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.

How to back up your iMessages (and why it’s essential)

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Never lose your old messages again.
Never lose your old messages again.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Why would you bother to back up your iMessages? After all, they’re all stored in iCloud these days, right? Well, yes your messages are all stored in iCloud, but they’re not backed up up there. They’re synced, which means that if you delete a message thread, it’s gone forever. The answer is to make a local backup, which requires a Mac. Which is ridiculous in 2019, but there you go.

Here’s how to back up your iMessages in case the worst happens.