How to use Type to Siri in iOS 11 (and why you’ll love it)

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type to siri prompt
Type to Siri really shines on the iPad.
Photo: Cult of Mac

iOS 11 is Apple’s most keyboard-friendly version of its mobile software yet, but that doesn’t mean you have to hook up an external keyboard to use its best new keyboard-centric features. Today we’ll look at Type to Siri, which can be used whenever you’d usually talk to your favorite digital assistant just by tapping on the usual on-screen keyboard.

Use this playlist to remove unwanted Apple Music downloads

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music piano
Who wants to hear music like this?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Shuffle and skipping are two great tools for listening to new music on your iPhone, using Apple Music. You can download lots of new music to your iPhone, then set it to shuffle while you take a walk. If you’re also wearing a pair of AirPods, a double tap on one of them will skip any tracks you don’t like. It’s a great way to listen to new music, with one big, annoying side-effect: You end up with lots of unwanted downloads cluttering up your iPhone.

But with one simple smart playlist, you can fix that right now.

Emergency Bypass lets selected contacts punch through Do Not Disturb

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sofa
Now you can finally relax and take that siesta, without missing texts from your loved ones.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPhone’s Do Not Disturb feature really is great. It silences your phone on a daily schedule, so you never need to worry about being woken up by a Facebook alert, or some other useless beep. But maybe you want to be disturbed by certain people. Maybe your teenage kids are out late, or your better half is away on a trip. Is there a way to let their calls and texts punch through the Do Not Disturb shield? Well, yes, there is! It’s called Emergency Bypass, and here’s how to enable it.

How to speed up your iPhone if the Spectre patch slows it down

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ghosts
Ghosts are a bit like spectres.
Photo: Sean MacEntee/Flickr CC

Spectre is the worst kind of security flaw. Not only do the partial fixes not even protect against attacks, but they also slow down your iPhone, or other device. But things aren’t quite as bad as they seem. You can take steps to speed up your iPhone once again, and one of the fixes not only makes the web faster, but also fixes Spectre’s biggest attack vector.

AudioStretch slows down songs and videos to make learning music easier

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The AudioStretch audio transcription app works for videos, too.
AudioStretch may be the only slow-downer app that does video.
Image: Cognosonic

AudioStretch is a “music transcription tool.” It’s a universal iOS app that slows down music, and/or changes its pitch, so you can learn to play songs. We’ve covered another of these, Capo Touch, before on Cult of Mac, but AudioStretch is easier to use. Plus, a recent update added the ability for the music transcription app to work its magic on video.

Your iPhone tracks every place you visit. Here’s how to see the map.

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Significant Locations
Bubbles show you where you have visited.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Your iPhone knows where you are, and it remembers where you have been. It keeps a record of your frequent hangouts — aka “significant locations” — and uses this data to make location-based suggestions using Siri and to power other features. Don’t panic, though: This data is kept on your phone, not collected by Apple.

Maybe you want to switch it off anyway, though. Perhaps you’re having an affair and don’t want your suspicious spouse to find out where you and your lover hook up. Or you’re an undercover cop and don’t want your visits to the police station to show up on your phone. Today we’ll see how to access your recent locations data, remove it, and switch it off altogether.

How to use iOS 11’s Files with (some) unsupported apps

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file

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iOS’ Files app is one of the best new features in iOS. It lets you move files from app to app almost as easily as in the Mac’s Finder. The problem is, not all apps support it. To use an app with Files, that app needs to either accept files dragged onto it via drag-and-drop, or it needs to integrate the Files picker.

But you can still use Files with some older apps, or apps from developers who don’t want to add support: Many file-based apps will open up a web server to let you load stuff in via a browser on a Mac or PC. We can exploit this old-fashioned workaround with a workaround of our own, effectively adding local Files support. And don’t worry, it’s dead easy.

How to squeeze the longest life from your iPhone battery

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battery
Just be thankful your iPhone doesn't run on these.
Photo: Toshiyuki IMAI/Flickr CC

Thanks to batterygate, the good news is that Apple will now switch out the battery in your old iPhone for $29 instead of $79, a price so cheap it would be crazy not to do it. But how do you take care of that new battery to stop it going bad? The truth is, the lithium ion batteries in phones and notebook computers have a finite life. But you can prolong that life with a few easy tricks.

How to set up and use your brand new AirPods

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AirPods
AirPods. So, so, cool.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

If you’re a super lucky duck, then Santa may have left a pair of AirPods a) in your stocking of b) under your tree (depending on how good or bad you’ve been in 2017). We picked AirPods as Apple’s best product of last year, because they really do offer a huge upgrade on all previous headphones. They’re easy to use, and they sounds amazing. Here are a few pointers on getting the most out of your new AirPods.

Slow iPhone? Here’s how to check the health of your battery

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iPhone battery
Brazil demands easy iPhone battery replacements.
Photo: iFixit

With all the fuss about depleted old batteries slowing down iPhones, it might be a good idea to at least check the health of your iPhone’s battery. To do this, you can use a free tool called coconutBattery. This handy app digs into your iOS and Mac devices to tell you how old they are, and how strong your battery is compared to when it was new.