iMessage flaws leave iPhone open to hijacking

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Messages iOS 10
That doesn't mean you should stop using it.
Photo: Apple

Security researchers have uncovered new flaws in iMessage that could give hackers control of your iPhone or iPad.

Apple has already patched five similar bugs, but several are still present in recent versions of iOS. What makes these particularly concerning is that a potential attack requires no input from the user.

How to add a custom iMessage avatar in iOS 13

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Memoji are awesome. Here's how to make your own.
Now you can use Memoji in iMessage profiles.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You know how you can add an avatar to pretty much any social app ever, and all your friends, family, contacts, etc., will see it? Well, in iOS 13 you can finally do the same for iMessages.

No longer will you have to hope that your contacts use a nice photo of you, or worry that your boss is using a picture of a cute pig or pussycat to represent you in the group chat. Now you can add and share your own avatar, or even a Memoji. Let’s see how.

Why you need to install iOS 12.4 right now

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iOS 12.4
It’s high time you installed iOS 12.4 on your iPhone or iPad.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Details of five security bugs fixed by last-week’s iOS 12.4 update have been published. This means hackers now have what they need to use them on any device that hasn’t been updated.

Now would be a good time for anyone who’d been procrastinating to install this update on their iPhone or iPad.

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 make and use Memoji stickers without Face ID

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iPad with stickers
No, not that kind of sticker.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 13 automatically turns all your Memoji into iMessage stickers. Even better, anyone can create new Memoji, on any device. You no longer need an iPhone or iPad with a depth-sensing Face ID camera to create them.

Using the new Memoji creator tool in the Messages app, you can do almost everything that can be done with Face ID. Here’s how to make and use Memoji stickers in iOS 13.

3 ways to block annoying calls and messages in iOS 13

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Red pillarbox
It's even simpler to block email, messages and unknown callers in iOS 13.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The trouble with modern technology is that anyone can try to reach you, at any time. Your boss can leave a passive aggressive email at the top of your inbox overnight, so you see it when you want to check personal mail. Anyone can send you an SMS or iMessage. And anyone with your phone number can spam you, any time.

Currently in iOS, you can block iMessage senders. But in iOS 13, you gain two new ways to keep stalkers, weird friends and over-sharing co-workers out of your digital life. Now you can block unknown phone callers and email senders.