How to speed up your internet and stop your ISP tracking you

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cloudflare dns
A cloud, with added flare, just like your awesome new DNS service.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Your entire DNS browsing history can be recorded by your ISP, and will soon be sold to anyone who wants it.

DNS is what sends you to the correct site when you browse the internet, but it is also non-encrypted, and reveals your entire browsing history. Your browser’s private mode does nothing, and the little green lock icon that denotes a secure connection doesn’t help either.

DNS is also slow. So, in order to fix both of these problems, you need to change your DNS provider to one that is both private, and fast. That’s Cloudflare’s new 1.1.1.1 service.

How to sort Safari bookmarks alphabetically

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bookmarks alphabetically
Try sorting this kind of bookmark alphabetically.
Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr CC

OCD users of macOS 10.13.4 rejoice! You can now reorder your Safari bookmarks alphabetically. Instead of having to settle for having Safari’s bookmarks always being in the order you created them, or having to manually drag them into the order you want, you can now have Safari sort them for you.

Why would you want to do this? Well, if you’re browsing through a huge folder of bookmarks, then having any kind of sort order is better than none. And if you’re using accessibility options — for instance if you are using screen readers because your sight is impaired — then alphabetical listings are essential.

How to use Pages’ cool new Image Galleries

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image galleries pages
Image galleries are easy to add, and look great.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The new Apple Pencil-friendly version of Pages for iPad also has a couple of other big new features. One of these is iBook creation, which we’ll look at in another post. Today we’re going to see how to add an Image Gallery to a regular Pages document. This is handy if you need to include lots of pictures into a document, but don’t want to use pages and pages to do so.

You could, for instance, include galleries of vacation photos in a newsletter for family and friends, with images stacked into daily galleries, or organized by event. Or you could pile a bunch of diagrams into one Image Gallery, allowing you to include a lot more information without cluttering the document. Better still, you can export your Pages document as an eBook, and the galleries become fully interactive.

Let’s find out how to add one.

Check out these amazing, creative iPhone home screens

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iPhone home screen gallery
It doesn't get much more minimal than this.
Photo: Dan Rubin/Twitter

It’s not like you can ever find the app you’re looking for on your various home screens anyway, so why not do something fancy with those icons instead? Like, making your home screen an expression of your inner chakra, man. Or getting in tune with the color harmonies of the universe or whatever.

Whatever hippie crap you’re using to justify it, the results can be amazing. And who knows — if you arrange your home screens by color, then maybe you’ll actually end up finding things faster.

Musicians: Here’s how to lock down your iPad to prevent accidents on stage

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guided access ipad
Stage performers don't want their iPads launching Facebook mid-show.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s iOS accessibility features might be hidden away in the Settings app, but they are useful for everyone. For instance, Guided Access lets you lock your iPhone or iPad so it can use only one app, and you can even disable parts of the screen just by drawing on them. This is handy for giving the iPad to kids, or to people with impaired motor skills, but it is also fantastic for stage performers. A musician, for instance, might be using the iPad to produce or process their sound. The last thing you want to do in the heat of a performance is to accidentally do a four-finger swipe and end up on your Facebook page.

Today, then, we’ll see how to use Guided Access to keep your iPad safe on stage, but the same tips apply if you’re deploying an iPad as a cash register in your coffee shop, or as an information point at an exhibition.

Pro Tip: See full-screen Quick Look slideshows in macOS Finder

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projector Quick Look slideshows
You don't need a projector to do a slideshow.
Photo: Kali Motxo/Flickr CC

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugQuick Look is one of the Finder’s best features. Whenever you have a file selected in the Finder, just hit the space bar and you’ll see a preview of that file. It’s a great way to quickly view photos, or read the contents of a document, without opening it in an app.

But did you know you can pull up full-screen Quick Look slideshows just as easily?

Stream audio from iOS to multiple HomePods with AirFoil

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HomePod
AirFoil is the missing link between your Mac and your HomePod.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Do you want to stream music from an app on your Mac to your HomePod? Good luck with that. The only app that supports AirPlay streaming is iTunes, and what’s the point in using that if you can stream your iCloud Music Library directly using the HomePod alone? For apps like Spotify, or VLC, you can resort to streaming your entire Mac system audio via Airplay, but then you have to listen alerts booming through the HomePod, and you can’t remote-control the Spotify Audio using Siri.

But if you use Rogue Amoeba’s AirFoil, you can fix all these problems.

This great iOS Spotlight trick lets you know everything about a person

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spotlight contact search
Several spotlights.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Somewhere after the launch of iOS 11, Apple tweaked Spotlight search to be way more useful. Now, when you search for a person, you can trigger a sub-search that lets you find everything you have on them, from emails, to iMessages, to their contact details, through WhatsApp messages, to calendar events. Anywhere that your selected contact exists on your iPhone or iPad will show up in the list.

And then, you can narrow the results with a sub search.

This app can type every Unicode character ever on your iPhone

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Unichar works everywhere
A great new Unicode app.
Photo: Jordan Hipwell

On the Mac, you can type any character available in there Unicode standard, just by opening up the Emoji & Symbols viewer (Control-Command-Space) and picking the one you want. The selection on iOS is much more limited. Even finding an ellipsis is such an odyssey I can never remember whether it’s available or not. But UniChar changes that. It’s a Universal iOS app that brings every single Unicode character to your device.