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The 8 Best iPhone 11 Accessories

Apple’s iPhone 11 provides a great balance between price and features. Along with a 6.1-inch bezel-less display, the handset offers a dual-lens camera system to help capture that perfect photograph or video.

If you’ve just got yourself a new iPhone 11, you’ll want to kit it out with some accessories too. Here are the best iPhone 11 accessories available right now.

Spigen Ultra Hybrid Case

Spigen Ultra Hybrid Case

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One of the best features of the iPhone 11 is that the handset is available in six unique hues—white, black, green, yellow, purple, and red. And a clear case is a great way to protect the iPhone 11 while still showing off your color choice.

The Spigen Ultra Hybrid Case combines a hard and durable back with a softer bumper to make the iPhone 11 easier to hold. Raised bezels on the case help protect the screen in case of a drop and allow you to place the handset face down without worry. The large buttons on the case are easy to press.

Spigen has also made the Lightning port cutout large enough the be compatible with most cables on the market. Along with a completely clear version, you can purchase the Ultra Hybrid with a matte black border. Those with the iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max also have options; the Spigen Ultra Hybrid Case for iPhone 11 Pro and the Spigen Ultra Hybrid Case for iPhone 11 Pro Max.

OtterBox Defender Series

OtterBox Defender Series

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While Apple continues to make each generation of iPhone more resistant to bumps, drops, and other hazards, you might want a more protective case to protect your iPhone 11. The OtterBox Defender Series features two layers of protection.

Along with a solid and hard inner shell, the outer part of the case is made with a softer material. Port covers help keep out dust and debris from sensitive parts of the iPhone. OtterBox also includes a belt-clip holster that can double as a kickstand to place the iPhone 11 into a media viewing angle.

There are many colors of the case to select from, including black, blue, and purple. You can also pick up the Defender Series for the iPhone 11 Pro and the Defender Series for the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Anker Powerline II USB-C to Lightning Cable

Anker Powerline II USB-C to Lightning Cable

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Most devices in the past few years, include the most recent MacBook Pro, have already switched to USB-C cables. While Apple does include a USB-C to Lightning cable and 18W adapter with the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 buyers aren’t so lucky. You’ll find the usual USB-A to Lightning cable and slow 5W charger with that handset.

Fortunately, a USB-C to Lightning cable doesn’t cost a lot. The Anker Powerline II USB-C to Lightning Cable is MFi certified and is backed by a lifetime warranty. While away from a computer, you can pair the cable with Anker’s PowerPoint III Nano to unlock fast charging capability. With that combination, you can charge an iPhone 11 from empty to 50 percent in just 30 minutes.

Mophie Powerstation Hub

Mophie Powerstation Hub

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When away from a power outlet, the Mophie Powerstation Hub is a perfect companion for the iPhone 11 and a host of other devices. Along with two USB-A ports, you can use any compatible USB-C to Lightning cable to fast charge an iPhone on the go thanks to the 6,000 mAh battery. Four LED status lights will let you know the battery status.

When you’re tired of wires, the top of the hub can be used as a wireless charger. And there is no need to find a cable to charge the hub itself as it features built-in AC power prongs to plug it into any wall outlet. For more information, make sure to take a look at our Mophie Powerstation Hub review.

Apple AirPods With Wireless Charging Case

Apple AirPods With Wireless Charging Case

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Apple’s AirPods With Wireless Charging Case are earbuds designed specifically for iOS devices, including the iPhone 11. After a quick setup, the AirPods will automatically connect to all of your devices on the same iCloud account with no additional work.

To access Siri while using the AirPods, just say “Hey Siri.” You can also double-tap either earbud to play music or skip a track. The AirPods provides up to five hours of music playback on a single charge, and the charging case can provide an additional 18 hours.

When in a pinch, 15 minutes of charging in the case will provide 3 hours of music playback. When out of battery, you can charge the case, and the AirPods can be charged with a Lightning cable or Qi mat.

Twelve South HiRise Wireless

Twelve South HiRise Wireless

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A wireless charger is also a must-have with the iPhone 11 for around the house or on a nightstand. The Twelve South HiRise Wireless is made with chrome and leather accents and looks great anywhere. Instead of lying flat, your iPhone 11 stands upright so you can easily keep track of notifications and even use your handset while charging.

And the charger is perfect for double duty to charge your AirPods’ wireless charging case. Just pop out the charging disc. You can also take the disc on-the-go with the included cable.

Libratone Zipp Mini 2

Libratone Zipp Mini 2

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The Libratone Zipp Mini 2 is the Swiss Army Knife of portable speakers. For anyone with an iPhone, the best feature is its compatibility with Apple’s AirPlay 2 protocol. That means you can quickly and easily play music, or anything else, from your iPhone on the Zipp Mini 2. The speaker can also be part of a whole-home audio system controllable through an iPhone or other iOS device.

You can even start a song on the speaker by asking Siri. It’s also possible to directly access Amazon’s Alexa or use Spotify Connect. When away from a Wi-Fi network, you can use the Zipp Mini 2 as a regular Bluetooth speaker. The built-in battery provides up to 12 hours of music playback on a single charge. You can select from one of four different speaker colors: gray, black, red, or green.

Apple’s iOS App Store has plenty of great games available. And, with the introduction of the Apple Arcade gaming subscription service, there are many games compatible with a gaming controller. Using a controller oftentimes provides faster split-second control than a touchscreen.

Sony’s DualShock 4 Wireless Controller features a built-in rechargeable battery so you won’t have to spend extra cash on batteries. When it comes time to play, the controller has everything you need for fun. The controller is also compatible with the iPad, Apple TV, and Mac.

The Best iPhone 11 Accessories

While the iPhone 11 is a great handset on its own, these accessories can help make using the smartphone even better, no matter what you’re doing.

And to help become a better photographer and take advantage of the powerful camera system on the iPhone 11, definitely make sure to take a look at some iPhone camera settings you should master.

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5 iPhone Problems You Can Fix Using DFU Mode

Your iPhone isn’t impervious to problems. In fact, most of us experience at least a few issues with our iPhones throughout their lifespan. One of the strongest tools at your disposal for fixing these issues is iOS’s Device Firmware Update (DFU) mode.

