Categories
News

The Most Hated Windows Versions (And Why They Were So Bad)

For some time, it's been a joke that every other version of Windows is terrible. People liked Windows 98, hated ME, loved XP, despised Vista, clung to 7, ridiculed 8, and now for the most part enjoy Windows 10. This leads to many people staying on popular versions for as long as possible, while those who get stuck with a bad version try to upgrade as soon as they can.

However, have you ever wondered why the worst Windows versions have earned that title? Let's take a look at the three most-hated Windows versions: Windows ME, Vista, and 8—and see why they're considered the worst Windows versions ever.

Windows ME

This edition of Windows, officially known as Windows Millennium Edition but often nicknamed the Mistake Edition, launched in late 2000 and was the last entry in the Windows 9x line.

Windows ME's Background

Windows 2000, launched earlier that year, was mainly intended for business use. Windows 98 was only a few years old, but XP was still in production and not ready for general use. Microsoft wanted to launch a new consumer version of Windows to generate buzz; thus ME was born.

The short-term nature of Windows ME ended up hurting it badly. Because Microsoft rushed it to meet an arbitrary deadline, it ended up feeling incomplete and was an awkward bridge between the Windows 9x years and Windows XP.

ME was only sold for about a year, and Windows XP became a smash hit when it released a year later. While Windows XP still had a good bit of the market share even in 2014-2015 after its support had ended, ME dropped off the map long before this. This speaks to how poorly folks received it.

Why Was Windows ME So Bad?

On the software side, ME was basically Windows 98 with a few new features slapped on. However, some of these features, like System Restore, suffered from bugs. ME also removed the DOS mode present in Windows 98 and earlier that let users install older software. At the time, this was a drawback for many.

Instead of a new and exciting version of Internet Explorer (IE), ME treated its users to the in-between IE 5.5. In those days, this was much more important. Windows and Internet Explorer were tightly integrated, as IE had a big hand in Windows Explorer and other features.

Additionally, other browsers weren't as readily available as they are today, so including a lousy IE version likely had a hand in ME's issues.

Prevalent throughout the operating system were crashes, slowness, and strange performance issues. People's mileage varied, but most users experienced bugs and other annoyances that made the OS hard to use. Many users reported that when returning to their machines after a few minutes, just moving the mouse caused Windows ME to crash.

We can attribute most of these problems to the aging Windows 9x architecture, coupled with a rushed product that simply wasn't ready for release. Windows ME was quickly replaced with the superior XP, and people never looked back.

Windows Vista

Those who never used Windows ME usually think of Windows Vista, released in early 2007, as the worst Windows version ever.

While Vista was also a much-hated Windows version, its story is different than Windows ME. Vista was actually much different from Windows XP, so it didn't bring any baggage with it like ME did.

Because Windows XP had so many security problems, Microsoft focused on making Vista a more secure OS. In practice, this led to some of its many annoyances.

Are You Sure You Want to Do That?

Perhaps the most infamous problem introduced with Vista was User Account Control (UAC). This was developed because of a major security issue with Windows XP. Most software in XP required an admin account to work properly, so standard user accounts could do next to nothing.

Thus, people ended up using admin accounts all the time, which isn't safe.

To keep programs from running with administrative privileges freely, UAC prompts the user to confirm that they want to run a program that could make changes to their computer. It's still present (and greatly toned down) in every version of Windows since Vista, but it was overwhelming in its initial state. It seemed that every time you clicked an icon, you had to confirm something.

Apple mocked this and other Vista problems in its famous "Get a Mac" ads, which certainly had a hand in the public view of Vista.

Compatibility and Hardware Problems

Vista also required much more powerful hardware to run than Windows XP. This makes sense, since it launched six years later and had more features. However, Microsoft ran into issues with PC manufacturers over these requirements.

Despite Vista running terribly on low-end machines, companies still placed "Compatible with Windows Vista" stickers on computers that barely met the minimum requirements. This led to people becoming frustrated with their new machine's sluggish performance.

Finally, Vista suffered from lots of compatibility issues. To work on the security problems of XP, Microsoft changed the driver model, which made the system much more stable. This greatly cut down on the number of blue screens, and Vista was able to recover from graphics driver crashes that would have taken down XP.

Since these changes were significant, they also resulted in a learning period for developers. Older drivers also didn't work under the new model, so many people trying to use old software or devices found that they were incompatible or crashed.

It's clear that many of the problems in Vista arose from changes that were necessary to make from XP. Sort of like Windows ME, Vista was an initial testing ground for changes that were later perfected. Just two years later in 2009, Microsoft released Windows 7. It was what Vista should have been, and fixed the majority of the problems that Windows Vista had.

Windows 8

Windows 8, which released in 2012, is the worst Windows OS that's still fresh in some people's minds. Let's review why Windows 8 got so much hate.

For most people, the biggest problem with Windows 8 was that it changed so much for no reason. Windows 7 was only three years old at the time of release, and people still loved it. After the rocky Vista, it was refreshing to have an OS that not only looked great, but was rock-solid and fast as well.

Ignoring all this, Microsoft followed its vision for a multi-device OS and Windows 8 got rid of the Start Menu, a Windows staple since the 1990s.

That was only the beginning of the issues, however. Windows 8 introduced the Windows Store, an attempt to have a central location for downloading Windows software.

However, it quickly became filled with garbage, and most people knew where to download the best Windows software already. Windows 8 also included some Modern apps that confusingly duplicated normal software's functionality.

Windows 8 suffered from a split personality. The traditional desktop, almost copied and pasted from Windows 7 (minus the Start Menu), was still present. However, it was clear that Microsoft wanted you to get invested in the new Modern apps.

Built for Touchscreens

These Modern (or Metro) apps were aggravating. Apps on smartphones make sense because they're more efficient than mobile websites. Websites are already built to cater to desktop and laptop browsers, though, so apps really weren't necessary.

Changing basic options required figuring out whether your desired setting was in the new Settings app or in the old Control Panel. Opening a picture on your desktop could send you into the Photos app, totally breaking what you intended to do.

Though nobody wanted it, Windows 8 also prioritized touchscreens over sensible user interface design built for mouse users. Features like the Charms Bar activated by swiping in from the side of a touchscreen, but with a mouse, this required awkward gestures. When the OS launched, people panicked because they couldn't even figure out how to shut down their computer. This is a clear failure on Microsoft's part.

In the end, Windows 8 shows that mobile and desktop user needs are quite different. We can't ever be sure how Microsoft thought that Windows 8 was a good idea. The company did release Windows 8.1 to correct some of the issues with Windows 8, and while it's not perfect, Windows 8.1 is a more usable OS.

What Is the Worst Windows Version for You?

We've looked back at the three worst Windows operating systems that most people hated. Thankfully, we're in a pretty good time for Windows versions now. While Windows 7 is no longer in support, Windows 10 is better than ever and receives free updates so you don't have to pay to stay current.

If you use Windows 10, make sure you know what version of Windows 10 you have so you can enjoy the latest features.

Image Credits: costix/Shutterstock

Categories
News

12 Useful iPhone Accessibility Features Worth Trying | MakeUseOf

Your iPhone has a lot of accessibility features that make it easier to use. Whether you need assistance while using your iPhone or just want to see what's available for convenience purposes, you should take a look at this menu.

We'll walk through the most useful options of the iPhone accessibility menu and explain what they offer.

How to Open the iPhone Accessibility Menu

If you haven't explored the iPhone's Settings app fully, you might not have come across the Accessibility options. At the time of writing, you'll find the Accessibility section under the main Settings list. In previous iOS versions, this was under Settings > General.

In addition to scrolling through the menu, you can also pull down in the Settings menu to open the search bar. Enter whatever you're looking for here to jump right to it.

Image Gallery (3 Images)

Let's look at the most useful options in each category of the Accessibility page.

Vision Accessibility Options in iOS

First, let's look at tools that help users who are blind or otherwise have trouble seeing.

