The Best External Hard Drives for a Mac

external-drives-mac

External hard drives allow you to vastly expand your available storage in an instant. There’s no need to open up your machine, and the cost involved is relatively minor considering the price of a new internal solid state drive. While most external hard drives will work with just about any Mac, not all storage devices are created equal. If you have a modern MacBook, you’re limited by your selection of ports. Other Mac users may be interested in high-speed transfers via Thunderbolt. So here are the seven best external hard drives for Mac to consider if you’ve run out of…

Read the full article: The Best External Hard Drives for a Mac

external-drives-mac

External hard drives allow you to vastly expand your available storage in an instant. There’s no need to open up your machine, and the cost involved is relatively minor considering the price of a new internal solid state drive.

While most external hard drives will work with just about any Mac, not all storage devices are created equal. If you have a modern MacBook, you’re limited by your selection of ports. Other Mac users may be interested in high-speed transfers via Thunderbolt.

So here are the seven best external hard drives for Mac to consider if you’ve run out of space.

1. Western Digital 4TB My Passport USB-C/A

WD My Passport

WD 4TB My Passport for Mac Portable External Hard Drive, USB-C/USB-A - WDBP6A0040BBK-WESE WD 4TB My Passport for Mac Portable External Hard Drive, USB-C/USB-A - WDBP6A0040BBK-WESE Buy Now At Amazon $101.99

Western Digital’s My Passport external drives have become somewhat of a household name for cheap external storage. The latest iteration has made the jump to USB-C, which is perfect for modern MacBook owners who only have USB-C ports available. The drive includes cables for connecting to both reversible USB-C and old school USB-A connectors.

These drives are available with 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, or 4TB of storage in either a standard plastic or sturdier metal enclosure. This particular drive is formatted to work with macOS out of the box. However, you will probably want to reformat it to macOS Journaled or exFAT, depending on what you plan to use it for.

2. LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 3

LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 3

LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 3, 6TB USB 3.1 External Hard Drive + 1mo Adobe CC All Apps (STFY6000400) LaCie d2 Thunderbolt 3, 6TB USB 3.1 External Hard Drive + 1mo Adobe CC All Apps (STFY6000400) Buy Now At Amazon $349.94

Apple developed the Thunderbolt high-speed interface in collaboration with Intel, and it’s appeared on the company’s products for years. LaCie’s d2 Thunderbolt 3 drive builds on this technology, with full Thunderbolt 3 compatibility for transfer speeds up to 240MB/sec.

Since Thunderbolt is an active connection (meaning it’s powered, unlike passive USB), you can daisy-chain multiple devices together and even charge a modern laptop with 15W of USB-PD power. LaCie has opted to use 7200RPM Seagate Barracuda Pro internal drives. This limits the speed compared to an SSD, but provides great bang for your buck.

LaCie’s d2 is available with 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, 8TB, or a whopping 10TB of storage. It also comes with fallback USB 3.1 compatibility for machines that aren’t Thunderbolt compatible.

3. Samsung T5 Portable SSD

Samsung T5 Portable SSD

Samsung T5 Portable SSD - 1TB - USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PA1T0B/AM) Samsung T5 Portable SSD - 1TB - USB 3.1 External SSD (MU-PA1T0B/AM) Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

What’s better than an external hard drive? And external solid state drive, of course. Solid state drives do not use moving parts and offer much faster read and write speeds than traditional hard disk drives. Samsung’s T5 Portable SSD is an all-metal external drive that offers speeds of up to 540MB/sec over USB 3.1.

Unfortunately there’s no Thunderbolt connection, but this drive is still dizzyingly fast compared to its spinning-platter based rivals. There’s optional 256-bit AES hardware encryption, a three-year warranty, and both USB-C and USB-A connections in the box.

The only drawback is the price. It’s available in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB sizes—which option you pick may depend on how much money you have to spend.

4. SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable External SSD - USB-C, USB 3.1 - SDSSDE60-1T00-G25 SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable External SSD - USB-C, USB 3.1 - SDSSDE60-1T00-G25 Buy Now At Amazon $189.99

Like the Samsung T5 above, SanDisk’s Extreme Portable SSD is built for speed. According to SanDisk you’ll achieve speeds of up to 550MB/sec over USB 3.1 (still no Thunderbolt). You can choose from storage sizes of 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB depending on your budget.

SanDisk has gone the extra mile to ensure this is a rugged drive. It meets the IP55 rating for water and dust resistance. Plus, as it’s an SSD, it’s naturally more shock resistant than standard hard drives. SanDisk claims the drive can withstand temperatures between -4 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit when not in use.

5. Archgon X70 Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD

Archgon X70

Archgon X70 240GB Silver Thunderbolt 3 Portable External PCIE SSD (up to R/W 1600/1100 MB/s) for Thunderbolt 3 Mac or PC only Intel Certified MS-7215-TB3SV240 Archgon X70 240GB Silver Thunderbolt 3 Portable External PCIE SSD (up to R/W 1600/1100 MB/s) for Thunderbolt 3 Mac or PC only Intel Certified MS-7215-TB3SV240 Buy Now At Amazon $249.00

If you’ve got the money to spend, you can combine the zippiness of an SSD with the blazing-fast transfer speeds available over Thunderbolt 3. Offering read/write speeds of 1600/1100MB per second, Archgon’s X70 is the fastest single-volume drive on this list. The drawback is that it’s only compatible with Thunderbolt devices, so make sure your Mac has a compatible Thunderbolt port (not just USB-C).

The body is made of an aluminum alloy for superior heat dissipation. As a result, the unit is light and portable. There’s no need to carry a power supply, since the drive draws power from your computer. You can get the X70 with 240GB, 480GB, or 960GB of storage.

6. Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro

WD My Passport Wireless Pro

WD 2TB My Passport Wireless Pro Portable External Hard Drive - WiFi USB 3.0 - WDBP2P0020BBK-NESN WD 2TB My Passport Wireless Pro Portable External Hard Drive - WiFi USB 3.0 - WDBP2P0020BBK-NESN Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

In some circumstances, an external drive with wireless access may prove useful. The Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro is one such device that includes 802.11ac wireless. This allows you to connect to existing wireless networks or create a hotspot where no networks are available.

The drive is a jack of all trades. It includes an SD card reader for backing up memory cards without using a computer, a 10-hour built-in battery, and even works as an external USB power bank. It’s pricey, and wireless transfers may be slow, but the tradeoff could be worth it if you’re in need of a self-powered wireless drive.

You can pick up the My Passport Wireless Pro with 1TB, 2TB, 3TB, or 4TB of storage. You can also use it to stream photos and (up to 4K) video to mobile devices using Western Digital’s own app.

7. Akitio Thunder 3 RAID Station

Akitio Thunder 3 RAID

Akitio Thunder3 RAID Station Akitio Thunder3 RAID Station Buy Now At Amazon $321.89

The Akitio Thunder 3 RAID station isn’t strictly an external drive—at least not when you first buy it. Couple it with up to two external volumes of your choosing (either 3.5″ or 2.5″), though, it becomes a capable beast. You can use RAID 0 and 1 to back up one volume, or share two drives as a single volume to cut transfer speeds in half.

The installation of those drives requires no tools. You can use the SD card reader to back up your camera photos, and even charge some laptops using 27W USB-PD compatibility. Transfer speeds depend largely on which drives you use and whether you’re using RAID 1 or 0, but Thunderbolt 3 ensures your connection to those drives is as fast as possible.

Check out our other recommendations for Thunderbolt RAID arrays for your Mac.

Add Storage to Your Mac

External drives are the easiest way of adding useful storage to your MacBook, but they aren’t perfect. Be careful with hard disk drives (HDDs) since they can damage easily as a result of their moving parts. Opt for an SSD if you can afford it, but be aware you may have to settle for less additional storage than you may like.

If you’re perpetually low on storage, it might be worth looking at what you can do to free up space on your Mac.

Read the full article: The Best External Hard Drives for a Mac

How to Sync Your Contacts From iPhone to Mac

sync-contacts

Syncing your iPhone contacts is something you should only ever have to do once. Thanks to iCloud, Apple keeps your contacts and other data synced between devices. That means making changes to contacts on your iPad or Mac will see those changes carried over to your iPhone. Once you’ve synced the first time, you can access contacts via the web, even if you don’t have your iPhone or Mac on you. Here’s how to safely sync contacts on your Apple devices. First: Back Up Your Contacts There’s no straightforward backup option for iOS contacts. Instead, you’ll need to make a…

Read the full article: How to Sync Your Contacts From iPhone to Mac

sync-contacts

Syncing your iPhone contacts is something you should only ever have to do once. Thanks to iCloud, Apple keeps your contacts and other data synced between devices.

That means making changes to contacts on your iPad or Mac will see those changes carried over to your iPhone. Once you’ve synced the first time, you can access contacts via the web, even if you don’t have your iPhone or Mac on you.

