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Ars Technica

MacCentral

Easy tips for cleaning up your Mac

2 months 2 weeks ago

Over time, your Mac probably accumulates a lot of cruft. Old applications you no longer use, data you have no use for, a desktop full of icons (only four of which you actually ever use)...you know what I mean. With so many people working from home lately, the problem has only gotten worse.

Now is as good a time as any to tidy up your Mac, freeing up storage space and probably CPU cycles and RAM in the process. Here are a few tips to make quick work of your Mac “spring cleaning.”

Optimize Storage

Open the Storage Management app, either by using Spotlight (Command-space) or by clicking the Apple logo in the upper left of the menu bar, choosing About This Mac, clicking the Storage tab, then Manage.

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Jason Cross

iOS 14.4: Apple releases the first beta

2 months 2 weeks ago

Just two days after releasing iOS 14.3 with several significant new features like ProRAW photos and Fitness+, Apple is starting the beta testing process for iOS 14.4. Since this is a full point-release number than a minor one (e.g. iOS 14.3.1), we expect there to be some user-facing changes present.

Update 12/17/20: The first public beta has now been released. To participate in the beta, see the instructions below.

What’s new in iOS 14.4

We don’t yet know the full extent of the new features we can expect from iOS 14.4. As the community of beta testers discovers significant changes, we’ll update this article with more information.

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Jason Cross

Apple TV+ originals: 'Palmer', starring Justin Timberlake, gets a trailer and release date

2 months 2 weeks ago

Apple is planting its own flag in the streaming wars with Apple TV+, its in-house streaming service that focuses almost entirely on original programming rather than an extensive library of existing TV shows or movies.

Though the service has been available for only about a year and and doesn’t yet have a lot of shows or films available, there’s a lot in the works. This is a list of all the Apple TV+ content we know of so far, along with details about prominent stars, directors, producers, and release dates.

To save on Apple gear see our roundup of the best holiday deals on iPads, AirPods, Watches, MacBooks, and more.

Updated 12/17/20: Apple has posted a trailer for Palmer, starring Justin Timberlake. The film now has a release date of January 29, 2021. Variety reports that Samual L. Jackson is set to star in the limited series The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey.

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Jason Cross

How to change the icon of a storage device in macOS

2 months 2 weeks ago

Apple hides some of its best features through obscurity, not intentionally. For many years—at least 15, by my research—you have been able to select and change the icon for any file, folder, volume, or drive. But it’s a multi-step process that requires starting with the right image.

You can find the source icons all over the place. Generic ones are available at places like IconArchive and DeviantArt (which has a lot of NSFW content, but not drive related); companies that sell drives often make downloadable icons available of all the models they sell, like One World Computing and LaCie; and you can copy an icon from an existing volume. You can also find little projects, likese these 20 icons made from historic Japanese patterns by a designer at software maker Panic in 2012.

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Glenn Fleishman

Macworld's January digital magazine: Let the Mac revolution begin!

2 months 2 weeks ago

Every day, Macworld brings you the essential daily news and other info about all things Apple. But staying on top of that torrent of information can be a constant challenge. One solution: the Macworld digital magazine. 

In the January issue

The Mac’s move to Apple silicon has begun. In the January issue we have reviews of the M1 MacBook Air, M1 MacBook Pro, and M1 Mac mini. Find out everything you need to keep in mind when buying an M1 Mac. Plus, we review the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Also in this month’s issue:

• MacUser: With M1 Macs, memory just isn't what it used to be. Plus, how to quickly move everything from your old Intel Mac to your new M1 MacBook

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Macworld staff

Apple in 2021: New products and predictions (YouTube video)

2 months 2 weeks ago
It was a banner year for Apple, from the release of the first 5G iPhone, to the Apple Silicon announcement and subsequent rollout of the first M1 Macs. Apple isn’t showing any signs of slowing down as 2021 approaches. Macworld senior writer Michael Simon and Computerworld executive editor Ken Mingis join Juliet Beauchamp to discuss Apple’s 2020 wins and what else they expect to see from Apple in 2021 and beyond. (youtu.be)

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Juliet Beauchamp,

Michael Simon,

Ken Mingis

Google's Stadia game streaming service is now available on iOS via web app

2 months 2 weeks ago

Google's Stadia game streaming platform is now accessible on iPhone and iPads. Apple's rules for the App Store make it next to impossible to publish apps for services that stream games from the cloud (as opposed to over local networks). Therefore, Google has taken to making Stadia accessible via a web app. 

