How to make a Group FaceTime call on iPhone, iPad or Mac

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Group FaceTime is a great way to stay in touch with your family and friends during coronavirus quarantine.
Group FaceTime is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends.
Photo: Apple

As the coronavirus spreads around the world, loads of self-isolating people are turning to FaceTime, Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp video to stay in touch with friends and family. And what better way to keep in touch than to chat to everyone, all at the same time? One of the easiest and most secure ways to stay in touch is to make a Group FaceTime call.

Here’s how to set up a Group FaceTime call and add (almost) as many people as you like to it.

Everything we think we know about iOS 14 [Updated]

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ios14
Even old iPhones will get iOS 14's new features.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Thanks to unprecedented early leaks, some of the biggest new features planned for iOS 14 have already been spoiled. Apple is supposedly making some huge changes to the Home screen, iMessages, HomeKit, Apple Pencil and much more in its next-gen mobile operating system.

The recent wave of leaks proved so overwhelming that we rounded them all up in one place. We will keep updating the list as we inch closer to this summer’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where Apple traditionally previews all of its upcoming platform updates.

Apple pays up in patent case involving FaceTime technology

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Facetime
Jony Ive and Steve Jobs talk during the first public FaceTime demo, which took place at WWDC 2010 in San Francisco.
Photo: Mathieu Thouvenin/Flickr CC

Out of appeals, Apple cut a check to VirnetX for more than $454 million to end a lengthy patent infringement case.

VirnetX, which sued Apple over patents relating to FaceTime, iMessage and VPN technologies, announced the payment in a one-paragraph press release Friday.

Court denies Apple’s appeal in VirnetX patent-infringement case

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Apple wants patent trolls to stop ‘gaming the system’
The lesser-spotted patent troll.
Photo: Andrew Becraft/Flickr CC

Cupertino’s seemingly neverending legal battle with patent troll VirnetX Holding Corp. took another turn this week when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Apple’s request to reconsider an original patent-infringement decision.

VirnetX and Apple have been fighting in courts for a decade over patents related to FaceTime and other secure communications. VirnetX, which doesn’t produce any products, previously won more than $503 million in damages, but courts subsequently threw out the award.

How to customize Apple Watch iMessage smart replies

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Change the lame Apple Watch smart replies by adding custom replies.
Change the lame smart replies on your Apple Watch.
Image: Apple

You know when you reply to a message on your Apple Watch, and it’s such a pain to write it out a letter at a time or to dictate your reply (only to have Siri mishear you)? The alternative is to use one of Apple Watch’s canned responses. Unfortunately, they all sound like your account got hacked, or that you don’t care about the sender enough to come up with a proper reply.

However, you can customize those replies to make them much more useful. And with one clever trick, you can make Apple Watch smart replies sound just like you really wrote them.

iOS 13.3 finally lets parents set limits on texting, FaceTime and more

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Screen Time Communication Limits
Screen Time Communication Limits is a boon to digital parenting.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Parents will soon be able to limit when their children use an iPhone or iPad to talk to their friends, thanks to a long-awaited new Screen Time feature. Communication Limits were supposed to come earlier, they debuted in the first iOS 13.3 beta that launched today.

How to use iOS 13’s new ‘Remind me when messaging’ feature

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Remind when messaging
Remember things, when you need them.
Photo: Estée Janssens

The Reminders app got a total revamp in iOS 13, making it way quicker and easier to add due dates, alerts and location-based notifications to new reminders. But it also added one killer new feature: Remind me when messaging.

This lets you add a contact to the reminder, and the next time you’re messaging that person, a notification will pop up.

How to make Siri announce and read your messages

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Announce Messages with Siri
Siri can now read out your incoming messages, automatically.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

In iOS 13.2, Siri can announce your incoming messages and read them to you. This is the kind of feature that is so useful, and obvious, that it seems like it should have always been there. It’s called Announce Messages with Siri, and it does just that.

Here’s how to set it up and use it

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.