How to zip and unzip documents in the Files app

Posted on September 20, 2017 by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Zipped is the tiny zip/unzip utility we both need and deserve in this world.

I'm largely thrilled about the inclusion of the Files app in iOS 11 — save for the omission of zipping and unzipping (or, in more technical terms, compressing and uncompressing) documents. The Files app will store any number of compressed documents, but try to open one, and you'll just get the occasional prompt to preview files. There's no way to compress a group of documents through the app, either.

Enter Zipped, a tiny utility for iPhone and iPad that can zip together any number of files or unzip them to the Files app. On the iPad Pro, it fully supports drag and drop, allowing you to open Zipped in a Slide Over pane and drag anything you like from the Files app on over.

I've been testing Zipped on both iPhone and iPad for the last week, and it's a wonderful little addition to my iPad Pro-only workflow. There are apps (like GoodReader) that include zip/unzip functionality, but I almost prefer the lightweight nature of this app — it doesn't try to do too much, leaving the rest of the organization process to the user. (Which, honestly, is how I like it.)

Zipped is $0.99 on the App Store, and it's available now to all devices running iOS 11 or later. Take a look!

How to view your past Activity rings and workouts in Activity for iPhone

Posted on by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

If you have an Apple Watch, your iPhone is always watching… your activity data, that is. Here's how to peek into the archives with the Activity app for iPhone.

Though the Health app officially syncs most of your Apple Watch's activity data as of iOS 11, Apple still offers a stand-alone Activity app to get a more concentrated look at your fitness alongside Apple Watch. Activity is to Apple Watch as the Fitbit app is to a Fitbit — it's a tracker-exclusive app that you won't see unless you have one of Apple's wearables.

You can view a ton of data in this app, including your entire history at a glance with Apple Watch (mine goes back to April 24, 2015), an individual day's Move, Exercise, and Stand goals, past workouts, and a lot more. We're going to focus on looking up your past data here; if you want to learn more about Activity achievements and sharing your Activity with your friends, check out our other articles below:

How to track activity progress and achievements with Activity for iPhone

How to set up and use Activity sharing on Apple Watch

How to view your Activity history at a glance

In the History tab of your Activity app, you'll see a calendar view with three Activity circles — Move, Exercise, and Stand — in place of traditional calendar events. Every day shows how close you were to achieving or succeeding that goal; in addition, any day you log a workout will receive a green dot in the upper right corner.

  1. Open the Activity app for iPhone.
  2. Tap on the History tab.
  3. Scroll through your past activity rings.

    Note: If you drag your finger to the right on this screen, you can see each week's average movement goal, and whether you met, exceeded, or lost ground on that goal.

How to view your Activity history in detail

If the month-at-a-glance view isn't quite in depth enough, you can tap on any of the dates to zoom into day view, with a week's view listed across the top. To switch from day to day, you can either tap on different days in the week viewer, or do a full-press left-to-right swipe on the main display to advance (or move back) one day.

A brief animation will play, displaying how far you got in your Activity progress for that day; from there, you can scroll down to see a detailed hour-by-hour breakdown of your Move calories, exercise minutes, and stand hours. Each is presented by default as a 24 graph, but you can also swipe left on the cards to get the straight numbers.

In addition, if you've hit any achievement milestones, those will be displayed in an achievements section. These live above any workouts you performed, along with their length. You'll also get a few basic metrics like steps and distance, which display every day whether you've worked out or not.

How to view your workout history in detail

While you can view your day's workout in detail from the History screen, you can get a much better sense of your workouts on both a grand scale and detailed one from the Workouts tab.

Like History, Workouts organizes your workouts by month and year, but in a slightly different interface: In year mode, Workouts displays a brief overview of each month, the number of workouts you've done, the total time spent, and calories burned, along with averages for time and calories. There's also an option in the upper right corner (hidden behind "All Workouts") that allows you to Filter the types of workouts you display.

Tap on a month, and you'll get a workout-by-workout breakdown for each one you've done that month, along with dates, workout types, and total calories burned. In month view, as in year view, you can filter those workouts by type.

You can tap on any individual Workout to open a detailed view; it offers information about when and where you performed it, your active and total calories burned, total time, average heart rate, a scatterplot graph of your heart rate, and a graph about your recovery heart rate. (To see your recovery, swipe left on the Heart Rate graph.)

If you're on watchOS 4, that scatterplot graph is available for all your workouts — not just the ones you've done since upgrading — though you may not see data on Heart Rate Recovery for older workouts.

If you've logged a workout with a GPS or GPS + Cellular watch, you'll also get information about your elevation gains, location, weather, and more.

If you've logged specific workouts like the running, walking, or swimming options, you'll also get workout-specific details, including a route map (iPhone required for Series 0 or Series 1; GPS-only Series 2 or GPS & GPS + Cellular Series 3 can use the feature as a stand-alone), swim strokes, average pace, splits, segments, and more.

If you have a route map, you can view it in full-screen by tapping on the icon; route maps display your route as notated by GPS, along with your general pace (green for good, yellow for OK, red for "are you sure you weren't stopping to get ice cream along the way?"). You can tap the globe icon to view your map against a satellite view, or use a multifinder pinch or spread to zoom in or out.

When you're finished looking at your hard work, you can also share it as an image (with the not-so-humblebrag "I worked out for X hours with my #AppleWatch") to any number of your social networks, or save it locally to your camera roll.

Note: Some users aren't seeing certain route maps as of iOS 11. We're looking into the cause and will get back with more information!


How to view history and workout data in the Health app

As of iOS 11, you can also view your Activity rings and past exercises directly in the Health app. To do so, open the Health app and tap on the Health Data tab, then navigate to the Activity section.

Your Activity rings should be at the top of the Today pane; you can tap on them to see detailed graphs broken down by Day, Week, Month, or Year, and swipe on the graphs to move them around. The best way to make sure you always see your Activity rings in the Health app is to toggle the Add to Favorites switch; this will put the Activity widget front and center on the app's Today tab, rather than having it be hidden inside Health Data.

Jumping back to the main Activity screen, you can also view your active energy, resting energy, stand hours, exercise minutes, flights climbed, steps, walking + running distance, total workout time, VO2 max, swim distance, swim strokes, NikeFuel breakdown, and cycling distance, along with some recommended apps. (Wheelchair users will also see options for Pushes and wheelchair distance.)

Any questions about finding workouts or Activity data on iPhone?

Let me know below in the comments!

How to find purchased apps you’ve hidden in iOS 11

Posted on September 19, 2017 by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

You can hide purchased apps you no longer want to see — but how do you get them back?

I've been an iPhone user nearly ten years. That translates into a lot of purchased apps over the last almost-decade, and I'm not exactly thrilled about each and every purchase. (Did I need seventeen sticker pack apps when those launched? Probably not.) So I love the fact that you can hide apps from your previous purchases list to make the apps you do want to re-install easier to find.

But, as Gadget Hacks discovered, there's a bit of a fly in this hidden-purchase ointment: While you can easily hide purchases by swiping on them, you can't actually find them again on your iPhone or iPad. As far as I can tell, there's no "Hidden Purchases" tab or secret menu item.

There is, however, a work-around: iTunes. Despite the note in the Gadget Hacks article, you can still view hidden purchases even though the App Store no longer formally lives on the Mac. Here's how to do it.

How to find purchased apps that you've hidden

These steps work as of iTunes 12.7.0.166.

  1. Open iTunes on your Mac or PC.
  2. Go to the Account menu.
  3. Choose View My Account.

  4. Authorize your account with your fingerprint and/or password.
  5. Scroll down to Purchase History and press Manage next to Hidden Purchases.
  6. Select Apps on the upper right side of the screen.
  7. Choose the apps you wish to unhide.

What do you think?


Is this process cumbersome? (Yes.) Should there be a solution on the iPhone or iPad directly? (Probably.) We've filed a radar for Apple at rdar://34526196, but let us know what you think in the comments, iMore!

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iPad Drag and Drop, Multitasking, and Split View in iOS 11: Everything you need to know!

Posted on by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Curious about the iPad's new multitasking features in iOS 11? Here's what you need to know.

The iPad is getting a pretty significant interface adjustment in iOS 11 when it comes to working with multiple apps. Apple's 64-bit iPad line will receive a new Dock, multitasking features, drag and drop, virtual keyboard features, and a lot more. If you're curious about how this will look on your iPad — and whether it's eligible — read on!

What's new for iPad multitasking in iOS 11?

A whole lot. iPad owners are going to see the following features show up on their devices later this year:

A new Dock

Not only does the Dock look more Mac-like, with a rounded overlay interface, but it can store many more apps. Users can also now access it from any app with a small swipe up from the bottom of the screen, and switch apps with a tap.

A new multitasking screen

Extend that swipe up to the middle of the screen (or use a four-finger gesture), and you'll see the iPad's new App Switcher, a combination of the Mac's Mission Control interface and iOS 11's customizable Control Center widgets. The iPad's new Control Center is set up with widgets on the right side of the screen, the Dock along the bottom, and App Spaces — app thumbnails, along with Split View instances — an easy swipe to the right. You can tap (or tap and hold) on any widget to control it, or tap one of the apps to jump into full screen.

New Split View and Slide Over controls

Split View and Slide Over have gotten super-charged in iOS 11, letting you have more open panels than ever before. Split View will also allow you to actively swap panels with different apps, and control which apps sit on which side of the screen.

Drag and Drop

No, you're not dreaming. Drag and drop has come to the iPad at last, with full support for dragging apps, documents, photos, text, and more, all with a tap and hold.

Which iPads are going to get the new iOS 11 multitasking features?

Pretty much the entirety of Apple's 64-bit iPad line, with a few caveats.

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 2nd generation
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro, 1st generation
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro*
  • iPad Air 2*
  • iPad Air*
  • iPad, 5th generation*
  • iPad mini 4*
  • iPad mini 3*
  • iPad mini 2*

*= These devices have less than 4GB of RAM, and as such won't be able to use every Split View and Slide Over option (detailed below).

What about the iPhone?

No dice for most features, at least in iOS 11; that said, iPhone users can take advantage of Drag and Drop with app icons on the Home screen.

How does the new Dock work?

Like before, the Dock lives along the bottom of your Home screen, but it now has a bunch more spaces for your favorite apps — up to 13 static apps on the 9.7-inch, and more on the larger options. As before, you can drag apps you love to the Dock to save them there; iOS will also intelligently suggest up to three more recently opened apps along the right side of the screen from which to pick.

In apps, the Dock is omnipresent, too: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen in any app, and the Dock appears, ready to switch to a different app, open up an app in Slide Over mode, or enter Split View.

How does the new Split View and Slide Over work?

Like the Split View of iOS generations gone by, iOS 11 allows iPad users to sit two iPad apps side by side while working. But how you get into Split View in iOS 11 is a little different — as well as what you can do with it.

As before, to enter Split View, you open the first app you'd like to use. But from there, there's no side-of-the-screen swiping. Instead, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to pull up your Dock, and drag the app you want to use onto the left or right side of the screen.

A single Slide Over window appears, showcasing the new app on top of the existing one — but unlike years past, both the Slide Over app and active app can be interacted with simultaneously (if your iPad supports it). This means that even if an app hasn't implemented true Split View support, you can use two apps simultaneously without having to constantly open and dismiss a Slide Over app. You can also move the Slide Over panel to either side of the screen at any time, so you're not blocking the content you need.


It's additionally easy to turn that Slide Over panel into a proper Split View screen if the apps in question support it: Just drag down on the top edit handle to pull the app into Split View mode; you can then adjust the vertical edit handle to change the sizing of each panel.

Can you use Split View on multiple instances of the same app in iOS 11?


Not that we can tell, beyond apps that currently support it (like Safari).

How can I adjust Split View apps?

In Split View, you can look at applications in three ways when holding the iPad horizontally:

  • 50-50: Each app takes up the exact same real estate on the iPad.
  • 25-75: The app on the left takes up just 25% of the screen, with the right app taking up 75%.
  • 75-25: The app on the left takes up 75% of the screen, with the right app taking up 25%.

When holding the iPad vertically, you'll only have the 25-75 or 75-25 options.

You can also adjust which pane is on the left, and which is on the right: Tap and drag the top slider to swap it to the left or right side of the screen. You can also drag it down again to return it to Slide Over mode.

How do I swap out different apps in Split View?

The best way is to pull up the Dock and go from there. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen, then drag the app you wish to use from the Dock into one of the Split View instances. It will then take over that instance, populating with the app in question.

To launch an app that isn't in your Dock, you can return to the Home screen with the Home button, highlight the app in question, and use a second finger to re-open your original app.

You can also use Spotlight search when connected to a keyboard.

How do I return a Split View app to a Slide Over panel?

You need only pull down again on the top edit handle.

What about getting rid of the Slide Over panel?

Just swipe to the left or right to sweep the Slide over panel off the screen. (It will continue to live on that side of the screen, so you can slide it back into existence at any time.)

What about leaving apps entirely or finding a new app?

