How to use iOS 11’s new camera-leveling feature

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Level up: I used the iPad’s camera level to shoot this picture of the iPhone compass level, and it’s still not level.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you ever try to take a photo of something flat on the ground, and spend ages trying to line it up right so that it is square in the frame? No, well, humor me here, because Apple just granted everyone’s biggest iOS camera wish: The camera app now has a level that kicks in when you hold the iPhone horizontally, and which will tell you when you’re holding the iPhone, uh, level.

How to shoot amazing black-and-white photos on your iPhone

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IPhone tiger black and white

Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Often, our eye is drawn to something because of its color. But sometimes we’re attracted by a pattern, or perhaps color even detracts from an image (like a row of cars in front of a beatific white building). At those times, we should shoot black-and-white images, which emphasize pattern, texture and shape.

The iPhone — with its giant screen, its great camera and its huge library of photo apps — is fantastic for shooting B&W pictures. Let’s take a look at how to shoot amazing black-and-white photos with your iPhone.

Apple’s latest acquisition could revolutionize iPhone camera

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Get ready for a major camera upgrade for the iPhone 6s.
What tech advances will the next iPhone camera bring? Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

Apple is looking to ramp up its camera technology with the acquisition of Israeli company LinX.

The two companies reached a deal that will see Apple paying about $20 million for the startup, but if the company’s multi-aperture cameras are actually as stunning as advertised, future iPhones could gain SLR-quality images.

How to use iOS 8 like a boss

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How much is your smartphone spying on you? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Make the most of iOS 8 with these tips and tricks. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

You don’t need a new iPhone to enjoy the awesome power of iOS 8. Loaded with new features and built-in apps, Apple’s latest mobile OS is its most powerful yet.

As intuitive as it is, there are plenty of tips and tricks that will help you truly get the most out of iOS 8 — even starting before you pull the trigger on the free upgrade. Just in case you don’t feel like reading all 182 pages of Apple’s official iOS 8 user guide, here’s a roundup of Cult of Mac’s most helpful iOS 8 tips and tricks. (We will update this post as we dive deeper into iOS 8 in coming weeks.)

How to switch to iOS 8’s iCloud Photo Library right now

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[UPDATE: Lots of readers report that the new option to activate iCloud Photo Library isn’t showing up on their devices. I’m looking into it. So far I know that the GM version — the one I used to write this guide —  and the final version are identical, build number 12A365. My guess is that Apple turned off the beta already]

iCloud Photo Library is rad. The idea is that all your full-res photos (including RAW photos) reside on Apple’s servers, and you access them from all your devices.

That’s a change from Photo Stream as it is now, which stores only the last 1,000 photos you took, not your whole collection. Apple has also introduced new tiers of iCloud storage pricing to cope with all your photos (and videos). This is now live, and I signed up for the 200GB option ($4 per month) to test it out.

Let’s take a look.

iOS 8 gives the Photos app superpowers

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Photos on iOS 8 are so good that you will be able to ditch a whole home-screen folder’s worth of editing and organizing apps. That’s not an exaggeration: Apple’s new mobile OS packs in so many great new features that – even without the extending abilities of iOS 8’s new plug-ins – you can do pretty much any edit right there in the photos app.

The camera, too, has gotten an upgrade, and – maybe the most important for some – so has the iCloud Photo Stream, which will now give access to all your photos, from any device, whenever you want.

Sounds pretty good huh?

The iPhone 6 camera is the only camera you need

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Your iPhone 6 will take better photos than most pocket cameras.
Your iPhone 6 will take better photos than most pocket cameras.

Two things strike me about the camera in the new iPhone 6 models. One is that you can take better pictures; the other is that the iPhone is now a much better place for viewing those pictures.

With their bigger, brighter screens — and iCloud’s new Photo Albums feature (which stores all your photos, ready to view, in iCloud) — the iPhone 6 and its larger sibling, the iPhone 6 Plus, are looking to be the best smartphones yet, from a photographic point of view.

App Watch: Plain old text and widgets (lots of widgets)

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Widget, widgets, widgets. Boy, have we got some widgets for you. And text. Plain text. Plain old text, turned into a calculator. And widgets. Did I mention those? Weather widgets. Battery widgets. And yes, text widgets.

Read all about these new widgets and other new apps in this week's App Watch.


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