DFU mode is a special iPhone state you can use to reinstall every line of software and firmware on your device. It’s the deepest possible restore for an iPhone, and is even more effective than putting it in recovery mode.

Here are some iPhone problems you can fix using DFU mode.

1. Unresponsive Devices

You might think you’ve got a bricked iPhone when actually it’s suffering from firmware problems. Among other tasks, the firmware is responsible for telling your iPhone how to respond to the different buttons on your device.

When you press the Sleep/Wake button, for example, the firmware starts booting up iOS. If your iPhone doesn’t power on, it could be because the firmware isn’t responding to that button correctly.

2. Boot Loops and Failed Startups

iPhone in Boot Loop with Apple logo on Screen
Image Credit: vencav/Depositphotos

A boot loop is the term for when your iPhone can’t get past the Apple logo during startup. This happens if there’s a problem with the operating software on your device.

It’s difficult to try other troubleshooting suggestions if you can’t get past the boot screen, but you can still put your iPhone in DFU mode. This lets you reinstall the software, overwriting any errors that caused the boot loop.

3. Firmware Corruptions

A lot of people already know how to use the iPhone’s recovery mode to fix corrupt software

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, but corrupt firmware is another matter entirely. If a popup message says your iPhone firmware is corrupt, your only option is to fix it using DFU mode.

Firmware corruptions affect all manner of components in your iPhone. They can lead to anything from slow performance to bad Wi-Fi connectivity. When you reinstall the firmware via DFU mode, it fixes all kinds of problems like this.

4. Failed Software Updates

Backlit iPhone with Software Update badge
Image Credit: ifeelstock/Depositphotos

There’s a reason your iPhone doesn’t start software updates when the battery is low. If you lose power mid-update, your operating software will end up in limbo. That usually means your iPhone can’t finish updating and can’t use the previous software either.

When you use DFU mode to restore your device, it overwrites the incomplete software with fresh code, updating your iPhone to the latest version of iOS in the process.

5. Hardware-Related Issues

Your iPhone firmware tells the device how to work with different hardware components. As a result, problems that seem as though they need a physical repair can actually be the result of faulty firmware.

Some of these issues include:

  • Erratic battery life
  • Unresponsive buttons
  • A blank display that’s all white or black
  • Unpredictable touchscreen responses

Before You Put Your iPhone in DFU Mode

iPhone creating an iCloud backup
Image Credit: Afotoeu/Depositphotos

If you’re experiencing any major problems with your iPhone, there’s a good chance you can fix them using DFU mode. When you restore your iPhone with this mode, it reinstalls the software and firmware and also erases all your content. Your iPhone should be as good as new by the time it’s finished.

That said, there are a couple of risks associated with DFU mode.

Make a Backup of Your iPhone First

When you restore your iPhone using DFU mode, it erases all the content on your iPhone. You need to ensure you have a recent backup first so you don’t lose any photos, videos, messages, apps, or other personal data.

It’s not possible to back up your iPhone after you put it in DFU mode. See our iPhone backup guide

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for more details on how to do it ahead of time.

Don’t Use DFU Mode on Damaged iPhones

If your iPhone is physically damaged, restoring it with DFU mode can make it totally unusable. It doesn’t matter whether you dropped your iPhone in water

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, cracked the screen, or broke the headphone port—if your device is damaged, we don’t recommend using DFU mode.

The reason for this is because DFU mode asks your iPhone to reconnect with various hardware components. If that isn’t possible due to damage, it can’t finish restoring the firmware and your iPhone is thus left unusable.

How to Put an iPhone in DFU Mode

iPhone in DFU mode connected to a computer

The process for putting your iPhone into DFU mode depend on which model iPhone you have. You’ll know you got it right if your computer recognizes the device but nothing shows up on the iPhone screen.

To start, use an Apple-certified USB cable to connect your iPhone to a computer. Once you complete the last step, if your iPhone screen stays blank, it is in DFU mode. You can follow the prompts on your computer to restore your device.

However, if you see a computer or iTunes icon on your iPhone screen, that means you put it in recovery mode instead. Reconnect your phone to your computer and repeat the instructions from step one again. It’s common to get the timing wrong when you first try it.

iPhone 8, iPhone X, and Later

  1. Quickly press and release the Volume Up button, followed by the Volume Down button.
  2. Press and hold the Side button.
  3. When the screen goes black, also press and hold the Volume Down button.
  4. Keep holding both buttons for five seconds, then release the Side button but keep holding the Volume Down button.
  5. Walk through the prompts on your computer.

iPhone 7

  1. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Volume Down button.
  2. Keep holding both buttons for eight seconds, then release the Side button but keep holding the Volume Down button.
  3. Keep holding the Volume Down button until your computer recognizes your iPhone.
  4. You can now restore your device using your computer.

iPhone 6S, iPhone SE, and Earlier

  1. Press and hold the Side (or Top) button and the Home button.
  2. Keep holding both buttons for eight seconds, then release the Side (or Top) button while still holding the Home button.
  3. Keep holding the Home button until your computer recognizes the iPhone.
  4. You’re now ready to complete the restoration process.

Get Your iPhone Repaired or Fix It Yourself

After you restore your iPhone using DFU mode, you shouldn’t have any more software or firmware problems. If it didn’t work, restore your device again but don’t recover any data from a backup. Should you do this and still have issues, your iPhone needs a physical repair.

Schedule an appointment with an Apple Authorized Service Provider to find out what part needs replacing. If your iPhone is covered under Apple’s warranty, you may be entitled to a free repair. Otherwise, there are plenty of websites that show you how to repair an iPhone yourself

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The 10 Best Thanksgiving Apps for iPhone

There’s no better way to prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday than with apps for your iPhone. From tasty recipes to enjoyable games to holiday greetings, these apps will get you ready to give thanks.

Thanksgiving Cooking and Recipes

Whether you like to stick with tradition or try something new, Thanksgiving cooking and recipe apps can help.