To exit Split View, you can drag the center edit handle all the way to the left or right side of the screen to have one of the two apps take over the entirety of the screen; from there, you can change the current app by opening the Dock, or swiping all the way up to enter the App Switcher, which contains snapshots of every app you've opened on your iPad.

You can alternatively search in Spotlight for a new app: Pull down from the top of the screen to access the new Lock screen/Notification Center, then swipe right to access the Search bar and type in your app query.

What does Split View look like on the 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch iPad?

Each iPad model has a slightly different implementation of Split View, based on internal RAM and screen size.

iPad mini 2 and 3, and iPad Air

These can't use true Split View; instead, they'll be able to pull up a single Slide Over implementation.

iPad mini 4 (7.9-inch iPad) & all supported 9.7-inch iPads

These iPads all use the Compact size class when going into Split View: This means that after you set two apps into Split View, those apps will display iPhone-style UI when set side by side in a 50-50 split, and one iPad, one iPhone-style when in a 25-75 or 75-25 split.

Because of RAM limitations on these iPads, you can pull up a maximum of two Split View apps with both in focus; you can also pull up to two Split View apps, one Slide Over app, and a Picture-in-Picture video all on the same screen, but only the Slide Over app will be in focus.

10.5-inch iPad Pro

This iPad uses the Compact size class when going into Split View: This means that after you set two apps into Split View, those apps will display iPhone-style UI when set side by side in a 50-50 split, and one iPad, one iPhone-style when in a 25-75 or 75-25 split.

This iPad has 4GB of RAM, allowing it to pull up a maximum of two Split View apps, one Slide Over app, and a Picture-in-Picture video all on the same screen; all will be in focus.

12.9-inch iPads

These iPad uses the Regular size class when going into Split View: This means that after you set two apps into Split View, those apps will display iPad-style UI when set side by side in a 50-50, 25-75 or 75-25 split.

This iPad has 4GB of RAM, allowing it to pull up a maximum of two Split View apps, one Slide Over app, and a Picture-in-Picture video all on the same screen; all will be in focus.

What's the App Switcher, and how do I use it?

You can either swipe all the way up from the bottom of the screen or use a four-finger swipe upward to access the App Switcher, which squishes App Spaces and Control Center together in an easy-to-access location. It essentially replaces both iOS's Multitasking View and that awkward grey vertical scrolling space when swapping apps in Split View in iOS 9 and 10; instead, you're presented with a horizontally-scrolling thumbnail gallery of every app you've ever opened — including those saved in Split View configurations.

Can I have multiple Split View configurations of the same apps?

Unlike the Mac's Spaces, you unfortunately can't have multiple configurations of the same apps (i.e. an App Space that had Safari and Mail, and an App Space that had Safari and Fantastical) at this time. It's definitely a feature I'd like to see come to iPad in the future, however.

How do I force quit apps in the new App Switcher?

Tap and hold on any app (or App Space) to bring up Edit mode; from there, tap on the X in the upper left corner of the app or App Space to remove it.

How does Drag and Drop work on the iPad?


Drag and Drop uses a touch-and-hold based multitouch interface to let you drag a remarkable amount of items inside an app itself, or even between apps using the Dock or Home button. To choose something to drag, simply highlight it and tap and hold — the item will enlarge slightly and its opacity will dim.

Fun fact: You can interact with any other item on screen or the Home button itself while in Drag mode — for instance, you can start dragging a photo in the Photos app, press the Home button, open the Files app from the Home screen, add a file to the selection from iCloud Drive, bring up the Dock, then drop your Photos and file attachments in a Mail message.

From here, you can use a secondary finger (or fingers) to either bring up the Dock or App Switcher while continuing to hold on that original item; you can navigate with your secondary fingers until you've found the app you wish to drop the item in, then hover it over the instance. The app will then double-pulse and open; if you can add the item to the new app, you'll see a green plus button in the upper right corner — once you see it, you're free to release your hold on the item. Otherwise, releasing your hold will snap it back to its original location.

What can I drag, officially?

There's no master list available currently on Apple's website, but we've seen the following work:

  • Apps onto other apps in Split View (to replace the active pane)
  • Multiple apps into a folder on the Home Screen
  • Text
  • URLs
  • Images
  • Files

Can I drag multiple items?

Yup! After you tap the first item, use secondary fingers to lightly tap any and all additional items you want to move. You can even combine items from separate apps if you so choose — Drag states are persistent through app switching.

How does this work with apps?

With iOS 11, you'll be able to use Drag and Drop to quickly move multiple apps around on your iPad — and the iPhone (7 or later) line, too. To do so, press and hold on an app until you see it enter Edit mode; from there, use multiple fingers to tap on any secondary apps you wish to select, then move them to the appropriate screen or folder.

How does the long press to enter Edit mode differ from the long press to drag an app into Split View?

As the iPad doesn't have 3D Touch, it's all about how long you hold it: When you press and hold for a few moments, the icon will enlarge slightly and wiggle, letting you know it's ready to be used for Split View. Continue to hold it, and it will go into full-on wiggle mode with the X in its upper right corner — that's Edit mode.

What about the old iPad multitasking gestures? Are those still there?

Yep! You can still use some multi-finger gestures in iOS 11:

  • Four-finger lateral swipes to switch between apps
  • Four-finger upward swipe to bring up the App Switcher
  • Four-finger pinch to return to the Home screen
  • Two-finger pinch to adjust the Picture-in-Picture options
  • One-finger drag to hide Picture in Picture

Other questions about iPad multitasking?

Let me know in the comments and I'll get to digging.

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How to use Slide Over and Split View on the iPad in iOS 11

Posted on by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

iOS 11 changes the multitasking game on the iPad and iPad Pro. Here's how to use it!

If you like using multiple apps on your iPad, you're going to love Apple's new multitasking improvements in iOS 11: Slide Over and Split View are going to be easier to use than ever thanks to the Dock and drag and drop motions.

iPad Drag and Drop, Multitasking, and Split View in iOS 11: Everything you need to know!

Running iOS 11? Here's how to use all of the new multitasking features.

What does multitasking look like in iOS 11?

There are four components to multitasking in iOS 11: Slide Over, Split View, Picture-in-Picture, and the App Switcher. These terms should be familiar to iOS 10 iPad users, but they've all been redesigned and improved in iOS 11.

Slide Over

Slide Over allows you to have a second app on the left or right side of the screen in an iPhone-sized floating pane; you can also hide it off the screen or re-summon it at any time by swiping it away (hence the "slide" portion of the name).

Unlike iOS 10, Slide Over doesn't currently have a default "app" you can slide in from the screen — after a restart, you'll need to drag one on the screen from the Dock or Home screen.

How to use Slide Over in iOS 11

Split View

Split View lets you have two persistent apps sitting side by side on your iPad. Depending on the screen size of your iPad, those two apps may be displayed as Compact (iPhone UI) or Regular (iPad UI) next to each other.

On certain iPads, you can also resize Split View panes for a 50-50, 25-75 or 75-25 split in a horizontal orientation; when holding the tablet vertically, you'll only have the 25-75 or 75-25 options.

  • 50-50: Each app takes up the exact same real estate on the iPad.
  • 25-75: The app on the left takes up just 25% of the screen, with the right app taking up 75%.
  • 75-25: The app on the left takes up 75% of the screen, with the right app taking up 25%.

When multitasking in the App Switcher, Split View apps will remain conjoined until separated; Apple calls them "App Spaces." Unlike the Mac's Spaces, you can't have multiple configurations of the same apps (i.e. an App Space that had Safari and Mail, and an App Space that had Safari and Fantastical) at this time.

How to use Split View in iOS 11

Picture-in-Picture

If you're watching a video in an app that supports Picture-in-Picture, you may be able to minimize the video window to float alongside your current workspace, effectively making the video a second Slide Over pane.

Once in Picture-in-Picture mode, you can pinch-to-zoom or shrink the window, position it in any corner of the screen, play/pause video, slide the video off-screen, or return it to its original app.

How to use Picture-in-Picture on your iPad

App Switcher

iOS 11's App Switcher replaces iOS 10's multitasking screen and can be accessed by double-pressing the Home Button or using a four-finger swipe upwards on the screen. It's comprised of four parts: Control Center, the Dock, App Spaces, and recently used apps.

On the iPad, Control Center is positioned to the right of the screen and works much like it does on the iPhone in iOS 11, while the Dock (bottom-aligned) is there to quickly enter other recently-used apps.

App Spaces can be found immediately to the left of Control Center; they're what Apple is calling its conjoined Split View apps. You can tap to enter them, though you can't currently separate them or create new App Spaces from the App Switcher interface.

Other recently used apps can be scrolled through by swiping right and tapped on to enter them; you can also force quit them by pressing and holding on a pane.

How to use the new App Switcher and Control Center in iOS 11

Which iPads can take advantage of multitasking in iOS 11?

Any iPad that runs iOS 11 can use multitasking, but each offers different levels of support depending on its RAM.

12.9-inch iPad Pro (first and second generation)

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is Apple's best implementation of multitasking: Both generations have 4GB of RAM and a screen large enough to support Split View apps in their largest configuration.

  • Slide Over: Supports Slide Over on top of Split View with full interaction* for all apps

    Second-generation iPad Pro only; first-generation supports Slide Over on top of Split View, but only Slide Over is in focus.

  • Split View: Supports Regular (iPad UI) size classes in Split view; it supports 50-50/25-75/75-25 views horizontally and 25-75/75-25 views vertically.
  • Picture-in-Picture: Supports PiP next to Slide Over and on top of Split View with full interaction.

10.5-inch iPad Pro

The 10.5-inch iPad Pro also has 4GB of RAM, but the smaller screen limits it to iPhone UI-style sizes in Split View.

  • Slide Over: Supports Slide Over on top of Split View with full interaction for all apps.
  • Split View: Supports Compact (iPhone UI) size classes in Split view; it supports 50-50/25-75/75-25 views horizontally and 25-75/75-25 views vertically.
  • Picture-in-Picture: Supports PiP next to Slide Over and on top of Split View with full interaction.

9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad mini 4 (7.9-inch iPad), and all other 9.7-inch iPads

  • Slide Over: Supports Slide Over; only the Slide Over pane is useable when on the screen, with the background app or Split View apps grayed out.
  • Split View: Supports Compact (iPhone UI) size classes in Split view; it supports 50-50/25-75/75-25 views horizontally and 25-75/75-25 views vertically.
  • Picture-in-Picture: Supports PiP next to Slide Over and on top of Split View with only PiP and Slide Over in focus.

iPad mini 2 and 3, and iPad Air

These devices can't use most of iOS 11's multitasking features due to RAM limitations.

  • Slide Over: Supports Slide Over; only the Slide Over pane is useable when on the screen, with the background app grayed out.
  • Split View: Not supported.
  • Picture-in-Picture: Supports PiP next to Slide Over and on top of Split View with only PiP and Slide Over in focus.

How to add a second app on screen in Slide Over and Split View

Whether you want to add a Slide Over pane or enter Split View, adding an app to your workspace is pretty simple.

From the Dock

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to invoke the Dock.
  2. Tap and drag on an app in the Dock to invoke Multitasking mode.
  3. Drag the app out of the Dock up to the screen.

From the Home Screen

Want to use an app that's not in your Dock? Here's how to go about it.

  1. Press the Home Button to return to your Home Screen.
  2. Tap and drag on an app on your Home Screen to invoke Multitasking mode.
  3. While dragging the app, use a second finger to tap the other app you want to use. (If the other app is on another Home screen, you can swipe and then tap while dragging on the first app.)

How to choose the type of multitasking you want: Slide Over or Split View


Once you've picked the app you'd like to use, you can choose what kind of multitasking you'd like to do: Slide Over, or Split View.

  1. To invoke Slide Over, drag the app to the center of the screen.
  2. Release your drag. Slide Over automatically positions on the right side of the screen.

  1. To invoke Split View, drag the app to the far left or right of the screen until you see the main app pane bump over, leaving a black space.
  2. Release your drag.

How to adjust your Slide Over or Split View apps

Here's how to reposition apps once you've opened them in a multitasking mode.

How to turn a Slide Over pane into a Split View pane

  1. Position the Slide Over window on the side of the screen you'd like it.
  2. Pull down on the Slide Over pane's Edit handle at the top of the screen until you see the main app pane bump over, leaving a black space.
  3. Release your drag.

How to turn a Split View pane into a Slide Over pane

  1. Position the Split View slider so that the app you wish to turn into a Slide Over pane is in 25% view.
  2. Pull down on the Split View pane's Edit handle at the top of the screen until you see the main app pane bump over, taking over the entirety of the screen.
  3. Release your drag.

How to reposition an app in Slide Over

  • To reposition the app on the left side of the screen, tap and drag the top of the Slide Over window to the left side.
  • To reposition the app on the right side of the screen, tap and drag the top of the Slide Over window to the right side.
  • To hide the app, drag the top of the Slide Over window off-screen to the right.

How to reposition an app in Split View

  • To reposition the size of each Split View, drag on the vertical Edit handle in the middle of the screen.
  • To swap panes, return the Split View pane to Slide Over by dragging down on the top Edit handle, follow the instructions for moving a Slide Over pane to the left side of the screen, and turn it back into a Split View pane.