Here’s how to safely sync contacts on your Apple devices.

First: Back Up Your Contacts

There’s no straightforward backup option for iOS contacts. Instead, you’ll need to make a backup of your entire device. If anything goes wrong with the next step, you can then restore this backup to your device without losing anything.

Backing up is something you must do in iTunes by performing the following:

  1. Launch iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC, then connect your iPhone.
  2. Click on your device icon when it appears, then on the Summary tab, click Back Up Now.
  3. Wait for the backup to complete.

iTunes Back Up

You may also have an iCloud backup of your device stored in the cloud. For more information about backing up your iPhone and restoring any backups you’ve made, check out our guide to backing up and restoring your iPhone.

How to Sync iPhone Contacts With iCloud

iCloud is Apple’s cloud sync and storage service. You have many options for using iCloud storage; it can hold files, find your devices, and transfer data. It’s accessible from any browser on iCloud.com, too. iCloud is the best way to sync your contacts, since it keeps everything up to date when you make changes.

To turn on iCloud sync for contacts on your iPhone:

  1. Launch the Settings app and tap on your name.
  2. Tap iCloud then enable the check box next to Contacts.
  3. If you are asked whether to Merge or Cancel, tap Merge.

Note: If you’re using iOS 10.2 or earlier, launch Settings and tap on iCloud instead.

If you already have contacts in iCloud, this will merge your new contacts with the old ones and download them all to your device. If the iCloud Contacts sync was already enabled, you may need to enable it on your Mac or other devices to get full functionality.

You can then perform these steps on your iPad or iPod Touch to get access to your contacts on all your devices.

Enable iCloud Contacts on Your Mac

Now you need to perform the same steps on a Mac in order to download the contacts you just uploaded to iCloud. To do this:

  1. Login to your Mac as you normally would, then click on System Preferences.
  2. Select iCloud and make sure you’re logged in to your Apple ID.
  3. Check the box next to Contacts to turn on iCloud sync.

iCloud Contacts

Your contacts will now sync via iCloud. Any new contacts on your Mac that previously weren’t on your iPhone will show up, and vice-versa. You can access your contacts on your Mac using the Contacts app. Your address book is also used in other Apple apps, like Messages and Mail.

Now Tidy Up Your Contacts

With iCloud running to keep everything in sync, you can now make changes to your contacts to keep them organized across all devices. If your contacts were previously unsynced, you may have a messy address book once you’ve brought everything together.

On a Mac, launch Contacts. Make sure you’ve selected iCloud contacts in the sidebar, then set to work tidying up, deleting, and adding new contacts. You can look for duplicate Mac contacts by clicking Card > Look for Duplicates and Contacts will attempt to merge the entries.

Merge Duplicate Contacts macOS

From a web browser (ideal for Windows users) head to iCloud.com and log in. Choose Contacts to see your contacts. From here you can add new contacts, make changes to existing contacts, and delete any you no longer need.

Give your changes a moment to show up on your other devices.

Export Your Contacts for Safekeeping

If you want to export your contacts from Apple’s ecosystem, you’ll have to do it from your computer. First, make sure you’ve synced everything with iCloud and organized your contacts properly.

On a Mac, you can use the Contacts app to do this:

  1. Launch Contacts and make sure to select iCloud in the sidebar.
  2. Select all contacts by clicking Edit > Select All or using the Cmd + A shortcut.
  3. Under File, click Export > Export vCard and choose where to export your contact.

Export Mac Contacts

From a web browser (for Windows users):

  1. Visit iCloud.com and log in, then click on Contacts.
  2. Select all your contacts (Cmd + A on a Mac, or Ctrl + A on Windows).
  3. Click on the Settings gear icon at the bottom-left of the screen.
  4. Select Export vCard to download your contacts.

You can now import your vCard file into Gmail, Outlook, or any other contact management service.

New Phone, Who Dis?

Having your contacts permanently stored in iCloud and tied to your Apple ID means you’ll never lose them. When you get a new iPhone or iPad, they’ll magically appear once you’ve signed in. Changes you make on any device will push to all your connected computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Even if you want to switch from iPhone to Android, syncing to iCloud first ensures that you won’t leave any stray contacts behind.

Read the full article: How to Sync Your Contacts From iPhone to Mac

How to Remote Access Your Mac

mac-remote

Did you know you can connect to your Mac remotely over a local network, or the wider internet? You don’t need expensive software like Apple Remote Desktop to do this, since so many great free options exist. You can use your Windows PC, iPhone or iPad, and even Android smartphone to perform remote tasks on a Mac at home or in the office. All you need is a solid network connection and the right tools. Remote Access Your Mac From Another Mac The easiest way to access your Mac remotely is from another Mac via the wonders of iCloud. This…

Read the full article: How to Remote Access Your Mac

mac-remote

Did you know you can connect to your Mac remotely over a local network, or the wider internet? You don’t need expensive software like Apple Remote Desktop to do this, since so many great free options exist.

You can use your Windows PC, iPhone or iPad, and even Android smartphone to perform remote tasks on a Mac at home or in the office. All you need is a solid network connection and the right tools.

Remote Access Your Mac From Another Mac

The easiest way to access your Mac remotely is from another Mac via the wonders of iCloud. This also works great over a local network, which is ideal if you’re using an old Mac as a fileserver and don’t have it connected to a monitor.

The feature is called Back to My Mac, which uses your Apple ID to tie all your Mac hardware together. You don’t even need to be logged in, provided the computer is powered on.

To set up Back to My Mac and make your computers accessible:

  1. Head to System Preferences > iCloud and make sure you’re logged in with your Apple ID.
  2. In the same menu, enable Back to My Mac toward the bottom of the list.
  3. Head to System Preferences > Sharing and make sure Screen Sharing is checked.

macOS Sharing Preferences

Do this for every Apple computer in your house, at your office, or anywhere else you’d like to remotely connect to. In order to connect from another Mac:

  1. Make sure you’re logged into the same Apple ID under System Preferences > iCloud.
  2. Open a Finder window and look in the sidebar for the Shared section.
  3. Click on the Mac you want to connect to, then click Share Screen in the top-right corner of the window.

Back to My Mac

You’ll then connect to your Mac either over the local network or via the internet. If you can’t see the sidebar, click View > Show Sidebar in Finder. And if you can’t see the Shared section, head to Finder > Preferences > Sidebar and enable Back to My Mac under Shared.

Remote Access Your Mac From a Windows PC

The easiest way to remotely access your Mac from a Windows PC is using an app like TeamViewer. While TeamViewer is the choice we recommend using, you have many screen sharing and remote access tools to choose from.

TeamViewer has many benefits: it’s free for personal use, available on many different platforms, and generally has excellent performance. Ultimately, performance of any remote access solution will hinge on the speed of your internet connection and the distance between the two computers.

To make your Mac accessible via TeamViewer:

  1. Sign up for a TeamViewer account, then download and install TeamViewer for Mac.
  2. Run the app and log into your TeamViewer account.
  3. Look for the Unattended Access heading and click each of the three checks in order to make your Mac available even when you’re not using it.

TeamViewer Mac

In order to connect to your Mac from a Windows PC, download and install TeamViewer for Windows. Log in and look for your Mac under the My computers section. Double-click on your Mac and wait. You should soon see your Mac screen in a window on your PC desktop, with full control.

The first time you log in to TeamViewer on your Windows PC, you’ll need to verify it by clicking a link in your email.

Remote Access Your Mac From an iPhone, iPad, or Android Device

Remotely accessing your Mac from a mobile device running iOS (iPhone, iPad) or Android is also possible using TeamViewer. The most important step is making your Mac available while unattended, so you can gain access whenever you want.

In order to do this, make sure you’ve run through the first part of the Windows tutorial above. Once you’ve installed TeamViewer on your Mac, logged in, and set it up to receive incoming connections, grab the mobile app of your choice.

Either download the iOS TeamViewer app from the App Store, or the Android TeamViewer app from Google Play. Just like on Windows, the first time you log into your TeamViewer account on a mobile device, you’ll need to verify it by following a link in your email.

Download the TeamViewer mobile app, log in and verify your device, then select your Mac from the list of computers. Tap Remote Control to connect to your computer and control it remotely.

Can You Remote Control an iPhone?

So you can remote control your Mac from pretty much any device, but what about your iPhone? The short answer is no. Apple doesn’t allow you to install system-level software that would allow for remote control. Apple may argue it’s a security feature, but it’s also a symptom of the tightly controlled iOS ecosystem.

However, if you jailbreak your iPhone, you can remote it. Jailbreaking provides you with the system-level access required to install deep tweaks to iOS. It opens your iPhone up to all sorts of potential security threats, and it voids your warranty. Thus, you probably shouldn’t jailbreak your iPhone.

