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Get Free Bitcoins from 56 Faucets That Pay

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-18 08:50, modified on 2017-11-20 03:21

g[Update #72 November 17th, 2017 – Moon just launched MoonDash.co.in. I recommend it because even if you don’t do Dashcoin, you can exchange all of the Moon faucets for Bitcoin through their CoinPot service. I’ve confirmed that GetCoinFree pays, and MultiFaucet.com is paying again. Edit: moved GetCoinFree down on the list after they changed their payout structure.]

I’ve put together a list of Bitcoin faucets that pay. They won’t make you rich, but I test and monitor my list to make sure they pay. If you need more info on Bitcoins, check out my Bitcoin primer or my faucet guide, How to Make Money with Bitcoin Faucets.

Bitcoins Raining Down

Bitcoin Faucets that Pay

Bitcoin faucets work by paying out tiny fractions of a Bitcoin in exchange for loading a page full of ads. Other sites pay Bitcoins for watching videos or doing tasks.

You’ll need a Bitcoin wallet, either a standalone client-side wallet or a cloud-based wallet like Blockchain.info or CoinBase. Other wallets: Dogecoin, Ethereum (CoinBase also supports Ethereum), Bitcoin cash (BTC.com).

Get Free Bitcoins from Bitcoin Faucets that Pay

Coin Range Period Payouts Withdrawal Special Notes
Bitcoin 30 – 3,600 satoshis 60 Mins Direct 30,000 satoshis Best faucet, period – see review for features
Bitcoin 35-180 satoshis Direct 60 Minutes 30,000 satoshis There is a lot going on with this faucet, including the main faucet, offerwalls, bonuses, and gambling (which we do not test). Redesigned in October 2017.
Bitcoin 20-200 satoshis 5 Mins CoinPot Instant Redirects, pays more the longer page sits. Loyalty bonus that can double your payout. Now uses CoinPot.
Dashcoin 300 dash 5 Mins CoinPot Instant Redirects, pays more the longer page sits. Loyalty bonus that can double your payout. Now uses CoinPot, where you can convert to Bitcoin.
Bitcoin 24 – 120 satoshis 15 Mins CoinPot Instant  Redirects, great faucet. Now uses CoinPot.
Multi-CoinFaucet.com Bitcoin Ethereum Cryptocoin 24 satoshis (two faucets) Faucet
60 Minutes 70,000 satoshis There are two faucets (Dice Roll and Earn > Faucet) for both Bitcoin and Ethereum. Pays out to Faucethub. [Update: They began payout again on 11/18/17]
Bitcoin 20-80 satoshis 5 Mins Direct 20,000 satoshis  Redirects, straight forward faucet
Bitcoin Variable Daily Direct Variable Register, refer your friends, get free Bitcoins and several altcoins every day without even logging on. Received Payment 10/27/17
Bitcoin 24 satoshis 5 Mins Faucet Hub Instant Triple CAPTCHA
Bitcoin 15-250 satoshis 30 Mins Faucet Hub Instant Redirects, straight forward faucet.
Bitcoin 11-30 satoshis 6 Hours Faucet Hub Instant Redirects, straight forward faucet.
Bitfun.co Bitcoin Variable CoinPot Variable N/A Play games (with ads), earn satoshis. Withdraw immediately to CoinPot.
Bitcoin 15-25 satoshis 5 Mins Faucet Hub N/A Redirects, double CAPTCHA, manual withdrawals to FaucetHub with no minimum.
Bitcoin 11-30 satoshis 30 Mins Faucet
Instant Straight forward faucet that pays immediately to FaucetHub.io.
Bitcoin 20-1,200 satoshis 60 Mins ePay N/A Straight forward faucet. Payouts haven’t decreased with the increase in Bitcoin, and I’ve moved it up on the list.
Bitcoin 20-40 satoshis 60 Mins Direct 10,000 satoshis 30 second timer on Submit
Bitcoin 8-40 satoshis Faucet Hub 5 Mins Direct Straight forward faucet that pays immediately to Faucethub.io
Bitcoin 10-30 satoshis 5 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, double CAPTCHA, adds 1 satoshi to reward for each use
Bitemplum Bitcoin 500 satoshis Xapo Daily 10,000 satoshis Claim 100 satoshis five times per day, but can do all five at once. WARNING: CPU mines without permission.
GetCoinFree Bitcoin 10-20 satoshis FaucetHub 5 minutes 21,000 satoshis Was the highest-paying FaucetHub site. until they moved from 60 minutes to 5 minute cycles. It is, however, the highest paying 5-minute faucet. Also has offerwalls.
CryptoRacers Bitcoin Variable Faucet Hub Variable 50,000 satoshis A racing game where you win or lose satoshis for racing other players. You can also earn satoshis for “Day Jobs” (time-dealyed faucets) and offerwalls. Read my review below for more.


