How to Mirror an iPhone or iPad to Your TV

Don’t get stuck watching video or playing games on a small screen—you can use your iPhone or iPad with larger displays. There are a few ways to watch iOS content on a TV, projector, or any HDMI-compliant display.Unlock the free iPhone and iPad cheat sheet now!This will sign you up to our newsletterEnter your EmailUnlockRead our privacy policy There’s also a difference between mirroring and simply outputting video. You can use your iPhone or iPad to watch videos or listen to audio, while browsing social media or the web at the same time! Here’s how it works. 1. Send Video…

Read the full article: How to Mirror an iPhone or iPad to Your TV

Don’t get stuck watching video or playing games on a small screen—you can use your iPhone or iPad with larger displays. There are a few ways to watch iOS content on a TV, projector, or any HDMI-compliant display.

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There’s also a difference between mirroring and simply outputting video. You can use your iPhone or iPad to watch videos or listen to audio, while browsing social media or the web at the same time! Here’s how it works.

1. Send Video or Mirror Your Screen With AirPlay

Apple TV and remote on table

AirPlay is Apple’s proprietary wireless display technology, and it allows you to wirelessly send an image to an AirPlay receiver. In order to use AirPlay, you’ll need a compatible receiver. The most common for video is the Apple TV (from $149).

The Apple TV connects to your display via HDMI, functions as a set-top box, and has its own apps and App Store. It has other neat functions too, like displaying your recent iPhone photos and playing music from iTunes or Apple Music. Check our our guide to setting up and using your Apple TV to get started.

If you want to output to a Mac or Windows PC instead, you can do so with an app called AirServer ($20). You can also buy audio equipment compatible with AirPlay for streaming music.

Mirroring vs. Outputting

Keep in mind: You can mirror your display, which maintains your device’s screen aspect ratio (e.g. 4:3 for an iPad). Or you can output the current video or other media which only sends music, videos, and some games to the TV. In most cases, you’ll want to do the latter.

To mirror your iPhone or iPad’s screen to an AirPlay receiver:

  1. Access Control Center on your device (see note below).
  2. Tap the Screen Mirroring button.
  3. Choose your AirPlay receiver when it appears.

AirPlay Screen Mirroring

To output the current video without mirroring the entire screen:

  1. Access Control Center on your device (see note below).
  2. Long-press or 3D Touch the media controls.
  3. Tap the AirPlay button (a triangle with a few circles) on the right-hand side.
  4. Choose your AirPlay receiver when it appears.

AirPlay External Display

Not sure how to access Control Center?

  • With an iPhone X or later, you’ll need to swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen.
  • On an iPhone 8 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
  • iPad users should double-tap the Home button to bring up the App Switcher.

Since AirPlay is a wireless connection, you’ll find that interference, slow Wi-Fi, older Bluetooth devices, and similar can negatively impact performance. When playing a game, you’ll likely notice a delay between input and what you see on the screen.

But for watching videos, listening to music, giving presentations, sharing a photo slideshow with family members, or even displaying a website so others can see the screen, AirPlay is a great choice.

2. Use a Wired Adapter

apple-lightning-hdmi

There are a few drawbacks to using a wired adapter, but the current model is better than it once was. The problem stems from the fact that the Lightning port on the iPhone and iPad is not built to output video signal. Whatever Apple’s reasoning (probably to allow for smaller devices), the functionality was moved to an adapter.

The first batch of Lightning-to-HDMI adapters had problems; they topped out at a resolution of 900p. Though the current models promise 1080p, reviews aren’t great. They mention issues like frequent black screens and sudden hardware failure. For the $49 price tag and hassle involved, an Apple TV doesn’t seem like such a bad investment comparatively.

To mirror your iPhone screen using a Lightning to HDMI adapter:

  1. Connect your adapter to the lightning port of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Connect your display or projector via HDMI cable.
  3. Switch to the correct source on your display to see your device mirrored.

You can also get Lightning to VGA adapters, which seem to have many of the same issues and don’t support HDCP.

3. Use Google Chromecast

You can use Google’s wireless “casting” technology to watch content wirelessly from your iPhone or iPad, though it works a little differently. Chromecast is Google’s answer to the Apple TV, and for $35 (or $69 for the 4K-compatible Chromecast Ultra) it allows you to stream content from your mobile device to your TV.

It’s not possible to mirror your whole screen using Chromecast, as Apple limits the technology to its first-party products. However, many iOS apps like YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify include support for Chromecast. Check out Wikipedia’s list of supported Chromecast apps for more.

Each app handles Chromecast integration a bit differently, so there’s no single way to stream video or other media from an iOS app. Just look for the cast button in the app you’re currently using.

For more on the Chromecast, check out our comparion of the Chromecast and Apple TV, or how to set up the Chromecast Ultra.

What Do You Use to Mirror Your iPhone or iPad?

AirPlay is the best way to mirror or send media to a remote display or audio device, but it’s also the most expensive. Wired solutions are inelegant and problematic given the way the Lightning standard was designed, which is why Apple pushes wireless streaming.

If you already have a Chromecast, or feel that you can live without true mirroring and make do with the app-by-app compatibility, this is a good option. For AirPlay connectivity at Chromecast prices, check AirPlay receivers that are cheaper than the Apple TV.

Read the full article: How to Mirror an iPhone or iPad to Your TV

How to Add More Storage to Your MacBook: 6 Methods That Work

more-storage-macbook

You thought you could save some money on your MacBook by opting for a model with less storage, and now you’re regretting that decision. Fortunately, you don’t need to buy a whole new computer to add more storage. Apple hardware is built to last—there’s a good chance your MacBook has many years left in it. We’ll show you both cheap and elaborate options for adding more storage to your MacBook. 1. External Hard Drives You may already have an external hard drive. They’re handy for backing up your Mac using Time Machine, but you can also partition your backup disk…

Read the full article: How to Add More Storage to Your MacBook: 6 Methods That Work

more-storage-macbook

You thought you could save some money on your MacBook by opting for a model with less storage, and now you’re regretting that decision. Fortunately, you don’t need to buy a whole new computer to add more storage.

Apple hardware is built to last—there’s a good chance your MacBook has many years left in it. We’ll show you both cheap and elaborate options for adding more storage to your MacBook.

1. External Hard Drives

You may already have an external hard drive. They’re handy for backing up your Mac using Time Machine, but you can also partition your backup disk and use it as a regular drive too. These relatively cheap storage accessories offer high capacities and are much smaller than they once were. Plus, most no longer require separate power supplies.

While the physical size and price of external storage has shrunk over the years, these drives are still fragile and slow. Hard disk drives still use an arm-and-platter arrangement, which means they need time to “spin up” and are prone to mechanical failure. External hard drives don’t stand up well to drops. You also have to carry them with you, and they occupy one of the few USB ports your MacBook has. On a newer MacBook, you’ll probably need a USB-C adapter too.

Storing data on external drives works well in certain situations. You might use them to hold large media files that aren’t part of your libraries, archived documents and project files, RAW photos, backups, and disk images. While you can span your iTunes library across multiple volumes using an app like TuneSpan, you can’t do the same for your ever-expanding photos library without moving the whole thing.

Something basic like Western Digital’s Elements USB 3.0 drive will do the trick for most external storage needs. Whatever you buy, make sure it’s at least USB 3.0.

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Bottom line: A slow but cost-effective way of adding a large amount of storage to your MacBook. But you have to carry it with you, and it’s fragile. You might want to keep your external drive for only backups, archives, and home use.

2. Thunderbolt RAID Systems

LaCie 2big RAID

Thunderbolt is an ultra-fast interface developed by Apple and Intel. It’s an active cable, rather than the passive USB standard. That means it can carry a lot more bandwidth, which makes it perfect for transferring or accessing files on an external storage medium.

RAIDs use two or more drives for a flexible storage solution. You can use RAID to create a failsafe mirror of all your files, combine several drives into a single volume, and increase read/write times by storing parts of files on different drives. Some systems—like the LaCie 2big—come with drives. Others systems ship with just the arrays and allow you to source the drives yourself.

LaCie 2Big Dock 8TB RAID Thunderbolt 3 7200RPM External Hard Drive + 1mo Adobe CC All Apps (STGB8000400) LaCie 2Big Dock 8TB RAID Thunderbolt 3 7200RPM External Hard Drive + 1mo Adobe CC All Apps (STGB8000400) Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

The combination of Thunderbolt and RAID has given birth to a new breed of external drive. These include multiple bays for several full-sized hard drives. If you have money to burn, you can throw a few solid state drives in there instead. Most of them are plug-and-play, while providing a huge amount of storage to choose from.

Check out our recommended Thunderbolt RAID systems for adding more storage to your Mac.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a reliable backup solution, or you want super-fast storage, RAID is the way to go. Unfortunately, it’s likely the most expensive option on this list depending on what you go for. Thunderbolt RAID systems also have to live on your desk, since they’re much larger than portable external drives.

