Gear4 Piccadilly and Crystal Palace for iPhone 11 Pro: D30 technology protects from drops

Owners of an iPhone XS: Is it worth upgrading to the iPhone 11 Pro?
Apple just announced the first iPhone with a Pro name. But is it really that much better than the iPhone XS?

After nearly a month with the Apple iPhone 11 Pro, see the ZDNet full review, the phone is in perfect condition thanks to regular use of cases like the couple Gear4 options I’ve been testing from ZAGG. The Piccadilly and Crystal Palace offer 13 feet drop protection while still letting you show off the color and design of your iPhone 11 Pro.

ZAGG sent along the Gear4 Crystal Palace and Piccadilly cases for testing. They are both available for $39.99, with free shipping included. ZAGG has nine total Gear4 case options for the Apple iPhone 11 Pro.

Gear4 Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace case has a clear design that lets you enjoy the design of your iPhone as it was intended from Apple. It is composed of the D30 material that is used for impact protection in a variety of industries, such as sports, defense, and industrial applications.

Through the use of the D30 material, Gear4 achieves a standard of 13 feet drop protection so you can trust it should survive a drop from your hand as long as it lands favorably. The edges have fairly substantial material to protect the corners and the edges from a drop.


The clear material is glossy and smooth, which makes it a bit slick if set down on a table. The back material has anti-yellowing elements in it so it won’t detiorate over time and keep looking good for years.

The bottom edge is a bit malleable so you can lock in your phone and then remove it by pulling back a bit in this area. There are raised buttons for volume and the right side with an opening for the ringer switch.


This 0.3 ounce case is available in Clear and Iridescent color options and I’ve been testing out the Clear model.

Also:iPhone 11 Pro review: Apple scores near perfect 10, thanks to battery life, cameras and phenomenal performance

Gear4 Piccadilly

The Piccadilly case is very similar to the Crystal Palace one with Black, Rose Gold, and Lavender color options. The color only appears in three bands contained within the top and two sides of the edges of the case. It’s a nice option to still show off the iPhone 11 Pro design with a splash of color.

The same level of drop protection, wireless charging and Apple Pay support, along with edges that rise just above the display a bit to provide screen protection are present on this case.

While both of these Gear4 cases let you enjoy your iPhone 11 Pro colors and design, they are just a bit too slick for me to use on a daily basis. I appreciate the solid protection and style with the price being fairly typical for cases of this type.

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Smartish cases for Apple iPhone 11 Pro: Five affordable styles with wallet and grip enhancement

The Wallet Slayer Vol. 2 is priced $10 more than the Vol. 1 case with a retail price of $24.99. It offers the ability to carry up to three cards on the back of your iPhone while also being able to prop up your iPhone with one of those cards positioned into a slot above the card pocket.

There are four color options for the Wallet Slayer Vol. 2 case, including Black Tie Affair, Blues on the Green, Purple Reign, and Flavor of the Month.

There are raised buttons for the volume controls and right side button with an opening provided for the ringer switch.

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iOS 13 tells you when apps are secretly tracking you

Apple has added a number of awesome and much-needed privacy features to iOS 13, and one of the best is the way the operating system informs you about apps that are tracking your movements.

How does it do this? Via a popup, like this:

iOS 13 location tracking popup

iOS 13 location tracking popup

Must read: iOS 13: Security and privacy settings you need to tweak and check

This gives you the option of either allowing the tracking to continue in the background, or to only allow tracking when you are using the app.

This is a very handy privacy feature, and can float to the surface apps that you may have forgotten about, but that haven’t forgotten about you!

The only drawback of popups like this if that you have to deal with it there and then, and there’s no option to ask it to remind you again, which would be a nice feature.

Another new, and eye-opening privacy feature in iOS 13 is how the operating system informs you about apps that use Bluetooth for a variety of things that are separate to audio streaming to headphones or speakers. In particular, Bluetooth is being used to by companies to track users via Bluetooth beacons.

iOS 13 Bluetooth popup

iOS 13 Bluetooth popup

It’s worth noting that if you deny an app from having Bluetooth access, this will not prevent audio streaming, as this is a separate feature.

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Totallee slim cases for Apple iPhone 11 Pro: Ultra thin scratch protection

Unlike the transparent clear soft case, the matte series has less thickness around the edges. This includes having openings for the volume buttons rather than raised buttons for the ultimate in minimalist case design.

The matte solid black one covers the iPhone case color, but allows the color of the phone to show through the openings.

In addition to solid black, you can find this matte finish case in frosted clear, frosted black, navy blue, and red.

