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Updated: 1 hour 16 min ago

Get to know iOS 8: Messages gets new ways to communicate

1 hour 53 min ago

Messages is arguably the most useful communications tool on your iPhone. What started as a way to make SMS text conversations easier to follow has blossomed into a full-fledged communication powerhouse. And in iOS 8, Messages is better than it's ever been. Ironically, one of its best new tricks is the equivalent of leaving an old-fashioned voicemail—only now that's way more useful because it lives alongside the texts, photos, videos, and shared locations you keep in Messages already. Let's walk through what's new and cool in Apple's chat app.

Say anything

Constantly tapping out texts in Messages is the exact exercise the Surgeon General recommends for injuries to the thumb tendons—OK, that's not true. But it is true that, in iOS 8, you don’t have to use your thumbs to let someone know you’re thinking of them. You don’t even have to send words.

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Get to know iOS 8: Spotlight, Siri, and notifications

2 hours 3 min ago

iOS 8 isn’t the radical departure from previous versions of Apple’s mobile operating system that iOS 7 was. While there exist brand new features, some of the most attractive elements of the latest OS are refinements to existing features. They include notifications, Spotlight searches, and Siri interactions. Let’s dive in to see how the changes will affect you.

Quick Reply

If you’re running OS X Mavericks on your Mac, you’re aware of the ability to quickly reply to certain items in Notification Center. For example, if someone sends you a text message, you can respond to it just by typing in Notification Center—no Messages app necessary. Likewise, you can use this same area to enter a quick response to an email message or answer a FaceTime call.

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iOS 8 Extensions: How they work and why they matter to you

2 hours 13 min ago

Even though iOS 8 superficially looks like its immediate predecessor, there are some new under-the-hood technologies that'll have a huge impact on the way we all use our iOS devices. One of the most significant of these is something Apple calls Extensions.

What are extensions?

Simply put, extensions allow iOS apps to “lend” functionality to one another or to the operating system. Apple is allowing developers to create and distribute extensions whose functionality falls in six distinct areas:

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Get to know iOS 8: Changes in the Settings app

2 hours 16 min ago

With every new version of iOS, Apple loves to add, tweak, and change settings; unsurprisingly, iOS 8 is no different. Here’s a comprehensive list of just about everything the company has changed in iOS 8 within the Settings app.

Cellular

The Cellular section used to be hidden in iOS’s General section in previous versions, but was moved to the main screen of the Settings app in iOS 7. It remains there in iOS 8, and for the most part remains unchanged—Cellular features toggles for Cellular Data, LTE, and Data Roaming, along with the menu for using your iPhone as a Personal Hotspot (which, oddly enough, also gets its own listing on the main screen).

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iOS 8 has arrived

2 hours 32 min ago

It’s heeeeere.

iOS 8 has finally dropped. If you use a mobile device—an iPhone, iPad, or iPod—that’s compatible with Apple’s new operating system, you can now install the free update. There are two ways to upgrade: Directly from the device itself (Settings > General > Software Update), or by connecting the device to your computer and installing the update in iTunes.

The new OS isn’t quite the overhaul that iOS 7 was, so it won’t look radically different. But Apple packed plenty of new features under the hood: Continuity for working across all your Apple devices, home automation integration, a health app, third-party keyboards and QuickType, new photo editing tools, messaging features, and much, much more. (We have a full FAQ for you here.)

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Apple offers iPhone migration guide for Android converts

3 hours 8 min ago

Now that Apple has joined the giant smartphone party, it's reaching out to Android users with a helpful migration guide.

The lengthy how-to article goes through all the things you might want to move from Android to iOS, including mail, contacts, calendars, photos, music, books, and documents. Each section includes multi-step tutorials on how to move content or otherwise make it available again on the new phone.

Apple does dance around one big roadblock, which is that new iPhone users can't take their paid Android apps with them. Instead, they must re-purchase any paid apps that they want to keep using.

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iOS 8 compatibility issue forces Dropbox to suspend automatic photo backups

3 hours 13 min ago

Turns out iCloud Drive isn't the only cloud storage service with issues stemming from Apple's latest operating systems. Late Tuesday, Dropbox announced that a compatibility issue with iOS 8 may prevent the service—including its image-centric Carousel app—from automatically backing up your photos and videos.