Get Free Bitcoin Cash from Bitcoin Cash Faucets that Pay

Coin Range Period Payouts Withdrawal Special Notes
Bitcoin Cash 100-250 satoshis 15 minutes Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, pays Bitcoin Cash direct to FaucetHub
Bitcoin Cash 50 – 1,000 satoshis 5 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, pays Bitcoin Cash direct to FaucetHub. Site in Spanish, but I was able to navigate it easily.
Bitcoin Cash 90-200 satoshis 15 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, pays Bitcoin Cash direct to FaucetHub.
Bitcoin Cash 90-200 satoshis 15 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, pays Bitcoin Cash direct to FaucetHub.
Bitcoin Cash 125 satoshis 15 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, pays Bitcoin Cash direct to FaucetHub
Bitcoin Cash 50-125 satoshis 15 minutes Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, triple CAPTCHA, pays Bitcoin Cash direct to FaucetHub.
Bitcoin Cash 80-1,000 satoshis 15 minutes Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, double CAPTCHA, pays Bitcoin Cash direct to FaucetHub
Bitcoin Cash 100-250 satoshis 15 minutes Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, pays Bitcoin Cash direct to FaucetHub, but you must manually withdraw!


Get Free Litecoin from Litecoin Faucets that Pay

Coin Range Period Payouts Withdrawal Special Notes
336-2,000 litoshi 5 minutes CoinPot Instant Like the other Moon faucets, this one pays more the longer you go between claims. Loyalty bonus that can double your payout. Pays to Coinpot, where you can convert to Bitcoin.
1,100-2,000 litoshi 5 minutes Faucet Hub Direct Visit short link for bonus litoshi on each claim.
1,000 litoshis 10 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Straight forward, pays immediately to FaucetHub.
2,000 litoshis 10 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Straight forward, pays immediately to FaucetHub.
1,000-2,000 litoshis 10 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, pays immediately to FaucetHub.
150-3,200 satoshis 30 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Double CAPTCHA, pays immediately to FaucetHub
Up to 2,200 satoshis 30 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, triple CAPTCHA, pays immediately to FaucetHub
1,000-5,000 litoshis 10 minutes Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, double CAPTCHA, pays immediatly to FaucetHub.
800-2,000 litoshis 5 minutes Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, double CAPTCHA, pays Bitcoin Cash direct to FaucetHub
1,000-2,000 litoshis 10 minutes Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, triple CAPTCHA, pays immediately


Get Free Dogecoins from Dogecoin Faucets that Pay

Coin Range Period Payouts Withdrawal Special Notes
Dogecoin 1.20 – 120 Doge 60 Mins Direct 6 Doge  Twin to FreeBitco.in
Dogecoin .5 – 1.5 Doge 5 Mins CoinPot Instant Redirects, pays more the longer page sits. Loyalty bonus that can double your payout. Pays to Coinpot, where you can convert to Bitcoin.
Eaglezz Dogecoin Dogecoin 0.1 – 0.6 Doge Direct 5 Minutes Direct Straight forward faucet that pays instantly to FaucetHub.io
Dogecoin 0.4 – 15 Doge 7 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, double CAPTCHA. Frequently runs dry, but is always refilled. Faucet balance is posted.
Dogecoin 0.2-0.5 Doge 5 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, bonus option, pays Dogecoin direct to FaucetHub
Dogecoin 0.2-0.8 Doge 60 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Redirects, double CAPTCHA, bonus opportunity, pays Dogecoin direct to FaucetHub.
Dogecoin 0.1 – 10,000 Doge 7 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Aggressive redirects, timer on CAPTCHA. I doubt it actually pays out the high end of the range, but it’s possible. I’ve gotten as much as 5 Doge on a claim. Recently dry.
Dogecoin 0.01 – 5 Doge 15 Mins Faucet Hub Direct Straight-forward faucet.


Get Free Ethereum from Ethereum Faucets that Pay

Coin Range Period Payouts Withdrawal Special Notes
Multi-CoinFaucet.com Bitcoin Ethereum Cryptocoin 600 gwei (two faucets) Faucet
60 Minutes 70,000 satoshis There are two faucets (Dice Roll and Earn > Faucet) for both Bitcoin and Ethereum. Pays out to FaucetHub. [Update:They began payout again on 11/18/17]
Forumcoin Ethereum Ethereum Cryptocoin 650-1350 gwei 5 minutes Direct 0.00075


Straight forward faucet that pays out direct. Use the “Short Link” to add 700 gwei to your claim.
Forumcoin FreeEth Ethereum Cryptocoin 650-1350 gwei 5 minutes Direct 0.00075


Straight forward faucet that pays out direct. Use the “Short Link” to add 700 gwei to your claim.
Forumcoin FreeEther Ethereum Cryptocoin 650-1350 gwei 5 minutes Direcy 0.00075


Straight forward faucet that pays out direct. Use the “Short Link” to add 700 gwei to your claim.
Dayuzarce Ethereum Ethereum Cryptocoin 100-500 gwei 5 minutes FaucetHub Direct Straight-forward Ethereum faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Double CAPTCHA.
FaucetHub Free Ethereum Ethereum Cryptocoin 100-1,000 gwei 5 minutes FaucetHub Direct Straight-forward Ethereum faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Double CAPTCHA.
FaucetMega Ethereum Ethereum Cryptocoin 100-1,000 gwei 5 minutes FaucetHub Direct Double CAPTCHA. Pays directly to FaucetHub.
Ethereum-Faucet.org Ethereum Cryptocoin 600-,1000 gwei 60 minutes FaucetHub Direct Triple CAPTCHA—do the Short Link for a bonus. Pays directly to FaucetHub.