How to swap out apps in Split View

  1. Follow the instructions for adding an app from either the Dock or Home Screen.
  2. Drag the app icon on top of the app you want to switch out; the pane should darken.

    If you don't see the pane darken and the app icon re-size, you may be trying to switch out an app that doesn't support Split View.

  3. Release your drag.

How to swap out apps in Slide Over

  1. Follow the instructions for adding an app from either the Dock or Home Screen as a Slide Over pane; the existing Slide Over pane will disappear when you drag the new app icon to the screen.

How to remove Slide Over or Split View app panes

Whether you're done with multitasking or you want to clear your workspace, here's how to remove Slide Over and Split View app panes.

How to remove the Slide Over pane

  1. Swipe right on the active Slide Over app pane to send it off screen.

How to remove a Split View app pane

  1. Tap and hold on the vertical Edit handle in the middle of the screen.
  2. Drag left or right to the edge of the screen to close the app in the direction you're dragging.

  3. To close both Split View panes at once, double press the Home button.
  4. Tap and hold on the Split View App Space.
  5. Select the Quit icon (looks like a black X) in the upper left corner of the App Space.

Other questions on Split View and Slide Over?

If you have any questions about iPad multitasking with iOS 11, drop them in the comments!

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How customize the News app and turn off notifications on Apple Watch

Posted on by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

watchOS 4 gives you the latest news in an extra-compact interface.

When you update to watchOS 4, you'll get a micro-sized version of Apple's News app on the iPhone. You can't read full stories in this News app, but you can still keep up to date on the latest stories and save them for later reading on a bigger iPhone-or-iPad-style screen. Here's how!

How to use the News app on Apple Watch

Unsurprisingly, the News app is simply titled "News" on Apple Watch, and sports the same red icon with a bold N found on your iPhone.

When you launch the News app, you're greeted with a single header, Top Stories, and five top news articles picked from sources you follow in the News app on iPhone.

You can scroll vertically through each story's photo, headline, and brief summary; after finishing, you're presented with the option to save the story in full for later reading, or skip to the next story. After you read all five stories, you can use horizontal swipes to go back to a previous story, or leave the News app; new stories appear daily. Unlike the News app on iPhone, you can't Like or Dislike these stories, or request to see less from a channel — you'll have to do that on your smartphone directly.

You'll also get notifications throughout the day, mirrored from your Apple Watch, with a similar photo/headline/summary interface.

How to change what stories you see in the News app on Apple Watch

There are two ways to alter the stories you see on Apple Watch: Through following channels, and notifications.

How to change your News channel notification settings

  1. Open the News app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to the Following tab.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and select Manage Notifications.

  4. Tap the blue bell icon to turn notifications on or off.

How to turn off notifications for the News app on Apple Watch

If you want to kill News notifications entirely on your Apple Watch, here's how to do it.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to the My Watch tab.
  3. Select Notifications.
  4. Tap on the News option.

  5. Change the alert style from Mirror my iPhone to Custom.
  6. Turn off the slider next to Show Alerts.

Any questions?

Let us know in the comments.

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How to turn your Apple Watch into a flashlight

Posted on by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

In watchOS 4, your Apple Watch can become a wrist-based flashlight.

You may never need to turn your Apple Watch into a flashlight, but it's nice to have a soft wrist-mounted light around now and again. In watchOS 4, you don't even need an app to turn your watch's screen into a full-press spotlight: It's built right into the operating system! Here's how to use it.

How to use your Apple Watch as a flashlight

  1. Go to your Apple Watch's watch face.
  2. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to invoke Control Center.
  3. Tap the Flashlight icon.

Your Apple Watch flashlight has three modes: White, flashing white, and red (for spaces where you need to see, but don't want to call attention to yourself). To choose, swipe horizontally between them, then tap the option you'd like to use.

To dismiss the flashlight and return to the watch face, just drag down from the top bezel.

Questions?



Any questions about using the Flashlight app on your Apple Watch? Let us know in the comments.

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What’s new in watchOS 4?

Posted on by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Welcome to the next evolution of Apple Watch.

watchOS 4 may not be a gigantic update for Apple Watch, but it brings a lot of smart additional functionality to Apple's wearable. Here's a quick breakdown of everything that's new and changed in watchOS 4.

Setup

Look and feel

  • New List view option for viewing apps
  • Bigger PIN pad for entering passcode on watch
  • Elimination of most page-based horizontal scrolling
  • Redesign of most apps to embrace iOS's bold text and card-based structure

The Dock

  • All-new Dock vertical design and functionality
  • Dock can have either Favorites or Recents saved — not both
  • Sideways swipe to remove Dock apps
  • All Apps shortcut button at the bottom of the Dock

Control Center

News

  • News app with top 5 stories of the day
  • New redesigned notification cards

Watch faces

  • New Siri face (can display Alarms, Breathe, Calendar, Home, Maps, News, Now Playing, Photos, Reminders, Stocks, Stopwatch, Timer, Wallet, Weather, and Workout)
  • New Kaleidoscope face
  • Turn any photo in iOS 11 into a Kaleidoscope or Photo face
  • New Pixar Toy Story face (Buzz, Woody, Jessie, Toy Box)

Complications

  • Messages now shows unread messages
  • News shows a ticker of latest story
  • Music/Now Playing shows interactive peak meter along with song title
  • Heart Rate displays last heart reading and time interval

Intelligence

  • Music app will display whenever you're playing audio on connected devices (i.e. iPhone, car stereo via iPhone) and is fully controllable; podcast controls supported, too
  • If playing audio in third-party app, and that app has a watch component, watch app's now playing screen will display instead
  • Workout app will display as primary screen when you're working out, and mute all notifications
  • Breathe and stand notifications won't prompt you if Apple Watch thinks you can't benefit (i.e. you're working out, in a car, etc)

Fitness and Activity

  • Health can sync to iCloud in iOS 11 (but Apple Watch still has to sync to iPhone first)
  • Activity provides customized notifications based on your activity level, accelerometer, and time-based data
  • Automatically play music through your headphones when starting a workout (if not already listening to music)
  • New 3D animations for achievements
  • Personalized monthly achievements

Workouts

  • Workout app gets new vertical cards-based interface
  • New HIIT workout
  • Improvements to Pool Swim to track sets and rests, pace per set, and distance for different stroke types
  • Switch exercise types on the fly during an active workout (swap between running, HIIT, cycling, swimming, and more)
  • Change your music's volume and tracks within the Workout app
  • If you're working out at a gym with compatible (read: new and fancy) equipment, you'll be able to wirelessly pair your Apple Watch with the machine to sync up your fitness data and get credit for that awful treadmill run
  • Save Other workouts with custom exercise types and icons

Heart Rate tracking

These features should be available with the release of watchOS 4 for Series 1, 2, and 3 owners; I've heard conflicting reports on whether the original Apple Watch will get anything but the 24-hour scatterplot graph, but we're looking into it.

  • Overall faster readings
  • An overview of your current heart rate, resting rate, walking average, and last recorded exercise
  • A 24-hour scatterplot graph of your recent heart fluctuations along with your most recent reading
  • Alerts if your heart rate peaks when your watch detects no major activity (adjustable based on your fitness level and age)

Music

  • New card-based Music app interface
  • Can no longer browse iPhone's music library except through Siri
  • Now Playing complication lets you control play/pause/speed/volume for any audio on connected external devices (i.e. iPhone, iPhone connected to car stereo, etc)
  • Sync multiple playlists to your Apple Watch (up to 2GB on 8GB; the 16GB Series 3 GPS + Cellular may have a larger option, but I haven't yet tested it)
  • Automatically sync most-played playlists and albums while your watch charges

New developer tools

  • APIs for turn-by-turn navigation alerts and haptics
  • Auto-rotation for content like payments, language translation, photos, and more
  • Audio recording in background
  • Apps can get permission for location directly on the Watch
  • Apps can connect directly to most Bluetooth devices (no cars, sadly) without using an iPhone as a passthrough

Any features I've missed?

Found anything cool about watchOS 4? Drop it in the comments.

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Can’t update to watchOS 4? How to troubleshoot common problems

Posted on by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

watchOS 4 won't install or update on your Apple Watch? Here's what to do!

Apple's got all-new updates for watchOS. While everything should — and usually does — go smoothly, once in a while these simply don't update or install the way you'd expect. Sometimes it's a connection issue. Sometimes it's a verification error. Sometimes it won't reboot. And other times it just... does nothing.

If you're having problems installing or updating watchOS, here are a few things you can try.

Are you on iOS 11?

You'll need to update to Apple's latest version of iOS before the watchOS 4 update will show up in the Watch app, which, yes, means taking the plunge on both devices.

Are you on an iOS 11 beta seed?

We've heard a few reports from people on the iOS 11 public beta and developer beta who can't get watchOS 4 to show up. Despite the fact that both the GM on the beta and the production seed are the same, we suspect there might be an issue pulling the production watch software. If you can't get watchOS 4 to update, the easiest thing to do is just re-do the iOS 11 update via the production servers. Here's how:

How to update from an iOS beta to the official release

Check your connection

Before you do anything drastic, check to make sure you're on Wi-Fi and your Apple Watch is recognizing your iPhone.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Wi-Fi. (Also double-check Bluetooth is on while you're at it.)

  3. Swipe up to bring up Control Center on your Apple Watch. If your iPhone is connected, you'll see a green Connected banner at the top of the screen.

Force Quit and restart

Still not working? Try force quitting the Watch app on your iPhone and restarting your Apple Watch.

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Double press the Home button to bring up the multitasking interface.
  3. Swipe up on the Watch app to close it.

  4. Swipe up on the Watch app card to force quit it.

Next:

  1. Press and hold the Side Button on your Apple Watch.
  2. Slide to Power Off.

Erase and re-pair

If neither of the above two steps worked, it's time to bring out the big gun: unpairing and re-pairing your Apple Watch.

Note: Unpairing your Apple Watch will automatically back up most of your information, but you may lose access to certain aspects, like your Apple Pay cards. You'll also have the Watch removed from Find My iPhone, and Activation Lock will be disconnected.

Any other watchOS install troubleshooting questions?

Still having trouble updating your Apple Watch to watchOS 4? Let us know below and we'll try to troubleshoot.

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How to downgrade your iPhone or iPad from iOS 11

Posted on by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Want to roll your iPhone back to iOS 10? Here's how.

iOS 11 comes with some new features a new native app, but if you need to downgrade your device back to a prior version, that's fine. What's more, downgrading is easy: All you need is an archived backup of your device pre-iOS 11, iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC, and to follow the steps below!

Note: If you're reading this article on the iPhone or iPad you want to revert, either print it out first or open it on another iPhone, iPad, or computer so that you can read along as you go.

How to put your iPhone and iPad into recovery mode

There's no button tap to revert your device back to the standard version of iOS. So, to get started, you'll need to put your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into recovery mode. That lets iTunes take over.

  1. Turn off your iPhone or iPad. (Hold down the Sleep/Wake button until Slide to power off appears, the slide.)
  2. Plug your USB to Lightning cable (or USB to 30-pin Dock cable for older devices) into your computer.
  3. Hold down—and keep holding down—the Home button on your iPhone or iPad. (On an iPhone 7, you'll instead want to hold the Volume Down button.)
  4. Plug your USB to Lightning cable (or USB to 30-pin Dock cable for older devices) into your iPhone or iPad.
  5. Continue holding down the Home button (or on iPhone 7, Volume Down) until the connect to iTunes screen comes up.


If, for some reason, Recovery Mode doesn't work, you can also try putting your iPhone or iPad into DFU mode. Device Firmware Update mode is a little trickier to get into, but will often force a restore even when nothing else works.

How to downgrade to iOS 10 on your iPhone or iPad

If iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC doesn't launch automatically, launch it manually. iTunes will detect your device in recovery mode and ask you what you want to do.

  1. Click Restore on the iTunes popup.
  2. Click Restore and Update to confirm.


  3. Click Next on the iOS 10 Software Updater.
  4. Click Agree to accept the Terms and Conditions and start downloading iOS 10.


If your device reboots to your iOS beta before the download is complete, simply repeat the steps above and put it back into Recovery Mode. Once the download is complete, iTunes will restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to the active version of iOS 10.

How to restore your archived iOS backup to your iPhone or iPad

Once your device is restored, it'll have a clean copy of the latest version of iOS. To get your data back, you'll need to restore from a previous backup. If you've been running beta software for more than a day, your standard iCloud or iTunes backup will likely be based on that beta and may not restore properly to a device running the current version of iOS. That's where the archived backup you made prior to installing beta software comes in. (You did make a backup, right?)

  1. Select Restore from this backup in iTunes.
  2. Choose the archived backup you made before installing the beta software update.

Once the restore is completed, your iPhone or iPad should be back to where it was before you installed the beta software. If you've made any major changes since then, and they don't sync back some other way, you may have to repeat them to get back to exactly where you were before downgrading.

If you run into any trouble or have any questions, ask away in the comments!

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watchOS 4 review: Refinements and smarts paint a bright picture for Apple Watch

Posted on by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

"More intuitive. More intelligent. More you."

