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How to Text From Your Computer: 10 Apps to View and Send Text Messages

Despite the convenience of instant messaging, SMS still plays an important role for automated alerts and messaging people with older phones. If you use SMS often, you might want to check your text messages online so you can respond faster with your computer keyboard.

As it turns out, there are many ways you can view and send text messages from the comfort of your computer. Here are the best apps for checking your SMS messages on a computer. Note that all of these solutions are for Android only, unless otherwise specified.

1. iMessage (iOS, Mac)

imessage stickers

iPhone users only have one real option for viewing texts on a computer. Apple doesn’t allow alternative SMS clients, so you have to use the built-in Messages app. While there are a few downsides to it, the default messaging and SMS app does come with plenty of great features. One of those is cloud sync, which allows you to read or reply to SMS messages using your Mac’s native Messages app.

If you’re already using the Messages app but are unable to view the conversations from a Mac, you’ll have to enable iCloud Sync on your phone. To do that, go into Settings > [Your name] > iCloud and turn on Messages.

Sadly, Windows users with an iPhone don’t have any official option for checking their iOS texts. We’ll look at a workaround option below.

2. Google Voice (Web)

Google Voice

Google Voice users can view their messages through the official web app. You can compose new messages, and it even supports media previews. On the same page, you also have access to your Google Voice phone logs, voicemail, and more.

To use it, all you need to do is head over to the Google Voice website on your computer, sign in with your account, and you’re all set. If you don’t use Google Voice yet, you can get a number for free.

Unlike most other solutions on the list, Google Voice’s web app doesn’t require a constant phone connection, since all your conversations are stored on Google’s servers. Unfortunately, Google Voice is limited to the US for now.

Visit: Google Voice (Free)

3. Android Messages

Google’s default SMS app on stock Android, Android Messages, has a web client as well. It features a Material Design theme and a familiar two-column layout, with support for individual and group conversations.

In addition, you can enable dark mode from its settings. There’s an option for receiving notifications in your browser too.

To get started, open the Android Messages website. Once there, fire up the Messages app on your phone and under the three-dot menu, tap Messages for web. Follow the steps to scan the code and you should be online in a few seconds.

In case you’d like to install Android Messages and don’t have a compatible Android phone, try sideloading the latest APK file.

Download: Android Messages | Android Messages APK (Free)

4. Pushbullet

Apart from letting you quickly share files and mirror notifications from your phone to a PC, Pushbullet also has a dedicated SMS tab. You’ll find all your existing conversations there, and can view or reply with both text and media. It also supports starting new conversations.

If you didn’t enable SMS mirroring during Pushbullet’s setup process, launch the app on your phone. Then, swipe out from the left edge to reveal the navigation drawer and choose SMS. Enable SMS sync and you’ll be asked to grant the necessary permissions. Once that’s over, you should all set.

On your computer, there are multiple ways you can view your messages. You can download the desktop apps or browser extensions, or sign in at the Pushbullet website. Note that you’re limited to 100 messages per month unless you pay for Pushbullet’s Pro plan.

Download: Pushbullet for Android | Desktop (Free, subscription available)

5. Pulse SMS

Pulse is a third-party SMS client that offers lots of advanced features. This includes a wide range of themes to choose from, password protection, message scheduling, previews for web links, a ton of nifty shortcuts, and of course, the ability to get your texts on your computer. The Pulse web app functions a lot like Android Messages and comes with a modern, clean aesthetic.

However, these supplementary features are not free. For syncing your SMS conversations across devices, Pulse charges a monthly fee of $1, or $6 for a year. Alternatively, you can pay a one-time fee of $11 for lifetime access.

Download: Pulse SMS for Android | Web (Free, subscription available)

6. MightyText

If you’re looking for a comprehensive platform to use SMS on your computer, particularly for business purposes, try MightyText. Along with letting you text from your PC, MightyText has several extra utilities like an SMS scheduler, a multi-window mode where you can attend to numerous chats at once, and more.

MightyText can do a lot of what Pushbullet offers, including notification mirroring. Because the free version has a monthly cap for how many SMS messages you can send, you have to purchase the subscription for unlimited access. It’s available as a web app and an extension for nearly all browsers.

Download: MightyText for Android | Desktop (Free, subscription available)

7. AirDroid

airdroid access phone from computer

We’ve looked at AirDroid before, as it’s one of the best ways to access your Android phone from a computer. In addition to checking and sending texts, you can access photos, videos, and music, move files, and much more.

To get started with AirDroid, install the app on your Android device. Once it’s ready, go to web.airdroid.com on your computer and you’ll see a QR code. Tap the Scan icon at the top of the screen on your phone and scan the QR code to connect the two.

From there, just click the Messages icon in AirDroid to start managing your text messages. The free version has some limitations, but it’s fine for basic use. And while AirDroid offers an iOS version, it doesn’t let you access text messages.

Download: AirDroid for Android | AirDroid Web (Free, subscription available)

8. Your Phone (Windows 10)

Microsoft has updated Windows 10 to include a feature called Your Phone. This makes it easy to manage certain aspects of your device right from your computer, including text messages.

To set up Your Phone, first install the app on your Android device. Open it, then you’ll need to sign in with your Microsoft account and give it permissions to manage content. On your computer, go to Settings > Phone. Click Add a phone to open the Your Phone app and walk through the steps of signing in on your PC.

As long as you’re signed in on both devices and have them on the same network, you can use Your Phone to send messages, view photos, and even make calls. Unlike other offerings, it doesn’t have any limitations or a paid subscription. And like AirDroid, Your Phone also works on iOS, but it can’t sync text messages on that platform.

Download: Your Phone Companion for Android | Your Phone for Windows 10 (Free)

9. Email to SMS Extension (Google Chrome)

We’ve looked at all sorts of solutions for accessing your own text messages on your computer. For something a little different, check out a Chrome extension called Send Your Email to SMS.

This extension adds a simple Mobile button when you’re composing a new message in Gmail. Click it, then enter the phone numbers you want to send the email to. This will send the recipient(s) a copy of your email via text message.

It’s useful if you’re contacting someone who rarely checks their email, or if you work in Gmail all day and don’t want to open a separate app to send SMS reminders.

Note that this extension only works for numbers in the US and Canada.

Download: Send Your Email to SMS for Chrome (Free)

10. Screen Mirroring (All)

Screen Mirroring iPhone LonelyScreen

If none of the above work for your needs, you can always try the somewhat-clumsy solution of screen mirroring. This allows you to replicate your phone’s entire display on your computer and interact with it just like you were using it. Of course, this means you can view your texts on your computer by opening your SMS app.

There are many screen mirroring apps available, depending on what platforms you use. Some are free with limitations, while others are paid. To get started, see how to mirror your Android screen to a computer or how to mirror your iPhone or iPad on a Windows PC.

Now You Can Text From Your PC Easily

The majority of the apps we discussed are for Android users, since Apple doesn’t allow third-party SMS clients on iOS. But no matter whether you use SMS all the time or only once in a while, there’s an app here that lets you access your texts on your PC.

If this wasn’t quite what you were looking for, check out some free web services that let you send texts from another number. And see how you can put SMS to better use with these cool services.

Read the full article: How to Text From Your Computer: 10 Apps to View and Send Text Messages

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Where to Buy Refurbished MacBooks: The 4 Best Sites

When choosing a laptop, reliability is essential—especially if you plan to use it as your primary device. Apple is one of the world’s most successful hardware manufacturers thanks to its commitment to hardware design and user experience.

As a result, Apple’s computers are known to last. However, Mac laptops don’t come cheap. If you’re after the Apple experience without the Apple price tag, you could opt for a refurbished Mac instead.

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With that in mind, here are the best places to buy a refurbished MacBook.

1. Apple Certified Refurbished

Apple Certified Refurbished online store

As the manufacturer of Mac laptops, Apple is best-suited to refurbish them. The company recognized this and quietly launched its own Certified Refurbished online store. Many of the refurbished devices were returned through the company’s physical and online retail outlets. This could be as part of a trade-in program, after they were designated as faulty, or simply returned after purchase.

As a result, the range of refurbished devices available may vary. Regardless of the reason, the company inspects each product, tests them, and replaces any necessary components with genuine Apple parts. In effect, you can buy a like-new device at a discounted rate. This isn’t the only way you can score savings on Apple devices, though. There are other Apple hardware discounts you can take advantage of, too.

Despite their many benefits, Apple products are also infamous for their proprietary components. If you’ve ever damaged an iPhone screen and had it replaced by a third-party, you may have seen this in action. Your Apple devices can identify when it’s using unofficial parts, which can have an impact on performance, operability, and even your warranty.

Buying from Apple’s Certified Refurbished store gives you peace of mind that your MacBook will just work as if it was a brand-new device. To add to that experience, these refurbished devices also come with Apple’s standard one-year warranty and 90 days of technical support. You also have the option to further protect your purchase with AppleCare+.

2. Mac of All Trades

Mac Of All Trades screenshot

There are many benefits to purchasing through Apple’s Certified Refurbished store, but you won’t find significant savings there. A reliable and reputable alternative is Mac of All Trades. The company even pre-dates the internet era; it first set up shop in 1995 before switching to online operations in 2002.

While this information is interesting, you might think it’s unnecessary. However, we include the background here because reputation is crucial when purchasing refurbished devices. You need to be able to trust the organization you buy from. Not only is it crucial that they’ve done a thorough refurbishment, but you also want to know they’ll take care of you when something goes wrong.

Fortunately, Mac of All Trades has both cases covered. The company operates a four-part refurbishment process. This includes a visual inspection, two-stage cleaning process, hardware testing, device repair, and repackaging. Each refurbished Mac is given a quality rating; Excellent, Very Good, Good, or Fair.

