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How to Connect a Game Controller to Your iPad or iPhone

So many games are available in the App Store, but playing them can be tough. Although some were designed with the limits of a touchscreen in mind, many were not. For example, you’ll need a standard game controller to make the most of games like Fortnite, PUBG, and Minecraft.

But how do you connect a game controller to your iPhone? We’ll show you.

3 Types of Controllers You Can Hook Up to an iPhone

Pile of video games controllers

There are three types of game controller available for iOS devices:

  1. Bluetooth game console controllers, such as the Xbox One controller, PS4 controller, etc.
  2. Third-party MFi controllers, designed specifically for use with iPhone and iPad.
  3. Stick-on capacitive thumb controllers, which are smaller devices that attach to the display using suction.

We’re going to look at all three methods of controlling a game on iPhone.

Can You Connect Game Controllers With Jailbreak?

At one point, the only way to hook up a game controller to an iPhone was by jailbreaking the device. This isn’t really a practical solution, however. Jailbreaking has fallen out of favor, and we’ve looked at why jailbreaking your device is a big security issue


4 Compelling Security Reasons Not To Jailbreak Your iPhone or iPad




4 Compelling Security Reasons Not To Jailbreak Your iPhone or iPad

Jailbreaking can get rid of Apple’s many restrictions, but before you jailbreak your device it’s a good idea to weigh up the benefits and potential drawbacks.
Read More

.

Most of the desirable features it delivered are now baked into iOS, rendering it mostly pointless. As such, we’re only looking at ways to connect a game controller to iPhones without jailbreak.

Hook Up a Game Console Controller to Your iPhone

The most popular game controllers available ship with their corresponding consoles, the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4.

But how can you connect a console game controller to your iPhone or iPad? iOS 13 introduces enhanced support for Bluetooth game controllers, like those available with the Xbox One and PS4.

All you need to do is put your phone in pairing mode, then ensure the game console your controller is paired with is turned off. You may also wish to unplug your console so you don’t accidentally turn it on and connect your controller during the process.

Next, put the controller in pairing mode, then use the iOS Bluetooth menu to pair the devices. We dive into more details below.

How to Connect PS4 Controller to iPhone

Want to connect your PS4 controller to your iPad or iPhone? Open Settings > Bluetooth on your Apple device, then make sure your PS4 system is turned off. Put the PS4 controller into pairing mode (hold the PlayStation and Share buttons together).

When the light flashes white the controller is discoverable, and under Other Devices you should see the device listed. Tap Dualshock 4 Controller to pair the device.

To disconnect the device, open the Bluetooth screen on your iPhone, find the device, then tap the i button. Select Unpair if you’d like to disconnect it for now, or Forget this device to remove it entirely. Alternatively, power off the controller by holding the PlayStation button for 10 seconds.

Use the same steps to connect a PS4 controller to an iPad.

How to Connect Xbox One Controller to iPhone

Microsoft has released a few revisions of the Xbox One controller, and the earlier models don’t support Bluetooth connections. You can tell if yours has Bluetooth if it looks like the bottom controller in the below illustration:

Xbox One Controller Comparison

If your controller has plastic around the Xbox button like the top part of the image, it unfortunately doesn’t support Bluetooth. This also applies to the original Xbox One Elite controller, though the Elite 2 does support Bluetooth.

To start pairing your compatible Xbox One controller, ensure your Xbox One is switched off. Next, open Settings > Bluetooth on your iPhone or iPad. Press the Xbox button on your controller, then hold the small Connect button on top of the controller for around three seconds.



Xbox Wireless Controller


Xbox Wireless Controller

Buy Now On Amazon

iOS should detect it and list the controller under Other Devices as Xbox Wireless Controller. Tap this to pair. Afterward, you can then play games that support controllers with the device.

To unpair the device, visit the Bluetooth screen again when you’re done playing. Scroll to your controller name, tap the i, then choose Unpair to disconnect it or Forget this device to remove it from your device entirely. Powering off the controller by holding the Xbox button for 10 seconds also works.

The process to connect a Xbox One controller to your iPad is the same.

Connect a Third-Party Controller to Your iOS Device

Steam-Link-Controller-Phone

Console game controllers are expensive. If you don’t own a console already, it makes more sense to spend money on a dedicated smartphone controller.

These are easy to hook up to your phone and are often compatible with Android too. This means you can share the controller with friends or relatives. And if you switch from iPhone to Android, you won’t need a new mobile game controller.

Controllers will only work over Bluetooth, but they must also be MFi-certified. Apple’s standard ensures that both hardware and software are compatible, so it’s easy for developers to add gamepad support to games.

To connect these controllers, use the Bluetooth steps explained above. The only difference is that a non-console controller will have a different button for Bluetooth discovery. Check the device’s documentation to find this.

Which Smartphone Game Controllers Are Best?

These devices are more affordable than console controllers and created for mobile gaming. You’ll find them in gaming stores and on Amazon.

Nimbus Bluetooth Mobile Controller



Nimbus Bluetooth Mobile Controller


Nimbus Bluetooth Mobile Controller

Buy Now On Amazon
$37.74

With over 40 hours of battery life, this Fortnite-ready controller connects via Bluetooth 4.1 and is compatible with MFi-ready titles on all iOS devices.

The controller features a D-pad, two thumbsticks, standard A/B/X/Y buttons, and shoulder and trigger buttons.

Stratus Wireless Gaming Controller



Stratus Wireless Gaming Controller


Stratus Wireless Gaming Controller

Buy Now On Amazon
$29.00

A more compact solution, this Bluetooth 2.1 controller offers a 10-hour battery life. With a D-pad, thumbsticks, A/B/X/Y, and four shoulder/trigger buttons, you’ll find yourself in complete control.

This lightweight controller is pocket-sized and weighs just 2.72 ounces.

