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Tips and tricks for getting the most out of your new AirPods or AirPods Pro – 9to5Mac

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AirPods and AirPods Pro are some of the most popular Christmas gifts every year, and that was no different this year. Aggressive sales pricing and ample supply saw many people unwrap AirPods or AirPods Pro today. Here are some of the best tips, tricks, and features to get you started with your new AirPods.

Name your AirPods

The most basic way to personalize your AirPods or AirPods Pro is by giving them a custom name. Here’s how to do this after you’ve paired your AirPods to your iPhone or iPad:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap “Bluetooth”
  3. Look for your AirPods in the list of devices, tap the “i” next to them
  4. Tap “Name” and type in whatever name you want

Ear Tip Fit Test

AirPods Pro feature the unique option to choose the tip size that best fits your ear. To access this feature, go to Settings, Bluetooth, and tap the “i” next to your AirPods. Look for the “Ear Tip Fit Test” option. Once you do this, your AirPods Pro will test the seal provided by the tip you selected, and offer suggestions on whether to switch to the larger or smaller tips.

This feature is exclusive to AirPods Pro, as they include three different sets of tip sizes in the box. AirPods feature a one-size-fits-all design, but you can buy aftermarket ear hooks if you have trouble securing them to your ears.

Customize your controls

While you can always use the controls on your paired iPhone to manage your AirPods, the AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max all feature built-in control options as well.

For AirPods, you can double-tap either AirPod. By default, this will pause playback. To customize this behavior:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Bluetooth, and tap the “i” next to your AirPods
  3. Look for your AirPods in the list of devices, tap the “i” next to them

Once here, you can customize the double-tap gesture to invoke Siri, play/pause, and skip to the next track or previous track. You can also turn off the double-tap feature altogether.

Whereas standard AirPods require you to tap on the sides for playback control, AirPods Pro feature a “Force Sensor” that lets you perform common tasks by pressing on the side of the earbuds. To access these controls go to Settings, Bluetooth, and tap the “i” next to your AirPods. In Settings, you can customize the press and hold gesture to either switch between noise cancellation and Transparency, or invoke Siri.

Here are the default controls with AirPods Pro:

  • Press once to play, pause, or answer a phone call
  • Press twice to skip forward
  • Press three times to skip back
  • Press and hold to switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode

Other settings for AirPods include adjusting the press speed, the press and hold duration, and enabling noise cancellation for one AirPod.

Wondering how to change the volume with AirPods or AirPods Pro? Unfortunately, to do this you’ll either need to use Siri or the volume buttons on your connected iPhone, iPad, or Mac. There are also no custom EQ controls available.

Finally, AirPods Max feature a Digital Crown on the side to adjust volume and playback:

  • Turn for volume control
  • Press once to play, pause, or answer a phone call
  • Press twice to skip forward
  • Press three times to skip back
  • Press and hold for Siri

AirPods Max also include a dedicated noise control button, which you can press to switch between Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode. Again, you can customize these controls by going to the Settings app and choosing your AirPods Max from the Bluetooth menu.

Find My integration

You just unwrapped your new AirPods, so the last thing you want to do is misplace or lose them. Thankfully, there’s a “Find My AirPods” feature to prevent you from doing just that. It’s not quite as robust as the “Find My iPhone” feature, but it’s still incredibly useful for AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max users.

In order for the Find My AirPods feature to work, your AirPods must be connected to your iPhone via Bluetooth. This means that if the AirPods are too far away, you won’t get the full feature set, though Apple will help you track them down the best that it can.

To access the Find My AirPods feature, head into the “Find My” app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Then tap the “Devices” menu along the bottom. In that list of devices, you should see your AirPods alongside your other devices.

When you tap on your AirPods, you’ll see their location (or their last reported location) and the ability to play a sound.

If you are not close enough to your AirPods for them to be connected to your iPhone via Bluetooth, you’ll see the last known location on the map. And, when you play a sound, you’ll see a “Sound Pending” message. This means that you’ll receive a notification when your AirPods are reconnected to a paired device.