3. SD Cards

Older MacBooks include an SD card slot, which allows you to quickly transfer media without plugging in your media device. You can also use your SD card slot to expand your MacBook storage. SD cards are cheaper than ever; even a high capacity card like the SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB SDXC is an affordable upgrade.

SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB SDXC UHS-I Card (SDSDXXG-256G-GN4IN) SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB SDXC UHS-I Card (SDSDXXG-256G-GN4IN) Buy Now At Amazon $88.40

Keep in mind that on the newest MacBooks that include an SD slot, the cards don’t sit flush. This means they’ll protrude from one side of your MacBook. Aesthetic objections aside, this isn’t ideal if you’re likely to throw your MacBook in a tight-fitting bag. A stray bump could cause damage to both the port and SD card.

With a bit of care, though, an SD card can offer serious storage at a relatively affordable price. You’ll want to shop for a card that offers fast read and write speeds; check out our guide to buying the best SD card for some tips.

Bottom line: A cheap upgrade that offers decent transfer speeds, depending on what you spend. It’s a no-hassle install, but you’ll have to make a trade-off between larger, faster, and cheaper SD cards or a solution that is more aesthetically pleasing.

4. Upgrade Your SSD

Solid State Drive

On all modern MacBooks, Apple includes a solid state drive (SSD) rather than a mechanical hard disk drive (HDD). SSDs have no moving parts, which means they’re much less fragile and considerably faster than older technology. Indeed, adding an SSD is one of the best ways to make your old Mac feel like new.

If you already have an SSD, a new one won’t add much of a speed increase. But since larger drives are more affordable than they were when you bought your computer, the increased storage might still be worth it. You can get a 1TB Samsung 860 EVO SSD for a price that was unimaginable just five years ago.

Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E1T0B/AM) Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-76E1T0B/AM) Buy Now At Amazon $147.99

You can reuse the SSD in other computers or a portable enclosure when your MacBook eventually dies. That’s why we recommend buying the biggest capacity you can afford. Keep in mind that upgrading involves opening your laptop enclosure, which will void any warranty you have on your machine.

On the newest MacBook models, the SSD comes soldered to the logic board. This renders upgrades essentially impossible, so check if your model is upgradeable before you commit to a purchase.

In many cases, you can buy upgrade kits that include everything you need to upgrade your laptop’s storage. These include instructions and even video resources. This guide on Instructables applies to most Apple laptops, but keep in mind there will be small differences for each model. Some retailers, like Other World Computing, split their kits up by model and year, which makes it difficult to buy the wrong one.

To perform an upgrade, you’ll need a new solid-state drive, screwdriver set that matches your laptop, and a spare external drive or enclosure for your old drive so you can clone it.

Bottom line: This is the fastest storage upgrade you can perform. It’s an involved but relatively straightforward installation process that rewards you with fast, hassle-free storage that goes everywhere you do. But it’s impossible on newer models.

5. Network Storage

cat5e-rj45
Image Credit: CAT5e /Flickr

Aside from adding storage to your MacBook directly, you can leverage some of the storage you already have elsewhere in your home. This is a cheap way of adding storage, as you might not need to buy anything to use it.

There are some drawbacks with this approach that largely depend on your network setup. A wired network will provide the most reliable speeds, though this caps out at 10Gb/sec from Cat 6 cable on the fastest network equipment you can buy.

Most of us rely on Wi-Fi around the house for convenience, and the speed you get will depend on signal quality. Even if your router is rated for 150Mb/sec, there’s no guarantee you’ll get that speed.

You’ll only be able to use network storage and its data when you’re on the same network. If you’re interested in this idea, we’ve covered a few ways to use network storage:

Bottom line: A mixed bag that’s cheap with variable speeds, but only available when you’re at home. Better network equipment and Cat 5e cable is a minimum requirement for speeds that top out at 1Gb/sec, while Wi-Fi speeds fall short.

6. Cloud Storage

You can always turn to the cloud for additional storage space. We’ve covered making a decision between network-attached storage and cloud services before, so be sure to do your research if you’re thinking of going down this route.

The biggest drawback of using the cloud as a storage device is the speed, which is limited to whatever your internet speed is. Downloading files from the cloud isn’t ideal if you’re a remote worker who often uses smartphone tethering. Any kind of bandwidth restriction, or slow shared networks are also an issue. You’ll also probably need to purchase additional storage to make this work for you.

You can opt for additional iCloud storage if you want to use features like iCloud Photo Library to store your original images, and keep only local “optimized” versions on your MacBook. This ensures you have access to images, with the option of downloading a full-sized original when you need it. You can also switch your music listening to a streaming solution like Apple Music or Spotify, and listen on-demand rather than keeping media on your local device.

icloud-photo-library

macOS now allows you to optimize local storage by storing files you don’t use in the cloud until you need them. The files appear on your Mac like normal, but are actually stored remotely till you access them. macOS will take care of the uploads and downloads for you, which means you’ll have to rely on your computer to choose which files are stored where.

Bottom line: A slow solution that requires an ongoing subscription, but features like iCloud Photo Library and macOS’ Optimize Storage feature can help bridge the gap between convenience and practicality.

More Storage Space on Your MacBook

Next time you purchase a new laptop, get the most storage you can afford. While an opportunity to save some money may be enticing, you could end up spending half of your laptop’s lifetime shuffling files around and running out of space.

Whatever route you go down, don’t stop at expanding your storage. There’s a lot you can do to create free space on your Mac.

Read the full article: How to Add More Storage to Your MacBook: 6 Methods That Work

How to Record a Phone Call on an iPhone

record-iphone-call

As you may know, there’s no built-in way to record phone calls using your iPhone. As a result of country and state-specific laws, Apple doesn’t make it particularly easy to record a phone call. However, it’s not impossible. You can record iPhone phone calls using some workarounds. If you’re going to use any of these methods, make sure you notify the person on the other end of the call that they’re being recorded. Provided they know and consent, there’s little chance of landing yourself in hot water. Use Speaker Mode and Record Using Another Device This is probably the quickest,…

Read the full article: How to Record a Phone Call on an iPhone

record-iphone-call

As you may know, there’s no built-in way to record phone calls using your iPhone. As a result of country and state-specific laws, Apple doesn’t make it particularly easy to record a phone call.

However, it’s not impossible. You can record iPhone phone calls using some workarounds.

If you’re going to use any of these methods, make sure you notify the person on the other end of the call that they’re being recorded. Provided they know and consent, there’s little chance of landing yourself in hot water.

Use Speaker Mode and Record Using Another Device

Recording with Audacity

This is probably the quickest, easiest, and “dirtiest” way of recording a phone call from your iPhone. You’ll need another device with a microphone that can record (like an iPad, computer, or portable recording device) to make it work. Check out our microphone recommendations if you don’t have anything else for this.

Provided you’re in a quiet environment and can use your iPhone’s speakerphone, it couldn’t be simpler to pull off:

  1. Call your contact and tap on the Speaker icon. If you have Bluetooth headphones connected, you’ll need to select the iPhone speaker from the list.
  2. Notify the other party that you’ll be recording the conversation. On your external recorder, start recording.
  3. Place the phone close enough to the microphone so that when you speak, it picks up your voice clearly too.
  4. Save the recording when your phone call is finished.

On an iOS device, you can record the call using Apple’s Voice Memos app. On a Mac or PC, we’d recommend free audio editing and recording workhorse Audacity.

Record Incoming iPhone Calls Using Google Voice

Google Voice

Google Voice is a free voicemail and calling service available in the US and Canada. It provides you with a free US phone number, voicemail inbox, and the ability to make calls both domestically (free) and internationally (as per Google’s rates).

Use of Google Voice requires the Google Voice app, which is available for the web, plus Android and iOS devices. One perk of the app is its ability to allow you to record phone calls. Before you can do this, you’ll need to take some time setting up the service:

  1. Download the Google Voice app for iPhone, open it, and sign in using your Google account.
  2. Tap Search and select the phone number you want to associate with your Google Voice account.
  3. Confirm your number, then hit Next until you’re asked to enter your phone number.
  4. Enter your iPhone’s phone number, confirm, then wait for a verification code.
  5. Verify your new Google Voice account using the code you just received.

There’s one final step you need to complete before you can record calls. Log into the Google Voice website using your Google account. Now click on the three-dot icon on the left-hand side of the page, and select Settings. Under Calls, enable Incoming call options.

Now when you receive a phone call via your Google Voice account, you’ll be able to press the 4 key on your iPhone to start recording the conversation. When you do this, Google will notify the other party that they are being recorded. You’ll find your recording in your Google Voice inbox, where you can download it for safekeeping.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to record an outgoing phone call using Google Voice.

