Microsoft is about to offer Outlook users on iPhone and Android clever new way to send emails. The big update to this popular app is allowing messages to be typed by simply speaking into the smartphone. Microsoft says that the new speech-to-text update to its Outlook mobile app will make it easier to bash out emails on the move.
And don’t worry about this AI spelling the name of your boss wrong as dictation in Outlook even recognises the names of people you work with, through the power of the Microsoft Graph. Phew!
Along with typing emails, this upgrade will also offer an easy way to schedule meetings without ever touching the screen. For example, users can simply say, “Set up a meeting with Jill and her team for next Monday.”
And then, “Add Jacob,” with Microsoft’s Cortana assistant instantly recognising the correct coworkers and compose the invite, which all sounds pretty impressive.
One final feature is being able to search through your inbox to find content.
Speaking about the update, Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365 said: “At Microsoft, we’re investing in voice capabilities that transcend the challenges of small screens and tiny keyboards to help people communicate and manage tasks when they’re working on the go.
“Today we are announcing new enhanced voice capabilities in Outlook mobile for iOS (and coming soon to Android) that make using voice to schedule meetings and compose emails simpler for everyone. These new AI-enhanced voice capabilities quickly contextualize your voice requests and provide a rapid response, making it more easy and natural to work on the go.”
As the pandemic recedes across the country, a lot has changed about how we work and live. Some of us are now planning on returning to the office, while others will continue working from home. Many of us will do both.
The software on our phones, which have been our most essential tools in the pandemic, is also evolving for this new reality. The changes are courtesy of Apple and Google, which recently unveiled their latest phone software designed for this Covid-accelerated era of hybrid remote work.
This week, Apple showed iOS 15, its next operating system for iPhones. The software gives device owners new tools to draw boundaries for hybrid work, like a status message that lets others know you are busy before they message you. FaceTime, Apple’s videoconferencing software, will also get its biggest expansion since its debut more than a decade ago. The service will finally be opened to non-Apple devices, including Android phones, and has been improved so video sessions look and sound better.
Last month, Google introduced Android 12, its latest operating system for mobile devices. The company focused on streamlining the design of its software to help people get their work done more efficiently, including a menu of shortcuts to get to their favorite tools more quickly.
To Carolina Milanesi, a consumer technology analyst for Creative Strategies, the changes in iOS 15 and Android 12 — especially Apple’s tool for setting digital boundaries — reflect the way our lives and work are shifting again as we try to leave the pandemic behind.
“That little prompt that says people don’t want to be disturbed is going to be really important,” she said. “Maybe you’ll prepare your message on the weekend, but you don’t hit send until Monday morning, so that way you don’t push other people to work on a weekend. It takes the pressure away.”
Apple and Google walked me through the highlights of their new mobile operating systems, which also include new privacy controls and enhancements to phone cameras. Both systems are set for release this fall.
Here’s what you need to know.
Apple and Google want you to be more productive.
Stuck at home for most of the last year, many of us became glued to our phone screens, chatting on video calls and messaging loved ones amid doomscrolling sessions. For some, that made it feel impossible to stay focused on a single task.
In response, Apple’s new software provides iPhone owners with tools to minimize distractions, while Google has added buttons to help people perform tasks on the phone more quickly.
Consider one new feature from Apple, called Focus. Focus can be used to set dividing lines for different parts of your day. You can break up your day into categories like personal life, work and sleep. For each of those, you then decide which people and apps can cause notifications to appear on your phone.
During work, you can set the phone so that only your boss’s messages appear as notifications; other notifications will be muted. If you want to stay focused on your personal life, you could allow notifications only from family and friends. You can also set the phone to Do Not Disturb and have a status message like “On deadline” or “At the movies.” People trying to message you will see that status and might consider messaging you later.
Google’s changes are more cosmetic. It redesigned the controls in Android to include large rectangular buttons for easy access to functions such as the flashlight, internet settings and the audio recorder.
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Apple’s FaceTime is getting a Zoom-like upgrade.
Videoconferencing has became a ubiquitous communication medium for office meetings, happy hours and yoga sessions. Now Apple’s FaceTime is getting a major revamp, with more features and the ability to work with non-Apple devices. Those changes put it more on a par with Zoom, the No. 1 videoconferencing app.