Task Sites that Pay in Bitcoin

Site Cryptocoin Range Payouts Period Withdrawal Special Notes
BitGames.io Bitcoin Variable Direct Variable 150,000 “Coins” Site features a great faucet and several offerwalls for tasks, videos, and more.
Bitcoin Variable Direct Variable 50,000 satoshis BitcoinGet has a good track record. Surveys, video watching, tasks, and other offers. Pay close attention to what information you’re willing to give for these offers.
Bitcoin Variable Direct Variable 30,000 satoshis Surveys, video watching, tasks, and other offers. Pay close attention to what information you’re willing to give for these offers.


Site Cryptocoin Range Payouts Period Withdrawal Special Notes
CryptoAddicted Bitcoin 25-1,000 satoshis 30 minutes Direct 20,000 satoshis Straight-forward
MyBitHouse Bitcoin 50 – 1,000 satoshis Direct 60 minutes 100,000 satoshis You must register. Lots of redirects, some of which are sketchy. Payments suspended while they change payment services.
Ethereum Lottery Ethereum Cryptocoin 2,000 gwei Direct 30 minutes Testing You must register. Pays in site “Credits” convertible to Ethereum. High paying faucet.
EthereumFaucet.info Ethereum Cryptocoin 1,000 – 5,000 gwei Direct 60 minutes 250,000 gwei Uses redirects, but is otherwise straight-forward.
BoxBit.co Bitcoin 1-100 satoshis Direct 15 minutes 35,000 satoshis Uses a choose-the-box metaphor, with a second-chance option if you don’t like what you got. Drastically lowered payments due to ad revenue issue.
BitcoinRPS Bitcoin 30-10,000 satoshis Direct 15 Mins 40,000 satoshis This site is a gambling site using the rock, paper, scissors metaphor, but they also have a faucet.
SwissAdsPaysFaucet Bitcoin 86-33,000  satoshis Faucet
Hub or Coinbase
60 Minutes 80,000 satoshis Uses same engine as MultiCoinFaucet, but is Bitcoin only. [Update: Hasn’t paid since August 7th.]
Bitcoin 10-100 satoshis 5 Mins Faucet Hub N/A Redirects, double CAPTCHA, adds 1 satoshi to reward for each use. Frequently runs dry. [Update: Hasn’t paid since August.]

Faucets That Are Scams Or Ran Dry

Unfortunately, some faucets run dry, while others are scams from the getgo. I decided to maintain a list of faucets that still appear to be operational, but aren’t.


Site Description
Topfan.info Bitcoin As near as I can tell, this faucet has never paid.
Jetco.in Bitcoin As near as I can tell, this faucet has never paid.
Free-Ethereum Ethereum Cryptocoin As near as I can tell, this faucet has never paid.
MagicBitcoin Bitcoin Hasn’t paid (but removed malware redirects).
Dance Faucet Bitcoin Ran dry and hasn’t paid
AutoFaucet Bitcoin Ran dry and hasn’t paid
Bitcoland.net Bitcoin Ran dry and hasn’t paid.
BustedFaucet Bitcoin Hasn’t paid since May of 2017.
Ethereum Faucet Ethereum Cryptocoin Hasn’t paid.
Bagi.co.in Faucets Bitcoin
Faucet payments are very low, and balances disappear. Avoid.
MyFaucet.biz Bitcoin MyFacuet.biz is a scam. WARNING: DO NOT SEND BITCOINS TO THIS FAUCET FOR “VIP” STATUS!
BTC Matrix N/A BTC Matrix is a Ponzi scheme as near as I can tell. Stay away from BTC Matrix. More details on page 2.

Next: Faucet Descriptions with more detail

Page 2 – Detailed Descriptions of Bitcoin Faucets that Pay


FreeBitco.in is the best Bitcoin faucet. It’s operated for years and pays on time every week. FreeBitco.in has bonuses that bring users even more value.

The faucet works on a random “roll” that pays more the higher you roll. I’ve hit the third payout many times and the second tier many more. It’s heavily weighted to the lower payouts.

The first bonus is a weekly lottery where you get two lottery “tickets” with every roll. You can also buy tickets. There are 10 prizes every week—recently from 2 or more BTC. You also earn two Reward Points (RP) with every roll, and each RP is worth 2 satoshis, or you can trade them for goods or to activate boosts.

FreeBitco.in also pays an annual 4.08% interest on balances of 30,000 satoshis or more.