The site is among the best places to buy a refurbished MacBook thanks to its one-year warranty. It also operates a 14-day return window, and you can extend the standard warranty with the company’s Platinum Warranty. This helps reassure that you’ll be protected in the case of any defects or hardware failures with your refurbished Mac laptop.

3. OWC

OWC Refurbished MacBook Pro store

Like Mac of All Trades, Other World Computing (known as OWC) has been in the computer retail sector for many years; the company’s origins stretch back to 1988. It primarily trades in components, allowing you to customize and upgrade your existing equipment. However, OWC also stocks a range of used and refurbished MacBooks.

The language of the second-hand market can be confusing, so be sure to check out our comparison between refurbished, used, and pre-owned devices. Of note here is that OWC mainly sells used MacBooks. These are second-hand devices that have undergone some level of inspection.

Unlike Certified Refurbished laptops, though, used devices aren’t subject to as thorough inspection and testing. In most cases, you should assume that used devices are sold “as-is.” That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with used devices. In fact, they’re often available at a significant discount.

However, shopping with OWC is a grade above buying any second-hand device. As the company specializes in computer upgrades, you can choose to customize your second-hand MacBook. After you’ve selected a model, there are options relating to disk size, memory, and the second-hand condition.

4. Amazon Renewed

Amazon Renewed storefront

Amazon is one of the world’s largest retailers, so it won’t come as a surprise that it also stocks a range of refurbished items on the Amazon Renewed storefront. The company first set up shop as an online bookseller in 1994, before quickly expanding into all areas of retail.

One of the main reasons Amazon is so successful is the variety of products on offer. However, it’s not always Amazon selling to you directly.

Third-party sellers are key to Amazon’s success. That’s also the case with the Amazon Renewed store. The majority of the items for sale here are not sold by Amazon, but are inspected and refurbished by third-party sellers. Amazon implements standards, though, so you can still be sure any second-hand item purchased through this store will be in good condition.

Using the Renewed store, you get access to a wide range of electronics and other household goods, including refurbished MacBooks. Not only does this make it a convenient place to shop, but you get to interact with Amazon’s customer service should something go wrong.

For example, the Amazon Renewed Guarantee gives you 90 days to return the product if you aren’t happy with it. If you have any technical problems, simply contact Amazon for help troubleshooting the issue. In this way, the Amazon Renewed store helps you score a good deal on a refurbished MacBook Pro or MacBook while offering the service of the most popular online retailer.

Keeping Track of Mac Deals

Finding the perfect deal on refurbished products is often a complicated process due to ever-changing inventories. Because of this, you should consider two other sites that take the guesswork out of finding great deals.

Refurb Tracker provides email alerts and RSS feeds listing refurbished products on Apple Store websites. To get started, create an alert on the website indicating the type of product you hope to find. In addition to Macs, Refurb Tracker offers alerts for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, and Mac accessories.

RefurbMe also offers an alert system on refurbished and certified pre-owned Apple products. Besides Apple Store websites, RefurbMe tracks items from Best Buy, GameStop, Gazelle, Target, and Walmart. In addition to Macs, RefurbMe offers alerts for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.

The Best Places to Buy Refurbished MacBooks

Refurbished MacBooks are a great way to save some money, so long as you choose a reputable seller with a professional restoring process. The sites we’ve listed here are among the best places to buy a refurbished MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro.

If it’s peace of mind you’re after, the Apple Certified Refurbished store should be your first choice. However, the other sites here all offer a unique take on the second-hand device that may better suit your needs.

That said, you must do your research before committing to a second-hand MacBook. Despite the many upsides, there are potential pitfalls you need to keep an eye on. Be sure to familiarize yourself with what you need to know when buying a refurbished Mac.

Read the full article: Where to Buy Refurbished MacBooks: The 4 Best Sites

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How to Recover Deleted or Missing WhatsApp Messages

Do you need to recover deleted or missing WhatsApp messages? It’s certainly possible, and in this article we explain how to do it.

Instead of archiving a WhatsApp chat, you might have accidentally deleted it. What’s the difference? Archived chats are easy to recover from within WhatsApp, whereas recovering deleted messages isn’t so easy. But rest assured that you CAN do it.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to recover deleted WhatsApp messages on your iPhone or Android. We’ll then teach you how to set up an advanced WhatsApp backup plan to ensure you never lose any of your WhatsApp messages again.

Understanding WhatsApp Chat Backups

In order to retrieve deleted WhatsApp messages, you need to have enabled Chat Backup in the app’s settings. To reach this, just tap the Settings tab at the bottom on iOS, or open the three-dot menu at the top-right and choose Settings on Android.

From there, head to Chats > Chat backup. Here (under Auto Backup on iOS and Back up to Google Drive on Android), WhatsApp offers several backup frequencies:

  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Off

On Android, WhatsApp makes a local backup every night, but this won’t help you if you lose your phone. Which is why cloud backups are vital.

WhatsApp deletes older backup files as you create new ones. The iPhone app only keeps the latest backup file, while the Android version keeps “up to the last seven days’ worth” of backup files. Keep that in mind as you choose the right backup frequency for your needs.

By having daily auto backups, you’ll be able to easily recover messages soon after deleting them. On the other hand, weekly auto backups will allow you to go further back in time to recover deleted WhatsApp messages, at the expense of losing recent chat messages.

For a more advanced backup plan for Android devices, please scroll down to the “Advanced WhatsApp Backup Strategy on Android” section below.

How to Restore Archived WhatsApp Chats

On iPhone, if you archive an old chat, you can reverse the archival by shaking your iPhone and choosing Undo to recover the archived chat.

To unarchive a chat later:

  1. Scroll up in the chat list until Archived Chats appears.
  2. Tap on it, then swipe left on the chat you want to restore.
  3. Hit the Unarchive button that appears.

To unarchive a chat on Android:

  1. Scroll to the bottom of the chat list and tap Archived (X).
  2. Press and hold on the chat you want to recover.
  3. Tap the unarchive icon, which looks like a box with an upward-facing arrow.

How to Retrieve Deleted WhatsApp Messages

Wondering how to get back deleted WhatsApp messages after backing them up? Simply uninstall and reinstall WhatsApp on your device. When you reinstall the app, you will be prompted to restore your message history from the backup file. Tap Restore and you’ll retrieve everything from the latest backup.

This method of recovering deleted WhatsApp messages works on both Android and iOS as long as you have a backup. Keep in mind that it has to be within your selected auto-backup frequency, however. For instance, if you’ve set the app to back up daily, you can recover any deleted chats before the next daily backup occurs.

Recovering Deleted Media on WhatsApp

Hopefully, restoring your backup file allowed you to retrieve any deleted media from your chats. If that didn’t work, however, read our guide to recovering deleted photos from WhatsApp.

On Android, you can simply open a file explorer app and navigate to /WhatsApp/Media. From there, simply sift through the folders until you find the deleted files to want to recover. Check the above guide for additional methods.

How to Recover Older Deleted Chats in WhatsApp

Getting deleted messages back after a new backup has run is slightly more difficult. Your success will depend on your selected auto-backup frequency. Note that this process only works on Android devices, since it lets you access the local backup files.

Before we dive into the process, here’s an overview:

  1. Open a file explorer app on your device.
  2. Navigate to /WhatsApp/Databases.
  3. Rename msgstore.db.crypt12 to msgstore-latest.db.crypt12.
  4. Rename msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12 to msgstore.db.crypt12.
  5. Uninstall WhatsApp.
  6. If Google Drive backups are enabled, open Google Drive, slide out the left menu, tap Backups, and delete the WhatsApp backup file.
  7. Reinstall WhatsApp.
  8. When prompted, restore from the backup file.

How to Recover Older Deleted WhatsApp Chats on Android

As mentioned before, WhatsApp retains several days of chat backup files. One is, of course, the latest chat backup. The others, depending on your auto-backup frequency, could be one day or many days old. In addition to the Google Drive cloud backup, WhatsApp stores these backups on your device’s local storage.

Open your device’s file explorer app (Files by Google is a good option if you don’t have one installed), and navigate to /WhatsApp/Databases. Depending on your device, the WhatsApp folder may appear under /sdcard/, /storage/, or similar.

Within that folder, you’ll find the various chat backup files. The latest one is named msgstore.db.crypt12, while the others look like msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12. As you’d expect, YYYY-MM-DD represents the year, month, and date, respectively.

To retrieve WhatsApp messages deleted sometime between two backups, simply do the following:

  • Rename msgstore.db.crypt12 to msgstore-latest.db.crypt12. This changes the latest backup file, since you’re about to give an older backup its name.
  • Next, rename the msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12 file that you want to restore to msgstore.db.crypt12.

After that, uninstall WhatsApp. If you’ve enabled Google Drive cloud backups, open the Google Drive app, slide out the left menu, and select Backups. You’ll see a WhatsApp backup file with your phone number in it. Tap the three-dot Menu to the right of this and choose Delete backup to erase it.

Doing this prevents WhatsApp from using the backup file from Google Drive instead of the local file you want to restore.

Now, reinstall WhatsApp. During the setup process, you’ll be prompted to restore from the backup file you’ve just edited—it will show as X days old instead of the most recent backup file.

That’s all you have to do in order to retrieve deleted WhatsApp messages from older backups. Once you restore those messages, feel free to start using WhatsApp as normal again.

Export Retrieved Messages and Return to the Latest Backup

If you only walked through the above process to restore a few messages, and don’t want to lose the latest messages, you can export the retrieved chat messages and then restore WhatsApp to the latest backup. You’ll have to run through the entire process again, but it’s not difficult.

To export messages, open the chat containing the messages you want to save. Tap the three-dot Menu button at the top-right, followed by More > Export chat. If the chat has media, you’ll see an option to export Without media or to Include media.