But while Find My AirPods is useful, it’s not a panacea for losing your AirPods. There are a lot of situations in which Find My AirPods won’t work, so I wouldn’t rely on it too heavily.

Spatial Audio

Exclusive to AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, Spatial Audio essentially brings surround sound to your AirPods. Apple says that the feature uses directional audio filters to “play sounds virtually anywhere in space, creating an immersive sound experience.” This will put surround channels exactly in the right spot, even as you turn your head or move your device.

To enable Spatial Audio on your AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap “Bluetooth”
  3. Make sure your AirPods Pro or AirPods Max are connected, tap the “i” next to them
  4. Scroll down and look for the Spatial Audio toggle

To find content that supports Spatial Audio, check for Dolby Atmos content in Hulu, the Apple TV app, and Disney+.

AirBuddy for Mac

Airbuddy 2

When you’re using AirPods with your iPhone or iPad, the integration is virtually flawless. There are slick animations, automatic pairing and device switching, and quick access to controls and battery life information. On the Mac, the experience is less impressive.

AirBuddy is an app from 9to5Mac’s Gui Rambo and it brings quick access to AirPods and other Bluetooth devices to your Mac’s menu bar, alongside some impressive animations and more:

  • Show the status of your AirPods Pro or other Apple and Beats headsets when they’re near your Mac
  • Connect and change the listening mode on AirPods Pro with a single swipe gesture on the trackpad
  • Shows status and batteries for all of your Apple and Beats devices at a glance with the status bar menu, including iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, and other Macs running AirBuddy 2
  • Quickly connect to AirPods, switch between listening modes, and more using the status bar menu or keyboard shortcuts

AirBuddy is available for download for $9.99 right here.

Announce Messages with Siri

AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max also all support the Announce Messages with Siri feature. When enabled, this feature allows Siri to automatically and conveniently speaks incoming messages as soon as they arrive. You can then dictate your response, and Siri will send it.

To enable Announce Messages with Siri, which is disabled by default, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Choose “Siri & Search”
  3. Look for the “Announce Messages” toggle

By default, when you reply to a message, Siri will read what it heard back to you. You can streamline this further by enabling the ‘Reply without Confirmation’ setting.

Automatic device switching

One of the new features in iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS Big Sur is an automatic device switching capability for AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max. This feature is designed to be convenient, but more often than not, it can actually get in the way.

The idea of the automatic switching feature is that when you start playing content on another Apple device, the AirPods connection automatically switches in unison. You can enable or disable this feature on your iPhone and iPad by following these steps:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap “Bluetooth”
  3. Make sure your AirPods Pro or AirPods Max are connected, tap the “i” next to them
  4. Tap the “Connect to this iPhone/iPad” setting
  5. Change from “Automatically” to “When Last Connected to This iPhone/iPad”

On the Mac, you can find this setting by opening System Preferences, choosing Bluetooth, choosing your AirPods from the devices list and clicking “Options.” Here, you’ll be able to change the “Connect to This Mac” setting from “Automatically” to “When Last Connected to This Mac.”

When you change the setting to “When Last Connected” it means that the AirPods only connect to the device if they were previously connected to that same device.

Audio Sharing

audio sharing ios 13

This feature allows you to connect multiple pairs of AirPods to your iPhone or iPad. This means you can listen to the same thing with someone else, which is especially useful for a situation like watching a movie or TV show together.

Here’s how to initiate Audio Sharing:

  1. Tap the AirPlay icon in Control Center, the Lock screen, or in the app you’re listening to.
  2. Tap Share Audio.
  3. Hold the other pair of AirPods or beats near your iPhone or iPad
  4. When the other pair of headphones appear on your screen, tap Share Audio

AirPods accessories

Qi chargers

A great complement to the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case or the AirPods Pro is a Qi wireless charger.

