iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
Instagram today made it possible for those broadcasting live video to play with face filters in real time. Broadcasters need only tap the face icon in the bottom right corner before or during their live stream to add filters. Instagram says users can play around with as many filters during their broadcast as they like. Live broadcasts can be shared to stories for replaying or discarded. The feature is rolling out worldwide to Instagram mobile for Android and iOS over the next several weeks.
Apple's new mobile operating system, iOS 11, introduces some counterintuitive behaviors with respect to Control Center and the wireless radios. Tapping the WiFi or Bluetooth toggles in Control Center does not actually turn off these radios. "In iOS 11 and later, when you toggle the WiFi or Bluetooth buttons in Control Center, your device will immediately disconnect from WiFi and Bluetooth accessories. Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will continue to be available," explained Apple in its documentation for iOS 11. In earlier versions of iOS, tapping these toggles did in fact turn the radios off. iPhone and iPad owners who wish to completely turn off their Bluetooth and WiFi radios will need to do so from the settings menu. According to Apple, disabled WiFi radios will wake back up under certain circumstances: when toggled on, when users encounter a new WiFi network, when the device is restarted, or automatically at 5am. Turning WiFi and Bluetooth off is often viewed as a good security practice. Apple did not rationalize these changes in behavior.
Apple today admitted that its new cellular-connected smartwatch has a problem. Early reviewers of the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE complained of intermittent or non-existent data connections when away from their iPhone. Testers from the Wall Street Journal and The Verge, for example, were unable to make or maintain voice calls, or stream music via LTE. According to Apple, the issue occurs when the new watch attempts to join "unauthenticated WiFi wireless networks without connectivity." In other words, the device is prioritizing WiFi over LTE and will drop LTE even when it latches onto shoddy WiFi that doesn't actually offer a connection. The company is "investigating a fix for a future software release." The Apple Watch Series 3, which starts at $399, includes an optional LTE radio for connecting to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. The carriers are charging $5 or $10 per month to add the watch to existing data plans. The new smartwatch from Apple goes on sale Friday, Sept. 22.
Google today revealed a refresh of Snapseed, its advanced photo-editing application. Snapseed 2.18 for Android and iOS features a brand new user interface that Google says speeds up the editing process. For example, Snapseed has moved the Looks tool, which consists of user-created filters, to the main screen for quicker access. Moreover, Snapseed gains 11 new preset filters that people can apply to their photos. The iOS version of Snapseed earns access to the Perspective tool, which lets editors adjust skewed lines of horizons or buildings. Snapseed 2.18 is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Apple today made it possible for iPhone owners to download larger applications via their cellular connections. "We’ve increased the cellular download limit from 100 MB to 150 MB," said Apple to developers, "letting customers download more apps from the App Store over their cellular network." Apple has slowly increased the size limit over the years to account for both the increase in app sizes and the improvement in network speeds. It's not uncommon to encounter apps that are larger than 100 MB. iPhone owners will have to find WiFi to download apps larger than 150 MB.
Apple today updated its Apple Music application for the Android platform in order to ensure the experience is similar to that of the revised iOS version. Android device owners have access to the same iOS 11 Apple Music discovery feature that allows people to create public profiles and share playlists. The new music app also introduces support for voice search, which lets people say "OK Google" to find artists, albums, and songs. Apple Music gains a fresh widget that highlights music that was recently played, and a new tap-and-hold shortcut to quickly play Beats 1 Radio or start a new search. Apple Music is free to download from the Google Play Store, but the service requires a $10 monthly subscription.
Apple today made new system software available to its smartphones and tablets. iPhone and iPad owners can download iOS 11, which introduces new lock screen behaviors, new control center behaviors, as well as new features for the camera, messages, maps and more. For the first time, iPhone owners will be able to use augmented reality thanks to the addition of ARKit and apps in the App Store. iOS 11 is free to download. Apple suggests users back up their devices before updating. iOS 11 is compatible with the iPhone 5SE, iPhone 6/6 Plus, 6s/6s Plus, and 7/7s Plus.
