How iOS 12’s smartest features put users firmly back in control


Time for bed screen time downtime
Time for bed. iOS 12 lets you choose who can disturb you.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2018 bug Cult of Mac Maybe the most important new feature of iOS 12 is something that helps you to do less with your iPhone, not more.

If any other company had introduced Screen Time, the new system-wide toolset for limiting phone distractions, then it would (rightly) be dismissed as a gimmick, a sop to the increasing worries about phone addiction. But as is typical of Apple, Screen Time looks like it took a lot of work to get just right.

Screen Time may seem to be about combatting app addiction, and reducing the amount of time “wasted” on your iPhone. However, taken together with the new Do Not Disturb settings in iOS 12, it’s more about putting users back in control of their iPhones.

This is the most important setting you can enable on your iPhone


iPhone Data Protection is better than 10 padlocks.
Data Protection is better than 10 padlocks for your iPhone.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

There’s a security setting in iOS that will erase everything on your iPhone, resetting it back to a blank, factory-state slate if you tap in the wrong passcode 10 times. It’s called Data Protection, and I never wrote a how to on this because I figured everyone would have it switched on. After all, who wouldn’t want that kind of excellent security if ever they lost their iPhone?

iPhone SE 2 will sport a much smaller notch than iPhone X


Watch a iPhone SE 2 TV ad
This iPhone SE 2 leak casts doubt over Face ID.
Screencap: Creative Concepts

Yet another iPhone SE 2 leak has surfaced ahead of its official unveiling.

A screen protector built for the budget handset corroborates rumors that it will sport an edge-to-edge display with a notch — just like iPhone X. However, that notch won’t be anywhere near as large as it is on Apple’s flagship smartphone.

Facebook two-factor authentication no longer needs a phone number


Facebook two-factor authentication
You can now make Facebook more secure without handing over your number.
Photo: Facebook

You can now secure your Facebook account with two-factor authentication without handing over your phone number.

The social network now works alongside apps like Google Authenticator, Duo Security, and more. Its setup process has also been refined to make bolstering security a simpler experience.

How to stop websites hijacking Safari


hijacked StopTheMadness
Take back control of Safari with StopTheMadness.
Photo: Daniel Rehn/Flickr CC

Did you ever visit a website and find that it had blocked the usual behavior of the Safari browser? Maybe it’s a banking site that won’t let you paste in your long password into its password field? Or maybe you discovered that YouTube disables Safari’s contextual (right-click) menus and replaces them with it’s own versions? Or maybe you can’t drag that image to the desktop, or copy text from the page?

The good news is that you can wrest control of your browser back from these malicious, control-freak sites. Let’s see how, using the StopTheMadness browser extension.

Popular parental teen-monitoring app left user Apple IDs exposed


Passwords and email addresses were available in plaintext.
Photo: ZDNet

A popular app called TeenSafe, used by parents to keep tabs on their teenage children’s phone activity, has reportedly been compromised, resulting in “tens of thousands” of account details being exposed.

While no photos, messages or location data was revealed, the database featuring parent email addresses and their corresponding child’s Apple ID email address, plaintext password and device name was accessible. The TeenSafe app described itself as a “secure” monitoring app.

Dashlane keeps your password game on point [50 Essential iOS Apps #15]


Dashlane all items list on iPhone
Dashlane can store all your logins, and makes signing in to websites quick and easy.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: Dashlane password manager appHow many logins and passwords do you have? If the answer is more than one, then ask yourself how many accounts use the same password? If that answer isn’t zero, you need Dashlane. Reused and weak passwords are one of the biggest vulnerabilities on the modern web, but remembering a bunch of unique and complex passwords is nearly impossible. What isn’t hard is using your thumb or face to open a password manager with all your strong passwords.

Twitter tests ‘Secret’ encrypted messaging feature


Twitter browser
Twitter will make your direct messages more secure.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Twitter is testing a “Secret” messaging feature that will protect users’ private messages with end-to-end encryption. The feature has already been baked into the Twitter app for Android, but it hasn’t yet been activated inside a public release.

How to stop sites tracking you, and speed up your internet with 1Blocker X


1Blocker X toilet
Unlike a blocked toilet, a blocked tracker is a positive thing.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Ever since iOS 9, you’ve been able to block ads, trackers, and other content in Mobile Safari. But as websites fought back, and the content-blocker apps added yet more rules in return, the war escalated. Blocker apps started to hit Apple’s hard limit of 50,000 rules.

Probably the most popular and comprehensive blocker is 1Blocker, which just got superseded by 1Blocker X. The new app splits off itself into seven “extensions,” each of which have 50,000 rules, bringing the total to 350,000 rules.

This doesn’t just allow 1Blocker X to boast in the app store. It also allows whole new categories of content blocking. The new setup works slightly differently, so let’s see how to get things started.