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Dec
01

The Best Apple Gifts for 2023

The Best Apple Gifts for 2023

We’re moving into the holiday shopping season, and if you’re looking for the perfect gift for that special someone, Apple-related gifts always go over well. Here are our recommendations this year.

AirTag

Do you know someone who’s always misplacing their keys, purse, or backpack, or who’s planning a trip? They might appreciate Apple’s AirTag trackers. Attach one to a keyring or backpack (with a separate $29 AirTag Loop or $35 AirTag FineWoven Key Ring—there are also lots of third-party clips and holders, such as for bikes) or store it deep in a bag pocket, and from then on, they can use the iPhone’s Find My app to see where they left their stuff. AirTags leverage the Find My network, so wherever the item is, nearby Apple devices that detect it can securely share its location with you. AirTags are especially helpful for tracking down checked luggage that hasn’t arrived at its destination—we wouldn’t travel without them anymore. One AirTag costs $29, or you can get a four-pack for $99. You can even have Apple personalize each AirTag with custom text and emoji. In iOS 17, you can better share AirTags with family members, too!

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Nov
01

The “Hey” Part of “Hey Siri” Is Now Optional

The “Hey” Part of “Hey Siri” Is Now Optional

If you use Siri, particularly on a HomePod, you’re probably accustomed to saying “Hey Siri” as the trigger phrase before your requests. In Apple’s new operating systems for 2023, you can now choose to invoke Siri using the traditional “Hey Siri” or just “Siri” (at least in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US). You might appreciate being able to stop saying “Hey” every time, or you might find that using just “Siri” generates incorrect activations. (And if someone in your family’s name sounds like Siri, you may want to turn the feature off entirely!) There are four places to look:

iOS 17 and iPadOS 17: Settings > Siri & Search > Listen FormacOS 14 Sonoma: System Settings > Siri & Spotlight > Listen ForwatchOS 10: Watch app > My Watch > Siri > Listen ForHomePod Software 17: Home app > long-press HomePod > Accessory Settings > Listen For “Siri” or “Hey Siri”

(Featured image based on an original by Apple)

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Nov
01

watchOS 10.1 Brings Double Tap to the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2

watchOS 10.1 Brings Double Tap to the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple recently released watchOS 10.1, with support for the much-ballyhooed double-tap gesture that selects the primary action in many apps without requiring that you touch the screen! It’s available only on the new Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, where you activate it by raising your wrist and tapping your thumb and index finger together twice. On the main Apple Watch screen, a double tap opens the Smart Stack of widgets you would otherwise get by turning the Digital Crown, and subsequent double taps advance through the widgets. A double tap also activates the primary action in many apps, such as answering and ending phone calls, playing and pausing media, viewing and scrolling through messages, ending timers, stopping and resuming the stopwatch, snoozing an alarm, responding to reminders from the Workout app, and performing the primary action from notifications. Whenever you double tap, you’ll see this icon at the top of the screen. If you have a supported Apple Watch model, give it a try!

(Featured image by Adam Engst, article image by Apple)

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Nov
01

Use iOS 17’s Check In Feature to Reduce Worry

Use iOS 17’s Check In Feature to Reduce Worry

We’ve all had a friend or family member say, “Text me when you get home,” because they want the peace of mind from knowing you arrived safely. But what if something goes wrong—or you forget—so they never receive that text? They’ll be worried and won’t know where you are, if you’re OK, and so on.

In iOS 17, Apple has introduced the Check In feature to provide peace of mind—or in the worst case, to help emergency services. It’s conceptually simple. Before you leave to go somewhere, you create a Check In with someone—call them a safety partner—in Messages. You specify where you’re going and whether you’re driving, taking transit, or walking. Then, when you arrive, the Check In automatically ends, alerting your safety partner that you arrived. If you’re delayed en route, Check In takes that into account and extends the expected arrival time appropriately. If you fail to arrive, Check In shares your location and route with your safety partner. Also, if you make an Emergency SOS call or your iPhone or Apple Watch calls emergency services automatically during the Check In, it notifies your safety partner.

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Nov
01

Four Solutions to Gotchas in macOS 14 Sonoma

Four Solutions to Gotchas in macOS 14 Sonoma

We’re seeing an increasing number of people switching to macOS 14 Sonoma, and for the most part, things are going well. However, Apple introduced some new features—and turned them on by default—that are causing some consternation. If you’ve switched to Sonoma or are planning to soon, here are four features you might want to know about.

Hide Windows when Clicking on the Desktop

The most immediately surprising thing you’ll notice when you upgrade to Sonoma is that clicking an empty area on the desktop moves all windows off to the side to give you full access to icons and widgets on your desktop. It’s not a bad feature, but if you’re accustomed to clicking the desktop simply to switch to the Finder, it can be off-putting. To keep windows where they are, open System Settings > Desktop & Dock, and under Desktop & Stage Manager, where it says “Click wallpaper to reveal desktop,” choose Only in Stage Manager.

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