This is watchOS 4's marketing tagline, and it's an appropriate one. The fourth software iteration from Apple's watchOS team isn't bringing blockbuster changes to the Apple Watch, but it continues the trend of past watchOS releases in helping improve its users' lives — especially when it comes to health and fitness.

Look and feel

Like 2016's iOS 10 release, watchOS 4 is a child of two worlds: It's beginning to embrace the bold look favored by iOS 11, but the operating system isn't quite there yet. Many vestiges of watchOS versions past remain, including the app screen's grid view (though it's been even further deprecated with changes to the Dock and the List View option), older stock app designs, and a more limited Siri interface.

But you needn't look further than the lock screen to see signs of forward movement in watchOS 4. The watch's PIN pad has been enlarged and emboldened, making numerical input more pleasant on even the 38mm watch size. Gone is pretty much every page-based horizontal interaction, with watchOS opting instead for a Digital Crown-controlled vertical view. (Real talk: We never needed horizontal swipes on the watch, anyway.) We're still stuck horizontally swiping between watch faces, but beyond that, the new Flashlight tool, and Workout views, it's card-based scrolling all the way down.

Redesign city

This is especially obvious in redesigns of the Music app and Workout app, the new News app, the Dock, and the new Siri watch face. Card-based interfaces allow for full-screen viewing of content, and vertical swipes or Digital Crown twists quickly let the user scroll through.

In general, I'm going to support any redesign that makes content easier to see and read on small screens, and iOS's bold and curved card language fits especially well on the curved square interface of the Apple Watch. My only complaint is that it's not universal: While apps like Maps, Music, News, Workout, and Heart Rate have the new look, there are still quite a few apps (Mail and Messages in particular) that are still favoring smaller lettering and thin rectangular tap targets in the main app view over bigger, easier-to-read cards.

That said, I suspect this is something we'll see improve as watchOS continues to grow — Apple's latest design language for iOS took over two releases to get implemented device-wide, and I won't be surprised if we don't get a fully revamped look until watchOS 5.

I read the news today

I was initially unconvinced that the News app on watchOS would be better than getting the occasional iPhone-based push notification from the app, but after a few months with watchOS 4, I find myself really enjoying it. The redesigned look of iPhone notifications helps a lot, as does the clean and streamlined interface of the News app itself. I may not always love the content that the News app pushes (though that's less a fault of the News app than our current news climate), but I'm glad to be informed.

Of course, you can't actually read a story on the Apple Watch — or have it read to you. Instead, you just get the headline and lede, with the option to save it to the News app on iPhone to read later. This is where lede writers do a good job: I don't think I've ever actually saved a story to read later because the notification gives me nearly everything I want to know.

Keep watching the clock, tick tock

It wouldn't be a watchOS release without a few new watch faces — though, unfortunately, we're still limited to Apple's "sweet" solution of mixing and matching pre-built faces and complications, rather than being able to fully customize our own.

I'm still hoping for a custom watch face store in watchOS 5, but in the meantime, I'll tip my cap to the new Kaleidoscope face: It gives you the option to remix one of 8 existing photos into three Kaleidoscope patterns (Facet, Radial, or Rosette) for your watch face, with up to three complications; you can also choose your own image for a kaleidoscope pattern all your own. Turning the Digital Crown on the face itself to invoke the remix is an oh-so-satisfying time-waster, reminiscent of grade-school kaleidoscope viewers.

iOS 11 also lets users turn any photo from their library into a watchOS 4 Photo or Kaleidoscope watch face. It's not as satisfying as a true watch face customization app, but it does greatly simplify the photo-picking process.

There are also four new Disney faces starring the cast of Toy Story, including Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie, or the Toy Box. These are cute enough, but a two-complication limit makes them little more than a fun novelty option.

The watch's face customization screen remains largely the same from watchOS 3 (including the much-superior Watch Face Gallery for creating faces through the iPhone's Watch app), though there are a few revised complications available in watchOS 4. The Messages complication now shows your unread message count, the News complication offers a quick ticker, the Music app now shows an interactive peak meter along with the song title, while Heart Rate will display the watch's last heart reading.

Light up the Dock

The Dock has been reinvented yet again for watchOS 4: You still press the side button to access it, as with watchOS 3, but now Dock items are solely organized by Recents or Favorites — there's no intermingling. They also now display in the same card-based rolodex view as some of the system app redesigns.

The new Dock cards are easier to read and tap on than the page-based system; though it does take away some of the previous "glance" functionality present in watchOS 3, I prefer having to tap on the app: The horizontally-scrolling Dock's preview panes were too small to really grok information off on a 38mm watch face, anyway.

In addition to a series of either Favorite or Recent apps, there's an All Apps shortcut button at the end of the list allows you to dip into the app screen (one of the few remnants from the watchOS 1 design graveyard) if you absolutely have to. Here's hoping you do not — but should you have to, you can also make that app screen easier on the eyes with a Force Touch gesture, which allows you to switch your app view into alphabetical List mode. I switched to this mode pretty much immediately after moving to watchOS 4, and I haven't gone back: Here's hoping Apple eliminates the Grid view (née Carousel) entirely in watchOS 5.

The Apple Watch's Control Center pane hasn't gotten the same redesign as its iOS counterpart, in part because it already mostly exists as a series of floating bubble panes. That said, I wish there was some ability for Force Touch adjustments here, especially with the addition of the Series 3 GPS + Cellular watch option. The watch is more powerful than ever when roaming on its own, but you still can't manually pick and dictate passwords to a Wi-Fi hotspot, or clear an interstitial screen (like the ones present at Starbucks). It's a shame, and a feature that prohibits the watch from being able to truly exist outside of its paired iPhone.

Control Center does have two new features in watchOS 4: A small GPS indicator now displays in the top right corner of the pane when apps are actively using either the watch or the iPhone's GPS, and there's a new Flashlight button.

It works much like the iPhone's Retina Flash, lighting up the Apple Watch's screen with one of several flashlight styles: solid white, flashing white, or solid red (for easier-on-the-eyes light in dark locations). These panes won't light up a room, but it's a helpful little feature for trying to find a house key in darkness or reaching into a dusky space.

Hello, Dave

Siri's biggest improvement in watchOS 4 doesn't actually have to do with the traditional Siri voice interface at all: It's a new text-based Siri "intelligent" watch face, which uses all of Siri's data detectors and other machine learning goodies to help you throughout your day.

The Siri watch face is an interesting proposal from a company that's focusing more than ever lately on smart, private machine learning. Does it make sense to have a watch face that knows what you want, when you want it, rather than trying to hand-customize your own data-filled watch face?

For reference, the Siri watch face supports the following data detectors:

  • Alarms
  • Breathe
  • Calendar
  • Home
  • Maps
  • News
  • Now Playing
  • Photos
  • Reminders
  • Stocks
  • Stopwatch
  • Timer
  • Wallet
  • Weather
  • Workout

It also has room for a single complication (a Siri trigger by default), though the scroll itself doesn't currently incorporate third-party apps.

By twisting the Digital Crown downward, you can see the current day's weather, past events, and the most recent music you were listening to; otherwise, you're limited to your Up Next queue, which can include things like calendar appointments, the projected sunset time, any impending weather, recommend news stories, Photos memories, a Breathe reminder, and any projected exercise goals, among other things.

So will the Siri watch face make your Apple Watch experience better? I think it'll honestly depend on how you use your Apple Watch. The Siri watch face is great about tracking your calendar appointments and reminders — it's one of the better calendar trackers out there, and certainly the best calendar experience in watchOS 4. But after several months with it, I haven't been wowed. The lack of third-party cards hurts the face, to be sure, but also the lack of customization — I care little about my calendar appointments, but I'd love more easily-accessible Workout controls at times when the watch knows I usually work out, or maps when I leave the house.


More interesting is what it says about Apple's plans for Siri — and the Watch — going forward. Intelligent watch faces and complications are far from perfect in 2017, but it's clear that the company is very interested in making technology work as seamlessly for the end user as possible. The Siri watch face is just one part of that.

Dance to the music

Elsewhere, Apple has made Siri-style changes under the hood in watchOS 4 to make its notification system slightly more intelligent, especially when it comes to interacting with apps. For instance, the Music app will now automatically show up as your primary watch screen on wrist raise when you're listening to a song on your iPhone or Watch. And not just a song: This works for just about any audio you play, including videos, the Podcast app, Spotify, and even websites.

Healthy living

There are also quite a few bits of Siri smarts in Apple's health initiatives: Breathe and stand notifications now hook into the Watch's built-in sensors, allowing the Activity app to avoid pinging you with notifications if it thinks you're driving or otherwise unable to respond to activity prompts. Running a workout will also automatically set your notifications to Do Not Disturb, so you won't get distracted by a text message mid-deadlift.

Missing the connection

For all its under-the-hood improvements in watchOS 4, I'm still sorely missing offline dictation support and queued Siri queries if you end up asking a question while offline. (And despite rumors to the contrary, Siri doesn't yet support dictating notes in watchOS 4 — one of its major Siri limitations.)

I'm guessing this is largely a hardware limitation, however, not software: It's hard to offer a feature if your hardware's chipset can't support it, and given that watchOS 4 is available for S1, S1P, S2, and S3 chipped watches, offline dictation may be impossible to provide without destroying performance or battery life in older models. Maybe next year.

Sweat the details

Apple has revamped a number of features in its Health suite of apps for watchOS 4: Fitness is clearly a motivating factor for many Apple Watch purchases, and it's smart business to continue to improve in that arena. The biggest changes here are watchOS's new Workout app and improved Activity notifications, along with the Heart Rate app's new scatterplot graph and extra tracking categories so that you can get a quick glance at your heart rate throughout the day.

Save me

Here's a potentially huge feature in iOS 11 that intersects with watchOS 4: Apple now supports iCloud sync for your Health data on iPhone, which means any health data you sync from your Apple Watch to your iPhone gets encrypted and stored in iCloud at will. In plain terms, this mostly frees the Apple Watch from one of its most frustrating limitations: not being able to pair to a new iPhone without first restoring the entire iPhone backup.

Yes, if you start from scratch on a new iPhone you'll still lose custom watch faces, app lists, and your general Apple Watch preferences, but you'll no longer lose your heart rate or workout records, your Activity Rings, and past activity. It's a huge improvement for those of us who frequently need to switch iPhone models but don't want to lose out on tracking Apple Watch data, and I'm very happy to see the change.

Of course, you still need to sync the Apple Watch to an iPhone to get that Health data to iCloud — Apple doesn't yet support direct syncing between the watch and iCloud. (Yet. Another item to add to the watchOS 5 wishlist.)

Let's get moving

The Workout app now sports watchOS 4's vertical cards-based interface in displaying workouts, making them easier to read and to begin new workouts. Continuing in Apple's quest to track more exercise types, the app also offers a new HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) exercise, and has improved Pool Swim tracking with sets and rests, pace for each set, and distance for stroke types.

The HIIT option uses the accelerometer and heart sensor in tandem to try and track exercises (like burpees) that the Other workout option didn't always catch accurately. It remains to be seen how accurate the HIIT workout option will be — I did a brief test and was pleased with the results, but won't be publishing numbers until the fall when the operating system is out of beta.

But there's a reason why Apple takes its time in rolling out new exercise types. The company wants to get its health data correct the first time, and it likely isn't going to add an exercise type unless the results are within range of those from top-tier health measurement systems.

There are a few more perks in the Workout app in watchOS 4:

  • You can switch exercise types on the fly during an active workout, letting you swap between running, HIIT, cycling, swimming, and more
  • You can change your music's volume and tracks within the Workout app
  • If you're working out at a gym with compatible (read: new and fancy) equipment, you'll be able to wirelessly pair your Apple Watch with the machine to sync up your fitness data and get credit for that awful treadmill run

As in watchOS 3, you can save Other workouts with custom exercise types, but in a new move, those Other categories are now saved with the proper icon and name. (Skating Sports now saves with a skateboarder icon, for example.)

Make me a life coach

Okay, so the Activity app's Siri-based coaching notifications aren't quite "life coach" material, but they definitely want to help you improve your day-to-day experience.

In watchOS 4, rather than receiving stock notifications about your exercise goals and streaks, the Activity app will attempt to customize notifications to encourage you personally. It uses the accelerometer and time-based data to predict when you're most receptive to things like Breathe notifications and taking walks, and celebrating the achievements you hit. I've largely enjoyed watchOS's end-of-day activity challenges, which give you a specific goal to get your achievements (i.e. "Take a 15-minute walk to hit your goal today"). And when you hit your goals and streaks, the Activity team has added neat little full-screen animations to make it more fun. It's a little touch, but a nice one. Oh, and you'll automatically have music play for your workout if you don't already have something playing on your headphones.

watchOS will also reportedly provide personalized monthly challenges depending on your activity level — so someone who crushes a 700cal Move goal every day will get a different challenge than someone still struggling to hit 200cal/daily — but I haven't seen any during the beta period.

