How to ask Siri when a nearby store is open

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ask siri
Siri knows all about the opening times of local businesses.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Is it too late on a Saturday night to hit the hardware store for that essential dingus you need for Sunday’s DIY project? Has the local supermarket closed already, or do you still have time to buy some more beer? Does the Kanaan restaurant (“Best Humos in Berlin”) even open today? Just ask Siri.

You may be used to firing up Google Maps, searching for the store or restaurant you’re interested in, then tapping around in the app to get to the opening times. But did you know that Siri can also tell you if a local business is open, or when it will be?

How to use one-handed Maps mode in iOS 11

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one-handed-maps
This is all happening with one finger.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Using one-handed maps is currently suboptimal, because you need two fingers to zoom the map. But in iOS 11, the familiar pinch-to-zoom gesture is joined by a new tap-to-zoom, which lets you navigate the entire interface with a single thumb. This means that you can easily check the map while walking, or even — if you are an irresponsible psychopath — while riding a bike.

Change these settings to save data when you travel [Tech Travel Tips]

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music travel offline
Downloading music is just one way to save a lot of data when you travel.
Photo: Cult of Mac

tech travel tips Your mobile data plan takes a hammering when you travel. All the stuff you usually do while sitting in bed using your home Wi-Fi — like reading Cult of Mac and viewing cute capybara GIFs — will eat through your monthly allowance. And that’s before you get to the extra use of maps and Google to find your way around.

Today on Tech Travel Tips, we’ll look at ways to stop your iPhone and iPad from using up all your data in the first few days of your vacation.

iOS 11 brings VR mode to Apple Maps using ARKit

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flyover mode in Apple Maps
Flyover is getting a major upgrade in iOS 11.
Photo: Apple

Ever wonder what it feels like to be a Godzilla-sized monster traipsing around the skyscrapers of New York City? Well, with iOS 11 now you can.

Apple has subtly added a cool new virtual reality mode in Apple Maps with the release of iOS 11 that lets users explore 3D models of some of the world’s most popular cities. The new feature is powered by Apple’s new ARKit, allowing you to walk around your house and tilt your phone camera around to visit different parts of the city.

Watch the crazy new feature in action:

How to use 3D Touch in Maps to see the weather anywhere

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maps app 3d touch weather
One of the neatest tricks in Maps app is the ability to quickly check the weather anywhere in the world.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple’s Maps app has gotten pretty great recently, as long as you don’t want parks and forests marked in green. Like most of Apple’s built-in apps, Maps is even better when used with 3-D Touch. By pressing on everything from the app icon to the tiny weather can on the corner, you can access shortcuts and extra info. Let’s take a look.

Use Notes app to plan your vacation

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notes vacation plan
The notes app is a great way to share the planning of your next vacation.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Here’s the worst way to organize any task: email. You can’t put everything in one place, and even if you could, you could never find it. Apple’s built-in Notes app, on the other hand, is the perfect place to store all those snippets of info you accumulate when planning something like a vacation. You can collect web pages, add checklists and photos, and even sketch maps, or add other media like PDFs or apps. And then you can share that note with any number of people and all read and update it.

Let’s see how it all works.

How to activate Photos’ hidden 3D Flyover view

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3d flyover photos
See all your photos on Apple's 3D Flyover map
Photo: Cult of Mac

The iOS Photos app might just look like a simple grid-like list, but it has a ton of hidden power. For instance,  you can see your photos on a full-screen, 3-D Flyover map. And with one simple swipe on a photograph, you can see where it was taken, see other photos taken nearby, and collections photos that your iPhone figures are related to the one you’re looking at. It’s a fantastic way both to find out more about your pictures, and to browse. After all, why limit yourself to flipping through pictures, one by one, in the order you shot them, like some film-camera using hipster luddite, when you can see your photos on a map in Apple’s glorious 3-D Flyover view?

Apple’s Irish data center is getting fast-tracked

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A mock up of Apple's proposed data center in Ireland.
A mock up of Apple's proposed data center in Ireland.
Photo: Apple