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You need to know these 9 hidden iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 features – CNET

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iOS 14 is full of hidden gems; you just have to know where to look. 


Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Apple’s new iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 update for your iPhone ($699 at Amazon) and iPad ($270 at Back Market) add a truckload of features we’re excited about, like widgets on the homescreen, an app drawer of sorts and privacy improvements. (Here’s how to install iOS 14 and iPad 14 right now, after prepping your phone or tablet, of course.)

These welcome enhancements will surely enrich your experience, but my favorite tricks in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 are the ones you have to work to find. For instance, you can now fully ditch Apple Mail and Safari with a new default apps setting.

Below, I’ll walk you through how to use nine of the best hidden features I’ve uncovered in iOS 14. This list will surely continue to grow, so check back for more gems. 

Set your default email or web browser

It’s true, Apple is finally giving up some control over your default apps. Right now the feature is limited to email apps and web browsers. So, for example, you can assign Chrome to be your go-to browser or Outlook as your email app of choice. 

App developers will need to update their apps for iOS 14 in order for the new default assignment option to appear, so you may need to be patient if your favorite app isn’t ready. 

To get started, open your iPhone or iPad’s Settings app and then scroll down to the bottom where it lists all of your installed apps. Find the mail or browser app you’re looking for and tap on it. If it’s been updated for iOS 14, you’ll see either Default Browser App or Default Email App; tap it and then select your preferred app. 

There’s currently a bug in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 that resets your default app selection when you restart your device. Apple is aware and promises a future update will fix it. 

Right now, I know Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Outlook and Hey email have updated to include this new “default” toggle. 

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It’s true, you can set some default apps on iOS 14. 


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Quickly get rid of app home screens

iOS 14’s new App Library acts like an app drawer, allowing you to ditch countless home screens full of apps you rarely, if ever, use. Instead of going through each app one by one and sending them to the App Library, you can hide entire home screen panels with just a few taps. 

Long-press on an empty area of your home screen to trigger edit mode. Next, tap on the page indicator, then tap the check mark below each panel you want to remove. This won’t delete those apps, but will instead move them solely to the App Library, where they’re more or less hidden in an app drawer that you can access at any time.

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The home screen on your iPhone is now a lot more customizable. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Banish newly downloaded apps from your home screen

You just took all that time to curate your home screens, adding widgets and keeping just your most important apps, only to have all of your hard work ruined by a new app you just downloaded. Instead of letting your iPhone put apps on your home screen when you install them, send them directly to the App Library until they prove they’re worthy. 

Open Settings > Home Screen and select App Library Only in the top section. You can easily find recently downloaded apps in the App Library’s Recently Added category, which should be the top-right folder when you view it. 

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Can’t find that emoji you need? Search for it. 


Jason Cipriani/CNET

Search the emoji keyboard

Finally — yes, this one deserves a very loud “FINALLY! “– you can search the emoji picker for exactly what you want. Launch the emoji keyboard just like you always do and now you’ll find a search bar at the top of the keyboard. 

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Your hidden photo album can actually be hidden now. Cool, right? 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Hidden photos are now actually hidden

The ability to hide specific photos or videos has been in iOS and iPadOS for awhile now, but there was a big problem — these photos you didn’t want to see anymore were stored in a Hidden Album in the Photos app that was far too easy to find. With iOS 14, Apple has added the option to hide the hidden album, letting you truly cloak those photos and videos you want to keep, but don’t want anyone else to see. 

Turn it on by going to Settings > Photos and making sure the Hidden Album switch is turned off. (Yes, off: Enabling the setting means the Hidden Album will show in the Albums tab.) Anything you hide in your camera roll will still be saved on your device and in your iCloud Photos library, but you won’t have a way to get to it unless you go back to this setting and turn the Hidden Album feature on. 

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Picture-in-picture is one of our favorite iOS 14 features. 


Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Watch YouTube videos in Picture in Picture mode

The iPhone now has one of my favorite iPad features: Picture in Picture (PiP) mode for watching videos or using during FaceTime calls. Here’s how it works. Instead of having to stay in an app, for example if you’re watching your favorite game streamer in Twitch, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to leave the app and the video will automatically shrink down to a floating window. You can move this thumbnail video around, or even hide it off the edge of the screen if you just want to listen to the audio.

The YouTube app doesn’t support PiP right now, but you can get around that by starting to watch a YouTube video in Safari in full-screen mode, then swiping up to go back to your home screen. The key is you have to put the video in full-screen mode before leaving the app. If that’s not working for you, try requesting the desktop version of the site before you start watching the video. 