Google today updated its mobile search application for iOS devices and made it easier for people to find similar articles or content. Moving forward, a pull-up tab will appear at the bottom of web pages with suggestions for related content. Once opened, iOS device users can scroll sideways through a carousel of content similar to the article they just read. For example, say someone searches for chili recipes and reads one of the initial results. The other recipe results will be fed into the pull-up tab, making it easier to jump to alternate recipes without returning to the search results screen. This feature is limited to English in the U.S. for now, but Google says it will expand to more languages and countries over time. Google Search is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple today reiterated that iOS 11 will reach iPhones, iPads, and iPods Touch beginning September 19. Not all the new features will be available at launch, however, with Apple Pay on deck for later this year. According to Apple, the peer-to-peer mobile payment function is "coming this fall with an update to iOS 11 and watchOS 4." Once installed, Apple Pay users will be able to send and receive money from friends and family quickly, easily, and securely. Payments will work through the Messages app and/or Siri. The money is funneled into the Apple Pay Cash card, which is found in Apple Wallet. The funds can be used instantly to pay for goods and services through any credit or debit card stored in Apple Wallet. Apple has held back other features in previous iOS launches so the news that Apple Pay will arrive later than iOS 11 itself isn't uncommon.
Google today said its G Suite customers will soon be able to take advantage of active hyperlinks in Gmail and Inbox that simplify the process of sending emails or making calls. Both mobile apps will convert text, such as phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses, into interactive links. That means people who click a street address link in Gmail will be taken to Google Maps. Similarly, people who click an email address will automatically be asked if they want to compose an email using the address, and people who click a phone number will initiate a call request. Google says the interact hyperlink feature for contact information will reach all G Suite Gmail and Inbox users on Android, iOS, and the web in the next few days.
Apple this week provided more detail concerning some of the behaviors of its forthcoming Face ID tech on the iPhone X and Safari in iOS 11. Concerning the former, Apple executive Craig Federighi explained to Techcrunch that "[Apple does] not gather customer data when you enroll in Face ID, it stays on your device, we do not send it to the cloud for training data." Instead, all the data created by the dot projector is processed locally on the A11 bionic chip. Critically, the feature needs to see the user's eyes, nose, and mouth. Face ID will work with most sunglasses, though certain IR coatings can scramble Face ID. "If you’re a surgeon or someone who wears a garment that covers your face, it’s not going to work," explained Federighi. "But if you’re wearing a helmet or scarf, it works quite well." This means Face ID may not work with some masks required at work, or some religious head coverings. The feature works from multiple angles and distances, but it absolutely requires user attention: the owner must be looking at the iPhone X in order for Face ID to work. This means people can't unlock others' phones when they are sleeping. Last, people will be able to instantly disable Face ID by simultaneously squeezing the buttons on either side of the phone. Doing so will switch to the passcode backup. There are instances that will require a passcode, such as when the phone has been rebooted, if Face ID has not be used in 48 hours, or if there have been five failed attempts at Face ID. Concerning Safari, Apple recently took heat from advertisers because iOS 11 blocks intelligent cookies that track users across the web. The advertising groups in question maintain that this practice is vital for providing timely and relevant advertising. Apple thinks different. "Apple believes that people have a right to privacy ... and Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a more advanced method for protecting user privacy," said the company in a statement provided to The Loop. "Ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad tracking companies to recreate the majority of a person’s web browsing history. This information is collected without permission. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature detects and eliminates cookies and other data used for this cross-site tracking, which means it helps keep a person’s browsing private." Apple further explained that Intelligent Tracking Prevention does not get in the way of ads that are served normally on the web. It can be disabled in Safari's settings if people wish.
Powermat, which has deployed PMA-compliant wireless chargers at thousands of Starbucks locations around the U.S., plans to update its charging pads to support the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 8 from Apple. At the moment, there are two competing wireless charging standards, PMA and Qi. Handsets from Samsung and others typically support PMA, though some (Galaxy S8, Note8) support both PMA and Qi. Apple's new iPhones support only the Qi standard, which makes them incompatible with the wireless chargers at Starbucks. Speaking to Slashgear, Powermat CTO Itay Sherman explained that its Starbucks charging pads are connected to its cloud. This gives Powermat the ability to update them when necessary. "If there's a new standard, a new variant of the standard — you have PMA, you have Qi, you have Samsung’s Wireless Fast Charging — we can download new software to our points and support them," said Sherman to Slashgear. "The biggest difference between PMA and Qi is the communication protocols. We designed a controller which is software programable so we can integrate new communication protocols on this platform." Further, Powermat "designed the magnetic part to be as generic as possible to cover all standards if possible." Sherman did not say how quickly it will be able to update its Starbucks Powermat chargers with support for Qi, and conceded it will rely in part on the individual venues in question. This upgrade will not impact stand-alone, consumer Powermat chargers, which will remain limited to the PMA standard.