To use it, go to stadia.google.com in Safari on your iPhone or iPad. While it will run in a browser, it's best to make a web app shortcut so you aren't bothered by things like an address bar or tabs. To do this, tap the Share button, then select Add to Home Screen. This will make a Stadia web app icon on your iPhone or iPad. When you launch it, you'll get a full-screen Safari window with no address bar, tabs, or other navigation controls in your way.

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Jason Cross

You’ll soon be able to watch Apple TV+ with the new Google Chromecast

2 months 2 weeks ago

Barely a week after Google announced that Apple Music was now available as a default service on Google and Nest speakers, another Apple service has crossed over into unchartered waters. Beginning next year, the Apple TV app will be available on the new Chromecast with Google TV devices, the companies announced Wednesday.

The Apple TV app will work on the latest Chromecast devices that include the new Google TV interface and “even more devices powered by Android TV OS in the future” in the future. That opens the door to Apple TV+ support on Sony and Hisense Android TV-powered sets as well as Nvidia’s Shield boxes.

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Michael Simon

What’s the latest version of macOS you can run on your Mac?

2 months 2 weeks ago

People accuse electronics manufacturers of built-in obsolescence: that hardware is designed to stop working or not be useful after a relatively short period of time. Apple has generally avoided that with Macs, letting many of its models receive OS X and macOS updates for five to seven years after the computer version’s initial release. And some people keep older systems running indefinitely, as I noted in a recent column that started with people’s love of 10.6.8 Snow Leopard, now over a decade old.

But Apple doesn’t provide a guide as such as to the “terminal” version of its operating system you can install on any given computer. That is, how do you find the last version your computer is compatible with?

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Glenn Fleishman

Apple Watch Activity badges: Ring in the New Year challenge returns

2 months 2 weeks ago

Achievement badges are a funny thing. You know they’re just a simple little bit of visual flair, they don’t even do anything, and yet for some reason you just have to collect them. Achievements are great motivators, and the achievement badges for the activity tracking on the Apple Watch have inspired many users to get more exercise.

If you want to maximize your badge count, you’re going to want to chase down as many activity achievements as you can. Most are available year-round, but there are also some time-limited special events to grab, too. Here’s a list of all the activity achievements for the Apple Watch and how to unlock them.

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Jason Cross

Microsoft Office 365 apps now run natively on Apple silicon Macs

2 months 2 weeks ago

In a blog post on Tuesday, Microsoft said that the core apps of Office 365—Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word—are now Universal apps that run natively on either Intel or Apple silicon.

To installed the updated apps, check the Mac App Store, or open an Office app, click the Help menu, and select Check for Updates.

A Universal version of Microsoft Teams is still under development. In the meantime, Teams runs under Rosetta on Apple silicon Macs.

Microsoft also previewed many new features that are coming within a few weeks and in the early part of 2021. An upcoming update to Outlook will support iCloud and UI enhancements to match the look of macOS Big Sur. Next month, Microsoft will release a revamped Office Start, which will incorporate Microsoft’s Fluent UI, so working in Office feels more Mac-like. Other new features include:

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Roman Loyola

If you have to ask: AirPods Max are not for everyone

2 months 3 weeks ago

Apple announced the AirPods Max last week and they will henceforth be known as the headphones that launched a thousand takes.

Ever alert to when an Apple product is not priced correctly, pundits called them “ludicrously overpriced” with a case that looks like a brassiere (tip o’ the antlers to @designheretic). The price has further inspired CNN Business to look at “The real cost of being the ultimate Apple fan” (tip o' the antlers to Rick) which they say is $80,000 because if you don’t buy the top of each product line Apple ships then you’re not “the ultimate Apple fan”.

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The Macalope