Meet the guy who built an iPhone from scratch

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Scotty Allen
Scotty Allen takes his viewers to Strange Parts for unvarnished stories about technology.
Photo: Scotty Allen

Millions have watched Scotty Allen build an iPhone from parts mined from the electronics markets of Shenzhen, China.

DIYers and hackers write Allen, eager to repeat his geeky feat. So do people from third-world countries looking for an affordable way to get their hands on a pricey device that imparts status.

Allen, 39, loves the wild enthusiasm his YouTube videos have sparked, but the scratch iPhone isn’t the point.

How to track flights in the Mac’s Notification Center

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TodayFlights
TodayFlights tracks flights, and nothing else.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Tracking flights is a bit of a pain. Siri can do it, and if you’re a real plane spotter, you might even trouble yourself to find an app to do it. But for most of us, we track a flight once in a while, whenever someone’s coming to visit. We just want something that is simple to use, and the disappears. That something is TodayFlights, a neat app that adds a flight tracker to the Mac’s Notification Center Today View.

How to stop that boarding pass from hogging your lock screen

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boarding pass
If you know where to look, getting the boarding pass off your lock screen is easy.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Picture the scene: You’re on a plane, and your iPhone is your entertainment hub. You may be listening to podcasts, or music, or audiobooks. You may be playing a game, or reading Instapaper, or just checking and editing your vacation photos. Whatever you’re trying to do, it will be interrupted every time you unlock your iPhone, because your stupid boarding pass is right there on the lock screen. Even hours into a transatlantic fight, the boarding pass you already used hangs around, blocking things like the now-playing feature, and lock-screen controls for any music or audio apps.

Thankfully, it’s easy to get rid of — if you know where to look.

Tips to help you relive your great vacation [Tech Travel Tips]

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Vacation photo
You vacation photos are useless if you forget about them.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

tech travel tips It used to be that when you got back from vacation, you’d drop your film off at the lab and cross your fingers. You hoped you’d get some half-decent photos back a week later, while memories of that cool restaurant you liked faded with your tan.

Now we share our photos with friends and family while we’re still on the beach, then forget about them. But we can, and probably should, make a little effort to preserve our vacation memories. And — you guessed it — there are apps for that.

Change these settings to save data when you travel [Tech Travel Tips]

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music travel offline
Downloading music is just one way to save a lot of data when you travel.
Photo: Cult of Mac

tech travel tips Your mobile data plan takes a hammering when you travel. All the stuff you usually do while sitting in bed using your home Wi-Fi — like reading Cult of Mac and viewing cute capybara GIFs — will eat through your monthly allowance. And that’s before you get to the extra use of maps and Google to find your way around.

Today on Tech Travel Tips, we’ll look at ways to stop your iPhone and iPad from using up all your data in the first few days of your vacation.

5 apps that keep you safe while traveling [Tech Travel Tips]

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tripmode travel
Apps can make your trip safer and easier.
Photo: TripMode

tech travel tips At home, you can pretty much trust your own Wi-Fi network, and you kind of have to trust your cellular provider. But as soon as you fetch up at a hotel, airport, Airbnb rental or coffee shop, you risk everything.

Short of leaving your MacBook or iPhone out on the table while you visit the bathroom at a hacker conference, using public Wi-Fi is just about the worst thing you can do with your devices when you travel. Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself — and they’re cheap and easy.

Gadgets to make traveling easy [Tech Travel Tips]

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roost stand
Travel is a time to leave things behind, but some gadgets will make your trips a lot easier.
Photo: Roost

tech travel tips Welcome to Tech Travel Tips, a week of travel tips for vacationers. This week we’ll show you how to keep your devices safe while traveling, what apps to download before you go, what settings you should change before leaving the house and — kicking off the week — the best travel gadgets to take with you. Let’s get started!

How to use Siri Translate in iOS 11

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siri translate hero
Siri will answer you, no matter how stupid your question.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Siri translation seems like the most obvious thing in the world. You probably already asked him/her the meaning of a foreign word, or how to say an English phrase in another language. Under iOS 11, though, this will actually work.

All you have to do is to ask Siri how to say something, and s/he will respond with an answer. Even better, you can use Type to Siri to make the query, which may come in handy when you’re in a line at the market and you don’t want to start talking into your iPhone.

How to convert currency from your lock screen

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currency conversion iOS
Spotlight might be the quickest way to convert currency on iOS.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Traveling? You need a currency conversion app then, right? No! If you’re carrying your iPhone, you can do those conversions quickly, using Spotlight, without even unlocking your iPhone. Better still, you can do those currency conversions while offline, which might be essential when you’re roaming in a foreign land.