Turn your iPhone into a focus-enhancing machine [Deals]

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This app offers specially curated music that's designed to help keep you focused and on-task.
This app offers specially curated music that's designed to help keep you focused and on-task.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

When we think about the effects of our always-on culture on our minds, the picture isn’t always pretty. Our smartphones often cause us plenty of distraction, so it might be surprising to learn that they can actually help us stay focused.

Free app boosts iPhone internet speed and privacy

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Cloudflare's 1.1.1.1 app makes web browsing faster and safer.
Switching your DNS server to 1.1.1.1 makes web browsing faster and safer.
Photo: Cloudflare

A new application has the potential to speed up internet access on your iPhone. And Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1 app certainly makes everything you do online more private.

What it’s doing is a bit technical, but we’ll do our best to explain the benefits without too much jargon.

Turn your phone into a tool for relieving stress [Deals]

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Your iPhone doesn't have to be a distraction. With the Aura app, it can actually help you get back in touch with the moment.
Your iPhone doesn't have to be a distraction. It can actually help you get back in touch with the moment.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

For all their many uses, let’s face it: our smartphones are a major source of distraction. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, with the right app, your phone can actually help you regain focus and reduce stress.

Learn a new language on your commute with the uTalk app [Deals]

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Score lessons in 6 languages on any mobile device, for 92 percent less than the usual cost.
Score lessons in 6 languages on any mobile device, for 92 percent less than the usual cost.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

As the world shrinks, the reasons for learning a new language are growing. But the time and consistency for language study can be elusive. So this deal on portable, flexible, lifelong language lessons is a must-see for any aspiring polyglot.

Use your iPhone to improve your state of mind for once [Deals]

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This meditation app offers guided meditation sessions and breathing exercises with tools for tracking your practice over time.
This meditation app offers guided meditation sessions and breathing exercises with tools for tracking your practice over time.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Let’s be honest, many of us have pretty unhealthy relationships to our phones. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Your phone can become a reminder to take your eyes off the screen and keep your mind centered.

Amazon’s iPhone app uses computer vision to identify and replace screws and other parts

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Amazon's new Part Finder feature for iPhone uses computer vision to identify and buy hundreds of different types of fasteners.
Amazon's new Part Finder feature for iPhone uses computer vision to identify and buy hundreds of different types of fasteners.
Photo: Sheila Sund via Flickr

Until recently, if you needed to replace a screw, nut or bolt, you’d take a trip to the hardware store. With Amazon’s latest update to its iPhone app, there’s no need.

Part Finder is a new feature of Amazon’s camera search that can identify hundreds of types of screws, nuts, bolts, washers and other fasteners. Once ID’d, they can be bought straight from the app.

Microsoft Your Phone app lets your PC and iPhone work better together

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Microsoft Your Phone
With Microsoft Your Phone, your iPhone's text messages and notifications can appear on your PC.
Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft unveiled an app today designed to allow Windows users to  show the text messages and notifications from their smartphone. Plus, Your Phone will make moving images between phone and PC easier.

Also at its Build 2018 developer conference, the company announced that the new Windows Timeline is coming to  iPhone and iPad.

Verizon Smart Family app gives parents new tools

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Verizon Smart Family
The Verizon Smart Family app is designed to make you a better digital parent.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Verizon’s new service lets parents limit their children’s’ screen time, monitor who they’re texting (and how often), and track their location. 

The Smart Family program also includes content filters, and can even tell a parent how much battery life their child’s phone has left.