, Samsung has officially announced the Galaxy Buds Live. The company announced the new wireless earbuds at its latest Unpacked event, where the company also revealed the new
Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra
, Galaxy Tab S7 and
Galaxy Watch 3
The completely wireless earbuds go on sale Aug. 6, and are priced at $169.99.
Don’t let the sub-$200 price fool you. The Buds Live are packed with the same features as the more expensive Apple AirPods Pro.
With Buds Live, you can expect 8 hours of battery life, with another 29 hours thanks to the charging case.
They also feature active noise cancellation, which you can toggle on/off with a long press on the earbud. There’s also an air vent in the Buds Live design that allows airflow, which Samsung claims produces a better sound and makes them more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
The bean-like shape is odd, no doubt, but it’s a nice break from the earbud with a stem look that’s become commonplace for this category.
The Buds Live will come in three colors, matching the mystic color theme of the Note lineup: Mystic bronze, black and white.
They’ll work with iOS and Android devices, with Samsung limiting some of the features to only Galaxy phones, like a dedicated gaming mode. As for the fit, you’ll have a choice between three changeable tips to help find the better fit for your ear. They’re sweat and water-resistant, so you shouldn’t have any issues wearing them while you workout (assuming you get a tight fit).
Other features Samsung also mentioned include three microphones plus an accelerometer for ANC and phone calls, and Bixby integration.
Does it feel like your iPhone’s battery life isn’t as good as it was since installing iOS 13.6? Is it not making it to the end of the day without having to recharge? Or do you feel like your battery has been getting progressively worse in recent months?
Fear not. It’s unlikely that your battery has gone bad overnight and you need to replace it (or your iPhone), and it’s much more likely to be down to the update.
Here’s what you can do to diagnose and fix the problem.
Must read:iPhone iOS 13.6 battery draining fast for no obvious reason? Try this fix
CHECK YOUR IPHONE’S BATTERY
Is the problem down to your battery? If your iPhone is more than a couple of years old, it could be and might be a good time to carry out a quick battery check.
Go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health. If this screen shows Maximum Capacity over 80 percent and Peak Performance Capability is showing “Your battery is currently supporting normal peak performance” then you are OK.
Anything else then you may have isolated your battery issue and you may be looking at replacing the battery.
CHECK FOR UPDATES
Bottom line, if you’ve not downloaded and installed the latest updates, it’s time to do so!
Head over to Settings > General > Software Update and download the latest iOS 13 update.
RUN APP UPDATES
The problem might not be an iOS issue but more a problem with an app, especially when new versions of iOS have been released. That means it’s a good idea to make sure all your apps are updated before you go spending a lot of time trying to diagnose what’s going on.
Fire up the App Store app and click your profile icon in the corner then scroll down to Available Updates to look for updates (I like to pull down this screen to refresh it so I see all the latest updates).
IS YOUR IPHONE CHARGING PROPERLY?
Your iPhone logs battery usage over time, and this can be a very useful diagnostic tool. Head over to Settings > Battery, and you’ll see a chart called Battery Level that looks as follows:
There’s a lot going on here, so let me break it down for you. Green shows when the iPhone was running normally off of its own battery power, while yellow shows when your iPhone was in Low Power Mode. The hatched green areas shows when your iPhone was on charge.
Last Charge Level shows how much charge was put into the battery during the last recharge, a good way to quickly see if the battery was fully charged or not.
You can use this to see what your battery drain is like, and whether the iPhone is actually charging when you think it is. If you’re not seeing those green hatched areas, then test your charger, and if you are using an older cable, check the Lightning connector for corrosion.
IS AN APP DRAINING YOUR BATTERY?
Underneath the Battery Level chart is another one called Activity.
This chart logs how much time apps were running on the screen (the dark blue bits of the bar) and when the screen is off (shown in light blue).
If you are seeing a lot of background activity then this could signify a problem with an app. The table below this chart breaks down battery usage by the app, and you can choose to view data buy battery usage, but by clicking on the blue Show Activity link you can get a breakdown of on-screen and background time.