Including media will add all recent images as attachments, which obviously increases the size of the export file. You can export up to 10,000 messages with media, or 40,000 messages without media.

After you make your choice, choose an app on your phone to share the text file (and attachments, if applicable) containing your messages. You can email this to yourself, add it to cloud storage, or similar.

Repeat this for any other chats with messages you want to save. Once that’s done, follow the steps in the above section again. When you come to renaming the backup files, reverse the process:

  • Rename the existing msgstore.db.crypt12 (which contains the messages you retrieved) to msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12, using today’s date.
  • Then rename msgstore-latest.db.crypt12 (the latest backup created when you started) back to msgstore.db.crypt12.

Uninstall WhatsApp, delete your Google Drive backup if needed, reinstall the app and restore from backup, and your latest chats will reappear.

Advanced WhatsApp Backup Strategy on Android

Because you can easily view and edit WhatsApp chat backup files on Android, it’s easy to manipulate them if you like. Renaming them allows you to keep as many backup files as you want.

All you need to do is rename a backup in the msgstore-YYYY-MM-DD.1.db.crypt12 format to something else, such as oct11.db.crypt12. Because this file doesn’t use WhatsApp’s naming convention, it’s now protected from being overwritten by WhatsApp.

Consider creating your own backup file in this way once every month or so. That way, you won’t lose tons of messages if you have to restore one of them. For even more safety, copy your backup files to cloud storage or your computer so that they’re safe in case your phone stops working.

Recover WhatsApp Messages to Preserve Memories

As you can see, it’s fairly easy to recover deleted WhatsApp messages. However, this is only the case if you’ve backed up your messages ahead of time. This is why the advanced backup strategy is worth setting up if you’re an Android user.

Now that you’ve set up a full backup for WhatsApp and know that you won’t lose any messages, it’s a good idea to learn more about how WhatsApp works. Check out our rundown of the best new WhatsApp features you might have missed.

Read the full article: How to Recover Deleted or Missing WhatsApp Messages

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The Top 15 Sites for Copyright and Royalty-Free Images

Maybe you’re an aspiring photographer looking for inspiration. Or an up-and-coming entrepreneur trying to find stock photography to add to your website.

Whatever your profession, this list of the best stock photography websites will ensure that you’ll always have access to copyright and royalty-free images.

How Do Copyright Free Images Work?

Some websites allow you to download pictures for private use (e.g. background wallpapers) yet disallow images to be used commercially. This includes instances such as business cards, websites, or posters. The images on the following websites have protection under Creative Commons CC0:

“The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.”—CreativeCommons.org

The following websites either support or are fully composed of CC0 images available in the public domain. The owners of these images have allowed users to modify, edit, and use their images without copyright backlash.

creative commons license
Image Credit: WikiImages

Before delving into the free stock image sites, there are two common courtesies to consider when using CC0 images.

  • Although you do not have to give credit to the creator, we recommend that you do to publicize the artists’ efforts.
  • These websites often have a Donate page or splash screen. If you use free image hosting sites often, consider donating to their cause. If everyone using a copyright-free image site threw in the price of a coffee, it would greatly benefit the photographers and artists offering their wares for free.

Now that that’s cleared up, here are the websites you need to bookmark for quality, copyright-free images.

1. Freerange

freerange copyright free images

Once you register for a free membership at Freerange, thousands of high-resolution stock photos will be at your fingertips at no cost. All of the website’s images can be used for personal or commercial projects. For photographers, Freerange also offers Google AdSense revenue sharing when you contribute.

In addition to thousands of unique images, the site also has about 20,000 CC0 photos, most of which have accurate keywords and descriptions.

2. Unsplash

City Photography Unsplash
Image Credit: Patrick Tomasso/Unsplash

Unsplash is a side-project started by Crew, an online marketing agency dedicated to making your design dreams a reality.

Besides providing free stock photography, Unsplash also showcases graphic design work done by users with its MadeWith section.

Although Unsplash started as a side project, it is now one of the best copyright free image sites around. Hence why it doesn’t feature on our list of lesser-known free stock image sites.

3. Pexels

Mountain Range And Clouds Pexels
Image Credit: eberhard grossgasteiger/Pexels

Pexels is a website that wants to help. Started in 2015, it has grown to be a reputable stock photo library. Its mission statement phrases their aim best:

We help millions of designers, writers, artists, programmers and other creators to get access to beautiful photos that they can use freely which empowers them to create amazing products, designs, stories, websites, apps, art and other work. We call it: “Empowering Creators”—Pexels.com

Pexels is also unique in that it doesn’t only display images located on the Pexels website. It also outsources images from other high-quality websites such as Little Visuals.

Best of all, Pexels screens its images to ensure the highest quality images available. Note that you can also download copyright-free stock videos from the site.

4. Flickr

Run Down House Flickr
Image Credit: Bernard Spragg/Flickr

Although Flickr is not dedicated to public domain images, it boasts an extensive library of high-quality public domain images.

Flickr is, and has been for a long time, one of the greatest image libraries on the internet. With millions of high-quality public domain images, you’re unlikely to run out of stock photography anytime soon.

There are always new features appearing over at Flickr, too. For instance, you can now order photo prints directly from Flickr.

5. Life of Pix

Skyscraper Architecture Photography Life Of Pix
Image Credit: Tuur Tisseghem/Life of Pix

You can easily lose yourself for hours scouring through the beautiful copyright-free pictures available on Life of Pix.

Created by the LEEROY advertising agency in Montreal, Life of Pix is a haven for free, public domain photography. Better yet, its Life of Vids website contains even more impressive stock video footage, alla available for free.

6. StockSnap

Sunset Photography StockSnap
Image Credit: Asaf R/StockSnap

StockSnap provides an excellent and extensive library of free stock imagery. With hundreds of high-quality photos added weekly, StockSnap isn’t your casual photography outlet.

Created by the good people at Snappa, every single image in StockSnap is free for you to use. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better image repository.

7. Pixabay

Old Painting Of General Pixabay
Image Credit: WikiImages/Pixabay

Pixabay is another image repository that integrates images from other image hosting sites. It attempts to gather the very best of free stock images for your own personal or commercial use.

Pixabay also allows easy access to “camera search,” which allows users to explore images based on the camera used to take them. This is a great resource for both beginners and professional photographers alike.

8. Wikimedia

Presidential Photography Wikimedia
Image Credit: Cecil Stoughton, White House Press Office (WHPO)/Wikimedia

Wikimedia provides a truly stunning image repository, spanning everything from lush landscapes to historical events.

Touting over 34 million freely usable pieces of media, including videos and sounds, Wikimedia is a necessity for graphic designers, photographers, and artists looking for free, high-quality images. Wikimedia is also part of a much larger organization dedicated to free images, education, and information.

9. Burst

Nature Photography Of Fish Burst
Image Credit: Ryan Bruce/Burst

They say something works well when you hardly notice it at all, and that’s exactly what Burst provides. In the same vein as Unsplash, Burst not only provides a sleek interface to explore but a very wide selection of images and categories to choose from as well.

Better yet, it provides both low- and high-quality images without copyright, depending on whether you’re adding images to a website or using images for graphic design.

If you need a vast online repository of free high-quality images, bookmark Burst immediately.

10. KaboomPics

Classic Car Photography KaboomPics
Image Credit: KaboomPics

KaboomPics is a legitimately impressive undertaking. From the UI design to the vast reservoir or stellar images, you will find yourself combing through images you don’t even need.

If it was just about royalty-free images, KaboomPics’ selection would already be top of the class. But it also features both a color picker search engine and color palettes for images as well.

That’s just scratching the surface of what KaboomPics has to offer. From photoshoots to informative blog entries, it’s one of the most impressive free stock image sites around.

11. Vintage Stock Photos

vintage stock photos copyright free images

The team behind Freerange also operates another free site specializing in vintage images, called Vintage Stock Photos. The content previously required payment, but now you can find thousands of dollars’ worth of quality vintage photos available at no extra charge.

Vintage Stock Photos is another site where you can lose serious time browsing through the catalog. The range of copyright-free images spans multiple decades and provides a fantastic snapshot of life through the ages.

12. Gratisography

gratisography copyright free images

Are you looking for something a little more out there? Do you need a quirky free high-resolution photo? Then Gratisography is the place for you.

The site features a heap of “quirky… beautiful… arresting” copyright-free images that will enable you to put a unique spin on your next project.

13. Libreshot

libreshot copyright free images

Libreshot is another handy source for slightly unusual free stock photography. Every shot on the site is the work of owner Martin Vorel.

Vorel uploads his brilliant photography from around the world to Libreshot, allowing you to use them for free. He only asks that if you do use one of his photos, consider adding a link to the site.

14. Negative Space

negative space copyright free images

Negative Space offers up thousands of beautiful royalty-free images for you, covering a comprehensive range of categories. Like some of the other top copyright-free image sites, you can search Negative Space using the color of the image you want, rather than a specific search term or category.

New free images are added all the time, so make sure to bookmark Negative Space for your next project.

15. Reshot

reshot copyright free images

Your final option for royalty-free stock images is the excellent Reshot. If you want truly unique stock images, Reshot is one of your best options.

The development and creative team vet each copyright-free shot uploaded to the site, ensuring only the best of the best are available to you. That means the standard of photography on show at Reshot is very high—and that will be reflected in your work, too.

Look at the quality on offer in my casual search term, “eggs,” pictured above. There are some brilliant high-resolution shots there.

More Copyright-Free Media for You to Use

With so many sites dedicated to bringing you high-quality stock images for free, you may feel overwhelmed with choice.

However, we recommend focusing on the one site that most appeals, and browsing the range of copyright-free images available until you find something that appeals.

If you’re a budding YouTuber, you should check out the best sites for copyright-free music for YouTube videos.