If you’d rather not trigger PiP when you leave an app, turn off automatic activation by going to Settings > General > Picture in Picture and turn it off. After which, the only time PiP will be used is when you tap on the icon in a playing video. 


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Fake eye contact in FaceTime

We first saw FaceTime’s eye contact feature show up in the iOS 13 beta last year, but ultimately it was never released. Well, it’s back in iOS 14. Essentially your iPhone or iPad will make it look as if your eyes are looking directly into the camera, even if you’re staring at the screen. 

It’s a subtle feature, but one that should make the person on the other end of the call feel as if you’re fully paying attention instead. 

Turn it on by going to Settings > General > FaceTime > Eye Contact

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Tap on the back of your phone to do all kinds of fancy tricks. 


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Double- or triple-tap on the back of the phone to trigger actions

A new accessibility feature called Back Tap makes it possible to trigger system features, like multitasking or Control Center, or launch a Shortcut just by tapping on the back of your iPhone two or three times. 

Find the feature in Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap. Pick the number of taps you want to use, and then you’ll see a list of actions you can initiate. 

For example, you can triple-tap on the back of your phone to take a screenshot or launch Siri

When I first read about this feature, I thought it would be all too easy to prompt it just by putting my iPhone in my pocket or placing it on my desk. But that hasn’t been the case at all — the phone seems good at identifying the tap pattern before it activates. 

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You can use the Apple Pencil to write in any text field. 


Scott Stein/CNET

Scribble in any text field on your iPad with Apple Pencil

The iPad has a new feature called Scribble. It basically converts any text field into a box that you can write in using an Apple Pencil, and your iPad will convert your handwriting to typed text automatically. 

If you’re in the middle of jotting notes and you get a new iMessage, you can pull down the alert and use the quick-reply field to write out your response and go back to writing notes, all without ever putting down the Pencil or activating the keyboard. 

For heavy Apple Pencil users, Scribble should speed up a lot of tasks that normally would have been slowed down by having to switch between stylus and keyboard. 

There’s so much more to these updated operating systems. iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 are available as free updates and don’t take long to install. Just make sure to do some housekeeping on your device before installing to make sure the process goes smoothly. And don’t be surprised if there are some issues with your favorite apps for the first few days — Apple surprised everyone, including developers, by releasing the update the day after the Sept. 15 “Time Flies” event.

Update, Sept. 18., 11:50 a.m.: Adds info about default apps resetting.

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Does an Apple Search Engine Make Sense? – Motley Fool

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“I think their search engine is the best,” Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook said nearly two years ago when asked about Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) subsidiary Google’s controversial role as the default search provider in Apple products. The long-standing arrangement, which dates to 2005, wasn’t always so controversial, but recent antitrust scrutiny of major tech companies has shined a light on the far-reaching implications of the partnership — and how critical it is to Google’s traffic.

With risks around the deal intensifying, it comes as little surprise that Apple is exploring the alternative option of creating its own search engine.

Image source: Apple.

Applebot has been more active lately

Financial Times reports that Apple is ramping up its development of a proprietary search engine that could theoretically displace Google as the default provider at some point in the future. Apple has historically outsourced embedded search functions to both Google and Microsoft Bing but has faced recent criticisms for partnering with Google while simultaneously bashing advertising businesses as part of its ongoing privacy crusade.

Years ago, Apple created Applebot, a web crawler that indexes web pages for Siri and Spotlight. It is similar to the technology that Google uses. Search pundits have observed a recent spike in Applebot activity, according to the report, which suggests that the Mac maker is scaling its efforts to index more websites as it builds a database.

Apple is also starting to increasingly display its own search results in certain parts of iOS 14, Financial Times notes.

The search partnership allegedly undermines competition

The Department of Justice filed a formal antitrust complaint against Google last week, alleging that Google engages in anticompetitive conduct, including its pact with Apple. The search leader uses the agreement to effectively block out competition, while Apple is paid handsomely (estimated at $8 billion to $12 billion per year) for its role, according to the suit.

“Google’s documents recognize that ‘Safari default is a significant revenue channel’ and that losing the deal would fundamentally harm Google’s bottom line,” the prosecutors wrote. “Thus, Google views the prospect of losing default status on Apple devices as a ‘Code Red’ scenario.”

The DOJ estimates that the deal covers approximately 36% of all search queries in the U.S. across mobile devices and desktop computers. The complaint also points out that Google estimates that nearly 50% of all search traffic came from Apple devices last year.

