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.

Apple sued for alleged lack of transparency over iCloud data

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iCloud
Apple isn't completely clear about where your data ends up.
Photo: Apple

A class-action lawsuit filed this week takes aim at Apple for storing some iCloud data on third-party servers.

The company is accused of breaching consumer trust to sell iCloud subscriptions. It states iCloud data will be “stored by Apple,” but offloads some of it to Amazon and other companies.

Apple expands bug program with monstrous $1 million bounty

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The CIA has a team of more than 5,000 hackers.
Hackers can get PAID for finding bugs now.
Photo: Brian Klug/Flickr CC

Apple is ready to pay a bigger bounty than any other tech company when it comes to finding bugs on the iPhone or other Apple products.

The iPhone-maker revealed today at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas that it will now pay up to $1 million for some discovered vulnerabilities, up from the $200,000 it offered when the bug bounty program began three years ago.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs acknowledges MobileMe failure

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MobileMepic
MobileMe was the failed precursor to iCloud.
Photo: Apple

August 4: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs acknowledges MobileMe failure August 4, 2008: Steve Jobs owns up to mistakes in launching MobileMe, spinning Apple’s bungled cloud service rollout as a learning opportunity.

“It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store,” Jobs writes in an email to Apple employees. “We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence.”

How to send a green-bubble SMS from your iPad

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Old mobile phone toy: This is how
This is how "texts" were sent before the flux capacitor made Skynet possible.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you know you can send regular old green-bubble SMS (and MMS) messages from your iPad? And even from your Mac? Well, you can, and it is dead easy. It’s called Text Message Forwarding, and it works by using your iPhone as a conduit to the cellular phone network.

Let’s set it up and see how it works.

How to stop your Photos library from taking over your Mac

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Film Contact sheet
Don't let your photos take over your whole SSD.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Photos app on the Mac has two options for storing your photos. You can tell it to keep the full-size originals of everything, or you can have it self-manage, keeping your master library in iCloud and storing a mixture of full-resolution and low-res versions locally to save space.

The trouble is, even when you choose the “Optimize Mac Storage” option, the Photos app’s storage can metastasize and take over your whole drive. Today we’ll see how to cap this storage, giving Photos a hard limit on how much space it can use. For instance, if you have a MacBook with a 128GB SSD, you could choose to only use 30GB for Photos — and it will never, ever use more.

Beta users can now sign into iCloud using Face ID or Touch ID

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The latest Apple betas offer the option of signing in with Face ID or Touch ID.
The latest Apple betas offer the option of signing in with Face ID or Touch ID.
Screenshot: Charlie Sorrel

Users running the latest iOS 13, iPadOS 13 or macOS Catalina betas can now sign into iCloud using either Face ID or Touch ID.

If you’re using these beta versions, visiting iCloud in Safari will present a pop-up asking if you want to log in using biometrics.

How to create smart playlists in Apple Music on iOS (finally)

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Cassette tapes
Let's do this.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

It’s impossible to create smart Apple Music playlists directly on the iPhone. Or rather, it was impossible. Previously, you had to fire up iTunes on your Mac or PC, create a smart playlist there, and then let it sync to your iPhone over iCloud.

Even in iOS 13, this is still the case. But now there’s another way. A new iOS app called Miximum can create smart playlists, and even sync them to the regular Apple Music app. It is, as they say, a game-changer.