1. Thanksgiving Recipes

The Thanksgiving Recipes app helps you create something tasty and traditional, or fresh and flavorful. From main dishes to sides to desserts, you can find exactly what fits your family with helpful recipes and instructional videos.

Each recipe has a photo, ingredients, and directions helpfully displayed. The app lets you save your favorites and share recipes with others. So if you’re in the market to try a new dish this Thanksgiving, this app has you covered.

Download: Thanksgiving Recipes (Free)

2. Tasty

For a recipe app that you can use during Thanksgiving, as well as other holidays or anytime you need some inspiration, check out Tasty. The Tasty app has a whole section of dish recipes for Thanksgiving. Just enter “Thanksgiving” in the search box and you’re on your way to a delicious holiday meal.

The videos you’ll find in the app provide different recipes in one clip and show you the steps to creating the dish. You’ll also get the written ingredients, nutritional details, and instructions with an option to see them one step at a time. Take Tasty for a spin to boost your Thanksgiving feast.

Download: Tasty (Free)

Thanksgiving Fun and Games

Take a break from the kitchen or get in the holiday spirit with some entertainment. These games are made just for Thanksgiving.

3. 3D Turkey Run Thanksgiving Infinite Runner

Get ready to race through Thanksgiving Village in 3D Turkey Run. Choose from one of four turkeys, move left and right to pick up valuable coins, swipe up to jump, and swipe down to slide. There are obstacles galore—from logs to fences to pumpkins, you will need to maneuver your turkey well to dodge them.

The game is available at no cost, with in-app purchases for additional tokens. For a little bit of Thanksgiving fun before the guests arrive, save the turkey in this upbeat endless runner.

Download: 3D Turkey Run Thanksgiving Infinite Runner (Free, in-app purchases available)

4. Hidden Objects Thanksgiving Puzzle

Hidden Objects Thanksgiving Puzzle iPhone

If you enjoy hidden object puzzle games, then you’re in for a treat. Hidden Objects Thanksgiving Puzzle takes you to harvest time with warm autumn colors, relaxing gameplay, and subtle background music.

Choose from three games modes including traditional, chill, or adventure. Each has different game options like time and hint limits, various scenes, and unique levels. You can also decide to use pictures, words, or collections for your list of objects.

Hidden Objects Thanksgiving Puzzle on iPhone or iPad offers a great way to unwind after your turkey stuffs you.

Download: Hidden Objects Thanksgiving Puzzle (Free, in-app purchases available)

Thanksgiving Wallpapers and Countdowns

Spruce up your iPhone wallpaper with a Thanksgiving or autumn-themed background. You can even add a countdown until the holiday if you like.

5. Thanksgiving All-In-One

With 40 seasonal wallpaper options, recipes, and a built-in countdown, Thanksgiving All-In-One has a bit of everything. The wallpaper options include pumpkins, leaves, and the silhouette of a pilgrim. Access the countdown with a tap; it displays the time until Thanksgiving Day arrives.

As added bonuses, the app includes links to YouTube videos of recipes and a small section that has Thanksgiving poems. If you are looking for a simple and free app to get you in the holiday spirit, this is one to check out.

Download: Thanksgiving All-In-One (Free)

6. Thanksgiving Wallpaper & Backgrounds

If you’re just looking for a nice selection of wallpapers for your Home or Lock screen, take a look at Thanksgiving Wallpaper & Backgrounds by Floor Girls. From artsy and classic to cute and cartoony, you’ll find many cool options.

Once you choose a wallpaper, you can save it to your camera roll or share it with a friend. The app also includes a slideshow option so you can sit back and relax as you browse through the backgrounds. Thanksgiving Wallpaper & Backgrounds also has images for other holidays and seasons, making it useful for any time of the year.

Download: Thanksgiving Wallpaper & Backgrounds (Free)

Thanksgiving Coloring Books for Kids

Let your kids create some works of art for Thanksgiving with cute coloring book apps for iOS.

7. Thanksgiving Coloring Book!

A good coloring book option for the kids is Thanksgiving Coloring Book! from Peep Software. Image options like silly turkeys, young pilgrims, and a perfect pie are available for any age or preference. One you select a picture, switching colors is easy by swiping on the crayons. Then just tap the crayon color you want and let the fun begin.

The app offers both brush and bucket coloring modes, a handy eraser, and simple saving or sharing options. For those images that have a lot of detail, just use the pinch-to-zoom feature. The app is free with an in-app purchase to remove the ads for $1.

Download: Thanksgiving Coloring Book! (Free, in-app purchases available)

8. Thanksgiving Coloring Book

Thanksgiving Coloring Book from TickTap has a smaller selection of images, but still provides the enjoyment of coloring and includes delightful background music. Choose a vibrant color from the 16 options and then pick your brush size to get started.

This coloring book app does not include a fill mode, making it more like a real coloring experience. But don’t worry—if you make a mistake or color outside the lines, an eraser lets you clean up. Email your finished masterpieces to faraway family right from within the app.

Additional picture packs are available for a $1 in-app purchase, which also removes the ads.

Download: Thanksgiving Coloring Book (Free, in-app purchases available)

Thanksgiving Greeting Cards and Photo Frames

Send a heartfelt or amusing greeting this Thanksgiving with neat greeting card and photo frame apps.

9. Thanksgiving Cards & Wishes

From the popular 123Greetings.com comes Thanksgiving Cards & Wishes. The app gives you over 1,000 free Thanksgiving greetings to choose from. It also offers video cards, postcards, and GIF cards that you can easily send to your loved ones.

You can also take a look at the bonus features, like scheduling the delivery of your greeting, sending a card to multiple contacts at once, and posting directly to Facebook. Thanksgiving Cards & Wishes makes it super easy to send greetings that share your thanks this holiday.

Download: Thanksgiving Cards & Wishes (Free)

10. Thanksgiving Picture Frames

If you enjoy using your own photos for your greetings, check out Thanksgiving Picture Frames. The app offers over 50 nifty frames, 100 decorative stickers, and a variety of font styles.

Using the app is simple. Just select a photo from your iPhone, add your text, and include a few stickers. Then you can share your creation on Facebook or Twitter, send it in an email, or just save it to your camera roll. This Thanksgiving, send a gobble or a grin with this fun photo app.