For the first time with iOS 15, FaceTime will be accessible through an internet browser. That means Android and Windows users can use their browsers to video chat with iPhone users in a FaceTime session by clicking on a link.
But the most remarkable new features for FaceTime remain exclusive to Apple users. SharePlay will allow iPhone owners on a FaceTime call to use an app together. If you stream a movie and hit the SharePlay button, the other person on the call will be able to stream the movie simultaneously. If an Android user is on the FaceTime call, though, the SharePlay function won’t work at all.
Apple’s camera software plays catch-up with Google.
For years, Apple and Google have competed head to head in offering phone cameras that produce excellent photos. But Apple’s camera software has lagged Google’s software, which is powered by artificial intelligence. In iOS 15, Apple is taking steps to make its camera software smarter.
With a feature that Apple calls Live Text, iPhone users can soon do more with the camera’s ability to function as a document scanner. If you snapped a picture of a restaurant receipt, for instance, you will be able to use Live Text to tap on the phone number in the photo to call the restaurant. Or if you point the camera at a tracking label, you can tap on the tracking number to immediately track the package — no typing required.
Apple device owners will also be able to pull up these types of images later with a keyword search. So if you took a photo of a handwritten recipe, you could open your photo album and type the name of the recipe to search for the image. At that point, you could also convert the scribbled notes from the handwritten recipe into text and transfer it to a digital notepad.
The technology powering this is known as optical image recognition, blended with some artificial intelligence. Android’s photo app has had a similar feature, Lens, for about four years.
And Google plays catch-up with Apple on privacy.
Apple has made waves over the last few years with tools to protect user privacy, including a button that allows iPhone owners to ask apps not to track and share their activities with third parties like marketers.
Google, whose revenue relies primarily on serving digital ads, has not responded with a similar prompt for people to easily opt out of tracking. But Android 12 will give people more transparency into the data that apps are collecting and provide new controls to restrict an app’s access to data.
One tool, which Google calls a privacy dashboard, shows a timeline of apps that have access to different parts of the phone throughout the day. It could show that a social media app tapped your camera at 1 p.m. and that a weather app used your location at 3 p.m.
Google has also added some buttons like kill switches to shut off an app’s access to the phone’s microphone and camera. That could be useful in sensitive situations, like when you visit a doctor and want to make sure an app is not listening in on the conversation.
Apple also said this week that more privacy controls were arriving for iPhones, including a so-called app privacy report that works similarly to Google’s privacy dashboard. In addition to revealing what data is being tapped by each app, the privacy report will show the domains, or web addresses, that the apps are contacting. That could give insight into what companies an app is sharing data with while you use it.
iPad owners are in for a real treat later this year with Apple lifting the lid on what new features are coming to these hugely popular tablets. The news has just been revealed during the firm’s opening keynote at its 2021 WWDC Developers Conference and the best part is that most modern iPads will be able to upgrade for free.
There’s a raft of changes coming in the autumn but the most popular addition is that Apple will soon allow owners to place widgets anywhere they like on the home screen. iPhone owners have been able to do this for some time but, until now, iPad users could only add widgets to a fixed carousel on the left-hand side of the screen.
With iPadOS 15 that all changes which mean you can place weather, news, entertainment and info-packed widgets anywhere you like. Obviously, there’s a much bigger screen on your tablet so Apple has made the widgets larger for a more rich and immersive experience.
As you add these large squares, many of your favourite apps will then get pushed off the main screen which could be pretty annoying. However, to help solve this, Apple is bringing its App Library to the iPad which makes it much faster to find your favourite games or utilities. For example, with App Library all your apps are sorted into categories automatically and the ones you use most frequently will be reordered based on usage.
Along with this big update to your apps and widgets, there’s plenty more coming in iPadOS 15 including better multitasking. Apple is trying to improve the experience with an updated menu that appears at the top of the screen which then allows you to instantly switch between Split View and Slide Over view with just a tap. Using the new shelf, you can also multitask with apps that have multiple windows like Safari and Pages, as well as quickly preview emails. If you have the keyboard accessory for your iPad there will also be easy shortcuts that will allow access to these multitasking features without touching the screen.
Another change that users of Apple Pencil will enjoy is something called Quick Notes which instantly appear with a simple swipe in the corner of the screen. These allow you to jot down a quick telephone number or email address without needing to launch the Note app. Once you’re done, the note is instantly saved and removed from the display.