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Caudabe cases for Apple iPhone 11 Pro: Minimalist cases with stylish limited protection

Caudabe cases are designed to provide scratch protection while improving your ability to hold onto your phone with barely any added size or weight to your iPhone. It recently released four models for the Apple iPhone 11 Pro

The Synthesis, Veil, Sheath, and Lucid Clear are all available now with some options for color from $19.95 to $29.95.

See also: Apple iPhone 11 Pro review

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iPhone SE 2 coming next year, and will be as fast as the iPhone 11 — but will the price be right?

Remember the iPhone SE? The $399 handset — for the 16GB variant — that Apple released back in March 2016 to fill the “budget” end of the market. Well, according to analyst TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will unveil an updated version in 2020, but some changes to the design may mean that it won’t please everyone.

Must read: iOS 13: Security and privacy settings you need to tweak and check

In a research note obtained by 9To5Mac, Kuo claims that the SE 2 will feature a chassis similar to the iPhone 8, which means a screen size bump up from 4-inch to a 4.7-inch LCD display, and the continuation of the Touch ID home button.

So if you were expecting a return of the 4-inch form factor, you’re out of luck.

“We forecast that Apple will launch the more affordable iPhone SE2 in 1Q20,” Kuo wrote in the note. “For the most part, the form factor design and hardware spec are similar to iPhone 8’s. The most significant hardware spec upgrade will be the adoption of the A13 processor and 3GB LPDDR4X. iPhone SE2 will likely increase iPhone’s market share and benefit Apple’s promotions for service and content. We expect that the iPhone SE2 shipment will reach 30–40mn units in 2020.”

The A13 processor is the latest silicon used by Apple in the iPhone 11 line. If this part of the report turns out to be true, it means that the new iPhone SE 2 will be as fast as the iPhone 11.

But is speed what iPhone SE buyers want, or is it a low price? And without cool gizmos like the Face ID camera array, and the rerar panel bulging with cameras, will it even need that sort of performance?

Apple continues to sell the iPhone 8, starting at $449, so where to place the iPhone SE 2 is a little hazy. Will it replace the iPhone 8 and have a buoyant price tag, or will it come to market at a more reasonable price?

Maybe, but the idea that this would retail starting at something like $299 is fading in my mind. It’s beginning to feel like a replacement for the iPhone 8 as opposed to a budget iPhone.

Thoughts? Is this the right track for Apple, or does the market need a proper budget iPhone?

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Apple Watch Series 5 review: This is the watch I’ve been waiting for Review

From the outside, and on paper, there’s not a huge difference between last year’s Apple Watch Series 4, and the recently released Series 5. The aluminum and stainless steel models look identical, but the Series 5 has bragging rights, thanks to new titanium and ceramic housings.

There is, however, one big difference between the Apple Watch Series 5 and every Apple Watch that came before it: It has a display that never turns off. Well, it’s an always-on display that stays whenever you wear it. The time is constantly visible, just like a traditional watch, and according to Apple, it has no ill effects on battery life.

For around two weeks now, I’ve used the Apple Watch Series 5 in place of my Series 4. Before I started testing, I didn’t expect to notice much of a difference between the two, and for the most part, that’s been the case.

But what I foolishly underestimated was the impact that the always-on display would have on the overall Apple Watch experience. And now, I’m not sure I can go back.


(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

It’s a real watch now

The always-on display (AOD) of the Series 5 has changed the way I use the Apple Watch throughout most of my day. The screen does more than constantly show the time, but it also shows watchface complications. For me, that means I can glance down and see if I have any unread messages or view my next agenda item from the calendar complication without any effort.

If you’ve ever owned an Apple Watch — or any smartwatch for that matter — you surely know the awkward routine of raising your wrist to look at the watch, only for it not to light up. Instead, you lower your wrist and raise it again, or you turn your wrist really fast as if you’re opening a door, and yet nothing happens. Eventually, you tap on the display or press a button to wake the watch. It’s a dance that’s even more complicated if your hands are full.

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That routine is all but gone with the Series 5. After you lower your wrist, everything on the display gets a little smaller, and the display’s brightness lowers but remains on, constantly displaying all the information you deem important enough to add as a complication to your watchfaces.

With Series 5, I can passively check the time, instead of actively checking the time. A quick glance, and I’m back doing whatever task is in front of me at the time.

That awkward routine of checking the time on previous-generation Apple Watches isn’t completely gone, however. But instead of going through it to check the time, I randomly feel a tap for a new notification, and raise my wrist to view it, only for the watchface to remain visible. It’s not until after I tap on the screen that the watch truly wakes up and the notification is shown.

