iOS

iOS 17.4 with new emoji, huge changes for EU is almost here

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iOS 17.4 logo
iOS 17.4 will bring changes, but you'll have to live in Europe to get most of them.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple just seeded the release candidate of iOS 17.4 to developers. When it goes to the general public — probably next week — it’ll bring in a collection of new emoji to iPhone, and a more secure version of iMessage. For Europeans, the update will be a major one, as it’ll usher in sideloading and other changes.

The release candidate for iPadOS 17.4 also came out Tuesday. However, macOS Sonoma 14.4 is still on beta 5.

Why iPad’s Center Stage is probably never coming to iPhone

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iPad’s Center Stage is the best thing to happen to video conferencing
iPhone is unlikely to get Center Stage, Apple’s brilliant addition to video conferencing.
Photo: Apple

Center Stage is a brilliant feature that lets an iPad’s front-facing camera follow someone on a video call. Center Stage is not available for iPhone, though. And apparently, it never will be.

Apple developed an alternative version called DockKit, but this requires an add-on accessory.

First-ever iOS trojan steals your face to break your bank [Updated]

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Trojan horse: first ios trojan goldpickaxe
The deceptive iOS trojan GoldPickaxe steals facial-recognition and more to get at your money.
Photo: Pexels-Kamal-Hayit

For the first time, an iOS trojan has been spotted in the wild. Adapted from a well-known Android trojan, GoldDigger, the new malware is called GoldPickaxe, according to a new report. And it steals an iPhone user’s facial recognition data to go after money in banking and other financial apps. We’ll show you how below.

Run to the hills in upcoming Iron Maiden mobile game

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run-to-the-hills-in-upcoming-iron-maiden-mobile-game-image-cultofandroidcomwp-contentuploads201601Legacy-of-the-Beast-Iron-Maiden-jpg
Legendary metal bands and mobile games, oh my. Photo: Roadshow Interactive
Legendary metal bands and mobile games, oh my. Photo: Roadshow Interactive

Are you willing to die with your boots on? Do you know the number of the beast? If so, you’ll want to keep an eye on this upcoming mobile game from heavy metal band extraordinaire, Iron Maiden.

In conjunction with Roadhouse Interactive and 50cc Games, the legends of metal are putting together a free-to-play role-playing game, due out this summer, on iOS and Android. It’s called Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast (naturally), and will apparently include characters from the long history of Iron Maiden album art, as well as a soundtrack that has previously unheard live recordings from the monsters of rock.

The future of driving tech and the nifty new features coming to iOS 9.3, on The CultCast

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In the not-so-distant future, car drives YOU!
In the not-so-distant future, car drives YOU!
Illustration: GraphicaArtis/Getty Images

This week on The CultCast: super-sized drones, app-controlled robot bartenders, smart coffee mugs and the coolest of gadgets from CES 2016. Plus, don’t miss our picks for the absolutely, positively, you-should-install-them-today, most essential Mac and iOS apps.

Our thanks to Harry’s for supporting this episode. Harry’s super-sharp, German-made razors ship free right to your door and for way less than drugstore razors. Learn more at Harrys.com and save $5 off your first order with code CultCast.

Cult of Mac Magazine: New betas, fixing Apple fitness apps, and more

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So many new betas!
So many new betas!
Cover Design: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

We’re back from CES and rounding up everything from the show, checking out the new operating system betas for your iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV, proposing ways to fix Apple’s fitness apps, and taking a little time to mourn David Bowie and play some retro-tastic games on Apple TV.

All this, and a lot more, coming your way in this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine.

iOS devices finally outnumber Windows PCs

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iPad Air 3 will pick up some tricks from the iPad Pro.
iPad Air 3 will pick up some tricks from the iPad Pro.
Photo: Apple

Surprising no-one, the number of shipped iOS devices has overtaken Windows devices in 2015. The number of iOS devices shipped equalled that of Windows PCs just last summer, but this is perhaps the final blow in the post-PC world that Apple’s been predicting (and promoting) for some time now.