VoiceOver

VoiceOver is a screen reader for your iPhone that describes what's happening on the display. It allows you to tap anything to hear a voice read it out loud. There are tons of options to change how it functions, including the voice, input commands, and more.

See our guide to VoiceOver for a more in-depth look.

Zoom

Image Gallery (2 Images)

If you have trouble viewing small items on your iPhone, Zoom is quite helpful. Enable it, and you can take a much closer look at the elements on your screen, sliding around as needed.

If you just want text to appear larger, you don't necessarily need to use this option, as there are many choices in the next section for this.

Display & Text Size

This section contains many options that make text and other elements easier to see. Enable Bold Text to add emphasis to all text, or use the Larger Text slider to make text across the OS bigger or smaller.

If you often confuse the sliders that appear across iOS, enable On/Off Labels to add 0 and 1 labels to them for further differentiation.

And if you have difficulty distinguishing between items in the foreground and background, enable Increase Contrast. This changes some colors to help highlight foreground items.

Image Gallery (2 Images)

Enable Reduce Transparency to reduce the fancy visual effects that Control Center and other elements of iOS use. This makes it easier to read text without the glossy background.

Those who are colorblind will appreciate the Differentiate Without Color and Color Filters options. The former will adjust elements that rely solely on color to instead use different symbols or similar. For example, a circle that turns green or red to show available/busy status in a chat app would change to a square when red with this enabled.

Colorblind users should also check the Color Filters option. This lets you enable filters like Grayscale or various options based on your form of colorblindness.

Image Gallery (2 Images)

Motion

This is a small section, but the Reduce Motion slider is useful for a lot of people. If the zooming movement when you launch apps makes you feel ill, turn this slider on and apps will simply fade into view instead.

It's not as fancy of an effect, but if using your phone makes you motion sick, this should stop it.

Spoken Content

Image Gallery (2 Images)

If you enable the Speak Selection slider here, you'll see a Speak option anytime you select text on your device. This could come in handy if you're working on pronunciation, for instance.

For a deeper feature like this, enable Speak Screen and you can swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers to hear it all spoken aloud.

Physical and Motor iPhone Accessibility

If you have difficulty using your iPhone's buttons or touching the screen, take a look at the options in this section.

Touch

Image Gallery (2 Images)

The biggest highlight here is the AssistiveTouch option, which adds a floating icon to your iPhone. Tap this icon to open a menu that lets you navigate around and take various actions. It's useful if your iPhone's Home button isn't working.

Also on this menu, you'll find option to disable some functions, like shaking to undo. The Back Tap option allows you to access shortcuts just by hitting the back of your device.

Voice Control

Image Gallery (3 Images)

While Siri makes it easy to send texts and perform other functions on your device, Voice Control goes much further. It allows you to control your entire iPhone using just your voice.

Using it, you can navigate around menus, take actions like snapping a screenshot, and more without ever touching the screen. It's a must-have for anyone who struggles with a touchscreen.

We've looked at Voice Control on iOS in detail if you'd like more info.

Hearing Accessibility for iPhone

If you're deaf or hard of hearing, these options provide help with sounds when using your iPhone.

Sound Recognition

Image Gallery (2 Images)

To use this feature, enable the slider in the menu and select Sounds. Here, you can select types of sounds that your iPhone will continuously listen for and alert you about.

For example, you can choose to monitor for Fire alarms, a Cat or Dog, a Car Horn or Door Knock, or even a Baby Crying. These allow your iPhone to hear for you if you're unable to.

The feature notes that it's not for use in emergency situations, so keep in mind that it's not perfect.

Audio/Visual

Image Gallery (2 Images)

Inside this section, choose Headphone Accommodations to change the sound setup for compatible headphones. This lets you tune the audio for certain frequencies or boost soft sounds.

Turn on Mono Audio and your iPhone will play stereo content in both channels. This is useful if you're deaf in one ear. Similarly, you can tweak the Balance if you'd like to have audio favor either the left or right channel.

Lastly, under the Visual section, enable LED Flash for Alerts and your iPhone will flash the camera light when there's a new notification. This alerts you without needing a sound.

General iPhone Accessibility

To wrap up, there are a few more accessibility options under the last section worth taking a look at.

Guided Access

Guided Access is an iPhone function that lets you limit your device to a single app. It's great when you hand your phone to a child or nosy friend, or if you want to keep yourself from getting distracted.

Check out how to use Guided Access for everything you need to know.

Siri

In this section, you can enable Type to Siri, which lets you use the keyboard to talk to Siri instead of using your voice. There are a few other tweaks here too, like enabling Always Listen for "Hey Siri" if you want your iPhone to listen for the command even when it's face-down or in your pocket.

Accessibility Shortcut

Image Gallery (2 Images)

Pick one option from this list, which includes tools mentioned above like AssistiveTouch, Voice Control, and Zoom, and it will activate when you triple-click the Side (or Home) button on your iPhone.

If you enable more than one, this action will instead bring up a menu with all the shortcuts you've selected, letting you pick from them. Drag the options in the list to re-order them.

Accessibility Makes the iPhone Usable for All

As we've seen, the iPhone has a wide range of accessibility options that let all people enjoy the device. Whether you rely on one of these options or use them for productivity tricks, these tools are worth knowing about.

For more like this, check out handy iPhone shortcuts you should know.

Categories
News

What Is Nintendo Switch Online? Everything You Need to Know

While the Nintendo Switch first launched in March 2017, Nintendo didn't add a premium online service for the console until September 2018. It's called Nintendo Switch Online and serves as Nintendo's equivalent to Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus.

However, Nintendo's online subscription is different from Sony and Microsoft's offerings. It's cheaper, as it includes less in the way of bonuses, but there are a few other interesting perks.

Let's walk through everything you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online to help you make sense of the service.

What Is Nintendo Switch Online?

Nintendo Switch Online is the premium online subscription service for the Nintendo Switch system. Since September 2018, the vast majority of online games require an active subscription in order to play online against other players. This includes Mario Kart 8, Splatoon 2, Mario Tennis Aces, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Your Switch Online subscription is tied to your Nintendo account, so it works on any Switch that you sign into. And true to its name, the service is only for the Nintendo Switch; it doesn't apply to the Wii U or Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendo Switch Online isn't required for other online features of the system. Anyone can access the Nintendo eShop, add friends, update games, and access game news whether or not they have a subscription.

How Much Does Nintendo Switch Online Cost?

The price of a Nintendo Switch Online subscription varies based on how many months you pay for at once. In the US, Nintendo Switch Online is available with the following plans for individual memberships:

  • $3.99 for 30 days of service
  • $7.99 for a 90-day subscription (equaling about $2.67/month)
  • $19.99 for year of service (equaling about $1.67/month)

Alternatively, you can also sign up for a Family Membership. This gives access to Nintendo Switch Online for up to eight Nintendo Accounts under one primary account holder, and comes at a cost of $34.99/year (equaling about $2.92/month).

If you have enough close friends or family members to justify it, the family plan provides the best value by far. And unlike some other family plans, you don't have to be in the same household to quality for it.

By comparison, both Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus cost $9.99/month, $24.99 for three months, and $59.99 for 12 months.

How Do I Sign Up for Nintendo Switch Online?

On your Nintendo Switch console, open the Nintendo eShop from the main menu. Then scroll down to the Nintendo Switch Online tab on the left menu. Select Membership Options to see prices in your region.

If this is your first time subscribing, Nintendo offers a free one-week trial. You can activate by selecting Free Trial at the top of the page. This allows you to try all the features of the service to see if it's right for you.

Keep in mind that when the free trial ends, it will place you onto a monthly ($3.99) plan. If you plan to subscribe for the long-term, this isn't cost-efficient. Switching to the annual or or family subscription is a much better value. You should thus disable automatic renewal in the eShop or via your Nintendo Account page on Nintendo's website.