Use a Third-Party Service to Record Messages

There are all manner of third party iPhone call recorders available. These services are not free, and either charge a flat rate for unlimited use or a per-minute rate using credit. These generally all work using the same method:

  1. First download and launch your chosen call recorder app on your iPhone.
  2. Start calling a contact or other number you wish to record.
  3. The app will place your call using the provider’s servers, which also records the conversation.
  4. You can then download the recording from the server once the call has completed.

There are a few issues with this method. The first is that caller ID won’t match your number for the person you’re calling. They probably won’t know who you are—or worse, will get an Unknown Number depending on where you live, and who you’re calling.

The other is the obvious security issue of having a service record your calls for you. If the subject of your calls is sensitive in nature, you’re best off avoiding this method. If you’re simply recording calls so you can refer back to something later, this is less of a concern.

Record a Phone Call Using Your Voicemail

This final method depends largely on your carrier for whether it works and precisely how useful it is. First you need to check whether your carrier allows you to download your voicemail messages (a feature introduced in iOS 9).

Launch the Phone app on your iPhone and tap on the Voicemail tab in the bottom-right corner. If you see a list of voicemail messages appear, that’s great! You can download them and keep them on your device, so this method has some use to you.

iPhone Voicemail

If you only see a Call Voicemail option, bad luck. You can still try this method, but your recording will be stuck in your carrier’s voicemail inbox. You’ll need to find another way to save it externally, perhaps using the speakerphone method we discussed above.

To go ahead with this method, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Call your contact and notify them you want to record the call. Ask them to hold the line for a second.
  2. On your iPhone, tap the Add Call button to start a three-way conversation.
  3. Call your own phone number. If it goes well, you should get straight to your own voicemail inbox.
  4. Wait for the voicemail greeting to finish, then tap Merge Calls to start the conference.

Your conversation should record as a message you can retrieve from your voicemail inbox. If you’re able to see your individual voicemail messages under the Phone app, you can download the call for safekeeping.

My cheap Australian carrier wouldn’t let me record using the three-way voicemail trick, nor did I have any way of downloading the message. Your mileage may vary, but if it works, it’s a free voice recorder—so it’s worth remembering!

Which Call Recording Method Works for You?

The two most reliable ways of recording a phone call on your iPhone are using the speakerphone method, or paying for a third-party service to record the call for you. In either case, you should always make sure you notify the other party that you are recording them to stay on the right side of the law.

Got an Android phone? Recording a phone call on Android isn’t quite such an ordeal, but it still has its quirks. If you have both devices, you might want to go with Google on this one.

Read the full article: How to Record a Phone Call on an iPhone

What Does Apple Know About You? Request Your Personal Data Now

what-apple-knows

Apple now makes it easy to download a copy of the data associated with your Apple ID. Once you’ve lodged your request, the company will prepare your archives of personal data and notify you when they’re ready. The service helps you understand what data Apple is storing against your Apple ID. You can also use it to grab a copy of your iCloud data, including mail, photos, and documents. So here’s how you request your own download, and everything you get. What Data Can You Download From Apple? You can choose which data associated with your account that you want…

Read the full article: What Does Apple Know About You? Request Your Personal Data Now

what-apple-knows

Apple now makes it easy to download a copy of the data associated with your Apple ID. Once you’ve lodged your request, the company will prepare your archives of personal data and notify you when they’re ready.

The service helps you understand what data Apple is storing against your Apple ID. You can also use it to grab a copy of your iCloud data, including mail, photos, and documents.

So here’s how you request your own download, and everything you get.

What Data Can You Download From Apple?

You can choose which data associated with your account that you want to download. Apple lets you choose from the following categories:

  • App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store and Apple Music activity
  • Apple ID account and device information
  • Game Center activity
  • Maps issues you’ve reported
  • Marketing communications, downloads, and other activity
  • Apple Pay activity
  • Apple Online Store and Retail Store activity
  • AppleCare support history, repair requests and more
  • Other data

You can also choose the following iCloud data to be included:

  • iCloud Bookmarks and Reading List
  • iCloud Calendars and Reminders
  • iCloud Notes
  • iCloud Contacts
  • iCloud Drive files and documents
  • iCloud Mail
  • iCloud Photos

Some of this information stored by Apple for Apple’s benefit, while other categories are your own data, contacts, photos and so on.

How to Request Your Apple Data Download

Requesting your Apple data download is easy. First head to privacy.apple.com and log in with your Apple ID username (email address) and password.

Apple Privacy Manage Your Data

Once you’ve logged in you’ll see the “Manage your data” screen, and at the top of the list will be an option to Obtain a copy of your data. Click Get started to begin.

Apple Privacy Obtain Your Data

Now you’re able to specify exactly what you want to download. You can click Select all to grab a copy of everything, or just pick from the categories that interest you. Note the separate section at the bottom of the page with the warning about potentially large file sizes.

Click Continue when you’re ready.

Apple Privacy Large Download

On the next screen you’ll be able to specify how large you want your files to be. Apple will split your data download into files of this size, so you can download them in smaller chunks (handy for slower, patchier connections). Click Complete request to finalize your selection and sit back.

Apple Privacy Choose File Size

Apple will then email you at the address associated with your Apple ID. You should also receive an email notifying you that your request is pending. Apple sent an email to both my Apple ID associated email address, and my iCloud email address.

How Long Does the Download Take to Prepare?

I requested my download for all items except big iCloud libraries on the 18th, and received an email on the 22nd stating that the download was ready.

Apple Privacy Data Ready

Selecting more or fewer items may impact the time it takes Apple to process your request, but expect to wait a few days at least.

What You Get in the Apple Data Download

Once Apple notifies you that your download is ready, login to privacy.apple.com (or follow the link in your email). You should now see a new green notification to the right of the “Manage your data” screen. Click Get your data to see a list of items for download.

Apple Privacy Get Your Data

You can download each data category independently. Since the download will only be available for around two weeks, make sure you download what you want before it’s deleted and you have to make another request.

Apple Privacy Data Download

Most of the data is stored in CSV spreadsheet files (that formatted perfectly using Preview on my Mac). The contents are detailed, but unsurprising. I found a list of every song I’ve ever listened to on Apple music, my musical likes and dislikes, and both free and paid App Store purchase history.

Apple Privacy iCloud Devices

There’s information about all your linked Apple devices, including names, time zones, and the last registered IP address associated with that device. I also found a folder with Apple retail store receipts, which included an invoice for a repair covered by AppleCare, but no invoice for the original MacBook Pro transaction in 2012.

I excluded mail, photos, and iCloud Drive files from my download, but included everything else. The total download size was under 100MB, with the largest download being Apple Notes on account of included attachments.

Apple Privacy "Other Data" Folder

The vaguely-titled “Other Data” download included a list of “favorite” places in Apple Maps (it was thin, and I don’t remember using the feature), my Safari browsing history, call history, a list of known Wi-Fi networks associated with my account, and a long list of iCloud usage events (adding contacts, uploading photos) and the device associated with each one.

Ultimately none of this should surprise you, since it’s all disclosed in the terms of service you agreed to when you started using your Apple ID (and the many amendments since). You did read that big long terms of service document, right? You can read about how Apple uses this data on their privacy information page.

How to Deactivate or Delete Your Apple ID

Apple’s privacy minisite also allows you to deactivate and delete your Apple ID should you no longer need it. Deactivation is a temporary measure, and will mean that you cannot use any Apple services associated with that account.

Delete or Deactivate Your AppleID

Deleting your account is permanent, but it’s also the only way to delete your data from Apple’s servers. You’ll have to register for a new account if you want to start afresh.

Stay in Control of Your Personal Data

Downloading your data will help you understand what data is held against your account. Never give someone else your Apple ID login information, since they could potentially get hold of everything in this download.

Apple isn’t the only company that makes it easy to get a copy of your data. Social media giant Facebook allows you to download your profile data too, and it generally doesn’t take as long as Apple’s download to prepare.

Read the full article: What Does Apple Know About You? Request Your Personal Data Now

7 iCloud Mail Tips for Better a Email Experience

icloud-mail-tips

Apple hands out free email addresses with every new Apple ID registered. It might not be the powerhouse that is Gmail, but iCloud Mail is still a useful email service to have at your disposal. If you already use your iCloud Mail address, make sure you’re familiar with features like aliases and mail rules. If you’ve avoided using your iCloud address because you’re convinced it’s useless, these tips might change your mind. 1. Access Mail From Anywhere With iCloud.com Probably the best way to use iCloud Mail is through a browser. If you log in at iCloud.com using your Apple…

Read the full article: 7 iCloud Mail Tips for Better a Email Experience

icloud-mail-tips

Apple hands out free email addresses with every new Apple ID registered. It might not be the powerhouse that is Gmail, but iCloud Mail is still a useful email service to have at your disposal.