Read the full article: The Top 15 Sites for Copyright and Royalty-Free Images

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How to Screen Mirror Your iPhone or iPad to a TV

Don’t get stuck watching videos or playing games on a small screen—use your iPhone or iPad on larger displays with screen mirroring methods instead. There are a few ways to watch iOS or iPadOS content on a TV, including AirPlay, Chromecast, and wired adapters.

There’s also a difference between mirroring your iPhone screen and casting video to a TV, which lets you use other apps on your iPhone while watching a video on the TV. Here’s how everything works.

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1. Cast Video or Mirror Your Screen With AirPlay

Apple TV and Siri Remote

AirPlay is Apple’s proprietary wireless streaming technology. It allows you to send an image, song, or video from your iPhone to an AirPlay receiver connected to your TV. The most popular AirPlay receiver is the Apple TV, despite its hefty starting price of $149.

The Apple TV connects to your TV via HDMI and functions as a set-top box with its own apps and App Store. It has other neat functions too, like displaying your recent iPhone photos and playing music from Apple Music. Check out our guide to setting up and using your Apple TV to learn more about it.

If you want to AirPlay video from your iPhone to a computer display instead, you can do so with an app called AirServer, which costs around $20. You can also buy audio equipment compatible with AirPlay for streaming music.

How to Mirror Your iPhone Screen to Your TV With AirPlay

When you use screen mirroring, an image appears on your TV that exactly matches your iPhone or iPad screen. It even shows up in the same aspect ratio as your device (such as 4:3 for an iPad), which often means the image doesn’t fill the entire TV screen. Anything you do on your iPhone or iPad immediately mirrors to the TV screen.

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

  1. Swipe down from the top-right corner to open Control Center. On an iPhone 8 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open it instead.
  2. Tap the Screen Mirroring button and choose your AirPlay receiver. A blue bubble appears in the top-left corner to show that you’re mirroring your iPhone or iPad screen to the TV.
  3. To stop mirroring your screen, return to the Screen Mirroring option in Control Center and tap Stop Mirroring.

Screen Mirroring button from iPhone Control Center

How to Cast Video From Your iPhone to Your TV Using AirPlay

Unlike screen mirroring, casting a video to your TV fills the entire screen. This is the best way to watch movies or view photos, since they aren’t limited to the aspect ratio of your device. You can also use other apps on your iPhone while casting video to a TV, without them showing up on the big screen.

To cast video from to your TV without screen mirroring:

  1. Load the content you want to send to the TV.
  2. Look for an AirPlay button in the app, which might be in the Share menu. If you can’t find it, open the Control Center and long-press on the Media Controls item in the top-right corner.
  3. Tap the AirPlay button and choose your AirPlay receiver. A blue bubble appears in the top-left corner to show that you’re casting a video to your TV.
  4. To stop casting video to your TV, tap the blue AirPlay bubble, then tap the AirPlay button and choose to play the video on your device instead of the TV.

AirPlay button from media controls in Control Center

Since AirPlay is wireless, you might find that radio interference, slow Wi-Fi networks, and older Bluetooth devices can impact performance. You’ll also notice a slight delay between your iPhone or iPad and what you see on the TV.

Unfortunately, this means AirPlay isn’t great for playing games. But it’s still a great choice for watching videos, listening to music, giving presentations, or sharing photos on the big screen.

2. Mirror Your Screen With a Wired Adapter

Lightning HDMI Digital AV Adapter

To avoid delays between your iPhone or iPad and the TV screen, consider using a wired adapter. There are a few drawbacks to wired adapters, but the latest models are better than they once were.

Most problems stem from the fact that Apple didn’t design the Lightning port on the iPhone and iPad to output video signals. As a result, you need to buy a clunky adapter to go from your Lightning connecter to an HDMI, VGA, or other display port.

The first batch of Lightning-to-HDMI adapters topped out at a resolution of 900p. And while the latest Apple Lightning-to-HDMI adapters promise 1080p, the reviews still aren’t great. Users mention issues like frequent black screens and sudden hardware failures.

You can also get Lightning-to-VGA adapters or USB-C-to-HDMI adapters, depending on your device and TV inputs.

For the $49+ price tag, these adapters don’t provide a good value and start to make the wireless convenience of an Apple TV look well worth an extra $100. What’s more, you can only use wired adapters to mirror your device screen.

To mirror your iPhone or iPad screen to a TV using an adapter:

  1. Connect your adapter to the Lightning or USB-C port on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Use an HDMI cable to connect your TV to the adapter.
  3. Switch to the correct input source on your TV to see the screen mirroring from your iPhone or iPad.

3. Cast Video to Your TV With Google Chromecast

Chromecast plugged into the back of a TV

You can use Google’s wireless “casting” technology to watch content wirelessly from your iPhone or iPad, though it works a little differently than AirPlay. Chromecast is Google’s answer to the Apple TV, and for $35 (or $69 for the 4K-compatible Chromecast Ultra) it is a much cheaper way to cast video from your iPhone or iPad to your TV.

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

Chromecast button from Netflix app

Chromecast is compatible with the most popular video and music apps, like YouTube, Netflix, and Spotify. There’s even a list of supported Chromecast apps on Wikipedia.

If you need more help, check out our beginner’s guide to Google Chromecast.

How to Mirror Your iPhone Screen With Google Chromecast

Apple doesn’t make it easy to mirror your iPhone or iPad screen to the TV using Chromecast, but it is possible. To do so, you need a computer on the same Wi-Fi network that’s running the Google Chrome browser. You also need an app that lets you cast video to your computer, like ApowerMirror or AirServer.

APowerMirror is free, but includes a watermark. AirServer costs around $20.

Download: Google Chrome for macOS | Windows (Free)
Download: ApowerMirror for macOS | Windows (Free)
Download: AirServer for macOS | Windows ($19.99, free trial available)

ApowerMirror showing iPhone and Android device streamed to TV

To mirror your iPhone screen using Chromecast:

  1. Install and set up APowerMirror or AirServer on your computer.
  2. Open Control Center on your iPhone or iPad and select Screen Mirroring, then choose your computer from the list of devices. This should open a window on your computer that mirrors your device screen.
  3. On your computer, open Google Chrome and click the three-dot menu. Select Cast, then choose your TV as the destination with your Desktop as the source.
  4. Return to the APowerMirror or AirServer screen-mirroring window on your computer to cast it to your TV.

Find the Best Way to Mirror Your iPhone Screen

AirPlay is the best way to screen-mirror or cast video from your iPhone or iPad to your TV, but it’s also the most expensive. Wired solutions are inelegant and problematic—given the way the Lightning standard was designed—and still comparatively costly.

Google Chromecast offers the cheapest way to cast video to your TV, but it’s difficult to mirror your iPhone or iPad screen, especially if you don’t have a computer to use. Fortunately, you can use AirPlay connectivity at Chromecast prices with these AirPlay alternatives to an Apple TV.

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

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How to Optimize Windows 10 for Gaming and Performance

Windows 10 is a great OS for gamers, mixing native games, support for retro titles, and even Xbox One streaming. But it isn’t perfect straight out of the box.

Some tweaks are required to enjoy the best gaming experience Windows 10 has to offer. Here are several ways to optimize your Windows 10 PC for gaming.

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1. Optimize Windows 10 With Gaming Mode

Optimize Windows 10 for better gaming performance

Looking for another option to squeeze the best gaming performance out of Windows 10?

Later releases of the operating system feature a gaming mode, built-in optimizations for Windows 10 gamers. To find out more:

  1. Press Windows key + I
  2. Type game mode
  3. Click Game Mode settings or Turn on Game Mode
  4. On the Gaming screen, click Game Mode
  5. Switch to On to use Game Mode

If your PC supports Game Mode, resources will be managed to achieve the optimum frame rate. Additionally, Windows Update will be suspended.

While this is one way to improve gaming performance on Windows 10, Game Mode is not perfect. Keep reading for more Windows 10 gaming tweaks.

2. Disable Nagle’s Algorithm

Nagle’s algorithm essentially bundles data packets at the cost of a smoother internet connection. It’s useful but having Nagle’s algorithm enabled on your computer may contribute to latency issues when playing games online.

To disable this and improve gaming performance on Windows 10, start by checking your IP address:

  1. Hit Windows key + X
  2. Select Windows PowerShell
  3. Enter ipconfig
  4. Look for “IPv4 address” to identify your PC’s IP address

With the IP address noted, edit the Windows Registry:

  1. Click Start
  2. Type regedit
  3. Select Registry Editor (Tread carefully when fiddling with the Windows Registry)

In the address bar, copy and paste the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesTcpipParametersInterfaces

In the left-hand pane, you’ll see a collection of folders, with filenames comprised of letters and numbers. To access the correct file, match your IP address with the one listed against DhcpIPAddress in one of these folders.

Disable Nagle's Algorithm for better online gaming network speeds

When you find your matching folder:

  1. Right-click on the folder
  2. Select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value
  3. Name this TcpAckFrequency
  4. Click OK
  5. Select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value again
  6. Name this one TCPNoDelay.
  7. Double-click on each and set their parameters to 1

Doing so disables Nagle’s Algorithm. If you run into any problems, reset their parameter values to 0 and they will be disabled.

3. Optimize Windows 10 Online Gaming With Faster DNS

If you’re playing online multiplayer or relying on a remote server for Windows 10 gaming, network traffic can cause problems.

While upgrading to faster internet can help, it’s quicker and cheaper to just make some networking tweaks.

  1. Hit Windows + I to open Settings
  2. Find Network and Internet > Change Adapter Settings.
  3. Right-click on your wireless network
  4. Select Properties
  5. Highlight Internet Protocol Version 4.
  6. Make a note of the two DNS entries for future reference
  7. Replace them with 1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1.
  8. Click OK, then Close.
  9. Restart your default browser

Your internet should now be faster, which will help with online gaming.

