The New AirPods Could Have Hands-Free Siri

One thing Apple does consistently is deliver new versions of its existing products. Except the Mac mini. Sure, these aren’t always the most innovative upgrades, but they are upgrades nonetheless. And it looks as though a new version of the AirPods is already on the way.

New rumors suggest that Apple is currently working on new AirPods. The AirPods may have split opinion at launch — read our review to see what we thought — but they have been a big seller. So much so that Apple gave the AirPods the starring role in its holiday ad.

And now, the second generation of AirPods is (rumored to be) on the way in 2018.

The Devil Is in the Detail

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg states that Apple is “working on upgrades to its wireless AirPods headphones.” So far, so utterly predictable. However, the devil is in the detail, and those same sources claim to know what’s changing.

The first upgrade will be a new wireless chip. The AirPods are actually rather good at finding and maintaining a Bluetooth connection, but there’s always room for improvement. So, expect the W2 chip from the Apple Watch at the very least.

The second upgrade will be the option to summon Siri using just your voice. At the moment, you have to tap the headphones to activate her, but the second generation of AirPods should bring hands-free Siri to the fore. Which would be a Godsend.

Finally, looking even further forward, Bloomberg’s sources claim the third generation of AirPods, due to be released in 2019, will be water resistant. While they’re unlikely to survive a drowning, this future version of AirPods should survive a little rain.

Persuading People to Upgrade

Apple took a gamble with the AirPods, but that gamble has paid off. So it’s no surprise to find the company eager to release a new version sooner rather than later. And adding hands-free access to Siri is bound to persuade plenty of people to pay for the upgrade.

Do you own a pair of AirPods? What do you like about them? And what do think could be improved? Would you buy a new pair for the improved wireless? For hands-free Siri? Or for better water resistance? Please let us know in the comments below!

How to Send GIFs in iMessage Chats

The awesome iMessage has tons of cool features for iOS users. Much more than just a basic text chat, iMessage lets you integrate apps and send your friends all kinds of goofy content.

Did you know that you can send GIFs right in iMessage? If a picture or emoji won’t communicate your message properly, a GIF could be just the solution. These moving images are perfect for reacting, illustrating, or just messing around.

Here’s how to easily send a GIF in your next iMessage conversation.

How to Send GIFs in iMessage Chats iMessage Send GIFs

How to Send GIFs in iMessage Chats

  1. Open the Messages app on your iPhone.
  2. Select the chat you’d like to send a GIF in.
  3. You’ll see your iMessage apps lined up at the bottom of the screen. If you’re already typing a message, you can see them by selecting the Apps icon.
  4. Tap the red icon that has a magnifying glass. You’ll see some random GIFs that you can scroll through.
  5. Tap a GIF to add it to your message.
  6. To find the perfect GIF, just enter some text to search for in the Find images box. You’ll also see some suggested categories handy for reactions, like yay and thumbs up.
  7. Add a comment to your message if you want, then hit the Send button.

That’s all there is to easily adding GIFs to your iMessage chats. If this feature doesn’t have the GIF that you want, try using a different GIF website or app to find the right one. For most GIFs, you can long-press on them and select Copy, then just Paste the GIF into an iMessage chat.

For more, check out fun iMessage games you can play with your friends.

 

How to See When Paid iOS Apps Become Free

The iOS App Store is great for highlighting new and popular apps, but it doesn’t do a great job of letting you know when apps have dropped in price. Luckily, you can use some third-party apps to keep tabs on daily price drops in the app store.

AppShopper

The homepage of the AppShopper website is a mixed feed of all the updates from the app store: new apps, whether paid or free, price drops, and app updates.

A series of buttons at the top of the screen will allow you filter down to just apps that have dropped in price. If you want just free apps, click the free button, otherwise you’ll also see a bunch of apps that are now free, or have just dropped in price but are still paid.

How to See When Paid iOS Apps Become Free AppShopper

You can also filter your results by category if you’re interested in a particular type of app.

You can also get notifications for apps that you’re keeping an eye on and are just waiting for the price to drop. With AppShopper, you’ll have to sign up for a free account to get these notifications, whereas with the second option, you get this feature with no signup necessary.

After you a sign up for a free account, add apps for which you want to receive price drop notifications to your wishlist. Go to your wishlist and check the Notify me of price dropsoption.