Apple this week announced the Apple Watch Series 3 with an optional cellular radio. The LTE radio makes it possible for the smartwatch to connect to cellular networks on its own, without a nearby iPhone. According to AT&T, the Apple Watch Series 3 is compatible with its NumberSync service, allowing people to make and receive phone calls from their main mobile number on the wearable. In addition to calls, NumberSync allows people to send/receive text messages from their main number directly on the smartwatch. The phone does need to powered on somewhere in order for the service to work. NumberSync is built into AT&T's network, so it doesn't require third-party apps in order to function properly. AT&T charges a $10 per month fee to add the Apple Watch Series 3 to an existing data plan. NumberSync is included for free. AT&T said it will waive the customary activation fee for the Apple Watch Series 3. Verizon Wireless customers will enjoy similar functionality via Verizon's NumberShare technology, which also allows people to make calls and send messages directly from their wrist over the cellular network. Like AT&T, Verizon is charging $10 per month to add the Apple Watch Series 3 to an existing plan. T-Mobile, too, has a $10 Apple Watch Series 3 plan that includes one-number calling from either the phone or the watch. Sprint has not yet detailed a similar service. The Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE goes on sale September 22 for $399.
Apple today debuted new pricing for AppleCare+ alongside the iPhone X. Adding AppleCare+ to the new device costs $199, a significant jump from the $129 Apple has charged in the past for the same protection. AppleCare+ extends warranty and support coverage for up to two years from the date of purchase. With AppleCare+, replacing a damaged screen will cost $29, while repairing any other type of damage will carry a fee of $99. AppleCare+ also gives iPhone X owners 24/7 access to Apple experts via chat or phone. The iPhone X costs $999 for the 64 GB model and $1,149 for the 256 GB model. AppleCare+ for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus costs $129.
Apple today made the penultimate version of iOS 11 available to developers and those using the public betas. The company also made available gold masters of watchOS 4.0 and tvOS 11. All three platforms will push to iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices in final form beginning September 19. iOS 11 brings changes to the camera and messaging apps, App Store, as well as Control Center and multitasking. Apple watchOS 4.0 focuses on improving the heart rate monitor, while tvOS 11 tweaks the user interface and App Store experience.
Apple today said it will continue to sell some of its older iPhones, including the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and iPhone SE. Apple has dropped the prices of these handsets across the board. Moving forward, the iPhone 7 starts at $549 and the 7 Plus starts at $669, the iPhone 6 starts at $449 and the 6 Plus starts at $549, while the iPhone SE starts at $349. These devices will be sold at Apple and carrier stores alongside the new iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.
Apple today announced the iPhone X (iPhone 10), a more advanced smartphone that serves as the company's flagship device. It boasts an edge-to-edge display with glass on the front and back surfaces. It has a stainless steel frame holding the glass panels together. Like the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the iPhone X is water and dust resistant. It includes what Apple calls the Super Retina display. It is 5.8 inches across the diagonal with 2,465 by 1,135 pixels and it relies on OLED technology rather than LCD. It gets rid if the home button that has adorned the front of iPhones for 10 years. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen calls up the home screen, as well as the app switcher. The side button now activates Siri. It uses Face ID for unlocking the handset, based on facial recognition. It relies on the A11 Bionic chip and specialized hardware to create machine learning algorithms. The neural engine has its own dual-core design and can conduct 600 billion operations per second to assess the user's identity. Apple says Face ID requires user attention to unlock the phone, and it can't be fooled by photographs. It works with Apple Pay and apps, and can adapt to your face as it changes over time. The bar at the top of the screen includes an infrared camera, user-facing camera, flood illuminator, dot projector, earpiece, and proximity sensors. Apple created what it calls Animojis, which are animated emojis that rely on your own facial expressions to create movement in the movement. Like the iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone X has a revised 12-megapixel camera sensor with better dynamic range with two lenses, one at f/1.8 (wide angle) and another at f/2.4 (telephoto). It has optical image stabilization to create sharp focus and a quad-LED flash. It comes with the Portrait Lighting feature of the iPhone 8 Plus, as well, and can shoot 4K video at high frame rates. The iPhone X has a more advanced selfie camera. Apple claims the new handset offers two more hours of battery life, on average, than the iPhone 7. It supports Qi wireless charging, LTE-A, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi, and GPS. The iPhone X comes in black and silver. It will come in 64 GB and 256 GB variants. It will be available for pre-order October 27, and will ship November 3. It starts at $999.