4. Disable Automatic Updates for Better Windows 10 Gaming

Windows 10 will automatically update your OS and schedule a restart without your permission. While this feature doesn’t activate often, you never want to be caught unaware and risk your game save.

Not only can automatic updates restart Windows without warning, downloading updates in the background will limit your network connectivity.

While you cannot disable automatic restart, it can be delayed. To reduce the chance of Windows Update downloads interrupting your gaming performance:

  1. Open Settings with Windows key + I
  2. Click Update and Security > Windows Update
  3. Look for Advanced options then click Update Options
  4. Disable Restart this device as soon as possible when a restart is required to install an update.
  5. Enable Show a notification (Windows will give plenty of warning when the system is going to restart following an update)
  6. Use Pause updates to delay installation of updates for up to 35 days

Limit Windows Update to improve game performance

By specifying when you’ll be using Windows 10, you can prevent Windows Updates downloading and installing during active hours.

5. Disable Notifications in Windows 10

The Focus Assist feature in Windows 10 lets you specify how and when you receive notifications.

Popups and chimes usually accompany notifications, but these can interrupt games. The solution is to minimize the impact of notifications, using Focus Assist. It’s basically a feature that lets you manage what level of focus you devote to your work.

  1. Hit Windows + I to open Settings
  2. Click System > Focus Assist
  3. Select Alarms Only to hide all other notifications
  4. Close the Settings screen

Disable notifications to improve Windows 10 gaming

6. Prevent Steam Auto-Updating Games

If you use Windows to play games, you’re probably buying and installing games via Steam.

One of the largest annoyances with Steam is its update feature. This blocks you from preventing automatic updates across all your games. This may eat up memory by updating games you don’t play or limit your network connectivity with background updates.

To prevent Steam from updating games in the background:

  1. Launch the Steam client
  2. Open Steam > Settings > Downloads
  3. Uncheck Allow downloads during gameplay

Tweak Steam for Windows 10 gaming optimizations

You can also prevent Steam from downloading updates for largely unused games:

  1. Open the Steam Library
  2. Right-click an underused but installed game
  3. Select Properties and find Automatic Updates
  4. Change Always keep this game up to date to Only update this game when I launch it

Disable automatic updates in Steam for optimized Windows 10 gaming

With Steam correctly optimized, Windows 10 will be ready for AAA gaming.

7. Tweak Windows 10 Visual Effects for Game Improvements

Your graphical user interfaces (GUI) can be a hindrance to your processing power. By default, your Windows 10 appearance settings are set to impress.

Games running in the foreground may conflict with a shiny GUI running in the background. Adjust these settings to optimize Windows 10 for gaming performance.

  1. Open Settings with Windows key + I
  2. Type performance
  3. Select Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows.
  4. In the settings box, select Adjust for best performance
  5. Click Apply
  6. Click the Advanced tab
  7. Ensure that Adjust the best performance of is set to Programs
  8. Apply again, then OK to confirm

8. Tweak Your Mouse Settings for Windows 10 Gaming

Could you mouse be impacting gaming performance on Windows 10? To find out, it’s a smart idea to optimize your mouse settings. A feature called pointer precision (AKA mouse acceleration) can impact how your mouse performs in games. Disabling this can help to optimize gaming in Windows 10.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Click Devices > Mouse
  3. View the Pointer Options tab
  4. Clear the Enhance pointer precision checkmark
  5. Click Apply
  6. Click OK to exit—you might also adjust the pointer speed to suit

Disable mouse enhancements to optimize Windows 10 gaming

If gaming has improved, your mouse was almost certainly slowing things down.

9. Max Power Plan to Improve Windows 10 Gaming Performance

Power options are often ignored due to their supposedly negligible effect. Some gamers claim adjusting for higher performance works, while others fail to notice any difference changing their PC power settings.

The only way to know for sure is to test it out on your PC. To change your power settings:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Type power
  3. Click > Power & sleep settings > Additional power settings
  4. Select the high-performance option
  5. If none is available, use Create a power plan to configure a new, custom power plan

This option will allow your PC to perform better at the cost of higher energy consumption and temperature levels. For this reason, it’s better to activate this Windows 10 optimization on the desktop rather than laptop PCs.

10. Keep Your Windows 10 Drivers Updated for Improved Gaming Performance

Your GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is the core of your PC gaming experience. However, the GPU requires the latest Windows driver to keep it working faster and better.

All graphics cards, no matter how old or new, benefit from continually updated drivers.

To check your GPU name and specs:

  1. Right-click Desktop
  2. Select Display settings > Advanced display settings
  3. At the bottom, find Display adapter properties

Optimize Windows 10 display settings for improved gaming

You can download driver updates through this window under Properties > Driver > Update Driver. Alternatively, visit the manufacturer’s website to ensure the driver is up to date.

Manufacturers will often provide free gaming and update software to keep your drivers up to date automatically. An example is AMD’s Gaming Evolved client.

For optimal performance, it is highly recommended that you install the chipset and LAN drivers for your motherboard as well. Since these are crucial for optimal gaming performance, this makes sense.

The easiest method to check chipset drivers is to open Windows PowerShell (right-click Start to find it) and enter:

wmic baseboard get product,Manufacturer,version,serialnumber

Your motherboard’s manufacturer and the product name will appear in the command prompt.

List your manufacturer and product name to search for your drivers online. You should find the necessary software on the Support page of the manufacturer’s website.

Along with the chipset drivers, you will also find your on-board LAN drivers for an optimal internet connection.

11. Install DirectX 12 to Optimize for Gaming

DirectX 12, the latest version of Microsoft’s popular API tool, is a key element of Windows 10 gaming.

It delivers support for multiple GPU and CPU cores, better frame rates, lowered power consumption and enhanced graphical effects.

To check if you have the latest version of DirectX:

  1. Open Windows PowerShell
  2. Type dxdiag
  3. Tap Enter

Moments later, you’ll see the DirectX Diagnostic Tool.

Ensure DirectX 12 is installed to ensure game optimizations for Windows 10

Don’t have DirectX 12 installed? There’s a small chance this can happen if you have upgraded from Windows 8.1. Fix this by:

  1. Opening Settings with Windows key + I
  2. Select Update and security
  3. Find Windows Update > Check for updates
  4. Wait while the updates install

DirectX12 will automatically optimize many gaming settings in Windows 10.

Optimize Windows 10 for Gaming With These 11 Tweaks

Windows 10 is a legitimate delight for the modern gamer (and now, so is Linux, thanks to these technologies and services that have saved gaming on Linux.)

With a towering game selection, Xbox One compatibility and software specifically designed for gaming, it’s clear the gamer community has a special place in Windows 10’s future. However, nothing’s perfect. Reach closer to gaming perfection with these Windows 10 gaming optimizations:

  1. Windows 10 Gaming Mode
  2. Disable Nagle’s Algorithm
  3. Use faster DNS servers
  4. Disable automatic updates
  5. Disable Notifications in Windows 10
  6. Prevent automatic updates from Steam
  7. Tweak visual effects for performance
  8. Adjust mouse settings to improve gaming speeds
  9. Use maximum power settings
  10. Keep drivers up to date
  11. Install DirectX 12

Gaming on your laptop? You’ll benefit from these extra tips to improve gaming performance on your Windows 10 laptop. Do you also need a special router for a better gaming experience? Let’s see if gaming routers are worth it.

Read the full article: How to Optimize Windows 10 for Gaming and Performance

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Microsoft 365 vs. Office 2019: What Are the Differences? Compared

While Microsoft still offers a standalone version of Office, the company definitely pushes you towards signing up for Microsoft 365 instead. While Microsoft 365 provides more than just Office, is it really a better value than buying Office 2019 on its own?

Let’s compare Microsoft 365 to Office 2019 to find out. We’ll help you decide which offering is more cost-effective for your needs.

The Differences Between Microsoft 365 and Office 2019

The two available varieties of Microsoft Office differ in what you’re buying, who can use the apps, and how long you get to keep access. Let’s look at what they offer before we move on to comparing prices.

What Does Microsoft 365 Offer?

Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) is a per-user subscription. It lets you install the full suite of Microsoft Office apps on as many devices as you want and sign in on up to five devices at a time.

When you install an Office app, you’ll need to sign in with your Microsoft account to tie it to your subscription. Microsoft 365 includes the following Office apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • OneNote
  • Outlook
  • Access (Windows only)
  • Publisher (Windows only)

Your apps all get the latest updates as long as your subscription remains active. This is significant, as Microsoft regularly adds new features and enhancements into the Microsoft 365 versions of Office apps. See our overview of what’s new in Microsoft 365 for details.

A Microsoft 365 subscription plan also comes with a few extra perks. The biggest benefits are 1TB of OneDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype credit each month. You also get some special offers from Microsoft partners and access to technical support.

The service is available in two flavors: Personal and Family.

Personal is for one user, while Family is a group plan for up to six users. With Microsoft 365 Family, each person gets the full benefits, meaning they can install Office apps on all their devices and get their own 1TB of OneDrive storage.

What Does Office 2019 Include?

Office 2019 is a one-time purchase of a suite of Office apps for a single Windows PC or Mac. The installation is not tied to your Microsoft account; you activate it with a license key provided at the time of purchase. Anyone who has access to that computer can use the Microsoft Office apps.

The included apps depend on which version of Office 2019 you buy, which we’ll look at in a moment.

Office 2019 apps don’t receive ongoing improvements like their Microsoft 365 counterparts; they only receive security patches. If you want future updates to Microsoft Office, you’ll need to buy the new version when it releases.

Buying Office 2019 does not provide access to the full versions of the Android and iOS Office apps. The standalone version also lacks some of the modern features found in the Microsoft 365 Office apps.