More detailed tracking

In the vein of third-party apps like Cardiogram, Apple has added a bunch of functionality to the Heart Rate app and its tracking on Apple Watch, including:

  • Overall faster readings
  • An overview of your current heart rate, resting rate, walking average, and last recorded exercise
  • A 24-hour scatterplot graph of your recent heart fluctuations along with your most recent reading
  • Alerts if your heart rate peaks when your watch detects no major activity

These features should be available with the release of watchOS 4 for Series 1, 2, and 3 owners; I've heard conflicting reports on whether the original Apple Watch will get anything but the 24-hour scatterplot graph, but we're looking into it.

After Apple's September announcement of these features, I initially worried that this would fall into the area of "too much health information" for my awful hypochondriac self. Heart rate alerts are a good thing in a vacuum, but as someone who had a terrifying false alarm a few years back that had to do with high heart rates, I still get a little on edge with that kind of data, especially given the Apple Watch's occasional tendency to misread heart rates during extreme temperatures.

But that said, after a week with these features, I'm actually really enjoying them. Apple hasn't said this publicly, but I suspect that the company has done some tweaking to the way the heart rate sensor interprets data: Readings feel faster and significantly more accurate at rest with my Series 2 than they did in watchOS 3. It's just conjecture at this point, but I hope to do more significant tests in the coming weeks.

The resting heart rate average is an especially nice bit of information for aspiring athletes, as is Apple's new exercise-based Recovery metric: After you finish a workout, watchOS will display your heart rate average during that workout, along with how quickly your heart rate came down from maximum effort (also known as your recovery metrics). This data is incredibly valuable for accurate training, and I'm happy to see Apple putting the work in to make the watch better and better for fitness enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

I haven't seen a high heart rate alert yet in watchOS 4, but that may be in part due to the threshold I set (120BPM). You can adjust your own personal threshold from the Watch app on your iPhone to accurately reflect a good monitoring point for your own personal health. Apple has reportedly been working on a monitoring system like this for years, and it says something about the company's confidence in its Apple Watch heart rate sensors that it's being rolled out to all watches, not just the new Series 3.

Play it again, watch

Though there isn't (yet) a native Podcasts app on the Apple Watch, we're still getting some audio improvements in watchOS 4, largely inside of the Music app.

You can now sync multiple playlists to your Apple Watch (up to 2GB on my 8GB Series 2; the 16GB Series 3 GPS + Cellular may have a larger option, but I haven't yet tested it). It's a large improvement over the single-playlist restriction of past operating systems; better yet, Apple will also automatically sync a few of your most-played playlists and albums while your watch charges — ensuring that you'll always have music at the ready should you need to groove on a run.

Like several of the other watchOS 4 apps, Music has been redesigned to incorporate the vertical card-based scroll design, displaying "Heavy Rotation" playlists as a few tappable full-screen cards before viewing your Library and other options as a text-based list. The Now Playing complication also more clearly indicates controls for Music, displaying a small level meter (and the song title, if choosing a larger complication).

As I mentioned above, there's also a bit of Siri-based smarts in Music and watchOS 4: When you're actively listening to music on your iPhone or Watch, the Music app will automatically display as the dominant app on wrist raise, much like the Maps or Workout apps do when getting directions or running. In my limited testing, this works almost flawlessly, and it's especially useful when you're out walking and want to skip a song or change your volume.

Cooler still, the Digital Crown's volume controls work for any device that's connected to your iPhone: Yes, that means that if you're driving and connected your iPhone to your stereo, you can adjust the volume of your car speakers from your Apple Watch. It also means you have a wrist-worn control system for any Bluetooth-paired speaker, too, which is great for parties and the like.

One downside to Apple's music changes: The Music app no longer lets you switch between your iPhone and Apple Watch libraries in the watch app — you only have access to your Apple Watch library. You can get around this limitation by asking Siri on your watch to play a specific song or shuffle a playlist, but it's still a frustrating change for those of us who used the Music app to find and play iPhone content.

If you build it, will they come?

So I've written over 2000 words on some of the features and improvements in watchOS 4, but I've yet to actually touch on the features I'm most excited to see in action — the ones you haven't heard about on Apple's user-facing website.

I'm talking about Apple's new developer APIs for third-party apps, and yes, I recognize how un-exciting that sentence sounds to the average human. "APIs! … Um, wait, what?"

So let's break it down in plain English.

Google Maps could get turn-by-turn navigation alerts and haptics

With watchOS 4, Apple is letting third-party apps build in turn-by-turn navigation alerts and haptics — also known as "those awesome Taptic alerts you get in the default Maps app." And not just straight maps apps, either: Transit and tour guide apps have the option of using these, too, so you can enjoy a walking tour of a city without gluing your eyes to your phone's map.

I've been waiting for this since the very first version of watchOS, but always assumed that Apple was going to keep this feature exclusive to its own Maps app. Not so!

Of course, for Google to take advantage, it has to build a new version of its Google Maps app, which it pulled from the Apple Watch earlier this year after a year of so-so functionality. As exciting as this feature could be for frequent travelers, it requires buy-in from Apple's many developers — and hopefully won't murder my 38mm watch battery when used.

You won't have to weirdly bend your wrist to show people stuff

This is a small nitpick, but one I'm glad Apple is fixing: Third-party apps (and first-party apps alike) can now take advantage of an auto-rotate feature for content like payments, language translation, photos, and more; when you flip your watch screen away from your body, apps that incorporate this feature will rotate content 180° to properly display right-side-up to the recipient.

Less iPhone, more Watch

We may not have offline Siri processing in watchOS 4, but we're edging ever closer to an iPhone-less Apple Watch with new developer features that let Apple's smartwatch talk directly to more aspects of an app.

In watchOS 4, apps can get permission for location directly on the Watch, and apps can connect directly to most Bluetooth devices (no cars, sadly) without using an iPhone as a passthrough. This allows hardware like glucose monitors and smart sports equipment to communicate faster and apps to update more quickly.

Bottom line

With watchOS 4, Apple is layering new improvements atop the framework of its predecessors. These features aren't game-changers: watchOS remains watchOS, nitpicks and all. But they will nevertheless sell watches. They'll delight customers. And, if developers take advantage of Apple's latest tools, they'll further improve their onboard app experience for all involved.

watchOS 4 will be out later this afternoon alongside iOS 11 and tvOS 10 for all Apple Watch models. If you have an Apple Watch, it's worth the upgrade for the health features alone, but improvements to music and third-party apps should also be an upgrade consideration.

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How to sync your Health data in iOS 11 (and how it works)

Posted on by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

iOS 11 brings a major change to how Apple handles your Health data, and makes it easier for users to save it.

Over the past few years, the Health app — and all the fitness data within — has become more and more important to everyday iPhone users. If you have an Apple Watch, you'll have months (and possibly years) of heartbeat and activity information in there, along with any app-submitted data, sleep tracking, step-tracking, and more.

Backing up that data is important from a preservation aspect — you don't want to lose it — but Apple also cares about keeping it safe from prying eyes. It's why, when the feature first debuted, the company limited it to a password-required encrypted iTunes backup.

As Apple's cloud-side encryption has gotten better, the company has allowed users to back up via iCloud as well as iTunes; now with iOS 11, you can not only back up your Health data, but actively sync it with iCloud, too.

How Health iCloud syncing is different from a backup

When you back up your iPhone via iCloud, you make an (ideally) nightly backup of everything your phone has recorded since your last backup. That includes contacts, Health data, email messages, apps and their home screen positioning, and more. The information in this backup is only available to your current device or when you restore a new device with the backup, however.

In contrast, iCloud sync happens whenever you're connected to the internet, and syncs to any device logged into your iCloud account. We already use it to sync things like keychain passwords, Apple Notes, Safari bookmarks, HomeKit preferences, non-credit card Wallet passes, Calendar info, and the like. All of these options can be enabled or disabled on a feature-by-feature basis from the iCloud screen in your Settings app on each device.

With iOS 11, users now have a Health toggle in the iCloud settings screen that they can enable or disable. Whenever the toggle is enabled, Apple uploads an encrypted package of your latest Health data, which then automatically syncs with any other iOS devices logged in to your iCloud account.

What iCloud syncs from your Health repository

  • Health data (heart rate information, sleep tracking, step counts, elevation, etc)
  • Sources and connected devices
  • Medical ID
  • Activity Rings
  • Workouts
  • Stand Hours

I'm not sure yet whether Health syncs your Activity achievements, but I'm looking into it.

Why should I use Health iCloud sync instead of a backup?

In short, iCloud sync keeps your Health data backed up across devices, rather than limiting it to a single iPhone; if you forget to back up your iPhone for a week and then drown it on a camping trip, you'd lose all of that health data. In contrast, as long as you had iCloud sync enabled and some form of internet, you'd still have all that data ready to sync to a new iPhone when you got home.

The other big reason for using iCloud sync: It lets you move your health and activity data without having to restore a device from backup. It's a big win for the clean install iPhone crowd, but it's also nice for folks like me, who frequently test multiple devices — and multiple Apple Watches — and have lost data in the past because I could only sync my Health data to one repository.

And, like iCloud Keychain and Messages, your Health data is completely encrypted: Apple can't see if you missed your Activity goal for the day, nor does the company really want to. (That's what the Apple Watch guilt-trip notifications are for.)

Why shouldn't I use iCloud sync for Health?

I'm pretty excited about iCloud sync for Health, but there are a couple of edge-case issues where you wouldn't want to immediately enable it in iOS 11.

You use one iCloud ID for an entire family

First of all, please don't do this. Instead, create a Family Sharing account and make separate IDs for your family. iCloud has too much individual data at this point to make sense of sharing an individual account.

But that said, if you're hellbent on sharing the same account for multiple people, each person's Health data from their respective device is going to get smushed together and look really weird.

You still have a bunch of devices on iOS 10, including the one synced with your Apple Watch

Your Health data won't sync to iOS 10 devices, so you don't want to set up iCloud Health sync if you won't actually get to take advantage of it.

How to set up iCloud sync for Health on your iPhone

Setting up health syncing on your iPhone is pretty straightforward once you're running iOS 11.

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Tap the Apple ID banner at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Tap the toggle next to Health to enable it.

One big note: If you plan to move to a new iPhone without restoring from backup, make absolutely sure your old iPhone has the Health toggle turned on and has synced. Otherwise, you risk not having your Health data transfer over.

Other questions about Health syncing in iOS 11?

Let me know below!

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How to move your Health data to a new iPhone or Apple Watch

Posted on by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

If you're looking to move your health data from an old Apple Watch to a new one, you've got some choices to make.

When you move to a new Apple Watch or new iPhone, one thing you need to keep an eye on is your health data. Because it's a very private set of information, it's available as an optional sync to iCloud in iOS 11, as well as via encrypted iCloud and iTunes backups. If you want to move to a new device, however, you'll need to decide how to bring that information over.

Option 1: Back up your health data with an encrypted backup

While the Apple Watch doesn't make a backup in the "true" sense of the word, it does sync Health data to your iPhone's health repository, along with saving watch faces and the like as a package inside of your iPhone backup. Therefore, if you want to move that information over to a new Apple Watch, you'll need to force a backup by unpairing your watch.

If you're additionally planning on moving to a new iPhone with your watch, you'll want to make an encrypted iCloud or iTunes backup of your watch and iPhone data. You create encrypted iCloud backups whenever you back up to iCloud, but encrypted iTunes backups are a bit of a different beast. Here's how to do them.

  1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer via USB.
  2. Open iTunes
  3. Click on the device icon in the tab bar.

  4. Click Summary if you're not already in that section.

  5. Click the checkbox next to Encrypt iPhone/iPad backup. This will allow your Health data to be backed up.

  6. Back Up Now under Manually Back Up and Restore.

Option 2: Sync with iCloud

With iOS 11, Apple now offers encrypted syncing of your Health data to iCloud, just as it stores your notes, keychain, and other information. Before you decide to go down this route, however, you'll need your iPhone updated to iOS 11.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the iCloud user pane at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap on iCloud.
  4. Under "Apps Using iCloud," make sure the slider next to Health is enabled. If the slider isn't enabled, your health data will not sync.

Once enabled, iCloud will sync your health data; if you decide to set up a new iPhone before setting up a new Apple Watch, you should be able to sync that over to your Apple Watch with no problem.

Option 3: Use Health Data Importer to move health data to a new iPhone

If you want, you can export your data directly from the Health app via the Health Data Importer app. You can get Health Data Importer on the App Store for $3.99; it's a great app if you need it, though the other two methods listed above are more reliable (especially if you have a large array of Health data).

  1. Open the Health app on your current iPhone.
  2. Tap on the Health Data tab.
  3. Tap on the User icon in the upper-right corner.

  4. Tap Export Health Data.
  5. Tap Export. This might take a few minutes.
  6. Save the final export to the Files app.

  7. Set up your new iPhone to your liking.
  8. Open the Health app.
  9. Set up your basic information.
  10. Download Health Data Importer from the App Store.
  11. Open Health Data Importer.
  12. Tap Import.

  13. Select export.zip from your chosen location in the Files app.
  14. Select the individual sources you wish to import to your new iPhone, or Select All to move the whole Health backup to your new device.
  15. Tap Next.