The final big change is that the standalone Translate app is also now coming to Apple’s tablet which allows users to easily switch between languages. When using the Translate app, Auto Translate detects when someone is speaking, and in which language, so users can converse naturally without having to tap a microphone button.
“We’re excited to make the iPad experience even better with iPadOS 15,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.
“With more intuitive multitasking, a new Home Screen design with integrated widgets and the App Library, systemwide note taking with Quick Note, Translate designed for iPad, SharePlay, a redesigned Safari experience, new tools to stay focused, and more, users can now be even more productive.”
Along with these exclusive iPad updates, Apple’s tablet is also getting a bunch of features that are also coming to the iPhone in iOS 15.
Some of these include improved video calling, a redesigned Safari browser and something called Focus that filters notifications based on what a user is doing. Apple has also upgraded the Maps app and Photos gets better ways to view memories.
iPadOS 15 will be available this autumn as a free software update for iPad mini 4 and later, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th generation and later, and all iPad Pro models.
Apple kickstarted its WWDC keynote with iOS 15 (Image: APPLE • GETTY)
Apple has unveiled iOS 15 during its WWDC developers conference. The all-new version of the iPhone operating system brings a bucketload of new features, including a huge overhaul to FaceTime, new designs for iMessage, and the ability to copy text from any photo on your smartphone.
Inspired by the huge numbers of people relying on FaceTime to make video calls over the last year, Apple announced a number of changes to the end-to-end encrypted app. Spatial Audio, which is only available with Apple AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, is now supported by FaceTime, so the voices of those on the call will be mapped out to real-world spaces. Apple is also using Artificial Intelligence, AI, to enable “Noise Isolation” which removes distracting background noise and focus on one voice.
There’s also a new grid view, similar to what you’ll find on rival apps like Zoom and Google Meet. FaceTime is also adding Portrait Mode, which adds blur behind the subject of the call – so you won’t have to worry about people snooping on every title on your bookcase. FaceTime Links will allow users to create a URL that launches a new call with anyone with the correct link included. Intriguingly, this works on Windows and Android using the web browser – with the video call still using end-to-end encryption.
But the biggest new feature is SharePlay. This lets anyone share their music or video with everyone on the call. Playback is synced across everyone’s devices, so friends can add new songs to a queue or skip a bad choice on everyone’s iPhone or iPad. Disney+, TikTok, and a number of other streaming apps have already committed to implementing the feature when iOS 15 launches later this year. You’ll also be able to share what is happening on your screen.
And it’s not just FaceTime that gets a hefty upgrade, Apple has also focused on Messages too.
You can now use a grid view to see everyone on the FaceTime call simultaneously (Image: APPLE)
Multiple photos will now be sent in a nice stack design, with users able to swipe through the pictures in the bundle without the images taking over your entire screen. Links sent inside Messages will now be displayed in the Apple News app under a “Shared With You” tab. Apple Music and Apple Podcasts also supports the feature, which Apple says is designed to stop links sent in busy group chats from being lost forever.
Photos sent within Messages will also start to populate your Apple Photos app. Apple says its AI algorithms are smart enough to exclude screenshots or photos without you. Of course, we’ll need to get our hands on iOS 15 to see whether that truly works, or whether we’ll start to see other people’s wedding snaps filling our photo library.
To avoid increasing our screen time with all of these new features, Apple is upgrading the Lock Screen. Using on-device AI, Apple can now summarise your notifications – with snapshots of the best emails, unread messages, pop-ups from apps, and more all ordered by order of importance (as determined by the algorithms). Apple says this is designed to reduce distraction, with summaries appearing on your Lock Screen a few times each day.
Notification summarises, LEFT, tries to stop the flood of endless notifications throughout the day (Image: APPLE)
Focus is another new feature designed to help you achieve a better iPhone-life balance. Focus lets you set multiple categories for your device – Work, Home, and more. When set to Work within the Focus setting, notifications from work messaging platforms, like Microsoft Teams or Slack, will fill your Lock Screen. However, if you switch to Home at the end of the work day, you won’t need to worry about emails from your boss filling your Lock Screen. Your iPhone can automatically switch between modes based on your location.
