IOS

How to Cancel Your Useless iOS App Subscriptions

Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty

If you’ve never checked on your app subscriptions, I don’t blame you. It’s a feature buried pretty deeply in your iOS device. But then, you could discover an app charging you $100 per week, so it pays to be vigilant.

Developer Johnny Lin got curious during Apple’s WWDC 2017 keynote, when CEO Tim Cook announced a $70 billion payout to developers from the App Store.

That’s a huge spike, and surprising to me because it didn’t seem like my friends and I were spending more on apps last year. But that’s anecdotal, so I wondered: Where are these revenues coming from? I opened App Store to browse the top grossing apps.

Lin took a look at some high earning iOS apps and discovered a few suspect apps, many of them with exorbitant subscriptions to which users were seemingly subscribing. Some apps—VPN apps in this instance—were charging a recurring…

All the Ways Apple’s iOS 11 Will Change Your iPhone

After Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference last week, everyone was talking about new hardware. The company introduced its new HomePod speaker, a competitor to Amazon’s Echo, and unveiled a new iMac Pro, along with upgraded iMacs and MacBooks.

The company also announced an update to its mobile operating system — the one that powers the millions of iPhones and iPads that have become a common part of everyday life for many people. Apple will roll out iOS 11 this fall, with a host of new features.

What are they? Let’s take a look.

We all know how dangerous texting, or using your phone in general, while driving can be, but it doesn’t stop people from thinking they can get away with it. Plus, buzzing alerts on your phone are distracting even if you don’t look at them (and sometimes it seems like they never stop). Apple’s next update will include a possible solution to that problem: It will automatically block notifications when your phone thinks you are behind the wheel.

Texts sent via iMessage will also be intercepted. When one arrives, the phone will send an automatic reply saying you are driving and that you’ll respond when you get to your destination. (You can program your phone to let some numbers through the blockade, so loved ones can reach you in a pinch.) When the phone has determined that you’ve stopped driving, your screen will come back to life, and you can catch up on everything you’ve missed.

The Control Center, that panel full of easily-accessed buttons and tools you see when you swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone screen, will also get an overhaul in the new update. Soon all the controls will be located on one colorful, widget-filled page.

Some have complained that the new layout is confusing and cluttered, but it doesn’t have to be: The Control Center will be customizable, so you can add as many (or as few) widgets as you like, including quick access to your camera, calculator or Apple TV.

Additionally, there’s a new toggle for the iPhone’s “Low Power” mode, designed to save battery life while you’re out without a spot to charge your phone. The new Control Center also features quick accessibility settings, including options to magnify your…

How Apple’s Siri will soon help you make payments and track personal finances

At WWDC this week, we learned about many ways Apple plans to make Siri smarter, many of which will have to do with your money. Starting with iOS 11, Siri will be able to help you complete money transfers, as well as help you stay on top of your checking, savings, and credit card accounts.

“Users will now be able to transfer money from one account to another or search for account information,” said Sirikit engineer Sirisha Yerroju about changes coming to the public with release of iOS 11 scheduled out this fall. “If the user wants to know more about each account, you can just click on any of the items to get a detailed view. Search for account intent not just shows all the accounts but can also be used to provide specific account information.”

The ability to search for and pay bills with Siri was added with version 10.3 of Siri, while send and request payment functionality came last fall with iOS 10.

Yerroju spoke in a session Wednesday titled “What’s New With Sirikit?” to go into greater detail on Siri updates first mentioned in the opening keynote address.

Some of the changes coming to Siri were first announced onstage during the keynote address Monday, such as the ability to do on-the-spot translations, personalized recommendations in native apps within iOS 11 like Safari, Maps, and News, and both male and female versions of the assistant will get a more…

iOS 11 lets you play FLAC audio files straight from your iPad and iPhone

apple, ios, flac, ipad, iphone

Yesterday, Apple announced the latest reiteration of its mobile operating system and while regular consumers will have to wait until autumn to try out the new iOS 11 on their iPhone and iPad devices, developers are already taking advantage of their early access to the beta version.

Redditors who have already installed the developer beta are reporting that Apple has purportedly included full playback support for FLAC audio files in iOS 11. This means…

Everything Apple announced at WWDC: iOS 11, iMac Pro, HomePod, and more

This morning, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook took the stage to announce macOS and iOS updates, new hardware, including the iMac Pro and iPad Pro, and an ARKit for developers. The biggest and most anticipated announcement, however, was the HomePod, a smart speaker.

Here is a recap of the key takeaways:

Amazon Prime on Apple TV

Apple and Amazon are finding a way to collaborate. Later this year, the Amazon Prime app will be available on Apple TV. This is perhaps a way to offer a united front against Google’s offerings, such as Home and Play.

Apple reveals watchOS 4

Apple revealed the latest version of watchOS for its Apple Watch devices. Siri powers a new watch face that displays the info that is most relevant to you, such as traffic, your next meeting, and other features on your calendar. The workout app and the music app are also getting updates.

Macs: New software and hardware

Apple’s next big macOS update, version 10.13, was baptized High Sierra. Apple also unveiled a new model to its iMac line: the $5,000 iMac Pro, which will apparently deliver outstanding graphics. Finally, MacBook Pros will get a speed boost with Kaby Lake processors and support up to 32GB of memory.

Apple Pay goes P2P

Apple is adding person-to-person payments to Apple Pay and integrating the technology into Messages. It seems the company is catching up to PayPal and Square.

