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The new COVID-19 app and website provide the latest information and guidance from the CDC for users across the US.
Photo: Apple

Siri implements guidance for those worried about coronavirus symptoms

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Apple has enhanced Siri to answer government-approved questions regarding COVID-19 coronavirus.
Photo: Brad Gibson / Cult of Mac

Apple enhanced its Siri voice assistant Saturday with a step-by-step query instructing users on determining if they have been exposed to COVID-19, the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. 

The instructions are based on specific instructions from the U.S. Public Health Service, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Everything we think we know about iOS 14 [Updated]

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Even old iPhones will get iOS 14's new features.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Thanks to unprecedented early leaks, some of the biggest new features planned for iOS 14 have already been spoiled. Apple is supposedly making some huge changes to the Home screen, iMessages, HomeKit, Apple Pencil and much more in its next-gen mobile operating system.

The recent wave of leaks proved so overwhelming that we rounded them all up in one place. We will keep updating the list as we inch closer to this summer’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where Apple traditionally previews all of its upcoming platform updates.

iOS 14 could bring brand-new Home screen layout with list view

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iOS 14's Home screen could be very different.
Photo: Apple

iOS 14 will ship with a brand-new Home screen layout that allows users to arrange icons in a list, according to a new report. The view is expected to be customizable and will incorporate Siri Suggestions for making your most frequently used apps easier to access.

It could be the biggest change to the Home screen since the first version of iOS debuted with the original iPhone in 2007.

Bose starts bringing AirPlay 2 to a range of SoundTouch speakers

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Install the newest firmware update today.
Photo: Bose

Bose is rolling out a big firmware update for a bunch of SoundTouch speakers that adds AirPlay 2 support. You can install it via the free SoundTouch app for iPhone and iPad.

AirPlay 2 lets you stream audio from your Apple devices, and enables multi-room audio playback with other compatible speakers.

How sneaky kids use AirPods to ‘talk’ in class

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Totally legit Apple AirPods.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

When I was a kid, we communicated in class by writing notes on pieces of paper, and passing them to other kids. It was called “passing notes,” and is now probably taught in schools as an artisanal pastime, along with “going outside” and conkers. In 2020, kids use insane workarounds to avoid actual writing.

Today we’ll see how to “pass notes” using nothing but two $700 iPhones and two $160 pairs of AirPods.

How to customize Apple Watch iMessage smart replies

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Change the lame Apple Watch smart replies by adding custom replies.
Change the lame smart replies on your Apple Watch.
Image: Apple

You know when you reply to a message on your Apple Watch, and it’s such a pain to write it out a letter at a time or to dictate your reply (only to have Siri mishear you)? The alternative is to use one of Apple Watch’s canned responses. Unfortunately, they all sound like your account got hacked, or that you don’t care about the sender enough to come up with a proper reply.

However, you can customize those replies to make them much more useful. And with one clever trick, you can make Apple Watch smart replies sound just like you really wrote them.

How to stop accidentally switching off noise cancellation in AirPods Pro

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Keep AirPods Pro noise cancellation switched on -- permanently.
What does this mean for the AirPods lineup?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you have a pair of AirPods Pro, then you know all about noise cancellation. That’s kind of the whole point of Apple’s top-tier AirPods, from the noise-sealing silicone tips to the software Ear Tip Fit Test. You probably also know that you can deactivate noise cancellation, and even quick-switch modes by squeezing the shaft of one of the earbuds.

But what if you never want to disable the excellent active noise cancellation on your AirPods Pro? Maybe you keep accidentally deactivating the feature (like I do). Today we’ll see how to switch off the shaft-squeezing shortcuts — and how to access them from your iPhone’s lock screen instead.

Siri’s been reading my messages and I love it

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Announce Messages with Siri
Getting Siri to read iMessages is AirPod Pro’s best feature.
Photo: Cult of Mac

As of iOS 13, you can have your iPhone read out incoming iMessages through your AirPods. And this — along with their awesome sound and noise-canceling abilities — is my favorite feature of the AirPods Pro. On paper, it’s a small feature in a long list. But in everyday use, Announce Messages with Siri makes a huge difference in how I use my iPhone.