While some apps legitimately need a lot of background time to function (such as the Tile app in the image above), this can also signify a problem, and could cause battery drain. A way to test this is to disable an app’s ability to run in the background by going to Settings General > Background App Refresh and turning that off for any apps that look to be heavy users.
NO LUCK? TRY THIS
I know, this seems like a simple fix, but you’d be surprised how often it works!
iPhone 8 and later: Click and release the volume up button followed by the volume down button, then press and hold down the power button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
iPhone 7 and earlier: Hold the power button and volume down until the Apple logo appears on screen
THE NUCLEAR OPTION
This is the nuclear option, but it can help you ascertain if the issue is a hardware issue or software. I only recommend this as a last resort because it is very time-consuming.
To do this, go to Settings > General > Reset and choose Reset All Settings or, if you want to delete all the apps too, Reset All Content and Settings.
Microsoft’s .NET team boasts that the forthcoming .NET 5 development stack will offer major performance improvements.
.NET 5 represents Microsoft’s effort to cherrypick the best of .NET Core, .NET Framework, Xamarin and Mono to create a platform that developers can use it to target all platforms, including Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, tvOS, watchOS and WebAssembly.
In other words, it’s a platform of runtime components, compilers, and languages for developing apps for the desktop, web, cloud, mobile, gaming, IoT and AI.
Microsoft started shipping previews of .NET 5 in March and plans for general availability in November. .NET 5 is important because it aims to unify .NET development as a platform for building all applications across the desktop, mobile and connected devices.
.NET 5 includes ASP.NET Core, Entity Framework Core, WinForms, WPF, Xamarin and ML.NET as well as support for Windows on Arm64.
“.NET 5 has already seen a wealth of performance improvements, and even though it’s not scheduled for final release until this fall and there’s very likely to be a lot more improvements that find their way in by then, I wanted to highlight a bunch of the improvements that are already available now,” said Stephen Toub, partner software engineer on Microsoft’s .NET team.
The sixth and newest preview of .NET 5 from June allowed developers to build and run Windows Forms apps on Windows Arm64 devices, like the Surface Pro X. Microsoft at that stage was still working on adding support for WPF on Windows on Arm.
Toub’s performance analysis covers the .NET garbage collector, the Just-In-Time compiler, ‘hardware intrinsics methods’, runtime helpers, text processing, regular expressions, threading and asynchrony, and more.
“In .NET Core 3.0, over a thousand new hardware intrinsics methods were added and recognized by the JIT to enable C# code to directly target instruction sets like SSE4 and AVX2,” Toub wrote of the hardware improvements.
“These were then used to great benefit in a bunch of APIs in the core libraries. However, the intrinsics were limited to x86/x64 architectures. In .NET 5, a ton of effort has gone into adding thousands more, specific to Arm64, thanks to multiple contributors, and in particular @TamarChristinaArm from Arm Holdings.”
One of the winning features about iOS is that, even out of the box and without any tweaks, it’s a really secure platform. There’s rarely a shady app that makes it into the App Store, and Apple has struck the perfect balance between too much an too little security.
Must read:I wish I’d found this iPhone accessory years ago
#1: Make sure you have a strong passcode
Don’t be that person who’s relying on 000000 or 123456 to protect their information. You are better than that. Much 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: Control leakage
Data leakage, that is.
Take control how much — or how little — information you want to be accessible on a locked device.
iOS 13 gives control over the following:
Reply with Message
Return Missed Call
I have everything disabled except for Home Control and Wallet.
The bottom line is that the more you lockdown, 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.
#3: Have you been naughty and been reusing passwords?
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.
#4: Reduce lock screen timeout to a minimum
The shorter you set the lock screen timeout setting (options are ranging from 30 seconds to never), the faster your iPhone or iPad display will require authentication to access it.
My advice — never set it to never. Never!
You can change the auto-lock time by going to Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock.
#5: Hide notification previews
Prevent random snoopers from seeing your data by hiding notification previews.
Go to Settings > Notifications, then tap on Show Previews and choose When Unlocked.