Download: Thanksgiving Picture Frames (Free)

Gobble Up the Thanksgiving Apps!

Whether you enjoy themed games, attractive backgrounds, or holiday greetings, these apps are just the ticket for Turkey Day. Be sure to also check out our list of guides for having the perfect Thanksgiving

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this year.

Image Credit: Family Business/Shutterstock

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Spotify for Kids, Chromebook Parental Controls, Increase iPhone Storage

Want to know more about the Spotify Kids app, how to keep your children safe online using a Chromebook, or find more space on your iPhone or iPad? The Really Useful Podcast is here to help you with these points and more.

Hosts Christian Cawley and Gavin Phillips walk you through everything you want to know from the HBO Max launch to finding SimCity-like browser games, managing RAM on Android, and even some recommendations for YouTube channels.

Really Useful Podcast Season 4 Episode 10 Shownotes

Check these shownotes for links to everything we discuss in this week’s show:

Your rating or brief review on iTunes can help us reach more listeners. Or, you can share the Really Useful Podcast via email and social media. We’re available wherever you can listen to podcasts, including:

See you next week!

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The Best Email Apps for Your iPhone You Must Try

Email apps, whether for business or pleasure, are one of those tools that most people are particular about.

Does it have the features you need, plus extras you’ll appreciate? Is it free or affordable? Does it sync across devices? And for a mobile email app on your iPhone, you definitely want one that’s easy to use, too.

From someone who has tried dozens of email apps for iPhone, we’ve picked the ones that stand out above the others and explained why. So if you’re looking for the best email app for iPhone, check out these five terrific options (in no particular order).

Essential Features in an iPhone Email App

Most email apps will provide the basic features you need to send and receive messages, as well as get notifications. Here is a list of those features that we look for in an email client and that each of the ones on our list provides:

  • Alerts, notifications, and badge icons
  • File and photo attachments
  • Available for both iPhone and iPad
  • Free with optional in-app purchases

1. Spark

The Spark email app is a definite favorite in this category. It offers an attractive design, threaded messages, multiple email accounts, a built-in calendar, and color-coding for your accounts.

Spark’s standout features include:

  • Smart Inbox: View a summary of all new messages from each of your email accounts.
  • Delegation: Assign emails for others to take an action on.
  • Snooze: Snooze messages to a later date or time and receive an alert when the time comes.
  • Reminders: Set a reminder for an email so you don’t forget to follow up.
  • Quick Replies: Tap to reply with a smile, a thank you, that you agree, or your own custom Quick Reply.

This isn’t the end of the list of features for Spark either. You can also create signatures for all accounts, set up and use email templates, use a passkey lock, sync with your other devices, and much more.

Download: Spark (Free, subscription available)

2. Airmail

Airmail is an excellent iPhone email app that integrates with storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox, along with productivity apps like Evernote and Todoist. The app gives you a long list of actions you can take on emails that makes inbox management a breeze.

Below are some of Airmail’s standout features:

  • Advanced email actions: Beyond moving, applying labels, and muting or blocking, you can create PDFs, unsubscribe, move to another account, and send to Reminders or Calendar.
  • Custom actions: Create actions for simplified workflows.
  • To Do: Start a list of tasks right from your emails using the built-in To Do list feature.
  • VIP list: Add email senders to your VIP list.
  • Password-protection: Set up a password and choose the amount of time before the app prompts you for it.

With a nice array of features that make taking action on your emails easy, Airmail is a good option for any serious mail user on iOS. If you’re interested in multiple accounts, snooze, send later, and premium support, check out the Airmail subscription options.

Download: Airmail (Free, subscription available)

3. Polymail

For a powerful email app that’s similar in features to Spark, take the time to check out Polymail. You can set up multiple email accounts, enable two-factor authentication, and enjoy a host of other features.

Have a look at some of Polymail’s coolest features:

  • Customizable swipe actions: Create four actions (rather than the standard two) when you swipe emails in your message list.
  • Read later: Mark emails to read later for any date and time that works best for you.
  • Send later: Schedule emails you compose to be sent at a certain date and time.
  • Block senders: Tap to block an email sender or follow the unsubscribe link right from your inbox.
  • Reminders: Create reminders when sending emails to follow up if you don’t receive a reply.

And that’s not all! You can automatically send emails to the Archive after you read them, view an Activity Feed, create and apply labels, and much more. Polymail is a terrific, full-featured email app for iPhone.

Download: Polymail (Free, subscription available)

4. ProtonMail

If security is your number0-one concern in an email app, then ProtonMail is the app for you. With its end-to-end encryption and zero access to your data, you’ll love the other secure features ProtonMail offers.

Here’s a summary of how ProtonMail stands out:

  • Password-protect emails: Secure an email you’re sending with a password and include a hint for the recipient.
  • Self-destructing messages: Set a time limit on the email so that it disappears after a certain number of days and/or hours.
  • Protection: Enable Touch ID and/or a PIN. Plus, you can set an automatic lock for the app after a specified number of minutes.
  • Contacts: Create and manage contacts and groups from within the app.
  • Swipe actions: Use the swipe actions you want for messages in your inbox.

With ProtonMail, you can rest assured that your messages and data are safe and secure. If you’re interested in upgrading your account, you can opt for a subscription and receive additional storage space and send more messages per day.

Download: ProtonMail (Free, subscription available)

5. Canary Mail

Another security-centered email app to check out is Canary Mail. Similar to ProtonMail, Canary Mail offers end-to-end encryption. Along with its dedication to safety, you’ll enjoy the ability to use multiple email accounts and a built-in calendar.

In particular, Canary Mail offers:

  • Pin emails: Keep important messages at the top of your list by pinning them.
  • Draw messages: Use a stylus or your finger to scribble in your emails.
  • Favorites: Mark people as favorites and then access them in one spot.
  • Customizable actions: Set up swipe and thread actions to take care of emails quickly.
  • Snooze: Snooze emails for a date and time you pick to follow up.