So Dropbox temporarily killed all automatic media backups.

"To avoid any confusion over what’s been backed up, we’ve pushed a Dropbox and Carousel update that temporarily suspends automatic backup of photos and videos," the company wrote on its blog.

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BrandPost: Make the most of your Mac by adding NAS

3 hours 18 min ago

Your beloved Mac sits at the center of your tech universe, but it falls short when it comes to managing and securing the scores of data you count on each day. NAS (network attached storage) fills in the gaps, acting as a central hub for all your photos, videos, music, and other files. A proper NAS-Mac setup can save time and reduce stress through easier downloads, improved organization, smoother backups, and more. Here are some great ways you can use NAS to make the most of your Mac.

Centralize your files

Storing files in the public cloud is a great way to ensure they’re always attainable, but it’s easy to fail to sync the latest version or lose track of which ones you keep where, especially if you use multiple cloud providers to avoid hitting your storage limit. NAS can coordinate all those accounts, keeping tabs on your data whether it’s stored in iCloud, Amazon S3, Dropbox, or on your Mac. NAS can also automatically import and store data from mobile devices, including photos from your iPhone or iPad. This gives you a fully connected, completely organized -- and most importantly -- centralized system for your data, regardless of where it’s acquired or stored.

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How to upgrade to iOS 8 (and downgrade to iOS 7 if you regret it)

4 hours 33 min ago

As summer winds down and autumn kicks in, it’s time for another iOS update. And, just as predictably, a lot of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch owners will want to make the leap from the previous operating system to the new one. If tradition holds, Apple will release iOS 8 at around 10 a.m. Pacific (1 p.m. Eastern) on Wednesday, and when it does, this guide will show you the way.

The limited path back

Because it comes as a surprise to a lot of people, it’s important to know the following from the get-go: Once you update your device to iOS 8 there’s very little chance that you’ll be able to revert to a previous version. Apple stops “signing” (authorizing) older versions of iOS just days after releasing a new one. Reverting during this brief window is possible (and we'll explain how at the end of this story). But once that window closes, there’s no going back.

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Apple beefs up security with 2-factor authentication for iCloud backups

4 hours 43 min ago

A sneaky method hackers use to crack your iCloud back-ups won’t work anymore if you’re serious about your security. On Tuesday night, Apple turned on two-factor authentication for iCloud, which will protect against the kind of social engineering exploits that helped hackers steal celebrity photos last month.

Until Tuesday, Apple’s brand of two-factor authentication only protected your Apple ID, preventing people from making purchases from your account. But if thieves were able to guess the answers to your security questions and recover your password, they could easily use third-party software to access your iCloud backup. Your photos, documents, text messages: All of it was up for grabs.

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Where's Claude Rains when you need him?

5 hours 33 min ago

Writing for Fast Company, Rebecca Greenfield is shocked—SHOCKED!!!—to have caught Apple engaging in... marketing!

"The Apple Live Blog Reality Distortion Field" (tip o' the antlers to Matt Riegler)

Wut?

Well, you may have noticed that during its September 9 product unveiling and kinda gross U2 love-fest, Apple turned its home page into a live blog of news and reactions to the event pulled from social media.

But the shocking thing, the thing that Apple doesn't want you to know about? It hand-picked those reactions and chose only ones that were positive!

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Hands-on: Logitech's G910 Orion Spark is a sparkly, color-changing mechanical keyboard

5 hours 34 min ago
The catch? It doesn't feature Cherry MX switches. Also, it's awfully expensive.

Browser comparison: How the five leaders stack up in speed, ease of use and more

9 hours 1 min ago

The best browser for your desktop could be one you’re not using. Whether Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, or Safari is your current choice, our tests found distinct differences in speed and ease of use. We also compared how each browser uses system resources, a near-invisible trait that could be discreetly bogging down your PC. For the online lifestyle, the right browser could save you time and frustration.

See how they run

Browsers largely look and act the same: They render HTML in multiple tabs or separate windows, let you bookmark pages, support HTTP and FTP file transfer, or offer private browsing (no data is stored). Deep inside each one, however, are operational differences that may or may not fulfill your needs.