How to See When Paid iOS Apps Become Free AppShopper Notifications

AppZapp

AppZapp is available as an iOS and Android app. When you first open up AppZapp on your iPhone, you can choose your settings:

  • You can choose to be notified about any or all of the following: app sales, new apps, and updates. (You don’t have to sign up for an account to use this feature.)
  • You can specify an interest in apps, games, or both.
  • You can specify iPhone, iPad, and/or Mac apps.

Once you’ve chosen all your settings and enabled push notifications, you’ll see four main tabs in the app, but the main tab where you’ll probably spend most if not all of your time is the Alerts tab. The tab is divided into two different sections.

How to See When Paid iOS Apps Become Free AppZapp

Custom Alert: This is where you can see all your custom alerts. This includes apps on sale or for free for that day. You can also filter down by app category.

App & Developer Alerts: This is where you can create custom alerts for specific apps or developers. If there’s a particular app you have your eye on and want to receive notifications for price drops for specific apps.

Everything You Need to Know About Apple iTunes Gift Cards

iTunes is Apple’s marketplace for all things media, software, and entertainment. If you’ve been given an iTunes gift card, you can use it to purchase apps, books, music, movies, and more.

If you’re not familiar with iTunes or have never received an iTunes gift card before, you might have a few queries about how to use it and what to buy. Let’s address some of the most common queries in plain English.

What Is an iTunes Gift Card?

apple itunes gift card guide

An iTunes gift card is a pre-purchased credit for Apple’s iTunes store. The iTunes store is Apple’s media and software marketplace, which is where you can buy music, movies, apps, and more. It is not the same as the Apple Store, where you can use Apple Store gift cards to purchase physical items like iPhones or MacBooks.

Your iTunes gift card may be a physical card or a digital card delivered via email. You can only redeem your card in the same iTunes store from which it was purchased (a US gift card is only good in the US App Store).

How to Buy an iTunes Gift Card

apple itunes gift card guide

You can buy an iTunes gift card:

  • At the Apple Store online.
  • On the iPhone: Launch the App Store app, tap your user icon, then choose Send Gift Card by Email.
  • On a Mac or Windows PC with iTunes: Click the Store tab then choose Buy iTunes Gift Cards.
  • In retail locations like the Apple Store, supermarkets and convenience stores.

iTunes gift cards are an easy way to pay for items in international iTunes stores if you do not have valid form of payment (credit card) for that country. You can buy these cards online, and eBay is a good choice since you can check the seller’s reputation before you buy.

If you’re lucky, you can find discounted iTunes gift cards for cheap.

How to Redeem iTunes Gift Cards

To redeem your iTunes gift card on an iPhone:

  1. Launch the App Store.
  2. On the Today tab, tap your user icon in the top-right corner.
  3. Choose Redeem Gift Card or Code.
  4. Use your device’s camera to scan your gift card, or enter the code manually.

To redeem your iTunes gift card on a Mac or Windows PC running iTunes:

  1. Launch iTunes and click on the Store tab.
  2. On the right-hand side of the screen click the Redeem button.
  3. Sign in with your Apple ID and password.
  4. Use your device’s camera to scan your gift card, or enter the code manually.

To redeem your iTunes gift card on a Mac via the Mac App Store:

  1. Launch the Mac App Store and click on the Featured tab.
  2. On the right-hand side, choose Redeem.
  3. Login with your Apple ID and password, then use your camera to scan the card or enter the code manually.

How to Check Your iTunes Gift Card Balance

To check your iTunes gift card balance from an iPhone:

  1. Launch the App Store.
  2. On the Today tab, tap your user icon in the top-right corner.
  3. If you have iTunes credit, it will be displayed below your name.

To check your iTunes gift card balance on a Mac or Windows PC running iTunes:

  1. Launch iTunes and ensure you’re signed in under Account > Sign in.
  2. Click on the Store tab and look for your balance in the top-right corner.

If you don’t have a balance, you won’t see anything. When you redeem your iTunes gift card, the balance is transferred to your iTunes account. If you’re not sure if you have used a gift card, try redeeming it. While gift cards eventually expire, credit you have applied to your account does not.

What Can You Buy With an iTunes Gift Card?