If you already use your iCloud Mail address, make sure you’re familiar with features like aliases and mail rules. If you’ve avoided using your iCloud address because you’re convinced it’s useless, these tips might change your mind.

1. Access Mail From Anywhere With iCloud.com

iCloud.com

Probably the best way to use iCloud Mail is through a browser. If you log in at iCloud.com using your Apple ID and select Mail, you get access to a few other features that a traditional mail client cannot provide (including Apple Mail).

This version of iCloud Mail has a decent search engine and filtering options at the bottom of the screen for only showing unread messages. You can also drag and drop messages into folders you have created in the left-hand sidebar.

Nearly all the other tips listed here rely on the web version of iCloud Mail. Unfortunately you can’t access this version from a mobile device, so you’ll need to log in from a desktop browser on your Mac or PC.

2. iCloud Mail Aliases Can Deal With Spam

iCloud Mail Alias

Aliases allow you to create up to three dummy @icloud.com email addresses. You will receive any email sent to these alias addresses until you decide to deactivate them. You can also filter your inbox by alias to remove unwanted messages from showing up.

Aliases provide a fairly useful barrier against spam (without needing a disposable email service). If you’re concerned about handing out your real email address when signing up for a service or entering a competition, you can hand over an alias instead. You’ll still be able to use the service or claim your prize, and you can disable the alias at a later date (or simply filter it out).

To create an alias, log in to iCloud.com and click Mail. Click on the cog icon in the bottom-left hand corner of the screen and select Preferences. Choose Accounts followed by Add an alias, then pick a suitable alias name. You can only register @icloud.com email aliases.

3. Create Rules for iCloud Mail

iCloud Mail Rules

Rules are one of the features that makes Gmail such a powerful mail client. These allow you to route mail to specific folders or skip the inbox altogether. You can filter by criteria like subject line, originating email address, or whether it’s addressed to one of your aliases.

You can create rules in iCloud Mail by logging into iCloud.com and clicking Mail. Next click on the cog icon in the bottom-left corner, then choose Preferences. Select Rules and click Add a Rule. Now set your incoming mail criteria followed by the desired action, then save it with Done.

These rules apply to all your devices going forward. That means that even though you can’t set up rules on your iPhone Mail client or in Apple Mail for macOS, iCloud will still adhere to these rules on the server side.

4. Send Large Files With Mail Drop

iCloud Mail Drop

Did you know you can send files up to 5GB in size using iCloud Mail? Using a feature called Mail Drop, iCloud Mail stores your file in the cloud and lets the recipient download it using a link contained in your email. Apple doesn’t state how big the maximum attachment is before Mail Drop kicks in. Any files you deliver using Mail Drop will only be available for download for 30 days.

You may need to turn on this feature before you can use it. Log in to iCloud.com and click Mail. Click on the cog in the bottom-left corner then choose Preferences. Under Composing, enable Use Mail Drop when sending large attachments.

To attach a file to your email message, simply drag and drop it onto your message while composing. You can also click on the Attach button (it looks like a paper clip) and select a file using this method. If email doesn’t cut it, check out a few other ways you can send large files.

5. Forward Mail Elsewhere

iCloud Mail Forwarding

One of the most useful mail rules is the ability to forward all incoming mail to another email address. This means you never have to check your iCloud mail, and can instead use it as an alias for your other accounts.

You can easily set this up using iCloud Mail rules. Log in to iCloud.com and click on Mail. Click on the cog icon in the bottom-left corner, then choose Rules. Under If a message choose is addressed to, then input your iCloud Mail email address in the first field.

In the next field under Then choose Forward to an Email Address and Mark as Read, then input the email address at which you want to receive your messages in the field below. Now all your incoming iCloud mail will be forwarded to your main email account.

Using Gmail, you can filter these incoming messages further. And if you’re using your iCloud Mail as an alias and start receiving spam, you can always delete this rule.

6. Set Up an Autoresponder in iCloud Mail

iCloud Mail Autoresponder

What’s an email client without an autoresponder? Apple’s iCloud Mail autoresponder is pretty barebones, but it gets the job done. You can’t set a daily autoresponder that kicks in while you’re out of the office, but you can set up a vacation autoresponder that replies to messages while you’re way.

Login to iCloud.com and click on Mail. In the bottom-left corner click on the cog followed by Preferences. Next click on Vacation, enable Automatically reply to messages when they are received, and input the dates during which you’ll be away.

Finally, add the message you want to send anyone who tries to contact you during this period.

7. Download Your Entire Mail History

Download iCloud Mail

If you want to download the entire contents of your iCloud Mail for archival purposes, you can do so by requesting a copy of your data from Apple. You could also configure a regular desktop email client to pull everything down, and then archive it using that instead.

To make a data request head to privacy.apple.com and log in with your Apple ID. Underneath Obtain a copy of your data, click Get started, then scroll to the bottom of the page and check iCloud Mail. If you want a copy of any other data, like your iCloud Drive contents, iCloud Photo Library, or personal data that Apple keeps on its servers, add it to the download.

Hit Continue, then specify a download size for the archive files Apple will deliver. Finally, hit Complete request and wait. Apple will take a few days to prepare the data, then you’ll get an email notifying you that your download is ready. You can then log back in to Apple’s privacy mini-site to start the download.

Not the Worst Email Service in the World

iCloud Mail is a no-frills email service, but it works well enough. The rules you set up are followed regardless of which device you use. Mail Drop is a genuinely useful way of sending large files. And if you’re not fond of Apple’s mail service, you can use it as another alias with automatic forwarding.

Using Apple Mail to access your iCloud Mail account? Check out our top Apple Mail tips for Mac users.

Read the full article: 7 iCloud Mail Tips for Better a Email Experience

The Facebook Image Size Guide for 2018

facebook-image-sizes-2018

Whether you’re trying to drive social traffic to your site or simply want your personal profile to look its best, you really need this Facebook image size guide. From your profile banner to your holiday snaps, visuals really matter on the world’s largest social network. So we’re here to help you find the best image sizes to use on Facebook. Unfortunately Facebook doesn’t make things easy, with some images appearing differently on mobile and desktop versions. But this Facebook image size guide should help you figure it all out. Picking the Right Facebook Cover Photo Size Size on Mobile: 640…

Read the full article: The Facebook Image Size Guide for 2018

facebook-image-sizes-2018

Whether you’re trying to drive social traffic to your site or simply want your personal profile to look its best, you really need this Facebook image size guide.

From your profile banner to your holiday snaps, visuals really matter on the world’s largest social network. So we’re here to help you find the best image sizes to use on Facebook.

Unfortunately Facebook doesn’t make things easy, with some images appearing differently on mobile and desktop versions. But this Facebook image size guide should help you figure it all out.

Picking the Right Facebook Cover Photo Size

Facebook Cover Photo

Size on Mobile: 640 x 360 pixels

Size on Desktop: 851 x 315 pixels

Best Size: 820 x 462 pixels

Since you can only use one size of image for both mobile and desktop, the ideal minimum cover size is: 820 x 462 pixels (an aspect ratio of 1.77:1). This size displays nicely on both mobile and desktop, and you can position your image precisely when you upload it using Facebook’s own tools. If you use a larger image that still conforms to the same aspect ratio, desktop and tablet users will see an improvement in quality.

The cover photo is the banner at the top of your Facebook page. It’s the first thing visitors will notice when they land on your profile or page, so it’s important to create a unique Facebook cover photo. Things work a little differently for personal profiles and business pages.

For personal profiles, your cover forms a background for your personal profile. On mobile your profile picture appears in the center of the cover photo. For pages, the two are entirely separate. Your cover photo is a chance to say something bold about your brand, while your profile image provides a small snippet of identity.

What’s the Best Facebook Profile Picture Size?

Facebook Profile Photo Size

Mobile and Desktop: 180 x 180 pixels

Profile pictures are easy, since they’re square images. The image will display at 160 x 160 pixels, but Facebook asks for 180 x 180 pixels to scale down. You can basically use any square image you like, whether it’s large at 900 x 900 pixels or small at 200 x 200 pixels. Facebook will automatically resize and compress your image to fit.

Facebook Event Cover Image and Photo Sizes

Facebook Event Cover Photo Size

Best Event Cover Photo size: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Photos in Event Feed: (up to) 470 x 470 pixels

Facebook displays event cover images differently on mobile and desktop, so an aspect ratio of 16:9 is recommended to avoid cropping. An image at full HD resolution will also give your cover enough clarity should anyone click on it from the event page. Feel free to go to an even higher resolution to pack in the pixels.

After checking a whole load of event pages out, it seems event organisers use slightly different sizes but ensure the important content (names, dates, venues) appear somewhat toward the center of the image. Images displayed on your event wall can go up to 470 pixels wide and high, depending on the shape of your image.