I don’t know what’s more frustrating: Not being able to check the time, or seeing the time instead of notification.

Still, adding an always-on display makes the Apple Watch feel like more than just an iPhone accessory or a gadget. It feels like a real watch now.


(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

For me, it’s the same battery life

With a screen that never turns off, it’s natural to have a concern about the impact on battery life. When the Series 5 was announced, Apple stated that it kept the same 18-hour battery life as previous models, and over the past two weeks, that’s what I’ve experienced.

Actually, let me clarify: I didn’t measure 18 hours of use, but at the end of each day, I would place the Series 5 on its charger with around 30% battery left. That’s in line with what I’ve experienced on the Series 4 model for the past year.

I’ve seen headlines from other reviews that state battery life is worse, and that getting through a full day of use isn’t possible with AOD turned on. In the end, there are a lot of variables at play here, and let’s be honest, iOS 13 and WatchOS 6 have had their fair share of bugs and issues. I’ve had a lot of issues just getting Apple Watch apps to install, 

Hopefully, Apple can figure out what’s causing others to see decreased battery life and fix it in a future update. For me, though, I’m happy with the battery life of the Series 5.

Here’s the real question

For first-time Apple Watch buyers, do you buy the $199 Apple Watch Series 3 or the $399 Apple Watch Series 5? I’ve used every Apple Watch since it was first announced, and on the surface, it feels like the Series 5 isn’t that big of an upgrade (especially compared to the Series 4), but after two weeks of testing, the Series 5 feels like what the Apple Watch should have been from the start.

In addition to the AOD, you’re getting a bigger screen, fall detection, and Apple’s ECG app for detecting irregular heart rhythms. For me, my money’s on peace of mind, a watch that feels like a watch, and the larger display.

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What can you do about the ‘unfixable’ exploit affecting almost every iPhone and iPad?

The Checkm8 exploit, described by the security researcher who published it as “a permanent unpatchable bootrom exploit” might be good news for the jailbreaking community who can use it to unlock devices, but it’s not so good for those worried about keeping their iPhones and iPads secure.

The scope of this exploit is huge.

The exploit affects all iOS devices running on A5 to A11 chipsets. These chips were shipped in iPhones and iPads released between 2011 and 2017, and spanning eight generations of devices, from iPhone 4S to iPhone 8 and X.

Must readiOS 13: Security and privacy settings you need to tweak and check

This is an unpatchable exploit because, as opposed to a software bug that can be updated, this vulnerability is baked into the chipset.

It’s right inside the hardware.

So, what can you do to protect yourself or your company?

The only comfort for affected iPhone and iPad owners here is that this exploit requires physical access to the device and can only be triggered over USB, and it cannot be executed remotely. For the average user, this probably downgrades the severity of this vulnerability, but it will be of little comfort to companies who have hundreds, or even thousands of iPhones and iPads deployed.

Endpoint software will also likely be useful in spotting compromised devices, but there are gaps in that sort of security (for example, it still leaves the data on the device vulnerable).

The other option is to buy new hardware.

For the average user, this exploit is nothing to worry about, but for enterprise users it is likely to be a headache that will hang around until the old iPhones and iPads are replaced with new iPhones and iPads.

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iOS 13: Security and privacy settings you need to tweak and check

The best new features in iOS 13
With iOS 13 set to roll out on September 19, ZDNet’s Beth Mauder walks you through her five favorite new features and how you can add them to your iPhone. Read more:

Have you installed iOS 13, or perhaps bought a new iPhone with the new operating system installed on it? Here are settings you should change and tweaks you should make to harden the security and lock down your device, along with a tour of some of the new security and privacy features built into the platform.

#1: Set a really strong passcode

Good iOS security starts with having a really strong passcode. If this is something that’s easily guessable then everything else you do is pretty much pointless.

No matter whether you use Face ID or Touch ID to access your iPhone, you still need a passcode, and the longer the passcode you can use — and remember — the better.

Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode on older iPhones), enter your existing passcode, and then tap on Passcode Options to get a set of options. Choose between Custom Alphanumeric Code (the most secure) or Custom Numeric Code (second best option), or 4-Digit Numeric Code (I don’t recommend this last option).

#2: Block unknown callers

This is a great way to get rid of nuisance and spam callers. To enable this feature, go to Settings > Phone > and toggle to Silence Unknown Callers.

#3: Block apps from having Bluetooth access

After you install iOS 13 you might find a whole swathe of apps such as Facebook asking you for permission to transmit data over Bluetooth. You can either allow or deny access when the prompts are displayed, or you can head over to Settings > Privacy > Bluetooth and make the changes there.