Once redeemed, you can spend iTunes credit on:

  • Apps and games from the iOS App Store and Mac App Store.
  • Music, TV shows and Movies from iTunes.
  • Subscriptions that normally charge to your iTunes account.
  • iCloud storage space upgrades.

How to Add Your iTunes Gift Card Balance to Wallet

apple itunes gift card guide

Add your iTunes balance to Wallet by creating an iTunes Pass:

  1. Redeem your gift card as you would normally.
  2. On your iPhone, launch App Store, and tap the Today tab.
  3. Tap your user icon, tap your name, then sign in with your Apple ID password.
  4. Scroll down and select Add iTunes Pass to Wallet.

You can now check your iTunes balance at a glance by launching the Wallet app. To add funds to your iTunes account, you can show your iTunes Pass in an Apple Retail Store.

How to Use Your iTunes Gift Card for Apple Music

You can use your iTunes gift card to pay for an Apple Music subscription. Redeem your card as you would normally, then start an Apple Music subscription using Music on iOS or iTunes on a computer. Apple will deduct your monthly Apple Music fee from your iTunes balance.

How to Use iTunes Gift Cards Instead of Credit Cards

When you sign up for an Apple ID, you are given the opportunity to add a payment method. Some stores allow you to add balance via a gift card during this stage of your sign up. You can also complete sign up omitting card details, then redeem your gift card as you would normally.

Remember: iTunes will always use your iTunes balance before charging your credit card. There’s no way to elect to buy an app or pay for a subscription with a credit card, in order to preserve your iTunes balance. If you get $100 iTunes credit for Christmas and you have an ongoing Apple Music subscription, your subscription will use your balance over time until it’s all gone.

Can You Use iTunes Gift Cards in the Apple Store?

No. iTunes gift cards must be redeemed within the App Store, iTunes, or iBooks stores. Only Apple Store gift cards can be used at the Apple Store (either online or retail).

Can You Use iTunes Gift Cards for In-App Purchases?

apple itunes gift card guide

iTunes will automatically deduct any outgoing payments from your iTunes balance, which means you can use your iTunes balance for in-app purchases.

Beware of any in-app purchases that charge a payment method directly (like ride sharing apps or food delivery services) since they will charge the credit card you have on file for that particular merchant.

What Will You Buy From iTunes?

Wondering what you can buy with your iTunes gift card? Don’t spend a cent till you’ve read this.

 

iOS 12 concept photos showcase how Apple could easily improve the iPhone user experience

iOS 12 Features

Apple over the past few years has been iterating at breakneck speed. Every single year, without fail, we’ve seen a brand new iPhone accompanied by a brand new version of iOS, complete with a wide array of new and exciting features. 2018, though, will be a little bit different. While a slate of new iPhones are on the horizon, iOS 12 will likely be a less ambitious release than initially planned. According to reports, a handful of widely publicized iOS and macOS bugs convinced Apple to scale back a few of its more ambitious iOS plans as to ensure that upcoming features are fully baked upon release.

Interestingly enough, Apple’s early roadmap for iOS 12 was said to include a brand new home screen, a revamp that has since been pushed back to iOS 13.

So while we’ll likely have to wait until 2019 before we see a drastic overhaul to the iOS user experience, new iOS 12 concept photos hosted on Behance provide us with a glimpse into what a re-imagined iteration of iOS might look like. While iOS concepts are a dime a dozen these days, many of the concepts below are intriguing to say the least.

For instance, a brand new sound bar would allow users to increase or decrease the volume without the UI overtaking the screen.

Some other notable ideas include a Guest Mode and the ability to set multiple timers from within the Clock app.

A few other interesting design ideas include a completely revamped Camera app and a brand new lock screen.

The full list of concept photos and renders is can be viewed in its entirety over here.

7 of the Most Useful iPhone Settings You Aren’t Using

The iPhone’s Settings app is a labyrinth of well-hidden options and useful customizations, but they’re not immediately apparent if you don’t know where to look. Even more confusingly, some of the best settings aren’t in the Settings app at all.

Today we’re going to investigate some of the lesser-known iPhone settings. Keep reading to find out more.

1. Invert the Screen Colors

useful iphone settings

We’re all accustomed to how an iPhone looks. The various on-screen menus have used a light grey tone for years.