If you don't want to subscribe through the eShop directly, you can purchase Nintendo Switch Online vouchers at grocery stores, drugstores, Amazon, and the like. Similar to gift cards, these provide you with a scratch-off code that you enter into the eShop to subscribe.

Do All Online Games Require Nintendo Switch Online?

Most games require Nintendo Switch Online for online play. However, many free-to-play titles do not require Switch Online. These include games like Fortnite and Warframe, which are fully available even without a subscription. However, this could change in the future.

Paid retail games and digital downloads with online modes require Nintendo Switch Online for online play, however. On the back of physical game boxes, you'll see a Switch Online logo with a box noting that certain online features require a subscription. A similar warning appears on the eShop pages for affected games.

Buying DLC for single-player games does not require a subscription.

What Bonuses Does Nintendo Switch Online Provide?

In addition to online play, Nintendo Switch Online subscribers get the following bonuses:

  • Cloud saves: Online backups for your save games. However, not all titles are compatible.
  • NES and Super NES library access: Play classic NES and SNES games with the included apps. At the time of writing, there are more than 60 games to play across the two platforms.
  • Voice chat via the Nintendo Switch Online app: For almost all games, the Nintendo Switch requires you to use an app on your smartphone for in-game communication. Other games, like Overwatch and Fortnite, allow you to use a headset for this.
  • Special offers: Switch Online members occasionally get extra goodies. These include free items in games like Splatoon 2 and Smash Ultimate, access to online games like Super Mario 35 and Tetris 99, and the chance to buy official NES and SNES controllers that work with the Switch. See Nintendo's Special Offers page for details.

How Do Cloud Saves Work on Nintendo Switch Online?

Cloud saves are currently the only way to back up your Switch save data. To use them, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. This setting is enabled by default when you sign up, but you can manually manage your saves under Settings > Data Management > Save Data Cloud.

You can also check this by highlighting a game on the Switch's main screen, pressing the Plus button, and selecting Save Data Cloud. Cloud backups are handy not only for peace of mind, but also because they allow you to log into another console and download your save data remotely.

The feature isn't perfect, though. Certain games are not compatible with cloud backups, due to concerns over cheating. You can see a full list of games that don't work with Switch cloud backup on Nintendo's Support page.

Highlights of games that don't work include Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Pokémon Sword and Shield, and Splatoon 2. With cloud saves in these games, you could, for example, trade someone a rare Pokémon and then restore your cloud save to get the Pokémon back.

If your Switch Online membership ends, then you cannot access your cloud backups. However, as long as you resubscribe within 180 days, you can access those saves again.

How Do I Play NES and SNES Games?

If you have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, you can head to the Nintendo eShop and download the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System apps at no additional cost. You'll find these under the Nintendo Switch Online tab on the left sidebar.

If you don't have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, you'll get a prompt to sign up before you can launch either title.

Both apps will sit in your home screen just like other games; launch them to pick from the library. While they're retro, these games have some convenience features on the Switch. These include save states so you can save and load anytime, the ability to play multiplayer games online with friends, and rewinding mistakes.

There are too many NES and SNES games to list here. You can check Nintendo's Switch Online page covering these libraries for a full list; some standouts include:

  • Super Mario World (SNES)
  • Super Metroid (SNES)
  • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
  • Super Mario Bros. 3 (NES)
  • Dr. Mario (NES)
  • Wario's Woods (NES)
  • Punch-Out!! (NES)

You can play these games offline for up to a week without your console having to connect to Nintendo Switch Online.

How Do I Use Nintendo Switch Online Voice Chat?

Image Gallery (2 Images)

To chat with your friends while playing games, you must download the free Nintendo Switch Online app for iPhone or Android. Once downloaded, simply log in with your Nintendo account.

You can enable notifications to get alerts when you can use the service to chat in-game. Otherwise, open the app when playing a compatible game to use it. The app also has some other features, like checking your recent battle stats in Splatoon 2.

Download: Nintendo Switch Online for Android | iOS (Free,

Is Nintendo Switch Online Worth It?

If you want to play games like Splatoon 2 or Smash Ultimate online, Nintendo Switch Online is a must-buy. There's simply no way to play online without it, whether or not you think the service is good value.

However, prior to September 2018, online play was free on the Nintendo Switch. It's thus understandable if you're displeased that you now have to pay.

On the other hand, the service is one-third of the price of an Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus subscription. It's relatively cheap, and if you can get on a family plan, then a yearly subscription could cost as little as $4.38 per account per year.

But if you don't play online an awful lot, Switch Online might not be so tempting. With PS Plus and Xbox Live, you get full games free with your subscription each month. Nintendo's small offering of a few decades-old games isn't nearly as exciting, and there aren't any extra eShop discounts to sweeten the deal either.

If you've sunk hundreds of hours into titles like Breath of the Wild or Skyrim, cloud saving offers some much-needed peace of mind. But if you play games that don't support the feature, this won't matter as much.

Voice chat is lousy on the Switch no matter how you slice it. The Nintendo Switch Online app for both iOS and Android has been criticized since it was first introduced, and it hasn't gotten much better over time. You're better off setting up Discord on your phone or computer while playing Switch games with friends.

For the price, it's hard to complain. But if you're used to playing online for free on other Nintendo systems, it feels like there's limited "added value" here to make up for the additional expense. But at the end of the day: if you want to play online on your Switch, you're going to have to subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online.

Nintendo Switch Online: Extending Your Switch Experience

With the popularity of the Switch and its range of online games, it makes sense that a lot of owners have signed up for the service. If you have saved data to protect and play a few online games, it's probably worth it for you. It's not a perfect service, but for less than $2 per month, it gets the job done.

Meanwhile, don't forget that you can tweak your Switch to make it personalized to your tastes.

Categories
News

7 Spotify Tips and Tricks for Better Music Streaming | MakeUseOf

Most people are familiar with music streaming in Spotify, but there's a lot that you can do in the Spotify client that's not immediately obvious.

Let's take a look at some neat tips and tricks every Spotify user should know to get more out of the service.

1. Utilize Playlist Folders

If you're big on playlists, they can quickly become overwhelming after you create and follow a few dozen. It's easy to reign in your Spotify playlist collection by making playlist folders that group similar ones together.

To do so, right-click anywhere in the Playlists section of the left sidebar and choose Create Folder. You can use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + N (Windows) or Cmd + Shift + N (Mac) if you prefer.

Give your folder a name, and it's ready to use. Simply drag and drop a playlist onto the folder to add it. Use the arrows that appear to the right of playlist folders to expand or collapse them as needed. With folders open, you can also drag and drop playlists out of them into another folder or the main list.

Click a playlist folder to show its playlists in Spotify's main window.

2. Use Advanced Search Parameters

Most of the time, it's easy enough to type a song or artist name into the search bar to find it. But when you need something more, Spotify has deeper search operators that let you drill down to exactly what you want to find.

Below are some of these:

  • Genre: Search for a term only in certain music genres, such as "genre:rock darkness".
  • Year: Find music by year or a range. For example, "year:1965 beatles" or "year:1995-1999 foo"
  • Label: Search by music label, like "label:domino john"
  • Search by lyrics: If you don't know the name of a song, type at least three words from the lyrics and Spotify can locate it with those.
  • Exact search: Enter a query in quotes and Spotify will search for that exact string instead of using all the words to find matches.
  • Boolean operators: Use AND (or plus) to search for a combination of two terms, OR to search for either of two terms, and NOT (or minus) to exclude certain terms. For example, "jazz AND guitar" or "pop-punk NOT blink".

3. Add a Start Time When Sharing Tracks

You probably know that Spotify lets you share tracks using a few different options. But did you know that it's possible to start a shared track at a specific time as well? This comes in handy if you want to skip a lengthy intro or highlight a certain solo.

In our testing, this only works using the Spotify URI option, which opens the track directly in the Spotify app on someone's computer when they click it. To use this, right-click on a track and choose Share > Copy Spotify URI.

