How to hide the Dock’s background on your iPhone


hide the dock on the iPhone
This wallpaper hides the Dock, but shows up my previously-invisible black spacer icons.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Your iPhone’s dock is ever present. Also ever-present is the translucent ribbon behind the icons. Maybe it’s there to provide visual separation from the wallpaper behind it, but seeing as the rest of your home-screen icons are left to fend for themselves, visibility-wise, then maybe not. Perhaps it’s there to provide a visual separation between the privileged Dock and the rest of the home-screen proletariat?

But if you don’t like this separator, then you’re stuck with it. Or are you? You may not be able to remove the ribbon, but you can hide it.

How to use iCloud Drive to free up storage on your Mac


Clouds. Perfect for the storage of information.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Is your Mac stuffed fit to burst? Do you look at the Finder’s Status Bar, see “1GB available,” and then give up what you were doing and go check Twitter instead? What if I told you that you could offload much of the junk/important data on your Mac to iCloud, just like you do with your iCloud Photo Library? Well, you can, and it’s easy. It’s called Optimized Storage.

6 things Apple should do to fix Siri


Siri display
"I don't have these features. Would you like me to search the web for you?"
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Siri kind of sucks, despite its increasingly prominent role in the Apple ecosystem.

With the general verdict on the HomePod being “great speaker, shame about Siri,” what does Apple need to do in order to catch up with its rivals? Here are six Siri improvements we’d love to see Apple implement as soon as possible.

This stainless steel Apple Watch band is super-shiny and sleek [Watch Store]


Casetify's Stainless Steel Mesh Bands rival Apple's Milanese Loop Bands in quality and cost nearly half the price. Shown above in Iridescent.
Photo: Courtesy of Casetify

Stainless steel meticulously weaves its way through the Mesh Band for Apple Watch — Casetify’s answer to the significantly more expensive Milanese Loop by Apple. Casetify’s version is just as stylish and functional as the behemoth brand’s band, and now comes in two brand-new finishes: Iridescent and Gold (that matches the Series 3).

For penny-counters, you’ll save from $67 to $117 on Casetify’s silver and black stainless steel mesh bands, respectively, and gain three additional colors not offered by Apple: gold, rose gold and iridescent.

The Stainless Steel Mesh Bands are for both men and women. Check out the latest colors in our Watch Store, and read on to learn more.

Best iPad cases for every type of user


pad and quill
The right case is not only protective, but functional, and even classy.
Photo: Pad&Quill

You have in your hands a brand new iPad. Now what? Sure, you can just go ahead and use it au natural. But consider: While iPads may look like hulking slabs of aluminum and glass, they are deceptively delicate. They cry out for protection.

Gauging which is the best case to safely secure your tablet is not for the faint of heart, given the myriad options out there. That’s where our iPad case roundup comes in. We’ve scoured the best reviews, including our own, and looked at buyers’ favorite cases on shopping sites like Amazon.

Then we gathered our picks into several categories, depending on how much you want to pay, what type of protection you need, and any extra functionality offered (like keyboard cases). And we’ve also put together a list of runners-up — cases that are pretty good, or even great, but just didn’t make our cut.

These are the touch gestures you can use with HomePod


HomePod likes to be touched.
Photo: Apple/Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The HomePod’s fancy gimmick is that you can use Siri to control it. Even when the music is loud enough to get your neighbors banging on the walls, Siri can hear you thanks to the six microphones’ ability to ignore the sound from the speakers. But touch is always faster than talk, so a quick tap on the top of the HomePod will often be better than trying to get Siri to understand you.

4 easy ways to get back to the Desktop on your Mac


Now that's a beautiful desktop.
Photo: Dave Fayram/Flickr CC

Most people are animals. They drop files onto their Mac desktops the way teenagers drop junk food and candy wrappers in the street, littering the place up until you can’t find anything. I’m not gong to try to cure you of that habit. That was your parents’ job, and they already failed. But I can show you a few quick ways to access your shameful desktop when you decide you can face it.

How to mute iMessage threads, and spot those you accidentally silenced


shhh mute iMessage
Shut those annoying conversations up right now.
Photo: Shawn Rossi/Flickr CC

Have you ever had your regular (important) iMessages swamped by a flurry of notifications for that inane group conversations about matcha-flavored KitKats? Or maybe you want to keep your iPad’s notifications switched on, but you want to mute iMessages from your boss until Monday, because she has no concept of boundaries?

If so, you need iMessage’s handy conversation-muting feature. It’s so easy to use that you may have turned it on by mistake. If you’re no longer getting alerts for certain messages, you may want to check this, too.

How to speed up your iPhone if the Spectre patch slows it down


Ghosts are a bit like spectres.
Photo: Sean MacEntee/Flickr CC

Spectre is the worst kind of security flaw. Not only do the partial fixes not even protect against attacks, but they also slow down your iPhone, or other device. But things aren’t quite as bad as they seem. You can take steps to speed up your iPhone once again, and one of the fixes not only makes the web faster, but also fixes Spectre’s biggest attack vector.