Asymco analyst Horace Dediu sent out the following chart on Twitter that shows the continuing trend in detail, comparing Windows PC shipments to iPad, iPhone, and Mac units shipped. Check it out.

iOS 9 adoption rate continues to pick up steam

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iOS 9 is on a huge number of Apple's mobile devices.
iOS 9 is on a huge number of Apple's mobile devices.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Apple’s iOS 9 has been adopted by users at a pretty rapid rate, one that’s faster than even iOS 8 enjoyed.

Apple just updated its developer information page, claiming that iOS 9 is now on 75 percent of all iOS devices out there. This is four percent more than it was just a month ago, showing steady, if slower, growth than the first few weeks after the iOS 9 release.

Apple shoots down rumor of ‘Switch to Android’ app

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iOS 15 makes it easier for Android users to switch
Switching to Android? Apple won't make it easy
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple is planning to make it easier to switch from iOS to Android anytime soon.

Despite a report from the Telegraph this morning claiming Apple software engineers are working on an Android app that’s similar to Move To iOS only for Android, an Apple spokesperson has flatly denied the company has any such project in the works.

Everything new (and exciting!) coming in iOS 9.3

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ios-9-3-banner
This is a bigger update than anyone anticipated.
Photo: Apple

Apple released the developer beta for iOS 9.3 today. To the surprise of many, it actually includes quite a few brand new and useful features whether you’re in the classroom or trying to sleep — or both. There are so many new features that we can actually dedicate an entire post to explaining all of them. So here we are doing exactly that.

Note that since today marks iOS 9.3’s release only for developers, it might be a while before the rest of us see the final version show up in the Settings app. But without further ado, here is everything you can look forward to in iOS 9.3.

How knockoff Apple Watch bands are nearly as good as the real thing

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Spot the difference. On the left is Apple's $450 Link Bracelet for Apple Watch. On the right, a $90 knockoff that gets 4.5 stars on Amazon.
Spot the difference. On the left is Apple's $450 Link Bracelet for Apple Watch. On the right, a $90 knockoff that gets 4.5 stars on Amazon.
Photo: Apple

The internet is awash with knockoff bands for the Apple Watch that are almost as good as the genuine articles.

Knockoff products are traditionally cheap and nasty, but tons of these replica Apple Watch bands are so good, they rival Apple’s own products — at a fraction of the price.

We’ve taken a tour of knockoff band land, and found that there are lots of cheap, inexpensive bands on eBay and Amazon that are high in quality and are getting glowing reviews from customers.

“My black Apple Sport band has started flaking off, while the third-party knock-offs still look brand new,” said Neven Mrgan, a designer for Panic software in Portland, Oregon who bought a less-than-half-price band on Amazon.

New December iOS games to jingle your bells

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Best ios games December 2015

Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

We’re finishing up 2015, and now that you’re all good and tired of your families, we’ve checked out some great December iOS games to help you decompress in solitude.

This month’s offerings should cover all of your needs, whether you like to relax with a simple match-three title or need something more strategic. We have high-def graphics, pixel art, orchestrated music, chiptunes, straight-up fighting, and strategizing. December had something for everyone.

In no particular order, here were our favorite diversions from the December rush.

10 superb iOS and Mac apps we loved in 2015

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ios_and_mac_apps
'Appy new year.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac's Best of 2015 Witnessing the ingenuity of app developers both small and large is a real highlight of my job writing about the Apple ecosystem. In that regard, 2015 didn’t disappoint: Some tremendous new apps got unleashed this year on both iOS and OS X.

Here are Cult of Mac’s picks for the absolute best apps of the year for iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Android’s design guru says iPhone interface is ‘heavy and burdensome’

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iPhone 6
Damn that easy-to-use grid of apps!
Photo: Apple
Damn that easy-to-use grid of apps. Photo: Apple
Damn that easy-to-use grid of apps. Photo: Apple

The iPhone may have fundamentally changed Google’s plans for its Android smartphone platform, but according to Google’s design chief, the iOS homescreen layout — consisting of grids of apps icons — is disappointingly stagnant.