Finally, Office 2019 will only work for so long. Microsoft will offer mainstream support until October 2023 and extended support through October 2025. After 2025, you’ll have to upgrade to avoid using an unsupported version of Office.

This is one of the reasons we think Office 2019 isn’t a good deal for most people. But how do the prices compare?

Microsoft 365 vs. Office 2019: A Value Comparison

Microsoft 365 is available two tiers:

  • Microsoft 365 Personal: $70 per year
  • Microsoft 365 Family: $100 per year

Microsoft 365 Tiers

As discussed, Personal is for one user, while Family provides the same benefits for up to six people. While you can also purchase these plans monthly ($7 per month for Personal or $10 per month for Family), we’ll use the cheaper annual prices here. Chances are that you aren’t interested in subscribing to Office for just a month.

Meanwhile, Office 2019 offers three versions, which are all one-time purchases:

  • Office Home & Student 2019: $150 for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Office Home & Business 2019: $250 for the above, plus Outlook
  • Office Professional 2019: $440 for the above, plus Publisher and Access (on Windows only)

Office 2019 Pricing

If you wanted to match Office 2019 with Microsoft 365, you’d need to purchase Office 2019 Professional, as well as a OneDrive plan and Skype credits. Outside of Microsoft 365, however, OneDrive’s only available upgrade is 100GB of storage for $2 per month. We’ll use this as an add-on.

It’s also not possible to purchase 60 minutes of Skype credit; the smallest increment you can buy is $5, which is about 217 minutes of calls to several major countries. $1 of Skype credit thus provides about 47 calling minutes, meaning that Microsoft 365’s 12 hours of Skype credit would cost roughly $15.

However, if you’re considering Office 2019, you might not care about the OneDrive storage or Skype credits. Most people also don’t need Access and Publisher. To reflect both real-world scenarios and total value, we’ll thus compare the following setups below:

  1. Microsoft 365 Personal
  2. Microsoft 365 Family
  3. Office Home & Student 2019
  4. Office Home & Student 2019 with 60 minutes of Skype credit and 100GB of OneDrive storage per month
  5. Office Home & Business 2019
  6. Office Home & Business 2019 with 60 minutes of Skype credit and 100GB of OneDrive storage per month
  7. Office Professional 2019

Microsoft 365 vs. Office 2019: One-Year Cost

Office One Year Chart

What do Office 2019 and Microsoft 365 look like in their first year?

Microsoft 365 Personal costs $70, while Microsoft 365 Home costs $100. Office 2019 Home & Student costs $150 upfront.

For the extras we discussed, 100GB of space in OneDrive costs $24 for one year. 12 hours of Skype credit will run you about $15. The total cost is $150 for just Home & Student, or $189 if you opt for the extras.

Office 2019 Home & Business costs $250 for one PC with the same annual costs for OneDrive and Skype. Its total one-year cost is $250, or $289 with the extras.

Finally, if you opt for Office 2019 Professional, you’ll pay $440 as a one-time purchase.

Microsoft 365 vs. Office 2019: Over Five Years

Office Five Year Chart

How do these purchases compare when examined over a span of five years?

The $70 for Microsoft 365 Personal adds up to $350 total for five years. Meanwhile, Microsoft 365 Home’s $100 per year results in a cost of $500 for five years.

Office 2019 Home & Student’s only cost was the initial $150 for one PC. 100GB of OneDrive space is $120 for five years; the Skype credit costs about $75 for 60 hours. The total cost is $150 if you don’t opt for those extras, and $345 if you do.

Next, Office 2019 Home & Business was $250 five years ago. It has the same five-year costs for OneDrive and Skype. Thus, its total cost is $250 for Office only or $445 with OneDrive and Skype.

Last, Office 2019 Professional is still the $440 one-time charge.

Note that since Office 2019 will be out of support five years from the time of writing, using it past this point is not recommended. At that time, you’d need to upgrade to the latest version of Office to avoid using an insecure version. We’ll assume that you do this going forward.

Microsoft 365 vs. Office 2019: Value After 10 Years

Office Ten Year Chart

Say you stick with your chosen Office setup for an entire decade. What will this cost you?

Microsoft’s 365 Personal subscription comes to $700 total for 10 years. And Microsoft 365 Family equals $1,000 over the decade.

In addition to the initial $150 purchase for Office 2019 Home & Student, you upgraded in 2025 for another $150. Subscribing to the 100GB OneDrive plan costs $240 for 10 years. In addition, the Skype credit comes to about $150 for 120 hours.

If you don’t purchase any extras, your initial purchase and upgrade totals $300. With OneDrive and Skype, the total cost over 10 years is $690.

Next, consider Office 2019 Home & Business. The initial cost of $250 still stands, plus another $250 to upgrade at the end of support. The 10-year costs are the same for OneDrive and Skype. This brings us to $500 for Office alone, or $890 with Skype and OneDrive.

Finally, Office 2019 Pro without any extras would cost you the initial $440, plus an upgrade for the same price in 2025. This is a total of $880.

Microsoft 365 vs. Office 2019: Which Is a Better Deal?

Of course, we’ve made some assumptions in these calculations. There’s no guarantee that Microsoft will offer another standalone version of Office to replace Office 2019. Prices may change, and Microsoft could add or remove benefits to Microsoft 365 in the meantime.

We also didn’t cover buying Office apps individually. You can purchase standalone versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, or Publisher for $140 each. However, this only makes sense if you’re sure you need just one app. Otherwise, buying one of the Office packages is much more cost-effective.

Now that we’ve looked at the cost across one, five, and 10 years, does Office 2019 or Microsoft 365 provide a better value? That depends on your needs.

If you only need Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on one device:

  • Microsoft 365 Personal is the best value for one year.
  • Office 2019 Home & Student is the best value for five or 10 years.

If you also need Outlook, but only on one device:

  • Microsoft 365 Personal is the best value for one year.
  • Office 2019 Home & Business is the best value for five or 10 years.

If you need Publisher or Access:

  • Microsoft 365 Personal is the best value at every time interval.
  • After five years, $350 for Microsoft 365 Personal is still cheaper than $440 for Office 2019 Professional. And after 10 years, $700 for 10 years of Microsoft 365 Personal beats $880 to buy Office Professional twice.

If you add on OneDrive storage and Skype credit:

  • Microsoft 365 is the best value for one year.
  • Without Outlook, Office 2019 is only $5 cheaper than Microsoft 365 for five years. With Outlook, Microsoft 365 Personal is the better value for five years.
  • Office 2019 is just $10 cheaper than Microsoft 365 Personal at 10 years. However, if you need Outlook, Microsoft 365 is a better value than Office 2019 Home & Business at 10 years.

Keep in mind, though, that the added OneDrive storage is only 100GB if you buy Office 2019. With Microsoft 365, you get 1TB, which is 10 times that amount.

If you need 1TB of OneDrive storage, access on mobile devices, or are buying for multiple people:

  • Microsoft 365 offers the best value.
  • Remember that Office 2019 is only good for one PC or Mac. To get it for multiple devices, you’d have to pay at least $150 per computer, plus that amount again after five years to upgrade.
  • Meanwhile, Microsoft 365 Personal lets you install Office on all your devices, and Family lets up to six people install it on all their devices.

Microsoft 365 Is a Compelling Office Package

From the above, we’ve learned that Microsoft 365 is always a better deal if you’re only buying for a year. If you’re interested in maximum OneDrive space, Microsoft 365 is worth it for that alone: $7/month for 1TB is a steal compared to $2/month for 100GB. And the value is much higher when you bring multiple people into a Family plan.

On the flip side, even with an upgrade after five years, buying Office 2019 can save you some money in the long run if you don’t need any of Microsoft 365’s extras. But we’d only recommend it for people who don’t need Office on multiple devices. It’s best for one computer that you plan to use for a long time.

Did you know that you might not need to pay for Office at all? Check out the best free alternatives to Microsoft Office for other options before you buy it.

Image Credit: Nor Gal/Shutterstock

Read the full article: Microsoft 365 vs. Office 2019: What Are the Differences? Compared

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The 10 Best British Crime Dramas to Watch on Netflix

Crime is universal. However, crime drama, specifically its attitude and tone, differs depending on where you live.

Don’t believe me? Compare the American Elementary to the British Sherlock. Both are based on the same source material and both are excellent, but they’re very different from each other. British detective series have a unique tone and style.

With that in mind, here are the best British crime dramas to watch on Netflix.

1. Sherlock

One of the BBC’s most popular dramas stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson, the iconic figures created by Arthur Conan Doyle. The show is as addictive as the original books, but takes a different approach to the characters and their world.

This is the Great Detective in contemporary London, with cases riffing off of famous stories. Sherlock immediately gained a huge following when it debuted in 2010 because the amount of love is evident throughout.

It’s most notable for its stunning direction. Initially spearheaded by Paul McGuigan (Luke Cage), its ideas are heady, immersive, and incredibly distinctive.

2. Broadchurch

Broadchurch shows what happens after 11-year-old Daniel Latimer is found dead on the beach of the sleepy seaside town of Broadchurch. This horrific murder tears the close-knit community apart. Who would kill a young boy? And why?

This televisual sensation is a genuinely affecting piece, driven forward by a stunning cast that includes David Tennant, Olivia Colman, and Jodie Whittaker. Season 1, Episode 5 is arguably the most moving instalment, beautifully played by David Bradley (the Harry Potter films).

You might have seen the American adaptation, Gracepoint. However, Broadchurch is vastly superior.

3. Ripper Street

Jack the Ripper had a profound effect on London, and especially on its police force. This gritty, thought-provoking drama takes place shortly after the serial killer’s last murder, where we find Whitechapel’s H Division fighting to maintain peace.