Apple is also adding the ability to copy-paste any text from within a photo. So, menus, restaurant names, passport details and more can be copied and pasted into Messages and emails. The feature also works with Apple’s Translate app, so you can use the feature within your camera or Photos app to help work out what you want to order when travelling abroad.
Apple Photos can also tap into the millions of tracks available in Apple Music to add the soundtrack to your Memories – the AI-curated slideshows that re-surface photos and video clips from a certain trip, one particular person, or a theme. Of course, you’ll need to be an Apple Music subscriber to use this feature, which Apple says uses the beat of the track to time transitions between snaps. While the feature will select a song based on its own algorithmic tastes… you can select something from your own music library.
Apple will use its knowledge of your routine to suggest a Focus category (Image: APPLE)
AirPod owners will also benefit from the upgrade to iOS 15. While Siri has long been able to announce any new text messages and let you dictate a reply, Apple is now bringing the same feature to your notifications. So, if you’re out-and-about with your wireless earbuds and don’t want to pull your iPhone out of your pocket to check the latest notification, Siri can announce what you might’ve missed.
Apple AirPods Max will now work with Apple TV – so you can continue watching movies at home with the head-tracking Spatial Audio feature without disturbing anyone else at home. Apple says it has updated the Find My tracking option to better locate any misplaced AirPods.
Apple has completely redesigned the Weather app built into iOS 15 (Image: APPLE )
The Weather app has also enjoyed a dramatic overhaul, with detailed maps to show ongoing weather patterns around the world, new metrics to judge the weather, and some slick new animations that show the current conditions on-screen.
WWDC is an annual event that enables Apple to share some if its latest features and designs with third-party developers. The week-long conference, which will be available online rather than in-person for the second consecutive year due to the ongoing public health crisis, means developers have time to implement the latest features and designs into their apps ahead of the release. This means, by the time the new version of iOS is available to download, your favourite apps should already have support baked-in its best features.
In the past, that has included a system-wide Dark Mode to save your eyes (and battery), widgets to break-up the grid of rounded app icons on the homscreen, the ability to reply to text messages from a notification, privacy warnings about the data being siphoned by all apps on your handset, and much more.
Now that we’ve had our first glimpse of iOS 15, developers will be able to test the software with their third-party apps. Apple will allow people to sign-up to a public beta scheme soon, so you can get the latest features on your iPhone ahead of the launch. However, as always with beta software, there’s likely to be some glitches and bugs lurking inside. If you rely on your iPhone every day… we won’t recommend trying the beta.
Following months of testing over the summer – and barring any particularly bad bugs, known as “show-stoppers”, we should see iOS 15 become available to iPhone owners around the globe in September. As always, it’s possible new features that weren’t quite ready for a primetime slot in Apple’s WWDC keynote will pop-up during the beta scheme. And, if a change is causing real trouble for third-party developers, Apple has been known to delay (or ditch) some features showed on-stage at WWDC for the September launch.
Express.co,uk will be keeping a close eye on the beta process and will keep you in the loop about the latest features, tweaks, and controversies. So stay tuned.
There’s a huge evening ahead for Apple fans as the company hosts its WWDC developers conference, where we expect to see all of the shiny new features coming to iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Mac this year. The next version of iOS is always the star of the show, and iOS 15 will be no different. This upcoming release is widely-tipped to redesign the Lock Screen, make Control Centre more customisable, and keep iMessage competitive with rival messaging apps like WhatsApp.
As well as iOS 15 being unveiled, Apple looks almost certain to lift the lid on its new iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS and macOS software so it could be a very busy evening. WWDC usually takes place in front of a live audience but, due to the current COVID 19 restrictions, this year’s keynote will all be available to view online.
WWDC 2021: How to watch the announcements tonight
WWDC is a week-long event, but unless you’re developing an app for iPhone, you’ll only want to tune-in for the two-hour opening keynote. This is when CEO Tim Cook will take to the stage in Cupertino, California, to reveal some of the biggest changes to its most popular products.
The show kickstarts tonight (Monday June 7, 2021) at 6pm BST. That’s 10 PT or 1pm ET if you’re based in the US and 7pm CET. Those in Australia who want to watch will have to set their alarms for 3am on June 8. Ouch.
If you fancy tuning in then you can find the live stream on Apple’s event page HERE. Those with an Apple TV can also watch on the big screen via the decided Apple Event app found on their set-top box.