STOGA Mobile Game Controller



STOGA Mobile Game Controller


STOGA Mobile Game Controller

Buy Now On Amazon
$34.99

This wireless game controller features the obligatory D-pad, thumbsticks, A/B/X/Y, and four shoulder buttons, but its standout feature is the positional clamp to mount your phone.

10 hours of battery will keep you gaming on the go. Meanwhile, the controller connects directly to games without additional software.

Capacitive “Stick On” Controllers

Despite the prevalence of third-party controllers, developers still design games with the primary touchscreen-using audience in mind. On-screen controls remain the standard control method, but they’re far from accurate or pleasant to use.

One compromise is the use of a stick-on controller, such as this model from Vakili. The controller attaches to your iPad using a suction cup, and uses the capacitive touchscreen to add a more tactile element of control to your games.



Vakili Mobile Phone Game Joystick


Vakili Mobile Phone Game Joystick

Buy Now On Amazon
$7.99

Unfortunately, such devices have become increasingly hard to find. A smart compromise is the GameSir F1 Grip Game Controller, which combines a traditional game controller grip with an on-screen controller pad.



GameSir F1 Grip Game Controller


GameSir F1 Grip Game Controller

Buy Now On Amazon
$10.99

Hook Up a Game Controller to Your iPhone for Improved Gaming

It’s clear that the best way to play a game is to use the control method most suited to it. If you’re lucky, the developers will support external controllers where necessary. Certainly, playing online multiplayer games like Fortnite with controllers will provide superior results to the default touch method.

Whether you plan to use a console controller, a mobile game controller, or stick-on thumb pads, be sure to choose the device that gives you an edge.

Looking for some great games to test your game controller? Try these mobile MOBAs for iPhone


5 Best Mobile MOBAs to Become the Champion on the Go




5 Best Mobile MOBAs to Become the Champion on the Go

Looking for the best MOBA games for your smartphone or tablet? Whether you’re looking for something like League of Legends or want a completely fresh experience, these five games are worth a look.
Read More

to get started.



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How to Hands-Free Voice Control Your iPhone With iOS 13

Have you ever wanted to control your iPhone or iPad with only your voice? Well, the powerful new Voice Control feature introduced in iOS 13 lets you do just that, and you can use it even if you don’t have Siri enabled.

While it is primarily intended as an accessibility feature, Voice Control can also be a very useful option for those of us who frequently find ourselves unable to physically touch our phones, whether we’re holding a baby, playing games, or washing the dishes.

Sounds cool, right? And it’s easy! Here’s everything you need to know on how to set up true hands-free operation of your iPhone using Voice Control in iOS 13.

How to Set Up Voice Control in iOS 13

Setting up this awesome accessibility feature in iOS 13 is quite an easy process to do. We’ll show you just how to get it working in no time:

  1. First, open the Settings app.
  2. Locate and open the Accessibility section.
  3. Scroll down until you see Voice Control. Tap on it.
  4. Select Set Up Voice Control.

And you’re all set! You now have Voice Control enabled on your iPhone or iPad. While it is on, you’ll see a blue microphone icon at the top left of your screen.

Within the Voice Control menu in settings, there are a couple of ways you can tailor this feature to your needs, such as customizing commands with Customize Commands and teaching your device new words with Vocabulary.

You can also customize the way command feedback works for you. To play a sound after Voice Control recognizes your command, simply toggle Play Sound Upon Recognition. This will give you aural confirmation that your command was followed just in case you aren’t looking at your phone. And to show hints so as to help you maneuver your phone faster, just turn on Show Hints.

How to Voice Control on the iPhone Home Screen

Now that we’ve set up Voice Control, it’s time to start using it in a practical and productive manner.

There are a couple of commands essential for navigation. Let’s begin with the home screen. Here are the essential voice commands to know when you want hands-free interaction with your iPhone’s home screen:

  1. To swipe right, say “Swipe right.”
  2. To swipe left, say “Swipe left.”
  3. To open Notification Center, say “Open Notification Center.”
  4. To open the Control Center, say “Open Control Center.”
  5. To open a specific app, say “Open [app name].” (e.g. “Open Instagram.”)
  6. To go back to the home screen from an app, say “Go back.”

And there you have it! These are the basic commands you can use to control the iPhone home screen with your voice. Again, you can set up custom voice commands for all of these options if there’s something that you find easier and faster to say.

How to Voice Control Within an iPhone App

To show how Voice Control can be used for navigation within an app, here’s an example of Voice Control being used for Instagram. Instagram is a complex app in which there are lots of different options, controls, and menus to choose from, so it’ll teach you quite a bit about how to master Voice Control.

Let’s start with the “Show Numbers” command. Show Numbers is an integral part of Voice Control: wherever you are on your phone, it will provide you with different numbers all over the screen, each corresponding to a certain on-screen action. Then you can say a number out loud and Voice Control will execute the on-screen action corresponding to the number.

Let’s try it out:

  1. In Instagram, say “Show numbers continuously.” Various numbers, starting from one, will appear on your screen. These numbers are attached to specific on-screen actions. As you can see in the screenshot above, 21 designates the search button.
  2. Say “Twenty-four” to open the Search section.
  3. Repeat the process and choose your desired number option.

These are the basics of controlling your favorite apps using only your voice, thanks to Voice Control. Easy as pie.

How to Type and Edit Text With Voice Control

What if you’re too busy re-arranging your furniture, but you need to jot down stray thoughts in the Notes app, such as items for your grocery list this week?

  1. On the home screen, say “Tap Notes” to open the Notes app.
  2. Create a Note by saying “New Note.”
  3. On your new note, say “Single tap.” This will simulate a single tap and launch the keyboard.
  4. Speak what you want to write down.

Easy!

