Add a one-tap AirPods connect button to your Home screen or Dock

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airpods connect
This sticker is just one way to speed up AirPods connections.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you own multiple iOS devices, then AirPods are supremely convenient. As soon as you connect them to one device, they automatically pair (and remain paired) to all your other devices. So, if you have a Mac, an iPhone, an iPad, and an Apple Watch, then all you have to do is tap connect on whichever device you want to use.

The problem is that the connect button is hidden, and a pain to reach. You have to swipe to open Control Center, then tap the AirPlay icon, then tap your AirPods in the list. And then wait a few seconds to see if it worked. Admittedly, this is a small inconvenience, but we can make it better. How about adding a button to your iPhone Home screen or Mac Dock that connects the AirPods with one tap?

CarKey feature buried in iOS beta might let iPhones replace car keys

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A Tesla Watch app concept.
A concept design for an Apple Watch app designed to communicate with a Tesla.
Photo: Eleks Labs

Apple reportedly added code to iPhone and Apple Watch to let these devices function as car keys, giving users one less thing to constantly carry around.

The company began work on such a feature years ago, and supposedly how has finally reached the point where it’s building the feature into iOS and watchOS.

Check out iOS 13’s amazing NFC-triggered Shortcuts

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nfc shortcuts
These little NFC tags are discreet enough to stick anywhere.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Shortcuts has gotten so many amazing new tricks in iOS 13 that it’s going to take a while for us to cover them all. So, how about starting with the new NFC automations? This lets you tap your sleeping iPhone onto an NFC sticker or tag, and your iPhone will run a shortcut. This is pretty amazing, because you can walk around you home (or office), and just tap your iPhone onto objects to perform tasks: open apps, set timers, play music, dim the lights — in fact, you can do anything a regular shortcut can do.

Here are two great examples of using NFC shortcuts in iOS 13.

iOS 13 will read NFC tags in ID cards and passports in Germany

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German-ID-card-NFC
It’s already possible if you use Android.
Photo: Bundesministerium des Innern, für Bau und Heimat

iPhone users will be able to scan German ID cards, passports, and more when iOS 13 rolls out this fall, according to local authorities.

The functionality will allow digital versions of those documents to be carried on an iOS device so that they are always accessible. Recent reports have confirmed users in Japan will be able to do the same with national ID cards.

iOS 13’s NFC triggers bring Shortcuts to the real world

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With NFC shortcuts in iOS 13, this speaker could become a trigger to play your favorite podcast.
This speaker could become a trigger to play your favorite podcast.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iOS 13 Shortcuts app brings plenty of radical changes — automatic scheduled and location-based shortcuts, for example — but one super-neat new feature will make a world of difference. Now, if you have a compatible iPhone, you can combine NFC tags with Shortcuts. That is, you can run any shortcut just by tapping your iPhone onto an NFC sticker.

Seriously. Pretty wild, right? You could tap your iPhone onto a sticker atop a speaker in your kitchen, and it would start playing the radio, for instance. Let’s check out how NFC shortcuts will work.

Apple Card’s colorful packaging revealed ahead of launch

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Apple Card packaging
Here’s how Apple Card will be presented to consumers.
Photo: Ben Geskin

New photos reveal how Apple Card will be presented to consumers when it starts reaching early adopters this summer.

It’s the first time we’ve seen the titanium Card’s fancy packaging since it was announced back in March. It is said to be in beta testing with Apple employees ahead of its launch.

Apple will open up iPhone’s NFC tech for Brexit app

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Square Terminal could help more businesses accept Apple Pay.
NFC tech hasn't previously been opened up to developers.
Photo: Square

Apple has reportedly agreed to open up its NFC capabilities on the iPhone for a U.K. government app. This Brexit app will help EU citizens apply for residency in the U.K. after it leaves the European Union.

The EU Exit app allows users to scan the chip inside their passports with their smartphone’s NFC reader. While this has been possible to do on Android phones, Apple has not previously allowed developer access to its NFC reading tech.