There are a few tasks you can do without jailbreaking your iPhone, like sending SMS messages and making phone calls via your Mac. You can also access your iOS Safari tabs from Safari for Mac, but none of these are true remote control. With that in mind, we’ve got a tutorial detailing how to remote control your jailbroken iPhone from any device.

Veency for iPhone

Use Your Mac, Wherever You Are

Back to My Mac is the easiest way to get access to your Mac, but it requires another Mac to use. If you have a Windows PC or mobile device that you want to use instead, you’ll have to resort to TeamViewer. Thankfully, you can set up both of these solutions and use them at a later time.

Remote access is great, but if you want to make your Mac even smarter, you should check out Automator.

Read the full article: How to Remote Access Your Mac

10 Great Gifts for Photographers You Can Give This Year

Buying gifts for photographers can be tricky. Enthusiasts generally know their gear well, have a clear idea of what equipment they need to buy next, and when to upgrade their camera bodies. So instead of spending hundreds on a new piece of glass you’re not sure about, play it safe with an accessory or gadget that will help them get more enjoyment out of their hobby. Here are some ideas for great gifts for photographers, whether they’re enthusiastic amateurs or hardened professionals. 1. BlackRapid Breathe Curve Camera Strap BlackRapid Breathe Curve Camera Strap (1pc of Safety Tether Included) with 1…

Read the full article: 10 Great Gifts for Photographers You Can Give This Year

Buying gifts for photographers can be tricky. Enthusiasts generally know their gear well, have a clear idea of what equipment they need to buy next, and when to upgrade their camera bodies.

So instead of spending hundreds on a new piece of glass you’re not sure about, play it safe with an accessory or gadget that will help them get more enjoyment out of their hobby.

Here are some ideas for great gifts for photographers, whether they’re enthusiastic amateurs or hardened professionals.

1. BlackRapid Breathe Curve Camera Strap

BlackRapid Curve

BlackRapid Breathe Curve Camera Strap (1pc of Safety Tether Included) with 1 Extra BLACKRAPID FR-5 Fastener BlackRapid Breathe Curve Camera Strap (1pc of Safety Tether Included) with 1 Extra BLACKRAPID FR-5 Fastener Buy Now At Amazon Too low to display

The problem with the camera straps that come with most cameras is that they feel cheap and are uncomfortable to wear. So why not give the gift of comfort this year? The BlackRapid Breathe Curve (and the Sport version) consistently top the recommendations for comfortable and functional camera straps.

This is a strap aimed at right-handed shooters since it fastens to the left shoulder. When not in use the camera is suspended upside down at the hip, with the strap attaching to the included BlackRapid fastener in the tripod mount. A moisture-wicking breathable shoulder pad helps the photographer carry their rig and stay cool at the same time.

2. Moment Superfish Lens for Smartphones

Moment Superfish lens

Moment - Superfish Lens for iPhone, Pixel, and Samsung Galaxy Camera Phones Moment - Superfish Lens for iPhone, Pixel, and Samsung Galaxy Camera Phones Buy Now At Amazon $99.99

Most photographs are captured on smartphones these days, and one company that’s making quality smartphone lenses is Moment. The Moment Superfish snap-on lens is the widest the company produces, offering a 170º angle of view with edge-to-edge clarity.

Remember: If you go for a Moment lens, make sure you also pick up the relevant Moment case so that you can attach it to your smartphone. Moment makes cases for common smartphones like the iPhone X/XS, Pixel 3 XL, and Galaxy S9.

3. SanDisk Extreme PRO 256GB SDXC

SanDisk Extreme PRO 256GB

SanDisk Extreme PRO 256GB up to 95MB/s UHS-I/U3 SDXC Flash Memory Card - SDSDXPA-256G-G46 SanDisk Extreme PRO 256GB up to 95MB/s UHS-I/U3 SDXC Flash Memory Card - SDSDXPA-256G-G46 Buy Now At Amazon $124.95

Buying a memory card for a photographer can be tricky if you’re not sure what camera system they’re using. But if you know the recipient has purchased a camera within the last few years that uses SD cards, something like the SanDisk Extreme PRO 256GB SDXC card is a safe bet.

Photographers can never have too many memory cards, whether for backing up on the move or shooting with dual card slots. This Class 10 UHS-I/U3 card has write speeds of up to 95MB/sec which should be enough for recording superior 4K video or shooting high-quality RAW photos.

4. Crumpler 4 Million Dollar Home

Crumpler 4 Million Dollar Home

Crumpler 4 Million Dollar Home MD-04-14A Camera Bag Crumpler 4 Million Dollar Home MD-04-14A Camera Bag Buy Now At Amazon $99.00

Most photographers have a camera bag that can house all of their stuff, but what about a camera bag for travelling light? The Crumpler 4 Million Dollar Home is a minimalist camera bag designed for day trips, rather than carting around everything you own.

The bag includes 1 external pocket and two internal side pockets, with an internal mesh zipper and Crumpler’s “Super Stealth” velcro designed to make opening your bag quiet. The shell is made from water resistant nylon with a ripstop lining, and the whole package is guaranteed for life.

5. GoPro HERO7 Black

GoPro HERO7 Black

GoPro HERO7 Black — Waterproof Digital Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K HD Video 12MP Photos Live Streaming Stabilization GoPro HERO7 Black — Waterproof Digital Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K HD Video 12MP Photos Live Streaming Stabilization Buy Now At Amazon $394.99

GoPro cameras have many uses beyond the obvious “strap it to your head while you jump off a building” extreme sports applications. The GoPro HERO7 Black is the premium offering of the current generation camera, with standout features like HyperSmooth Video Stabilization to offer gimbal-like footage with no gimbal required.

The HERO7 is primarily a video tool, so if the person you’re buying for doesn’t care for video, you might want to give this a miss. But with features like stabilized time lapse videos, intelligent high dynamic range on stills, voice control, tons of GoPro accessories worth buying, and the 4K60p video and 12MP stills; it’s a wonderful gadget to have at your disposal.

6. Altura Photo Thick Protective Neoprene Lens Pouches

Altura Photo Thick Neoprene Pouch Set

(3 Pack) Altura Photo Thick Protective Neoprene Pouch Set for DSLR Camera Lens (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic) - Includes: Small, Medium and Large Pouches (3 Pack) Altura Photo Thick Protective Neoprene Pouch Set for DSLR Camera Lens (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic) - Includes: Small, Medium and Large Pouches Buy Now At Amazon $11.99

Expensive photo gear needs protecting. The covers that come with most lenses often fall short, which is where the Altura Photo’s Protective Neoprene Pouch Set comes in. These pouches use a super soft interior lining with a 5mm padded base and water resistant neoprene to keep what’s inside dry.

They fasten snugly, with a clip for attaching to your camera bag (either inside or out). This set contains three covers in small, medium, and large which fit lenses up to 3″, 4.5″, and 7″ respectively.

7. Loupedeck+ Plus Photo and Video Editing Console

Loupedeck+ Plus Editing Console

Loupedeck+ Plus Photo and Video Editing Console and Keyboard for Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop CC, Premiere Pro CC, Skylum Aurora HDR and More Loupedeck+ Plus Photo and Video Editing Console and Keyboard for Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop CC, Premiere Pro CC, Skylum Aurora HDR and More Buy Now At Amazon $249.00

Some find photo editing cathartic, while for others it’s a necessary evil. Almost all photographers would appreciate a smoother editing workflow, which is where the Loupedeck+ Plus Photo and Video Editing Console comes into play.

It works with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, Capture One, and Adobe Premiere Pro CC, allowing you to customize any of the dials, knobs, or buttons to control virtually any setting.

8. HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer

HP Sprocket

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer, X7N07A, Print Social Media Photos on 2x3 Sticky-Backed Paper - White HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer, X7N07A, Print Social Media Photos on 2x3 Sticky-Backed Paper - White Buy Now At Amazon $99.95

Portable photo printers are all the rage, and the HP Sprocket is one of the latest to hit the market. Like other models, it uses zero-ink “ZINK” paper refills, rather than toner or cartridges. Charge the printer via USB and print wirelessly anywhere you go.

At the core of the experience is printing and displaying your smartphone and social media images via the HP Sprocket app for Android and iOS. This isn’t a replacement for a full-blown photo printer, but a fun toy that photographers of all skill levels are bound to appreciate.

9. Datacolor SpyderCube

Datacolor SpyderCube

Datacolor SpyderCube SC200 Datacolor SpyderCube SC200 Buy Now At Amazon $45.00

The Datacolor SpyderCube is a reference tool for photography enthusiasts who want to get their processing time down to a minimum. It allows the user to achieve accurate color without too much messing around in Lightroom or Photoshop.

Put the cube in your frame and you’ll get reference points for white balance, overexposed areas, absolute black, shadows, and highlights in one handy tool. Learn to use it and you’ll wonder how you functioned without it!