Screenshot from FreeBitco.in with third tier prize

FreeBitco.in Screenshot with the third tier prize from April, 2017


Bitgames.io has a lot going on. The main faucet is hourly, and pays out 200-2,000 “coins” tied to the value of Bitcoin. There are also tasks, surveys, offers, and promotions for the most active users. I’ve earned the most from letting videos play in the background. Recently redesigned – look for the pickaxe icon to get to the faucet. They pay within 24 hours of withdrawing.

Moon Bitcoin

Moon Bitcoin adds 1 satoshi to its payout every few seconds. The longer you wait, the slower those satoshis get added, but they add up, maxing out in 24 hours. There’s also a loyalty bonus that adds 1% for every consecutive day you claim. It maxes out at 100%, meaning you can double your claims if you don’t miss a day. It pays out to CoinPot and has been operational for years.

Moon Dashcoin

Moon Dashcoin adds 1 satoshi to its payout every few seconds. The longer you wait, the slower those satoshis get added, but they add up, maxing out in 24 hours. There’s also a loyalty bonus that adds 1% for every consecutive day you claim. It maxes out at 100%, meaning you can double your claims if you don’t miss a day. It pays out to CoinPot and has been operational for years.


BonusBitcoin is straightforward, but you must register with a valid email address. It’s fast and is one of the best faucets, and now pays out to CoinPot.


Multi-CoinFaucet.com has two faucets for Bitcoin and two faucets for Ethereum, and you’ll need an address for both to register. Both currencies have a “Roll Dice” faucet and a second faucet under the Earn pulldown menu. Do both once per hour. I recommend using FaucetHub or CoinBase for Bitcoin payouts. [Update 11/17/2017: Resumed payments! – Bryan]


Bitcoinker.com is straight forward. Enter your address, solve the CAPTCHA, submit. They pay on time every week.


Qoinpro.com recently came pack to life, and I received a payment. [Update: Received another payment on 10/4/17] The company is building an online wallet and payment service, and they pay out coins every day to raise awareness. Refer your friends and get referral bonuses several layers deep. If you had an account before, it should still be there.


GetCoinFree pays out to FaucetHub, and it’s the highest-paying site I’ve seen with this service.


Bitfun.co pays in bitcoins while you play games with ads. They have offers, as well as gambling (that I’m not testing). Withdraw immediately to CoinPot.


GetYourBitco.in pays out to FaucetHub immediately every five minutes. It’s straight forward, but uses a triple CAPTCHA.


OneWayFaucet pays out to FaucetHub immediately. It pays 100-150 satoshis every 6 hours. It’s straight forward and easy to use.

BTC Smile

BTC Smile pays out to FaucetHub or Xapo with no minimum withdrawal. Pays 20-35 satoshis every 5 minutes. Uses a double CAPTCHA.


DailyFreeBits now pays out to FaucetHub with a minimum withdrawal of 500 satoshis. Register your Bitcoin address at FaucetHub to make those manual withdrawals.


BitcoinFaucet.tk is another old school faucet that survived the faucet apocalypse. Load the page, enter your address, solve the CAPTCHA, submit. The site pays out every seven days on manual withdrawals. Minimum payout is 3,730 satoshis.

Lucky BTC Faucet

Lucky BTC Faucet has a simple double CAPTCHA. Payouts are instant and direct to FaucetHub. Faucet uses redirects.


BTC4Free.site pays out to Xapo and uses the same engine as the other Xapo faucets listed. Withdrawals to Xapo go through immediately.


CAPTCHAS.rocks pays out to FaucetHub immediately. It pays 50-250 satoshis every 30 minutes. It’s straight forward and easy to use.

Forumcoin Bitcoin

Forumcoin Bitcoin pays out instantly to FaucetHub.io, and posts the faucet balance. Add your Bitcoin address to FaucetHub.


Bitemplum just launched. It pays 100 satoshis per claim for 5 claims per day.


CryptoRacers is a racing game where you get a car and “race” other players. You can level your car up—with satoshis and other in-game currencies, and a lot of people play just to boost their cars, never taking satoshis out. You win or lose satoshis based on those races, but you can earn more with “Day Jobs” that are time-delayed faucets. There are also offerwalls. It’s fun and some will find it addictive fun. Make sure you store your balance in the “Vault” under “Bank” when you aren’t playing or you will lose it as other players challenge you unseen. It took me a few weeks playing 2-3 times per day to earn the 50,000 satoshis for a withdrawal, which went through immediately.

Bitcoin Cash Faucets that Pay

CoinMine BCH

CoinMine BCH is a Bitcoin Cash faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Uses redirects, and pays instantly.


Dayuzarce is a Bitcoin Cash faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Uses redirects, and pays instantly. Site is in Spanish, but I was able to navigate it without issue.


Bitcoinday is a Bitcoin Cash faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Uses redirects, and pays instantly.


LuckyBits is a Bitcoin Cash faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Uses redirects, and pays instantly.