To change words and fix typos, just say “Change [word] to [new word].” If there are multiple versions of the same word, you’ll see each one represented by a number, so just choose the word you want to change by saying its corresponding number.

You can also select, delete, cut, copy, and paste words:

  1. Say “Select [word]” or “Select this [item]” to select it. You can also select all content by saying “Select all.”
  2. To delete what you have selected, you can say “Delete that.”
  3. Say “Cut that” to cut or “Copy that” to copy. To paste, just say “Paste.”
  4. To capitalize or lowercase a selected letter, say “Capitalize that” or “Lowercase that.”

You’re now one step closer to mastering Voice Control!

More Ways to Use Voice Control

There are various other ways to make use of Voice Control. Here’s a really quick list of other commands you can say:

  1. “Take screenshot” to take a screenshot.
  2. “Turn up volume” or “Turn down volume” to raise and lower volume, respectively.
  3. “Search web for [phrase]” to open Google on Safari and search what was said.
  4. “Go to sleep” to disable Voice Control temporarily.
  5. “Wake up” to re-enable Voice Control.
  6. “Long press” or “3D Touch” to simulate a long press or 3D Touch on an item, depending on your device’s capabilities.
  7. “Lock device” to lock your iPhone or iPad.

And that’s about it!

You are now a master at maneuvering your iPhone with only your voice! Just be careful to keep the Voice Control feature asleep while you’re out and about—unlike Siri, Voice Control will listen to and obey any voice it hears, not just yours.

Want to take it further? Start using Siri! We’ve got a master list of Siri commands


The Master List of Every Siri Command and Question




The Master List of Every Siri Command and Question

Siri can do a lot for you, but did you know she could do this much? Here’s an exhaustive list of commands Siri will take.
Read More

to get you started. And if you enjoy speaking to your tech to get things done, check out our best HomePod features


12 Apple HomePod Features That Will Make You Want One




12 Apple HomePod Features That Will Make You Want One

Don’t have a HomePod yet? We round up the coolest Apple HomePod features that will make you want to pick up the smart speaker.
Read More

.



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How to Customize the Share Sheet on Your iPhone or iPad

Apple iPhone Share Sheet
Justin Duino

The new Share Sheet in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 is smarter and expansive. Keep scrolling up to reveal all available actions and shortcuts. At first glance, this can seem a bit complex. Here’s how you can simplify it by customizing and adding your favorite actions.

How to Use the New Share Sheet

Let’s start with the part of Share Sheet which will be the most familiar—the Apps panel. You can still swipe horizontally to find apps you can share the data with.

For instance, if you’re used to sharing photos or links to WhatsApp, you don’t need to adopt a new method. We’ll talk about customizing this section below.

Share Sheet showing the quick actions ahd Apps panels

On top of the new Share Sheet, you’ll find a quick-share panel. This section lists nearby AirDrop devices and your recent iMessage conversations. Using this new panel, you can quickly share the selected data in a Messages thread without searching for the contact (like you had to in iOS 12).

Below the Apps panel, you’ll now find a newly designed, vertically scrolling list. This list is broken down into a couple of parts, depending on which app you’re using.

Share sheet sections with annotation

First, you’ll see Favorites. By default, this will highlight one or two most frequent actions for an app. So for an app like Safari, it would be Copy. For Photos, it would be Copy Photo, and so on. This section is customizable, but we’ll come to that in the next section.

Below Favorites, you’ll see all actions available to the related app. This is also customizable.

And at the very end of the list, you’ll find all your shortcuts from the Shortcuts app (ones that support the extensions feature).

As you can see, the Share Sheet gets confusing to use as you scroll below the Apps panel. The problem is that Apple hasn’t added any section headings. As such, there’s no easy way to visually separate actions or to quickly find actions from the long list.

You can look at the Action icons on the right edge, but the black and white design isn’t very striking.

How to Create Favorite Actions

One way to reduce the confusion is to customize the Favorites section. This way your frequently used actions will always show up right below the Apps section.

Tap on the “Share” button from any app.

Tap on Share button to open Share Sheet

You’ll now see the new Share Sheet slide up from the bottom of the screen. You can swipe up to expand the Share Sheet to be full-screen on the iPhone. On the iPad, the Share Sheet still opens as a menu.

Share Sheet showing the quick actions ahd Apps panels

Swipe down to the bottom of the screen and tap on “Edit Actions.”

Tap on Edit Actions from Share Sheet

From the new panel, you’ll see a Favorites section at the top. This will list all the current favorite actions. Below, you’ll see a list of actions for the app you’re in. And below that, you’ll see “Other Actions.” These are general actions for all available apps. At the end of the list you’ll find all your shortcuts.

Browse through this list, and when you find an action you want to add to the Favorites section, just tap on the “Plus” (+) button.

Tap on Plus button to add action to Favorites

To remove an action from the Favorites list, tap on the “Minus” (-) button to the left of the action’s name. Use the three-line handle icon to rearrange Favorite actions.

Tap on Minus to remove action from Favorites

Tap on “Done.” When you go back to the Share Sheet, you’ll see the actions right below the Apps section.

New favorites actions section after customizing

If you’ve added actions from the “Other Actions” section, they’ll show up in the Favorites section for any app.

Some apps have its own Actions section. To add an app-specific action (for example, the “Copy iCloud Link” option in Photos app) to the Favorites, you’ll have to repeat the process from the Share Sheet in the given app.

If you spot a Toggle next to an action, it can be disabled. Tap on it to hide the action from the Share Sheet.

Tap on the toggle next to an action to disable it

How to Edit the Apps Section

The behavior of the Apps panel in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 is slightly different. Apple now automatically adds suggested apps at the end of the apps list.

Overall, this is a good thing. It means you don’t need to manually enable apps from the “More” section. Chances are, a newly installed app will show up at the end of the Apps section.