10. Camera Lens Coffee Mug

Camera Lens Coffee Mug

STRATA CUPS Camera Lens Coffee Mug -13.5oz, SUPER BUNDLE! (2 LIDS + SPOON) Stainless Steel Thermos, Sealed & Retractable Lids! Photographer Camera Mug, Travel Coffee Cup, Coffee Mugs for Men, Women STRATA CUPS Camera Lens Coffee Mug -13.5oz, SUPER BUNDLE! (2 LIDS + SPOON) Stainless Steel Thermos, Sealed & Retractable Lids! Photographer Camera Mug, Travel Coffee Cup, Coffee Mugs for Men, Women Buy Now At Amazon $15.95

The Camera Lens Coffee Mug is the novelty gift that keeps on giving! With styling based on Canon’s 24-105mm EF lens, this one’s made from stainless steel with a thermos seal. It features two retractable lids and a spoon, plus insulation keeps your drinks hot or cold for longer.

It’s perfect for photographers who venture out early to capture landscape sunrises, who’ll appreciate 13.5oz of hot caffeinated creativity served in a vessel that resembles a beloved piece of glass.

What Great Gifts for Photographers Will You Buy?

If you don’t see anything on this list you fancy buying, it might be easier to ask the photographer in your life what they want for Christmas, their birthday, or whatever the occasion may be. Don’t forget that if you do order from Amazon but pick the wrong gift, returning items is usually a fairly straightforward process.

If photography gifts aren’t your thing, consider playing it safe with one of these perfect gift cards instead.

Read the full article: 10 Great Gifts for Photographers You Can Give This Year

What Can You Buy With an Apple or iTunes Gift Card?

apple-gift-cards

Snagged an Apple Store, iTunes, or Apple Music gift card? You might wonder exactly what you can buy with it. It all depends on which gift card you’ve received. The good news is that Apple credit is often versatile and thus you can use it for all sorts of purchases, from apps and music to subscriptions and accessories. Here’s a guide to what you can spend each gift card on. We also have a few recommendations for items you might want to pick up. Which Apple Gift Card Do You Have? There are three types of gift cards sold by…

Read the full article: What Can You Buy With an Apple or iTunes Gift Card?

apple-gift-cards

Snagged an Apple Store, iTunes, or Apple Music gift card? You might wonder exactly what you can buy with it.

It all depends on which gift card you’ve received. The good news is that Apple credit is often versatile and thus you can use it for all sorts of purchases, from apps and music to subscriptions and accessories.

Here’s a guide to what you can spend each gift card on. We also have a few recommendations for items you might want to pick up.

Which Apple Gift Card Do You Have?

There are three types of gift cards sold by Apple: iTunes, Apple Music, and Apple Store. These cards are only valid for redemption in the same country they were purchased in. So a US gift card will only work on the US iTunes Store, in a US retail location, or an online outlet.

You can use an iTunes gift card only for buying software, music, and other similar downloadable products. Think of it as credit for virtual products. iTunes gift cards credit the iTunes account associated with your Apple ID, and can be used for in-app purchases.

Apple Music gift cards are only valid to redeem an Apple Music subscription. These cards come in three and 12-month flavors. When the gift card runs out, your account will be charged as normal unless you turn off auto-renewal in your Apple Music settings.

An Apple Store gift card is only good on Apple’s website, over the phone, or in a physical retail location. You can redeem one for any purchase in-store, whether it’s Apple hardware, a third-party accessory, or boxed software. You can use it online or over the phone via the code on the back.

What Can You Buy With Apple Store Gift Cards?

apple store giftcard

You don’t need to “redeem” an Apple Store gift card—just spend it at a store like cash. Unless specified, there’s no expiry date on an Apple Store gift card.

Here are a few ideas for spending your store credit.

A New iPhone, iPad, or Mac

Macbook Pro 15 inch

Even if your gift card doesn’t cover the cost of a new Apple gadget, you can use the balance towards any purchase. That means a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, or other pricey Apple product will be cheaper if you use your Apple Store credit.

The iPhone XS and XS Max offer a performance leap over last year’s model. A new MacBook Pro is expensive, but a gift card can help make the price less eye-watering. You can also pick up the AirPods and Beats X wireless headphones at your local Apple Store.

If you’ve been considering a big purchase for a while, an Apple Store gift card might be the perfect excuse to go ahead with it.

Get an Apple Watch

The latest Apple watch is available in Wi-Fi and cellular versions, depending on your budget. Having Siri on your wrist is super-useful, and built-in GPS lets you track physical activity and workouts. Despite this, many are unsure when to pull the trigger and buy one.

Apple Watch Series 4

Starting at $399, the Apple Watch Series 4 isn’t cheap. But it might not seem so expensive if you’ve got a nice discount courtesy of an Apple Store gift card. Maybe you’ve already got an Apple Watch, and want to buy a new band to replace your old one? You can use your gift card for that too.

If you’re on the fence, check out our Apple Watch Series 4 review.

Consider an Apple TV 4K

Looking for a media streamer, set-top box, or way to watch content from your iOS or macOS devices on your TV? Maybe you want to use AirPlay to send music to your digital receiver?

The latest Apple TV unit is 4K-ready, and so are many of your existing iTunes purchases. If you have a 4K TV, why not accessorize?

Apple TV

Starting at $179 for the 32GB model (which is plenty for most users), a new Apple TV is a great addition to your living room.

Or Buy Accessories

magic trackpad 2

Apple stocks its stores not only with iPhones and Macs, but many first and third-party accessories too. This includes audio accessories like the Beats Studio3 wireless headphones and Bose SoundLink Micro speaker. You’ll also find also useful Mac accessories like the Magic TrackPad 2 and fancy MacBook stands.

Also for sale are game controllers like the SteelSeries Nimbus and PXN Speedy, which work with iOS, macOS, and tvOS (Apple TV) devices.

Other cheaper purchases include a huge selection of iPhone cases, rugged charger cables, flash drives designed specifically for iOS devices, USB battery chargers, and more.

Also Consider: AppleCare

If you recently received a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, or similarly valuable piece of hardware, you can visit an Apple Store or go online and enroll in AppleCare. Best of all, you can use your gift card towards the purchase.

While the exact policy and price differ depending on the device you buy it for, it’s a pretty worthwhile investment—particularly for iPhone owners.

What Can You Buy With iTunes Gift Cards?

itunes gift card single

To use an iTunes Gift card, you’ll first need to redeem it. Once you’ve redeemed the credit, it’s added to your iTunes account and can’t be transferred.

Any purchases you make will subtract from that balance. You can redeem iTunes credit using an iOS device, or via iTunes on a Mac or PC.

Redeem on an iPhone or iPad:

  1. Launch the App Store.
  2. Tap on your user icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Redeem Gift Card or Code to redeem by scanning the barcode or entering your code manually.

Redeem via iTunes for Mac or Windows:

  1. Launch iTunes and choose Music, Apps, or Films from the dropdown in the top-left.
  2. Click on the Store tab and scroll to the bottom of the page.
  3. Under the Manage heading, click Redeem.

Buy iOS or tvOS Apps and Games

Perhaps the most common use for iTunes credit these days is to buy mobile apps and games. Considering the relatively low cost of items on the App Store, your credit will likely last you a while. As previously mentioned, you can make in-app purchases using iTunes credit too.

Looking for some fun games to buy?

  • Hitman Sniper ($1) provides one of the best sniping experiences on iOS, complete with 150 missions to tackle.
  • 2017’s Monument Valley 2 ($5) is still worth playing for its soothing illusionary puzzles.
  • Million Onion Hotel ($4) is a frantic spin on the whack-a-mole theme, and it’s absolutely worth your time.

You may also want to use your credit to grab some genuinely useful apps.

  • CARROT Weather ($5) is a hyper-local weather forecast bot that’s built on Easter eggs and snark.
  • Tweetbot 5 ($5) is the best Twitter app you can buy.
  • The original Facetune ($4) is an awesome app to tweak your selfies.

Buy Mac Apps and Games

iTunes credit also works on the Mac App Store. The apps you’ll find there are quite a bit more expensive than their mobile counterparts. But as they are more powerful, you can get real work done.

You might be able to get a nice discount on Apple’s pro-level video editor Final Cut Pro ($300) to bring it within your price range. If you’re looking for a good image editor but don’t fancy Adobe’s subscription model, Affinity Photo ($50) is modestly priced and sufficiently powerful.

We usually recommend you avoid buying games from the Mac App Store, but the selection has certainly grown over the last year or two.

Apple’s Mac game of the year is a moving puzzler with an excellent score called The Gardens Between ($15). Also worth your time is Mini Metro ($10), a fun strategy puzzler about managing public transportation infrastructure. The legendary Civilization VI ($60) is a good pick for strategy fans.