The Best Facebook Group Cover Photo Size

Facebook Group Cover Photo Size

Best Cover Photo Size: 820 x 462 pixels

Despite only displaying at 820 x 250 pixels in the desktop news feed, the mobile version of Facebook shows the full 820 x 426 pixels group cover photo size. This is an aspect ratio of 1.77:1, so provided you stay within those boundaries you can create a higher resolution image which will fit perfectly.

Facebook Groups are an increasingly popular way to connect with friends, communities, and customers. And there are some awesome ways to discover new Facebook Groups. As always if you have any really important information that you don’t want hidden from view on desktop, make sure you account for the clipping that will occur at the top and bottom of the image.

What Is the Best Facebook Link Image Size?

Facebook Link Image Size

Size on Mobile: 560 x 292 pixels

Size on Desktop: 470 x 246 pixels

Best Link Image Size: 1200 x 629 pixels

The link image is the image pulled from any link you happen to share on Facebook, such as a blog post or a news story. If you have control over the source medium (your personal blog, for instance) you can design your “featured” image to conform to the 1.9:1 ratio at a size of around 1200 x 629 pixels for the best results.

Other image sizes will be cropped to fit this template. Assuming your image is purely illustrative, and doesn’t require 100 percent accurate reproduction on Facebook (like text, or a logo) this shouldn’t worry you too much. If you’re looking for a good image for an article, check out the best websites for free stock images.

Choosing the Right Facebook Ad Size

Facebook Ad Size

Single image ads: 1200 x 629 pixels

Carousel ads: 1080 x 1080 pixels

Single image ads follow the same precedent set by link images, at a 1.9:1 ratio. If you just want to promote your product with a link to your product page or blog post, 1200 x 629 pixels is fine. For carousel ads, which let you run up to 10 images in a scrolling carousel, stick to the 1:1 image ratio at 1080 x 1080 pixels or higher.

Remember that promoted posts are different to adverts. If you click the “Boost Post” button on your Facebook page to boost a post, you aren’t bound by the same restrictions and don’t require a Facebook ad manager account.

This allows you to do things like create a new post with a square image, put a link in the body of the text, and promote it like you would an advert.

Facebook Is Always Changing

Like Google, nobody knows what Facebook is thinking. And it changes things up regularly. With that in mind it’s best to keep up with the news in order to keep ahead of any changes. The social media giant’s influence continues to grow, and growing with the service is something users will just have to get used to.

However, popularity can cause problems too. The social network’s biggest hack saw 50 million accounts compromised, so make sure you know what to do if your Facebook account has been hacked.

Image Credit: ifong/Depositphotos

Read the full article: The Facebook Image Size Guide for 2018

The 6 Best Websites to Find Used Laptops for Sale

used-laptops-sale

If you’re on a tight budget, you could land a bargain by buying a used laptop instead of a brand new one. This is especially true for high-end models. MacBooks and ultrabooks are known to hold value, but a second-hand model can help you avoid the eye-watering premiums you’ll pay at retail. The best place to find your laptop may depend on where you live. Ideally, you’ll want to inspect before you buy. But if you can’t do that buy with confidence from a website that boasts buyer protection. Here are the best websites to find yourself a used laptop…

Read the full article: The 6 Best Websites to Find Used Laptops for Sale

used-laptops-sale

If you’re on a tight budget, you could land a bargain by buying a used laptop instead of a brand new one. This is especially true for high-end models. MacBooks and ultrabooks are known to hold value, but a second-hand model can help you avoid the eye-watering premiums you’ll pay at retail.

The best place to find your laptop may depend on where you live. Ideally, you’ll want to inspect before you buy. But if you can’t do that buy with confidence from a website that boasts buyer protection.

Here are the best websites to find yourself a used laptop bargain.

1. eBay

eBay Used Laptop and Notebooks

Predictable, but incredibly popular. The internet’s premium online auction site has a huge volume of used laptops at any one time, which makes it easy to find exactly what you want. You can search by brand, narrow things down by price, and pick the year of manufacture.

You can also pick from just about every computer-related metric: processors, storage capacity, RAM, screen size, and more. Choose to search both manufacturer and seller refurbished models, or stick to the used market for the cheapest prices.

Looking at a MacBook? Check out eBay’s MacBook store. Want a Windows laptop? eBay has a PC notebook store too. Sort every laptop auction by ending soonest to spot any bargains that haven’t received any bids yet. You can try your luck at the auctions (sniper tools may come in handy), or take your time with buy it now listings.

eBay also makes past auctions available for perusal. This allows you to use eBay advanced search to find listings that have already finished. You can then use this information to gauge whether you’re getting a bargain or not.

Finally, most auctions are covered by eBay’s Money Back Guarantee. This means you’re covered against sellers that don’t ship your item, items that do not match the listing or faulty items that don’t work as advertised. This makes eBay the best choice for buyers who are unable to inspect items in person.

2. Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace Used Laptops

Facebook is no longer just a social network, it’s a rapidly growing peer-to-peer marketplace too. Leveraging the ever growing user base, Marketplace makes it easy to list or find items for sale in your immediate area.

Simply search what you’re looking for, or browse by “Electronics” to see everything computer-related. You can then filter by price or adjust your location, widening the search area if you’re happy to travel a little further to find what you’re looking for.

Unlike eBay, Facebook Marketplace does not take care of the transaction. If you find an item you’re interested in you’ll need to contact the seller to arrange an inspection. For this reason, Facebook Marketplace is not suitable for long-distance transactions, since you’ll have no buyer protection.

Make sure you look any potential product over before you buy. If a bargain looks too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t fall for items that may be stolen that lack essential cables, or are listed at very low price points. Consider joining a few local “buy/sell” groups, where the items for sale are up for discussion.

3. Gumtree

GumTree Used Laptop

Gumtree is the another classifieds site in the same vein as Facebook Marketplace. The difference here is that you don’t need a Facebook account in order to use it, and you can inquire about any item for sale with a good old email address.

Despite expanding into the US market in 2007, Gumtree is most popular in its home country of the UK. It also enjoys success in Australia, Singapore, and South Africa. You can choose to browse by category (Apple Laptops and PC Laptops & Netbooks are both options) or use the search bar instead.

Once you’ve supplied a location in which to search, you can modify the search area to widen or narrow down your search. When you’ve found an item you like the look of you can either send an email to the seller or reveal their phone number in order to give them a call. Just like Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree sales take place between you and the seller only.

If you’re thinking of buying through Gumtree, take a look at the company’s advice regarding staying safe. It is recommended you avoid sales that don’t take place face to face, and always be suspicious of adverts that look too good to be true.

4. Swappa

Swappa Used Laptops

Swappa is a marketplace for used technology products including laptops, but also smartphones, cameras, and video games. Sellers don’t pay for the service, but buyers pay a small fee that’s included in the final sale price.

The service does a few things differently to other services like eBay. Only working products are allowed on the service, which means no broken or “for parts” listings. Each listing that goes live on the website has been reviewed and approved by a member of Swappa’s support team. Serial numbers are checked to help verify items, adding further peace of mind.

All shipping costs are included in the final price and for buyer protection the service uses PayPal. This protects buyers against items not showing up in the post, items that differ significantly from the description, and faulty items. You’ll have to recoup your money through PayPal, not Swappa, though.

If you’re thinking of buying a laptop through Swappa there are dedicated sections for specific models including MacBooks, Chromebooks, and Microsoft Surface Books. Filter by price, year of manufacture, and metrics like RAM, storage, and even color.

5. Best Buy Refurbished Laptops

Best Buy Refurbished

If you’re willing to spend a bit more than what you’d normally pay for a used laptop, you can get a refurbished laptop instead. These machines have been inspected, graded, and often come with some sort of warranty. While they’re not flawless, the price will reflect the laptop’s overall condition.

If you don’t need the latest and greatest, Best Buy carry a lot of refurbished older machines that are still serviceable. These include the chunky old optical drive MacBook Pro models, which lack solid state drives (SSDs). You can also find 14″ Dell machines with small SSDs for around $250, and old Chromebooks for about $170.

Some laptops come with a warranty, while others may not. All laptops purchased through Best Buy come with the company’s Return & Exchange Promise as per the company’s Best Buy Outlet Guide. The company states that “most products offer a minimum 90 day warranty unless otherwise noted” but it’s best to query each individual item before you buy.

6. Apple Certified Refurbished

Apple Certified Refurbished

If you’re looking for a Mac and you want the absolute best condition you can buy, Apple’s refurbished store is the best place to buy. Everything you buy under the Apple Certified Refurbished program includes a one year warranty, power adapter, and required power cords.

Apple’s refurbished store is also the most expensive place to buy a used Mac. But it offers the best warranty and range of products. The price you pay will depend largely on the product and the year of manufacture, as well as how powerful the laptop is.

