5 apps that keep you safe while traveling [Tech Travel Tips]

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tripmode travel
Apps can make your trip safer and easier.
Photo: TripMode

tech travel tips At home, you can pretty much trust your own Wi-Fi network, and you kind of have to trust your cellular provider. But as soon as you fetch up at a hotel, airport, Airbnb rental or coffee shop, you risk everything.

Short of leaving your MacBook or iPhone out on the table while you visit the bathroom at a hacker conference, using public Wi-Fi is just about the worst thing you can do with your devices when you travel. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself — and they’re cheap and easy.

How to use your Mac’s screen as an Apple TV

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reflector 2 mac
Beaming video from a 13-inch iPad to a 10-inch MacBook mightn't be smart, but it is possible.
Photo: Madebyvadim

You have a big 27-inch iMac sitting on the desk in the corner of your living room office, and yet you’re over there on the couch watching a movies on your iPhone or iPad. Wouldn’t it be great if you could beam one to the other, like sending video from an iPhone to an Apple TV? The good news is that you totally can, just by installing an app on your Mac. There are several available, but today we’ll use my favorite, Reflector.

How to kill pesky sharing popups in Safari on Mac and iOS

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block sharing popups
From left to right -- original view, Kill Sticky view, and the built-in Safari Reader View.
Photo: Cult of Mac

You know those supper-annoying bars that so often hover over a web page on your iPhone? The ones that offer sharing popups for social media sites that you never use? The ones that cover up half the text you’re trying to read? The ones you hate so much you’d rather just close the browser tab than try to read the page through this aggressive frame of junk?

Well, there’s good news for you all: Software engineer Alisdair McDiarmid hates them, too. Only unlike you and me, who just sit around and complain about them, McDiarmid did something about this growing problem. Behold, the Kill Sticky bookmarklet, guaranteed to wipe the messiest page clean.

iOS 11 Dock makes Handoff worth using again

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iOS 11 handoff
Handoff apps appear in the Dock's rightmost spot.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Handoff is one of those iOS/Mac features that seems great, but is limited in use. However, a simple tweak has made Handoff waaaay better in iOS 11. Now, instead of having a tiny app icon appear in the corner of your lock screen, Handoff apps show up right there in the new iOS 11 Dock.

This simple change has gotten me using Handoff again, instead of ignoring it like I have for the past however many years.

How to automatically save iMessage pictures to the iPhone Photos app

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save iMessage pictures
Easily save lots of iMessage pictures and movies all at once.
Photo: Cult of Mac

You can’t yet automatically save incoming photos and videos from the Messages app in iOS, but there is a way to quickly select a whole bunch of iMessage pictures and movies, and save them all to your Camera Roll.

Why would you want to do this? The main reason is search. Once your media gets inside the Photos app, it can be searched and included in Memories. Plus, all the pictures of people will get scanned and recognized. In short, right now some of your most valued pictures don’t show up in the place you keep all your pictures. Let’s change that.

GarageBand for Mac now syncs your projects with iOS

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sync GarageBand on Mac
Now you can sync GarageBand projects from Mac to iOS.
Photo: Cult of Mac

GarageBand’s most recent update for macOS adds a few neat new Mac-only features, but perhaps its biggest addition is for iPad users. Now the Mac version of GarageBand can sync a cut-down version of any song with the iPad or iPhone, allowing you to add new tracks, then sync them back with the master project back on your Mac. It’s a feature that only came to Logic in January of this year.

This is big, because it lets musicians use the full power of the Mac GarageBand in their studio or bedroom, and still add tracks to that project from a phone. You could, for instance, take a mix with you to band practice, lay down some new tracks on your iPhone, then sync them back.

5 ways to boost your MacBook battery life

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Boost MacBook battery life
Save yourself some battery power when you go remote.
Photo: picjumbo.com/Pexels CC

Despite the MacBook’s svelte design, their batteries last a long time because Apple put a lot of thought into how the hardware and software work together. Still, if you find yourself running out of juice, some simple changes can help you extend your MacBook battery life.

Apple designs its laptops to maximize user productivity and minimize extra work, but following these simple tips will boost MacBook battery life considerably.

How To always open a website in Persistent Reader View in iOS 11

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persistent reader view compare
Clean up the busiest sites automatically with the new Persistent Reader View.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Do you have any websites you read regularly in Reader view? Maybe they’re covered in popovers that keep distracting you? Or perhaps the design hurts your sensitive eyes, or the otherwise smart author insists on using Comic Sans for the text body? Well, there’s good news: Safari on iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra now let you activate Persistent Reader View, which automatically switches the clean Reader view in as the page loads.

How to manipulate iOS text using the keyboard

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manipulate text
Keep your hands on the keyboard with these iOS text-wrangling tips.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Because iOS is a variant of macOS, it has a lot in common with the Mac. One of the things that iOS shares with the Mac is the keyboard. Not the on-screen keyboard, but the real, physical, clackety-buttoned keyboard. Thanks to its OS X heritage, the iPad (and iPhone) can use all the same keyboard tricks to manipulate text that Mac users have been enjoying for years.

It even carries some, but not all, of the shortcuts over from the ancient text editor Emacs. What? Don’t worry, it’s not too dorky.

How to quickly search settings in iOS

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iOS search settings
You'll be surprised at the how many settings are unearthed by a simple search.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The iOS Settings app is more like a chaotic junk drawer that a neatly-organized filing cabinet. Back when the iPhone launched, it was tidy, with only a few items, all methodically arranged. Then, as more and more features were added to iOS, their settings were tossed in there like you toss spare keys into that kitchen drawer with the rubber bands and spare fuses. Unlike a real junk drawer, though, which will slice your fingers with hidden tools and pieces of broken teacup if you rummage too hard, the Settings app has a way to ignore the detritus and get straight to the setting you want: Search settings. This feature is essential, but very few of the folks I asked about it this week even knew it existed. This how-to is for them, and for anyone else who hates changing settings.