One popular way to personalize your AirPods is with a case for the charging case. Here are some options for the standard AirPods as well as the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case:

AirPods Pro cases

Looking for accessories for your AirPods Max? Check out our full guide right here.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 5G review | Sharp cameras, Director’s View & smart features – The GATE

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The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G hits a perfect balance of size, style, power, and affordability. Samsung has made a number of improvements from last year’s S20, and that includes better speed, software, new features, and major camera upgrades as well. And on top of everything else, the price is right.

I’ve spent the last week using the Galaxy S21, and it’s an excellent, light, versatile phone that is going to make a lot of Android users want to make the switch. It’s a consistently great experience, with a perfect form factor for users who don’t want a huge phone. There are a couple of small concessions with the new Galaxy, but they’re generally not deal breakers in any way.

So what are you getting for $1,129.99? Here’s the full breakdown.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Specs

Samsung Galaxy S21 back

The Galaxy S21 features a 6.2″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display that adjusts the refresh rate, up to 120Hz, depending on whether you’re gaming, watching videos, or just browsing the web.

There are four cameras on the phone, including the 12 MP ultra wide camera, 12 MP wide-angle camera, 64 MP telephoto camera, and a 10 MP selfie camera.

Powered by the Snapdragon 888 processor, the phone comes with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage space, with the option of 256 GB of storage for a little more.

And the phone lasts well all day long, on a single charge, with the 4,000 mAh battery.

Galaxy S21 Design

Samsung has made a bolder design choice with the S21 lineup. Following the Galaxy Note 20 last year, the S21 takes that style a step further, pushing the cameras right into the upper corner of the rear side of the phone, while protecting the array with a metal cover, rather than the usual all-glass design.

The phone comes in four colour options: Phantom Violet, Phantom Gray, Phantom Pink, and Phantom White, and I love the two-tone Violet design that features a bronze accent for the camera array and around the edge in a similar colour to last year’s Mystic Bronze.

Compared to all the recent phones I’ve reviewed, I have to admit that I feel a lot more comfortable with the metal that protects the camera array too. The camera lenses are slightly recessed, so it would be hard to scratch or damage them, and the designs looks and feels safer.

Similar to last year’s Galaxy phones, the S21 also has the simple cutout on the display for the selfie camera, with a gorgeous edge-to-edge display with the slimmest bezels around the edge.

The rear of the phone is gorgeous, but it’s notable that while the design is lighter, it’s plastic. With a good case though, that won’t be an issue for most people, short of a major drop.

Galaxy S21 Cameras

Samsung Galaxy S21 camerasSamsung Galaxy S21 cameras

Between the Galaxy S21’s three rear cameras, the performance is excellent. Samsung put the largest sensor behind the telephoto camera, so you can zoom in to really get the details, and I had great results. Improved focus and subject tracking features also make it easier to get sharp photos.

Samsung also launched a new mode with the Galaxy S21, and it’s a great one. Director’s View previews all three rear-facing cameras on the screen, so you can switch between them while you’re filming. No need to pinch the screen–just tap the camera preview and it switches while you’re recording. You can also show the selfie view picture-in-picture style, or split-view, which feels like a feature content creators will love for YouTube, Instagram, and Tik Tok.

My only complaint with Director’s View is that you can’t control the video quality, and you can only record in standard HD, so you can’t use the feature to capture 4K or 8K video. Hopefully some day we’ll see Director’s View and Pro Video modes combined, or at least more control for DV, since it feels like it could be even more powerful and useful.

Looking at selfies and portraits, the S21 captured excellent results in my tests, even on my cat. After you take the shot, you can also adjust and edit portraits, using Samsung’s built-in portrait editor, to apply studio lighting, and change the backdrop. Photo editing in the gallery app also gives you control over colour, brightness, and cropping.

Like the Note 20 Ultra as well, the S21 shoots up to 8K video, and I absolutely love the Pro Video mode. With all the available options in Pro Video, it’s pretty easy to get extremely high quality video (like with my Note 20 Ultra), taking full control over the shutter speed, ISO, microphones, aspect ratio, while monitoring the white balance.