To go with these great features, you can also sync across devices, protect access to the app, create signatures for all accounts, and request read receipts. Canary Mail is worth a look as another solid email app that concentrates on security.

Download: Canary Mail (Free, subscription available)

The Best iPhone Mail Apps Worth Trying

Each of these iPhone email apps is excellent in its own way. Of course, pretty much every mail app has the basic features you need. So it’s those extra bonus features that will turn an email app like one of these into your favorite.

For more choices, check out iPhone email apps to help better organize your inbox

The 6 Best iPhone Email Apps to Organize Your Inbox

The 6 Best iPhone Email Apps to Organize Your Inbox

What is the best email app for iPhone? Here are the best iOS email clients to help you manage your inbox.
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The Best Video Player Apps for iPhone and iPad

Many people watch videos on their iPhone or iPad. But while the default player might be sufficient for viewing your personal videos, if you’re planning to watch locally saved movies and TV shows, you’ll need something with a few more features.

Thankfully, you’re not short of options—the App Store is packed with iOS video players. But which one should you use? What is the best video player for iPhone and iPad?

1. VLC

No matter which platform you’re discussing, VLC always pops up as one of the best video players available. iOS is no different.

The app supports a vast number of video formats, including all the most common file types and codecs. Importantly for Mac and iOS users, VLC also supports AirPlay video and audio streaming.

VLC’s most notable features include support for network streams (including HLS, MMS, and RTSP), integration with Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, OneDrive, and Box, and support for file servers (SMB, FTP, UPnP, and DLNA).

Other important playback features, such as subtitle support, multi-track audio, and speed control, are also available.

Download: VLC (Free)

2. PlayerXtreme Media Player

PlayerXtreme Media Player is a widely-used video player for iPhone and iPad. It has one of the most extensive feature lists of any video player in the App Store.

All the major file formats are supported, including 3GP, ASF, DIVX, M2P, M4V, MOV, MP4, MPEG, MPG, OGV, PS, QT, VOB, WEBM, and VIDEO_TS. You can also stream content from NAS drives, Windows and Mac computers, DLNA devices, and even Kodi.

Both AirPlay and Google Cast are supported (allowing you to cast your iOS videos to an Apple TV box or Google Chromecast), and you can use the app to download subtitles for your TV shows and movies

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in real-time.

PlayerXtreme Media Player has a free and a Pro version. The Pro version unlocks the aforementioned subtitle and AirPlay features.

Download: PlayerXtreme Media Player (Free, in-app purchases available) | PlayerXtreme Media Player PRO ($6.99)

3. KMPlayer

KMPlayer is a great iPhone video app for anyone who wants to play high-resolution content. You can use it to watch 4K, UHD, and FHD videos (as long as your iPhone model supports it). In theory, the app can also play 8K content, but Apple does not yet sell any products that support 8K video.

The video player works with more than 60 video formats, including MP4, MOV, REC, TOD, VRO, WTV, AVI, GVI, M4V, WMV, VOB, MT2S, MPEG, NSV, and MKS. It also supports more subtitle formats than almost every other video player for iPhone and iPad. The formats include SSA, ASS, SMI, TXT, MPL, PJA, VTT, and SRT.

Some of KMPlayer’s other significant features are network playback from Google Drive, FTP servers, and Dropbox, a mirror mode, and extensive gesture support. KMPlayer is free to download and use.

Download: KMPlayer (Free)

4. Infuse

Infuse is another app for the job that you should consider. It’s been around for several years and is widely considered as one of the best video players for iPhone and iPad. Thus, it’s a direct rival of PlayerXtreme Media Player.

Before we look at the features, it’s worth mentioning Infuse’s aesthetics. It’s probably the slickest-looking app here. So if beautiful design is important to you, Infuse should be near the top of your list.

Supported filetypes include MP4, M4V, MOV, MKV, AVI, WMV, MTS, ISO, VIDEO_TS, FLV, OGM, OGV, ASF, 3GP, DVR-MS, WEBM, and WTV. You can watch locally saved iOS videos, but can also use Infuse to stream videos from external sources such as your Mac, PC, NAS drive, Wi-Fi hard drive, DLNA device, or even Plex and Kodi.

Infuse has AirPlay and Google Cast integration, free subtitles courtesy of OpenSubtitles.com, and support for video chapters, multiple audio tracks, and continuous playback.

Uniquely, Infuse also boasts Trakt integration. For those who don’t know, Trakt is like Last.fm for movies and TV shows

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. It logs what you’ve watched, syncs across your devices, and provides recommendations based on your viewing habits.

The app is free, but to unlock all the features, you will need to subscribe. This costs $10 per year, $1 per month, or $55 for a lifetime license.

Download: Infuse (Free, in-app purchases available)

5. GPlayer

If Infuse is considered a rival of PlayerXtreme Media Player, GPlayer is the closest challenger to VLC. Because it gained much of its popularity before the VLC port finally arrived on iOS, it thus mimics many of VLC’s best features.

For example, like VLC, GPlayer has a Wi-Fi upload feature. It lets you transfer video files between your PC and your device via Wi-Fi so you can watch them when you’re away from an internet connection. For Windows users especially, it’s one of the best ways to transfer video files from a computer to an iPhone or iPad.

The app also rivals VLC when it comes to network streaming. You can play RTSP and MMS streams and videos from HTTP and FTP sources.

Other important features include AirPlay support, gesture support, and integration with iTunes. File types such as AVI, WMV, RMVB, ASF, H264, MKV, TS, and M2TS can all be played on the app. There’s also support for multiple subtitle formats, including SMI, ASS, SUB, SRT, and TXT.

GPlayer is the only non-free app on the list, so try it if you’ve found the others lacking.

Download: GPlayer ($3, in-app purchase available)

6. It’s Playing

You can use It’s Playing to play local files on your device or stream videos from cloud storage and local networks.

The app offers playback resolution of up to 1080p, can play videos over AirPlay, and has Dolby Digital audio output. It supports several video file formats, including MP4, MOV, MKV, AVI, WMV, VOB, and RMVB.