“[The iPhone] crystallised a lot of other things that were kind of stayed even by that point, like the rows of icons, which don’t scale very well,” Matias Duarte, Google’s vice president of design, told Wired. “This idea of a tiny grid that you manually curate starts to feel very heavy and burdensome.”

iOS concept brings joy of Windows to iPad

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Windows could change work on the iPad.
Windows could change work on the iPad.
Photo: Steve Troughton-Smith

iOS 9 finally brought split-screen views to the iPad, but it’s still not nearly as useful as the windowed multitasking views you get on a Mac. Developer Steve Troughton-Smith has come up with a much better solution with a new proof-of-concept called iOS window management that would bring the joy of working in a windows environment to the iPad.

Apple already has the foundation built thanks to UIKit. It only took Troughton-Smith 500 lines of code to build the concept with the UIWindow subclass, allowing individual app screens to be resized an overlaid on top of each other.

Check out the concept video:

How to restore older versions of iOS apps

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It's not easy, but you can restore old versions of apps on iOS.
It's not easy, but you can restore old versions of apps on iOS.
Photo: Jeff Benjamin

Usually, an app update is a good thing. But sometimes, things go wrong: An update does the opposite of what you expect it to do. In that scenario, you want to roll your apps back, but unfortunately, at least on the iOS and Mac App Stores, Apple makes that seemingly impossible.

But it isn’t impossible — just a little tricky. Here’s how to roll your iOS apps back to an older version when things go wrong.

Mobile developers: Here’s your chance to learn Swift, and fast

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These four lessons are a surefire and affordable way to learn Swift, one of the most relevant iOS languages.
These four lessons are a surefire and affordable way to learn Swift, one of the most relevant iOS languages.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

For any mobile developer, learning Swift is a must. It’s an intuitive and fast language that’s key to iOS, OS X, tvOS, and watchOS. This bundle of four lessons — in the form of 3 apps and an E-book — will get you up to speed in practicing coding, testing scripts, and more. And the best part: the whole shebang is just $9.99.

Dark Fear will scare you to death this Christmas

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darkfear-1024x768
The scariest iOS game of 2015.
Photo: Arif Games

T’was the night(s) before Christmas and all through the App Store, not a creature was moving except… wait, was that? I thought I was alone in here!

Welcome to the world of Dark Fear, a retro-styled pixel horror game that’s creepy and creative enough to keep you tingling throughout the holiday season.

There’s a reason it’s so damn scary: Dark Fear was created by Arif Majothi, a 38-year-old game developer who got his start working on horror movies. He combined his mastery of the horror genre with his love of classic ’80s and ’90s Sierra games like Phantasmagoria (it even starts with an MS-DOS-style floppy disk prompt).

The resulting title pays homage to the past, while being spooky enough to scare the bejesus out of you in the closing days of 2015. What more could you ask for?

The sequel to the best iOS game of 2013 is finally here

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Badland 2 is here!
Badland 2 is here!
Photo: Frogmind

Badland 2, the sequel to popular game that won Apple’s iPad Game of the Year award in 2013, is now available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.

The new fantasy adventure game comes just in time for Christmas, sending you on a wild ride through a dark alien wasteland full of flamethrowers, buzzsaws, lava, oil and more obstacles to thwart your progress.

Check out the full trailer:

It’s about time: Pebble Health app plays catch-up with Apple Watch

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its-about-time-pebble-health-app-plays-catch-up-with-apple-watch-image-cultofandroidcomwp-contentuploads2015122015-12-15-183101-jpg
Pebble Health provides native fitness and sleep tracking.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

You no longer have to rely on third-party apps to track your fitness on a Pebble watch. Pebble is today rolling out a new update that adds Pebble Health, a new fitness and sleep tracking feature that wants to help you become fitter and healthier.