On iPhone and iPad, the easiest way to watch is via the YouTube livestream. You’ve probably already got the YouTube app on your device and, if you have a Chromecast at home, you’ll be able to throw the footage to the big screen too. WATCH WWDC 2021 ON YOUTUBE HERE
Those on Windows 10, Chromebook or Mac can also use the YouTube link above, or can watch on Apple’s own website. If you have a Mac, the video player on Apple’s site supports its picture-in-picture mode, so you’ll be able to watch while working on other things. That might be a good reason to pick over YouTube, but there’s no other difference in terms of picture quality or features.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s event, Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing said: “We love bringing our developers together each year at WWDC to learn about our latest technologies and to connect them with Apple engineer.
“We are working to make WWDC21 our biggest and best yet, and are excited to offer Apple developers new tools to support them as they create apps that change the way we live, work, and play.”
Along with big updates to its software, Apple sometimes throws in a few surprises with WWDC often used to launch new hardware.
One device that could be unveiled tonight is a fully refreshed MacBook Pro which could be powered by Apple’s next-generation of silicon. The firm has already unleashed a swathe of new laptops and desktop PCs that now feature the M1 processor but things could get even more impressive thanks to the rumoured M2 chip.
Express.co.uk will be watching all of tonight’s announcements and will bring you full details as soon as they are announced.
Apple will hold its annual developers conference, dubbed WWDC, this week. The major event allows third-party developers to find out about the latest features ahead of their release, so they can update any apps or accessories to support them. Apple kickstarts WWDC with a keynote presentation where it reveals some of the most exciting new additions to iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and more.
The Cupertino-based company has also used the presentation to unveil new hardware, with some tipsters pointing to a possible MacBook Pro announcement during the keynote presentation on Monday June 7, 2021.
But while there’s not always new gadgets to sink your teeth into, there is guaranteed to be a first look at iOS 15 – the operating system that will power hundreds of millions of iPhones later this year. Last year, iOS 14 brought resizable widgets to the homescreen for the first time, allowing users to jazz-up the iconic grid of rounded app icons. A new look for the Music and Podcast app was also announced, as well as picture-in-picture support for video calls so you can multi-task while catching up with friends.
So, what does Apple have up its sleeve for the next update?
Well, the Californian company has been pretty good at keeping a lid on any rumours about its next iPhone update ahead of WWDC 2021, which will be streamed online due to the ongoing global public health crisis. However, reliable tipsters have provided us with a few tidbits about what to expect from the next version of iOS.
New Lock Screen
According to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, who has an unmatched track record when it comes to revealing details about Apple hardware and software plans, iOS 15 will bring a fresh coat of paint to the Lock Screen. While iOS 14 completely changed the look of the homscreen, the Lock Screen – which iPhone owners see every time they wake the screen – remained unchanged.
Could the new Lock Screen offer new ways to group notifications, customisable clock faces, or a way to change the two shortcut buttons from a quick-launch to the Camera and Torch features? Unfortunately, Gurman hasn’t revealed exactly what we can expect to see.
Elsewhere, there are whispers of a change to the Control Centre – the menu of easy-to-access shortcuts to some of the most common settings on your iPhone. This is accessed by dragging from the top-right corner of the screen on an iPhone with Face ID, or swiping up from the bottom if you’re using an older model.
According to tipsters, Apple looks set to borrow some of the innovations introduced with macOS Big Sur last year, which arrived with a version of Control Centre – a first for the desktop operating system, to the iPhone. A more compact aesthetic is planned for iOS 15 as well as the ability to drag-and-drop controls to suit your needs – exactly like Mac owners can do.
Apple’s built-in Health app is already pretty comprehensive, with the ability to link to a wide variety of fitness and health gadgets to store data on your heart-rate, weight, BMI, sleep patterns, monthly cycle, and more. However, one area where it lags behind competitors like MyFitnessPal is the ability to track food and calorie intake.
That’s all set to change with iOS 15, Mark Gurman claims. Apple will reportedly add the ability to log meals and calories within the Health app – so you can check nutritional details and calorie intake as well as your daily workouts, calories burned, and more.
It’s not known whether users will be able to manually enter all information, or whether Apple will provide a food database and offer barcode scanning, like some rival services already available on iOS.