  16. Tap Turn All Categories On on the Health Access prompt to allow the app to write to your Health repository.
  17. Tap Allow.
  18. Open the Files app app once Health Data Importer has finished its import.

  19. Tap Select in the upper right corner.
  20. Find and select the export.zip Health file.
  21. Tap the delete button in the lower right corner.

What now?

Once you've set up a plan for restoring your health data on a new iPhone or Apple Watch, you can start the upgrade process. Be sure to follow our guides to restoring your Apple Watch or iPhone from backup, as well as how Health data sync works in iOS 11.

Questions?

Have any questions about moving your health data to a new iPhone or Apple Watch? Let us know down in the comments.

Update September 2017: Added information on iOS 11.

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How to get ready for iOS 11 and watchOS 4

Posted on September 18, 2017 by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Before you download iOS 11 and watchOS 4, there are a few clean up steps you should take to get ready for the big download.

If you're worried about whether your iPhone can handle the iOS 11 update or your Apple Watch can handle the watchOS 4 update, you can get prepared ahead of time by doing a little "fall cleaning" on your devices.

Hold off on backups; instead, clean up your iPhone and Apple Watch

You want your backups to be up-to-date when you make them, and that means doing them right before you update. Instead, take some prep time if you want it to do a bit of Fall Cleaning on your iPhone. Delete unwanted apps, get rid of offline music you no longer listen to, trim down any old Messages conversations you don't care to keep. All of these will increase your backup size, and thus, the time it takes to upgrade. The same goes for your Apple Watch: Go into the Apple Watch app and remove any unwanted apps; and hey, maybe clean up your layout while you're at it.

If you're worried about free drive space on your iPhone, don't be: iOS 11 will take less than 1 GB of space to install. Just clean up the extra cruft to tidy up your iPhone.

Make an encrypted backup via iTunes

Whether you're doing a restore and install or just a straight update, we highly recommend making a backup beforehand in case anything crazy happens. Our current recommendation is an encrypted backup via iTunes — this lets you save your account passwords and Health data more quickly than doing so via iCloud. Your Apple Watch should make an automatic backup, but you can also manually back it up by unpairing and repairing your watch.

When updating, you'll want to make sure you're somewhere with a fast Wi-Fi connection — or, if you really want to super-power your download, get to a Mac with a fast Ethernet connection and connect your iPhone to that computer via USB cable, then update in iTunes. After updating to iOS 11, you'll see the watchOS 4 update in the Apple Watch app.

If you have any questions or need any extra help, head on over to our discussion forums or leave a comment below!

Updated September 2017: Updated for iOS 11 and watchOS 4.

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Doing a clean install of iOS 11 on your new iPhone or iPad? Here’s what you’ll bring over and what you’ll lose

Posted on by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

What's the advantage of a clean install over a restore when upgrading to a new phone or tablet?

We've had a few people this week ask us about not restoring from their backups when moving from an old iPhone or iPad to a new model. "Is it smarter?" "What data am I going to lose?" "I just want to speed up my device!"

Well, first off: If you're upgrading to a new iPhone or iPad, you shouldn't need a clean install to speed things up — the hardware upgrades alone will do that. But if you're still interested in performing a clean install, read on.

What does "clean install" mean?

When we talk about clean installs, there are two kinds people think of:

  • Reinstall and restore from backup: This is usually done on a single phone or tablet. If your iPhone or iPad is slow, you can make an iCloud (automatically encrypted) or encrypted iTunes backup, reinstall and restore iOS, then restore from the backup when you get to that part of the setup screen.
  • New device, no restore: You back up the old device but set up the new iPhone or iPad as a new device. You can piecemeal installation of apps and content, but you'll have to sign in and redo all your settings.

What you'll keep and lose when setting up your iPhone as new

Lots of people like this latter "clean install" option for new devices because it allows them a fresh start on setting up their apps, settings, and the like. And while in my opinion, no one on iOS needs to do that sort of clean install for system health, there are still those that prefer it.

Thankfully, whether you're doing so because you have too many apps, you want to reconfigure your new iPhone or iPad, or what have you, you won't lose too much information thanks to your iCloud account's syncing features.

Log in with your iCloud account when setting up as new, and here's what you retain:

  • Photos (either the last 1000 or, if you have iCloud Photo Library enabled, your entire library)
  • iCloud email (other accounts you'll have to manually re-add in the Settings app)
  • Records of your purchased apps and app data—no apps will download automatically, but you can go into App Store > Updates > Purchased to restore them on an app-by-app basis.
  • Contacts
  • Some music (All if subscribed to Apple Music; otherwise, purchased music will be available for re-download from the Music app)
  • Safari bookmarks and passwords (if iCloud Keychain is enabled)
  • iCloud Drive documents
  • Calendars
  • Reminders
  • Notes
  • iBooks
  • News preferences
  • Wallet history (but not Apple Pay cards)

You'll lose the following, however:

  • All Health data (only stored in iCloud and encrypted iTunes backups, and you can't restore selectively)
  • Photos not backed up to iCloud Photo Library or My Photo Stream
  • Apps and any app data not stored in iCloud
  • Messages (this changes in iOS 11, but you'll have to install from a backup at least once in iOS 11 before Messages are stored in iCloud)
  • Music synced from iTunes
  • iPhone-only: Your Apple Watch backups (see this note from Apple for more information)

For me, the loss of Apple Watch backups is the clincher for doing a restore over a clean install: I've built up months of Health and Activity data, now, and wouldn't want to lose it. That said, you might not own an Apple Watch nor care about your Health data; if so, you may yet prefer a clean install.

Are you planning on restoring or doing a clean install? Let us know in the comments which, and why.

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How to change your wallpaper on iPhone or iPad

Posted on by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Make your iPhone and iPad your own by changing the screen's wallpaper and much more.

iOS 11 wallpaper options!

With every new iOS update, there are new wallpaper options! Here are the newest and coolest from iOS 11.

While you can't completely change the look and feel of your iPhone or iPad, you can give it a customized wallpaper for your Lock and Home screens.

That wallpaper can be a still image from Apple's own collection or your Photo Library, but you can also use Live Photos (on an iPhone), and choose whether to have that wallpaper remain still, or change perspective as you move your phone around. Here's how to go about it!

How to pick your wallpaper for iPhone and iPad

Changing your wallpaper is easy — you just have pick the right image!

  1. Launch the Settings app from your iPhone or iPad Home screen.
  2. Tap on Wallpaper.
  3. Tap on Choose a New Wallpaper. You can choose from Apple's stock imagery, or your own library.

  4. Tap the type of wallpaper you would like to use:
    • Dynamic: An image from Apple's stock photo library with effects that fade into view and react to your iPhone's movement.
    • Still: A still image from Apple's stock photo library.
    • Live: A Live Photo from Apple's stock photo library that animates after a firm press (iPhone 6s or later).
    • Photo Library: An image (or Live Photo) from your personal photo library.
  5. Select your new wallpaper to enter Preview mode.
  6. In Preview mode, you can choose how you want your image to be displayed. Tap the option of your choice:

    • Still: This displays the chosen still image as your wallpaper.
    • Perspective: Your still image will change perspective slightly as you move the screen. (If you're prone to motion sickness, don't use this setting.)
    • Live Photo: If you've chosen a Live Photo image, this option will let you animate the image after a firm press (iPhone 6s or later).

  7. Tap Set.
  8. Tap the option of your choice:

    • Set Lock Screen
    • Set Home Screen
    • Both

Upon returning to the Home screen, you'll be able to see your new wallpaper in its full glory.

How to adjust your wallpaper for iPhone and iPad

Like your current wallpaper but want to tweak its settings? It's a simple process.

  1. Launch the Settings app from your iPhone or iPad Home screen.
  2. Tap on Wallpaper.
  3. Tap on one of your current wallpaper images to enter Preview mode.
  4. In Preview mode, you can change how you want your image to be displayed. Tap the option of your choice:

    • Still: This displays the chosen still image as your wallpaper.
    • Perspective: Your still image will change perspective slightly as you move the screen. (If you're prone to motion sickness, don't use this setting.)
    • Live Photo: If you've chosen a Live Photo image, this option will let you animate the image after a firm press (iPhone 6s or later).

  5. Tap Set.

How to change the wallpaper directly from the Photos app

Took a great image that you want to turn into your wallpaper? You don't have to pop into Settings to make it happen — you can do it directly from the Photos app.

  1. Launch the Photos app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap the image you wish to use.
  3. Tap on the Share button.

  4. Swipe left and select Use as Wallpaper to enter Preview mode.
  5. Position and zoom the image accordingly.

  6. Tap the option of your choice:
    • Still: This displays the chosen still image as your wallpaper.
    • Perspective: Your still image will change perspective slightly as you move the screen. (If you're prone to motion sickness, don't use this setting.)
    • Live Photo: If you've chosen a Live Photo image, this option will let you animate the image after a firm press (iPhone 6s or later).
  7. Tap Set.
  8. Tap the option of your choice:

    • Set Lock Screen
    • Set Home Screen
    • Both

Questions?

Let us know below.

Updated September 2017: Added information about brand new wallpaper options!

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Maps App: The Ultimate Guide

Posted on September 17, 2017 by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

How do you find places, get directions, and discover nearby attractions? With Apple's built-in Maps app, that's how!

Apple's Maps app gives you everything you need to get where you're going and find interesting places along the way. It can tell you where you are, what direction you're facing, what's nearby, and how to avoid traffic. Maps can show you the ground in 3D and can take to the sky with Flyover. It can even provide turn-by-turn voice navigation for driving, walking, and — in some regions — public transit, including buses, trains, and ferries.

How do you use the Maps app? Here's everything you need to know to get started!

What's new in the Maps app for iOS 10

Apple Maps has lagged behind its competitors for a few years — in part because Apple was late to the game. But over the last year, it's become a more stable, usable service. iOS 10 continued that trend, bringing huge (and much-needed) software and server-side improvements to Apple's mapping application.

No, it's still not perfect: In driving mode, it continues to struggle with traffic estimations and offering up the best alternate routes. But for local driving, it's gotten leaps and bounds better.

What's new in the Maps app for iOS 10

How to find locations and get directions with Maps on iPhone and iPad

Times have changed: Instead of the Thomas Guide, sixteen year olds have an iPhone to guide their way through city streets and subway lines. And instead of numbered paper sections, we have live traffic information and trip tracking in the form of Apple's Maps app. 

The company's app is built right into your iPhone or iPad. All you have to do is look! Here's how to use the Maps app to find your location and get directions.

How to find locations and get directions with Maps on iPhone and iPad

How to name and save locations with Maps on iPhone and iPad

How to share location and directions with Maps for iPhone and iPad

Sometimes it's not enough for you to know where you are or where you're going. Sometimes you need to let other people know. Maybe you want to share a great new coffee shop you've found, maybe you got separated at the park, or maybe you need to be picked up where your car broke down. Sure, there's Find my Friends for sharing location all the time but, when you need to share location any time, there's Maps.

How to share location and directions with Maps for iPhone and iPad

How to get transit directions with Apple Maps for iPhone and iPad

Apple has a few useful features specific to transit directions, making it easier to navigate the big city without a car. You can easily see transit stops for specific lines and, whenever multiple lines are available, you'll see all of the possible route suggestions. Here's how.

How to find the best transit route in Apple Maps on iPhone

How to use Siri to get directions and maps on iPhone or iPad

With Siri and Apple's built-in Maps, you know longer have to stop, type, and search for directions. You can simply tell Siri where you want to go, and you'll get a route to go right there. It's great if you're in a new area of town or traveling in a new city. And if you get lost, you can even ask Siri to take you home.

How to use Siri to get directions and maps on iPhone or iPad

How to find your car with the Maps app

Here's a not-so-secret fact about me: I'm awful at remembering where I parked. It's why I own a brightly-colored car that can make noise and flash its lights if I press my key fob — without them, I might as well condemn myself to wandering through darkened parking garages for hours.

Thanks to Apple's Parked Car feature in Apple Maps, though, I no longer have to rely on shiny paint or loud noises to help me discover where I left my vehicle: I only have to look at my iPhone or Apple Watch.

How to find your car with the Maps app

How to change settings for Maps on iPhone and iPad

Apple Maps offers settings that let you change the volume of navigation prompts, change the units of distance, and even get follow-up emails on issues you report. You can set everything up just the way you want it — once you know where to look!

How to change settings for Maps on iPhone and iPad

How to delete your search history and destinations in Maps on iPhone and iPad

How to view the weather in Maps

How to use Maps extensions on iPhone and iPad

iOS makes it easier to get more out of the Maps app by allowing third-party apps to add extensions. The primary purpose of app extensions is to give you the ability to do things like book a reservation at a restaurant or call for a ride from services like Uber — all without having to leave Maps. This kind of integration frees up your precious time by cutting out the need to switch between different apps to accomplish your goals.

How to use Maps extensions on iPhone and iPad

These are the app extensions that you can use with Maps

How to open Apple Maps locations in Google Maps

The Maps app is, shall we say, controversial: While Apple's mapping app has seen incredible improvement over the last few years, there are still areas (both physical and feature-related) where it falls short.