You can grab a refurbished 13-inch MacBook Air from 2007 for around $850, while a high-end MacBook Pro of the same age will run you nearly $2,400. These products still represent a decent saving over the cost of the latest brand new products. And you can purchase with confidence knowing they have been serviced by Apple before being sold.

In addition to a proper warranty, you can also buy AppleCare to extend the coverage of your refurbished products. Purchases are also eligible for a 14-day returns policy. If you spot something, be quick since supplies are generally limited.

Occasionally you’ll find some older models of MacBook surfacing. Though, most Mac models sold through the program are no older than one or two years old.

Getting a Good Deal on Cheap Laptops

You don’t have to buy a used laptop to save some money. Many manufacturers now produce cheap laptops that won’t break the bank. Check our top cheap laptop picks and find out if they’re right for you.

Read the full article: The 6 Best Websites to Find Used Laptops for Sale

The 7 Best AirPods Accessories to Improve Your Earphones

airpods-accessories

Apple’s AirPods are some of the best wireless headphones you can buy if you own an iPhone, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. They don’t charge wirelessly, are prone to scratching, and can slip out of your ears fairly easily. Fortunately, you can fix all these problems with the right aftermarket accessories. Here are seven AirPods accessories to make your AirPods even better. 1. PowerPod Wireless Charging Case PowerPod Case Wireless Charging Case Compatible with AirPods PowerPod Case Wireless Charging Case Compatible with AirPods Buy Now At Amazon $34.99 The original AirPods charging case doesn’t charge wirelessly. Instead, you’ll need…

Read the full article: The 7 Best AirPods Accessories to Improve Your Earphones

Apple’s AirPods are some of the best wireless headphones you can buy if you own an iPhone, but that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. They don’t charge wirelessly, are prone to scratching, and can slip out of your ears fairly easily.

Fortunately, you can fix all these problems with the right aftermarket accessories. Here are seven AirPods accessories to make your AirPods even better.

1. PowerPod Wireless Charging Case

PowerPods Wireless Charging Case for Apple AirPods

PowerPod Case Wireless Charging Case Compatible with AirPods PowerPod Case Wireless Charging Case Compatible with AirPods Buy Now At Amazon $34.99

The original AirPods charging case doesn’t charge wirelessly. Instead, you’ll need to connect a regular Lightning connector to the bottom, and charge them as you would your smartphone. Even when Apple’s fabled AirPower wireless charging dock arrives, your old AirPods will still use wired charging.

Enter PowerPod. This cover attaches to your AirPods case, slotting into the charging port at the bottom of the unit. You can then use any Qi wireless charging pad to charge your AirPods like you can your iPhone X or similar.

The PowerPod doubles as a silicon case, protecting your AirPods with a shock-absorbing layer that is grippy and comfortable to hold. Don’t forget to pick up a few Qi wireless chargers, since the PowerPod doesn’t come with any.

2. Waterproof Silicon AirPods Cases

Catalyst Waterproof Silicon AirPods Case

Waterproof Airpods Case Cover by Catalyst, Shockproof and Drop Proof air pods Protective Cover Soft Skin, Anti-Lost Carabiner, Silicone Sealing, Hassle Free Charging - Blueridge/Sunset Waterproof Airpods Case Cover by Catalyst, Shockproof and Drop Proof air pods Protective Cover Soft Skin, Anti-Lost Carabiner, Silicone Sealing, Hassle Free Charging - Blueridge/Sunset Buy Now At Amazon $24.99

Worried about water damaging your AirPods? Then you need a waterproof silicon case, like the one above from Catalyst. The case features sealing ribs and an over-the-top design that clasps shut and locks out moisture.

The Lightning port is covered up at the bottom. This option also protects the case from shock damage and includes a carabiner.MICOK Waterproof Silicon AirPods Case

MICOK Compatible Airpods Case, Waterproof Airpods Cover, Shock Resistant Silicone Airpods Case Cover Skin Keychain Compatible Airpods, Airpods Accesssories (Black) MICOK Compatible Airpods Case, Waterproof Airpods Cover, Shock Resistant Silicone Airpods Case Cover Skin Keychain Compatible Airpods, Airpods Accesssories (Black) Buy Now At Amazon $29.79

Your other option is the slightly cheaper but virtually identical design from MICOK. Silly name aside, it offers the same silicon shock protection, covers all the important bits, and includes a carabiner for better security.

Both cases offer IP67 water protection, which means you submerge them up to roughly three feet.

3. Spigen AirPods Stand and Charging Dock

Spigen AirPods Stand and Charging Dock

Spigen S313+ Stand Charging Dock with Certified USB Lightning Cable Connector Bundle for Apple Airpods Spigen S313+ Stand Charging Dock with Certified USB Lightning Cable Connector Bundle for Apple Airpods Buy Now At Amazon $18.99

Some people love to charge all their devices on a stand. If that sounds like you, the Spigen stand and charging dock for AirPods is one of the best options on the market. Most importantly, it comes with an Apple-certified MFi charging cable so you know it’s not going to damage your earphones.

Despite being a big chunk of plastic, the design is thoughtful. It features a non-slip base and shiny white exterior that perfectly suits Apple’s design. It might also solve the problem of never being able to find your AirPods when you leave the house. You just need to remember to set them on the stand in the first place.

4. PodSkinz Silicon Case

PodSkins Silicon AirPods Case

PodSkinz AirPods Case Protective Silicone Cover and Skin for Apple Airpods Charging Case (Lava Red) PodSkinz AirPods Case Protective Silicone Cover and Skin for Apple Airpods Charging Case (Lava Red) Buy Now At Amazon $7.95

Like the idea of a silicon case but don’t want to spend much money? PodSkinz might be what you’re looking for. The self-described “original” AirPods case, PodSkinz offers eight colors: black, white, grey, clear, cobalt, diamond blue, red, and pink.

If you opt for PodSkinz you’ll get a smooth dust-resistant finish. They also feature a one-year warranty with a money-back guarantee if you change your mind. The thin silicon membrane weights just half an ounce and protects against bumps and scratches.

5. AirPods Earhooks

Spigen TEKA RA200 Earhooks for Apple AirPods

Spigen TEKA RA200 Airpods Earhooks Cover for Apple Airpods Earphones Headphones Earbuds (2 Pairs- Large & Small) Patent Pending - White Spigen TEKA RA200 Airpods Earhooks Cover for Apple Airpods Earphones Headphones Earbuds (2 Pairs- Large & Small) Patent Pending - White Buy Now At Amazon $10.99

Earhooks fit over your earbuds and add an additional “hook” that keeps them in place while in use. Apple includes earhooks with the Beats X wireless earphones, but not with the AirPods. You can fix that with a pair of Spigen TEKA RA200 earhooks, which includes two sets of hooks (one large and one small).

Earhoox for Apple AirPods

Earhoox 2.0 - for Apple EarPods & AirPods - White Earhoox 2.0 - for Apple EarPods & AirPods - White Buy Now At Amazon $9.99

A similar alternative is the IndieGoGo-funded Earhoox 2.0. This second version adds support for AirPods. They’re also made from stronger and more durable material for a tighter fit, and use a single-arm design.

Each pack includes two pairs, and they’re available in white, blue, and black.

6. AirPods Straps

i-Blason Strap for Apple AirPods

i-Blason Strap for AirPods, [Stop Losing Your AirPods] 18 inch Length Colorful String Strap/Wireless Air Pods Holder for iPhone X / 8/7 & iPhone 8/7 Plus AirPods (Black) i-Blason Strap for AirPods, [Stop Losing Your AirPods] 18 inch Length Colorful String Strap/Wireless Air Pods Holder for iPhone X / 8/7 & iPhone 8/7 Plus AirPods (Black) Buy Now At Amazon $12.99

Apple’s wireless design is a standout feature of the AirPods, but not everyone loves it. If you often lose your AirPods, or would rather let them hang around your neck, why not get something like the i-Blason Strap?

The necklace design keeps them around your neck, while the ear-fitting loops keep them firmly in your ears while you listen.

Spigen Strap for Apple AirPods

Spigen TEKA RA100 for AirPods Strap Never Lose Your AirPods Patent Pending Air Pods Strap Wire Cable Connector for Apple Airpods - White Spigen TEKA RA100 for AirPods Strap Never Lose Your AirPods Patent Pending Air Pods Strap Wire Cable Connector for Apple Airpods - White Buy Now At Amazon $8.99

If you’d prefer a more simplistic approach, try the Spigen TEKA RA100 strap. The basic design lacks built-in earhooks but includes a convenient strap for keeping your AirPods on a closed loop. Available in white or black, Spigen’s strap is made of durable TPU and uses a tangle-free design. This keeps your earphones close whenever you need them.

