Dongle-tangling: Use dark chaotic forces and never lose your headphone adapter again

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Dongle-tangling is the hottest thing since AirPods.
Dongle-tangling is the hottest thing since AirPods.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You know how headphone cables always get tangled? In the past, I have put a cable down carefully, and picked it up just moments later, and the wires have already tied themselves into knots. And you know what else is super-annoying? Apple’s stupid USB-C and Lightning headphone adapters, the kind that you have to use if you want to plug headphones or cables recent into iPads and iPhones.

But what if there was a way to take both these annoyances, and combine them into something … slightly less annoying?!? That would be amazing, obviously. Today we will see how to use the powerful dark force of tangling to stop you from losing your headphone jack dongles.

These luxury bands are the ideal Apple Watch upgrade

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Clessant-2019-lineup
Clessant's newest luxury lineup.
Photo: Clessant

Don’t settle for the basic bands that ship as standard with your new Apple Watch. These leather straps from Clessant add a dash of luxury that will separate your new wearable from all the others.

Hand-crafted from the finest materials and available in a variety of styles, they’re smart, outrageously stylish, and unlike anything you’ll find in the Apple Store.

How to customize AirPods Pro controls for noise cancellation and Siri

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The new AirPods Pro, and a dongle for scale.
The new AirPods Pro, and a dongle for scale.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The brand-new AirPods Pro replace the original AirPods’ tap-based controls with a squeezable stick. In use, this works just like the old inline remote on Apple’s wired EarPods, only there’s no actual click. Instead, a click sound plays through the AirPods you just squeezed — and the resulting audio illusion is pretty convincing. It really seems like you feel a physical click.

You can squeeze either AirPod Pro stem. And, just as with regular AirPods, you can tweak these squeezes. Here’s how to customize AirPods Pro controls to switch quickly between active noise cancellation and Transparency mode.

Change these settings to make your Apple Watch battery last all day

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Keep your Apple Watch going all day long.
Keep your Apple Watch going all day long.
Photo: Alvaro Reyes/Unsplash

My Apple Watch Series 5 gets seriously good battery life. I can easily get 24 hours out of it, but I don’t really stress it by doing multiple daily workouts or by streaming audio directly to Bluetooth headphones. But what if your watch has trouble lasting the whole day? Or if you’re traveling, and not able to just stop and charge the watch whenever it needs a quick boost?

Today, we’ll check three settings that can prolong your Apple Watch battery life.

How to make your Mac’s dictionary popup way, way faster

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spotlight popup
A spotlight, looking something up.
Photo: Richard Ciraulo/Unsplash

What happens when you use a three-finger tap on your Mac’s touchpad to look up a word? In olden times, it would bring up a dictionary definition, instantly. Today, it probably doesn’t do anything. Not for a few seconds at least. Or rather, it pops up a panel right away, but then it takes a few seconds to load whatever Siri reckons you might be looking for.

So, how do we stop this madness? Easy. We switch it off in the Mac’s settings, aka System Preferences.

Stand+Dock brings iPhone, AirPods together for tidy charging [Review]

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Zens-Stand-Dock-white
A spectacularly simple charging solution.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Clear the clutter on your bedside table with the Zens Stand+Dock. This stunning charger tops up iPhone and AirPods simultaneously and eliminates messy cables that are forever in your way.

A built-in USB port on its base also allows you to charge a third device — like your Apple Watch. And with up to 20W of power output, there’s more than enough to go around.

Here’s why we love the Zens Stand+Dock.

Hands-on with the new Apple Watch Series 5 compass

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Apple Watch compass
The Milanese Loop's magnet doesn't seem to trouble the compass.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

WatchOS 6 introduces a new Compass app (only for the Apple Watch Series 5), along with a couple of Compass complications. It works pretty much exactly like you’d expect, only with a few neat extras. You can access it from the All Apps screen, or by tapping the Compass complication on one of your Apple Watch faces. Let’s take a look.

iPadOS Files’ search is now almost as good as the Mac’s

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Files app iPadOS
Files can be stored in drawers.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Files app is waaaaay better in iOS 13 and iPadOS. It adds external USB storage support, so you can plug in anything from a hard drive or USB-C stick to a synthesizer that can mount as a USB drive to load samples and presets.

Apple’s built-in file-management app adds column view (with a handy preview) and all the metadata you want to know about a given file. And it also benefits from a massively upgraded search feature.

How to use Safari’s download manager in iOS 13

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Safari's new download manager in iOS 13.
Safari's new download manager in iOS 13.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

In iOS 13 and iPadOS, Safari gets a download manager. If you tap (or click, with the new iOS mouse support) on a link to a file, that file will now get downloaded to a folder. What’s more, you can change the location of that download folder.

This is one of the small but essential new features in iPadOS that really turns the iPad into a viable MacBook replacement, even for those who aren’t yet used to the arcane ways of iOS. Let’s check it out.

What you need to know about Dark Mode on iOS 13

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Dark Mode on iPadOS
Dark Mode is available in iPadOS too.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone finally joined the dark side with the new Dark Mode feature introduced in iOS 13. Apple delighted fans who have been clamoring for the feature for years — and it appears the wait has been worth it.

After using Dark Mode, I don’t think I’ll be going back to the bright white iOS interface anytime soon. Apple poured a bunch of thought into Dark Mode so that it does more than just make everything black.