Bonus tip #1
Reboot your iPhone every week or so. Not only will this improve performance, but it’s also a simple way to protect yourself from remote exploits.
Bonus tip #2
Download and install iVerify.
iVerify is a security scanner that makes sure you are making use of the basic security features such as Face/Touch ID, Screen Lock, and are running the latest iOS version. It also runs a device scan that looks for security anomalies and gives you a heads up if something seems out of place.
The app also gives you a very — and I mean very — comprehensive list of tweaks and changes you can carry out to keep your device safe. Many of these are probably overkill for the average user, but for the power user or security-conscious, the app is a goldmine of information.
iVerify is not free — it costs $2.99 — but it’s truly worth the money if you take security seriously. I know my way around iOS very well, and even I learned a few new things from going through all the guides contained in this app.
Apple’s iPad lineup is arguably something that’s unmatched by any other platform or device maker. The tablets all consistently turn top performance and have 10 hours of battery life, clear and crisp displays, and access to countless apps in the App Store.
And with Apple’s announcement of iPadOS last year, the company has slowly and methodically released updates with features that differentiate it from the iPhone and push it closer to being more like a Mac.
Below you’ll find Apple’s iPad lineup and details about what differentiates each model.
10.2-inch display | A10 Fusion chip | Up to 128GB storage | Touch ID
Apple’s tried-and-true tablet, the base model iPad, is arguably the best value out of the group. You get all of the same features as the more expensive Pro and Air models, including a larger 10.2-inch display.
Inside is the Apple A10 Fusion chip, either 32GB or 128GB of storage, and either standalone Wi-Fi support or Wi-Fi and Cellular connectivity.
Apple hasn’t expanded its facial recognition hardware beyond the iPad Pro, so the iPad still has a home button with Touch ID. There is, however, a Smart Connector to add Apple’s Smart Keyboard, turning the iPad into more of a laptop than a tablet. And, of course, it supports the Apple Pencil.
Better yet? The iPad starts at $329. It’s incredibly powerful and even more affordable.
$329 at Apple
10.5-inch | A12 Bionic | Up to 256GB of storage | Touch ID
In the middle of the iPad pack is the iPad Air. Apple mixes and combines some of the features from the standard iPad and the iPad Pro, bringing specs like a 10.5-inch display, but leaving the home button in place.
Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support is available, and storage space is double that of the standard iPad, with 64GB and 256GB options available. Powering the iPad Air is an A12 Bionic processor, bringing some of that power that the iPad Pro lineup has to a slightly smaller, and less expensive, device.
Starting price for the iPad Air is $499 for 64GB or $649 for 256GB. You can add cellular to it for an extra $130.
$399 at Apple
11- or 12.9-inch | A12Z | Up to 1TB of storage | Face ID
The iPad Pro is the most expensive, and the most capable tablet in the lineup. It boasts a completely different design when compared to the standard iPad or iPad Air. Instead of a Lightning port for charging, syncing and accessories, you’ll find a USB-C port.
The Home button is gone, replaced by Apple’s Face ID facial recognition tech. And, unlike on the iPhone, you can use Face ID with the iPad in either portrait or landscape orientation.
There are two sizes: 11-inch or 12.9-inch, with storage ranging from 128GB all the way up to 1TB. Pricing also has a wide range, of $799 for the 11-inch 1218GB model, up to $1,499 for the 1TB 12.9-inch model. Add cellular connectivity to either model for $150 more. The Pro uses Apple’s A12Z processor, making it the most powerful iPad currently available.
The Pro also supports the second-generation Apple Pencil, with a magnetic spot on the side to charge it. The Smart Connector is on the back of the iPad Pro, giving you the option to use it with the recently launched Magic Keyboard that includes backlit keys and trackpad, or Apple’s Smart Keyboard.
The iPad Pro, combined with iPadOS, is as close as you can get to a laptop without actually buying a laptop.
$799 at Apple
7.9-inch | A12 Bionic | Up to 256GB of storage | Touch ID
If you want something smaller and more manageable, the iPad Mini fits the bill. Powered by the A12 Bionic processor, the 7.9-inch tablet comes with all the same bells and whistles as the rest of Apple’s tablet line thanks to a fairly recent update.