While you can't change the default mapping app on iOS, you can make it easier to switch to an alternative with a $1.99 utility app called Opener.

How to open Apple Maps locations in Google Maps

How to get directions and use Apple Maps with CarPlay

Outside of streaming services, I'd be willing to bet the most used CarPlay app is Maps. Whether you're looking for a business to or traveling out of state, it's much easier to be told where to go than navigating from memory or a map.

Most of Maps interface in CarPlay is pretty easy to understand, but there are a few tricky parts. Let's take a look at some of the app's basic functions and how you can use them to get the most out of your experience.

How to get directions and use Apple Maps with CarPlay

Troubleshooting Maps

Have a problem or question about the Maps app? Here are some common issues and information about them (as well as how to fix them).

How to report a problem in Maps on iPhone and iPad

Apple Maps transit directions — Which cities have them?

Can't find Maps extensions? Here's why

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*/

Secret Apple Watch controls: How to use the Digital Crown and side button!

Posted on September 16, 2017 by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

For a tiny device, the Apple Watch has a lot you can do with buttons, gestures, and taps.

In some ways, the iPhone X takes after the Apple Watch's design: Both have no home button, both are all screen, and both have a surprising amount of functionality for having relatively few physical buttons.

The Apple Watch, like the iPhone X, has a side button, which you use to turn it on and off along with a variety of other tricks and tasks. But it also has an interface uniquely Apple Watch: The Digital Crown.

Combine that with the multitouch screen's pressure-sensitive Force Touch capabilities (an early cousin of the iPhone's 3D Touch interface), and you've got a bunch of tools to control a powerful little wrist computer.

The Side Button

The only traditional button on the watch, the side button not only powers and turns off the watch, but controls the Dock and emergency features.

Press and hold to power on (on off)

If your Apple Watch is off, you can press and hold the side button to power on your smartwatch.

When your watch is on, you can press and hold the side button to access the power screen, then slide the Power Off slider to turn the watch off.

How to restart and reset your Apple Watch

Press and hold to disable Power Reserve mode

When your watch drops below a certain amount of available power, it automatically switches into Power Reserve mode. This mode only displays the time, and you can't restore your watch to full functionality until you connect it to a charger once more.

That said, watchOS does offer a preemptive Power Reserve mode, which you can use if you know you'll need your watch later but you don't want to shut it off completely.

If you put your watch into Power Reserve mode manually, you can restore it to full functionality by pressing and holding the side button.

How to enable Power Reserve mode on your Apple Watch

Press and hold to access Medical ID or SOS

The Apple Watch's Medical ID and SOS features are hidden behind the power screen, which you access by pressing and holding the side button. Swipe either Medical ID or SOS to activate either feature.

Warning: Swiping SOS will place a call to the local authorities and is only meant to be used in an emergency.

If enabled in the Watch app via your iPhone, you can continue pressing and holding on the side button to automatically activate SOS and call the local authorities.

How to use SOS on the Apple Watch: The ultimate guide

Press once to open the Dock

watchOS allows you to store frequently-used apps in its Dock, which you can access from any interface by pressing the side button a single time. (To return to your previous screen, simply press the side button another time.)

How to use the Dock on your Apple Watch

Press twice to activate Apple Pay

Note: You have to set up Apple Pay, add a passcode to your watch, and unlock it to use this feature.

If you use Apple Pay, you can use your Apple Watch to pay almost anywhere that offers a tap-to-pay terminal — whether or not you have your iPhone along for the ride. Your Apple Watch uses skin contact and an unlocked watch to authorize the purchase; just double-press the side button to bring up the Apple Pay interface, then tap your watch to the terminal.

How to use Apple Pay on your Apple Watch

The Digital Crown

Perhaps the most noticeable of the Apple Watch's interaction options, the Digital Crown is a physical dial that you can spin to scroll, press once, or press and hold to activate a number of different features.

Scroll to wake up your watch

If you don't want to raise your wrist, you can briefly press the Digital Crown to wake your watch's display.

For a more subtle reveal, you can scroll up on the crown to slowly brighten the display from sleep: It's a great way to quickly glance at the time or notifications when you're in a dark place, or don't want to bother companions.

Scroll to Time Travel

If you have most watch faces active, scrolling the Digital Crown up or down will activate watchOS's Time Travel feature: This lets you virtually "travel" forward or backward in time to view upcoming appointments, how much you've exercised, how long it'll take your electric car to charge, and all sorts of complication options.

How to use Time Travel on Apple Watch

Astronomy

On the Astronomy face, Time Travel moves the shadow on the Earth and its clouds as it passes around the Sun, even revealing city lights at nighttime.

Note: The globe's location on the Astronomy face is based on your current time zone.

Switch to a different view in Astronomy, and the Digital Crown will control different time periods. Tap the Moon, and Time Travel will spin day by day to show you the moon's various phases at different times in the month: New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Last Quarter, and Waning Crescent.

Select the Solar System, and you'll move day by day (or faster, if you spin the Crown more rapidly) along with the planets, watching them complete their rotations around the sun.

Kaleidoscope

On wake, watchOS 4's Kaleidoscope face is fairly tame: It's only when you spin the Digital Crown when you create kaleidoscopic patterns.

How to use the Kaleidoscope watch face on your Apple Watch

Siri

The Siri watch face embodies watchOS's Time Travel feature, offering cards of upcoming appointments and suggestions. On this face, you use the Digital Crown to spin through upcoming cards, between the All-Day, Recent, Up Next, and Tomorrow views.

How to use the Siri watch face in watchOS 4

Solar


On the Solar face, using Time Travel will move the position of the sun, taking you between Night, Dawn, Twilight, Day, Solar Noon, Sunset, Twilight, Dusk, Night, and Solar Midnight.

Scroll to view

In most apps, you can use up and down movements of the Digital Crown to scroll the content on the screen. (Like touch, scrolling is inverted: Scroll down to page up, and up to page down.) There are also a few interfaces where scrolling the Digital Crown moves horizontal content, like the watch picker.

Zoom in the Photos app or on the apps list

In the Photos app, you can scroll the Digital Crown to zoom in or out on a photo. And if you have your apps organized in Grid View, you can scroll the Crown to zoom in and out of the app grid.

Scroll to end a workout lock

On the Apple Watch Series 2 or later, watchOS will automatically water-lock your smartwatch when you press Lock during a workout, which means you won't be able to interact with the screen until you disable the lock. To do so, you simply scroll up on the Digital Crown until you fill the blue bubble on-screen and hear the watch's speaker ping.

Best ways to protect the Apple Watch while working out

Press to go home

A single press of the Digital Crown will either bring you to your currently active watch face (if you're in an app or non-watch face interface) or to your full apps list (if you're starting on the watch face). If you're in a Force Touch overlay, pressing the Digital Crown will also return you to the previous interface.

It's like the iPhone's home button, or iPhone X's bottom swipe: Press the Digital Crown to get back to where you want to be.

Double-press to switch between interfaces

If you double press the Digital Crown in quick succession, you can skip the watch face entirely and switch between currently active apps or interfaces. If you have Music open, for example, then hop over to Weather from the Dock, you can double-press the Digital Crown to return to the Music app.

If you only have a single app open, a double-press will switch you between that app and your watch face.

Press-and-hold for Siri

Press and hold the Digital Crown, and you'll trigger Siri, watchOS's digital voice-driven assistant. (You can also bring up Siri by raising your wrist and saying "Hey Siri!", if you've enabled it via the Watch app on your iPhone.)

How to use Siri on your Apple Watch

Triple-press for Accessibility

If you've enabled the accessibility settings on watchOS, you can triple-click the Digital Crown to bring up accessibility options for VoiceOver or Zoom.

How to enable and use accessibility features on your Apple Watch

Button combos

The Apple Watch may not be an old-school video game (unless you run the right app, that is), but you can still get some extra functionality out of it with button combos.

Take a screenshot

To take a screenshot on the Apple Watch, you need only press in on the Digital Crown with your thumb, then use the rest of your thumb to press lightly on the side button.

How to screenshot your Apple Watch

Pause a workout

*To pause a workout, press both the Digital Crown and the side button at the same time. To resume, press both buttons again.

How to use Workout on Apple Watch

Force quit

Have an unresponsive app on your watch? You can always force quit apps or force restart your entire Apple Watch.

To force quit an app, press the side button until you see the power screen, then press and hold on the Digital Crown until you return to the watch face.

To force restart your Apple Watch, press and hold both the side button and Digital Crown until the screen goes dark and the Apple logo appears.

How to force quit apps on the Apple Watch

How to restart and reset your Apple Watch

Multitouch

Even with all your Digital Crown and Side Button tricks, you'll still interact often via multitouch gestures on the Apple Watch's screen.

Tap to wake, select, and more

Tapping is second-nature to anyone who's used a multitouch screen before, and it's no different on the Apple Watch. Tap to enter apps, tap to switch interfaces, tap to select options, tap to play games, and so much more.

Swipe to move, scroll, and delete

Swiping is almost as common on a multitouch device as tapping: On the Apple Watch, you can swipe up or down in lieu of scrolling with the Digital Crown, swipe between options, or swipe up or sideways to delete cards.

Swipe up to view Control Center

From your active watch face, you can swipe up to view Control Center on the Apple Watch and access any of its controls.

How to use Control Center on the Apple Watch

Swipe down to view notifications

From your active watch face, you can swipe down from the top bezel to view your notifications on the Apple Watch.

How to use notifications on your Apple Watch

Swipe on the app list

If you have your apps organized in Grid View, swiping can help you find an app you want to launch.

Swipe between watch faces

You can use an edge-to-edge swipe on your currently active watch face to move between your other saved watch faces. (I use this gesture all the time to switch between Modular faces with different active complications.)

How to change your Apple Watch face

Swipe up or sideways to delete

In both the watch face picker and the Dock, you use swipes to delete faces or quit apps you not longer want to see. In the watch face picker, you'll need to swipe up, then swipe up again; in the dock, it's a sideways swipe.

How to use the Dock on your Apple Watch

Drag to draw or scribble

In certain apps and interfaces, you can drag your finger along the screen to draw, move items, or use the Scribble text interface.

How to write out a message on your Apple Watch

Press down to activate Force Touch

Force Touch is perhaps the most open "secret" of the Apple Watch interface: It exists so that developers can hide further contextual options for apps without cluttering the screen. You can use Force Touch by pressing down on the screen in a number of Apple and third-party apps to bring up additional features, or in the system to adjust settings.

Force Touch to switch between List and Grid view in the apps list

With the apps list open, you can press down on the screen to activate the List/Grid View organizational options.

How to view your Apple Watch apps in List View in watchOS 4

Force Touch to create new watch faces

The easiest way to create and adjust your watch faces is on your iPhone in the Watch app, but you can also use Force Touch to create new watch faces on the fly. Press down on the screen on your current watch face to enter Edit mode, then swipe (or use the Digital Crown to scroll to the right until you see the New button.

How to change your Apple Watch face

Any secret Apple Watch buttons or gestures I've missed?

Let me know below!

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Seven things you may have missed about Apple Watch Series 3

Posted on September 15, 2017 by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Thinking about buying an Apple Watch Series 3? There are some cool features — and a few missing ones — you should consider.

The Apple Watch Series 3 is now available for preorder, with many (myself included) staying up late Thursday night to place a crack-of-dawn order to avoid missing out on slipping shipping deadlines.

But if you haven't ordered a new Series 3 GPS-only or GPS + Cellular watch yet, and are still weighing the pros and cons, I've got a few things you might not know about Apple's newest smartwatch.

Apple Watch Series 3 Cellular vs GPS-only: What's the difference?

The S3 chip is fast, fast, fast

One of my complaints about the company's original Apple Watch was speed: The thing moved like molasses. It took over a minute to start up, spun forever to launch apps, and Siri was less than responsive.

watchOS updates combined with Apple's S2 chip architecture fixed this somewhat in Series 2, offering a 50% increase in speed over the original model — but even this model took a minute to turn on and had app spinning issues.

watchOS 4 will further improve speed for Series 2 users, but not in the way the Series 3's S3 chip will. Apple's new smartwatches are Roadrunner-fast. The company pegs them at 1.7x faster than the Series 2. And while we haven't had enough hands-on time with Series 3 to put the watches through any serious testing, even in my short experience with the smartwatches, they fly.

Siri on LTE is an instantaneous joy, while scrolling now feels as buttery-smooth as it long has on the iPhone. Opening and using apps during my hands on was similarly speedy, as was heart rate measurement.

Climb mountains or stadiums without your iPhone

While older versions of the Apple Watch have a number of features to help track your health and movement, they've missed out on incorporating an altimeter; the sensor tracks your elevation gains as well as flights of stairs climbed, and has been a mainstay of the iPhone for a few years now. You could get that data on your Apple Watch in a workout — but you'd have to bring your iPhone along for the ride.

As of Series 3, that's no longer true: Both the GPS-only and GPS + Cellular watch models incorporate an altimeter for native elevation tracking. It's a nice addition for the fitness and Fitbit crowd alike, and lets the Apple Watch take another step of independence away from the iPhone.

