| Cult of Mac

Zoom fixes macOS bug that leaves mics active when they shouldn’t be

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Zoom fixes Mac's microphone bug
Install the latest update as soon as you can.
Photo: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

Zoom issued a quick fix for its native macOS app over the weekend to address a concerning bug that left microphones active when they shouldn’t have been.

It comes after many Mac users complained the app was still listening in after calls had ended. It is the second time Zoom has attempted to eliminate this issue, so here’s to hoping this update actually does its job.

Mac users say Zoom is listening in when it’s not in use

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Zoom listening in on Mac: Is Zoom using your microphone when it shouldn't be?
Is Zoom using your microphone when it shouldn't be?
Photo: Franco Antonio Giovanella/Unsplash license

An increasing number of Mac users say Zoom is using their machine’s microphone even when the app is not in use.

Zoom rolled out an update last December for its native Mac app that supposedly resolved “an issue regarding the microphone light indicator being triggered when not in a meeting.” But it doesn’t appear to have worked.

Here’s what today’s top Mac apps might have looked like on Mac OS 9

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Zoom on Mac OS 9
A taste of the past.
Image: Michael Feeney

Ever wondered what today’s most popular Mac apps might have looked like on earlier Macintosh machines? These incredible design concepts imagine the likes of Google Chrome, Spotify and Zoom running on the 22-year-old Mac OS 9.

Graphic designer Michael Feeney created the collection as part of his terrific (mac)OStalgia project. Check it out in the four-minute video below.

The best thing to happen to videoconferencing? iPad’s Center Stage.

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iPad’s Center Stage is the best thing to happen to video conferencing
Center Stage is Apple’s best creation in years.
Photo: Apple

A highlight of the just-released budget iPad and iPad mini is the addition of Center Stage, a feature that lets the front-facing camera follow someone on a video call. It’s brilliant. It makes FaceTime and Zoom calls so much simpler.

This is perhaps the best new feature Apple has come up with in years. If you have a recent iPad and aren’t using this videoconferencing feature, you’re missing out. And here’s hoping it gets built into the 2022 iPhone.

Videoconferencing app usage still far higher than it was pre-COVID

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Zoom 5.0 brings much-needed security enhancements hoping to end Zoombombing.
Remember the days before everyone was Zooming?
Photo: Zoom/Cult of Mac

Many parts of the world are starting to open up again as the pandemic (hopefully) continues to subside. But video-conferencing apps, possibly the app category most associated with COVID-times, continue to ascend.

According to data from app analytics platform Sensor Tower, collective monthly active users of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet continued their surge in the first half of 2021. Usage was collectively 21x higher during the first half of 2019 than it was prior to the pandemic.

Zoom puts spotlight on iPad Pro’s Center Stage camera effect

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Zoom puts spotlight on iPad Pro’s Center Stage camera effect
With Center Stage support in the new Zoom version, the front-facing camera in the 2021 iPad Pro will follow you during your video calls. Within limits, of course.
Photo: Zoom

Zoom users with a 2021 iPad Pro will be able to use the tablet’s Center Stage effect that keeps them cantered in the front-facing camera during video calls.

And Zoom 5.6.6 will also lets Apple tablet users see far more people in the gallery view.

Concept artists imagine crazy cars from Apple, Netflix and other tech giants

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An Apple Car as imaged by ‘ Vanarama.’
The iDrive is just one of the Big Tech concept cars imaged by Vanarama.
Concept image: Vanarama

The Apple Car really is on the drawing board at Cupertino, but no one outside the company knows what it’ll look like. Vanarama came up with a concept design.

And it didn’t stop there. Its designers had fun imagining vehicles designed by Netflix, Peloton, Airbnb and Zoom if these other Big Tech companies got into the market.

These are Apple’s picks for the best apps of 2020

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Best of 2020 app award
For the first time, Apple created a physical award to hand out to winners.
Photo: Apple

As 2020 thankfully sputters to its conclusion, Apple has released its list of the year’s best 15 apps and games “notable for their positive cultural impact, helpfulness, and importance.”

The App Store Best of 2020 winners cover a multitude of areas — from the Zoom app that more or less defined the year of lockdown to streaming service Disney+ to a nifty sleep app.

TikTok continues to rule the App Store despite tough times

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U.S. investigations of TikTok gather steam.
TikTok enjoyed a great month in August. From a downloads perspective, at least.
Photo: Kon Karampelas/Unsplash CC

Despite the challenges it continues to face, TikTok was the most downloaded non-gaming app worldwide on iOS and Google Play in August, a new report by app analytics platform Sensor Tower claims.

In total, TikTok was downloaded upward of 63.3 million times during the month. That is a slight increase of 1.6% from the same month last year. Indonesia and Brazil were the most popular growing markets for the app during the month.