Music, Movies, and TV

You can also buy media on iTunes, which is all the service sold when it was established. It’s easy to buy albums from your favorite artists, or even use your iTunes credit towards an Apple Music subscription (just be aware of the automatic payments when the credit expires).

itunes card

If you prefer, you can also buy or rent movies and TV programs; the latter is much cheaper. Once you’ve redeemed an iTunes gift card, you can also use it to buy content via your Apple TV.

Don’t Forget Books

If you use your iPhone or iPad as an e-reader, you can also use iTunes credit in the Apple Books store on either a mobile device or Mac computer. That includes graphic novels, nonfiction, and interactive books, but not necessarily audiobooks. (You can find those in the regular iTunes store, alongside music and TV.)

Spend Your Apple Credit Wisely

iTunes credit is one of the many ways to give the gift of entertainment, while an Apple Store gift card can bring an expensive new gadget within reach of your budget. The best aspect of Apple’s credit is that it’s so versatile. If you want to buy a few iPhone apps, rent a movie, and start an Apple Music subscription, go for it.

Read the full article: What Can You Buy With an Apple or iTunes Gift Card?

8 Brilliant Gift Ideas for Music Lovers

gifts-music

Are you having a hard time finding gifts for friends and loved ones this year? Are you looking for a gift for someone who is always tapping their foot and singing in the shower? Music-related gifts can be real crowd pleasers. It could be the gift of music itself, something to improve your listening experience, or a toy that lets you get creative. Here is our list of gift ideas for the casual and not-so-casual music lovers in your life. 1. Music Streaming Subscription Just 10 years ago, if you wanted to buy someone music, you’d probably have picked up…

Read the full article: 8 Brilliant Gift Ideas for Music Lovers

gifts-music

Are you having a hard time finding gifts for friends and loved ones this year? Are you looking for a gift for someone who is always tapping their foot and singing in the shower?

Music-related gifts can be real crowd pleasers. It could be the gift of music itself, something to improve your listening experience, or a toy that lets you get creative.

Here is our list of gift ideas for the casual and not-so-casual music lovers in your life.

1. Music Streaming Subscription

Just 10 years ago, if you wanted to buy someone music, you’d probably have picked up an iTunes gift card (or even physical media). These days we’re used to subscription-based streaming technology from the likes of Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music.

applemusic-logo

The most important thing to remember when considering a subscription is which service the recipient is using, and their platform of choice. There’s little point in buying someone a Spotify membership if they’ve built up an Apple Music library and they’re happy with the service—so do some research first.

In terms of cost, this really varies and depends on what you’d like to spend. Apple Music uses iTunes credits, so you can purchase a standard iTunes gift card for this purpose. Apple Music membership costs $9.99/month, so you’re looking at around $60 for a 6-month membership, or $120 for a year.

Spotify Logo

You can buy a Spotify gift card which provides enough credit for three months’ use in the US store. Pandora also offers a one-year subscription to Pandora Plus.

Important: If you’re buying a gift card, make sure the currency matches the recipient’s store. As an example, US iTunes gift cards can only be used in the US iTunes Store.

2. Vinyl Turntable

It’s no secret that vinyl records are popular once more. It’s the only physical audio medium that’s experiencing rising sales and the number of quality turntables available continues to grow.

There’s something to be said about listening to music on vinyl. Purists argue that sound quality is unparalleled, or that pops and crackles only serve to add character to recorded works. Others prefer the physical aspect of owning music on record, and take pride in supporting artists by buying LPs straight from small labels.

However, there’s no right turntable for everyone. For those starting out, or anyone who appreciates portability and the novelty of battery power, the Crosley Messenger Turntable offers serious flexibility.

Crosley Messenger Turntable

Crosley CR8016A-GY Messenger Portable Battery Powered 3-Speed Turntable, Gray Crosley CR8016A-GY Messenger Portable Battery Powered 3-Speed Turntable, Gray Buy Now At Amazon $66.91

For the wannabe DJ who must have it all, the Audio Technica LP1240 provides more starting torque than the Technics 1200 series, with USB output, a pre-amped line stage and all the speeds and functions you’d expect from a $1500 Stanton.

Audio Technica Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Direct-Drive Professional DJ Turntable (USB & Analog) Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Direct-Drive Professional DJ Turntable (USB & Analog) Buy Now At Amazon $449.00

Don’t forget to brush up on the things you need to know when buying a turntable.

3. Framed Vinyl Records

If your chosen recipient already has a record player, why not splash the cash on something else related to vinyl? After all, vinyl enthusiasts can’t get enough of the stuff.

Art Vinyl is a company that specializes in frames for vinyl records. Starting at around $50 for a single frame, or around $130 for a three pack, the convenient design allows you to effortlessly switch out records when you want to listen to them (or simply want to change up the decor).

You could pair a frame with something from your recipient’s Discogs wishlist, or a brand new vinyl pressing for a thoughtful gift that looks and sounds great.

4. Smart Home Speaker

Smart home speakers offer both wireless sound and a smart assistant to help you out around the house or office. You currently have three top choices: Apple HomePod, Google Home, and Amazon speakers that come with Alexa.

If sound quality is your primary concern, the Apple HomePod (our review) won’t let you down. It’s a highly capable smart speaker that works with Apple Music natively, or via AirPlay for use with iOS devices. That means the recipient will need to be using an iPhone, iPad, or Mac (and an Apple Music subscription wouldn’t hurt).

Apple HomePod

Google produces a few different Home-branded products: the basic Google Home, the smaller Google Home Mini, and the best-sounding option: the Google Home Max. Unlike HomePod, Google Home can use YouTube, Pandora, Spotify and more to play music.

Amazon seems to be building Alexa support into just about anything, but the best sound-focused offerings are the basic Echo, the smaller Echo Dot, and the Amazon Echo Plus. Amazon’s offering is the only third-party smart home speaker that includes Apple Music support.

All-new Echo Plus (2nd Gen) Bundle with Philips Hue Bulb - Charcoal All-new Echo Plus (2nd Gen) Bundle with Philips Hue Bulb - Charcoal Buy Now At Amazon $119.99

5. “Dumb” Bluetooth Speaker

You don’t need to buy into the smart home hype to give the gift of wireless sound. Bluetooth technology has come on leaps and bounds since speakers first hit the shelves. It’s now possible to buy some surprisingly punchy, room-filling solutions to suit all budgets.

For a go-everywhere Bluetooth speaker, check out the JBL Flip 4. It’s waterproof, contains a 3000mAh rechargeable battery, and can connect two smartphones at once to share the sound. You can also wirelessly link over 100 JBL speakers together, should you ever want to do that.

JBL Flip 4

JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker (Black) JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker (Black) Buy Now At Amazon $74.95

If you’re looking for something a little more substantial for at home, Bose produces a range of portable speakers like the Bose Soundlink. If you’ve ever listened to one of Bose’s small-yet-mighty speakers, you’ll know the company packs a surprisingly good punch into such a tiny package.

Bose Soundlink

Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth speaker II - Soft black Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth speaker II - Soft black Buy Now At Amazon $129.00

If your budget can stretch a little further then check out the Sonos One. It comes with built-in support for Amazon Alexa. The Sonos One can fill a room despite its modest size, and it’s humidity resistant so you really can belt out some Meatloaf in the shower (Meatloaf not included).

Sonos One

All-new Sonos One - Smart Speaker with Alexa voice control built-In. Compact size with incredible sound for any room. (black) All-new Sonos One - Smart Speaker with Alexa voice control built-In. Compact size with incredible sound for any room. (black) Buy Now At Amazon $179.00

Still not sure which Bluetooth speaker to go for? Check out the best Bluetooth speakers for smartphone users.

6. High-Quality Wired Headphones

Much of the time your choice of headphones depends on your musical preferences, but that’s arguably an industry invention. Bass-heavy cans are great for modern electronic music but turn classical, rock, and metal into a muddy and inaudible mess. The best headphones you can buy are those that don’t try to change the music, but provide a faithful reproduction of the original recording.

Grado SR60e

That usually means opting for studio-grade headphones or monitors, which don’t try to augment the bass or add unnecessary punch to the treble. One such company that’s made a name for itself with quality, hand-assembled, American-made headphones is Grado Labs, based out of Brooklyn, New York.

Even its most basic of models—like the SR60e and SR80e—provide a much sought-after, balanced response, and exceptional clarity for their price range. What’s more, they ooze style with an iconic, adjustable design and fake leather headband that ensures a comfortable listening experience.

Grado SR60e Headphones Grado SR60e Headphones Buy Now At Amazon $79.00

7. Wireless Headphones

Not every music lover is an audiophile, and even those who are can appreciate convenience when they see it. Wireless headphones don’t sound as good as wired ones, and you’re far more limited in terms of which models you can go for when cutting the audio cord.