Perhaps you’re getting bored of the color scheme, maybe you just want to create a talking point with your friends, or perhaps you need a darker theme due to sight issues. Whatever the reason, it’s possible to invert an iPhone’s colors.

Open the Settings app and go to General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Invert Colors. You have two options. You can either invert all the screen’s colors, or leave images, videos, and other media unaffected.

Note: Inverting your screen’s colors will automatically disable your iPhone’s Night Shift feature.

2. Prioritize App Downloads

useful iphone settings

Keeping all the apps on your phone up-to-date is akin to a full-time job. And frustratingly, the iPhone doesn’t download multiple apps at once.

If you do a bulk download of updates, some of the apps might be out of action for quite a long time while they wait for their place at the front of the download queue. It’s annoying if an app you use all the time is afflicted.

But did you know you can prioritize specific apps to download first? While an app is downloading, 3D Touch (or long-press) it and select Prioritize Download from the list of options. The app will jump to the front of the download queue.

3. Automatically Disconnect From Weak Wi-Fi

useful iphone settings

Like most smartphones, your iPhone can automatically connect to known Wi-Fi networks while you’re out and about.

But if you’ve spent any serious time using public networks, you’ll know how slow and weak they can occasionally be. In such situations, it’s more sensible just use your carrier’s mobile data network.

You can make your phone automatically disconnect from weak networks in advance. Navigate to Settings > Cellular > Wi-Fi Assist. It will drop the weak network if speeds are too slow.

Remember, enabling Wi-Fi Assist will make you more likely to eat through a significant amount of cellular data during your billing cycle.

4. Lock Your Notes

useful iphone settings

Despite all the security advice about keeping passwords, online banking details, and other sensitive data safe, a lot of people still use the Notes app to keep a record of such information. If your phone is lost or stolen, the presence of the personal information puts you at risk of identity theft.

If you worried about the contents of your Notes app, you should set up the app’s locking feature.

Go to Settings > Notes > Password. You can enter a password and a hint. If you would prefer to use your fingerprint rather than a password, slide the toggle next to Use Touch IDinto the On position. To lock a note, swipe it left and tap on the lock icon.

Warning: Per the on-screen message, you will be permanently locked out of any locked notes if you forget your password. There is no recovery process.

5. Text-to-Speech

useful iphone settings

Text-to-speech is one of those things you often hear about, but never think to use. The feature deserves more of your attention. Just think: how cool would it be to listen to a news article while you’re driving? Or to enjoy a regular ebook in audio form while you’re stuck on a long plane journey?

Best of all, text-to-speech requires almost no setting up and is simple to use. Within your phone’s Settings app, tap through to General > Accessibility > Speech.

You have two options: Speak Selection and Speak Screen. You should enable Speak Selection; it is more useful for listening to content.

Next, close the Settings app and find some text. Long-press on the words and drag the highlighter tool around what you want to listen to. Finally, tap on Speak in the popup box.

6. Change Video Resolution

useful iphone settings

The iPhone’s camera is better than ever. But the higher quality comes at a price; video files are larger.

A minute of footage will only take up 40MB if you record it in 720p at 30fps, whereas a minute of 4K video will take up about 170MB. And sure, high-resolution videos look great on 4K televisions, but how often are you going do that?

If you want to eek a little more storage out of your phone, consider lowering the video quality. If you’re looking to future proof your memories and have plenty of free space, consider using 4K quality if your iPhone supports it.

To change the resolution, go to Settings > Camera > Record Video. Your model of iPhonewill dictate compatible resolution and framerate.

7. Block Web Trackers

useful iphone settings

We all need to take our online privacy seriously. Today, one of the most common ways you’re being “spied” on is through embedded ads. They let advertisers track you across multiple websites.

If you’re running iOS 11 or later, you can stop the tracking if you use Safari. Sites will be significantly hindered from following you around the web.

To enable the security feature, open the Settings app and go to Safari > Privacy and Security. You should slide the toggles next to Prevent Cross-Site Tracking and Ask Websites Not to Track Me into the On position.

Many More iPhone Settings to Explore

In this article, we’ve introduced you to seven iPhone settings that you might not have used before. They can do everything from speeding up your day-to-day usage to improving your security.

In truth, this article has barely scratched the surface. There are countless more clever tricks and sneaky tweaks hidden away inside the settings app.