Where It’s Playing really shines, however, is the list of Pro features. If you pay the $10 fee, you can use the app to watch your friends’ liked, shared, and posted videos on Facebook, watch YouTube videos, and play videos from HTTP sources.

Download: It’s Playing (Free, premium version available)

Other Ways to Play Videos on iOS

If your primary reason for downloading a video player on your iPhone or iPad is to watch movies and TV shows, you might be better served using Plex instead. You can use it to manage your media collection, cast to all the screens around your home, and watch your videos remotely when you’re on-the-go.

To learn more, have a look at the best Plex clients for streaming media

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What Is the Deep Fusion Camera on the iPhone 11?

iPhone 11 Pro Max Cameras

Apple’s Deep Fusion Camera technology is now available thanks to iOS 13.2. If you have an iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro, you can use this new image-processing tech to take better photos. Here’s how it works.

What Is Deep Fusion?

Smartphones aren’t complete replacements to professional cameras just yet, but Apple makes the iPhone a better camera every year.

This feature is available on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. These phones were released with Apple’s iOS 13. They came with several significant improvements to their camera setup, including improved sensors, an ultrawide-angle lens, a night mode, and slow-motion selfies. However, one improvement that didn’t come out of the box with their newest flagships is the Deep Fusion Camera, released with the iOS 13.2 update on October 28, 2019.

Apple’s Phil Schiller described it as “computational photography mad science.” While many smartphones are making great strides towards improving image quality in very dark environments with Night Mode and very bright environments with HDR, most of the photos we take fall somewhere in between. The Deep Fusion Camera is supposed to reduce noise and significantly improve detail for photos taken in medium to low-light conditions, mainly indoor shots.

To demonstrate, Apple used several samples of people wearing sweaters—an item of clothing that frequently loses detail in photos. The sweaters and other items in the shots taken with the Deep Fusion Camera are more detailed and retain their natural texture.

RELATED: The Best New Features in iOS 13, Available Now

How Does It Work?

Woman Wearing Knitted Sweater - iPhone Deep Fusion
Apple via The Verge

According to Apple, the new mode uses the iPhone 11’s new A13 Bionic chip to do “pixel-by-pixel processing of photos, optimizing for texture, details, and noise in every part of the photo.” In essence, it works similarly to the iPhone camera’s Smart HDR, which takes several shots at varying exposures and combines them to maximize the clarity in the finished image. Where they differ is in the amount of information that needs to be processed.

What Deep Fusion is doing in the background is quite complicated. When the user presses the shutter button in medium light, the camera immediately takes nine pictures: four short images, four secondary images, and one long exposure photo. It fuses the long-exposure with the best among the short images. Then, the processor goes pixel by pixel and selects the best elements from both to create the most detailed photo possible. All of that takes place in one second.

When you initially snap a photo, it immediately starts post-processing the image in your album. So by the time you open your camera roll to take a look at it, it will already have the effect implemented. This is made possible by the A13 Bionic chip, which is the strongest processor ever put into a commercial smartphone.

How to Get Deep Fusion on Your iPhone

You need an iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, or iPhone 11 Pro Max to use Deep Fusion. It will likely be compatible with future iPhones, too, but it’s not compatible with the hardware in past iPhones.

Your iPhone needs iOS 13.2, too. If it’s running an older version of iOS, Deep Fusion won’t be available. To update your phone, go to Settings > General > Software Update. Make sure you turn on your Wi-Fi.

When your phone is updated, go to Settings > Camera and turn off “Photos Capture Outside the Frame.” While it’s a handy feature, it’s incompatible with the Deep Fusion mode.

How to Use the Deep Fusion Camera

One of the other features Apple introduced this year is Night Mode, which uses multiple photos to come up with the brightest image. It is accessible via a toggle in the camera software or is automatically activated in very dark lighting conditions.

Unlike Night Mode, there’s no way for the user to activate the Deep Fusion mode manually. There’s no indicator that it’s even turned on. Apple’s AI automatically detects when an image is best suited for Deep Fusion and takes the shot in a way that is invisible to the end-user. The reasoning behind this is that they want you to be able to take the best photos during normal lighting conditions without worrying about which mode to pick.

However, there are several conditions where you can’t use the Deep Fusion Camera. At the moment, it’s only compatible with the wide lens and telephoto lens. Photos that are taken with the ultrawide camera default to Smart HDR if the lighting conditions are sufficient.

Also, since each image takes a second to process, it is not compatible with burst photography.

How Do You Know It’s Working?

Man Wearing Knitted Cardigan - iPhone Deep Fusion
Apple via The Verge

In many cases, you can’t know if Deep Fusion is doing anything. On paper, the technology is a huge leap forward in mobile photography. In practice, the differences may be a bit difficult to notice for most people. This is especially true if you’re not comparing two images side by side.

Deep Fusion is mostly noticeable in objects with a lot of textures. Things like hair, detailed fabrics, textured walls, fur, and some food items will be more detailed, especially if you zoom into them. With the holidays coming up, expect to see some very detailed images of people donning sweaters in your feed.

Is It Coming to My Phone?

Deep Fusion will only be compatible with the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. Apple’s older devices, including the X and the XS, do not have the A13 Bionic chip, which powers much of the new camera processing features on the latest models. It can’t be added in a future software update.

On the other hand, if you’re not on an iPhone, it’s definitely not coming to your phone. However, other smartphone manufacturers, such as Google’s Pixel line, will likely see this as a challenge and develop their processing tools to rival Apple’s new mode.

RELATED: Hands-on with the Pixel 4: Damn, Google

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Can’t Update Your iPhone or iPad? 8 Ways to Fix It

Having problems updating your iPhone or iPad to the latest version of iOS or iPadOS? There are a few reasons why you could be facing these issues. Don’t be disheartened, though—there’s almost certainly a solution to the problem.

Let’s look at some fixes that will help you get the latest software running on your device properly. Here’s how to fix your iPhone or iPad when it won’t let you update iOS or iPadOS.

Preliminary Tips to Fix iPhone Update Issues

Before you dive into advanced troubleshooting, it’s a good idea to check a few basics first. Don’t forget to run through these simple troubleshooting steps when your iPhone won’t update.