The Series 3 GPS + Cellular has more storage

All Apple Watch models up to this point have come with 8GB of storage, but the GPS + Cellular Series 3 is set to double that, offering 16GB for all its casing styles — aluminum to ceramic.

Apple's given no overt reason for the change, but it may have to do with extra room for music streaming, or stand-alone apps needing more space. Whatever the case, it's a boon for users who plan on buying the top-tier Series 3 model.

You can't roam internationally

The GPS + Cellular model of Apple's Series 3 watch is fully-featured in most of the ways that matter: There are no limitations on what you can do on the watch over LTE; it all comes down to the apps you're using and your overall battery life. (Which, admittedly, will not be the best if you're solely using the LTE antenna.

But outside of the on-the-watch experience, it's quite restrictive. This is largely due to space restrictions: Unlike the iPhone, there's not enough room in the Apple Watch casing to add all the bands necessary to make the watch compatible around the world; instead, Apple is offering six different Apple Watch makes at launch (3 for each size) that cover 1-6 countries each.

As such, Apple is currently prohibiting Series 3 watches from being able to roam internationally on their own. You'll still be able to use your iPhone's roaming capabilities to use your watch, but you can't leave your iPhone behind in your hotel room and place a call on your watch while in a foreign country.

It's not yet clear how this intersects with the E.U.'s ruling against roaming-limited plans, though because you have to connect your Apple Watch to your iPhone's plan, that may circumvent it.

The Apple Watch Series 3 can't roam, and won't work between countries

What about moving from one country to the other? In theory, if your Apple Watch Series 3 supports the same LTE bands for your new country's iPhone carrier (say, moving from the U.S. to U.K.), you should be able to switch plans. But until we do roaming tests with production hardware, we won't be able to confirm.

You can't put in your own SIM card or separate carrier

Only 10 countries are offering the Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular at launch, with 17 carriers (6 more carriers will add service later in 2017). If you don't have an Apple Watch being sold in your country, you're currently out of luck for purchasing one — and while we've noted above that you can theoretically buy an Apple Watch that has the same bands as your carrier, we don't recommend it

But what about switching carriers on a compatible network? Can you pop in a SIM card? The answer is yes, you can switch carriers at will — but not through a physical SIM card. Instead, this works similarly to Apple's embedded Apple SIM on the iPad. You can add or cancel service from any available carrier in your region at any time, but it's all done through the Watch app — no plastic card necessary.

Yes, you can buy Apple's GPS + Cellular Apple Watch and use it without LTE


It's worth noting, however, that whatever carrier you choose must also be the carrier linked to your iPhone — you can't use your Apple Watch on T-Mobile with your iPhone on AT&T, for example. This is because carriers aren't actually offering Apple Watch data plans; instead, they're only offering "add-on" options that connect your Apple Watch Series 3 to your existing iPhone plan. (And yes, the add-on pricing is overpriced: $5-$10/month just to share your iPhone's data.)

Lame? Yeah. But as with Apple and carrier plans of the past, I expect to see this evolve and change over the years.

It's not Qi-compatible (but it does support AirPower)

While you may have seen the Apple Watch Series 3 make a cameo on Apple's upcoming AirPower charging mat, the Series 3 doesn't support the Qi standard — the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X are Apple's only devices that do. Instead, it will be able to use Apple's AirPower mat due to some as-of-yet undisclosed technology in addition to its existing magnetic charging interface.

No, you still can't use it with Android

The GPS + Cellular model may have an LTE antenna, but that doesn't mean you can use it as a stand-alone device: You still need an iPhone to set up your Apple Watch, and it requires being connected to that iPhone's cellular plan to function. Sorry, Android (and BlackBerry) fans: If you want to use an Apple Watch, you need an iPhone.

Can you use an Apple Watch with your Android phone?

Other cool things?

Other neat things about Series 3 you want to highlight? Let us know below.

Should you upgrade to iPhone 8?

Posted on September 14, 2017 by Serenity Caldwell.
Categories: Uncategorized.

Is iPhone 8 or 8 Plus worth an upgrade if you're coming from an iPhone 7 or before? Here's what you need to know!

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are here, and for the next month, they will be Apple's latest and greatest iPhone models — that is, until the iPhone X appears in November.

Even without the specter of Apple's "future" iPhone lurking over their shoulder, however, the new iPhone models have a lot for potential upgraders to love: While their display sizes remain the same as those introduced with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the iPhones 8 add True Tone to the display, better glass fronts — and backs! — along with the supercharged six-core A11 Bionic, improved-motion-detection ISP, Portrait Lighting, Slow Sync flash, 60FPS 4K video, wireless Qi charging and fast charging over USB-C, and support for iOS 11.

Are they worth the upgrade for those who don't want the iPhone X? Read on.

iPhone 8 vs X

The iPhones 8 and 8 Plus are at a disadvantage this year: Rather than being Apple's tentpole device updates, they're instead living in the shadow of the currently-announced but not yet shipping iPhone X. If you're considering one of these three devices, what makes the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus more appealing than pre-ordering an X later this October?

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus vs iPhone X: Which should you buy?

Design and colors

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus came in silver, gold, rose gold, (matte) black, and (glossy) jet black. In contrast, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have dropped the black looks for simplified silver, light copper-pink gold, and gray looks.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus also have redesigned cases to feature all-glass backs. Not only does this enable the technology for wireless Qi charging, but it offers a new two-tone coloration for the new models that looks spectacular in person. It also provides a slightly grippier feel, though we still caution against carrying your device baseless.

If you like your colors from last year and worry about how you'll handle an all-glass phone, consider sticking with your current iPhone until you see how others have handled it. If you simply must have the new gold color or glass frame (and with it, wireless charging), the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus are the models to pick up.

Wireless and fast charging

The iPhone has charged via Lighting cable for quite some time now, but iPhone 8 and 8 Plus add a new charging option to the mix: wireless Qi charging. It's an existing standard, which means the charging technology already lives in cars, at Starbucks, and in plenty of wireless charging pads.

iPhones 8 can charge wirelessly on any of these pads with compatible software updates — whether they have cases on or not — and Apple will have its own AirPower charging mat out in 2018.

In addition to this technology, the iPhones 8 also feature fast charging when using a Lightning cable paired with a 29W adapter — they'll charge up to 50% in 30 minutes.

If you don't have any wireless charging gear and don't need fast charging on your iPhone, you can continue to use your current iPhone without fear. But if your current iPhone's battery is going and you'd like to charge more efficiently and wirelessly, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus may be the perfect options.

Water resistance

Like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the iPhones 8 are fully water resistant at IP67; this means the iPhone is designed to withstand dust and liquids. The liquid part is the key, though.

While Apple hasn't released the definition for their liquid protection, it's equivalent to the original Apple Watch and so should survive splashes and even full submersion into water.

You won't want to use it for shark diving or an underwater camera, but it can save you when you might otherwise have lost your phone.

If you have an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, the iPhones 8 have the exact same water resistance and aren't an upgrade in this arena. If you're coming from an older iPhone, however, upgrading might keep you from catastrophic spills, rough work conditions, or an accidental toilet drop.

Speeds and feeds

iPhone 7 has a 64-bit "dual" dual-core Apple A10 Fusion processor with integrated M10 motion sensor hub. Until very recently, it was the best smartphone silicon on the planet, paired with 2GB of memory.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, however, blow the Fusion processor out of the water. The A11 Bionic has six 64-bit cores, a built in neural engine for processing on-device machine learning, and an M11 co-processor. All of this silicon works together to provide one of the fastest ever phone experiences on the planet, let alone overall mobile device.

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus also offer 64GB of storage by default, with 256GB as the sole upgrade size. You'll get more baseline storage, and your upgrade is also worth more for your money.

If you care about super-fast rendering, graphics, AR capabilities, machine learning, and great bang for your buck on storage space, this upgrade is a no-brainer.

LTE Advanced

iPhones 8, like the iPhones 7, support 24 bands of LTE Advanced, which can hit a theoretical 450 Mbps.

But as with the iPhones 7, the iPhones 8 don't support all networking technology; if you want support for Verizon or Sprint's CDMA network in the U.S., or CDMA in China, you need to buy the version of iPhone 8 that includes it.

If you live in an area that supports LTE Advanced and you don't already have an iPhone 7, you'll want to check out the iPhone 8.

Camera

If you love taking photos, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus cameras are the best they've ever been. Both the wide-angle (all models) and telephoto camera (Plus only) are hooked up to an improved image signal processor that helps predict movement in frame for sharper photos, less noise in low-light situations, and better Portrait mode images (8 Plus only).

The iPhones 8 also support taking photos with Apple's new Quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync, which times the flash against a slower shutter speed to add flash to low-light photos without over- or underexposing the background of the image.

If you're shooting video, the iPhones 8 now shoot 4K in 24FPS and 60FPS alongside 30FPS, and they also shoot slow motion video in 1080P at 240FPS, doubling the iPhone 7's 1080P at 120FPS.

On the front side, the iPhones 8 sport a 7MP f/2.2 FaceTime HD camera, same as their iPhone 7 predecessors.

While there hasn't been a big change to the lens systems of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, a ton of work has been done under the hood; as such, if you love taking images and don't plan to pick up the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus are both excellent options.

Home button

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have a virtual Home button (like iPhone 7 and 7 Plus). It uses similar technology to the Force Touch trackpad on the Mac, or 3D Touch on iPhone. It's far more resilient than a mechanical button, and can be programmed to provide different feedback depending on the app you're using at the time. It does require direct finger contact, though, so won't work if you're wearing regular non-touch-sensitive gloves or otherwise can't make contact.

If you love your click home button on the iPhone 6 or earlier, you may not want to upgrade. But if you're okay with a virtual home button and coming from an older iPhone, you'll have a blast with the iPhones 8.

Headphone jack

The 3.5 mm headphone jack left the iPhone line with the iPhone 7, and the iPhones 8 continue this tradition. Instead, Apple expects you to use Bluetooth, Lightning EarPods, 3.5 mm to Lightning adapter, or something like Apple's AirPods

If you own a lot of nice analog headphones and don't want to use an adapter, you may be stuck with your older iPhone. But if you own Bluetooth or W1 accessories, or otherwise no longer need the headphone jack, the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus is a fine option.

Should you upgrade from the iPhone 5 or iPhone 5c? Definitely!

iPhone 5 was introduced in September of 2012. iPhone 5c is essentially the same phone as the iPhone 5 with a new, fun, plastic coating. Neither has Touch ID or Apple Pay, or the improved processor or cameras, or the larger screen sizes and 3D Touch. Given the phone is increasingly the most personally important device we own, if you can upgrade, now's a good time to do it.

Should you upgrade from the iPhone 5s? Seriously!

iPhone 5s was released in September 2013. It has Touch ID but not Apple Pay, and a middling camera by today's standards. It doesn't have the larger screen sizes or 3D Touch, so unless that's expressly something you don't want, you'll immediately see a benefit from that alone.

If you want it to, the iPhone 5s will likely still serve you well for a year or so more, but if you can upgrade a new iPhone will serve you better and well into the future.

Should you upgrade from the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus? Probably!

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were released in September 2014. They're essentially the same size and shape as more recent iPhones, but lack options for the gold coloration, don't have 3D Touch, and don't have cameras that can do 12-megapixel stills or 4K.

If you're due for an upgrade, especially if you care about colors or cameras, check into upgrading.

Should you upgrade from the iPhone SE? Probably!

Apple's 4-inch 2015 iPhone has its fans (our own Lory Gil among them), but the smartphone is showing its age: While still available for sale on Apple's website, the SE is running the iPhone 6s's A9 chip, doesn't feature 3D Touch or LTE Advanced, and its camera isn't up to snuff. It's still not a bad phone, but if you love speed and camera improvements, the iPhones 8 will be a huge leap over the SE infrastructure.

Should you upgrade from the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus? Possibly!

iPhone 6s and iPhone 6 Plus were released in September 2015. Their antenna lines are much more prominent on the back, there's no black or jet black color option, the Home button is still mechanical, and the wireless support isn't quite as fast or broad. The cameras are still good, but not as great, and the A9 still packs a punch, but not as big a punch as the A11 Bionic.

To consider upgrading, you'll want to be a big enough of a camera buff or AR buff to take advantage of the photography features and sheer speed.

Should you upgrade from the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus? Think carefully!

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are 2016's prior flagship models, and they're still quite speedy. Like the SE and 6s, these older models are still available for purchase from Apple.

While the iPhone 7 gets the same selfie camera as the iPhone 8 and the 7 Plus has features like Portrait mode, the iPhones 8 still have the better camera, thanks to the ISP, and far superior speed.

That said, it's still only last year's model. If you're really considering upgrading and don't use Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program, you'll only want to shell out if you can't live without the camera system, A11 Bionic, wireless charging, or new design and colors.

See iPhone 8 at Apple

Still undecided?

If you're still not sure about upgrading to an iPhone 8, ask questions below or jump into our iPhone discussion forums and the best community in mobile will happily help you out!

Then, once you know, let us know why — or why not — you've decided to upgrade in the comments so everyone else can benefit from your thoughts!

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