GetFreeCo.in BCH

GetFreeCo.in BCH is a Bitcoin Cash faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Uses redirects, and pays instantly. Pays a flat 125 satoshis.

RektCoins BCH

RektCoins BCH is a Bitcoin Cash faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Uses redirects, double CAPCTHA, and pays instantly.


FaucetHub.net is a Bitcoin Cash faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Uses redirects, double CAPCTHA, and pays instantly.

Freebitco.win BCH

Freebitcoin.win BCH is a Bitcoin Cash faucet that pays directly to FaucetHub. Uses redirects, double CAPCTHA, and pays instantly.

Litecoin Faucets that Pay

Moon Litecoin

Moon Litecoin is part of the Moon faucet family, and it adds litoshi every few seconds. The longer you wait, the slower those litoshis get added, but they add up, maxing out in 24 hours. There’s also a loyalty bonus that adds 1% for every consecutive day you claim. It maxes out at 100%, meaning you can double your claims if you don’t miss a day. It pays out to CoinPot and has been operational for years.

Forumcoin Litecoin

Forumcoin Litecoin is a straightforward faucet. Visit the “Short Link” for a 600 litoshi bonus on each claim. Pays immediately to FaucetHub.

A Litecoin Faucet

A Litecoin Faucet is a straightforward faucet. Balance posted on the site, pays straight to FaucetHub.


Bitzer is a straightforward faucet. Pays straight to FaucetHub.


Lites4all.co is a straightforward faucet. Pays straight to FaucetHub.

LuckyBits Litecoin

LuckyBits Litecoin is a very straightforward faucet. Pays straight to FaucetHub.

LTC Ghost

LTC Ghost is a high paying Litecoin faucet. Uses a triple CAPTCHA, and pays straight to FaucetHub.

AleksCoin Litecoin

AleksCoin Litecoin is a Litecoin faucet. It uses redirects and a double CAPTCHA, but posts odds of winning, recent payouts, and faucet balance. Pays immediately to FaucetHub.

Dayuzarce Litecoin

Dayuzarce Litecoin is a straightforward faucet. It uses a double CAPTCHA and pays immediately to FaucetHub.

Rektcoins Litecoin

Rektcoins Litecoin is a Litecoin faucet. It uses a triple CAPTCHA and pays immediately to FaucetHub.

Dogecoin Faucets that Pay


FreeDoge.co.in is the sister site to FreeBitco.in, only it pays out in Dogecoin (you’ll need a Dogecoin wallet). This faucet works the same as its big sister, minus the Lottery and Rewards.

Moon Dogecoin

Moon Dogecoin is the sister site to Moon Bitcoin and works the same way. There’s also a loyalty bonus that adds 1% for every consecutive day you claim. It maxes out at 100%, meaning you can double your claims if you don’t miss a day.

Konstantinova Doge

Konstantinova Doge pays out directly to FaucetHub, and uses a double CAPCTHA. Has a bonus opportunity for each claim.


Doge-Faucet.com pays out directly to FaucetHub, and uses a double CAPCTHA. Has a bonus opportunity for each claim.

Eaglezz Dogecoin

Eaglezz Dogecoin pays out directly to FaucetHub, and uses a double CAPCTHA.


Rektdogecoins operates exactly like Rektbitcoins, paying out immediately to Faucethub.

Bitclaim Doge

Bitclaim Doge pays out immediately to Faucethub. This faucet uses aggressive redirects and a timer on the CAPTCHA.


Doges4All.co pays out immediately to Faucethub. Straight-forward, with an easy double CAPTCHA.

Ethereum Faucets that Pay

Forumcoin Ethereum

Forumcoin Ethereum is paying out 700-750 gwei (0.000000001 Ethereum), and it pays out directly to your wallet. Visit the “Short Link” to add 700 gwei to your claim. You can roll every 5 minutes, and the minimum withdrawal is 0.001 Ethereum.

Forumcoin FreeEth

Forumcoin FreeEth looks exactly like its sister faucets, but each is separate. It pays out directly to your wallet. Visit the “Short Link” to add 700 gwei to your claim. You can roll every 5 minutes, and the minimum withdrawal is 0.001 Ethereum.

Forumcoin FreeEth

Forumcoin FreeEther looks exactly like its sister faucets, but each is separate. It pays out directly to your wallet. Visit the “Short Link” to add 700 gwei to your claim. You can roll every 5 minutes, and the minimum withdrawal is 0.001 Ethereum.


Ethereum-Faucet.org pays directly to FaucetHub. Make sure to do the Short Link for a bonus. Uses a triple CAPTCHA.

Dayuzarce Ethereum

Dayuzarce Ethereum is an Ethereum faucet that pays out to FaucetHub, now that FaucetHub supports that cyryptocurrency. It uses a double CAPTCHA, and is otherwise straight forward (like this company’s other faucets).