The Mini will work with the first-generation Apple Pencil, so you can draw or jot notes in supported apps. With the upcoming release of iPadOS 14, Apple Pencil support is expanding thanks to a new Scribbles feature that lets you write in text boxes, with the tablet converting your handwriting into actual text.
You have the option of 64GB or 256GB of storage, with the former priced at $399 and the latter $549 for the Wi-Fi-only models. If you want to add cellular connectivity, you’re looking at a $130 increase.
$399 at Apple
9.7-inch | A10 Fusion | Up to 128GB | Touch ID
For those who still have one of the original 9.7-inch iPad models, with cases and accessories aplenty, then check out Apple’s refurbished store, where you’ll find the sixth-generation iPad still on sale. It was first released in March 2018, but don’t let that fool you, it can still run the latest OS and do all you’d need a tablet to do.
Inventory in Apple’s Refurbished store fluctuates all the time, but as of right now, the 128GB model with Wi-Fi and Cellular is available in silver, space gray, and gold for $439, marked down from the standard prices of $529.
Apple will support the sixth-generation iPad with iPadOS 14, so you’ll be able to take advantage of all of its new features, and some of the more recently added features like mouse and trackpad support.
Some of the nerdier specs about the sixth-generation model is an Apple A10 Fusion processor, with 10-hour battery life, a Touch ID sensor, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a 2048×1536 resolution display.
Apple said this week that it declined to implement 16 new web technologies (Web APIs) in Safari because they posed a threat to user privacy by opening new avenues for user fingerprinting.
Technologies that Apple declined to include in Safari because of user fingerprinting concerns include:
Web Bluetooth – Allows websites to connect to nearby Bluetooth LE devices.
Web MIDI API – Allows websites to enumerate, manipulate and access MIDI devices.
Magnetometer API – Allows websites to access data about the local magnetic field around a user, as detected by the device’s primary magnetometer sensor.
Web NFC API – Allows websites to communicate with NFC tags through a device’s NFC reader.
Device Memory API – Allows websites to receive the approximate amount of device memory in gigabytes.
Network Information API – Provides information about the connection a device is using to communicate with the network and provides a means for scripts to be notified if the connection type changes
Battery Status API – Allows websites to receive information about the battery status of the hosting device.
Web Bluetooth Scanning – Allows websites to scan for nearby Bluetooth LE devices.
Ambient Light Sensor – Lets websites get the current light level or illuminance of the ambient light around the hosting device via the device’s native sensors.
HDCP Policy Check extension for EME – Allows websites to check for HDCP policies, used in media streaming/playback.
Proximity Sensor – Allows websites to retrieve data about the distance between a device and an object, as measured by a proximity sensor.
WebHID – Allows websites to retrieve information about locally connected Human Interface Device (HID) devices.
Serial API – Allows websites to write and read data from serial interfaces, used by devices such as microcontrollers, 3D printers, and othes.
Web USB – Lets websites communicate with devices via USB (Universal Serial Bus).
Geolocation Sensor (background geolocation) – A more modern version of the older Geolocation API that lets websites access geolocation data.
User Idle Detection – Lets website know when a user is idle.
Apple claims that the 16 Web APIs above would allow online advertisers and data analytics firms to create scripts that fingerprint users and their devices.
User fingerprints are small scripts that an advertiser loads and runs inside each user’s browser. The scripts execute a set of standard operations, usually against a common Web API or common web browser feature, and measure the response.
Since each user has a different browser and operating system configuration, responses are unique per user device. Advertisers use this unique response (fingerprint), coupled with other fingerprints and data points, to create unique identifiers for each user.
Over the past three years, user fingerprinting has become the standard method of tracking users in the online ad tech market.
The shift to user fingerprinting comes as browser makers have been deploying anti-tracking features that have limited the capabilities and reach of third-party (tracking) cookies.
Some browser makers have also been deploying countermeasures to prevent fingerprinting operations through the most common methods — such as fonts, HTML5 canvas, and WebGL — but not all user fingerprinting vectors are currently blocked.