The show changed considerably across its five seasons, but kept the same contemplative tone. Never shying away from the shocking truths of 1800s culture, the series frequently uncovered the dark truths lurking beneath the propaganda.

It may be foreboding and bloody, but it’s also a surprising tearjerker. Watch the episode titled “Am I Not Monstrous?” to see a prime example of this.

4. Peaky Blinders

Not all crime dramas are about catching a killer. Some put you on the side of the demons and show you how their brutal worldview affects those around them.

Peaky Blinders is a tour de force which quickly earned a legion of loyal viewers, including high-profile fans like Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and the late David Bowie.

Initially set in 1919 and inspired by real events, the show follows rival street gangs as they wage war across Birmingham, England—primarily the titular clan (led by Cillian Murphy’s Thomas Shelby), whose weapon of choice is a switch blade concealed in the brim of their caps.

5. The Five

Jesse Wells goes missing while playing with his brother and three friends. A serial killer admits to Jesse’s murder, but his body is never found. 20 years later, evidence at a crime scene matches Jesse’s DNA, so is he still alive? Four friends reunite to find out the truth.

Though made by British talent including Danny Brocklehurst (The Stranger) and Mark Tonderai (Doctor Who), The Five is a fusion of cultures, as it was created by American thriller writer, Harlan Coben.

6. Retribution

The true horror of Retribution is revealed by its UK title: One of Us. Suspicions undermining familial relationships is a key part of most crime dramas, but this four-part story immediately hits you with a brilliant twist…

The brutal stabbing of newlyweds brings together grieving families in the Scottish Highlands. Then a badly-injured man turns up, claiming to be their killer. What should the families do? Will they be better than him, by showing mercy and bringing him to justice? Or will they be guided by the principle of “an eye for an eye”?

7. The Frankenstein Chronicles

Sean Bean doesn’t die in this. Which is surely reason enough to watch this.

The Frankenstein Chronicles is a surprisingly bleak show, even compared to similar series you can watch on Netflix. The investigation begins with the discovery of a corpse in the River Thames. Except this isn’t a normal corpse; it’s pieced together from the bodies of eight missing children.

Someone on the streets of London is trying to create their own patched-together monster in this reimagining of Mary Shelley’s classic novel. If you’ve never experienced Frankenstein before, it’s one of the best free audiobooks you can listen to too.

8. Bodyguard

Bodyguard was the TV success story of 2018, and comes from the pen of Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty).

Richard Madden (Marvel’s Eternals) plays PS David Budd, a former soldier suffering from PTSD, assigned to protect the Home Secretary, Julia Montague MP (Keeley Hawes). Budd disagrees with her politics, but must put personal grievances aside when a terrorist plot unfolds around her.

This isn’t just a great thriller: it’ll also be of interest to anyone worried about excessive government surveillance of citizens.

9. Hinterland

Hinterland is a remarkable show; a testament to a production team’s belief in a concept.

It took over two years to raise the £4.2 million (around $5.2 million) budget, and the first season was shot around Aberystwyth, North Wales, across just 124 days—especially surprising considering scenes were filmed twice! That’s because Hinterland was recorded in both English and Welsh, though you’ll only find the former on Netflix.

DCI Tom Mathias (Richard Harrington) swaps London for rural Wales, so this program looks stunning. But the murders and disappearances are just as dark as you’d expect. Hinterland is a crime noir that’s as compelling as The Killing, but strangely underrated.

10. Vexed

Let’s end on an upbeat note. Not all crime dramas are gritty and grim. Vexed is a great example of British humor: it finds something to smile about, even in dire circumstances.

Toby Stephens (Die Another Day) is Jack Armstrong, a fairly hapless D.I. paired with professionally-driven partners, played by Lucy Punch and Miranda Raison across its two seasons. The over-the-top situations, with a mix of silly and dark comedy, won’t be for everyone, but is great for fans of The Naked Gun.

And if you’d like to explore similar shows, check out the best British comedies on Netflix.

The Best British Crime Dramas Are Essential

With so much awesome content on Netflix, it’s difficult to narrow down what to watch during a quiet evening in. But missing these shows really would be criminal.

And if you’re having trouble getting to grips with streaming, check out our ultimate guide to Netflix.

Read the full article: The 10 Best British Crime Dramas to Watch on Netflix

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How to Connect Mobile Internet to Your PC via Tethering

Need an internet connection for your PC or laptop, but don’t have access to public Wi-Fi? The solution is simple: connect your smartphone’s mobile internet connection to your PC. This process is known as tethering.

While tethering with your laptop or tablet may be faster than the public network in your favorite cafe, it can have its own problems. Here’s what you need to know about tethering with Android and how to connect your mobile internet to your PC.

What Is Tethering?

Tethering is the term for connecting your mobile device to your computer so your PC can get online via your phone’s mobile data connection. It works via USB, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi.

In the pre-iPhone days, this meant using an old-style feature phone to call a number that gave internet access anywhere. Some cell phones could share their internet connection, enabling you to get online via the device network’s APN.

Following the release of the iPhone in 2007, many cell phone networks began charging extra for tethering plans. Fortunately, this money-grabbing practice has since been phased out almost completely—these days, tethering is usually free aside from using your data allowance.

Android Mobile Tethering Options Explained

Android owners have three tethering options to share a mobile internet connection with their laptop, tablet, or even desktop PC:

  1. Connect via Bluetooth
  2. Use your phone as a wireless hotspot
  3. Connect your phone to your computer via USB

Below we’ll look at each of these to discover which method will drain your battery quickest, and which transfers data fastest.

Before proceeding, make sure you have enabled mobile internet on your phone. It’s important to note that mobile signal strength will impact your connection speed. Using tethering can also result in your phone’s battery level decreasing quickly; wireless tethering is particularly power-intensive.

We provide speed results from speedtest.net for comparison.

1. How to Connect Mobile Internet to a PC With USB Tethering

Mobile phones have long had a modem feature, allowing you to hook up the device to your computer via USB. This lets you share the mobile internet connection over a wired connection with your laptop or other devices.

It’s easy to do. Connect the USB cable that shipped with your phone to your computer, then plug it into the phone’s USB port. Next, to configure your Android device for sharing mobile internet:

  1. Open Settings > Network & internet > Hotspot & tethering.
  2. Tap the USB tethering slider to enable it. If this appears grayed out, make sure the USB cable is properly connected on both ends.
  3. The Hotspot & tethering warning will appear, informing you that continuing will interrupt any existing data transfers between your phone and PC.
  4. Tap OK to proceed.

A notification icon should appear to confirm that tethering is active. In testing, we found the following results:

  • Speed: 97Mbps download, 2.02Mbps upload, with an average ping of 66ms.
  • Battery Impact: The effect on your phone’s battery depends on whether your laptop is plugged in or not. If it is, battery decrease should be slow to non-existent, as the phone will slowly charge through the USB connection.

Note: If your computer is running on its battery, your phone will potentially drain the computer’s battery, rather than its own.

2. Use Bluetooth Tethering With Mobile internet

Another way to share your mobile internet connection to a PC or tablet is to use Bluetooth. The short-range wireless technology has enough bandwidth to route data to and from your phone and a paired device.

Start by pairing your phone with your computer:

  1. Open your Android phone’s Bluetooth settings. You can do this by long-pressing the Bluetooth icon in Quick Settings, or browse to Settings > Connected devices.
  2. Select Pair new device, which will make your device discoverable.
  3. Now, on your Windows 10 system, press Win + I to open the Settings app.
  4. Here, select Devices > Bluetooth & other devices.
  5. Switch Bluetooth to On if it’s not already. Click Add Bluetooth or other device followed by Bluetooth.
  6. Select your phone when it appears and walk through the pairing steps. If you run into problems, see our guide to setting up Bluetooth in Windows 10.
  7. Once paired, on your phone, open Settings > Network & internet > Hotspot & tethering and turn on Bluetooth tethering.

Once the phone is paired with your computer, you can share the mobile internet connection:

  1. Expand the Windows System Tray to find the Bluetooth icon, right-click this, and select Join a Personal Area Network.
  2. In the resulting menu, find your phone’s icon and right-click it.
  3. Choose Connect using > Access point.

Connect to an Android tethering access point via Bluetooth in Windows 10

Your phone should then display a notification that Bluetooth tethering is active. Our testing found:

  • Speed: 35Mbps download, 0.78Mbps upload, with an average ping of 289ms.
  • Battery Impact: Heavy Bluetooth use really puts pressure on your battery. Ten minutes of usage ate up five percent of the charge on my phone.

3. How to Connect a Wi-Fi Hotspot to Your PC

Combining the wireless benefits of Bluetooth with the speed of USB, using your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot is perhaps the most popular tethering option.

Using your mobile internet and Wi-Fi connection, your phone creates a private network to connect your devices with a secure password. It’s definitely the most convenient choice. To set up Wi-Fi tethering:

  1. Open Settings > Network & internet > Hotspot & tethering.
  2. Tap Portable hotspot (called Wi-Fi hotspot on some phones).
  3. At the next screen, switch the slider On.
  4. You can then adjust options for the network on this page. For example, change the Hotspot name, Security type, or open the Advanced options to turn off the hotspot automatically when no devices are using it.
    1. On some devices, you’ll need to open the Configure hotspot menu to change these options.
  5. Tap the Hotspot password (sometimes called Show password) box to view the password, if needed.

Then, on your Windows PC:

  1. Press Win + I to open Settings.
  2. Go to Network & Internet > Wi-Fi.
  3. Click Show available networks and browse to find the network your phone created. (You can also do this by clicking the wireless internet icon in the System Tray).
  4. Select the network and click Connect.
  5. Input the password as displayed on your phone (making any other changes as required) to establish the connection.