FaucetHub Free Ethereum

FaucetHub Free Ethereum is an Ethereum faucet that pays out to FaucetHub, now that FaucetHub supports that cyryptocurrency. It uses a double CAPTCHA, and is otherwise straight forward. It’s part of the Dayuzarce family.

FaucetMega Ethereum

FaucetMega Ethereum pays out to FaucetHub. It uses a triple CAPTCHA.

Task Sites that Pay in Bitcoin


Bitgames.io has a lot going on. The main faucet is hourly, and pays out 200-2,000 “coins” tied to the value of Bitcoin. There are also tasks, surveys, offers, and promotions for the most active users. I’ve earned more than a million coins with these tasks. There are also gambling games, which I don’t test. They pay within 24 hours of withdrawing.


BitcoinReward pays users for taking surveys, watching videos, or doing other tasks. I am leery of some surveys, but I’ve done a bunch of tasks. Note that many require Flash, but BitcoinReward has consistently paid out for years.


BitcoinGet is a good tasks-for-BTC site, and the longest operating service. In addition to videos and surveys, BitcoinGet has tasks and “offers.” Pay very close attention to those offers and make sure you’re doing what you think they’re doing. BitcoinGet has been stable for many years.



CryptoAddicted pays 25-1,000 satoshis every 30 minutes, weighted to the low end, of course. It’s straight forward, and pays direct. There’s a 20,000 minimum withdrawal.



MyBitHouse offers three faucets, 15 minutes, 60 minutes, and no-timer. They feature on-site support, excellent documentation, and what appears to be full transparency.

Ethereum Lottery

Ethereum Lottery is a high-paying faucet. It technically pays out in “Credits,” which are convertible to Ethereum. As of this writing, it pays 200 Credits, with each Credit worth 10 gwei. That’s 2000 gwei per claim, per 30 minutes.


EthereumFaucet.info pays 1,000-5,000 gwei every 60 minutes, with a small chance to win more. It has some aggressive redirects, but it’s straight-forward.


BoxBit.co uses a choose-the-box metaphor. Click or tap a treasure chest to get satoshis. If you don’t like your result, you get a second chance. You must then click through a CAPTCHA to have the reward credited to your account. There’s a “big game” bonus once you’ve claimed 30 times. Drastically lowered payouts due to ad revenue problems. The operators have been commendably up front and transparent about the changes. Still testing.


BitcoinRPS pays 20-10,000 satoshis, heavily weighted to the bottom. It also offers gambling games I am neither testing nor endorsing. I have an overdue payment waiting.


Free-Etherum is a faucet for Ethereum, as above. It pays between 0.00000300 and 0.03000000 ether per claim, and you can claim every 5 minutes. You’ll need an Ethereum wallet to use this faucet. [Update 7/23/2017: I’m waiting for an overdue payment – Bryan



SwissAdsPaysFaucet uses the same engine as Multi-coinFaucet and has a high payout. The minimum withdrawal is high, at 80,000 satoshis. [Update 10/2/2017: Hasn’t paid since August 7th. – Bryan]


BFaucet.com often runs dry, but always comes back, plus you can keep earning. Uses a double CAPTCHA and pays out to FaucetHub. [Update 10/2/2017: Hasn’t paid since August. – Bryan]

Bitcoin Faucet Warnings

Topfan.info has never paid, as far as I can tell.

Jetco.in has never paid, as far as I can tell.

BustedFaucet – Hasn’t paid since Epay.info ran into trouble.

MagicBiotcoin hasn’t paid (but removed malware redirects).

AutoFaucet ran dry.

Dance Faucet ran dry.

Free-Etherum has never paid out.

Bitcoland.net hasn’t paid out since May.


BTC Matrix (no link) is nothing more than a ponzi scheme as near as I can figure out. I don’t recommend BTC Matrix—should I learn anything new, I will update this description.

Heads Up

Keep your eyes open for new faucets—drop a note in the comments or email me through my TMO profile page.

Photos and Thoughts from Opening Day at Apple Park Visitor Center

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-18 08:09, modified at 08:13

Apple Park Visitor Center opened Friday. I stopped by, took some pics, bought a shirt, and talked to folks. Here are some of those photos and my thoughts on this delightful place.

Apple Park Visitor Center

Apple Park Visitor Center

Apple Park AR Demo

First up is the vanity tech demo to end all vanity tech demos. Apple has built an aluminum scale model of the entire Apple Park grounds, shown below. I mean, this puppy is just amazeballs. For one thing, it looks intensely cool and futuristic. There’s more, of course, because it’s made from aluminum—probably aircraft-grade aluminum because [Apple]. So it looks great and even feels great to the touch.

Apple Park Scale Model at the Visitor Center

Apple Park Scale Model at the Visitor Center

The company could have stopped there, but no. Apple developed an augmented reality app that turns this scale model into a living representation of Apple Park. Trees, grass, solar panels, glass walls, paths, everything’s there. Walk around the table and look through the iPad, and you’ll get intense detail for Apple’s new HQ. You can even flick up to raise the roof of the main building and see inside.