Apple Airpods

For iPhone, iPad and Mac users, Apple’s W1 headphones are arguably the best. The Apple AirPods (our review) are a wireless version of the company’s iconic white in-ear freebies. While the sound is pretty good, there’s no noise isolation or tight-fitting silicon for comfort—so they aren’t perfect for everyone.

Also best suited to Apple devices are the BeatsX (our review), Apple’s other small wireless in-ear headphones. Since they carry the Beats name they’re also fairly bass-heavy, but they sound good and are very comfortable. Both the AirPods and BeatsX are super-easy to pair, with fast charging, and a built-in microphone for talking on the phone or chatting to Siri.

BeatsX Earphones

BeatsX Earphones - Black BeatsX Earphones - Black Buy Now At Amazon $99.95

For Samsung users, the company’s own Level U Pro wireless earphones really hit the mark, at around half the price of the BeatsX. For everyone else, the Phiaton BT100 offer noise canceling technology in an in-ear headphone style for a decent price.

Phiaton BT 100 NC Wireless and Active Noise Cancelling Neck Band Style Earphones with Mic Phiaton BT 100 NC Wireless and Active Noise Cancelling Neck Band Style Earphones with Mic Buy Now At Amazon $74.01

8. KORG Miniature Synths

For the music lover who’s not content with simply listening to music, KORG’s latest range of Volca mini synths could provide hours of fun. For beginners, look at the KORG analog rhythm machine, KORG looping synth, and KORG mini sampler.

KORG Volca

Korg Volca Beats Analog Rhythm Machine Korg Volca Beats Analog Rhythm Machine Buy Now At Amazon $159.99

More Last-Minute Gift Ideas!

While this list was intended for people buying music-related gifts for other people, maybe you want to buy some of these goodies for yourself instead. If so, that’s OK, you’re allowed to treat yourself every once in a while.

And if you’re looking for last minute gifts, check out our last minute shopping gift guide!

Read the full article: 8 Brilliant Gift Ideas for Music Lovers

12 YouTube Christmas Movies to Buy or Rent Over the Holidays

christmas-movies

Christmas movies can be pretty hit and miss. The good ones don’t come around too often, and the old ones tend to get a rolled out time and time again. But if there’s one time of year to give in to shameless nostalgia, it’s Christmas. In addition to YouTube’s catalog of free public domain movies, there are plenty of holiday favorites available to buy or rent. Here are the best Christmas movies to watch on YouTube this holiday season. 1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) Have you ever wanted a perfect Christmas? So has Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase). When the whole…

Read the full article: 12 YouTube Christmas Movies to Buy or Rent Over the Holidays

Christmas movies can be pretty hit and miss. The good ones don’t come around too often, and the old ones tend to get a rolled out time and time again.

But if there’s one time of year to give in to shameless nostalgia, it’s Christmas. In addition to YouTube’s catalog of free public domain movies, there are plenty of holiday favorites available to buy or rent.

Here are the best Christmas movies to watch on YouTube this holiday season.

1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Have you ever wanted a perfect Christmas? So has Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase). When the whole family announces they’re coming for Christmas, Clark’s plans of a perfect holiday are dashed. Repeatedly.

From the acquisition of a Christmas tree, to accidentally wiring 25,000 bulbs to the light switch in the garage, almost everything that could go wrong at Christmas does go wrong. This is the third film in the long-running National Lampoon’s Vacation series, and it’s probably the best of the bunch.

2. Home Alone (1990)

Is Home Alone the best Christmas film of all time? If you were born sometime between 1985 and 1995, it probably is. Follow the antics of Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin) as his family accidentally boards a flight to Paris without him.

In their absence, the McAllister residence is targeted by inept thieves Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). It’s up to Kevin to fend off the bandits, overcome his fears, and spread a little Christmas cheer to the scary old man who lives down the road.

3. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

Another Christmas for the McAllister family, and another trip out of Chicago. This time the family heads for the warmer climate of Florida, except for Kevin who mistakenly boards a plane to New York instead.

While much of the format (and brutal Rube Goldberg-esque traps) remain the same, Home Alone 2 isn’t quite as magical as the first. It’s still worth a watch for Tim Curry’s stellar performance as a fumbling concierge, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo from none other than Donald Trump.

4. Die Hard (1988)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1eS3c8S3Uk

Don’t let anyone tell you Die Hard isn’t a Christmas movie. It’s a movie, it takes place at Christmas, and it features festive mainstays like Christmas parties, German terrorists, and a burning high rise in the heart of Los Angeles.

So while it probably doesn’t sound festive on paper, it’s still the best Christmas action movie ever made. While Bruce Willis’ performance as John McClane shot him to fame as a man of action, it’s Hans Gruber (played by the late Alan Rickman) who really steals the show.

5. Krampus (2015)

From the best Christmas action movie to the best Christmas horror movie. In terms of genre-mashing, horror and holidays go together like blood-soaked holly and poisonous ivy.

This refreshing take on the mythical European half-goat, half-demon who punishes children at Christmastime manages to be both unsettling and heartwarming at the same time.

6. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Charles Dickens probably didn’t foresee his Victorian Christmas ghost story being turned into a musical for children with singing stuffed animals, but he’d probably be thrilled with the result. Michael Caine is perfectly cast as Mr Scrooge, while Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and all of your other favorite Muppets fill in the rest of the cast.

This recounting of a Christmas classic gets the balance of festive frivolity and somber self-development just right for the whole family to enjoy. If you love Christmas music, you’ll love this film.

7. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Tired of the same old Halloween fare, Jack Skellington (Danny Elfman) decides to have a crack at Christmas. The problem is that the inhabitants of Halloween Town don’t quite understand the spirit of Christmas, with dire consequences.

There’s much debate about whether Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Christmas movie or one of the best Halloween movies. The answer is that it’s both, and it’s best enjoyed in that gap between October 31 and December 25.

8. Elf (2003)

Before Anchorman, Will Ferrell was best known for his portrayal of Buddy, a human being who was raised as an elf at the North Pole. After inadvertently crawling into Santa’s sack of presents one Christmas Eve as a baby, Buddy spends the following thirty years in the company of elves a fraction of his size.

Now its time for him to face the fact that he’s not really an Elf, and to find his real family.

9. Gremlins (1984)

When Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) receives a mysterious Christmas gift from his father, it comes with a few basic rules: don’t expose it to light, don’t get it wet, and never feed it after midnight.

The gift is a Mogwai, one of the cutest fictional creatures ever to come out of the 80s. Unfortunately, Mogwais don’t remain cute and fluffy if you expose them to light, get them wet, or feed them after midnight. Looking for more 80s classics? Check out the best 80s movies to watch on Netflix.

10. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3P5TjtStCY

There’s nothing wrong with a Christmas classic, and Miracle on 34th Street certainly fits that brief. The 1947 film tells the story of a charming old man who takes on the role of Santa Claus for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

Trouble starts when the man refers to himself as Kris Kringle and claims to really be Santa Claus. It’s not long before the man finds himself in court, having to prove that he is, in fact, the real deal, forcing the courtroom to reexamine a few of their own beliefs.

11. Bad Santa (2003)

Willie and Marcus (Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox) are posing as Santa and his helper, with big plans to rob a department store on Christmas Eve. But Willie is more washed up than ever this year, drinking heavily, and threatening to put the whole plan in jeopardy.

Worse still, a troubled young boy turns up believing that Willie is indeed the real Santa. Thus begins the festive (and definitely not-for-kids) tale of a fugitive who finally learns the true meaning of Christmas.

12. The Night Before (2015)

When three childhood friends decide to end their Christmas Eve tradition of spending the night on the town, they decide to go out with a bang. What follows is an evening of crass humor, inebriation, and self-discovery.

That’s right, it’s a Seth Rogen movie set at Christmas. It’s got all the usual Seth Rogen hallmarks, set against the backdrop of Christmas in New York. If you like the laughs to come thick and fast over the holidays, don’t forget to check out the best Neflix comedies you may have overlooked.

Did We Miss Your Favorite Christmas Movie?

There are so many Christmas films, and we would estimate just 10 percent of them are worth your time. This list is far from exhaustive, but it covers a good selection of holiday movies that you can watch right now with minimal hassle.

We’re sure you have your own favorite Christmas movies. If none of these fancy your tastes, consider checking out these Christmas movies to watch on Netflix. Merry Christmas!

Image Credit: HASLOO/Depositphotos

Read the full article: 12 YouTube Christmas Movies to Buy or Rent Over the Holidays

Lost Your Apple TV Remote? How to Replace It

lost-apple-tv-remote

When I lost my Apple TV remote, I was able to control the set-top box using my phone until the remote appeared under the sofa again. Losing your remote isn’t a huge deal. If you want to replace your Apple TV remote with something physical, you have options beyond Apple’s proprietary stick of gum. If you’d rather use your phone all the time, you have options there too. Here’s what you need to know about replacing your Apple TV remote. Option 1: Use Your Smartphone Even when you know the best tips for the Apple TV remote, it’s nothing remarkable….

Read the full article: Lost Your Apple TV Remote? How to Replace It

lost-apple-tv-remote

When I lost my Apple TV remote, I was able to control the set-top box using my phone until the remote appeared under the sofa again. Losing your remote isn’t a huge deal.

If you want to replace your Apple TV remote with something physical, you have options beyond Apple’s proprietary stick of gum. If you’d rather use your phone all the time, you have options there too.

Here’s what you need to know about replacing your Apple TV remote.

Option 1: Use Your Smartphone

Even when you know the best tips for the Apple TV remote, it’s nothing remarkable. It consists of a touch-based trackpad, a few hardware buttons, and a volume rocker that works via infrared with your TV. If you go the smartphone route, you may have to forego volume control, but you’ll still have access to everything else.

Siri Remote charging

Better still, you can use many smartphones as a keyboard to input text on the Apple TV much faster than using a traditional remote. The drawback is that you’ll need to launch an app and wait for it to connect to your Apple TV before you can control it.

Control Your Apple TV With an iPhone or iPad

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you already have an Apple TV remote installed on your device. To use it, head to Settings > Control Center and tap Customize Controls. Scroll down to Apple TV Remote and tap the green Plus next to it.

To use the remote, access Control Center on your device:

  • On an iPhone X or later: Swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen.
  • On an iPhone 8 or earlier: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
  • On an iPad running iOS 11 or later: Double-tap the Home button.

Now tap the Apple TV remote icon, then tap on the dropdown menu to choose an Apple TV. If this is the first time you’ve used your iOS device to control your Apple TV, you’ll need to input the code displayed on your TV.

You can now control your Apple TV via the Control Center shortcut whenever you want. If you’d rather use a dedicated app for this purpose, grab Apple’s free Apple TV Remote app, which works identically.

Control Your Apple TV With an Android App

If you use an Android phone, you can also control the Apple TV using your device. Unlike iOS, you’ll need to rely on a third-party app to add this functionality.

Remember: In order to connect an Android app to your Apple TV, you’ll need to use a remote of some sort to set up the Apple TV for this purpose. This might not be too useful if you’ve already lost your remote, but it’s not so much of a problem if you’re setting up an extra remote control for convenience.

Here are a few recommended apps that allow you to control an Apple TV from your Android device:

To pair any of these apps with your Apple TV, head to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Learn Remote on the Apple TV.

Option 2: Buy an Apple TV Remote Replacement

There’s something to be said about having a dedicated hardware remote, particularly if other household members don’t care for using their phones to control the Apple TV. You don’t have to go for Apple’s own remote, since third-party remotes will also work with your Apple TV in some capacity.

These may be ideal if you have multiple devices you also want to control, like a TV, Xbox One, or AV receiver.

Siri Remote

Siri Remote

Apple’s Siri Remote will cost just short of $60, but provides native support for the full range of Apple TV features. That includes infrared volume control and a microphone for controlling the set-top box with your voice.

It’s also the only remote that will pair automatically, which is important if you don’t have any other means of controlling the Apple TV. To pair a new Siri Remote, charge it, then press and hold the Menu and Volume Up buttons for five seconds within three inches of the Apple TV.

Coolux Remote

Coolux Remote

Coolux Brand Remote Control of Apple TV Mac, iPad iPhone (4th Generation) Coolux Brand Remote Control of Apple TV Mac, iPad iPhone (4th Generation) Buy Now At Amazon $12.99

This off-brand Coolux Remote costs a fraction of what Apple asks for a Siri remote. You can use it as a basic remote control for your Apple TV, though it lacks many functions.

There’s no touchpad, no microphone, no volume controls for your TV, and it uses AAA batteries which you need to supply yourself. The product description is written in broken English, but Amazon’s customer reviews confirm that this works fine with the Apple TV 4th generation or later.

Inteset 4-in-1 Universal Infrared Remote

Inteset 4-in-1 Remote

Inteset 4-in-1 Universal Backlit IR Learning Remote for use with Apple TV, Xbox One, Roku, Media Center/Kodi, Nvidia Shield, most Streamers and other A/V Devices Inteset 4-in-1 Universal Backlit IR Learning Remote for use with Apple TV, Xbox One, Roku, Media Center/Kodi, Nvidia Shield, most Streamers and other A/V Devices Buy Now At Amazon $26.95

Here’s a button-packed remote that’s perfect if you want to a single remote to control your Apple TV, Xbox One, Nvidia Shield, and other supported streaming devices. Use the backlit directional buttons to control the Apple TV, and play or pause media with the playback controls.

Inteset’s 4-in-1 includes self-adhesive labels for customizing it to your preferences, a comprehensive list of device codes, and macro programming for chaining together up to 15 commands. The remote was designed with the Apple TV in mind, and the positive user reviews confirm that it works well.

Logitech Harmony 950

Logitech Harmony 950 Remote

Logitech Harmony 950 Touch IR Remote Control for up to 15 Entertainment Devices Logitech Harmony 950 Touch IR Remote Control for up to 15 Entertainment Devices Buy Now At Amazon $189.99

The Logitech Harmony 950 is a monster of a remote, capable of controlling up to 15 devices including the Apple TV. It’s programmable, so you can choose an activity and have the remote power on the right devices.

In addition to directional and media controls, the Harmony 950 includes fancy features like motion-activated backlighting, full-color touchscreen, rechargeable battery, and charging station. If you want a high-end remote for all your gadgets, this is it.

Find out how to get the most of your Logitech Harmony remote.

Make Your Siri Remote Easier to Find

Sick of losing your remote all the time? Tired of Apple’s wafer-thin design sliding down the back of the sofa? You need a case for your Siri Remote.

The elago R1 Intelli Case makes the Siri remote considerably chunkier, plus it adds a grip, lanyard, and shock absorption. It also adds magnets, so you can stick your Siri Remote to something metal. For a few dollars, you’ll never lose your Apple TV remote again!

Whether you’ve just bought an Apple TV or you’ve had one for a while, you’re bound to learn a trick or two in our free Apple TV setup and user guide.

Read the full article: Lost Your Apple TV Remote? How to Replace It

How to Install Windows 10 on Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

Installing Windows 10 on your Mac isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Boot Camp Assistant doesn’t work very well, particularly when it comes to creating bootable USB installation media. Fortunately, help is at hand. You can create your own bootable USB installer, grab the drivers you need, and let macOS take care of the partitioning for you. Then it’s a case of sitting back and waiting for the installation to complete. The Problem With Boot Camp Assistant Boot Camp Assistant is Apple’s own dual-boot helper tool. It comes bundled with macOS, and is meant to help you create a…

Read the full article: How to Install Windows 10 on Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

Installing Windows 10 on your Mac isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Boot Camp Assistant doesn’t work very well, particularly when it comes to creating bootable USB installation media.

Fortunately, help is at hand. You can create your own bootable USB installer, grab the drivers you need, and let macOS take care of the partitioning for you. Then it’s a case of sitting back and waiting for the installation to complete.

The Problem With Boot Camp Assistant

Boot Camp Assistant is Apple’s own dual-boot helper tool. It comes bundled with macOS, and is meant to help you create a bootable USB drive, download the necessary drivers, and re-partition your internal drive for use with Windows.

Due to the size of the latest Windows 10 disk images, this helper no longer works. Boot Camp Assistant formats your USB installation media to the FAT32 file system. The problem with FAT32 is that it can’t store files larger than 4GB.

Boot Camp Assistant

The latest Windows 10 disk images are around 5GB in size, and contain a single install.wim file that clocks in over 4GB. Microsoft offers tutorials for splitting this file into multiple parts, but they require Windows. On a Mac, you’re out of luck.

If you try to create a regular USB installer using Boot Camp Assistant, you’ll receive an error telling you there’s not enough space on the disk. This is a confusing error that doesn’t make a lot of sense if, like me, you’re using a 32GB USB stick.

The solution is to create your own USB installer and ditch FAT32 entirely.

Download Everything You Need

First, grab yourself a legitimate copy of Windows from Microsoft. You can download Windows 10 on Microsoft’s Software Download website. For security reasons, you should only ever download Windows from Microsoft.

You’ll also need Apple’s drivers for Windows. The downloads available on Apple’s own website are out of date, so download them using your Mac:

  1. Launch Boot Camp Assistant.
  2. In the menu bar click Actions > Download Windows Support Software.
  3. Select a location to save the file, then wait for the download to complete.

Boot Camp Assistant Download Drivers

Now you’re ready to move on and create an installer. If this sounds like too much for you, check out other ways to run Windows apps on macOS without a full install.

Create Your Own Bootable USB Installer

Microsoft recommends an install medium of 5GB or larger. Some users recommend using an 8GB USB 2.0 drive. I used a 32GB USB 3.0 drive with no problem, but your mileage may vary.