You'll get a URI that looks like this:

spotify:track:4ZiAnGIZFFUybp0NZXIYEG

To add a timestamp, add #m:ss to the end. For example, the following will start the song at 1:10 into the track:

spotify:track:4ZiAnGIZFFUybp0NZXIYEG#1:10

4. Drag and Drop Tracks Everywhere

You can click and drag tracks in Spotify itself or outside of the app. Click on a track or album and drag it into a social media post, instant messaging chat, or similar to easily create a link that anyone who uses Spotify can click to check out the track.

This also works inside of Spotify. Click and drag a track or album into a playlist on the left sidebar to add it. Like in many other apps, you can hold Ctrl (or Cmd on a Mac) to select multiple tracks. Additionally, you can select one track, then hold Shift while clicking another one to select everything in between.

If you're searching for something new to check out, why not have a look at the top charts from other countries? To find them, click Browse at the top of the left sidebar.

From there, click Charts along the top. Here you can choose from the Top 50 and Viral 50 in both your country and worldwide. The Top lists collect the tracks with the most plays per day, while the Viral lists hold songs that have spiked in popularity.

Use the Top 50 by Country and Viral 50 by Country at the bottom of this page to select one for a certain region. These playlists update every day.

6. Take Advantage of Spotify's Options

Spotify's options menu has a couple of handy tools to help control the flow of your music. You'll find it under Edit > Preferences (or Ctrl + P) on Windows and Spotify > Preferences (or Cmd + Comma) on a Mac. Scroll to the bottom and choose Show Advanced Settings to reveal all options.

Use the Crossfade songs slider under Playback to blend songs into each other for a smoother listening experience. You can also enable the Automix option, which affects certain playlists by skipping intros/outros and looping the ending to flow better into the next track.

If you like knowing when Spotify no longer has a track available, enable Show unavailable songs in playlists under Display Options. This will show unavailable songs as gray in playlists, albums, and similar.

Under Music Quality, you can enable Normalize volume to prevent one song from blowing your ears out after listening to a quiet one before it. You can also use the options under Volume level to adjust the sound for your environment.

And if you're a Spotify Premium subscriber, make sure to turn the Streaming quality to Very High so your music sounds as good as possible.

7. Master Using Spotify Keyboard Shortcuts

When navigating around in Spotify, you can save time by using your keyboard instead of your mouse. We've covered all the Spotify keyboard shortcuts you must know, so take a look at that list to familiarize yourself.

Most of those only work when you have the Spotify window in active focus. So if Spotify is in the background when you're listening, it might be faster to use your keyboard's media keys to play/pause or change the volume.

Master Spotify Tricks for Better Listening

Now you know some of the best tricks for a better Spotify experience. They're easy to put into practice and you might not have known about them yet!

There's a lot more to discover in Spotify, including great ways to find new music you'll love.

Image Credit: Bernardo Ramonfaur/Shutterstock

Categories
News

First-Person Games vs. Third-Person Games: What Are the Differences?

All video games need to show the events of the game to the player in some way, and most do this with either a first-person or third-person camera view. And while the main differences between these styles are clear, there are a lot of nuances between how first-person and third-person games work.

Let's examine the differences between first-person and third-person camera setups in video games, including how they affect the gameplay and common genres in each style.

What Are the Differences Between First-Person and Third-Person?

To start, let's look at the basics of each visual style. Because video games can be vastly different, we'll speak in general terms; these may not apply perfectly to every game.

Keep in mind that first-person and third-person views mainly apply to 3D games, as 2D games typically feature a static camera angle. While you could technically consider 2D games third-person, it's not really the same as a third-person camera in 3D titles. See our comparison of 2D and 3D games for more details.

First-Person Games Explained

A first-person game is one where you play through the perspective of your character. As a first-person story tells the tale through "I" statements, a first-person game lets you see exactly what your character sees.

Because of this, there's no "game camera" that you can manipulate to get a better view of the world around you. Your only option for looking around---say, to see what's directly behind you---is to move your character's entire view.

This affects how you interact with the game world in a lot of ways. For example, in a first-person game, if you want to know whether an enemy is hiding around a corner, you can't check this without exposing yourself around that same corner.

In most first-person games, your character's hands (as well as their weapon, if applicable) are almost always in your view. You can't typically see much more of your character than this, though. As a result, most first-person games characterize their protagonist mostly through how other characters interact with them.

Third-Person Games Explained

Third-person, in comparison, refers to a game where you view your character as an onlooker instead of controlling the game from their view directly. Typically, you see your character from an over-the-shoulder or behind-the-back perspective. It's akin to how a third-person story uses phrases like "he ran quickly."

In third-person games, the camera follows behind the player character, allowing you to see more of what's around them than a first-person game does. Referencing our earlier example, in a third-person game, you could swing the camera around a corner to see what lies behind it, all while keeping your character safe on the other side.

Because third-person views let you see your character all the time, these games can more easily show their personality. Seeing the way that a character walks, interacts with the environment, reacts to events, and even what they wear can help you learn more about them through visual clues.

Types of Third-Person Cameras

First-person games are fairly straightforward because they're limited to the player avatar's view. But third-person games have more opportunities for different kinds of camera systems.

The three most common types of third-person cameras are:

  • Fixed Cameras: In this setup, the camera is set up in a certain position and the player can't change it at all. It's scripted so that every time you enter a certain area, the camera is in the exact same spot. The early Resident Evil games are a good example of this; they used fixed camera angles to create tension.
  • Tracking Cameras: In this type of game, the camera follows the player as they move. You don't have any control over it; the camera simply moves as you control your character. This is the case in the original Crash Bandicoot series, and while it works in linear levels like those games feature, it's not flexible enough for open 3D environments.
  • Interactive Cameras: By far the most common third-person camera type today, interactive cameras follow behind your character but allow you to control them. Usually, with a controller, you use an analog stick to do this, while on PC it's controlled by the mouse.

Interactive cameras are the most common because they provide the most player control. However, they aren't perfect. A poorly-made camera system can get stuck on objects in the world or otherwise make it difficult for you see what you're trying to view.

Meanwhile, fixed cameras are typically only used these days in games going for a more cinematic feel, while tracking cameras are mostly outdated.

Examples of First-Person Genres

Let's next look at a few common examples of game genres that use a first-person perspective. Bear in mind that some games allow you to switch between camera styles---for instance, you can change between first-person and third-person in the newer Fallout games at will.

First-Person Shooters

By far the most popular genre that uses a first-person view, first-person shooter (FPS) games give you a gun and task you with shooting your enemies. FPS titles can be action-oriented or more tactical, but they all put you in the shoes of your player and focus on weapon combat.

Examples include Call of Duty and Doom.

Related: The Best Online FPS Browser Games

Driving Games

While most driving games are in third-person, many of them allow you to change the perspective to first-person as well. Depending on the game, this could place your view at the front of the car or inside the driver's seat.

Examples include Driveclub and Forza.

Adventure Games

Some games built around exploring use a first-person perspective that's similar to an FPS game, but doesn't involve weapons. These are often first-person puzzle games that require you to solve logical or spatial challenges.

Examples include Minecraft and The Witness.

Related: How to Play Minecraft for Free in Your Browser

Examples of Third-Person Genres

Below are a few common video game genres that utilize a third-person view.

Third-Person Shooters

Shooters are a popular genre in the third-person perspective, too. Aiming can sometimes be more difficult than in FPS games, as your player's avatar or other items in the world might block your view.

Examples include Gears of War and Uncharted.

Action-Adventure

Action-adventure titles combine fast-paced gameplay with world building and exploring. These are often in third-person, which is superior for melee combat and platforming compared to first-person.

Examples include The Legend of Zelda and Batman: Arkham Knight.

Sports Games

It would be pretty disorienting to play a sports title in first-person, so most sports games use a third-person perspective to let you see all the action.

Examples include Madden NFL and Rocket League.

Do Second-Person Video Games Exist?

