Take control of your Apple Pencil 2

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Like everything else, the new Apple Pencil is better.
Like everything else, the new Apple Pencil is better.
Photo: Andrea Nepori

The Apple Pencil 2 is way better than version 1.0. It’s always charged. It’s always there on the side of your iPad, ready to use. And now that it supports tap gestures, it’s also a lot more powerful. But it doesn’t stop there.

Check out these excellent Apple Pencil 2 tips and tricks to take your Apple stylus usage to the next level.

How to use Files app to replace your lame notes app

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No, not that kind of file.
No, not that kind of file.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

After trying out the millionth notes/scrapbooking app for the iPad, I realized that I should ditch apps altogether and just use the built-in Files app. It might be severely limited as an actual file browser, but Files has some big advantages over scrapbooking apps. It makes everything available to Spotlight searches, for one, and it doesn’t create duplicates of your files, because you’re always working with the originals.

Another huge advantage is that marking up PDFs with the Apple Pencil is instant. With all other PDF editors I’ve tried, you have to tap to enter a markup mode. In Files, you just start writing on the PDF. And that’s just the beginning.

Let’s see how it all works.

When did Apple’s built-in apps get so good?

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Look at this blank home screen. Just look at it.
Who needs third-party apps anyway?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

It used to be that the first-party iOS apps were only used by people who didn’t care enough to download something better. Mail, Notes, Contacts, the Calendar — all of these were immediately dumped into a junk folder by experienced users, to be replaced with a proper app. But something happened along the way to 2018. Now, Apple’s apps are every bit as good as third-party apps. (Well, mostly. The Contacts app is still awful.)

Today we’ll take a look at a few of Apple’s surprise hits.

See just how awesome Apple Pencil can be in Notes

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iPad

Photo: Apple

Apple is making sure new iPad owners know all about the tablet’s new tricks with its series of educational how-to videos that keep coming out with updates.

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s new how-to videos, Apple has published a new video showing how to use Apple Pencil on the new iPad to draw handwritten notes in the Notes app. With the new cheap iPad, now students can write and sketch as they follow along in class. Handwritten notes are also searchable.

Watch and learn:

ShotBox brings instant screenshot markup to the Mac

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shotbox
If you've used screenshot markup on iOS, you already know how ShotBox works.
Photo: Josh Parnham

If you like Instant Markup on iOS, then you’re going to love ShotBox. It’s a free app, available from the Mac App Store, that automatically pops up a panel of markup tools whenever you take a screenshot. It’s almost exactly like the Instant Markup tools built into iOS 11.

Streamline your calendar, charging, coding skills, and more [Week’s best deals]

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This week's best deals include tools for keeping all your passwords safe, all your devices charged, and lots more.
This week's best deals include tools for keeping all your passwords safe, all your devices charged, and lots more.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

To celebrate the start of a new week, we do what we do every week: gather up some of the best deals on gear, gadgets, and more. This round, we’ve got a comprehensive course in iOS 11 coding, and a ‘Hiffecient’ USB charging hub. We’ve also got a tool for streamlining online form-filling, and an upgrade for your Mac’s calendar. Everything is discounted by more than 40 percent. Read on for more details: