iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
Instagram today announced an update to its app that allows users to zoom in on photos and videos using a standard pinch gesture. The update is available today for iOS, and "in the coming weeks" for Android.
Pebble today released a new firmware update for its line of wearables that should improve the day-to-day usability of Pebble smartwatches. For example, a new Quick View feature lets users see what's next on their calendar from the watch face. Pressing the watch face opens all current events. Another tool called App Glances lets people view app data without fully opening the app. Moreover, Pebble owners can use the 4-Button Quick Launch feature to customize their device by assigning their favorite apps to each button. The health app has been redesigned with more glanceable information. It also brings back weekly charts to help provide a broader overview of health stats. Last, the revised system software adds email actions for iOS users, who can reply to, delete, and archive emails directly from the notification screen. Pebble OS 4.0 is free to download and install via the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Apple today made iOS 9.3.5 available to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. The update, according to Apple, resolves three security issues. Two of the problems could have led to remote code execution. Apple suggests all users update as soon as possible. The update is free to download over the air.
Microsoft's Word Flow keyboard now features a search tool for finding GIFs, images, and emojis. The search functionality also allows iPhone owners to find contacts and look up restaurants. Microsoft says the app includes more predictions, including GIFs, that show up as users type. Word Flow now makes it possible to control the cursor placement with 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. The app gains some accuracy improvements, particularly when in one-handed mode, and support for the iOS text replacement function. Last, Word Flow has even more themes that people can use to customize their keyboard. Word Flow from Microsoft is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Opera Software today launched a free VPN for Android devices that allows smartphone and tablet owners to browse the web more securely and access what might be prohibited content when using managed networks. The VPN removes ad trackers for privacy purposes and supports virtual locations (U.S., Canada, Germany, Singapore, and the Netherlands), which should let people get around some region-based restrictions. The VPN includes a WiFi tester that can detect the strength of WiFi security. If the VPN determines the network isn't secure, it will recommend users connect through the VPN. The WiFi sniffer also checks to see if the network its public or private, if it's encrypted, how many other devices are using it, if the IP address/location are exposed, and whether or not others can see your device. Opera imagines the VPN will be useful to students and office workers who are restricted from accessing social networks or other types of web sites when using campus or office WiFi. Opera VPN is free to downloaded from the Google Play Store. Opera made the same VPN available to iOS devices earlier this year.
Twitter today made its night mode tool available to devices running iOS. Twitter says night mode should make viewing the app in the dark less stressful on the eyes. The refreshed app includes a tool in the settings menu that, when activated, changes the background from white to a deep blue. Twitter for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Night mode has been available to Android devices since last month.
Instagram today added a new Event feed to its Explore tab. The Event feed collects video highlights shared from concerts, sporting events, and other activities so people can find and view them quicker. The events will be customized for each individual user based on what Instagram things they will like. The updated Explore tab is rolling out through Android and iOS app updates in the U.S. first.
FreedomPop today announced a new SIM card that provides free access to WhatsApp. The WhatsApp SIM comes with unlimited WhatsApp usage, 200 MB of data, and 100 voice minutes — all of which can be used for free. The card works with unlocked Android and iOS devices and functions in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, and two dozen other countries with no roaming fees. More data and voice minutes can be added to the card for low rates when/if needed. The WhatsApp SIM card is available for free from FreedomPop's web site.
Google today released Duo, the video chatting app for Android and iOS it announced earlier this year. Duo is simple to use. It doesn't require a separate account, users need only their phone number to get started. Google says it built the app to function well even across poor network connections. The app will change the resolution to match the connection speed in order to keep the call going, and can seamlessly switch from wifi to cellular. A feature called Knock Knock gives people a preview video of the person calling so they can see what's up before answering the video call. Duo is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Apple today released iOS 10 Developer Beta 6 and iOS 10 Public Beta 5, fresh builds of the pre-release operating system for iPhones, iPads, and iPods. The release notes suggest the update contains only bug fixes and other unspecified improvements. At nearly 2 GB, Apple recommends the developer beta be downloaded only over WiFi. At around 100 MB, the public beta is much smaller. Apple typically updates the developer and public betas separately, so today's double release suggests important fixes are contained within. The final version of iOS 10, which improves Siri, News, Music, and Photos, isn't expected to arrive until September.
Apple today released iOS 9.3.4, an update for iPhones and iPads that plugs an unspecified vulnerability. In the release notes, Apple calls the iOS 9.3.4 an "important security update" and recommends all iOS 9.x users update right away. The update is free to download over the air.