With all this discussion about first and third-person games, you might wonder if second-person video games are possible. This would be equivalent to a story that uses wording like "you walk down the hall" (which isn't very common).

While a video game could use a second-person narrative structure, a second-person camera system doesn't make a lot of sense. The closest equivalent would involve you watching your character's actions through the eyes of someone else.

Unsurprisingly, second-person camera systems in games are quite rare. There are some scattered examples, such as Siren on PS2 requiring you to play through the eyes of an enemy, but it's not something you see very often.

If you're interested in the idea of second-person games, we highly recommend you watch the below video. It covers how a mission in the game Driver: San Francisco illustrates what a second-person game could be like.

First-Person and Third-Person Games Defined

Now you know the differences between first-person and third-person viewpoints. These systems lend themselves well to certain genres and setups, so one isn't inherently better than the other.

Try playing games in various genres to decide which you prefer!

Image Credit: breakermaximus/Shutterstock

Categories
News

How to Gameshare on Xbox One | MakeUseOf

Using Gameshare to share your Xbox One games with a trusted friend is a great way to save money on gaming. You and a buddy can take turns buying games and both have access to them by switching your home Xbox setting.

Let's look at how to gameshare on Xbox One, including a full explanation of the process and a few important points.

What Is Gameshare on Xbox One?

Before we cover Xbox One gamesharing, we should explain what gamesharing really is. Simply put, gamesharing allows you to access a friend's Xbox One game library on your own system at any time.

Read more: The Best Xbox One Exclusives to Play Today

Anyone signed into an Xbox One can access their entire library of digital games on that console. However, other accounts on the same system cannot play those games. That means if a friend comes over, you can play their games on your Xbox when signed into their account. But after they leave and sign out of their account, you can't use those games.

However, the Xbox One has a setting called home Xbox. This allows you to designate a single Xbox One system as your primary console. Anyone signed into this home console can access all the digital games you own. By switching home Xbox systems with a friend, you each gain access to the other's entire library. This allows you each to play games that the other owns while signed into your own account.

That's what gamesharing on Xbox One actually is. Now let's look at how to gameshare on an Xbox.

How to Gameshare on Xbox One

Here's the process of how gamesharing on Xbox One works:

  1. Find a trusted friend whom you want to share games with. Either obtain their Xbox Live login information, or invite them over so they can sign into your console. If you exchange credentials remotely, make sure to use a secure method, like a password manager.
  2. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the Guide. Use RB to scroll over to the Profile & system tab with your player icon. Select Add or switch, then Add new.
    Xbox One Add New Account
  3. Enter the email address and password for your friend's Xbox account. If they have two-factor authentication enabled, you'll need to coordinate with them to provide that information.
  4. Scroll back over to the Profile tab, hit Add or switch again, and select your friend's account to sign into your Xbox with it (if it didn't sign you into your friend's account automatically when you added it).
  5. Now, while signed in with your friend's account, press the Xbox button to open the Guide again. Use RB to move over to the Profile tab and select Settings.
  6. Go to General > Personalization > My home Xbox. Select Make this my home Xbox.
    Xbox One Home Xbox Setting
  7. Now, you can visit My games & apps from the home screen (even from your own account) and you'll be able to access all the games your friend owns.
  8. To see games you haven't downloaded yet, select the Full library tab on the left, choose All owned games, then change the All games dropdown to Ready to install. This will show games you have access to but haven't downloaded; select one to download it.

After this, have your friend follow the above steps on their console with your account, and you're all set to gameshare on Xbox One. You can both download games the other person owns, while still using your own account to play.

Things to Consider When Gamesharing on Xbox One

You should know a few important points about Xbox gamesharing before you decide to do it. While the process is safe in theory as long as you do it with a trusted friend, it has some caveats you should know before you start:

  • Gamesharing only works for digital games. If you want to play a game that your friend has a physical copy of, you'll need the disc. Of course, if they let you borrow the disc, they can't play the game at the same time.
  • When gamesharing, Xbox Live Gold benefits become available to everyone on the console, so you can take turns subscribing with your friend.
  • As an added bonus, you can gameshare titles from Xbox Game Pass too. This expands your game collection drastically, and you can split the cost of a subscription between the two of you if you like.
  • You can't usually share account-specific items. These include in-game currency, single-use pre-order bonuses, or items bought with in-game purchases.
  • Both of you can play a shared game at the same time.
  • You can only change the My home Xbox setting five times per year. This period starts when you make the first change, so take care not to change it too often. Only set your home Xbox once you've understood everything about the process.

Read more: What Is Xbox Game Pass? Everything You Need to Know

Above all, keep in mind that you should never gameshare with people you don't know and trust. Providing someone with your account information lets them access the payment card attached to your account, so they could go on a spending spree on the Microsoft Store and cause a huge headache for you.

Plus, since your Xbox account gets you into all other Microsoft services, someone with your Xbox credentials can also access your Skype, OneDrive, and Windows 10 accounts. Thus, you should only gameshare on Xbox with someone you absolutely trust.

Thankfully, after setting up gamesharing, you can each change your account password and gamesharing will still work fine (preventing the above scenario). Just don't change the Home Xbox setting and you'll be fine.

Beware scams online where people promise to gameshare accounts that have a bunch of games. This is a good way to lose access to your Xbox account.

Xbox Gamesharing Made Easy

Now you know how to set up and use gamesharing on your Xbox One. As long as you do this with someone you know well, it's a great way to cut down on gaming costs. In case Microsoft ever cuts off this function, it's a smart idea to split the games you buy between you and your friend.

Now that you have all those gameshared games, you'll need a place to store them. Thankfully, the Xbox One lets you add more storage using an external hard drive.

Image Credit: Ericbvd/Depositphotos

Categories
News

How to Stay Safe on Public Computers: 6 Tips to Keep in Mind

Between your laptop, smartphone, and other devices, you likely have several ways to get online. But at times, you might find yourself needing to use a computer that's not yours. Perhaps you're visiting a friend, using public resources at the library, or your work requires you to log into different systems all day.

When you're on a foreign computer, you need to take caution to keep your private information safe. Next time you have to use a computer that's open to the public, make sure you follow these guidelines to lock down your privacy and safety.

1. Don't Stay Logged Into Websites

Many websites have a convenient checkbox that allows you to stay signed in even after closing your browser. While this makes life easier for personal surfing, saving personal info in your browser is potentially dangerous. You certainly never want to do it on a shared computer that someone else could log on to.

Whenever you log into a website, keep an eye out for a Keep me signed in or similar box. Sometimes these are checked by default, so you'll want to make sure you clear the box before logging in.

Additionally, be sure to sign out once you're done working on a site that requires a login. Don't assume that closing the browser window will end your session. Some sites will close out your session when you exit your browser, but others won't. And if you don't sign out, your session could be preserved for the next person that comes along.

Even if this doesn't expose your credentials, leaving your account open for others to access could lead to them changing settings, sending nasty messages to friends, or similar.

If you accidentally tell the browser to keep your info, you'll need to clear your cookies so it forgets. This leads us to the next point.

2. Always Clear the Browser History...

What you do online says a lot about you, and when using a public computer, you don't want to leave traces around for others to discover. When you're finished working, be sure to completely clear the browser history.

You should go nuclear and clear every setting that the browser lets you delete. Don't stop at just the history list; get rid of the browser cookies, cache, and similar data too. This resets all login info you might have accidentally saved, and ensures someone won't see your email when they type its first few letters into a text box.

For full protection, also check the browser's auto-fill information to make sure it didn't save your address or other sensitive details.

3. ...Or Use Private Browsing

An alternative to deleting the history (and a simpler method) is to use the incognito or private browsing mode. Every modern browser has one; these prevent the browser from saving any history, cookies, or other browsing data from your session.

When you use private browsing, you don't need to clear the history when you're done, as the browser deletes it all upon closing the window. This also ends any sessions you were signed into, so you don't need to sign out manually.