7. AirFly Wireless Transmitter for AirPods

AirFly Wireless Transmitter for AirPods

Twelve South AirFly Wireless Transmitter | Connect AirPods & Wireless Headphones to Headphone Jacks at Gyms, on Airplane Entertainment Systems, and with Nintendo Switch Twelve South AirFly Wireless Transmitter | Connect AirPods & Wireless Headphones to Headphone Jacks at Gyms, on Airplane Entertainment Systems, and with Nintendo Switch Buy Now At Amazon $39.99

Want to use your AirPods like wired headphones? You need the AirFly. This handy gadget connects wirelessly to your AirPods (or other wireless headphones), providing a standard 3.5mm adapter that you can plug into any wired headphone port.

This is especially handy if you want to use your wireless AirPods with wired outputs like in-flight entertainment systems, gym equipment, the Nintendo Switch, or anything else that lacks Bluetooth or W1 connectivity. AirFly provides eight hours of listening, and charges via a standard microUSB cable.

Get the Most Out of Your Apple AirPods

These accessories should help solve some of the issues that AirPods users often experience. Thankfully Apple did a pretty good job in acoustics, battery life, wireless connectivity, and microphone quality—but for $159 a pair, you’d expect so!

If you’re just getting to grips with your new wireless earphones, check out our best Apple AirPods tips to learn about setting up shortcuts, using Siri, and pairing with regular Bluetooth devices.

Read the full article: The 7 Best AirPods Accessories to Improve Your Earphones

12 Apple HomePod Features That Will Make You Want One

homepod-features

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker sure sounds good, but is it worth the $349 asking price? Should you wait for the company to release a cheaper version, or hold off buying altogether? There’s no lack of great-sounding wireless speakers on the market, and most of them cost significantly less than the HomePod. But the HomePod is the only smart speaker that comes with a few of Apple’s signature tricks up its sleeve. Today we’ll take a look at the feature list to help you make a better informed purchase. 1. Flawless Apple Music Support If you’re an Apple Music user, there’s…

Read the full article: 12 Apple HomePod Features That Will Make You Want One

homepod-features

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker sure sounds good, but is it worth the $349 asking price? Should you wait for the company to release a cheaper version, or hold off buying altogether?

There’s no lack of great-sounding wireless speakers on the market, and most of them cost significantly less than the HomePod. But the HomePod is the only smart speaker that comes with a few of Apple’s signature tricks up its sleeve.

Today we’ll take a look at the feature list to help you make a better informed purchase.

1. Flawless Apple Music Support

If you’re an Apple Music user, there’s no better smart speaker on the market. HomePod comes with built-in support for Apple Music. That means you don’t even need to use your iPhone to control the speaker—you can simply play songs from the service with a voice command using Siri.

With a simple “Hey Siri” you can search for a song, artist, or playlist by name. As of iOS 12, you can now search Apple Music by lyric too. You can also directly control Apple Music on the HomePod using your iPhone or iPad, or output to HomePod via the Apple Music for Android app.

Apple HomePod

Siri also allows you to add currently playing songs to playlists and your iCloud Music Library. You can start radio stations based on songs or artists too. And it’s easy to train Siri by saying “I like this” or “I don’t like this” to improve recommendations across all devices.

2. Play Any Audio From iOS, Mac, or iTunes

HomePod in iTunes

If you prefer to listen to music via Spotify, your own personal iTunes collection, or another app entirely, you can. But it won’t work flawlessly like Apple Music since the only streaming service built into the HomePod is Apple Music.

Select HomePod as an output on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or in iTunes for Mac and Windows to transmit audio. You can output system audio from a Mac, play chiptunes from your smartphone, or use multiple HomePods to enjoy your iTunes collection in more than one room.

Unfortunately, HomePod doesn’t function as a regular Bluetooth speaker. That means you can’t pair it with an Android smartphone or Windows PC.

3. HomePod Supports Apple’s Podcasts Catalog

You can play any podcast from Apple’s Podcasts directory without the need for any subscriptions. Simply tell Siri what you’d like to listen to, and enjoy. Since podcasts really found their footing during the era of the iPod and iTunes, Apple’s directory is enormous and offers a huge range of shows to choose from.

You can use the following modifiers to find exactly what you’re looking for:

  • “Hey Siri, play the newest episode of [podcast].”
  • “Hey Siri, play the first episode of [podcast].”
  • “Hey Siri, subscribe to this podcast.”
  • “Hey Siri, play my new podcasts.”

4. Play Beats One for Free

Even if you’re not an Apple Music subscriber, you still get access to Apple’s only free radio station, Beats 1. Just tell Siri to start playing Beats 1 and enjoy the curated channel whenever you like. It’s a paltry offering, but it’s better than nothing.

5. Send and Read Your Messages

Since HomePod syncs to a single Apple ID via an iOS device, you can use your voice and Siri to send and read messages via the smart speaker. It works just how it does on iOS—tell Siri who you want to send a message to and what it says.

HomePod Personal Requests

You can also ask Siri to read your messages, though be aware that everyone will be able to do the same if you leave Personal Requests on and disable Require Authentication under HomePod settings.

Try the following commands:

  • “Hey Siri, send a message to my wife.”
  • “Hey Siri, read that last message.”
  • “Hey Siri, read my messages.”

6. Place and Answer Calls

HomePod with Black Cat

As of iOS 12, you can now use your HomePod to place and answer calls to contacts via your iPhone. You’ll need your iOS device powered on and connected to the same Wi-Fi network for this to work. You can place regular phone calls, FaceTime and group FaceTime calls, and even listen to voicemail messages.

Try the following commands:

  • “Hey Siri, call my wife.”
  • “Hey Siri, answer the phone” (when a call is incoming).
  • “Hey Siri, check my voicemail.”
  • “Hey Siri, who just called?”

You can also transfer a call to your HomePod from your iPhone. During a call, tap on the audio button and select HomePod from the list of outputs. Wait a second and you should be able to continue your call on the speaker.

7. Ask Siri Just About Anything

Siri functions similarly on the HomePod as on any other iOS device, give or take a few limitations. This includes all manner of music-based trivia, like “What song is this?” and “When was this released?” to “Play the latest Grammy nominees” and “Who plays drums for Iron Maiden?”

HomePod

Siri can also turn up or down the volume (“Hey Siri, turn it up”) or pause your currently playing audio. You can ask for local knowledge like “Find a nearby garage” or “I’m hungry” and get news and sports headlines with “What’s the news?” and “Who’s top of the Premier League?”.

Siri can also answer questions about the weather, perform basic math, convert currency and units of measurement, create reminders, and spell words for you. If in doubt, ask Siri!

8. Control Your HomeKit Devices

HomePod HomeKit

If you have smart home appliances, connected lighting, and other HomeKit gadgets, HomePod can function as a smart home hub. Since the microphone on a HomePod is generally a lot better at hearing you than the one on your iPhone, it makes a lot of sense to use HomePod for this purpose.

It functions exactly the same way it does on your iPhone. Simply ask Siri to “turn off the lights” or “set the temperature to seventy degrees” and your will shall be done. If you take the time to set up rooms in the iOS Home app, you can tell Siri to “turn off the living room lights” too.

You can also create Scenes in this app to automate several devices at once, then trigger them using your HomePod.

9. Set Multiple (Cooking) Timers

I have a single HomePod in the kitchen. It’s the room where I spend the most time, and where I find the HomePod most useful. By far the most-used function on my HomePod is its ability to set timers when cooking. As of iOS 12, you can now set multiple timers.

Simply ask Siri to “set a timer for 45 seconds” or half an hour, several hours, or however long you like. At any point you can ask “Hey Siri, how’s the timer?” or even tell the assistant to repeat the timer when you’re done.

You can also convert measurements on the fly, listen to music or podcasts while you cook, answer the phone or send messages while your hands are covered in flour—there’s no better room in which to place to your HomePod.

10. Translate Anything on the Fly

Another Siri trick that could come in handy when you least expect it is language translation. You can ask your HomePod to translate text from English to Mandarin, Spanish, German, Italian and French. Apple plans to add more languages in future updates.

11. Use HomePod as a Speaker for Apple TV Content

HomePod playing music

If you’re going for a HomePod in your living room, why not use Siri as a speaker for your TV? This only works with the Apple TV, but the devices handle the slight delay introduced by Bluetooth so that the picture and audio match up perfectly.

You can do this two ways. Head to Settings > Video and Audio on your Apple TV and select Audio Output where you can specify your HomePod. Or hold the Play/Pause button on your Apple TV remote to bring up the audio menu and select your HomePod. It’s a great feature to have if you’re using Apple Music to play music videos and your TV speakers just aren’t cutting it.