Apple today showed off a few unannounced features that will arrive with iOS 11 later this month. iOS 11 introduces improved discoverability for stickers and emoji. iOS 11 automatically syncs conversations across devices (iPhone, iPad, macOS), including deleted messages and threads. Apple says most iMessage content is stored in the cloud, which means it uses less storage on mobile devices. Apple Pay gets a boost in iOS 11, too, with the addition of person-to-person payments. Apple used deep learning to create a new voice for Siri, both female and male. The app interface now displays multiple results, and can handle translation. Translations works between English and Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. SiriKit, for developers allows developers to push Siri deeper unto their own applications. The camera app takes advantage of new compression techniques in order to use less on-device storage. The camera roll gains more tools for Live Photos, which allows for video looping and other effects such as bouncing. The camera roll takes advantage of machine learning to identify the subjects within photos and tag them accordingly. Live Photos now support trimming, shortening, and more. iOS 11 redesigns the Control Center, as well as the lock screen and notifications center in order to make vital controls and data as easy to reach as possible. Apple Maps gains indoor map data, such as mall and airport floor plans, for navigating around within large buidings. A new tool called 'Do No Disturb While Driving' will essentially silence iPhones and prevent notifications when it senses it is in a moving vehicle. AirPlay 2 brings with it playback controls for multi-room speakers. A separate API will help developers add AirPlay 2 and multi-room functionality to their own speakers. Apple Music lets people see what their friends are listening to. The new MusicKit API for developers will target social sharing for music, too. Apple expects to distribute iOS 11 to existing iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices on September 19.
Apple today revealed the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, a refresh of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It trades the metal rear panel for glass with a matching aluminum frame. Apple says the glass is infused with metal, making it strong. The phones are waterproof. Both the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus carry over the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays of last y pa's models, but add Apple's True Tone technology. The phones rely on the new Apple A11 Bionic processor with six cores. It contains two high-performance cores and four high efficiency cores for battery battery life. The A11 includes Apple's first custom-designed GPU. The phone includes a new image signal processor to handle quicker autofocus in low light while also reducing noise. The new iPhones have a revised 12-megapixel camera sensor with better dynamic range. The 8 Plus has two lenses, one at f/1.8 (wide angle) and another at f/2.8 (telephoto). The 8 Plus includes a new feature called Portrait Lighting. It dynamically adjusts the lighting on peoples' faces as you take their picture. A new video encoder can shoot at faster frame rates, including 1080p HD at 240fps for slow motion. The phones will support augmented reality via Apple's ARKit. Apple said the phones support Bluetooth 5.0 and LTE-Advanced cellular features, as well as Qi wireless charging thanks to the glass rear panel. The phones carry over features such a Touch ID, water resistance. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus comes in silver, gray, and gold. They will come in 64 GB and 256 GB options. The iPhone 8 costs $699 and the 8 Plus costs $799. They will be available for pre-order starting September 15 and will go on sale September 22.