Nothing you do in private browsing is saved, but if it makes you feel better, you can still delete cookies to be on the safe side. Keep in mind that private browsing doesn't make you invisible, though. The network administrator can still potentially see what you're doing.

4. Be Mindful of Physical Security

As a general principle, when using a computer that you aren't familiar with, know that there's always a chance that someone could have tampered with it. Because of this, you must be vigilant about your activities on any public machine.

You should avoid logging into anything that deals with finance, such as your bank or PayPal. Avoid typing in any passwords if you can get along without doing so.

Keyloggers, which are programs that record every character you type, could steal your login credentials without you even knowing. While there are ways to get around keyloggers, you likely won't have the time or admin permissions to install protective measures on a random computer. Thus, you should be vary of potential security breaches on the machine.

You can use the on-screen keyboard for a little extra protection, but this isn't foolproof. If you're dealing with something sensitive, it should wait until you get home.

5. Consider Booting an Alternate OS

Since most computers run Windows, in all likelihood the computer at your library or school will be one of them. And since Windows is the most popular, it's naturally most susceptible to malware. This may make you want to use an alternate OS when you browse a public machine.

Luckily, it's simple to boot into another operating system (usually Linux) on any computer. If it has an unlocked BIOS, which is likely but not always the case on public computers, you can boot Linux using your USB drive easily.

Using your own personalized OS on a flash drive means you'll be invulnerable to any malware that may be on the main Windows installation. However, there's still no guarantee that the public internet connection is secure. So while using Linux on a flash drive is handy and safer than using the host OS, it isn't a 100 percent safe solution.

6. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

The above technical advice is all important, but don't abandon common sense either. While using a shared computer, it's likely that other people will be around you. Be sure you don't walk away from the machine and leave it unattended when you're working. You should also be wary of those who might look over your shoulder.

Make sure you know what a document or website contains before you open it. You don't want to load a big document with your financial info or unintentionally open an inappropriate website for all around you to see.

Use Public Computers Wisely

With these tips, you can use computers that don't belong to you with more peace of mind. But even with all these in practice, remember that there's really no way to know how safe a public computer is. It could be totally fine, or it could be filled with spyware and have a keylogger tracking your every move.

When in doubt, don't do anything on a public computer unless you would be OK with everyone in the room seeing it. Speaking of this, you should know how to use public Wi-Fi safely with your own devices, too.

Image Credit: Marco Prati/Shutterstock

Categories
News

6 Android Apps That Really Clean Up Your Device (No Placebos!)

Most people only think about cleaning up their phone when something starts to go wrong. Android devices are smart enough that regular maintenance isn't necessary, but it's still a good idea to perform a digital tune-up every once in a while. Don't underestimate the impact of staying digitally organized---it might just keep your phone working for longer.

The trick is finding phone cleaner apps that actually live up to their promises. At best, a bad cleaner app wastes storage space; at worst, it could infect you with malware and spam you with ads. Not all Android cleaner apps are useless, however, so we're going to help you find the ones worth using.

Here are the best cleaning apps for Android phones and tablets you should try.

1. Files by Google

Image Gallery (3 Images)

Google's official Android file manager has easy tools that make it the first Android junk cleaner anyone should try. Fire up the app and switch to the Clean tab at the bottom to access these options.

Here you'll see several areas that the app identifies as wasting space. These include Junk filesDuplicatesBacked up photos, and Unused apps. Select an option to look at what's taking up the most space, check what you want to remove, and confirm to have the app take care of the rest.

While you can also use the Browse tab to explore your phone's storage manually, letting the app weed out the biggest space hogs is more efficient.

As we'll see, a lot of the following apps have handy cleaning features but also cram in RAM optimizers and other nonsense you don't need. Files is a good answer to these; it's one of the best ways to clean Android with a simple, free app that isn't bloated with unnecessary extras.

Download: Files by Google (Free)

2. Droid Optimizer

Image Gallery (3 Images)

Droid Optimizer is one of the best-known Android cleaner tools, with over a million downloads on the Google Play Store. It's simple to use, especially for newbies, with an introduction screen that walks you through permissions and features.

It offers a "ranking system" designed to motivate you to keep your device in tip-top shape. If you don't mind having your own device shame you into better habits, Droid Optimizer is the best Android cleaner for you.

One tap is all you need to begin a phone cleanup. You'll see your stats at the top of the screen; free space and RAM show next to your "rank" score, where you receive points for your cleanup actions.

If you'd prefer to set and forget, Droid Optimizer allows you to set up regular, automated cleaning. This auto-cleanup will clean your cache, stop background apps, and delete any unnecessary files. It also comes with a "good night scheduler" to conserve energy, automatically disabling features like your Wi-Fi when it isn't active.

Droid Optimizer can also mass-delete apps---useful if you're looking to quickly make some space.

It's not the most attractive app, but it works. If you're looking for the best Android phone cleaner app and don't want to do much of the work yourself, Droid Optimizer should be on your shortlist.

Download: Droid Optimizer (Free, in-app purchases available)

3. CCleaner

Image Gallery (3 Images)

The same well-known desktop app for reclaiming disk space is also available on Android. We've discussed why CCleaner isn't an essential app for Windows anymore, as it's gone downhill somewhat since Avast acquired the service. And while the Android app isn't perfect either, it's better than a lot of the other spammy cleaner apps for Android.

Indeed, CCleaner on Android is a multifunctional app that does its best to analyze and clean up stray files taking up your precious space. The main function is the cleaner feature that can wipe cache data from apps, purge empty folders, and delete various histories.

It also has an App Manager, which offers a simple interface that lets you pick multiple apps for uninstallation. Lastly, the System Info page monitors your phone's resources (CPU, RAM, device details) so you can see what's going on at a quick glance.

No root is necessary and it's free, although you can upgrade to the Pro subscription for a few extras. It may be a bit light on features, but it does the job if all you need is a quick way to reclaim your phone's storage space.

Download: CCleaner (Free, subscription available)

4. All-in-One Toolbox

Image Gallery (3 Images)

Cleaning your phone of unnecessary files is only one part of the task. What about monitoring your battery, or your CPU temperature, or those pesky mobile ads? The appropriately named All-In-One Toolbox is here to do it all.

It's capable of cleaning temporary files on your Android device, wiping your cache, and deleting empty folders and orphaned files. It just takes one tap to analyze your device, then another tap to delete, and you're done. It's a similar process with other areas of the app as well.

The Boost function cleans your system cache and closes background apps, again with two taps. You can set this automatically with the Boost+ function if you'd prefer, but doing so requires an in-app purchase. If you're running out of juice, the Battery Saver section is another background task killer (see below for a warning on this), but it also provides your current battery statistics.

If that wasn't enough, there's also a mass app deleter, advanced file cleaning tools, and Wi-Fi analysis. As its name promises, All-In-One Toolbox tries to do it all. Like Droid Optimizer, there's also a ranking system to encourage regular use.

Download: All-in-One Toolbox (Free, in-app purchases available) | All-In-One Toolbox Pro ($15.99)

5. SD Maid

Image Gallery (3 Images)

SD Maid claims to be "at your service" as the digital cleaner for your Android phone. It keeps the experience simple---opening up the app gives you four quick action features you can use to "tidy up" your device.

The first, CorpseFinder, searches for and erases any orphaned files or folders left over from deleting an app. SystemCleaner is another search-and-delete tool, this time looking for common files and folders that SD Maid believes it can safely delete.

If you like the sound of this, AppCleaner performs the same action for your apps. To use this feature, however, you'll need to upgrade SD Maid Pro. There's also a Databases area to help optimize any app databases in use---in our test, it cleared 40MB from Spotify this way.

There are also tools for storage analysis (to help you find and delete big files) and mass app removal if you're looking at a bigger phone tune-up.