Microsoft has updated Skype for Android, iOS, Mac, the web, and Windows devices and given the communications tool access to more chat bots. Microsoft says it worked with select partners this time around to bring dedicated services to Skype. A bot from Skyscanner lets Skype users search for flights, while a StubHub bot makes it simpler to find event tickets. A bot from IFTTT can deliver alerts from apps, devices, and web sites, while a Hipmunk bot helps book entire vacation packages. Microsoft updated its bot platform last month with support for group bot chats and info cards. The company says more bots and capabilities are on the way. Skype is free to download from the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store, Apple App Store, and Windows Store.
BlackBerry today announced BlackBerry Hub+, a software offering that brings the company's BBOS 10-based messaging control center to all Android devices running 6.0 Marshmallow and up. The bundle includes BlackBerry Hub, Calendar, and Password Keeper and is available on a trial basis for free for 30 days. After the trial ends, people can continue to use the suite for free as long as they agree to view some ads. Alternately, people can subscribe to BlackBerry Hub+ for $0.99 per month. The for-pay subscription adds Contacts, Tasks, Device Search, Notes, and Launcher to BlackBerry Hub+. The Hub+ is the same software BlackBerry's own Priv and DTEK50 use for communications. The one-stop-shop provides a central place to manage email, text, IM, and social media messages. BlackBerry says BlackBerry Hub+ will reach the Google Play Store later today. BlackBerry said it is working to bring Hub+ to devices running Android Lollipop and iOS.
Apple today made iOS 10 Public Beta 3 available to those who've signed up to test the pre-release operating system. The beta, which Apple says contains bug fixes and other improvements, can be downloaded and installed over the air. Apple did not spell out any specific new features or improvements. The third public beta follows the fourth developer beta, which Apple released earlier this week. iOS 10 makes significant changes to the Music, Photos, and News apps, the lock screen and notifications, and iMessage.
Instagram today announced Instagram Stories, a new way to share photos and videos that is similar to Snapchat's Stories. With Stories, Instagram users can post as many photos and videos as they want throughout the day and customize them with text, stickers, and drawing tools. Instagram says the packaged Stories will disappear after 24 hours, and they won't be shown in user grids or feeds. Stories from people you follow will appear at the top of the screen, tapping the user's profile photo will take you to their Stories. Privacy settings in Stories mirror those of the main account, and Stories can be easily hidden when needed. Further, users can check to see who's viewed their Stories. Instagram says Stories will roll out to all Android and iOS users globally over the next few weeks.
Apple today made iOS 10 Developer Beta 4 available to registered app developers. The beta, which Apple says contains bug fixes and other improvements, can be downloaded and installed over the air. Apple did not spell out any specific new features or improvements. This is not the public beta. Apple will provide a separate update to the iOS 10 public beta in the days ahead. iOS 10 makes sweeping changes to Apple Music, News, and Photos; opens up Siri to third-party app developers; and improves myriad other functions, such as the keyboard.
Google has added the ability to plan multi-stop trips to its app for iPhones and iPads. The latest version of Google Maps for iOS allows people to add multiple destinations to a single excursion. Users can reorder the stops whenever needed, as well as search for specific locations, such as gas stations or restaurants, to add to the route. Google says once users plot their multi-stop route, navigation functions as it always has. Google Maps is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Google Maps for Android already supports multiple stops.
Nest recently updated its iOS app and added support for the Apple Watch. With the update installed, Nest owners can control their Nest Thermostat from their wrist. The app also makes it easier to view various spaces by grouping Nest products together by room. When connected to WiFi, the app automatically shows live views of all associated cameras. Users can now share a password-protected live view of their camera with others online. Last, the Dropcam Pro gains support for 1080p HD video, and video quality will adjust automatically to provide the clearest possible picture. The Nest app is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Here has renamed and refreshed its core mobile mapping service for Android and iOS devices. Here Maps is now called Here WeGo. The company said it believed the original name was too generic. Along with the name change, the apps gain a significant revision. Here WeGo now prioritizes the search function for finding specific addresses or places. Users will be able to compare multiple different routes more easily, including car, public transit, cycling, and pedestrian options. Here WeGo also now displays options from car-sharing firm Car2Go, as well as regular taxi services with approximate fare rates and wait times. Last, Here WeGo improved bicycle route details with elevation profiles. Here WeGo is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.
Google today introduced the Google Play Family Library, which allows a single account holder to share purchases with up to six family members. Google says eligible app, game, movie, TV show, and book purchases from the Play Store can be shared across Android and iOS devices, as well as the web with no additional sign-up fee. Account holders will have control over what content is shared and what is not. Users can make their credit card available to other family members for purchases, too, and control/manage those purchases. The Google Play Family Library is free to use, but does not include access to Google Music. The fee for the Google Music family plan remains $15 per month. Google says the Family Library is going live in the U.S. and a handful of other countries beginning today.
Twitter today announced a new night mode tool for its Android app that should make viewing in the dark less stressful on the eyes. The refreshed app includes a slider tool in the settings menu that when activated changes the background from white to a deep blue. Twitter for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store. Twitter didn't immediately say if it will make this same feature available to iOS devices.