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iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus review: Bigger is in fact better (in the right hands)

Tue, 2014-09-16 19:00
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When Apple released the first iPhone, its 3.5-inch touchscreen seemed huge compared to the displays of other phones. Nonetheless, competitors responded with even larger screens, trying to find areas where they could provide clear alternatives to Apple hardware. Consumers responded positively, so the competition started making even bigger phones.

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This is Tim: Cook talks to Charlie Rose about Apple Watch, Samsung, and the future

Tue, 2014-09-16 18:04

Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn’t speak publicly often outside of events and the company’s quarterly earnings calls, so it was a special treat to watch his interview with Charlie Rose this weekend. We’ve put together edited highlights from his first hour chatting with the ABC talk show host about Apple’s new products, the Apple TV, Steve Jobs, and the future of the company.

On the iPhone 6 Plus

We could have done a larger iPhone years ago. It’s never been about just making a larger phone, it’s about making a better phone in every single way. And so we ship things when they’re ready… This phone—now is the time for it.

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Don’t pull the trigger on upgrading to iCloud Drive just yet

Tue, 2014-09-16 12:58

If you’re upgrading to iOS 8 on Wednesday, you must resist the urge to upgrade to iCloud Drive if you want to continue to sync your phone to your Mac. Why? Well, iCloud Drive only works with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. And you all know which OS we’re still waiting on.

Until Yosemite drops, upgrading to iCloud Drive will keep you from syncing devices running iOS 8 and devices running OS X Mavericks. Good news: After you install iOS 8, Apple will ask you if you want to upgrade to iCloud Drive. Tap the button that says “Not Now.” Easy enough, right?

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Subway to accept NFC payments starting in October

Tue, 2014-09-16 10:31

Subway will soon allow customers to pay for their sandwiches with the tap of a smartphone.

The sandwich franchise chain said Tuesday it will launch contactless NFC payments across more than 26,000 restaurants in the U.S. starting Oct. 1.

The company is working with Softcard, a mobile payments joint venture operated by the big four cellular networks, to launch the system, but a Subway spokeswoman said that any payment app based on the NFC standard will be accepted. That includes the soon-to-be-launched Apple Pay and existing services from Google Wallet, PayPal and other vendors.

The rollout will be one of the largest in the U.S. to date. When Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Apple Pay last week, he said there were 220,000 stores across the country that would accept the system. The Subway announce increases that by more than 10 percent in a single step.

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Verizon bumps up early upgrades for iPhone 6 season

Tue, 2014-09-16 09:45

Just in time for Apple's new iPhones, Verizon is extending upgrade privileges to anyone who's eligible in the next two months.

As Android Police reports, customers with upgrade eligibility before November 15 can get their upgrades starting now. You can check your eligibility through Verizon's Website, as the shift should kick in automatically.

Serenity Caldwell

Apple's iPhone 6.

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Apple locks NFC chip to Apple Pay while PayPal fires shot at security

Tue, 2014-09-16 09:22

When Apple unveiled Touch ID, a fingerprint sensor that verifies your identity to unlock your phone and confirm purchases and app installs, developers clamored for Apple to open up the feature to third parties. Now that Apple has baked NFC technology into the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, developers want access. But for now, like Touch ID was tied to specific functions in the 5s, NFC is tied to Apple Pay alone.

An Apple spokesperson told Cult of Mac that the new phones’ NFC chip will only work with Apple’s new payment system, at least for the next year. It’s unclear whether Apple will eventually allow developers to adopt the chip for their own purposes with future iPhone releases, like the company did with Touch ID in iOS 8, or keep the chip locked to Apple Pay.

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Apple Watch's privacy details under scrutiny by Connecticut attorney general

Tue, 2014-09-16 07:29

The attorney general of the U.S. state of Connecticut is concerned about the privacy implications of Apple Watch’s handling of consumers’ health information.

In a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, George Jepsen has asked for a meeting with company representatives to discuss his concerns about how personal consumer information collected through the Apple Watch will be stored and safeguarded, the attorney general’s office said Monday.

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