Apple Park Scale Model and Augmented Reality App

Apple Park Scale Model and Augmented Reality App

There’s no doubt that even this demonstration will feel quaint in the next few years, but as of this writing, it’s a reason to make the trek to Cupertino all by itself. It’s just that cool.

Apple Park Visitor Center

The Apple Park Visitor Center is a stroke of genius. It’s gorgeous, sure, with the look and feel of the bigger Apple Park. It has staircases like the ones at the Steve Jobs Theater and the new Apple Michigan Ave store in Chicago.

Being Apple, the staircases at the Visitor Center are different are made o a different material—quartz, specifically—than the other staircases. The important thing, however, is they’re beautiful. They even feel amazing. Seriously. I found myself running my fingertips along the stone because it just felt so good.

Another nice touch is that it has recessed bannisters—a feature Apple used elsewhere, too. Grab them while you’re going up or down, and you’ll feel how they invisibly curve around to make a perfect handle for you to hang on. The stairs are everything they need to be in ways most people will never notice. Again, because [Apple].

The stairs at Apple Park Visitor Center

The stairs at Apple Park Visitor Center

The Visitor Center also has a roof from the same school as that Chicago store. The floor of the observation deck atop the Visitor Center is made from Brazilian teak. That’s the sort of exotic and specific touch you know happened because a team of designers spending untold hours poring endlessly over samples before deciding on exactly what to source.

The Visitor Center also has Apple’s first publicly-accessible cafe, a ginormous video screen, a huge floor plan, and the most amazing augmented reality demonstration the world has yet seen, as described above. But none of these things is why I think it’s a stroke of genius.

What makes this building so clever is how Apple created a place for Apple fans to go (and shop). A place where they can see Apple Park, but aren’t going to be in the way. Apple Park is close, but it’s across N. Tantua Ave. Separating Apple’s destination architecture from the unwashed masses, are the road, a berm, and not one, but two screens of trees.

Here’s a pic taken from the observation deck. The angle in the roof for the floor below is because I had to take a pano to get all of Apple Park in one pic.

Looking at Apple Park from the Visitor Center's Observation Deck

Looking at Apple Park from the Visitor Center’s Observation Deck

Contrast that with Apple Infinite Loop, where we, the unwashed masses, can park all willy-nilly and get in the way of all those busy Apple employees. Apple solved that at Apple Park with the Visitor Center.

Next: Insider Apple Park Visitor Center and Overall Thoughts

Inside Apple Park Visitor Center

Stepping inside the Visitor Center is similar to stepping into many of the flagship Apple retail stores. It’s vast, open. Massive glass panels look out on rows of young trees that will grow into wonderful, leafy avenues. To the right is a demo room with the augmented reality (AR) demonstration I mentioned above. Straight ahead are elevators down to the three levels of underground parking and stairs to the observation deck above. To the left is the retail portion of the building, and further to the left is the cafe.

The Retail Area of Apple Park Visitor Center

The Retail Area of Apple Park Visitor Center

The cafe is less a cafe than it is an espresso bar—no syrups and no iced drinks, however. There are also snacks on the menu, but no meals. The menus are offered on dedicated iPads handed out by staff. Other staff members will take your order and your payment. If you give them your phone number, they’ll text you when your order is ready. I ordered a mocha (the only flavored drink on the menu), and it was super tasty. The espresso machines are top of the line.

The Cafe end of Apple Park Visitor Center

The Cafe end of Apple Park Visitor Center

Overall Thoughts

Apple does architecture better than most, and the Visitor Center is truly something special. If it wasn’t for Apple Park on the other side of the road—including the Steve Jobs Theater—the Visitor Center would be a thing in and of itself. As an Apple Store, it’s spacious, and for many, the chance to get Apple-branded shirts will be irresistible. I wrote about the merchandise separately. There’s no Genius Bar/Grove and there are no community events, but I don’t see that as an issue.

The cafe is serving delicious espresso, despite my fondness for flavored syrups and ice. If you could get full meals, I’d probably make regular trips there.

The observation deck is truly a lovely spot. It’s peaceful, with a nice breeze. Silicon Valley can be beautiful, and the placement of the Visitor Center really accents some of that beauty.

Lastly, the augmented reality demo is just something else again.

In short, Apple Park Visitor Center is worth the trip, even though you can’t see much of the even more amazing Apple Park. If you’re an Apple fan in the area, you simply have to stop by.

I’ll leave you with an iPhone X Portrait Mode selfie with Apple Park in the background because [Bryan].

