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.

How to use Type to Siri in iOS 11 (and why you’ll love it)

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type to siri prompt
Type to Siri really shines on the iPad.
Photo: Cult of Mac

iOS 11 is Apple’s most keyboard-friendly version of its mobile software yet, but that doesn’t mean you have to hook up an external keyboard to use its best new keyboard-centric features. Today we’ll look at Type to Siri, which can be used whenever you’d usually talk to your favorite digital assistant just by tapping on the usual on-screen keyboard.

Trouble setting up HomePod? Here’s how to fix it

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iPhone X
If this panel turns blank, you're in trouble.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Some folks are having trouble getting their HomePods set up. For most of us, Apple’s streamlined setup is fantastic. The HomePod and your iPhone see each other, and the iPhone tells the HomePod everything it needs to know about your home network, and your iCloud ID. But this simplicity means that troubleshooting failed setups is hard. If you’re faced with nothing but a blank white screen when you plug in, here’s how to fix HomePod.

How to use HomePod to control your smart home

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HomePod HomeKit Unboxing
HomePod is a great speaker, and a more-than-adequate Home Hub.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

If you’re a home automation fan, then you’re going to love Apple’s new HomePod speaker. Not only can you use it to control your HomeKit setup with your voice using Siri, but you can also use the speaker as a Home Hub. That means that you can leave it at home taking care of business, letting you dial in to tweak things from wherever you are in the world.

How to stop Time Machine backing up every freaking hour

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flux-capacitor
This is what makes Time Machine backups possible.
Photo: Morgan Sherwood/Flickr CC

I do wonder who might need their Time Machine backups to run every single hour. With the versioning tools built into Dropbox, or into text editors like Ulysses, and the reliability of SSD drives, hourly backups may be overkill. Or they may just be annoying. Or, if you have an older Mac, they may slow things down while you’re trying to work. Whatever your reason for complaining about hourly Time Machine backups, then, TimeMachineEditor has you covered. It’s a free utility that takes control of Time Machine scheduling.

Quick Tip: Stop Mac Spaces rearranging themselves

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find-the-lady
Dealing with Spaces' default behaviour feels like trying to battle a street magician.
Photo: Rich Anderson/Flickr CC

If you use Spaces on your Mac, then there may be one “feature” that annoys the hell out of you. Do you keep nicely-arranged workspaces for specific tasks? Do you like to always have your text editor in the middle Space, and your slacking off apps (Twitter, Slack) out in the very last space of all?

That’s neat, but macOS can drive you crazy by forever rearranging your Spaces, so that your Twitter and Tumblrs end up where your work Space should be. Fortunately, it’s a one-click fix.

The best iPhone screen protectors

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cracked-iphone
Don't let this happen to you.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Dropping your iPhone may crack it, but the most likely way to ruin the screen is to scratch it. You might drop your iPhone into your bag and let it rattle around with your keys. You may absent-mindedly slip some change into your dedicated iPhone pants pocket. Or your significant other might pick up your week-old iPhone and a nail file in the same hand, gouging the screen so badly that the scratches are all you’ll ever see from then on.

To prevent this, you should get an iPhone screen protector. Here are the best you can buy.

How to set up and use your brand new AirPods

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AirPods
AirPods. So, so, cool.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

If you’re a super lucky duck, then Santa may have left a pair of AirPods a) in your stocking of b) under your tree (depending on how good or bad you’ve been in 2017). We picked AirPods as Apple’s best product of last year, because they really do offer a huge upgrade on all previous headphones. They’re easy to use, and they sounds amazing. Here are a few pointers on getting the most out of your new AirPods.

How to edit multiple images the easy way in Photos for Mac

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copy paste adjustments
Don't delay — edit your photos like a boss.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Do you have a bunch of photos that you took with your iPhone that all need to be tweaked the same way? Maybe you edited one shot from a session into the perfect B&W portrait, and you want to apply the exact same combination of lighting effects, color tweaks and filters to the rest of the pictures you took in the same photo shoot. Or perhaps you just want to standardize the white balance for a batch of images so their colors all match.

That’s easy to do in Photos for macOS High Sierra, using the Copy Adjustments tool. Here’s how to use it.