Tiny adapter adds 480GB SSD and HDMI to your MacBook [Review]

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Minix Neo Storage Pro with MacBook
Minix Neo Storage Pro combines an SSD, USB-A and HDMI in a clip-on package.
Photo: Minix

Apple doesn’t make it easy to upgrade your MacBook. But the Minix Neo Storage Pro does. Clip this to your laptop to add 480GB of storage capacity. Even better, the multiport adapter also includes an HDMI port and a USB-A port for connecting legacy accessories. And there’s a Thunderbolt 3 port, too.

I’ve been testing the Neo Storage Pro for weeks. Here’s how well it works in regular use.

Easily take notes on your iPad with inexpensive Meco Stylus Pen [Review]

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Meco Stylus Pen review
Meco Stylus Pen costs far less than many rivals, and might be the only stylus you need for your iPad.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Meco Stylus Pen is an affordable alternative to Apple Pencil. It’s well suited for taking handwritten notes on a range of iPad models, and offers palm rejection. And while it doesn’t have the features artists need, it offers a long battery life and is simple to connect to your iPad.

I tested this budget active stylus by taking notes and sketching out ideas. Here’s how it stood up to real-world use.

Slap on a Strapa band for the ultimate Apple Watch upgrade

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Strapa-band-Apple-Watch
Apple Watch looks even better with a Strapa band.
Photo: Strapa

There’s no better way to upgrade your Apple Watch than by adding some of the finest leather money can buy. That’s why you should check out these wonderful Strapa straps.

They’re beautifully made from only the finest materials, and come in a range of gorgeous color options. They’re also compatible with all generations of Apple Watch.

Apps to boost your work-from-home productivity

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App icons for TickTick toggle outlook and dayone
It only takes a few key tools to make working remotely much more manageable.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

COVID-19 lockdown certainly brought a swift change from the norm for many people. We’re dealing with the added stress of different working situations, the struggle to get groceries, and in many cases, even acting as teachers or child care providers.

All of that can make it really challenging to feel accomplished and productive. Luckily, I finally found my groove in the last week or so, thanks to a couple of really useful apps (and some self-imposed rules).

How to listen to YouTube music in the background on iPhone

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youtube on a phone
There's no need to stare at a screen just to listen to YouTube music.
Photo: Szabo Viktor/Unsplash

Unlike streaming music, which often keeps playing when you switch away from the app or webpage, YouTube playback stops as soon as you leave mobile Safari. This means that using YouTube as a music player is out of the question. Or is it? Can you make YouTube play just the audio, even when you’re not showing the video? You can, and it’s really, really simple.

Last chance! Sweet sport band for Apple Watch hits an insane new low

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Elkson-Apple-Watch-Sport
Bag this brilliant Apple Watch band for under $11!
Photo: Elkson

Elkson’s silicone sport band for Apple Watch is a terrific alternative to Apple’s — and ideal for all the home workouts you’ll be doing during the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s attractive, comfortable, and brilliantly rugged.

It’s also a steal at its usual price of $14.99, but until March 31, you can get yours for even less. Order from the Cult of Mac Store today to pay just $10.99.

This Apple Watch bumper case solves a very specific problem [Review]

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The Elkson Apple Watch bumper case solved a problem that drove me crazy, and it looks good too!
Elkson's Apple Watch Case solves a problem that drove me crazy, and it looks good too!
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

For the longest time, I had a particular problem with my Apple Watch. When I rode my bicycle, the watch’s Digital Crown would rub against my wrist, playing havoc with the sound coming through my AirPods. Suddenly it would get very loud, or very low. It drove me crazy.

I tried everything I could think of, including wearing my watch backward so the Digital Crown was reversed, or on the inside of my wrist. Nothing worked, so I disabled Now Playing on my Watch, which I missed because it’s great for controlling music when doing something like riding a bike.

Then I came across Elkson’s Quattro Series Bumper Case for Apple Watch. This inexpensive cover surrounds the Digital Crown and prevents it from spinning when I ride my bike. Problem solved.

This setting makes Mac System Preferences way easier to use

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Arrange your Mac System Preferences alphabetically.
Arrange your Mac's System Preferences alphabetically.
Photo: Jessicah Hast/Unsplash

Are you forever opening up your Mac’s System Preferences app and searching for the section you need? If so, it’s because by default, all those Preference Panes are ordered by category, which — to me at least — makes little sense.

Luckily, changing a single setting in the Mac’s System Preferences app can make this essential tool far easier to use. There’s a much better way to sort them — alphabetically. Let’s check it out.

Hands on: Everything you want to know about iPad Pro’s new trackpad features

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Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, iPad
Pretty much any mouse will work with the iPad in iPadOS 13.4.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s new Magic Keyboard case for the iPad Pro looks amazing. But its most impressive feature (aside from that incredibly solid-looking hinge) will become available to any iPad owner with a mouse or trackpad laying around. The new trackpad support coming next week in iOS 13.4 works with pretty much any Bluetooth or USB mouse. You just connect the peripheral, and a cursor appears on the iPad screen.

This is a much, much better system than the cobbled-together mouse support that already exists in iOS 13’s Accessibility settings. Instead of simply imitating a finger on-screen, Apple completely rethought how a cursor should work on a touch-based device. This thing is deep, as we’re about to see.

Here’s a hands-on look at the new iPad mouse and trackpad features.