Google today rolled out a fresh version of Maps for Android, iOS, and the web with a cleaner user interface. Google says it eliminated unnecessary UI elements, such a road outlines, while simplifying the typography for street names, points of interest, and more. Google Maps now treats areas of interest differently with orange shading. Users can readily spot and click on areas of interest to see things to do in that area. Last, the refreshed Google Maps relies on a new color scheme that Google says is easier to use to differentiate between man-made and natural map features. The new version of Google Maps is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Skype recently updated its app for the iPhone and iPad to version 6.20. The refreshed app focuses on making bots easier to find and use. For example, Skype now includes a bot icon in the "recents" header. A simple tap takes you to an up-to-date list of bots for chatting. Skype users may now also mark their favorite bots so they are easier to return to. Skype says version 6.20 improves notification reliability and keeps muted conversations quiet. Skype is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple today made iOS 10 Public Beta 2 available to those who've signed up to test the pre-release operating system. The beta, which Apple says contains bug fixes and other improvements, can be downloaded and installed over the air. Apple did not spell out any specific new features or improvements. The second public beta follows the third developer beta, which Apple released earlier this week. iOS 10 makes significant changes to the Music, Photos, and News apps, the lock screen and notifications, and iMessage.
Microsoft today said its Skype service will no longer be updated for Windows Phone 7 - 8.1 and older versions of Android and iOS. The company said it wants to "focus on the platforms of the future" which means it "must end support for some devices and operating systems." Skype will continue to support Windows 10 for Mobile, Windows 7, 8, XP, and Vista, Yosemite on Mac, iOS 8, and Android 4.03. Versions of Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android older than those named here will no longer be supported with updates. Skype says its service won't cease immediately on older platforms, but as the company continues to move Skype to the cloud, some features may become broken over time.
Deezer today made its music-streaming service available to anyone who wants it in the U.S. The service was previously limited to Cricket Wireless customers and those who owned Sonos home stereo equipment. Deezer's offering is similar to Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Music in that it provides access to millions of tracks, radio stations, and podcasts to mobile devices. Songs can be streamed or downloaded for offline playback. Deezer is available to Android, iOS, and Windows devices. The app itself is free to download, but the Premium+ experience requires a $10 monthly fee.
Microsoft has updated its Groove Music application for Android and iOS devices for the first time since September 2015. Microsoft says the refreshed application offers a number of performance and feature improvements. For example, playback should be more reliable, albums and songs should download faster, and a wider variety of screen sizes and resolutions are supported. The app gains a tool for exploring new releases and popular songs from top artists, as well as new sorting options for viewing music collections. Last, the sign-in process is quicker when using a Microsoft account. Microsoft warns that app will need to rebuild users' libraries from scratch to improve sync. This may take a few moments when the app is first launched. Groove Music is free to download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.
Apple today made iOS 10 Developer Beta 3 available to registered app developers. The beta, which Apple says contains bug fixes and other improvements, can be downloaded and installed over the air. Apple did not spell out any specific new features or improvements. This is not the public beta. Apple will provide a separate update to the iOS 10 public beta in the near future.
Facebook today brought Instant Articles to Messenger for the Android platform. Instant Articles load faster on mobile devices, up to 10x quicker than traditional mobile links. Facebook believes adding Instant Articles to Messenger will boost the number of interactions with web content shared through Messenger. Instant Articles are signified by a lightning bolt in the corner. Facebook expects to bring Instant Articles to Messenger for iOS in a few weeks.
Google today said the Unicode Technical Committee, the organization that oversees the development of emoji, has agreed to add some of the professional women emoji Google proposed earlier this year. Specifically, Unicode will add 11 (of the 13 suggested) professional female emoji in all skin colors. Google says together these will amount to more then 100 new emoji depicting women in a wider variety of roles at work. Unicode also agreed to add male and female versions to 33 existing emoji. Google says the new emoji will be included in future versions of Android and other platforms, such as iOS. In June, Unicode accepted 72 new emoji in the Unicode 9.0 standard. It's unclear how quickly Unicode will adopt these new emoji from Google.