Insert your USB drive and launch Disk Utility. Select your drive from the list on the left and click Erase (make sure there’s nothing on it you haven’t backed up). From the dropdown box, select exFAT as your file system. Give your USB drive a name like WININSTALL and click Erase.

Disk Utility Formatting

Next, double-click the Windows ISO you downloaded to mount it. The image you mounted should open automatically (otherwise look in your Finder sidebar). Click and drag to select all the Windows 10 installation files, then copy them (Cmd + C).

Now paste those files onto the USB drive you just created (Cmd + V). Navigate to the drivers that you downloaded earlier. Copy the contents of the WindowsSupport folder to the root directory of your USB installer. Don’t just drag the WindowsSupport folder to the drive—copy the contents instead.

Copy to USB

Your Windows 10 installation USB is now ready. If you run into issues, check out our Windows 10 installer troubleshooting guide.

Prepare Your Mac’s Internal Drive

With your USB drive still connected, launch Boot Camp Assistant again. Click Continue to begin the process, then uncheck Create a Windows 7 or later install disk and Download the latest Windows support software from Apple. You’ve already done both of these.

Configure Boot Camp Assistant

Leave Install Windows 7 or later version checked, then click Continue. On the next screen you’ll be asked to assign space to your Windows partition. Click and drag the slider (or click Divide Equally) to decide how this space is shared between your macOS and Windows partitions.

Boot Camp Assistant Partition

Click Continue when you’re ready to start the process, then input your administrator password. macOS will start partitioning your drive. Input your administrator password one more time, then your Mac will restart and begin the Windows installer.

Boot Camp Assistant Password

If you receive an error about missing Windows support software, make sure you’ve copied the contents of the WindowsSupport folder you downloaded to the root of your USB drive. If folders like $WinPEDriver$ and BootCamp aren’t in the root USB folder, Boot Camp Assistant will refuse to repartition your drive.

Now Install Windows on Mac

Your Mac should restart and launch the Windows installer automatically. If it does not, or you canceled for some reason, you can restart the process:

  1. Insert your Windows 10 USB installer.
  2. If your Mac is running, restart it.
  3. While your Mac boots, press and hold Option on your keyboard to reveal the boot menu.
  4. Select EFI Boot and click on the arrow to begin the installer.

Be patient while the installer loads. When prompted for a product key, you can click I don’t have a product key to install Windows 10 regardless. You’ll also need to select a version of Windows to install. Find out how to choose the right version of Windows 10 for you.

Eventually, you’ll need to specify where you want to install Windows. You should see a partition called BOOTCAMP in the list. Click on it, then click Format and proceed. Once you’ve formatted the partition, you should be able to click Next and continue installing Windows.

The installer will restart your Mac a few times while the installation takes place. Make a cup of coffee and sit back while it completes.

Configure Windows and Install Drivers

Eventually Windows 10 will restart and you’ll be asked for some more information, including your region and keyboard layout. It’s likely your wireless adapter won’t work with Windows natively, so when you’re prompted to connect to a network, click Skip for now.

Now create a user account, select a password, add a few security questions, and wait for Windows to finish configuring your desktop. After a few restarts, Windows will be ready for use. The first thing you should see is the Boot Camp installer.

Boot Camp Drivers Installation

Click Next followed by Install to begin the driver installation process. Its normal for your screen to flicker during this installation process. Once the drivers have installed, you’ll see a prompt to restart Windows.

By the time you’ve rebooted Windows, everything should work as expected. You’ll be able to connect to a wireless network, scroll with two fingers on the touchpad, use the media keys to adjust screen brightness, and so on.

Windows 10 on Mac: The Best of Both Worlds

Many Mac users buy Apple computers primarily because of the macOS user experience, but the convenience of having both Windows and macOS is undeniable. It’s a shame that Boot Camp Assistant doesn’t work quite like it should, but there’s almost always a workaround to any such issues.

Now that you’ve got Windows 10 up and running, why not check out some of the best Windows software to install right away?

Read the full article: How to Install Windows 10 on Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Use Screen Sharing on a Mac

share-mac-screen

Getting support for a computer issue is much easier when you can share your screen. Compared to describing your issue over the phone, the difference is night and day. Your Mac already comes with the software required to make this happen between two users on Apple computers. You can also share your screens across your own Macs, thanks to iCloud. And if you happen to need support from someone running Windows or Linux, we’ve got that covered too. Use iMessage for Screen Sharing on a Mac The easiest way to share your screen, or request to view another user’s screen,…

Read the full article: How to Use Screen Sharing on a Mac

share-mac-screen

Getting support for a computer issue is much easier when you can share your screen. Compared to describing your issue over the phone, the difference is night and day.

Your Mac already comes with the software required to make this happen between two users on Apple computers. You can also share your screens across your own Macs, thanks to iCloud.

And if you happen to need support from someone running Windows or Linux, we’ve got that covered too.

Use iMessage for Screen Sharing on a Mac

The easiest way to share your screen, or request to view another user’s screen, is to use Apple’s iMessage chat. Through the Messages app on macOS, you can share your screen with another party provided they are using a Mac and are signed into iMessage with an Apple ID.

iMessage Screen Sharing on Mac

While sharing your screen, the other party will have the opportunity to control your computer by requesting access. This requires you explicitly provide permission via a popup dialog box. You should never relinquish control of your Mac to someone you do not know or trust absolutely.

To get started, launch the Messages app and make sure you’re logged in to your Apple ID under Messages > Preferences. To share, or request a screen share:

  1. Start a new chat with the person you want to share with.
  2. Click Details next to their name in the top-right corner of the window.
  3. Click the screen sharing button (it looks like two overlapping rectangles).
  4. Choose Invite to share my screen to share your own screen, or Ask to share screen to request to see the other person’s screen.

The other party will need to agree to your request. Once they’ve confirmed it, a FaceTime audio call will begin alongside screen sharing. You can then chat with the other party and discuss the problem (or whatever it is you’re sharing).

You can allow the other party to control your screen via the screen sharing app icon in the menu bar. Look in the top-right corner of your Mac’s screen for the two overlapping rectangles. Click it, then choose Allow [contact] to control my screen.

Screen Sharing macOS

To undo your decision but still keep screen sharing active, click the screen sharing menu bar icon again and uncheck this option. We’ve covered more on sharing your Mac’s screen via FaceTime if you need additional info.

Access Other Apple Computers With Back to My Mac

You might also want to share a screen with yourself. This is particularly handy if you have more than one Mac in your house, or if you’re at work and you need to access something on a home computer.

This feature uses an iCloud tool called Back to My Mac. You’ll need to enable the feature on any computers you want to access and control before you can use it. Here’s how you set up Back to My Mac on a computer you want to control:

  1. Make sure you’re logged in to iCloud under System Preferences > iCloud.
  2. On the same screen, make sure Back to My Mac is enabled by checking it in the list of iCloud services.
  3. Now head to System Preferences > Sharing and enable Screen Sharing.

macOS Sharing Preferences

Any computer you wish to access must be powered on, but not necessarily logged in. You can log in with Back to My Mac as if you were using the computer directly.

To access a computer you have set up with Back to My Mac, launch Finder and look for the computer in the sidebar under the Shared heading.

If you’ve disabled the Finder sidebar, use View > Show Sidebar to enable it. If you can’t see the Shared section, head to Finder > Preferences. Click Sidebar and enable Back to My Mac under the Shared heading.

Back to My Mac

Once your computer appears in the Finder sidebar, click on it. You should now see the Share Screen button at the top of the window. Click on this and wait.

You’ll soon see your computer’s screen show up in a new window on your desktop. As soon as the connection establishes, you can control this computer.

Mac Screen Sharing With Third-Party Apps

If you want to share your screen with someone who doesn’t use iMessage or someone who hasn’t got a Mac, you’ll need to rely on third-party apps to do so. Check out our roundup of easy screen sharing and remote access tools for a comprehensive list.

By far one of the easiest third-party tools to use is TeamViewer. You don’t need an account to use it—just download the Team Viewer remote control app to get started. This is all you need to receive support or offer support to others using the service.

TeamViewer on Mac

Once you’ve got the remote control application, you’ll have a user ID and a password. Give your user ID and password to someone else and they’ll be able to view your screen and control your Mac. The usual advice rings true as always: be careful who you trust!

Get Support and Work Remotely on a Mac

The easiest way to get help with a Mac computer problem is to use iMessage and its built-in Screen Sharing function. For working remotely, enable Back to My Mac on your home or work computers and get access whenever you need it, no matter where you are.

And if you’re really stuck, you can always get computer support from a Windows user via TeamViewer. If you can’t get anyone to take a look at your computer, consider consulting the web’s best support forums and websites to enlist the help of a complete stranger.

Read the full article: How to Use Screen Sharing on a Mac