Lastly, we’re told to expect iMessage – the blue-bubbled messaging feature found on all Apple devices – to get some attention from Apple engineers too. Although there’s no word on exactly what to expect, Apple will want the messaging platform to keep pace with some of its closest competitors, including WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram and Signal. Could that mean we’ll see animated stickers and the ability to buy items from sellers baked into the Messages app? We’ll have to wait and see.
Apple typically launches its new iteration of iOS in September, so we’d expect the Californian company to stick to that timeline this year. If you really can’t wait until then, there’s usually a public beta programme open to anyone from next month.
If you’re looking to upgrade your iPhone then Tesco Mobile has just made things a little more affordable. The UK network is offering some big savings on Apple’s latest and greatest smartphones including £324 off the iPhone 12 and £378 off the older iPhone 11. There’s even the option to add a pair of Apple AirPods Pro and save a whopping £414. Along with slashing prices, Tesco is also offering totally unlimited calls, texts and data which means you should never face any extra charges on your monthly bill no matter how much time you spend bingeing on Netflix.
The only catch to be aware of is that, to get the lowest prices, you’ll need to sign up for a lengthy three-year contract which might not suit those who enjoy upgrading their phone every September when Apple launches a new device.
If a 36-month deal isn’t a problem then here are the best unlimited deals from Tesco Mobile.
iPhone 11 • £35.99 per month – no upfront cost Includes – Unlimited calls, text and data • SEE THE DEAL HERE
iPhone 12 • £40.49 per month – no upfront cost Includes – Unlimited calls, text and data. •SEE THE DEAL HERE
iPhone 11 with AirPods Pro • £40.99 per month – no upfront cost Includes – Unlimited calls, text and data • SEE THE DEAL HERE
iPhone 12 • £45.49 per month – no upfront cost Includes – Unlimited calls, text and data • SEE THE DEAL HERE
If you’re wondering if these are good offers then some simple maths reveals that Tesco’s latest offerings are certainly tempting.
If you buy the iPhone 12 SIM-free it will cost you £799. Adding an unlimited SIM will cost around £18 per month which over three years comes to £648. Add that to the price of the handset and the total is £1,447.
Tesco has its unlimited iPhone 12 on sale for £40.49 which over three years will cost you £1,457. That’s £10 more but you won’t have to pay anything upfront which is ideal for anyone wanting to spread the cost of their device without facing a big credit card bill.
As a quick reminder, the iPhone 12 now features a much-improved OLED screen, faster processor and access to the latest 5G data speeds which allow owners to access the web at speeds of over 300Mbps when away from fixed-line broadband.
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here
If you’re after a tech bargain this bank holiday weekend then you might want to check these deals from Currys. The UK retailer has announced some pretty impressive price cuts that even include money off the latest iPhone 12. Apple discounts are pretty rare and this is one of the cheapest deals we’ve seen on the all-new iPhone with over £70 slashed from its price.
As a quick reminder, this device now features a much-improved OLED screen, faster processor and access to the latest 5G data speeds which allow owners to access the web at speeds of over 300Mbps when away from fixed-line broadband.
Currys is offering the full range of colours at a discounted price and you can find the iPhone 12 deals below. It’s not just smartphones featuring in this latest sale with a number of TVs from Samsung, Sony and LG also dropped in price.
Along with the discounts, customers who purchase a 55+ TV could also be in with a chance to win the cost of their TV back. Currys recently announced this offer with 1 in 20 getting their shiny new television for free.
Other products on sale include coffee machines, wireless headphones and Windows 10 laptops.
Speaking about the new sale, Ed Connolly, Chief Commercial Officer at Dixons Carphone said: “We want to give our customers amazing tech at amazing prices. That’s why, over this bank holiday weekend, we’re really happy to announce the big savings across the business. Customers can also come into store now where they can recycle or repair their old tech.
“We do understand that not everyone feels comfortable returning to our stores just yet, so customers can continue to access to our amazing colleagues via our digital ShopLive service and Order & Collect.”
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here
Last month, Apple released an update to its operating system, iOS 14.5, which gives users more control of their personal data. But if you’re looking to gain more control over the iPhone itself, you also have options. Want to put your favorite apps within easy reach, tag friends in Messages or set your preferred browser to open links? You can do all that and more.
Here are a few quick tips for enhancing the iPhone experience. Next week’s Tech Tip column will round up a few helpful hints for the Android faithful.
