How to streamline your Touch ID setup

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iPhone
The iPhone is Time's most influential gadget of all time.
Photo: andri333 / Pixabay CC

If you’re setting up your new iPhone for the first time, one of your must-do steps will be setting up Touch ID. Apple’s biometric security system lets you map your own fingerprint to the Home button so nobody can unlock your device but you (or the bad person who has gained control of your thumb somehow, but that’s a bit grim).

When I set up my Touch ID the first time, I mapped the thumbs of both hands separately, and that was a good idea because I frankly have no idea which side my phone is going to be on when I want to get into it. And that’s served me well, but we’ve found an even more efficient way to do that same thing thanks to some sharp internet investigators.

Change your Apple Watch language in a flash

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Force touch Apple Watch
Here's a hint.
Photo: Apple

This tip won’t help everyone, but it should be a huge timesaver for multilingual users: You can change your Apple Watch language for Messages with just a couple quick taps. And you can do it directly on the device without having to go into the companion app on your phone.

Here’s how to make it happen.

How to clock in for the Night Shift in iOS 9.3

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iOS 9.3 Night Shift
Here's how to turn the lights down and settle in for the Night Shift.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Yesterday, the launch of iOS 9.3 added Night Shift to Apple’s mobile devices. It’s a really cool feature that might help make you healthier. Jailbreakers have enjoyed an app with the same functionality for years, but now it’s legitimate and poses less of a risk of completely jacking up your iPhone or iPad.

Night Shift gives you the option of warming up the light your display emits so that you get less harsh, blue rays before bed. The idea is that your screen’s usual output tricks your body into thinking that it’s still daytime, and that can make it harder to fall and stay asleep. So if you’re used to checking some e-mails or reading some news before you conk out, it might help you rest easier.

Here’s how to activate Night Shift’s soothing beams.

5 tips to keep your iPhone on lockdown

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iphone_disabled
Secure your iPhone with these handy tips.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone security has dominated the news for the past couple of weeks, so it’s understandable if you’re worrying about your own iPhone.

Have no fear, though: here are some handy tips to help keep your iPhone secure, from both hackers and the FBI.

Today’s video will walk you through 5 easy-to-do tips that will make your iPhone more secure.

How to hide your apps in iOS 9 without a jailbreak

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I promise, there's a folder between those two app icons.
I promise, there's a folder between those two app icons.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Every once in a while, you might have an app or two that you really don’t want to show off. Whether it’s a racy game or two or dating apps you don’t want your children seeing when you hand them your phone to keep them occupied, being able to hide those apps from general view is a handy thing.

Until now, you had to jailbreak your iPhone to make that happen. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case, and you can–thanks to the fine folks over at Redmond Pie, who originally found this tip–hide apps on your own iPhone, with no jailbreak required. It’s a bit involved, and requires that you change your wallpaper to something boring, like white or grey, but it works.

Here’s how.

Pro Tip: The secret meaning of Apple Watch notifications shapes

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Apple Watch notifications siri
When it comes to Apple Watch notifications, round is better.
Photo: Apple

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugIf you’ve not paying really close attention to your Apple Watch notifications, you might have missed out on a really subtle and clever design decision the company built into them.

It turns out that Apple uses two different shapes for its watch Apple Watch notification badges. And here’s why.

Cast a dark shadow with iOS 9.1’s hidden emoji

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Left Speech Bubble iOS 9.1 emoji
Well, you tell us.
"Drawing": Evan Killham

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugYou’re probably excited about all of the fun new emoji characters that you just got in iOS 9.1, but one of the new additions won’t show up on any of your keyboards.

The “Left Speech Bubble” emoji isn’t part of the official canon yet, but Apple went ahead and added it, anyway. Here’s what it looks like and how to add it to your pictorial lexicon.

Bypass all those pesky location restrictions with one simple app [Deals]

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Getflix lives up to its name, bypassing content location restrictions anywhere in the world.
Getflix lives up to its name, bypassing content location restrictions anywhere in the world.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

When shelling out for access to services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, you’re not banking on being barred from access just because you take a trip out of the country. Getflix is a service to make sure that never happens, and right now you can get a lifetime subscription for just $39.

Pro Tip: Your Apple Watch’s Activation Lock may already be on

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Apple Watch Siri
Yes, Siri. It's already on.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugThis week’s release of watchOS 2 brings a much-needed security update to Apple’s wearable by adding Activation Lock to the device, and the great news is that you may not even have to do anything to add it.

Activation Lock has been around for a while for other Apple devices, and its purpose is to keep thieves from using them even if they manage to get ahold of your preciouses. The first version of watchOS only included basic locking features and a passkey, which wouldn’t keep smart evildoers from gaining access to sensitive data like your Apple Pay data.

Here’s how the feature shows up on the Apple Watch.