Apple today updated its smartwatch with several new features. Notably, the Apple Watch Series 3 gains an optional LTE radio for connections when phones aren't around or available. The Watch includes an e-SIM to save space, and uses the display itself to act as the cellular antenna. The LTE radio will require a data plan from carriers, such as AT&T or Verizon. People will be able to sync and control apps without their iPhone, as well as make voice calls. Apple says the cellular connection supports streaming from Apple Music and works with Apple's EarPods for on-the-go listening during workouts. The Watch Series 3 contains a new W2 wireless chip from Apple to enable Bluetooth and other connections and a refreshed dual-core processor that's 70% faster than Series 2. It comes in a variety of casings and bands, including a new sport loop made from breathable fabric. The ceramic option is now available in white and gray. The Apple Watch Series 3 costs $329 sans cellular and $399 with cellular. Apple will continue to sell the Series 1 for $249. Preorders begin September 15 and the Apple Watch Series 3 goes on sale September 22.
Microsoft today updated its Outlook email application for Android devices and gave the app the ability to support add-ins. Microsoft says add-ins let Outlook users do more with their email thanks to powers enabled by third-party applications. For example, adds-ins will negate the need to leave Outlook to perform certain tasks, such as translate text, insert GIFs, or save items for safekeeping. Some of the launch partners include Evernote, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Translator, Nimble, OnePlaceMail, Outlook Customer Manager, Smartsheet, and Trello. More are on the way. Microsoft says add-ins are available when reading or composing and replying to emails. Microsoft Outlook for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store. Add-ins were added to Outlook for iOS earlier this year. Microsoft said it will be bringing add-ins to Gmail customers on iOS and Android soon.
Even though the summer travel season has largely ended, Google this week expanded Google Trips, Google Flights, and Google Destinations to a more international audience thanks to new languages and availability. For example, Google Destinations is now available in 14 new languages, including Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Filipino, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Malaysian, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovakian, and Slovenian. Google Flights is now searchable in 26 additional countries and languages across much of Europe. Last, Google Trips is now available on Android and iOS in six new languages, including French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Japanese. Google hopes the expanded availability of these travel tools will help people plan their international trips. The mobile apps are free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.
Apple today made iOS 11 Beta 10 available to application developers. The release fixes bugs and resolves performance issues, according to Apple. Earlier this week, Apple released tvOS 11 Beta 10. The company has sped up the release of developer and public betas over the last few weeks, pushing them every week rather than its traditional schedule of every other week. iOS 11 brings changes to the camera and messaging apps, App Store, as well as Control Center and multitasking. Apple hasn't made a new public beta available this week yet, though it likely will in the next 24 hours. Apple is widely expected to reveal the next generation of iPhones at an event scheduled for September 12. The company will likely show off the last few features of iOS 11 during the presentation, and set a final release schedule for the updated mobile operating system.
YouTube today rolled out several improvements to its live streaming functionality on mobile devices. To start, YouTube has made it possible to engage in real-time interactions with viewers during live streams thanks to a new ultra-low latency mode. Switching to the ultra-low latency setting drops latency down to just a couple of seconds, which is short enough to let people answer fan questions or respond to viewer input in near real-time. Google says the mode is easy to operate and doesn't require any coding. Separately, YouTube for iOS now lets people stream content from within select apps directly to YouTube. In other words, users can push their app experience and/or screen to YouTube Live in real-time. This particular feature relies on Apple's ReplayKit, which third-party apps will need to support in order to enable live streaming. Google says a small selection of apps already do, including Procreate, Asphalt 8, and Vainglory. Moreover, iPhone owners will be able to use their smartphone's microphone and selfie camera to add their own commentary to the live app stream. Last, YouTube Live adopts new tools to make live chat moderation easier. For example, inline moderation lets broadcasters easily pause chat feeds, while a "hold" tool gives moderators a chance to review potentially inappropriate messages before they go live. All these updates are headed to YouTube Live over the days ahead.
Apple has accelerated the pace of releasing fresh builds of iOS in recent weeks. The company typically makes new betas available once every two weeks, but has upped that rate to one per week as the public launch of iOS 11 and other platforms nears. This week saw Apple make iOS 11 Beta 9 available to developers, following Beta 8, which arrived just last week. Apple also released tvOS 11 Beta 9. Apple did not spell out any changes specific to these builds, though it generally resolves bugs and adds minor features with each successive release. The company has not yet made new public betas available based on this code. Apple is widely expected to provide the final details regarding iOS 11 and its other platforms at an event scheduled to take place September 12, where it will also reveal new iPhones.