But of course, the suggestion engine isn’t foolproof, and it changes based on the app. If you want consistency, it’s best to customize the apps section manually.

Open the Share Sheet and scroll to the end of the apps panel. Here, tap on the “More” button.

Tap on More button from Apps panel to edit it

You’ll see two sections: Favorites and Suggestions.

Tap on the “Edit” button in the top-right corner.

Tap on the Edit button from the Apps panel

In the “Suggestions” panel, tap on the “Toggle” on the right side of the app name to remove it from the Apps panel.

Tap on the Plus button to add app to Favorites

Alternatively, you can tap on the “Plus” (+) button to add it to the Favorites. This way, the app will always show up in the Apps panel. Once you add it to the Favorites, you can use the “Handle” button to rearrange the order of the apps.

The redesigned Share Sheet is one of the many new features in iOS 13. Once you’ve updated to the latest version, try enabling the Dark Mode.

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





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How to Delete Apps on an iPhone or iPad With iOS 13

Uninstalling apps from the home screen on an iPhone with iOS 13.

Apple changed the way your iPhone and iPad’s home screen works in iOS 13. Now, when you long-press an app’s icon, you’ll first see a contextual menu rather than the usual jiggling icons with “x” buttons.

This is all because Apple is getting rid of 3D Touch. Rather than pressing the screen extra hard to open that contextual menu, you just have to long-press an icon, and the menu will appear. There’s now an extra step before those app icons start shaking around.

Delete Apps From the Home Screen

To use the new context menu, long-press an app icon until the menu appears and tap “Rearrange apps.” App icons will start jiggling, and you can move them around or delete them.

You can also long-press the app icon and continue long-pressing without lifting your finger, even after the contextual menu appears. If you wait another moment, the menu will vanish, and app icons will start jiggling.

Rearranging apps on an iPhone's home screen.

Tap the “x” button for an app icon and tap “Delete” to confirm. Tap “Done” in the top right corner of your screen when you’re done.

Deleting an app from an iPhone's home screen

Uninstall Apps From Settings

You can also uninstall apps from Settings. Head to Settings > General > iPhone Storage or iPad Storage. This screen shows you a list of your installed apps along with how much local storage they’re using. Tap an app in this list and tap “Delete App” to delete it.

Removing apps from an iPhone's Settings app.

Remove Apps From the App Store

Starting in iOS 13, you can also delete apps from the updates list in the App Store. Open the App Store and tap your profile icon to access the updates list. Under Upcoming Automatic Updates or Updated recently, swipe left on an app and then tap “Delete” to remove it.

If an app is about to update itself—or just updated, and you realized you no longer want it installed—it’s now easy to remove it from here without hunting it down elsewhere.

Deleting an app from the updates list in the App Store.

Uninstalling apps just takes another tap or a slightly longer long-press now that iOS 13 is out. It’s not a big deal—but it is a bit surprising when you first long-press an app icon and see that new context menu.

RELATED: No One Knew 3D Touch Existed, and Now It’s Going Away





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How to Connect a PS4 or Xbox Controller to Your iPhone or iPad

iPad Pro and iPhone on a table with a PS4 controller
Khamosh Pathak

iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 open up the world of iPhone and iPad gaming to the two most popular game controllers. You can now connect a PS4 or Xbox One S controller directly to your device and instantly start playing any game that supports controllers.

Supported Models

iPhone and iPad previously supported game controllers, but they had to be certified using the MFi (Made for iPhone) program. The options were severely limited, expensive, and not that great.

iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 are adding support for more wireless controllers, but the system is not open for all Bluetooth-based wireless controllers. Only PS4 Dualshock 4 and Xbox One controllers are currently supported. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller doesn’t work.

There are a couple of Xbox One controllers in the wild. Apple currently supports only model 1708, which is the Xbox One S controller (the original Xbox One controller doesn’t work). Most PS4 Dualshock controllers are supported (except for the CUH-ZCT1U model that shipped with the original PS4 back in 2013).

The easiest way to check if your controller is supported is by, well, connecting it to your iPhone or iPad.

How to Connect PS4 and Xbox Controller to iPhone and iPad

You can pair a controller to your iPhone or iPad using the Bluetooth section in the Settings app. Open the “Settings” app on your iPhone or iPad and then tap on the “Bluetooth” option.

Here, make sure the Bluetooth feature is enabled and in discovery mode.

Tap on Bluetooth and then turn on the Bluetooth feature

Now, let’s put your controller in pairing mode. If you’re using a PS4 Dualshock 4 controller, press and hold the “PS” and “Share” button together until the light at the back of the controller turns white and starts blinking rapidly.

PlayStation controller
PlayStation

If you’re using an Xbox One S controller, press and hold on the “Pairing” button at the back of the controller. If this is the first time you’re pairing the controller with any device, you should instead press and hold the “Xbox” button.

diagram of an Xbox controller
Xbox

Now, the PS4 or Xbox controller will show up in the “Other Devices” section. Tap on it and the controller will be paired and connected to your iPhone or iPad.

Tap on the controller from the list to connect to it

How to Disconnect and Unpair the Controller

You can quickly disconnect the controller using the new expandable Bluetooth menu from Control Center.

On your iPhone or iPad, swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen to open Control Center. If you’re using an iPhone with a Home button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen instead.

Swipe down from the top-right corner on iPad to use Control Center

Next, press and hold on the “Toggles” panel.

Tap and hold on the Toggles section in Control Center

Here, tap and hold on the “Bluetooth” button to expand the menu.

Tap and hold on the Bluetooth toggle

Find the paired controller and tap on it to disconnect. You can go back to the same menu and tap on the controller to connect to it again.

Tap on the controller from the Bluetooth menu to disconnect

To unpair a controller, you’ll have to go to the “Bluetooth” menu in the “Settings” app. Here, locate the controller and tap on the “i” button next to it.

Tap on the i button next to the controller name

From the menu, tap on “Forget This Device” to unpair.

Tap on Forget This Device

How to Play Games with the Controller on Your iPhone and iPad

Controller support on iOS and iPadOS has been around for many years, so a lot of popular games already support it. Once you connect the controller, go to whichever game’s settings page to check if you can switch to the controller mode.

If you’re playing games from Apple Arcade, the controller will be activated automatically when you launch the game. Apple Arcade games also highlight controller support for a game right at the top of the listing.

Check if an Apple Arcade app supports controllers

Controller support is just one of the new features in iOS 13. Once you’ve paired your controller with your iPhone or iPad, you should enable the dark mode to make those late-night gaming sessions easier on the eyes.

RELATED: How to Enable Dark Mode on your iPhone and iPad





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Is There a Right Time to Buy a New Mac, iPhone, or iPad?

Because technology advances so quickly, a product you buy today could be superseded by its next iteration in a month. Knowing this, is there a “best time” to buy an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to get the biggest bang for your buck?

Let’s examine Apple’s historical release schedules and try to figure out when the right time to buy new Apple hardware is.

If You Can’t Wait

Laptop Disgust
Image credit: photography33 /Depositphotos

Before we dive into specifics, we should set a baseline expectation first: the right time to buy any tech product is when you need it.

Say the Mac you use every day suddenly stops working. At that point, you probably don’t care about Apple’s computer release schedule. It would be pretty silly to wait months for a new computer just so you can get the shiniest new model when the current offering works just fine.

The same goes for if you’re, say, starting college and don’t have a computer. It’s a good idea to buy whatever is on the market at that time, as you need a computer and fast.

However, if you really want to wait, you might have other options. For instance, you could buy a cheap Chromebook to fulfill your computing needs in the interim. Should you break your iPhone, you might have a spare old device you can use in a pinch.

If you’re not under this pressure, you have more flexibility to wait. By the way, if you often break your device, you might consider AppleCare


AppleCare Warranty: What Are Your Options and Is It Worth It?




AppleCare Warranty: What Are Your Options and Is It Worth It?

AppleCare+ protects your Apple device, but is it worth the cost? Here’s what AppleCare+ offers and whether you should get it.
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so you can get it fixed after accidental damage.

Consult the MacRumors Buyer’s Guide

Any time you’re thinking of buying an Apple device, you should consult the MacRumors Buyer’s Guide first. This resource collects information on the average number of days that pass between each Apple hardware release. It then tells you how many days it’s been since the latest device in each category came out, so you can know if now is a smart time to buy.

MacRumors Buyers Guide

You’ll see several colored lights on the page:

  • Green means now is a good time to buy that product, as it was recently released.
  • Gray is neutral and indicates that a product is in the middle of its life cycle. It’s not necessarily a bad buy, but may be worth waiting if you can help it.
  • Yellow indicates that a product is approaching the end of its sale cycle. If you can wait, you probably should.
  • Red means you should avoid buying the device. It likely has a replacement imminently on the horizon, or has been discontinued.

Using the Buyer’s Guide Wisely

Of course, you don’t have to take these recommendations as law. They’re definitely a useful tool so you get the most for your money, but they don’t take your personal circumstances into account.

For example, the Buyer’s Guide recommends avoiding the 12″ MacBook as Apple discontinued it in July 2019. This means if you want to buy a brand-new device, your money is better spent elsewhere. But if that model of MacBook does everything you need and you find a great deal on a used one, it might still end up serving you well.

Apple has a tendency to let some devices sit dormant if they’re not particularly popular. While you can pretty much guarantee a new iPhone every year, other units, like the Mac Pro, go years without a hardware refresh. Thus, the guide is at its most useful when it recommends buying something.

The Best Time to Buy a New iPhone

iPhone X

Wondering when to buy a new iPhone? This is the easiest piece of Apple’s lineup to determine. For many years, Apple has released the latest iPhone in September/October.

When the newest iPhone comes out, it typically launches at the same price point as the prior year’s model (though it’s sometimes cheaper). For instance, the iPhone XS started at $999 when it launched in 2018. Its successor, the iPhone 11 Pro, was the same price at launch in 2019.

That means your $999 will get you a better phone in late September than it will in August. You’ll not only get a device with a better camera and performance, but it will receive iOS updates for a longer time.

If you always want to have the newest iPhone, you should consider Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program. This allows you to pay a set cost every month that includes the latest iPhone and AppleCare+ coverage. When the new device comes out, you upgrade to it at no additional cost, as long as you’ve made 12 payments on your current device.

iPhone Upgrade Program

This has obvious benefits, though there are some drawbacks too. You can’t keep your old device as a backup or to trade in/sell. Plus, the monthly payment never ends.

Of course, if you don’t care about the latest and greatest, you can take advantage of new releases to get a deal on an older (and perfectly functional) device. If Apple doesn’t offer the past model you’re interested in, you can still get older devices at a discount from other sellers, like your carrier or Best Buy.

We’ve compared buying an iPhone from Apple and your carrier


Should You Buy Your iPhone From Apple or Your Carrier?




Should You Buy Your iPhone From Apple or Your Carrier?

When it’s time to buy an iPhone, does your carrier or Apple provide a better deal? Let’s compare them and find out.
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for more info on this.

The Best Time to Buy a New Mac

MacBook Touch Bar

The Macs release cycle isn’t as clear-cut as the iPhone. Generally, you can expect new Mac models to launch in the middle of the year, sometime between April and October.

Mac computers don’t often seen major changes with new releases. Aside from small advancements, like the Force Touch trackpad introduced in 2015 and the Touch Bar on higher-end MacBook Pro models from 2016 onward, the changes are mostly internal. Generally, a year’s difference usually includes a more powerful CPU, a speedier SSD and RAM, and slightly better battery life.

Occasionally, Macs do see a huge refresh. Every release of the MacBook Air was quite similar from 2010 onward until Apple released a redesigned Air in late 2018. Apple also unveiled a revamped entry-level 12″ MacBook in 2015, though the company discontinued this in 2019.

Even if you don’t want a brand-new Mac, keep an eye out during the middle months of the year. When a new model comes out, you can usually score an older version at a discount. Check out Apple’s refurbished Mac page often. Plus, our tips on how to save money when buying a MacBook


5 Ways to Save Money When Buying a MacBook




5 Ways to Save Money When Buying a MacBook

Looking to get a MacBook for cheap? Here are some useful tips for saving the most money when you buy a Mac laptop.
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will help at any time of year.

The Best Time to Buy a New iPad

Three iPad models stacked

Apple’s tablet lineup is the hardest to predict, mainly because the company jumps between releases for several different models.

There’s the entry-level iPad line, plus the iPad Pro in a few sizes. Apple also released a new third-generation iPad Air and fifth-generation iPad Mini in 2019, after both lines had sat dormant for several years.

The fifth and sixth-generation baseline iPad models released in March of 2017 and 2018 respectively. However, the seventh-generation iPad arrived in September 2019, bucking the March release trend. March 2019 saw the launch of the third-gen iPad Air and fifth-gen iPad Mini instead.

Meanwhile, the iPad Pro also hasn’t been consistent with months of release. Its third-gen models released in October 2018, while the second generation came in June of 2017.

iPad Buying Summary

iPad Pro on table

Taken all together, we can say that new iPad models generally launch between March and October. However, there’s often no telling which line Apple will choose to refresh and at what time.

Because of this, if you’re interested in an iPad, we recommend looking at which lines have gotten an update most recently. If you’re not interested in that device, it’s probably best to wait until one that’s more to your liking gets an update, and buy then. Check our iPad buying guide


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for more details on them.

Like Macs, new iPad models rarely bring amazing new features. They typically offer refreshed internals and small enhancements, like support for the Apple Pencil. And since they’re less expensive than other Apple devices, you don’t miss out as much by buying a slightly older model.

Buying Other Apple Devices

MacRumors Guide Other Apple Devices

We’ve looked at when to buy an iPhone, iPad, and Mac, since they’re Apple’s three major device lines. But you might also wonder when to buy other Apple accessories or less popular devices, so we’ll mention these briefly.

Since 2016, the Apple Watch has released yearly in September alongside the new iPhone models. This trend will likely continue as Apple unveils the latest model at its September events.

The iPod Touch is currently Apple’s only iPod offering, and allows you to dip your toes into iOS for a low cost. Since 2015, it’s received a refresh every other year: July 2015, July 2017, and May 2019. If Apple keeps the device around, this trend will likely continue.

Other devices have inconsistent release schedules. The HomePod hasn’t seen a refresh since its release in early 2018. Meanwhile, the Apple TV has seen sporadic releases in September or March over the past several years. And Apple revamped the AirPods for the first time in March 2019, after their release in late 2016.

The Right Time to Buy Apple Devices

While nobody knows exactly what Apple’s plans are for new products, we can get pretty good estimations based on past trends. Keep an eye on the Buyer’s Guide when you’re interested in a new device to know when the best time to pull the trigger is.

If you can wait, try to time it so you get the newest device. But if not, don’t worry, as Apple devices still hold their value for a long time.

To save money when you make your purchase, make sure you take advantage of Apple hardware discounts


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.



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How to Enable Dark Mode on Outlook for Android, iPhone, and iPad

Microsoft Outlook Logo with Dark Background

Microsoft has been rolling out a dark mode to its Office apps for over a year. This change has been available in Outlook for desktop and the web for several months, and now it’s live on Android, iPhone, and iPad. Here’s how to enable the theme.

The instructions for turning on Outlook’s dark mode is identical for all mobile devices. If you don’t see the option for the theme, check for an app update. Dark mode should be available on Android version 4.0.4 (345) and above. iPhone and iPad owners should have Outlook version 4.2.0 installed or newer.

Start by launching the Outlook app on your Android, iPhone, or iPad. Next, tap on the gear icon in the bottom-left corner of the interface.

The Outlook Settings cog.

In the Settings menu, scroll down to the “Preferences” section and then select the “Theme” option.

The Them option showing the default theme of "Light".

Change the theme option from “Light” to “Dark.”

The dark mode option.

The moment you select “Dark,” the Outlook app will invert the white background to black and the black text to white.

The Outlook app in dark mode.


Alternatively, a third option called “Set by Battery Saver” is automatically enabled when your mobile device enters Battery Saver mode. Dark mode won’t necessarily increase your battery life, but it won’t hurt.

Note: For anyone with accessibility needs, dark mode is not optimized for high contrast modes. Some things, like images and text highlighting, aren’t converted, so they may not look great.

Also, at the time of writing, the message body will remain white when you’re editing a draft. Microsoft is working to add dark mode to the editor, but it might be some time before the theme is fully implemented.





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How to Use Text Editing Gestures on Your iPhone and iPad

Typing in the messages app on an iPhone's keyboard.
Aleksey Khilko/Shutterstock.com

Apple added quite a few new text-editing gestures to the iPhone and iPad with iOS 13. These make it faster to select text, copy and paste, and move the text-entry cursor around. Apple’s keyboard now supports swipe-to-type, too.

Tap to Select Words, Sentences, and Paragraphs

Select a Paragraph in iOS 13 with Quadruple Tap

You can now more quickly select words, sentences, and paragraphs with a few taps. These shortcuts should work anywhere you can edit text in iOS 13, but they seemed a bit flaky in apps like Evernote for us. Maybe app developers just need to release a few updates.