The payments from Google are one of the biggest growth drivers for Apple’s services segment, and there are now fears that regulators could push to dismantle the alliance. Google calls the DOJ’s arguments “dubious.”

Should Apple acquire a search engine?

Over the summer, Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi suggested that Apple should acquire privacy-oriented search engine DuckDuckGo in order to compete directly with Google in search. Apple could likely scoop up the smaller search company for less than $1 billion, according to the analyst’s estimates.

However, that theoretical acquisition would end up costing Apple a lot more — in the form of lost revenue from Google. Sacconaghi’s estimate for how much Google pays Apple is on the lower end ($7 billion to $8 billion). Somewhat undercutting the idea is the fact that DuckDuckGo licenses Bing’s web crawler technology, so purchasing the company may have limited strategic value, particularly if Apple is pushing forward with Applebot.

Apple has been aggressively insourcing “core” technologies in recent years in order to better differentiate itself from rivals. Should search be included on that growing list?

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Xbox Series X stock shortages could last 'for a few months' after launch, admits Microsoft – TechRadar

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Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has warned that Xbox Series X stock shortages could last “for a few months” after launch.

Xbox Series X pre-orders quickly sold out when they opened on September 22, but if you’ve been waiting to pick up Microsoft’s flagship console on launch day, you might be disappointed.

Speaking in appearance on the Dropped Frames podcast, Spencer conceded that demand will continue to outstrip supply for its new consoles this year, and into 2021. 

“We know what our supply will look like basically for the rest of the year. We’re going to have more demand than we do supply,” Spencer said. 

“And I will apologize in advance to people for that. We saw it with pre-orders, how much energy there was, and we were basically out [of stock] in a couple of hours, which is unfortunate. I think we are going to live in that world for a few months. We’re going to have a lot more demand than we do supply.”

Demand is high for next-gen

The situation echoes what Sony Interactive Entertainment’s CEO Jim Ryan said in a recent interview regarding PS5 stock

Ryan said that “the demand as expressed by the level of pre-order [sic] has been very, very considerable” and that “not everybody who wants to buy a PS5 on launch day will be able to find one.”

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S release on November 10 and are priced at $499 / £429 / AU$749 and $299 / £249 / AU$499 respectively. 

You can read our Xbox Series X hands-on preview now, and also watch us unbox Microsoft’s new premium console, as well as the smaller Xbox Series S.

Via GameSpot

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New PS5 app revealed — here’s how it works

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With the official debut of the PS5 just around the corner, Sony is pulling out all the stops to offer buyers the best launch experience possible. That includes rolling out an updated version of the PlayStation App, which has been “reimagined” for use with both the PS4 and PS5.

The app’s global rollout will begin by way of iOS updates on devices running iOS 12.2 or later and Android 6.0 or later.

The revamped app introduces a selection of new features, like voice chat, native PS Store integration, and improvements to the user interface meant to offer a more expedient and quality browsing experience. PS5 users will interact with their new consoles through the PlayStation App, even when they’re away, so the app updates focus on making more of the social experience and remote aspect of controlling each console.

The updated user interface offers quicker access to the PlayStation home screen to see what others are playing along with updates on your own Trophies. This should make it easier to decide what to play based on your current game progress or what others are doing.

If you’re feeling social, you can create party groups straight from within the PlayStation App, as well as voice chat with up to 15 friends from your phone. If text chat is more your thing, that’s covered, too. The PS Messages app feature has also been folded into the main PlayStation App instead of existing outside as a standalone program. Thus, existing messages or contact information will simply be stored in the main PlayStation App from now on.

(Image credit: Sony)

Controlling and managing your PlayStation downloads is an important app function as well. The new PS Store will let you browse and shop much more quickly than you could with the previous console iteration. You can remotely download games and DLC to your PS4 or PS5 so when you’re ready to come back for a play session, everything is good to go. When the PS5 is available, the app will also let you remotely launch games, sign into your PS5 from the app, and allow you to manage storage remotely as well.

The PlayStation app will also feature official PlayStation-centric news found in the Explore tab. You can check out any announcements via the PS Blog and information straight from the developers themselves here to learn a bit more about what’s going on in the industry.

The PS App is available right now via the App Store and Google Play, though the latest updates won’t be out for some time. If you want to get the most out of the app, you’ll first need to sign up for a PlayStation Network account. With only a few weeks left until the Nov. 12 launch, it might be a good day to go ahead and download the app now and see what features are available before the PS5 arrives.

Source: – Tom’s Guide

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