From the list on the next screen, choose the icons for the apps and settings you want to live in your Control Center. While tools like the Flashlight are typically there by default, you can remove those you never use and add icons for apps you want, like the Magnifier, the QR Code scanner or even the Shazam music recognition feature. To rearrange the order of the icons on the screen, drag them up and down the list before you close the Settings app.
2. Assign a Back Tap Action
Wouldn’t it be great if you had yet another way to interact with your device along with screen swipes and voice commands? If you have at least an iPhone 8 running iOS 14 or later, you can use the Back Tap feature to have your iPhone perform a specific action when you give it quick taps on the back.
To set it up, open the Settings, select Accessibility and then Touch, and scroll down to Back Tap. Once you select Back Tap, select either Double or Triple Tap and choose an action on the next screen, like opening the Spotlight search app or the Control Center or running a Shortcut you’ve set up with Apple’s Shortcuts app. You can assign two separate tasks to the Double Tap and Triple Tap functions — and Back Tap should work even if your iPhone is in a case.
3. Choose Your Mail and Browser Apps
Tired of the iPhone always opening the Safari browser instead of your favored DuckDuckGo when you tap a link, or firing up Apple’s Mail program instead of the Gmail app when you select an email address from your Contacts list? If your iPhone is running iOS 14 or later, you can choose the apps you want as your default programs.
To make it happen, tell Siri to “open the settings for Gmail” or whichever app you actually want to use. You can also tap open the Settings icon on the home screen, scroll to the name of the app and select it to get to its settings. Tap the Default Browser App or Default Mail App line and on the next screen, and select your preferred program.
4. Direct Your Response in Messages
Want to respond to a specific post in a Messages chat or get someone’s attention in a group conversation, just as you can on some social media platforms? You can do both.
To reply to a certain message in either a one-on-one or group chat where everyone is using the Messages app, press your finger on that message until a menu appears. Select Reply, enter your response and tap the blue Send arrow. To tag someone in a conversation so he or she gets a notification, put the @ symbol in front of the name or just type the name and select it when it pops up onscreen from your Contacts.
To change how and when Siri sounds, open the Settings icon on the home screen, select Siri & Search and make your selections. You can also opt to display your conversations on the screen by tapping Siri Responses and turning on “Always Show Siri Captions” and “Always Show Speech” to make sure you see the last word, too.
Chrome users should definitely make sure they have the very latest version of this popular web browser installed on their iPhone and iPad. Google has just released a big update to its iOS app which now makes it fully compatible with Apple’s widget system.
This means you can now search the web straight from your home screen with a simple tap launching you straight to the World Wide Web. And that’s not all as the widget also includes easy access to Incognito Mode for hidden browsing along with searching the internet using just your voice and a fast way to snap QR codes.
Like most iOS 14 widgets, Chrome can be resized to suit individual tastes – that means you can view it as a small square or have the service take up almost the entire home screen.
As well as the search widget appearing on the screen, another fun feature is that you can also add the famous Dinosaur Game to your iPhone.
If you’re a longtime Google Chrome user, you’re probably familiar with the hidden Jurassic title. If you’re not, the game is available whenever you lose your internet connection and find yourself on the “There is no internet connection” error page.
Tapping on it will launch a new browser window with The Dinosaur Game ready to go.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to play The Dinosaur Game within the widget itself but it’s still a quick way to kill a few minutes on the morning commute.
If you fancy giving it a try then it’s simple to add the widget. All you need to do is touch on any app icon or widget on the home screen until a small menu pops-up. Tap the ‘Edit Homescreen’ and all of your apps will begin to jiggle. Then tap the Add button in the top left-hand corner.
Select the Chrome widget from the menu and then swipe left or right to choose from the three different widget sizes. Then tap Add Widget.
You should then see Chrome appear between your apps on the main home screen.
Apple’s famous home screen could be in for more changes next month when the firm holds its yearly WWDC Developers Conference.
This online event takes place from June 7 with news on the next generation of iOS, macOS, iPadOS and watchOS updates all expected to be announced.
“We love bringing our developers together each year at WWDC to learn about our latest technologies and to connect them with Apple engineers,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing. “We are working to make WWDC21 our biggest and best yet, and are excited to offer Apple developers new tools to support them as they create apps that change the way we live, work, and play.”