Furthermore, new ones are constantly being created as browser makers add new Web APIs to their code.
Currently, Apple has identified the 16 Web APIs above as some of the worst offenders; however, the browser maker said that if any of these new technologies “reduce fingerprintability down the road” it would reconsider adding it to Safari.
“WebKit’s first line of defense against fingerprinting is to not implement web features which increase fingerprintability and offer no safe way to protect the user,” Apple said.
For Web APIs already implemented in Safari years before, Apple says it’s been working to limit their fingerprintability vector. So far, Apple said it:
Removed support for custom fonts. This means only presenting built-in fonts which are the same for all users with the same system.
Removed minor software update information from the user agent string. The string only changes with the marketing version of the platform and the browser.
Removed the Do Not Track flag, which ironically was used as a fingerprinting vector, adding uniqueness to the users who had enabled it.
Removed support for any plug-ins on macOS. Other desktop ports may differ. (Plug-ins were never a thing on iOS.)
Require a user permission for websites to access the Device Orientation/Motion APIs on mobile devices, because the physical nature of motion sensors may allow for device fingerprinting.
Prevent fingerprinting of attached cameras and microphones through the Web Real-Time Communication API (WebRTC).
Apple has fixed an iOS annoyance that’s been plaguing me since I started using the iPhone.
I’ve long wanted Apple to stop making phone calls and FaceTime calls take over the entire iPhone. iOS 14 does just that.
Now, rather than taking over the whole screen, and busting through whatever you’re doing, Kool-Aid Man style, calls and FaceTime calls appear in a banner at the top of the screen, acting like just another notification.
From this banner, you can choose to accept the call and hang up. To dismiss a call, you just swipe it up out of the way.
Must read:iOS 14: Will it run on your iPhone and iPad?
And it’s not just calls but also calls from third-party apps such as Skype, giving users a standardized experience across different apps.
iPad users also get this feature, both for calls made direct to the device and calls handed over to it from an iPhone.
It’s a small tweak, but it’s taken Apple over a decade to finally fix this huge annoyance.
Apple confirmed it is moving the Mac to the Arm architecture amid a big software design overhaul that brings MacOS, iOS, and iPadOS together in both look and feel.
At WWDC 2020, Apple laid out a roadmap that started with operating systems and went into hardware and processors. Going forward, Apple’s design language across devices and operating systems will be more consistent — as will the hardware that powers them.
The company also outlined a case that revolves around innovation and an easy transition. MacOS native apps already work with Apple silicon and big software partners such as Microsoft and Adobe are on board with the Arm shift. Mac apps that aren’t ready for Apple’s chips immediately will run on virtualization.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said transition will take two years from Intel to Apple silicon and first Arm based systems will be available by the end of the year. Cook said Apple will support Intel based Macs for the foreseeable future.
This MacOS release will be called Big Sur and include a cleaner design and consistency with iOS and iPadOS. System-level controls, notifications, and widgets all rhyme with what is typically seen on iOS.
Apple retained some of the details of the well-known Mac icons. Apple said the MacOS is familiar yet entirely new.
With the overhaul of photos, dock, and grids, it’s clear that Apple is going with a MacOS design that provides a bridge to iOS 14. The code may not be bridged, but the look and feel of the Mac is starting to rhyme with iOS.
Even controls and messages go with what you’ll see on iOS and iPadOS.
You see where this is headed: The MacOS overhaul comes as the Mac will be moving to Apple’s Arm-based processors in the future. Mac Catalyst, a program that enables developers to create Mac apps from iPad apps, also received a bevy of updates to make bridging those applications easier.
Consider MacOS an Arm-ready OS.
With that backdrop, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, set up the announcement nearly everyone in tech was waiting for. Mac goes Arm. CEO Cook said the additon of Arm will take the Mac “to a whole new level.”
Cook said moving the Mac to Apple processors will allow it to better integrate hardware and software. The argument for moving the Mac to Apple’s own processors go like this:
Apple can control its innovation cycle and bring low power and better performance to the Mac.
