macOS 11 Big Sur ushers in sweeping changes to Mac

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WWDC 2020: It's official: The next version of macOS will be called
It's official: The next version of macOS will be called "Big Sur."
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2020 The next Mac operating system, called macOS Big Sur, will bring the biggest design overhaul in nearly two decades, Apple said Monday. In addition to the massive visual upgrades, MacOS Big Sur will usher in huge changes to the Messages, Maps and the Safari web browser.

Apple unveiled the massive changes coming to macOS on Monday during the company’s keynote kicking off this year’s online-only Worldwide Developers Conference.

“This year, we’re taking the macOS experience you love even further,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering, as he launched into a deep dive into changes coming soon to Mac.

How to make a Group FaceTime call on iPhone, iPad or Mac

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Group FaceTime is a great way to stay in touch with your family and friends during coronavirus quarantine.
Group FaceTime is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends.
Photo: Apple

As the coronavirus spreads around the world, loads of self-isolating people are turning to FaceTime, Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp video to stay in touch with friends and family. And what better way to keep in touch than to chat to everyone, all at the same time? One of the easiest and most secure ways to stay in touch is to make a Group FaceTime call.

Here’s how to set up a Group FaceTime call and add (almost) as many people as you like to it.

Congress might give law enforcement a ‘backdoor’ into encrypted messages

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The FBI finally hacked an iPhone 11
Congress might use child abuse as an excuse to weaken the encryption in Apple Messages and similar apps.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

No one could protest legislation aimed at curbing child sex abuse, but a bill that reportedly will be introduced soon in the US Congress could have much wider consequences. One result might be a legally mandated requirement that messaging services have a “backdoor” so that law enforcement can read all encrypted messages.

Siri’s been reading my messages and I love it

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Announce Messages with Siri
Getting Siri to read iMessages is AirPod Pro’s best feature.
Photo: Cult of Mac

As of iOS 13, you can have your iPhone read out incoming iMessages through your AirPods. And this — along with their awesome sound and noise-canceling abilities — is my favorite feature of the AirPods Pro. On paper, it’s a small feature in a long list. But in everyday use, Announce Messages with Siri makes a huge difference in how I use my iPhone.

How to use iOS 13’s new ‘Remind me when messaging’ feature

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Remind when messaging
Remember things, when you need them.
Photo: Estée Janssens

The Reminders app got a total revamp in iOS 13, making it way quicker and easier to add due dates, alerts and location-based notifications to new reminders. But it also added one killer new feature: Remind me when messaging.

This lets you add a contact to the reminder, and the next time you’re messaging that person, a notification will pop up.

See iOS 13’s best unannounced features [Video]

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iOS 13 on an iPhone X
Have you upgraded yet?
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

After spending time playing with the iPadOS 13 developer beta and iOS 13 beta , it’s clear there are tons of nice changes coming to Apple’s mobile platforms this fall.

Cupertino highlighted the biggest ones at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference. However, there’s a bunch of smaller stuff they didn’t tell us about. While there are hundreds of “under the hood” changes, these are the best iOS 13 features Apple didn’t announce.

Best unannounced iOS 13 features

How to add a custom iMessage avatar in iOS 13

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Memoji are awesome. Here's how to make your own.
Now you can use Memoji in iMessage profiles.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You know how you can add an avatar to pretty much any social app ever, and all your friends, family, contacts, etc., will see it? Well, in iOS 13 you can finally do the same for iMessages.

No longer will you have to hope that your contacts use a nice photo of you, or worry that your boss is using a picture of a cute pig or pussycat to represent you in the group chat. Now you can add and share your own avatar, or even a Memoji. Let’s see how.

How to make a great Memoji

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Memoji are awesome. Here's how to make your own.
Memoji are awesome. Here's how to make your own.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 12 lets you create Memoji, your own custom Animoji. What’s an Animoji? It’s a little animated character that — thanks to some facial recognition tricks from the latest iPhones’ TrueDepth cameras — copies your expressions live. This turns the cute Animoji critters into little virtual face puppets.

Now you don’t need to rely on a stock Animoji like Apple’s monkey, dog or space alien. You can create your own custom Memoji from scratch. You can make a virtual version of yourself, or you can create an original character. Or, as we’ll do today, you can copy a celebrity. Who? Let’s see …

iPhone lets Phillies fans order a ballpark beer by text

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It's the fullfillment of many a baseball fan's dreams: beer by text.
It's the fullfillment of many a baseball fan's dreams: beer by text.
Photo: Aramark

The Philadelphia Phillies and Aramark started a pilot program that lets fans order beer from their seats using an iPhone.

The service makes use of Apple Business Chat, a service that launched this spring designed to let customers send messages to companies without strings attached.