Siri now translates on-the-fly

This is a picture of Apple VP Craig Federighi discusses Siri onstage June 5 at WWDC 2017 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, Calif.

Apple’s Siri will…

What’s New in iOS 11 for iPhone and iPad, Arriving Fall 2017

iOS 11 is on its way, and Apple announced a number of new features and changes at WWDC 2017 this year. From improvements to Messages and Apple Pay to powerful multitasking and file management on the iPad, here are the best new features of iOS coming this fall.

iMessage Apps Are Easier to Access, and Messages Are Synced Between Devices

The Messages app has a redesigned app drawer to make iMessage apps and stickers more discoverable and easier to use. These apps were added in iOS 10, but were hidden behind a button, which was kind of annoying. The new layout makes things much more accessible.

Your messages will now be stored in iCloud, too. All of your conversations will be synchronized between your devices when you sign in with your iCloud account. That way, you can delete a message on one device and it goes away everywhere. Messages remain end-to-end encrypted, even while stored in the cloud.

This also allows Apple to optimize device storage. Since your messages are stored in the cloud, they don’t have to all remain on your device. This means more free space and smaller and faster device backups.

Pay Your Friends Over iMessage with Apple Pay

Apple Pay will now allow person-to-person payments. It’s integrated right into Messages as an iMessage app, making it easy to send money while chatting. Money you receive goes into your Apple Pay cash card and you can send it to someone else, make a purchase with Apple Pay, or transfer it to your bank account. You’ll have to authenticate with Touch ID before sending money, just as you do when making purchases.

It’ll even try to detect when you want to use it. If you receive a message in iMessages saying you owe money, for example, the keyboard will automatically suggest Apple Pay as an option and automatically fill in the amount of money.

Lastly, 50% of US retailers will be accepting Apply Pay in the US by end of 2017, according to Apple.

Siri Gets a More Natural Voice and Other Improvements

Siri’s voice is being upgraded: Apple has used “deep learning” to create a more “natural and expressive” voice. Siri has both a male and female voice, and it can even say the same word in different ways for a more realistic conversation experience.

Apple’s virtual assistant is gaining built-in translation features as well. Siri will speak the translation aloud for you, so you know exactly how to pronounce it. It’ll support translation from English to Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish initially.

In addition to suggesting apps, and when you should leave for work based on traffic, Siri will use on-device learning to understand more about topics of interest to you. Siri can suggest news topics you might be interested in, more easily respond with your location in messages, or make calendar events after you book hotel reservations in Safari on the web, for example. The keyboard will learn words you might want to use based on what you read. This is all done on your device, and not in the cloud.

Lastly, developers can now take advantage of SiriKit to integrate Siri with more types of apps, everything from task management to notes to banking. So hopefully, Siri will be able to do more as developers jump on board.

Camera Improvements Mean Videos and Photos Take Up Less Space

iOS 11 will use HEVC video encoding, which means videos you capture are up to two times smaller in storage size. Apple is also switching photo capture from JPEG to HEIF for up to two times better compression as well, so photos you take on your device will use up to two times less space. You can still share those photos with people on other devices.

Improved Memories and Live Photos

The Memories feature in the Photos app can now use machine learning to identify activities like anniversaries, memories of your children, your pets, or sporting events. It uses computer vision to identify photos and automatically pick the best videos and photos. It can also work in portrait mode as well as landscape mode, so you can watch in whatever aspect ratio you prefer.

There are improvements for live photos, too. You can now more easily edit live photos, trimming them and marking any frame of the photo as the “key photo” in the live photo. It can also turn a live photo into a seamless loop using computer vision technology.

Control Center Consolidates to One Unified, 3D Touch-Capable Page

The Control Center that appears when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen has been redesigned. It’s now a single page that includes all the features—You don’t need to swipe left and right to use them (which is sure to be…

Google Assistant arrives on iPhone

At its I/O 2017 developer conference today, Google announced Google Assistant is coming to iOS today as a standalone app, rolling out to the U.S. first. Until now, the only way iPhone users could access Google Assistant was through Allo, the Google messaging app nobody uses.

Scott Huffman, vice president of Google Assistant engineering, made the announcement onstage. He also revealed that Google Assistant is already available on over 100 million Android devices. That’s Google’s way of hinting to developers that they should start building for the tool.

Huffman also added that Google Assistant is becoming available in more languages on both Android and iOS (it’s still English-only today). Support for French, German, Brazilian-Portuguese, and Japanese is coming later this summer while Italian, Spanish, and Korean will be available by the…

Microsoft launches Xamarin Live Player preview for debugging Android and iOS apps without SDKs or emulators

At its Build 2017 developer conference, Microsoft today released Xamarin Live Player in preview. The company called the tool “a live coding environment,” which essentially means developers can build, test, and debug apps without having to install SDKs or emulators. You can install the Live Player extensions for both Visual Studio 2017 and Visual Studio 2017 for Mac right now and download the Xamarin Live Player apps from Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Here’s another way to look at Xamarin Live Player. Developers can already build for Android using Windows or Mac. Developing for iOS, however, requires a Mac. Xamarin Live Player removes that requirement and instead asks you for an iPhone and Visual Studio 2017 for Windows.

Microsoft acquired mobile app development…

Microsoft announces new Azure mobile applications for Android and iOS

Microsoft announces new Azure mobile applications for Android and iOS

Today, on stage at Microsoft’s Build Conference in Seattle, Principal Program Manager Scott Hanselman, announced a couple of major updates for Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.

The biggest is a brand new management application for Android and iOS, which promises to allow sysadmins to manage their systems from…