Download: SD Maid (Free, in-app purchases available) | SD Maid Pro ($4)

6. Norton Clean

Image Gallery (3 Images)

Aside from CCleaner (owned by Avast), none of these cleaner apps come from top-tier security firms. The search for the best cleaning app for Android can't conclude without mentioning Norton Clean, the Android little brother of the famous Norton Antivirus from Symantec.

Norton claims to "remove the clutter" from your Android device. Much like the other entries, it'll search for and wipe your cache, remove any junk files, and help you quickly remove any unused apps you have installed. The Manage Apps section lists all your apps, letting you sort them by last use, installation date, or how much storage it uses.

The app takes a simple approach. Compared to the other entries, Norton Clean has one of the cleanest, brightest, and most modern-looking user interfaces. Everything you need is one or two taps away, meaning you don't have to be an Android pro to figure it out.

It's light on features---it's only a file cleaner and app deleter, with prominent ads for other Norton apps. If you're worried about space, however, Norton Clean is easy enough to help you reclaim it. And it doesn't have any in-app purchases or subscriptions to worry about.

Download: Norton Clean (Free)

A Warning on Task Killers

A lot of cleaner apps for Android offer RAM boosting and task killing as a feature---even some on this list, like CCleaner. However, this can be counterproductive, as task killers can actually harm your device performance.

On Android, full RAM usage is not necessarily a problem. In fact, Android purposely keeps its RAM usage high to maximize performance. The Android OS is smart enough to know how to juggle its open apps for optimal performance. Interfering with that process can cause Android to work harder than it needs to, which ultimately slows down your device---especially if you're closing background system apps.

Most modern Android apps shouldn't impact your battery performance that much either. If they do, Android should alert you to the problem (assuming you have a modern device). You might need to look at how to extend your Android battery life if that's the case. You can do that by limiting background usage using Android itself---and not by using a task killer or apps with task-killing features.

These apps are useful for removing old files and wiping cache data, but you should be wary about letting them control apps or services running on your device. The Android landscape has moved past these "all in one" optimization solutions---devices are faster and Android is better at managing system resources.

Keeping Android Clean and Tidy

Regular maintenance isn't vital for most Android users, but it can help to keep your device running smoothly. Yes, it's true---your device should keep running even if you don't spend time clearing out junk. Most modern Android devices have plenty of RAM and device storage to cope with anything you have installed or saved. You shouldn't need to spend your days clearing app cache, either.

That said, if you notice there's a problem with your Android device, an Android cleaner could perk it up a little. If that doesn't work, you might need to try manual cleaning next.

Categories
News

How to Transfer Your PS4 Game Data to the PS5 | MakeUseOf

Have both a PS4 and a PS5? The PlayStation 5's backwards compatibility means you can enjoy almost the entire PS4 library on the newer system, taking advantage of better visuals and loading times.

Sony provides several ways to move your PS4 games and save data to the PS5. We'll explain them here so you can move your data easily.

Note that the PlayStation 5 offers to transfer your data during the initial setup. These instructions explain how to do it later, in case you didn't transfer everything over or skipped that step by mistake.

Before Transferring Your PS4 Data

Before you move your PS4's data over to the PS5, there are a few quick actions to take on your PS4.

First, make sure you're signed into the same PlayStation Network account that you're using on your PS5. You can transfer data for multiple accounts if you need, but you have to do these one at a time.

Next, make sure you've updated the system software on your PS4. Go to Settings > System Software Update to check for the latest version.

Finally, you should sync your Trophy data with PlayStation Network so you don't lose anything. To do this, go to Trophies from the PS4's main screen, press Options on your controller, and hit Sync with PlayStation Network.

1. Transfer Data Over Your Network

The primary way to move PS4 data to your PS5 is by connecting them both to your network and using the PS5's transfer utility. We recommend doing this first, since it covers the most ground, including letting you transfer save data.

To start, you'll need to turn on both your PS4 and PS5 and make sure they're connected to your home network.

For best results, you should connect both devices to your router with their own Ethernet cables. If this isn't possible, you can connect both machines to Wi-Fi, then connect your PS4 to your PS5 using an Ethernet cable. This will provide speeds as fast as if they were both wired to your network.

You can proceed with both consoles connected wirelessly, but note that this increase the time it takes to transfer.

Once both systems are ready, walk through these steps:

  1. On your PS5, go to Settings > System > System Software > Data Transfer > Continue.
    PS5 Data Transfer
  2. If needed, pick the PS4 you want to move data from (in most cases, there will only be one and you won't see this step).
  3. You'll see a Prepare for Data Transfer message on your PS5. Once this appears, hold the power button on your PS4 until you hear a beep.
  4. After your systems recognize each other, pick the data that you want to move from your PS4 to your PS5. You'll be able to choose save data first, followed by game data.
  5. Review the transfer time that shows, then hit Start Transfer.
  6. Wait for the transfer to complete. Once your system restarts, you're ready to use the transferred data on your PS5. Some games may still download in the background after this.

2. How to Play PS4 Discs on PS5

If you have the standard edition of the PS5 with a disc drive, you can simply insert a PS4 disc to play that game on your PS5. You'll have to install it to your storage drive again and install any available updates for it. Whenever you play disc games, you need to have the PS4 disc inserted into your system.

As long as the game isn't one of the few on Sony's listof PS4-only titles, it should work fine. Unfortunately, if you have the PS5 Digital Edition, you can't use PS4 discs on the new console.

Related: PS5 vs. PS5 Digital Edition: Which One Should You Buy?

3. Play PS4 Games Stored on an External Drive on PS5

The PlayStation 5 supports external hard drives for playing PS4 games. As a result, if you have an external hard drive connected to your PS4, you can simply disconnect it from your PS4 and connect it to the PS5 to have immediate access to those titles.

Make sure you turn off your PS4 or tell the system to stop using the storage device before unplugging it. To do so, hold the PS Button on your controller to open the Quick Menu, then select Sound/Devices > Stop Using Extended Storage.

Since your games are already stored on the USB drive, you won't have to reinstall anything to play them.

4. Download Digital PS4 Games to Your PS5

On your PS5, you can download any digital PS4 games that you own on the PlayStation Store, including titles in your library from PlayStation Plus.

To do this, just make sure you're signed into the same account on your PS5. Visit the Game Library (located to the far right of the main menu) and you'll see all the titles you own digitally. Select one and hit Download; you can play it once it's installed on your system.

Use the Filter button on the left side to show only your PS4 titles here, if that helps.

5. How to Transfer PS4 Save Data to PS5

Methods #2-4 above all allow you to transfer PS4 game data to your PS5, but they don't transfer your actual save files. If you didn't use method #1 to transfer your saves, you'll need to use another way to copy save data over.

The first is with PlayStation Plus cloud storage, which is open to all PlayStation Plus subscribers. If you don't have Auto-Upload enabled on your PS4 to back up your save data, head to Settings > Application Data Management > Saved Data in System Storage > Upload to Online Storage to upload relevant saves to the cloud.

Then, on your PS5, head to Settings > Saved Data and Game/App Settings. Choose Saved Data (PS4) > Cloud Storage > Download to Console Storage. Then pick what you want to download data for.

If you don't have PS Plus, you can copy save data using a USB flash drive. On your PS4, go to Settings > Application Data Management > Saved Data in System Storage > Copy to USB Storage Device. Choose the data you want to move to the flash drive and confirm the copy operation.

Then, connect the USB drive to your PS5 and go to Settings > Saved Data and Game/App Settings > Saved Data (PS4) > USB Drive. Select your saved data and move it over to your PS5.

6. How to Upgrade PS4 Games to the PS5 Version

Certain games that released on both PS4 and PS5 offer the option to upgrade for free or a small fee.

To upgrade from a disc-based PS4 game to the proper PS5 version, insert the disc and make sure it's installed. Next, you can jump to the PS Store page for that title by opening the three-dot menu for it on the home screen and selecting View Product.

For a PS4 game that you own digitally, open the PlayStation Store on your PS5 and search for the game's PS5 version to open its page.