While editing text:

  • Double-tap a word to select that word.
  • Triple-tap a word to select the sentence in which that word appears.
  • Quadruple-tap a word to select the whole paragraph in which that word appears.

Drag to Adjust the Text Selection

Manipulate Text Selection in iOS 13

Once you’ve selected a word or a sentence, you can make that selection larger or smaller by swiping left or right near the edge of the selection area.

This is how text selection has always worked on iOS. But, with the arrival of iOS 13, Apple has improved it so that you don’t need to be as precise when selecting text. It’s much more forgiving, and you don’t have to tap as precisely.

Pinch to Copy, Cut, and Paste

You can also now copy, cut, and paste with a gesture. Previously you would need to highlight text then make your selection from the hovering menu. In iOS 13, first select your text and then:

  • Pinch with three fingers to copy it
  • Repeat the copy gesture twice to cut it (pinch with three fingers, twice)
  • Reverse the copy gesture to paste (place three fingers on the screen and spread them apart)

Swipe and Tap to Undo and Redo

If you’ve made a mistake, you can undo it easier than ever with a handful of new gestures:

  • Double-tap with three fingers to undo
  • Swipe left with three fingers to undo
  • Swipe right with three fingers to redo

These gestures make a lot more sense than shaking your phone to undo typing.

Drag to Move The Cursor

Move Cursor in iOS 13

Moving the cursor works the way it always did. But, just like dragging to select text, it’s easier and more forgiving than ever. You can now tap and hold the cursor until it gets bigger, and then move it around the screen and drop it wherever you like.

Press the Keyboard to Move the Cursor

iOS 13 Cursor Control

If you have an iPhone with 3D Touch, you can still press hard on the keyboard and move your finger to move the cursor.

But you don’t need 3D Touch to move the cursor from the keyboard. Just long-press the space bar on the keyboard and then move your finger around to move the cursor.

On an iPad, you can also touch the keyboard with two fingers and move your fingers around to move the cursor.

Double Tap For Intelligent Selection

Double Tap to Select Email in iOS 13

You can now quickly select phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses thanks to “intelligent selection.” Just double-tap near the information.

This only works when you’re editing text—in other words, it works with phone numbers in an email message you’re writing, but not with phone numbers on a web page.

Tap and Hold to Display the Formatting Bar

Display the Formatting Bar in iOS 13

iOS 13 includes a new hovering formatting bar that provides access to cut, copy, and paste as well as undo and redo options. You can use these icons instead of the gestures above.

To reveal the formatting bar while editing text, select some text, and then tap and hold the screen with three fingers. You will see the formatting bar appear at the top of the screen.

Scroll Faster Than Ever With the Scroll Bar

Scroll Faster in iOS 13 by Grabbing the Scroll Bar

Scrolling in iOS feels natural, but what if you have a particularly long email, document, or web page to navigate? You can now scroll at lightning speed if you grab the scroll bar and move it up or down the page (try it).

This works just like scrolling would on an old Windows computer, and it only took 13 versions of iOS for Apple to see the light.

Slide Your Finger Over the Keyboard to Type

Toggle Slide to Type under iOS Settings

Why type when you can slide? Apple’s native keyboard in iOS supports slide-to-type, where you move your fingers from one key to another without lifting your digit from the screen. This technique uses predictive methods to work out what you’re saying and can result in a much faster and more accurate typing experience.

In other words, to type the word “the” with this feature, touch the “t” on the keyboard, move your finger to the “h” without lifting it, move your finger to the “e” without lifting it, and then lift your finger. Your iPhone will type “the,” and you can start typing the next word, lifting your finger only between each word.

You don’t need to do anything to enable the setting as it’s already on by default. If you want to disable it for some reason, you can do so under Settings > General > Keyboard and toggling “Slide to Type.”

If you previously installed a third-party keyboard like Google’s Gboard or Microsoft’s SwiftKey just to use swipe to type, you can now switch back to Apple’s keyboard, if you like.

Tap and Swipe Down Select Multiple Items from a List

This gesture appears in Apple’s official iOS 13 promotional material, and there are videos online demonstrating it, but we can’t get it to work on the iPhone X running iOS 13.0 we used for testing. We have no idea why, but your mileage may vary.

The feature is supposed to allow you to select items in Mail and Files (for now) by tapping and holding with two fingers then swiping downwards to select multiple messages or files.

Other apps may add support for this gesture in the future.

Bonus: New iPad-Specific Gestures in iPadOS 13

All of the above gestures will work on both the iPhone and iPad, but some gestures in iOS 13 (or iPadOS 13, to be precise) are just for iPads.

  • It’s now possible to turn notifications into slide over apps. When you receive a notification, you can tap and drag it to the side of the screen to open that application on top of whatever you’re working on.
  • You can now open new full-screen instances of apps by dragging components to the top of the screen. Try it on a Safari tab, a conversation in Messages, or a note in the Notes app.
  • Apps open in Slide Over view now display an iPhone X-like bar at the bottom of the screen. Swipe up and hold to “multitask” with other Slide Over apps, just like you would on an iPhone.
  • You can now shrink the iPad keyboard down and drag it to wherever you want it. You can do this by pinching the keyboard with two fingers, then dragging it into position.

RELATED: iPadOS Will Almost Make Your iPad a Real Computer

These gestures are extremely useful—if you know about them. The iPhone and iPad are getting more powerful, but there are more gestures and swipes to remember than when the first iPhones and iPads were released.

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





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How to Manage and Delete Contacts On Your iPhone or iPad

Delete contact button shown in the edit screen for a contact
Khamosh Pathak

Your contact book is your gateway to all the phone conversations in your personal and professional life. Here’s how you can manage your contact book, customize the Contacts app, and delete contacts on your iPhone and iPad.

