Apple could launch paid Apple News tier as soon as spring 2019


Texture will stop working on Windows soon
Apple purchased Texture back in early 2018.
Photo: Apple

Apple is planning to launch its own paid magazine and newspaper subscription service, which will serve as a premium part of the existing Apple News app.

It is based on Texture, the $9.99 a month magazine service Apple purchased back in March. As happened with the Beats Music technology that went into Apple Music, Apple will use its acquisition as the basis for its own branded product offering.

How to use Quick Website Search in Safari for iOS


This gentleman staring into a light represents the illumination of search.
This gentleman staring into a light represents the illumination of search.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Safari for iOS has a great feature: Quick Website Search. This lets you search the contents of a single website, using that site’s own built-in search. The clever part is that you don’t have to visit the site and tap into its search bar. Once Safari learns how to search that site, you can search it right from Safari’s own search bar.

Google Photos can now adjust background blur on Portrait Mode pics


Google Photos library backup on iPhone X
Google Photos is the photo and video backup app we all wish Apple would give us.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

You no longer need to buy the iPhone XS or XS Max to take advantage of one of the best features on the new devices’ camera.

Google Photos pushed out an update this morning that allows any iPhone owner with a Portrait Mode camera to adjust the background blur after a photo has been taken.

Who needs Apple Pencil when any old stylus will do? [Opinion]


Apple Pencil vs dumb stylus: This old Wacom Bamboo is more than enough
This old Wacom Bamboo stylus is more than enough "pencil" for many people.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I’ve owned an Apple Pencil since I bought the first iPad Pro a few years ago. There’s nothing to touch it when it comes to drawing and painting on the iPad, but I found I didn’t ever use it for that. I mark up PDFs, make selections when editing photos, and sketch the odd diagram.

This time around, I’m saving my $130 by not buying the Apple Pencil mkII. Why? I don’t need it. Instead, I’m using the cheap, dumb stylus I found in my jam jar of pens and pencils. Let me tell you why.

How to zip and unzip files on iPhone with Shortcuts


Broken zip shortcut metaphor.
Broken ZIP Shortcut metaphor.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Shortcuts isn’t just about asking Siri to help out when a cop pulls you over, or shutting your home down for the night. Shortcuts can also be little utilities that you use on your files, adding Mac-like functions to your iPad or iPhone. Today’s example shows how to make a shortcut that unzips files, and saves them to your iCloud Drive or Dropbox. Even in iOS 12, there’s no built-in way to unzip stuff. And with this shortcut, you won’t have to buy an app to do it.

Make an awesome power nap timer with Siri Shortcuts


Set a power nap timer --and more -- with your voice
Set a power nap timer --and more -- with your voice
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Here’s a great little shortcut that uses the new Set Reminder action in the newest v2.1 of Apple’s Shortcuts app. Tell Siri that you want to take a nap, and it will ask you for how long. It’ll then set a timer, and schedule Do Not Disturb for the duration. Get ready to clock some serious ZZZs with our power nap shortcut.

Download Instagram photos with this Siri shortcut


Download Instagram
You can download any Instagram photo -- even this one.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you like a photo or video on Instagram, you can like it, or you can save it to your collection. But what about just saving it? You just can’t download Instagram photos.

This week, a friend of mine posted some awesome videos he shot on tape back in the 1980s. I don’t want to dig around in Instagram’s ever-more-convoluted app just to watch them. I want to save them to my iPhone’s Photo Library. Instagram doesn’t let you save an image. Even if you copy the Instagram link using the share feature, then open that image in iPhone Safari, you can’t get at the image.

So I made a shortcut to do it for me. Check it out.

Luna Display converts an iPad into a Mac’s second screen


Luna Display iPad
Double the size of your MacBook screen by using your iPad as a second monitor with Luna Display.
Photo: Astro HQ

Anyone who feels their MacBook’s screen is too cramped can now use their iPad as as second display just by plugging in a dongle. Luna Display is now available to all after a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Astro HQ promises that its hardware/software solution is better than purely software options for using an iPad as an external monitor.

Apple denies its server hardware was infected by Chinese spy chips [Updated]


This isn't actually Apple's data center, but it's close.
Did the chips really make it into Apple's data centers?
Photo: Pexels

Update: Apple and Amazon both issued lengthy statements Thursday concerning the Chinese spy chip allegations. We updated this post to include those statements.

Apple denies that Chinese spy chips infiltrated its iCloud server hardware after claims that motherboards used by Apple, Amazon and dozens of other tech companies contained microchips used for surveillance purposes.

Cupertino insists the story is “wrong and misinformed.” Apple also says Chinese spying had nothing to do with the company’s decision to cut ties with a supplier.