Facebook recently updated its Messenger application for iOS devices, adding support for 3D Touch to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Owners of these devices can now long-press the screen to preview conversations, contacts, photos, links, stickers, videos, and locations. The update also refines performance for all iOS devices. Facebook Messenger is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Google today updated Hangouts and Photos for iOS devices, giving each a handful of fresh tools. Hangouts gains the ability to kick users out of group conversations, as well as attach videos up to 2 minutes in length. The app also introduces a fix for static GIFs and square image cropping in media attachments. Google Photos now has better support for burst photos and a new cropping tool. Google improved Photos' performance, too, with quicker app startup and reduced battery and cellular usage. Google Hangouts and Google Photos for iOS are free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple today made iOS 10 available to the public in beta form. The public beta follows the recent release of iOS 10 Beta 2 for developers. People who choose to install the public beta of iOS 10 should expect some bugs and performance issues. Many, but not all, of iOS 10's new features are contained in the beta. The full release is scheduled for the fall. Core iOS 10 features include new support for third-party apps in Siri; refreshed iMessage, Maps, Photos, and News apps; expanded notifications on the lock screen; and more 3D Touch functionality. Apple also today released the first public beta of macOS Sierra. The big feature in Sierra is the addition of Siri to Apple's Mac computers. Both the iOS 10 and macOS Sierra betas are free to download and install from Apple's web site.
Walmart today said Walmart Pay, its mobile payment service, is now available at all of its stores across the country — more than 4,600 locations. The service, first announced last year, competes with Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. It works with both Android and iOS smartphones. Rather than rely on NFC or MST for tap-and-go transactions, Walmart Pay involves the Walmart mobile app. Customers can add most any credit or debit card to the Walmart app for purchases. At checkout, users need to open the app and launch the camera. Using the camera, customers scan a code displayed at the register. This activates the transaction. The associate scans and bags the items and the final amount due is taken from the credit/debit card associated with the app. Customers will receive an electronic receipt that is saved in the app. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay all allow users to tap their phones on retail payment terminals to make purchases. Walmart has resisted supporting these competitive mobile payment services in favor of its own. The company says customers rate the experience highly and are using it increasingly.
Commuters who ride select Long Island Railroad or Metro-North routes can use the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's new eTix app to purchase, activate, and use train tickets. The MTA says mobile ticketing is available to those who ride LIRR's Port Washington branch or Metro-North's Hudson Line, with support for all branches/lines due by the end of August. The app, available to Android and iOS smartphones, allows commuters to purchase single ride, round-trip, 10-trip, or weekly tickets. Commuters will need to activate individual tickets when boarding trains and make sure their phone is available for conductors to validate each ticket. The MTA says all tickets purchased through the eTix app will cost the same as those purchased via MTA ticketing machines, with no extra fees or charges. Refunds for tickets are available, but limited. eTix supports multiple tickets for families/groups, employer discounts, and receipts for business travel. Notably, eTix program tickets are not compatible with the NYC Transit (subway/bus) nor the NICE (bus) systems. The MTA's eTix app is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Apple today made a second beta version of iOS 10 available to developers. According to Apple, the new beta contains bug fixes and other improvements. iOS 10 beta 2 is available to developers as an over-the-air update. Apple plans to release iOS 10 in beta form to public testers later this summer. The full release is scheduled for the fall. Core iOS 10 features include new support for third-party apps in Siri; refreshed iMessage, Maps, Photos, and News apps; expanded notifications on the lock screen; and more 3D Touch functionality.
Google gave Google Maps users the ability to plan multi-stop trips. The latest version of Google Maps allows people to add multiple destinations to a single excursion. Users can reorder the stops whenever needed, as well as search for specific locations, such as gas stations or restaurants, to add to the route. Google says once users plot their multi-stop route, navigation functions as it always has. This feature is coming to Google Maps for Android first, with Android Maps for iOS to follow soon. Google gave Android users another tool in Maps that can help surface travel memories. Google says Maps users who have Location History turned on can view their travel timeline and select any date from recent trips to see the photos they took on that day. Google Maps is free to download from the Play Store.
Google Keep gained a useful tool in a recent update — the app can now categorize notes by topic. Keep will assign categories to topics such as web sites, recipes, or favorite places, and those topics will be searchable via keyword. The updated version of Google Keep is available to Android and iOS devices, as well as the web. Keep is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Google today offered developers access to the Google Cast SDK version 3.0 for Android and iOS. Google first discussed changes to its casting platform at the I/O developer conference in May. Google Cast allows people to push content from smartphones, tablets, and laptops to other devices, such as television sets or media players. The revised Google Cast SDK is easier to use, more reliable, and quicker, says Google. Developers can make use of the SDK to add casting features to their own apps. The SDK is free for developers to access and use. Google believes the simplified SDK will convince more app writers to make content cast-able.
Facebook is prepared to ease the process of creating compelling video posts with your pictures. The company today said it plans to relocate the Slideshow feature built into its Moments app and drop it into the main Facebook app for iOS. Once the feature is moved, it will automatically assemble photos and videos into small, easy-to-digest slideshow videos. In order to function, Slideshows will look for collections of at least five photos and/or videos posted within a 24-hour period. The tool adds themes, transitions, and music on its own, but users can customize them if they so wish. The feature is similar to Memories in Apple Photos and Movie Assistant in Google Photos. Facebook for iOS with Slideshows is free to download from the iTunes App Store.