YouTube TV has expanded once again to 12 new markets around the country. The additional cities of Cleveland, Denver, Greensboro, Harrisburg, Hartford, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, San Diego, and St. Louis make for a total of 41 markets. YouTube TV originally launched in just five markets in April. The service expanded by 14 markets just a few weeks ago, and YouTube says at least another five markets are on deck to launch in the near future. YouTube TV costs $35 per month, includes up to six personal accounts all with unlimited DVR recordings and access. The number of channels is still limited to about 50. YouTube TV is available on Android and iOS mobile devices, as well as via the Chrome browser on desktop PCs.
Miggo showed off its Pictar camera grip at IFA in Berlin this week. This accessory works with just about every iPhone from the iPhone 4 through the iPhone 7 Plus. It adds a large grip area to hold onto, as well as hardware buttons for controlling the camera application. Here's a quick look at this $100 accessory.
Microsoft and Amazon today announced a new partnership that will allow Windows 10 users to access Alexa via Cortana, and Echo users to access Cortana via Alexa. The tie-up lets people use one personal assistant to open the other. For example, people who own Windows 10 PCs will be able to say "Hey Cortana, open Alexa" and then speak queries to Alexa through their PC. Conversely, people who own an Amazon Echo device will be able to say "Alexa, open Cortana" to set reminders, check appointments, and make other requests of Cortana. Microsoft says this capability is available to Windows 10 PCs first, but it will come to Android and iOS devices later this year.
Instagram today said people can now share portrait or landscape photos when assembling posts with multiple shots. Before today, all the photos shared in a single post were restricted to the square format. Moving forward, people can put together packages of either portrait or landscape shots in their larger posts, though only one aspect ratio is supported within each group. Instagram says it has made some other changes to its mobile app over the last few weeks. For example, users can now edit tagged people after they’ve posted the photos. Moreover, iOS users can save posts as drafts. Instagram says these features are rolling out in version 12 of its mobile app for Android and iOS devices.
Google today expanded the availability of Google Maps' parking tools. To start, the existing "how difficult is it to park" feature is accessible to 25 new cities outside the U.S. People planning trips need only tap the parking icon to see how easy or hard it might be to find a spot. The new cities include Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cologne, Dusseldorf, London, Madrid, Milan, Montreal, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paulo, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Toronto, Valencia, Vancouver, and others. Google Maps for Android gains a new feature that Google says will help U.S.-based users locate a place to put their car. A new "find parking" icon on the directions card will bring up a list of parking garages and lots near the final destination. Users can then tap the garage or lot and navigate directly to it. Maps will even serve up walking directions to get people from the parking lot to their intended destination. The expanded reach of the basic parking difficulty tool is being made available worldwide to users of Maps for Android and iOS today, while the find parking tool is reaching U.S. users of Maps for Android. Google Maps is free to download from the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store.
Apple today made a handful of new beta builds of its various operating systems available to developers. App writers can download and installed iOS 11 Beta 8, watchOS 4 Beta 8, tvOS 11 Beta 8, and macOS High Sierra 10.13 Beta 8. Apple did not spell out any changes specific to these builds, though it generally resolves bugs and adds minor features with each successive release. Most of these platforms are expected to reach their final form as soon as next month, when they'll be released to the public.
A new setting discovered in iOS allows iPhone owners to quickly and temporarily disable Touch ID. Pressing the power button rapidly five times activates SOS Emergency mode. The purpose of this mode is to let people bypass the lock tools to make an emergency phone call. A byproduct of entering SOS Emergency mode is disabling Touch ID. The only way to unlock the phone once Touch ID has been disabled is via the PIN or password. Because users are able to do this quickly and discreetly, it could be useful to help safeguard the iPhone in a situation when the owner might be compelled to provide their fingerprint. The feature was first spotted on Twitter and later verified by The Verge. iOS 11 is still in beta testing. It should be rolled out the general public next month.