1. Charge Your iPhone or iPad

Your device won’t let you upgrade if you don’t have enough battery power. This is to prevent your device from turning off in the middle of an update, which can cause catastrophic damage to your phone.

Make sure you plug in your device and have plenty of charge before updating. It’s a good idea to leave it on the charger while the process runs, too.

2. Make Sure You’re Eligible to Update

iOS 13 Compatibility

Unfortunately, Apple eventually drops support for older devices, so not all iPhone and iPad models can update to the latest iOS iteration. To make sure your device can get the latest release of Apple’s mobile operating system, scroll down to the bottom of Apple’s iOS info page or iPadOS info page and look for your model.

3. Give It Some Time

When you try to update to the latest version of iOS as soon as it comes out, you might run into trouble. Apple’s servers go under heavy load when thousands of people are trying to update at once.

If you receive an error when trying to update to the latest version of iOS, try waiting for a while. You might have better luck later when the update servers aren’t under such a strain.

4. Force-Restart Your Device

restart iphone two iphones

A one-off bug can prevent you from updating your iPhone. Restarting your phone will refresh its processes and hopefully clear up any temporary glitches. Follow our guide to restarting your iPhone

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to learn the steps for your specific device.

Once you’ve done this successfully, you’ll see your screen turn black. Afterwards, an Apple logo will appear, and you’ll be greeted by your lock screen. Your device is now fully refreshed, so you can go ahead and try to update again.

5. Free Up Space

A lack of device storage a common culprit for a faulty update process. Luckily, modern versions of iOS help you free up space easily. Here’s how:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Scroll down and tap General.
  3. Tap iPhone Storage.

In this menu, you’ll see how much storage you have. Depending on what’s taking up space, your phone will provides a few recommendations, including:

  • Offload Unused Apps
  • Review Large Attachments
  • iCloud Photos
  • Auto-Delete Old Conversations

Offload Unused Apps deletes any apps that you rarely use. This won’t delete any of your personal data, though; only the app data itself will be deleted.

Review Large Attachments lets you see the largest photos and videos inside of Messages so you can delete them. This is often an easy way to gain a big chunk of storage, to give your iPhone a bit more room for the update.

iCloud Photos allows you to back up all your photos to iCloud. After doing this, you’re free to delete as many images as you want from your device. However, if you decide to do this, you’ll only be able to access your photos via an internet connection later on.

Auto-Delete Old Conversations has your phone clear out messages and attachments that were sent years ago in order to save space.

Once you’ve freed up some space, try the update again. Follow our ways to free up space on your iPhone

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if you need to clear more.

6. Force Update via iTunes

itunes windows menu sync and update iphone

While most people are used to updating iOS right on their device nowadays, you can still run the update through your computer.

On Windows or macOS Mojave and earlier, you can update your iPhone through iTunes by following these steps:

  1. On Windows, download iTunes for Windows if you don’t have it already.
  2. Connect your iPhone or iPad to your computer with its charging cable.
  3. Open iTunes.
  4. Sync your iOS device.
  5. Click Check for update.
  6. Click Download.
  7. Once the download is finished, select Update.

Since Apple retired iTunes in macOS Catalina, you’ll need to do this through Finder instead. Connect your device to your Mac, open Finder, and click the device name on the left sidebar. This will bring you to a panel similar to the old iTunes interface, where you can follow the steps above.

After doing this, the update will install onto your device. If you have trouble, see what to do when your iPhone won’t connect to your computer

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7. Reset Your Wi-Fi Settings

If you can’t update through iTunes either, the next step is to take a look at your Wi-Fi connection. A slow or unreliable Wi-Fi connection means you may not be able to update properly.

Make sure you’re connected to a strong Wi-Fi network when you try to update. It’s worth restarting your router if you haven’t done so in a while. You might also try connecting to another network and seeing if you have the same issue there.

If you can’t update on any Wi-Fi network, you can reset your device’s network settings to start fresh. Note that this will clear out all network preferences you’ve saved, so you’ll need to reconnect to all previously saved Wi-Fi networks again. This will also reset any VPN configurations you use.

To reset network settings on your iPhone or iPad:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Scroll down to Reset.
  4. Select Reset network settings.
  5. Enter your passcode and confirm you want to do this.

8. Factory Reset Your Device

If none of the above has fixed your problem, you should consider completely wiping your device. In the Reset menu mentioned above, you can either reset all settings on your device, or perform a factory reset to erase everything.

Resetting your settings probably won’t fix an update issue, but it’s worth a try if nothing else has worked:

  1. Launch Settings.
  2. Open General.
  3. Tap Reset.
  4. Select Reset all settings.
  5. Confirm with your passcode.

All your settings are now reset. Try to update again. If it works, you’ll need to put all your settings (including app preferences, display options, and similar) back as they were.

Failing that, you can go the more extreme route and reset your device to factory defaults. Keep in mind this will erase all the data on your iPhone or iPad. Make sure you’ve backed up your iPhone

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before proceeding so you don’t lose any information.

Here’s how to factory reset your device:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Reset.
  4. Select Erase All Content and Settings.
  5. Confirm with your passcode.

Your device will now revert back to its factory state. Because everything is fresh again you’ll hopefully be able to update without issue. You can restore your iPhone backup when you set up your phone after the reset.

iPhone Updating Troubles: Fixed!

It’s frustrating when your phone won’t let you update. Hopefully, one of these fixes solved your problem and you can now enjoy the latest version of iOS.

Speaking of which, after you’re finished updating, check out the best features you should try in iOS 13

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Here are the best new features introduced in iOS 13 for iPhone users. There’s a lot to love about this update!
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How to Use Your iPhone While on a Phone Call


A woman' hands holding an iPhone X.

Your iPhone can multitask while you’re on a phone call. Whether you want to check your email, browse the web, or even play a game, you can do all that and more; here’s how.

How to Use Speakerphone or Headphones

The call Menu on iPhone.

To take a phone call while you do something else on your iPhone, you have to be able to speak to the other person on the line. You can use the speakerphone mode to do this—just tap “Speaker” to activate it.

