How to use Intercom on HomePod, iPhone, AirPods and more

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How to use Intercom
Intercom is on its way. Here's all you need to know.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple’s new Intercom feature lets you use HomePods to send short audio messages to almost anyone with an Apple device. While Apple showcased Intercom when unveiling the upcoming HomePod mini smart speaker, the feature also works with the regular HomePod as well as iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and more.

If you a HomePod, and you’ve updated it (and your other Apple devices) with the latest software, you can use Intercom to communicate with your family or housemates in new ways.

iOS 14.2 release offers new emoji and Shazam integration to everyone

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Final versions of iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 were released to the general public on Nov. 5.
iOS 14.2 is out! And the release notes are... wrong.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple released iOS 14.2 to everyone on Thursday. It offers iPhone users plenty of fun new emoji, as well as Shazam music recognition integrated into the Control Center. Tablet users can install iPadOS 14.2 with the same features.

At the same time came the debut of watchOS 7.1 and tvOS 14.2. And users of older devices will find security fixes in iOS 12.4.9 and iPadOS 12.4.9.

Golden master means iOS 14.2 — with new emoji and Shazam — is almost here

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The iOS 14.2 golden master, along with the iPadOS equivalent, is available to developers.
iOS 14.2 is almost here! It’ll bring loads of new emoji and Shazam integration.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple on Friday gave developers access to iOS 14.2 golden master, along with the iPadOS equivalent. This is the last step before releasing these new versions to the public.

When available to all, iOS 14.2 will offer plenty of fun new emoji, as well as Shazam music recognition integrated into the Control Center.

Apple seeds iOS 14.1 golden master to beta testers

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iOS 14.1 is almost here.
Less than a month after the release of iOS 14, Apple is close to releasing iOS 14.1.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple gave developers access to the final pre-release versions of iOS 14.1 and iPadOS 14.1 on Tuesday. This is an important last step before releasing these upgrades to the public.

However, we don’t yet know when they’ll be available for iPhone and iPad.

How to draw with shape recognition in iPadOS 14

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How to draw with shape recognition in iPadOS 14
Shape recognition in iPadOS 14 makes your Apple Pencil even more useful.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Most people’s drawing skills peaked in first grade. Which means the diagrams we include in handwritten notes often look like they were drawn by a moderately skilled raccoon. Fortunately, iPadOS 14 offers shape recognition, turning our scrawls into the neat geometric shapes we envisioned.

Using this feature in Apple Notes or Email is easy. But there’s a trick to it. Here’s how to use shape recognition with an iPad and any stylus.

How to use Smart Selection in iPadOS 14

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How to use Smart Selection in iPadOS 14
Smart Selection makes your iPad and stylus even more useful.
Graphic: Apple/Cult of Mac

Smart Selection in iPadOS 14 can be amazingly useful for anyone who takes notes with their iPad. This new feature lets you handwrite some words, then turn them into text at any point later on.

Here’s how it works.

How to prevent AirPods from automatically switching to different devices

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AirPods-Pro-how-to
Take care of switching manually like you used to.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple recently gave AirPods and AirPods Pro the ability to automatically switch between different devices depending on what you’re doing. Sometimes the feature is useful, but other times it’s really frustrating.

You may have noticed it after updating to iOS 14 on your iPhone or iPadOS 14 on your iPad. The good news is, it’s possible to disable the feature and take care of switching yourself.

We’ll show you how.

Quick and easy game demo shows why iOS 14’s App Clips are so cool

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App Clip
Apple’s Craig Federighi says that iOS 14’s App Clips are an easy way to discover more of what the App Store has to offer.
Screenshot: Apple

App Clips, a signature feature of iOS 14, lets you quickly run a lightweight version of an application without actually installing it. If that capability leaves you scratching your head about what, exactly, App Clips would be good for, a hot new game demo shows the appeal of this powerful feature.

Simply visit the webpage for Phoenix 2 using Safari on a device running iOS 14 or iPadOS 14. Then tap on the big Play button, and start gaming. The process takes less than 10 seconds, and you’re in the game. (Note: It does not work if you are running Safari in Private Browsing mode.)

If you decide you’re not interested, just close the demo and it’s gone. There’s nothing to uninstall because Phoenix 2 was never on your iPhone or iPad. It was just an App Clip.

Apple explains the secret sauce that makes Scribble so great in iPadOS 14

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Scribble in iPadOS 14 was developed with machine learning.
Scribble in iPadOS 14 recognizes how you write, not only what you write.
Photo: Apple

Scribble handwriting recognition in iPadOS 14 is a more complex system than many might realize. Identifying letters and words goes beyond simply examining what someone has written. The iPad uses machine learning to recognize the writer’s intent through how they write, according to Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of software engineering.