How to back up your iMessages (and why it’s essential)

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Never lose your old messages again.
Never lose your old messages again.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Why would you bother to back up your iMessages? After all, they’re all stored in iCloud these days, right? Well, yes your messages are all stored in iCloud, but they’re not backed up up there. They’re synced, which means that if you delete a message thread, it’s gone forever. The answer is to make a local backup, which requires a Mac. Which is ridiculous in 2019, but there you go.

Here’s how to back up your iMessages in case the worst happens.

Spring has sprung! Keep it fresh with these colorful Apple Watch bands

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Time to get a fresh start and look the part.
Time to get a fresh start and look the part.
Photo: Juuk

Whether you’re in need of a sport band, a luxe leather strap, or cool stainless steel, your search ends here.

Sure, you could go all out on Apple’s new Spring lineup with prices reaching as high as $489, but if you’re like me and putting away the cash for bigger and better hardware upgrades down the road, then these totally affordable and equally stylish bands are just for you.

Check out this watch store guide and find your perfect color match this season for price tags as low as $25.

AirPods 2 make great a little greater [Review – updated]

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AirPods 2 with box on desk
You can already get your brand new AirPods for less.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Back in December 2016, I was ecstatic to receive my AirPods. In the first few days after they arrived, I had them in my ears almost every moment I wasn’t sleeping or in conversations with others.

Since then, I’ve worn my AirPods, on average, something like four hours every day. When they aren’t in my ears, they are in their case, in my front left pocket. They are as much a part of me as the iPhone they’re typically paired to.

With the second-generation AirPods (can we agree to call them AirPods 2?), Apple took the product I’ve loved dearly for the last 800-plus days, and made it just a little better.

How to email huge attachments with Mail Drop

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Imagine stuffing a packaged sofa and armchairs in here. That’s MailDrop.
Imagine stuffing a packaged sofa and armchairs in here. That’s MailDrop.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Problem: You want to send a bunch of photos, or maybe a couple of big PDFs, to a client/friend/family member. The trouble is that the files are too big. Say your photos total 50MB. That’s way too much for email.

The old solutions: Split the photos up and send smaller emails. That’s a real pain for you and for the recipient. What about Dropbox? Sure, but then you have to copy the files to Dropbox, and get a link. Do you even have the Dropbox app on your iPhone?

What about WeTransfer? Sure. Just try to enjoy waiting for the upload.

The fix: Mail Drop. Just compose your too-big email as usual, and let Mail Drop take care of it.

Go green for less green with 20 percent off select bands [Watch Store]

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E3 Supply Co. Apple Watch Strap in Reverse Shell Cordovan Leather
Getting a new Apple Watch band is almost as good as guzzling green beer.
Photo: E3 Supply Co.

You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but you do need something green. We’ve made it easier to wear the green by discounting select products this Saturday and Sunday.

We’ve rounded up special bands in green from these great companies: Carterjett, Casetify, E3 Supply Co., Nyloon and Ullu. Save 20 percent on these Apple Watch bands at the Cult of Mac Watch Store this weekend! (As a special treat, all Ullu products are on sale!)

Get the right band when you’re ready for action [Watch Store]

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You're ready for action. Is your Apple Watch? The Twelve South ActionSleeve is made for workouts.
You're ready for action. Is your Apple Watch?
Photo: Twelve South

While the Apple Watch is a great fitness tool, not every band is ready for the rough-and-tumble world of workouts. That black leather band that looks so smashing while you’re out on the town turns a bit sodden when you’re running the streets.

It’s key to get a band that will not only be comfortable, but able to survive whatever you put it through. That’s where the Cult of Mac Watch Store comes in. Check out our selection of Apple Watch sports bands, including the ones highlighted below.

Tiny iPhone and iPad charger will surprise you with its power [Review]

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Aukey 18W Power Delivery Wall Charger
Aukey’s 18W USB-C power adapter has definite advantages over Apple’s offerings.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Aukey has a USB-C charger that’s about as small at the standard 5W iPhone charger but boasts 18W of power. It can quickly charge an Apple phone or tablet, as well as other devices.

In addition, Aukey makes a USB-A dual-port charger that’s also surprisingly small but puts out 12W.

We tested both these products so you can be sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Your new Apple Watch Series 4 deserves a serious leather strap

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Strapa
Strapa makes gorgeous leather Apple Watch Series 4 straps that combine craftsmanship with high-quality materials.
Photo: Strapa

So, someone who obviously likes you very much gifted you an Apple Watch Series 4 this holiday season. Now you’d like to add some personal style with an out-of-the-ordinary Apple Watch band. You should consider those made by Strapa, a company based in The Netherlands that produces some of the best leather Apple Watch bands we’ve seen.

Trust us, you’ll love these bands.

AirFly upgrades your ears to first class

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AirFly brings pristine wireless listening to any and every location.
AirFly brings pristine wireless listening to any and every location.
Photo: Twelve South

Got a long flight home this holiday season? Wish you could listen to in-flight TV with your AirPods? Want to hear the gym cardio machine’s TV audio with your wireless headphones?

Now you can, thanks to Twelve South’s AirFly — a tiny device that connects wireless headphones to wired audio jacks on planes, in fitness centers and anywhere else wired headphones were previously required. Just pair your wireless headphones with AirFly, plug it into the headphone jack, and you’re ready.

This wondrous little machine makes an excellent travel buddy and stocking stuffer this holiday season. Grab it from our Watch Store now!

Apple’s new iPad Pro keyboard case is slim but pricey [Review]

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The Smart Keyboard Folio turns the iPad into a laptop, but there are better options.
The Smart Keyboard Folio turns the 2018 iPad Pro into a notebook.
Photo: Andrea Nepori

Anyone planning to use a 2018 iPad Pro for business probably needs an add-on keyboard. Apple’s own offering in this category is the Smart Keyboard Folio, which wraps tightly around this new tablet, both protecting it and providing the text input method so many of us depend on.

Because it’s made by Apple, nearly everyone who buys an iPad Pro considers getting this accessory, but the price will give you reason to pause.

We put one through extensive testing to help you decide if it’s right for you.