If the game offers an upgrade option, you should see it here. It will either appear as a Free download button, or a separate box to the right labeled Free PS5 Upgrade that brings up a new page.

Confirm the price, if applicable, then choose Download or purchase it to download the full PS5 version. For physical games, keep the PS4 disc in your system when you want to play it.

If you're not sure whether you're looking at a PS4 or PS5 copy of a game, you'll see PS4 next to any PS4 titles on both your home screen and the PS Store.

Moving Over to the PlayStation 5

Now you know how to move all your PS4 content over to a PS5. It's not difficult, but it might take some time depending on the amount of data you have and your network speed. But once they're moved over, you won't need your PS4 anymore, unless you want to use it for remote play or similar.

Unfortunately, the PS5's SSD doesn't have a ton of space, so you'll probably need an external hard drive if you plan to play lots of PS4 games on PS5.

Image Credit: asharkyu/Shutterstock

Categories
News

PS4 vs. PS5: Is It Worth Upgrading? | MakeUseOf

If you have a PlayStation 4, you might wonder if it's worth it for you to upgrade to the PlayStation 5 right away. Since the PS4 is seven years older than the PS5, there's a big jump in power when you jump to the new console.

Let's take a look at how the PS5 compares to the PS4 in several areas to help you decide if upgrading is right for you.

Consider the Cost of Upgrading First

The most important consideration when jumping to a PS5 is the cost. Sony offers the PlayStation 5 in two versions: the standard PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition. The only difference between these is that the Digital Edition lacks a disc drive, so you can't play physical games or watch movies on discs.

At launch, the standard PS5 costs $500, while the Digital Edition is $400. That price gets you the console, one DualSense controller, and the pack-in game Astro's Playroom. Everything else is sold separately.

If the price doesn't put you off, let's look at some specific aspects of the PS4 and PS5 to help you make the decision.

How Much More Powerful Is the PS5?

In the case of performance, it matters which model of PS4 you have. The original model of the PS4 and its slim redesign are nearly identical, aside from their size. These both play games at a maximum of 1080p and 60FPS.

The PS4 Pro, which launched in 2016, is a more powerful version of the standard PS4. It's capable of playing games in 4K (sometimes also at 60FPS) and has some extra memory to make switching between apps smoother.

Meanwhile, the PlayStation 5 features some serious upgrades over both consoles. It has a customized SSD that loads games much faster than either PS4 model's HDD. The PS5 plays games in 4K and is capable of displaying up to 120 frames per second, though you'll need a compatible TV or monitor to take advantage of that.

And while Sony states that the system can output games in 8K, this isn't available at launch and would require a display that is prohibitively expensive for most people right now.

The PS5 also supports ray tracing, which is a feature that renders light in a more realistic way. So in the area of hardware, an upgrade to the PS5 gets you full 4K support, a fast SSD, superior graphical effects, and the potential for higher frame rates and resolutions in the future.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know About the PlayStation 5

You'll notice these differences more if you have an original model PS4 (compared to a PS4 Pro). Whether you can still enjoy games on the older system is up to your preferences.

What Games Are Available on the PS4 and PS5?

At launch, the vast majority of PS5 titles are also available on PS4. Headline games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War have PS4 versions that don't lack any content.

Many developers are offering free upgrades to the PS5 version if you buy the PS4 games. Of course, if you play these games on PS5, you'll benefit from the faster loading of the SSD and superior graphics.

As in prior generations, games will likely continue to launch on both generations for some time, as people slowly upgrade. Expect yearly cross-platform titles like Call of Duty to launch on PS4 in 2021 and perhaps 2022. Sony has stated that Horizon Forbidden West will launch on PS4 too, but other future games like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will only be available on PS5.

The only true PS5 exclusives as of November 2020 are Demon's Souls and the pack-in game Astro's Playroom. And Astro's Playroom, while great, is more of a short illustrative demo than a must-play experience (think Wii Sports).

So if you can't wait to play Demon's Souls or want the enhanced versions of cross-generation titles right away, then the PS5 is probably worth the upgrade for you now. But otherwise, you won't miss much by waiting. Keep in mind that many next-gen games are launching at $70 instead of $60, meaning that the latest titles add more to the cost of upgrading.

PS4 vs. PS5 as a Media Player

While games are the main draw for a gaming console, both the PS4 and PS5 offer media features, too. If you care about these, they will also have an effect on your decision.

At the time of writing, the PS4 has dozens of streaming apps available, including Amazon Video, Plex, Netflix, Crunchyroll, Disney+, Funimation, and Peacock. Base model PS4s can stream in up to 1080p, while the PS4 Pro supports 4K media streaming.

Upon launch, the PS5 features a smaller list of media apps:

  • Apple TV
  • Disney+
  • Netflix
  • Spotify
  • Twitch
  • YouTube

Sony has stated that more media apps, such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Peacock are coming to PS5 eventually. So if you use a service that doesn't have a PS5 app yet, you shouldn't upgrade until it comes to the new console. The PS5 does have a hidden web browser to let you access other services, but it's clunky and thus not a good long-term solution.

If you use physical media, the standard PS5 features an upgrade over both PS4 models: a 4K Blu-ray drive. Obviously, you can't use any physical discs on the PS5 Digital Edition.

Unless you're itching to get a 4K Blu-ray player, it's not worth upgrading to the PS5 right now for media alone. The PS4 has more media options, and if you have a PS4 Pro you can already stream in 4K.

Remember the PS5's Backward Compatibility

As you probably know, the PS5 is backwards-compatible with almost all PS4 games. This means that you can transfer your PS4 data to PS5 and enjoy the older titles, taking advantage of the faster load times (and better visuals than a base model PS5).

However, this comes with some hurdles. The PS5's SSD has a limited amount of storage space—about 667GB is usable—so you don't want to fill that up with PS4 games and run out of room for PS5 games. You can connect an external hard drive to the PS5 to store PS4 games, but that's an additional cost if you don't already have a drive to use.

This certainly isn't a reason to upgrade—it's more of a perk once you've made the jump.

The Hidden Costs of Upgrading and Other Concerns

While all of the PS5's benefits sound enticing, you should take a step back before making any decisions. Consider that the PS4 you already have will (hopefully) continue to work for the foreseeable future and is perfectly capable of playing great games.

Chances are that you haven't played all the PS4 games you want to try yet, especially when there are so many excellent PS4 exclusives. While these will run slightly better on PS5, it's not enough of a difference that you should spend hundreds of dollars to upgrade right away.

Another consideration is the PS5's size. It's much larger than both the base PS4 and PS4 Pro, so if space is a concern, you may not be able to find a suitable location for the new console.

Read more: How Big Is the PlayStation 5 Exactly?

Upgrading also has extra costs that are easy to forget. Games aren't discounted at launch, so you'll have to pay at least $50 for each game you pick up. If you use your PlayStation often for media, you might want to pick up the $30 PS5 Media Remote too. These costs can bump the system up $100 or more—if what you have already works well for your needs, is this worth it?

If you can wait a year or two, you'll likely be able to get a discounted PS5 bundle that includes a game. You'll also have more games to choose from and can enjoy discounts on titles that have been out for a while.

Should You Upgrade From PS4 to PS5?

During the launch window, there are only a few good reasons to upgrade from a PS4 to a PS5. If you're done with PS4 games, want to play an exclusive title like Demon's Souls with the best graphical performance, and won't miss any of the media player apps you had on PS4, then it might make sense to upgrade. Upgrading from a base PS4 to a PS5 also brings 4K gaming, making it more of a jump than upgrading from a PS4 Pro.

The new graphical power, backwards compatibility, and upcoming titles are all exciting. But you really aren't missing out on much by waiting on a PS5. If you can wait six months or a year, you'll enjoy the experience just as much with a better selection of games.

If you decide to stick with your PS4, be sure you're squeezing the most you can out of it.

Image Credit: Djordje Novakov/Shutterstock