iOS 11 lets you text requests to Siri instead of talk

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Siri
iOS finally has a command line.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Talking to Siri can be a bit embarrassing when you’re in crowded public spaces, but with iOS 11, Apple is finally allowing users to submit questions to the digital assistant via text.

Apple didn’t mention the new feature during its WWDC 2017 keynote, however it’s already become one of our favorite additions in the new beta because it gives iPhone and iPad owners the closest thing yet to a command line.

To enable the feature, follow these steps:

How to quickly search settings in iOS

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iOS search settings
You'll be surprised at the how many settings are unearthed by a simple search.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The iOS Settings app is more like a chaotic junk drawer that a neatly-organized filing cabinet. Back when the iPhone launched, it was tidy, with only a few items, all methodically arranged. Then, as more and more features were added to iOS, their settings were tossed in there like you toss spare keys into that kitchen drawer with the rubber bands and spare fuses. Unlike a real junk drawer, though, which will slice your fingers with hidden tools and pieces of broken teacup if you rummage too hard, the Settings app has a way to ignore the detritus and get straight to the setting you want: Search settings. This feature is essential, but very few of the folks I asked about it this week even knew it existed. This how-to is for them, and for anyone else who hates changing settings.

How to quickly change iOS Settings with 3D Touch

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3d touch settings shot
Get quick access to the settings you change the most.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Perhaps the best way to ease yourself into the relaxing, time-saving bathtub of increased productivity that is 3D Touch is to start by pressing a little harder on Apple’s own app icons. Specifically — in today’s article at least — the Settings app icon, where you will find quick-access shortcuts to your most often-used settings. Let’s take a look:

How to use Text Replacement to avoid typing the words you hate

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Text Replacement shortcuts in iPhone
Text Replacements are easy to set up, and save a ton of time and hassle. You can even use them with emoji.
Photo: Cult of Mac

What if you could type out any of your email addresses just by tapping on the same key a few times? Or do Google searches over and over on a favorite website just as easily? What about easily typing that special symbol that’s so hard to reach on the iOS keyboard that you usually never bother? All this, and more, can be yours, if only you’ll spend a minute or two setting up some text replacement shortcuts. Let’s do it right now.

How to keep creepers off your WhatsApp profile

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I don't always use WhatsApp, but when I do I make sure it's locked down.
I don't always use WhatsApp, but when I do I make sure it's locked down.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

WhatsApp is a messaging app popular with people all over the globe, but you probably don’t want it to turn into a tracking app for your stalker.

Plus, it probably has private information in it that you’d rather not have other people know about, right?

Here’s how to lock it all down so you can keep creepers off your WhatsApp profile.

How to find the exact setting you need in iOS 9

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Settings Search iOS 9

Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

iOS has so many settings in one app, it’s kind of ridiculous.

Whether you want to change preferences for an app or the operating system itself, a trip to the crowded Settings app can often be a frustrating experience.

iOS 9 — still in beta — has a solution for that information overload though: Search.

Here’s how to access it.

Customize your Apple Watch settings

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This screen is way too small for all the tweaks available. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
This screen is way too small for all the tweaks available. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Getting your Apple Watch set up is fairly basic, but to truly make this your own personal device, you’ll need to dig into the Apple Watch settings.

You can do all of these things on the Apple Watch itself, but why force yourself to tap and swipe on that tiny screen? Use the Apple Watch app on your iPhone for a much more pleasant experience. You can thank me later.

How to kill Facebook’s annoying app sounds on your iPhone

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facebook-logo-file
Tired of the new bleeps already? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

You may have noticed recently that the Facebook app makes sounds. Like a post? Chirp. Refresh the news feed? Swoosh. It’s like your iPhone got suddenly chatty and wants you to know that you’re tapping on the screen with every blip and bloop.

Surely you’d like to turn these things off. You could just mute your whole iPhone with the sound toggle button, but if you want to have other audio come through, like video, music, or (gasp) phone calls, you can dip into your Facebook app settings and soon experience the bliss of a blip-free Facebook browsing experience.

Here’s how.

How To Disable Control Center On Your iOS Lock Screen [iOS Tips]

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control center ON

While I’m a huge fan of the new Control Center on iOS, I can see where it might not be the best thing to have enabled on the lock screen. We’ve all left our iPhone or iPad out in places where folks might be able to get a hold of it, and you might not want those folks messing about with your settings.

Once you take Control Center out of your Lock Screen, you’ll have to enter your password (or use Touch ID) to authenticate to your phone before you can use Control Center, which is a pain, but so will anyone else, making your device just that much more secure.

How To Keep Web Sites From Listening To Your Microphone [OS X Tips]

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Omnibar

Last week, a speech recognition developer found a potential exploit in the Chrome web browser that could possibly let malicious web sites activate your Mac’s microphone and listen in on any sounds your mic might pick up around you. Even if you’re not actively using your computer, the mic could be active and conversations, meetings, and phone calls could potentially be recorded or listened in on.

Luckily, there’s a way to keep this from happening, because–however remote the possibility–it’s always a good idea to keep your private information, including real-world conversations, private.

Of course, if you don’t use the Chrome browser at all, this won’t apply to you.