12. Trigger Siri Shortcuts With HomePod

A few years ago Apple acquired Workflow, an app that facilitated automating certain tasks on iOS. As part of iOS 12 it relaunched as Shortcuts, providing the same functionality with one key improvement: custom Siri commands.

If you’ve taken the time to set up Shortcuts in iOS 12, you can trigger these shortcuts using Siri on your HomePod. Just make sure the HomePod is linked to the same Apple ID!

And the Apple HomePod Sounds Great!

This is not so much a feature, but definitely a selling point. If you’re using Apple Music, HomePod uses custom equalizer settings for each song. When you pick the HomePod up and set it down again, it automatically tunes itself to the room you’re in. It’s truly impressive that such high-quality audio can come from something so small.

The HomePod’s sound is powerful, with rich bass and clean mid-tones, making it perfect for a range of genres. Even if Siri integration leaves you unimpressed, the HomePod delivers excellent sound quality for the admittedly steep price tag.

Check our full HomePod review for further thoughts.

Read the full article: 12 Apple HomePod Features That Will Make You Want One

8 Common Apple AirPods Problems and How to Fix Them

airpods-issues

AirPods not working like they’re supposed to? As is often the case with wireless technology, it can be hard to know what to do when something goes wrong. Apple’s AirPods (our review) are no exception. Fortunately there’s a quick fix for most problems, and a few other tricks you can try if your issues persist. Sometimes the problem isn’t with the AirPods at all, but rather the source device, ear wax, or an aging battery. So here’s our AirPods troubleshooting guide for solving common issues. How to Reset Your AirPods and Fix Most Problems This tip takes the classic “turn…

Read the full article: 8 Common Apple AirPods Problems and How to Fix Them

AirPods not working like they’re supposed to? As is often the case with wireless technology, it can be hard to know what to do when something goes wrong. Apple’s AirPods (our review) are no exception.

Fortunately there’s a quick fix for most problems, and a few other tricks you can try if your issues persist. Sometimes the problem isn’t with the AirPods at all, but rather the source device, ear wax, or an aging battery.

So here’s our AirPods troubleshooting guide for solving common issues.

How to Reset Your AirPods and Fix Most Problems

AirPods Case

This tip takes the classic “turn it off and on again” philosophy and applies it to Apple’s wireless earphones. You can reset your AirPods back to an “as new” state by resetting them. After this, simply pair them with your iPhone again and everything should work as normal.

To reset your AirPods:

  1. Put both the left and right earbuds into the battery case.
  2. Press and hold the round button on the back of the case for 15 seconds until the LED flashes.
  3. Open your AirPods case near your iPhone and follow the pairing procedure.

You won’t need to pair your AirPods with every Apple device going forward, since the earphones automatically pair via iCloud.

1. How to Find Lost AirPods

You can use Apple’s Find My iPhone tool to locate your AirPods, but there are a few caveats to doing so. If they’re still powered on, Find My iPhone will use the device you’re connected to for a location fix. If your AirPods are in their case or have run out of battery, you will see their last known location.

To locate your AirPods:

  1. Head to iCloud.com in your web browser.
  2. Sign in and click on Find iPhone.
  3. At the top of the screen, click the All Devices dropdown list.
  4. Select your AirPods to see their location.

Find AirPods with iCloud

If you know your AirPods are somewhere in your house and you’re having trouble finding them, click the Play Sound option and listen for beeping. This won’t work if they’re both in the case and powered off.

2. Solving Patchy Audio and Static Problems

Apple AirPods

If you’re having audio problems, you might be too far from your source. Apple’s AirPods boast an impressive range of around 100 feet, but this can dip dramatically when you introduce obstacles like walls or sources of interference.

If you can put your source device (like an iPhone or iPod) in your pocket, this won’t be a problem anymore. For static sources like a computer, you’ll have to stay within range for optimal audio quality. It’s also possible for sources of interference to reduce the range of your AirPods.

In particular, Wi-Fi is known to interfere with the W1 chip inside your AirPods. You can help reduce this problem by turning off Wi-Fi on your iPhone, or moving to another area to take a call. You can try using your Mac to isolate areas of high Wi-Fi interference.

3. Stop Audio Playing and Pausing Erratically

Your AirPods have proximity sensors on them, which detect when you put them in or take them out of your ears. Doing so will automatically play or pause content unless you’ve specified otherwise. If your content pauses while your AirPods are still in your ears, it’s possible there’s a problem with these sensors.

You can disable the feature in your AirPod settings under Settings > Bluetooth > AirPods. Tap on the i next to your AirPods and toggle Automatic Ear Detection off. This will reduce battery life, since your AirPods will use the same amount of power whether you’re wearing them or not.

AirPods Automatic Ear Detection

You may also want to try resetting your AirPods as discussed earlier. If you think there’s a problem with your AirPods and you can’t resolve this issue, it’s best to contact Apple Support for a possible repair or replacement.

4. Automatic Ear Detection Not Working

Apple AirPods

Automatic Ear Detection pauses your music or other content when you remove the AirPods from your ears. If this doesn’t happen for you, first check you have the feature enabled. Head to Settings > Bluetooth > AirPods, tap on the i next to your AirPods, then make sure Automatic Ear Detection is on.

Next, make sure your AirPods are clean! The proximity sensor will not work if ear wax or other gunk is covering it. This will cause your earphones to behave as if they’re constantly in your ears. Don’t forget to clean the case (it’s easy with a cotton swab and some isopropyl alcohol).

While you’re at it, why not give your iPhone a good clean too?

5. AirPods Won’t Connect to Your iPhone

If you can’t connect your AirPods to your iPhone, try putting them back into the battery case and waiting around 15 seconds. Take them out again, then try reconnecting. You can manually force the connection by opening Control Center, tapping on the top-right corner of the Now Playing box (pictured below), and manually selecting your AirPods.

iOS 12 Now Playing

The problem may be isolated to your iPhone. Try disabling Bluetooth by toggling Airplane Mode on and off again (access Control Center, tap on the plane icon, wait a few seconds, then tap it again). If this still doesn’t work, restarting your iPhone may do the trick.

Still got problems? Reset your AirPods as per the above instructions and try pairing them again. If you don’t see any LEDs, your AirPods are out of battery. Charge them for a few minutes and then try again.

6. AirPods Won’t Connect to Your Mac

This is often a problem with older Macs, which have notoriously flaky Bluetooth chips. Begin troubleshooting by turning off Bluetooth. To do so, click on the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar at the top of the screen and select Turn Bluetooth Off. Wait a few seconds, then turn it back on and try again.

Turn Off Bluetooth Mac

If that doesn’t work, you can also kill the Bluetooth daemon that runs in the background on macOS. Note that you will lose connection to other Bluetooth devices as part of the command.

To do this, open a new Terminal window and type:

sudo pkill blued

Hit Enter then type your admin password, followed by Enter again. Wait a second or two and try connecting your earphones again.

Still having problems? Restart your computer or check out our Mac Bluetooth troubleshooting guide for instructions on manually pairing and resetting your Mac’s known device list.

7. AirPods Won’t Charge

Some users have reported that their AirPods won’t charge properly. Apple recommends checking your charging cable first, which you can do by attempting to charge your iPhone with it. If this works, move on to checking the Lightning port instead.

Since many of us carry our AirPods in pockets and bags, fluff and other debris can become lodged in the charging port. You can clean these out using a thin, sharp object. I prefer using the same Apple SIM key you’d use to access the SIM tray on an iPhone. Simply scrape the inside down and remove anything that shouldn’t be in there.

Cleaning an iPhone Charging Port with SIM Key

If you’re confident the cable works and there’s nothing stopping your AirPods from charging, leave them connected to a power source for 15 minutes and come back. If they’re still dead, it might be time to contact Apple for repair or replacement.

8. AirPods Battery Draining Too Fast

You can optimize your AirPods’ battery life by leaving Automatic Ear Detection enabled. Check this by heading to Settings > Bluetooth and tapping the i next to your AirPods. If it’s on, a software quirk may be causing your issue. In this case, you should reset your AirPods as detailed earlier.

Don’t forget that the battery in your AirPods and charging case are just like the battery in your iPhone. The more cycles these devices complete, the lower the overall battery charge. This simply how lithium ion batteries age.

Apple offers AirPods Service and Repair, allowing you to replace the batteries in your AirPods for $49 each, and the battery in your charging case for another $49.

AirPods Repair and Service

If your AirPods are still under warranty, you won’t be charged (check your warranty status).

Picking the Right Wireless Earphones

Apple’s AirPods are a great choice for iPhone users since they pair by proximity, use Apple’s Lightning port for charging, and communicate via the low-energy W1 standard. But they’re not the only wireless earphones and headphones that can do this.

Check out our list of recommended wireless audio solutions for iOS users!

Read the full article: 8 Common Apple AirPods Problems and How to Fix Them