Set Up Contacts Account

The first thing you’ll want to do is set up an account to which you can sync and save your contacts. Open the “Settings” app on your iPhone or iPad and go to “Password & Accounts.”

Tap on Passwords and Accounts in Settings app

Here, tap on “Add Account.”

Tap on Add Account from Passwords and Accounts page

Choose from one of the services where you already have your contact book. This can be iCloud, Google, Microsoft Exchange, Yahoo, Outlook, AOL, or a personal server.

Choose an account to add

From the next screen, enter your username and password to sign in to the service.

Tap on next to sign into a service

Once you’re signed in, you can choose what account information you wish to sync. Make sure that the “Contacts” option here is enabled.

Tap on toggle next to Contacts to enable contacts sync

Set Default Account For Contact Sync

If you’re using multiple accounts on your iPhone or iPad and only want a specific account to sync your contacts, you can make it the default option.

Go to the Settings app and tap on “Contacts.” From here, choose the “Default Account” option.

Tap on Default Account from Contacts section

You’ll now see all your accounts. Tap on an account to make it the new default account.

Choose one of the accounts to make it the default

RELATED: How to Sync Your Contacts Between All Your Devices: iPhone, Android, and the Web

Delete A Contact

You can delete a contact quite easily from the Contacts app or the Phone app.

Open the “Contacts” app and search for a contact. Next, select a contact to open their contact card.

Tap on a contact from the contacts app

Here, tap on the “Edit” button from the top-right corner.

Tap on Edit button in the contact card

Swipe to the bottom of this screen and tap on “Delete Contact.”

Tap on Delete Contact from the bottom of the contact card

From the pop-up, confirm the action by tapping on “Delete Contact” again.

Tap on Delete Contact from the popup

You’ll be taken back to the contacts list screen, and the contact will be deleted. You can keep doing this for all the contacts that you want to delete.

Customize Contacts App

You can customize how the contacts are displayed in the app by going to the “Contacts” option in the “Settings” app.

Take a look at all options for customizing Contacts app

From here, you can tap the “Sort Order” option to sort your contacts alphabetically by first or last name.

Choose options for sorting contacts

Similarly, the “Display Order” option will let you choose if you want to show a contact’s first name before or after the last name.

Choose options for Display Order in Contacts

You can also tap on the “Short Name” option to choose how a contact’s name appears in apps like Mail, Messages, Phone, and more.

Choose options for Short Name

The iPhone lets you set contact specific ringtone and vibration alerts. If you want a quick and easy way to identify a caller (like a family member), a custom ringtone is the best way to go about it. You’ll know who’s calling without looking at your iPhone.

RELATED: How to Give Your iPhone Contacts Special Ringtones and Vibration Alerts





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How to Make iPhone Apps Always Ask for Location Access

The Find My app asking for location access on an iPhone running iOS 13.
Konstantin Savusia/Shutterstock.com

It’s time to take another look at your iPhone location permissions. Now, you don’t have to give apps permanent access to your location: You can grant access only once and require consent every time an app wants your location.

A New Privacy Option for Your Location

Before iOS 13 for iPhones and the new iPadOS for iPads, you only had three choices when an app wanted access to your location: Never, While Using, and Always.

The “While Using” option is a good compromise, ensuring apps could bring up maps and make use of your location while you’re using them. Unlike apps with the “Always” permission, they can’t access your location in the background.

There’s still one problem here: If you give an app access to your location once, that app can keep accessing your location over and over if you use it in the future. What if you just want to pull up a map once in an app without giving it permanent access to your location?

Now You Can Force Apps to “Ask Next Time”

The Allow Once option for Yelp's location access on an iPhone.

Now, there’s another compromise option: “Allow Once,” also known as “Ask Next Time.” Whenever an app wants access to your location, you can give it access to your location just this time and force it to ask next time by tapping the “Allow Once” option. You’re in control of how much the app can access your location.

This change is part of iOS 13 for iPhones and the new iPadOS for iPads. Like the new Bluetooth permission apps are asking for, this change can help protect the privacy of your physical location. It’s up to you whether you want to reveal it to apps.

Previously, to accomplish something like this, you’d have to allow location access for an app and then immediately dig through the Settings app and revoke it.

RELATED: Why iPhone and iPad Apps Are Asking to Use Bluetooth

When You Might Want to Do This

Many apps ask for access to your location but don’t necessarily require it all the time. For example, a store’s app might request location access when you pull up a map of nearby locations. In the past, you had to select “While Using” to grant this access—but then the app would be free to access your location as much as it wanted while you were using the app. That data could then be used to track your shopping preferences and target advertising to you.

This new option lets you give access to your location just once.

Should you make every app you use always ask for location access? Probably not. Some apps just need your location—you’ll probably want to give Uber or Lyft access to your location every time you’re using it to take a ride.

On the other hand, if you just want to give an app your location once to access a specific feature, “Allow Once” is a smart option to start with. If you find yourself using the app’s location permissions quite a bit, you can select “Allow While Using App” in the future and avoid the prompts.

How to Force Previously Installed Apps to Ask

If you’ve previously given an app access to your location—or denied it—you won’t see this permission prompt. However, you can still select the “Ask Next Time” option for any of your installed iPhone or iPad apps.

To do so, head to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. You’ll see a list of apps and their location permission settings.

An iPhone location services screen showing various Google apps set to While Using, Ask, and Always.

Tap an app’s name here to change its location permissions. You can then select “Ask Next Time,” if you like.

This option is available for all apps. App developers can’t prevent you from selecting it for their apps.

iPhone location permissions showing the Yelp app set to Ask Next Time.

By the way, if you select “Ask Next Time” and then deny access to your location, the app’s access to your location will be set to “Never,” and it won’t be able to access your location again. This prevents an app from bombarding you with location requests. You can still head to the Settings app and set it back to “Ask Next Time.”





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