Android Wi-Fi tethering in Windows 10

Here are the results we found from this option:

  • Speed: 10Mbps download, 4.45Mbps upload, with an average ping of 55ms.
  • Battery Impact: As with Bluetooth tethering, heavy use reduced battery by around five percent in 10 minutes. Standard usage seems better with Wi-Fi tethering, however, and could potentially last around 5-6 hours.

Once you’ve set up wireless tethering for the first time, it’s easy to activate again. Open the Quick Settings panel on your phone by swiping down from the top twice. Tap the Hotspot button, then wait for your computer to connect. As long as you don’t change the network name or password, it should reconnect automatically.

Connect an iPhone to Your PC Using Mobile Hotspot

Not using Android? Need to borrow a phone to connect your PC to the internet and only have an iPhone available?

iPhones have a hotspot mode that you can enable at Settings > Personal Hotspot. This is a Wi-Fi hotspot that any wireless-enabled device can connect to.

For further compatibility, iOS also supports Bluetooth and USB tethering, just like Android. For full details on how to connect the mobile internet from an iPhone to your computer, check out how to use the hotspot feature on your iPhone.

Mobile Tethering? Use USB for Best Battery Life

Wireless, Bluetooth, and USB tethering are all options for getting your laptop or tablet online. But which is best?

Our tests show that USB tethering is the option that drains your phone’s battery the slowest. Meanwhile, Bluetooth offers the worst speeds. Thanks to improvements in Bluetooth technology, though, its impact on battery is acceptable.

It’s Easy to Link Your Mobile Internet Connection to a Computer

Stuck choosing between a Wi-Fi hotspot and USB tethering? Well, USB isn’t the fastest at everything, making Wi-Fi the best all-around option. But if Wi-Fi isn’t available, relying on USB tethering is your best alternative.

Concerned about the cost of tethering? Check these ways to reduce data usage when using mobile internet.

Read the full article: How to Connect Mobile Internet to Your PC via Tethering

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The Most Annoying Netflix Problems: Here’s How to Solve Them

Netflix is the best TV streaming service around, but it isn’t faultless. You may even be avoiding subscribing to Netflix because of these little annoyances. However, there are fixes available.

Complaints about Netflix include content that keep stopping during playback or that suddenly disappear, bad recommendations for what to watch next, trailers autoplaying by default, and more.

So, in this article, we explain how to solve some of the most annoying Netflix problems.

1. How Do I Delete “Continue Watching” on Netflix?

Delete Netflix viewing activity

If you watch anything for a short time and don’t reach the credits, it’ll show up in your “Continue Watching” list. To get rid of that, go to the Viewing Activity page (Account > Expand profile > Viewing activity).

This page shows everything you have watched, listed from newest to oldest. Click the No symbol (“hide from viewing history”) next to any title to remove it.

For TV shows, clicking the No symbol next to an episode will remove that single episode. A prompt will appear that says Hide series?, which you can click if you want to remove every episode of that series from your Recently Watched list.

2. How Do I Get Better Netflix Suggestions?

It’s hard to take proper control over your recommendations, but there are ways you can influence it. The recommendations are determined by your ratings, the ratings of other members with similar tastes to you, and what you’ve watched.

Netflix used to have a more refined 5-star rating system, but all you can now do is indicate if you did or didn’t like something. However, you CAN do this on any Netflix title, regardless of whether you’ve watched it or not. Which is helpful.

To do this, hover over the title and click the Thumbs-Up or Thumbs-Down icon. This will let Netflix know your opinion and it will be fed into your recommendation algorithm.

Netflix ratings

To see a full list of titles you have rated, go to the Viewing Activity Rating page (Account > Expand profile > Viewing activity > Rating). Here you can adjust or remove any ratings you’ve already given to movies or TV shows.

3. How Do I Reset My Netflix Account Back to Default?

Netflix delete profile

If you want to get rid of everything you have watched so far and reset your Netflix back to its default settings, you need to delete your profile. Go to the Manage Profiles page (Profile icon > Manage Profiles), click the profile you want to reset, and click Delete Profile to confirm it.

This will get rid of your Netflix profile’s entire history, including your My List saves, your Recently Watched list, and your Ratings. You can then create a new profile and start from scratch.

4. How Do I Watch Netflix in 1080p HD or UHD?

Netflix offers different streaming quality depending on what price plan you have:

  • Basic plan: Standard definition (SD)
  • Standard plan: High definition (HD)
  • Premium plan: High definition (HD) and ultra-high definition (UHD) when available

Netflix data usage per screen

On devices like TVs, Netflix will stream at the highest quality that your price plan supports. However, you may need to go to the Playback Settings page (Account > Expand profile > Playback settings) and set Data usage per screen to High if you don’t want the playback quality to drop.

To have the highest quality Netflix stream possible on a computer, grab the Netflix app from the Microsoft Store. If you want to stream in UHD, you can only do so if your computer is powerful enough to support it. You may also need to download HEVC Video Extensions.

5. Why Do Movies and Shows Disappear From Netflix?

Netflix regularly adds and removes various movies and TV shows. That’s because Netflix acquires rights for these titles for a limited amount of time. Once the time is up, Netflix has to decide to renew the rights or to give them up. In some cases, Netflix gives up those rights, so the movie or show is removed from its lineup.

Netflix availability

There are several ways to find out which movies and TV shows are leaving Netflix in the next 30 days. If you have added a title to your My List section, the Netflix app in the US will tell you that the title is expiring soon. For global users, you can check the Details section of any video.

An alternative way to find out what’s expiring is through a third-party site, like the What’s Expiring On Netflix blog. This details the titles that will be removed from the service in the next month.

6. How Do I Share Netflix Recommendations?

It’s easy to send someone straight to what you want them to watch on Netflix. You can copy the URL from the address bar and give it to them. Even if they aren’t in the same Netflix region as you, if that content is available to them then the link will work. Even if the content isn’t available, there are ways to watch everything on Netflix no matter where you live.

Alternatively, in the Netflix app you can tap the Share icon when looking at a title. This will then open a list of apps that you can share that link on, like WhatsApp or Twitter.

7. Why Does Netflix Keep Stopping or Pausing?

Netflix FAST speed test

The most likely reason that Netflix is stopping or pausing is because of your internet connection. The best way to check the speed of your connection is to use FAST.com, which is Netflix’s own speed test. It’s also available as an app for iOS and Android.

FAST will tell you the highest speeds you can stream Netflix videos at. This may differ from the advertised speed of your internet connection. If FAST shows lower speeds than you were expecting, you’ll need to speak to your ISP; it might be throttling your access to Netflix.

If the speeds seem good, Netflix might be having problems. Check the Is Netflix Down? page to see if there are any official reports or browse social media to see if others are also having trouble.

8. How Do I Reduce Mobile Data Usage on Netflix?

If you’re using Netflix on a smartphone or tablet, you can adjust the settings so that it only works on Wi-Fi, or to force it to use less data by reducing quality. In the Netflix app, go to More > App Settings > Cellular Data Usage.

Here you can choose Wi-Fi Only to never use cellular data or Save Data to reduce the quality of the stream and the amount of data used.

This only affects your Netflix mobile app and not anywhere else you stream Netflix.

9. How Do I Skip Intro Titles While Watching Netflix?

netflix-annoyances-skip-intro-title-shift-left-right

With some shows, Netflix offers a Skip Intro button as soon as the title sequence starts playing. Which is perfect for when you’re binge-watching television on Netflix. But this isn’t a universal feature for all TV series.

For shows where it isn’t available, you can still make it easier to skip. Count the length once, then in the future use the smart fast-forward buttons on phones or keyboard shortcuts on computers.

On mobile apps, you can skip ahead by 30 seconds. On Windows or Mac, you’ll need to use keyboard shortcuts. Press Shift + Right arrow to skip forward 10 seconds. Keeping Shift held down, you can press Right arrow repeatedly until you hit the point you want. If you skip too much, press Shift + Left arrow to rewind by 10 seconds.

10. Has My Netflix Account Been Hacked?

If you suspect someone is using your Netflix without your knowledge, it might be that you’ve left your account logged in somewhere or your details have been compromised.

Go to the Recent device steaming activity page (Account > Recent device streaming activity) to see where your Netflix account has been used and on what devices.

Netflix sign out of all accounts

If there’s something that you don’t recognize, go to the Manage Devices page (Account > Sign out of all devices) and click Sign out to log out everywhere.

Then, sign into Netflix again and go to the Change Password page (Account > Change password) to set a new, secure password.

If you still see suspicious activity on your account, you should contact Netflix to resolve the issue.

11. How Do I Turn Off Autoplay for Netflix Trailers?

Netflix edit profile

One of the most annoying Netflix features are the trailers that start playing when you hover over a piece of content. In fact, this feature can cause some people’s computers to freeze. Happily, the feature can be disabled.

It must be disabled per profile, but once done it applies the change across all of your devices. Go to Manage Profiles, click the profile you want to edit, and untick Autoplay previews whilst browsing on all devices. Finally, click Save.

12. How Do I Stop the Next Episode From Autoplaying?

Netflix autoplay controls

When you finish watching an episode on Netflix, the streaming service is very keen to automatically play the next episode. It only gives you a short window to cancel, otherwise you will be ripped out of the credits and onto the next episode.

Thankfully, you can disable this per profile. To do this, go to Manage Profiles, click the profile you want to edit, untick Autoplay next episode in a series on all devices, and click Save.

Are There Any Other Netflix Problems You Need to Fix?

As fantastic as the streaming service is, you might experience annoying Netflix problems from time to time. Hopefully our list has helped solve your particular issue. If not, feel free to tell us about your problem in the comments below, and we’ll do what we can to help.

As an aside, Netflix is always trying out new features. One such example is variable playback speeds, so here’s how to change the playback speed on Netflix.

Read the full article: The Most Annoying Netflix Problems: Here’s How to Solve Them