The company has been advancing silicon tools and the Mac can use those technologies with its own custom processor.
MacOS Big Sur is already built to take advantage of Arm and Apple silicon. All of Apple’s native apps are already running on Xcode and equipped for Arm. Developers can make Mac apps work on Arm and Intel with Universal 2 at the same time.
Microsoft and Adobe already have their applications Office and Creative Cloud, respectively, running on Apple silicon. Final Cut Pro is also working on Apple silicon.
Apple will provide a bevy of developer tools as well as a Developer Transition Kit, a Mac mini with an A12Z SoC.
Apple Developer Program members can start moving their apps to Apple silicon today by applying for the Universal App Quick Start Program. The program provides access to documentation, forums support, beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12, and includes the limited use of a DTK, which will enable developers to build and test their Universal 2 apps. The DTK, which must be returned to Apple at the end of the program, consists of a Mac mini with Apple’s A12Z Bionic SoC inside and desktop specs, including 16GB of memory, a 512GB SSD, and a variety of Mac I/O ports. Developers can apply to the program at developer.apple.com, and the total cost of the program is $500.
Apple’s virtual WWDC conference was highlighted by a plan to transition the Mac to Apple processors over time, but much of the groundwork has already been laid with a redesigned Mac OS. There were also updates to iOS, iPad OS, and watchOS to ponder.
Here is everything announced in order of importance.
1. Apple silicon Mac available to developers
The first Mac based on Apple silicon is available to developers. The Developer Transition Kit consists of a Mac Mini packing an A12Z SoC processor with macOS Big Sur. These systems will be gobbled up as developers prep apps for the new world of Mac. Apple’s transition plan looks solid. Apple said:
“Apple Developer Program members can start moving their apps to Apple silicon today by applying for the Universal App Quick Start Program. The program provides access to documentation, forums support, beta versions of macOS Big Sur and Xcode 12, and includes the limited use of a DTK, which will enable developers to build and test their Universal 2 apps. The DTK, which must be returned to Apple at the end of the program, consists of a Mac mini with Apple’s A12Z Bionic SoC inside and desktop specs, including 16GB of memory, a 512GB SSD, and a variety of Mac I/O ports. Developers can apply to the program at developer.apple.com, and the total cost of the program is $500.”
2. Processor transition will take two years
Apple’s transition from Intel-based Macs to Apple silicon will take two years — with product support going longer. Apple had no choice but to offer that support, but buyers will have to consider what processor to bet on. (Hint: Apple chips are the correct answer, but you need to wait to see how apps work in the real world.)
3. watchOS 7 is a health nag
watchOS 7 will give Apple more of a footprint in health care and even watch your handwashing hygiene. Yes, the Apple Watch is your new nag about handwashing, but given COVID-19, maybe that’s not a bad thing. Here’s to hoping Apple Watch calls people out when they pee and don’t wash hands at all.
4. MacOS looking more like iOS
MacOS is starting to look a lot like iPad OS and iOS. The melding of operating systems has begun and the move to Apple silicon is only going to accelerate that journey.
5. iOS 14 yawner
iOS 14 didn’t wow anyone. Apple gave iOS 14 some nice perks and the app organization and widgets are handy, but in a lot of ways the operating system was all about incremental updates. That’s why it went first.
6. Support for developers
Developers are getting code support, private forums and transition help as Mac moves to Arm. Apple knows it needs applications to transition to two processor support for a few years.
7. Siri updated
Siri is minimized, but hopefully smarter. The Siri update is worth noting since the digital helper is basically a punchline at this point. But at least Siri won’t have a big jarring presence on the iPad and iPhone anymore.
8. Digital car key
CarKey is going to make the iPhone a digital car key, and that’s going to be a sticky application given Apple’s CarPlay footprint. Where were my keys again?
9. Privacy features
Apple sees privacy as its competitive advantage. Apple announced a series of privacy and security features that will make it much harder for advertisers to track users.
10. Where was AR?
AR wasn’t mentioned. Yes, we know that we’re ranking an announcement that wasn’t made, but the silence was a bit deafening.