If you have AirPods or Beats headphones with in-ear detection, simply put them in your ears, and your iPhone takes care of the rest. Regular old Bluetooth headphones with a microphone work, too—just put them in your ears and turn them on. If your wireless headphones don’t show up, tap “Audio” on the call screen, and then select your headphones from the list.

You can also use wired headphones with a built-in microphone; all you have to do is plug them in and use them normally. On older iPhones, you can use any headphones with a headphone plug. On newer iPhones, you need wired Lightning headphones like the pair that came with your phone. You can also use traditional headphones with a headphone jack dongle.

How to Leave and Return to the Call Screen

The green bar on a newer iPhone indicating a call is active.

With your headphones in or speakerphone activated, you can talk on a call without holding your iPhone to your ear. To do something else on your iPhone, you can leave the call screen like you’d leave any app and go to the home screen. Press the home button if your iPhone has one; if it doesn’t, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

After you leave the call, if you have an iPhone X, XR, XS, or 11, you should see a green bar in the top-left corner of the screen. On older iPhones, the bar stretches across the entire top of the display.

Tap this green bar at any time to return to the call screen. You can also use the app switcher (swipe up and hold, or double-tap the Home button on older iPhones) to switch back to the Phone app.

Remember, you don’t have to connect headphones or turn on speakerphone to leave the call screen, but you won’t be able to hear the other person.

Things You Can Do While on a Call

You can do virtually anything on your iPhone while you’re on a call, including sending messages, browsing the web, or creating notes and reminders.

Here a few things you might not have known you could do while on a call:

  • Watch videos or listen to music: The other person on the call won’t be able to hear any audio, even if you use speakerphone (we tested it). The audio reduces to background level, so you hear the other party.
  • Play (most) games: Full-screen applications, like games, work fine while you chat on the phone. You can even enjoy game audio if you use the switch on the side of your device to disable Silent Mode. However, games that require the microphone might not work.
  • Take photos: The next time you say, “I’ll send you a photo,” to someone on the phone, you can use the Camera or Messages app to do that before you hang up. You can shoot Live Photos while on a call, but the audio won’t record.
  • Use a personal hotspot: Need to share your internet connection with a nearby Mac or PC? You don’t have to leave a call to do so. Of course, your device’s battery will drain faster.
  • Pay or tap with Wallet: If you need to make a mobile payment, touch a transit card, or unlock an NFC-enabled lock, you can do so while on a call.
  • Call someone else: This is the same as the “Add Call” button on the call screen. When you place a new call, it puts the previous one on hold. Once they’re both active, you can switch between the calls or merge them. You can also make conference calls on your iPhone.

Things You Can’t Do While on a Call

The "Recording Disabled" message that appears in Voice Memos when you're on a call.

Generally, if something you want to do requires the microphone, you won’t be able to do it while on a call because the mic is already in use. Here are a few things you can’t do while on a call:

  • Shoot videos: You can take photos while on a call, but the Camera app won’t show you the option to shoot videos.
  • Take a Voice Memo: It would be nice if the Voice Memos app functioned like a call recorder, but, unfortunately, that’s not the case.
  • Use Siri: Siri requires the microphone, so it won’t work while you’re on a call.

How to Transfer a Call to Another Device

Thanks to Apple’s Continuity feature, iOS allows you to transfer a call to another device if it’s connected to the same Wi-Fi network. So, if the battery is low on your iPhone when you receive a call, and you don’t have a charger handy, you can transfer the call to an iPad or a Mac.

Follow these steps to transfer a call from your iPhone to an iPad or Mac:

  1. Answer (or make) a call so that the call screen appears
  2. Tap the “Audio” button on the call screen.
  3. Choose the other device (like “MacBook Air” or “iPad Pro”) from the list that appears, and then wait.
  4. When the transfer process is complete, the call screen appears on your second device.

This feature only works for regular phone calls—you cannot transfer Wi-Fi, FaceTime audio, or FaceTime video calls. Also, on certain devices (like a Mac), you can’t transfer a call back to your iPhone.

Hanging on the Telephone

When you start using your iPhone’s multitasking abilities, you’ll never have to hang up the phone to check on something again.

You also might want to add an Apple Arcade subscription to your iPhone, so you can check out some great games the next time you’re on hold.

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How to Disable and Delete Your Siri History on iPhone & iPad

Siri listening on an Apple iPhone 7.

Apple’s new iOS 13.2 upgrade for iPhones and iPads offers improved privacy controls for Siri. You can now choose whether you want humans listening to snippets of your Siri interactions. You can delete any existing recordings from Apple’s servers, too.

Your iPhone or iPad will prompt you about this after the upgrade. You’ll see an “Improve Siri & Dictation” screen. If you select “Share Audio Recordings,” your device will share your recordings with Apple, and they may be listened to by humans to help improve Siri.

How to Disable Siri History Collection

To find these options, head to Settings > Privacy > Analytics & Improvements. You’ll find the Analytics & Improvements option at the bottom of the Privacy screen.

Opening the analytics options on an iPhone.

Ensure the “Improve Siri & Dictation” option here is toggled off. If it’s on, your iPhone or iPad will share clips of your voice with Apple.

With this option disabled, Apple won’t store or review audio of future interactions from this device. To delete audio of older interactions from Apple’s servers, you’ll have to use the below option as well.

If you have multiple devices—for example, an iPhone and an iPad—disabling Improve Siri & Dictation on one won’t disabled it on the other. You’ll have to toggle this option separately on each device you use.

Disabling Siri history collection on an iPhone.

How to Delete Your Siri History

To delete the history from Apple’s servers, head to Settings > Siri & Search > Siri & Dictation History.

Opening Siri & Dictation History in an iPhone's Settings app.

Tap the “Delete Siri & Dictation History” to delete all the stored Siri interactions from Apple’s servers.

Assuming you’ve disabled history collection and deleted the history, Apple won’t store or listen to your Siri and dictation history.

Deleting Siri & Dictation history from Apple's servers.

As the options explain, this also deletes interactions with the iPhone keyboard’s dictation feature and prevents Apple representatives from listening to them.

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