Instagram has rolled out several new ways to interact with friends on the photo-sharing social network. First, Instagram made it possible to reply with a photo or video to specific photos, videos, and reshared posts in the Direct messages feature. The reply tool automatically includes a snapshot of the original photo and overlays it on the reply. It also supports split-screen replies, allowing people to mix up their own selfie response with the original image. Editing tools let users add graphics, text, and doodles on the replies, as well. Instagram also released a new set of customizable face filters that target fashion from the 1960s. Using the filters, users can tap the accessories to explore different hats, glasses, and outfits and mix and match them however they wish. The new face filter is accessible via a new face button that appears in the lower corner of the camera. Both the photo reply and face filter tools are rolling out in the latest version of Instagram for Android and iOS devices.
Google today announced a significant update to its G Suite productivity apps, including Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets. Specifically, the apps gain new powers for collaborating with others. First, users can now save version numbers of documents in order to keep track of their progression from initial draft to final. Users can also preview what the clean version of the document will look like, as well as accept or reject all suggested changes at once. When it comes to mobile devices, Docs, Sheets, and Slides now allow Android and iOS users to suggest changes from their phone or tablet. Google says new templates should help speed up the process of creating documents and spreadsheets, and users can now create their own templates with the proper add-ons. Last, enterprise and education users gain access to a new cloud search tool that integrates across G Suite properties, including Drive, Gmail, Calendar, and others. The new features are rolling out over the next few weeks.
Instagram hopes threaded conversations will improve the experience of commenting on photos, videos, and other posts. Moving forward, replying to a specific comment will line up the response directly under that comment in an on-going thread. Instagram believes this new layout will make it easier to respond to and keep track of conversations as they unfold. The new threaded commenting behavior is being rolled out globally via Instagram v.24 to both Android and iOS devices over the coming weeks.
Facebook today announced several forthcoming changes to the central news feed design that should make it easier for people to tell what's going on. For example, conversation threads will more clearly show who is replying to whom. Facebook plans to adjust contrast, increase link previews, update icons and buttons, and reshape profile photos to improve readability of posts and conversations. Moreover, links will more prominently reveal where they lead before they're clicked, and it should be simpler to see whose post you're commenting on, reading, or reacting to. Last, a larger, more prominent "back" button should make it easier to return to the news feed once you've finished reading posts. Facebook says these changes will reach all users over the next few weeks. Separately, Facebook today improved the feature set of the Facebook Camera for Stories, which can now be used to instantly go live, create 2-second looping GIFs, or create full-screen text posts with colored backgrounds. All three of these new capture styles create content that can be posted directly to the news feed or other users' walls. Facebook says the new camera features are headed to the Android and iOS platforms beginning today.
Facebook has brought the trending news section back to mobile devices, starting with the iPhone. Now, trending stories are visible in the main navigation drawer on mobile devices. Opening the section reveals a list of articles that is easy to browse. According to Facebook, articles highlighted in the trending stories section are the most popular on Facebook concerning that specific topic. Popularity is determined by a number of factors, including likes, shares, and number of comments. Facebook was forced to re-conceive trending stories after the section was filled with clickbait and other questionable content. Trending stories are available within the Facebook mobile app for iOS and will soon appear on Android.
Apple today released iOS 11 Public Beta 5 to those testing the platform, mere hours after the company made the developer version available. iOS 11 targets the iPad more than the iPhone, but both devices gain expanded Control Center tools, a refreshed App Store, new camera features, Siri improvements, as well as updates to iMessage, the Keyboard, files, and more. Apple didn't immediately say what's new in this latest beta. The final version of iOS 11 isn't expected until the fall.
Apple today made a handful of new beta builds of its various operating systems available to developers. App writers can download and installed iOS 11 Beta 6, watchOS 4 Beta 6, tvOS 11 Beta 6, and macOS High Sierra 10.13 Beta 6. Apple did not spell out any changes specific to these builds, though it generally resolves bugs and adds minor features with each successive release. Most of these platforms are expected to reach their final form as soon as next month, when they'll be released to the public.
Google today said its Gmail app for iOS devices now relies on similar anti-phishing technology already available to Gmail for Android. Google began using a new algorithm earlier this to spot possible phishing attacks and emails with suspicious links. Google will spend extra time evaluating emails in transit to see if they are in fact phishing attacks before delivering them to end users' inboxes. Google will also warn users of potentially harmful links buried in emails. It will display one warning for suspected bad links and a second warning for known bad links in order to prevent people from clicking. This change is rolling out to all Gmail users for iOS over the next two weeks.