The scene optimizer also does an excellent job getting the right colour balance, brightness, and contrast for photos, or you can shoot in Pro photo mode to get the shot exactly the way you want.

And if you’re shooting 8K video, Samsung also offers 8K Video Snap to capture images from your videos, so you don’t have to pick between video or photos any more.

Galaxy S21 Performance, Battery, and Features

Samsung Galaxy S21 buttonsSamsung Galaxy S21 buttons

For the size of the phone, the S21 still has lightning fast response times and loads everything quickly thanks to the processor and 8 GB of RAM. Gaming was very quick, and the phone zipped through tasks while switching between apps, and using editing software.

Battery life was also good, and the phone lasted all day for me, even when I was using power-hungry apps and watching videos.

The one change with the S21, over recent Galaxy phones, is that Samsung didn’t include expandable memory, and the box doesn’t come with a wall plug.

For me, this makes it important to decide if you can afford getting the 256 GB model of the phone, since most people will have a much harder time filling up that much space, making expandable memory unnecessary.

In terms of charging, the phone does come with a USB-C cable, and I found charging over that, connected to my laptop, very quick. For those of us who have had Samsung phones before, you can also use those USB-C charging cables still, and I frankly don’t need any more plugs in my house anyway.

The 5G phone also offers the fastest download speeds, where 5G is available, while offering improved Wi-Fi speeds for when you’re home. Plus the S21 is IP68 rated, for water resistance against splashes.

Final Notes

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G is a great phone, it’s affordable versus other phones with similar features, and there are a lot of benefits to switching, especially compared to older phones.

The S21 design is fresh it looks amazing, with colours that pop, especially the two-tone Phantom Violet with bronze accents. If I had to pick between the phones, the S21 is the perfect affordable options, and while the S21 + has some interesting perks for a little more money, if you can spend a bit more, I’d say the S21 Ultra seems like the best buy for a phone that will last you longer.

The Galaxy S21, as well as the S21 + and S21 Ultra, are available for pre-order now, starting at $1,129.99 for the S21, and $1,199.99 for the S21 with 256 GB of memory. The phones arrive in stores and for delivery on January 29, 2021.

Watch my unboxing video below, scroll down to see Director’s View in action, and for sample images with the phone.

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Galaxy S21 Sample Photos

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The View40 is Honor's first phone after splitting from Huawei – Yahoo Canada Shine On

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Eat This, Not That!

Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID, According to Scientists

More than 10% of those who get COVID will feel sicker, longer—they are victims of Long COVID, or Post-COVID Syndrome. The symptoms can be as painful as they are unnerving: tinnitus, migraines, myalgia, hair loss—the horrors never cease. Now, a new study has determined the most common characteristics. “This is the first study on COVID investigating 3,762 patients beyond 6 months of illness, tracking the prevalence of 205 symptoms in 10 organ systems,” say the researchers. “We focused on mapping the longer-term impact of COVID-19 on health, work, and returning to baseline.” Read on to see if you have the most frequent symptoms reported after month 6—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus. 1 You Will Most Likely Suffer Fatigue Up to 80.3% Experienced This In nearly every study of Long COVID, fatigue is the most common symptom. This fatigue doesn’t just make you feel “sleepy”; it’s a soul-sucking, full-body drain that can leave many incapacitated, or at the very least feeling “no longer themselves.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has likened Long COVID to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis, for which there is no cure. The hallmark symptom for CFS/ME is a fatigue that doesn’t improve after six months—and worsens with exertion. Which leads us to our next slide…. 2 You Will Likely Have Post-Exertional Malaise Up to 75.0% Experienced ThisPost-exertional malaise—aka “PEM”—”has been described as a cluster of symptoms following mental or physical exertion, often involving a loss of physical or mental stamina, rapid muscle or cognitive fatigability, and sometimes lasting 24 hours or more,” reports one study. The worsening symptoms can include “fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, cognitive deficits, insomnia, and swollen lymph nodes. It can occur after even the simplest everyday tasks, such as walking, showering, or having a conversation.”RELATED: 7 Tips You Must Follow to Avoid COVID, Say Doctors 3 You Will Likely Have Cognitive Dysfunction Up to 58.8% Experienced This Long Haulers have reported “brain fog”—which Dr. Fauci describes as a difficulty to concentrate—as well as hallucinations, confusion and clumsiness. “Many other long haulers describe their most debilitating persistent symptom as impaired memory and concentration, often with extreme fatigue,” reports JAMA Network. “The effects are different from the cognitive impairment patients might experience after a critical illness.” “I do think there’s a subset of patients [who] weren’t even in the hospital who have a postviral brain fog,” said COVID-19 Recovery Clinic (CORE) of Montefiore Medical Center in New York, codirector Aluko Hope, MD, MSCE. 4 How Long Do These Symptoms Last? How Will They Impact Your Life? “These three symptoms were also the three most commonly reported overall,” say the study’s authors. How long will they last? Long COVID may last forever; after all, there is no cure for CFS/ME. Other people recover within a year. Doctors just don’t know yet. To get granular, according to the study: “In those who recovered in less than 90 days, the average number of symptoms peaked at week 2, and in those who did not recover in 90 days, the average number of symptoms peaked at month 2. Respondents with symptoms over 6 months experienced an average of 13.8 symptoms in month 7,” they continued. “85.9% experienced relapses, with exercise, physical or mental activity, and stress as the main triggers. 86.7% of unrecovered respondents were experiencing fatigue at the time of survey, compared to 44.7% of recovered respondents. 45.2% reported requiring a reduced work schedule compared to pre-illness and 22.3% were not working at the time of survey due to their health conditions.” 5 What to Do If You Have Long COVID Symptoms “Patients with Long COVID report prolonged multisystem involvement and significant disability,” report the study’s authors. “Most had not returned to previous levels of work by 6 months. Many patients are not recovered by 7 months, and continue to experience significant symptom burden.” If you experience any of these symptoms, contact a medical professional immediately. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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Why we're so excited for Resident Evil: Village and its very tall lady – it's the Eurogamer next-gen news cast! – Eurogamer.net

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Oh, mother.

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another Eurogamer next-gen news cast! In the video below, Eurogamer news editor Tom Phillips, reporter Emma Kent and me discuss the week’s news, including the gameplay reveal of the promising Resident Evil: Village. Is its very tall lady a vampire? This is actually something we have thoughts about.

We’re excited for Village, but we’re not so pumped for multiplayer spin-off Re:Verse. Capcom’s multiplayer Resident Evil offerings have been mixed at best, and we’re not sure why Re:Verse, with its off-putting art style, even exists.

Eurogamer Next-Gen News Cast – Why we’re so excited for Resident Evil: Village and its very tall lady.

Elsewhere in next-gen news, PlayStation 5 scalpers are at it again – although GAME has played down the claims from some on social media who posted screenshots of scores of secured orders alongside a boast about making loads of money from them.

We then have a chinwag about Sony’s decision to pull the PS5 game release windows it published in the small print of its own CES 2021 video, and what we think that means for those release dates (spoilers: everything will probably be delayed anyway).

Then we’re onto an upcoming Microsoft exclusive: the mysterious Project: Mara. This week, developer Ninja Theory offered a fresh glimpse at its “mental terror” experience, and its photo-realistic apartment. This is certainly one to watch.

And finally, Skyrim! Now, I know Bethesda’s near decade-old role-playing game isn’t exactly next-gen, but this week it emerged you can get Skyrim running at 60fps on a PS5 with the help of a new mod, and all of a sudden I feel the need to jump back into its open world – again. You know, if Bethesda put out a next-gen console update for Skyrim, I’m pretty sure it would do well!

Oh, and keep your eye out this week for a mug check. Perhaps we’ll make it a regular thing.

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