keyboard.
Unlike MacBooks, the Surface Book comes with a 100%-working keyboard.
Photo: Clint Patterson/Unsplash

Apple’s current line of MacBooks is probably its worst laptop lineup in years. The keyboards are so broken that even the newest MacBook Air is covered under Apple’s keyboard repair program. There are too few ports, and too much heat. And if you want to upgrade any internal parts? You’ll have to buy a new MacBook. But what are the best MacBook alternatives?

If you want to ditch the MacBook, you will find plenty of options. However, none of them offer one essential element: macOS. Switching to another operating system is like moving house and having to leave everything but your clothes behind. But there are workarounds even for that. Let’s check out the best alternatives to the MacBook in 2019.

How to give away your old AirPods

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Unpair airpods
New AirPods? Why not give your old AirPods away?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You’ve got your amazing new AirPods Pro, and now you have a set of perfectly good (if a little waxy) AirPods Normal just taking up mental space.

Should you keep them as spares? I guess that’s the safe route (just in case you misplace the Pros). But how about giving them away to a friend or family member? Today we’ll see how to unpair AirPods from your iCloud account so you can do just that. (Plus how to clean them before you pass them along.)

With the holiday season approaching, maybe you could make someone very happy.

Why can’t you turn off Personal Hotspot in iOS 13?

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Personal hotspot
No, not that kind of hot spot.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 13 isn’t just about exciting new bugs. Apple did a lot of cleaning up and moving things around in its latest mobile operating system. One big, behind-the-scenes feature change comes in the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot. You can no longer turn it off. Or rather, you haven’t been able to turn it off for a while now. It’s just that iOS 13 finally makes it explicit.

However, this doesn’t mean your iPhone will constantly broadcast its hotspot status, or that it will run down your battery. In fact, this feature is now easier to understand, and more sensibly described, than ever. Here’s what the Personal Hotspot changes in iOS 13 mean.

Today in Apple history: iCloud takes our files and photos to the sky

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Steve Jobs shows iCloud to the world.
Steve Jobs called iCloud Apple's hard disk in the sky.
Photo: Apple

October 12: Today in Apple history: With iCloud launch, Apple moves beyond its digital hub strategy October 12, 2011: Apple launches iCloud, a service that lets users automatically and wirelessly store content and push it to their various devices.

iCloud’s arrival marks the end of Apple’s “digital hub” strategy — and ushers in an age of inter-device communication and non-localized files.

Apple patches iCloud, iTunes for Windows to plug malware hole

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Apple iCloud for Windows app
Update today!
Photo: Microsoft/Cult ofMac

Apple’s latest patches for iTunes and iCloud for Windows are out to block potential ransomware attacks.

The software previously contained a vulnerability that allowed malware to piggyback on Apple’s digital signatures and go undetected by antivirus software.

And don’t assume you’re safe if you’ve already uninstalled Apple’s apps.

How to control what your iPhone backs up to iCloud

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icloud backup
Keep things safe with iCloud backup.
Photo: Gabriel Wasylko/Unsplash

Are you getting ready for a new iPhone? Running out of iCloud storage space? Living with a slow internet connection? Worried about privacy? In any of these cases, you might want to exclude some apps from your iCloud backups. Doing so will save iCloud storage space, conserve bandwidth and make sure your data does not go to Apple’s servers, where it may or may not be vulnerable to decryption.

The good news is that it’s easy to exclude pretty much anything you like from your iCloud backups in iOS. Here’s how.

Apple launches new beta version of its iCloud web portal

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iCloud new version
The new iCloud interface.
Screenshot: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple has launched a new beta version of its iCloud web portal. It includes a new background, revamped Reminders app, and new launch screen.

The change ditches the bubble-filled blue backdrop the iCloud web portal had before. Instead, there’s now a simple minimalist white background.