Give your drab Home app a spiffy remodel with HomePaper

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HomePaper for HomeKit lets you customize the Home app.
HomePaper lets you quickly give the boring Home app a fresh coat of paint.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

New app HomePaper for HomeKit lets you quickly customize the look of Apple’s notoriously bland-looking Home app — with zero hassles.

With the app, you simply select a photo from your iPhone or iPad camera or take a new one. Then you can quickly adjust the color(s) and make your own customized wallpaper for the Home app. There’s no fussing around with a complicated image editor or painstaking resizing required.

Here’s how to use HomePaper, which runs on iPhone and iPad, to give your Home app the remodel it deserves.

HyperJuice magnetic iPhone 12 battery is handy but hefty [Review]

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The HyperJuice Magnetic Wireless Battery Pack matches the look of an iPhone 12.
HyperJuice Magnetic Wireless Battery Pack for iPhone 12 really simplifies on-the-go charging. It’s almost MagSafe, but not quite.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Sanho HyperJuice Magnetic Wireless Battery Pack magnetically clings to the back of an iPhone 12 series model, recharging it without wires, clips… anything else. It packs 5000mAh of power and a USB-C port too.

I put the MagSafe-like battery pack through real-world testing. Here’s what’s I found.

Mac OS X turns 20: Why it’s Apple’s most important software yet

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Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah 20th birthday: OS X changed the game for Apple.
OS X changed the game for Apple.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

OS X, the most important piece of software in Apple history, turns 20 today.

Going on sale in its full, public version on March 24, 2001, Mac OS X 10.0 — code-named Cheetah, the first of many cat-themed names — transformed Apple’s operating system forever. It brought user interface enhancements that persist to this day, as well as technological advances that form the backbone of Apple’s current operating systems. In fact, OS X paved the way for today’s post-PC devices, from the iPhone and Apple Watch to HomePod and Apple TV.

While Apple eventually ditched the “OS X” branding for “macOS,” and switched from naming Mac software after big cats to California locations in 2013, Cheetah’s impact continues to be felt two decades after its introduction.

How to quickly calculate the wattage of any iPhone charger

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How to calculate wattage of iPhone charger
A simple calculation is all you need.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Looking for an iPhone charger that will deliver the fastest possible charging speeds? Forget the one that came bundled with your old iPhone and pick up a super-speedy 20W adapter instead.

If you can’t find the wattage of an adapter in its product description, we’ll show you a quick and easy way to calculate it yourself so you don’t waste your hard-earned cash on the wrong one.

iOS 14.4.1 squashes dangerous Safari security bug

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iOS 14.4.1 and iPadOS 14.4.1 and watchOS 7.3.2
Apple recommends you install iOS 14.4.1 on your iPhone to fix a security problem. And there are iPad and Apple Watch equivalents.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

iPhone users should install iOS 14.4.1, which Apple released Monday entirely to kill a bug in the Safari web browser. Obviously, Apple considers it a significant enough threat to devote an entire software update to justify it.

There’s also an equivalent iPadOS 14.4.1 version. Plus, the newly released watchOS 7.3.2 deals with the same security problem, as does macOS Big Sur 11.2.3.

Weird series Calls brings terrifying phone convos to Apple TV+

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New audio-intensive Apple TV+ show Calls leaves a lot to the imagination.
New audio-intensive Apple TV+ show Calls leaves a lot to the imagination.
Image: Apple TV+

Calls, the new thriller coming to Apple TV+, will depend on ears instead of eyes to get hearts pounding.

The oddball series “masterfully uses only audio and minimal abstract visuals to tell bone-chilling snackable stories,” Apple said in a description of the Calls trailer posted Wednesday.

How to tell if Silver Sparrow malware is hiding on your Mac

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How to tell if Silver Sparrow malware is hiding on your Mac
Silver Sparrow could be in your M-series or Intel Mac. Here’s how to find out.
Graphic: Cult of Mac/Red Canary

Some of the first malware targeting both M-series and Intel Macs has affected thousands of computers. At this point, the malicious code — called “Silver Sparrow” — is not dangerous, and Apple may have pulled its teeth. But users of the latest macOS computers still might want to know if their device has it. And the same goes for owners of Intel-based Macs.

Here’s how to find out if your computer has been hit.

New Apple TV+ sizzle reel serves up hits and giggles

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The Apple TV+ sizzle reel 2021 has a few surprises.
Apple has more than 20 fresh series and films premiering in coming months.
Screenshot: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ is prepping at least 21 new shows, movies and additional seasons of current series for release throughout 2021, and possibly beyond. A new sizzle reel gives a glimpse of all of them in two exciting minutes.

Watch it now to get a glimpse of the dramas, comedies, sci-fi and action series Apple hopes will entice audiences in 2021.

And there may have been some surprise announcements.

Swiss watchmaker’s $30,800 Apple Watch spoof refuses to load apps

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H. Moser & Cie.'s $30,800 Apple Watch spoof: What better way to thumb your nose at Apple Watch wearers?
What better way to thumb your nose at Apple Watch wearers?
Photo: H. Moser & Cie.

Do you look at the Apple Watch and think, “I wish it did less, but cost a whole lot more?”

If so, you might be in the market for the Swiss Alp Watch “Final Upgrade.” The mechanical watch created by H. Moser & Cie bears an uncanny resemblance to Apple’s wearable, albeit with far fewer features — and a $30,800 price tag.