Note that this doesn’t affect audio streaming to headphones and speakers.

#4: Password AutoFill and third-party password managers

iOS 13 now comes with both a password autofill feature that can use information stored in the iCloud Keychain along with the ability to connect to third-party password apps such as LastPass, Dashlane, and 1Password.

Also: Forgot password? Five reasons why you need a password manager 

You can find this feature in Settings > Passwords & Accounts > AutoFill Passwords.

#5: Make sure iOS automatic updates are enabled

iOS 13 has the ability to keep itself updated automatically, which is a great way to make sure that your iPhone is fully patched.

This should be set up automatically, but you can check it over at Settings > General > Software Update and making sure Automatic Updates is enabled.

#6: Wi-Fi tracking is blocked

Under iOS 12, it was possible to track iPhone and iPad users by the public Wi-Fi points the device was connecting to silently as the owner went about their business. This ability has now been blocked under iOS 13 so you can wander about without the fear of being tracked.

#7: Take control over Location Sharing

Another thing you might have noticed after installing iOS 13 is that you get notifications informing you that apps are using your locations data, and giving you the option of allowing this to continue or blocking it.

Don’t worry, you can change your mind by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, and changing permissions for your apps.

#8: Find your devices

iOS 13 has a cool new app called Find My which you can use to locate your friends and family, share your location, or find a missing device.

This app has two cool features, one is Enable Offline Finding that helps you find lost devices that aren’t connected to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The other is Send Last Location, which sends the device’s location to Apple when the battery is low.

#9: Control what Touch ID/Face ID is used to authenticate

Do you want the convenience of Face ID or Touch ID, or do you rather the additional protection that having to enter your passcode offers? iOS 13 allows you to switch Face ID/Touch ID on and off for:

  • iPhone Unlock
  • iTunes and App Store
  • Apple Pay
  • Password AutoFill

Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode on older iPhones), and enter your existing passcode to take control of this.

#10: Control access to what’s accessible when the iPhone or iPad is locked

Control how much — or how little — you want to be accessible on a locked device. iOS 12 gives control over the following:

  • Today View
  • Notification Center
  • Control Center
  • Siri
  • Reply with Message
  • Home Control
  • Wallet
  • Return Missed Call
  • USB Accessories

The bottom line is that the more you lock down, the more secure your device and data will be. The USB Accessories feature is especially useful, because it will prevent the Lightning port being used to connect to any accessory if your iPhone or iPad has been locked for more than an hour.

Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode on older iPhones), and enter your existing passcode to take control of this.

#11: Set brute-force protection

iOS has built-in brute-force protection to prevent an unauthorized user from trying to guess your passcodes.

Go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode on older iPhones), enter your existing passcode, and scroll down to Erase Data.

After 10 attempts (toward the end there will be a time lockout to slow down the entry process), the encryption key will be deleted and your data wiped.

#12: Check for password reuse

If you use the iCloud Keychain to store web passwords, you can now use this to check for password reuse (which is bad, so don’t do it!).

Go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Website & App Passwords and authenticate with either Face ID/Touch ID or your passcode.

You will see a grey triangle with an exclamation mark next to any entry that is reused. To change the password, tap Change Password on Website.

#13: Reduce the lock screen timeout

The shorter you set the lock screen timeout setting (there are options ranging from 30 seconds to never), the faster your iPhone or iPad display will require authentication to access it.

You can change the auto-lock time by going to Settings > Display & Brightness Auto-Lock.

#14: Disable biometrics to force passcode entry

Here’s a simple trick to know that allows you to disable Face ID or Touch ID and force the use of the passcode.

To do this press the power button five times (just be sure to cancel the SOS Emergency calling feature if you have this activated).

#15: Set up two-factor authentication

One of the best ways to protect your data is to set up and use two-factor authentication. This means that, even if an attacker has your iCloud username and password, Apple will send an authentication code of a device you’ve chosen, which should block most attacks.

Go to Settings > and tap your name at the top of the screen, then go to Password & Security, then choose Two-Factor Authentication.

Also: Protect yourself: How to choose the right two-factor authenticator app 

While setting up two-factor authentication you can also set up a Recovery Key.

Once set, without this key, or another device signed in with your Apple ID, you will not be able to reset your password.

#16: Control notification data leakage

Notifications displayed on the lock screen can leak sensitive information.

To stop this go to Settings > Notifications > Show Previews and change the setting to When Unlocked or Never.

#17: More control with Safari

Under iOS 13, the Safari browser now has the ability to control access to features such as the camera, the microphone, and current location on a per-site basis.

Go to Settings > Safari and look for the toggles under Settings For Websites.

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