How to download and watch offline in the new Apple TV app

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The new TV app is better, and worse.
The new TV app is better, and worse.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s new TV app, available pretty much everywhere with iOS 12.3, lets you subscribe to TV and movie channels, as well as renting films and shows direct from Apple. The bad news is that, if you only want to watch your own sideloaded videos, the app is worse than the old Videos app. But if you subscribe to channels, or would like to, then TV is a fantastic way to consolidate all that entertainment.

And guess what? It’s even useful when you’re traveling or commuting. Today we’ll see how to download and watch TV shows and movies offline.

This battle-tough backpack looks killer, too [Review]

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Thule Crossover 2 backpack
Ready for the world, the Thule Crossover 2 backpack.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

If you’re going to be seen carrying the same bag every day, its look and style are as important to many commuters as the bag’s ability to protect its contents.

Many shoulder bags and backpacks excel in one area and underwhelm in the other. Not the 20L Thule Crossover 2 backpack. It can be reviewed with just two words — ruggedly handsome.

Will Chris Hemsworth’s new fitness app get you ripped like Thor? [Review]

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Centr is a new fitness app by Avengers star Chris Hemsworth
Centr is a new fitness app by Avengers star Chris Hemsworth.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

I’m a big Chris Hemsworth fan. The guy is walking workout inspiration. I spend hours at the gym hoping that one day I’ll achieve Thor-style arms. But so far, no luck.

That’s why Centr, Hemsworth’s new fitness app, immediately caught my interest. I was intrigued to learn the secrets of the training regimen that keeps him looking like a superhero. So I eagerly downloaded the app, hoping it would help transform my puny arms into guns worthy of Thor.

This dual iPhone and Apple Watch charger is a great AirPower alternative [Watch Store]

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ZENS Dual Watch Aluminum Wireless Charger for iPhone Xr iPhone Xs
The Zens Dual+Watch is all you need for charging.
Photo: Zens

Now that Apple’s AirPower charging mat has been cancelled, this dual iPhone and Apple Watch charger is perhaps the best alternative.

Like the AirPower, the Dual+Watch Aluminium Wireless Charger can charge three devices simultaneously, including the new wireless AirPods.

How to quickly add contacts with Cardhop

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Cardhop will make you stop hating your contacts.
Cardhop will make you stop hating your contacts.
Photo: Flexibits

Apple’s Contacts apps are terrible. On both iOS and Mac, they’re opaque, confusing and frustrating to use. Cardhop is a brand-new contacts app for iPhone and iPad that is better than the built-in app in almost every way.

Here’s how to add a new contact without typing a thing.

Make your own iPhone Safari download manager with Shortcuts

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Who doesn’t enjoy a well-managed download?
Who doesn’t enjoy a well-managed download?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One of the biggest shortcomings of mobile Safari is downloading files. It’ll do it just fine, but it loads everything as if it were a web page. PDFs, ZIPs, MP3s: They all get loaded right there into the current page, whereupon you have to use the Open In… feature to save the file.

Perhaps even worse — you don’t have any idea how long the download is going to take. All you have to go on is the loading progress bar up in the URL bar, which creeps along and really only offers two states: “not done yet” and “done.”

Today we will fix that by whipping up a download manager using the Shortcuts app. Let’s go.

How to create Dropbox-style links in iCloud Drive

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Cloud storage.
Cloud storage.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you keep your stuff in Dropbox, it’s easy to grab a link to a file or a folder. Then you can send that link to another person or store it in, say, your to-do list so you can quickly open it with a click. You can even grab the link inside the iOS Files app.

But if you use iCloud, this simple task is no longer simple. In typical Apple style, a clean UI comes at the expense of hiding almost everything behind multiple taps and cryptic pop-up boxes. But all is not lost. You can actually grab a link to any file stored in your iCloud Drive — and use it in any app you please.