Bryan Chaffin and Apple Park

Here Are All the Apple-Branded Clothes You Can Buy at Apple Park Visitor Center

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 23:28, modified at 23:33

I visited the Apple Park Visitor Center on Friday, and it’s one of two places you can Apple-branded merchandise directly from Apple. The other is Apple Infinite Loop, the company’s retail store in its original campus, but there are more options at Apple Park Visitor Center. Here’s a look at what you can get:

Apple Shirts at the Apple Park Visitor Center

There are two designs, as shown below. The top row has a ring representing Apple Park itself with  Park below it. There are six colors (get it? Six colors?) with a white ring. These shirts remind me a lot of an iPad nano. The white and black shirts both have a rainbow colored ring. The back of these shirts in small writing near the neck is:

Apple Park
California 95014

On the bottom row are shirts that simply have the Apple logo and nothing else. Interestingly, the white and black shirts both have the original six-colored Apple logo. Honestly, I’m flabbergasted Apple would look back at a logo abandoned years ago. The back of these shirts are blank.

I should also note that the black Apple six-color logo shirt is one of the shirts available at Apple Infinite Loop. The Apple Park shirts are not available at Apple Infinite Loop, nor are there the other color options.

Apple shirts at Apple Park Visitor Center

Apple shirts at Apple Park Visitor Center

These shirts are $40 each. They come in a box, as shown below, and are 100% cotton.

Apple Park Shirts in Boxes

Apple Park Shirts in Boxes

Bags, Hats, and Baby Clothes at Apple Park Visitor Center

Apple is also offering  Park bags, as shown, at $25. To the right are Apple logo hats, which are $40. The baby shirts and onesies are priced at $20. The circle of cards are gift card choices.

Bags, Hats, and Baby Clothes at the Apple Park Visitor Center

Bags, Hats, and Baby Clothes at the Apple Park Visitor Center

Apple vs. the Competition: The Art of Corporate Decision Making

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 22:48

Just one page of news debris today.

Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park.

Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park.

Wallpaper.com has published an amazing story about Apple’s Jony Ive and the new HQ at Space Park. “In The Loop.” The photography is drop-dead gorgeous. In concert with the visuals, this is a fascinating, grand tour of Apple’s new building and the design elements that went into it. Don’t miss this one.

… criticism of the building’s hunkering insularity seems to misunderstand what it is there to do. It is a building about process. And Ive is clear that for his design studio as for all Apple employees, it will mean a new way of working. ‘That’s one of the things that I am absurdly excited about. [Ive]

The character of Apple’s workspace and the character of the leadership leads to the character of decision making.

• When I wrote about Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella and his new book, I noted his comments about how Microsoft had a lot of catching up to do with its cloud services. (How could that have happened, Mr. Ballmer?) One way to do better is partner with a company that can share complementary strengths. “Here’s How Microsoft and Google are Trying to Catch Amazon’s AWS in the Cloud.” In tech, the smart application of partnerships often engenders success.

Indeed, Amazon generates significant revenue from its AWS cloud services. To quote the article:

‘AWS effectively defined the notion of cloud computing,’ says Gartner analyst Ed Anderson. ‘It’s perceived as the cloud leader and pacesetter.’ AWS generated $4.6 billion in sales in the most recent quarter. Every year, it introduces dozens of features and products to retain its edge.

It boggles the mind that Amazon could have gotten so far ahead of Microsoft, but now that Mr. Nadella is in charge, he aims to fix that.

• You’ve heard about Amazon’s Key serice here before. But when a service is designed to be very affordable, how secure can it be? “Amazon Key hack could make you clueless in a home invasion.” My take is that technology allows engineers to develop and offer technologies at such a rapid pace that too many things fall between the cracks. Security often is the first to fail, and Amazon cannot afford a loss in customer trust. This was a very bad idea.

• As we know, the loss of Net Neutrality will likely result in a very bad situation for consumers. But the current FCC leadership is more focused on the interests of business than consumers. And so… Techcrunch reports: “FCC reportedly planning vote that could kill net neutrality next month.

If we lose Net Neutrality, corporations will see it as an opportunity to make all kinds of new and awful decisions in their race for dominance and profits. The founder of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee weighs in. “Tim Berners-Lee on the future of the web: ‘The system is failing’.” On this precipice, corporations will need some very smart decision making to avoid killing the golden goose. Will Apple, someday, need to use some (or most) of its $250 billion in cash to fix the mistakes of others—just to survive?

• Previously, I’ve written about the robot called Atlas from Boston Dynamics. In this new demo, Atlas jumps onto boxes and does a backflip. It boggles the mind to think about what future generations of Atlas will be able to do. “Boston Dynamics’ Atlas Robot Does Backflips Now And It’s Full-Tilt Insane.” Everyone better start studying the Swift programming language because the era of human manual labor is coming to an end.

Atlas finishes its back flip and sticks it.

Atlas finishes its backflip and sticks it. Image credit: Boston Dynamics

• Back in 2005-2010, the broadcast industry went through the painful process of upgrading its equipment from Standard Definition (SD) to High Definition (HD). Today, TV stations, strapped for extra cash, are in no great hurry to upgrade their cameras, recording equipment, broadcast systems and antennas to Ultra High Definition (UHD) quite so soon.

As a result, UHD (4K) is mostly an internet technology. Even as movie studios start to use 4K and HDR and UHD TV sales start to explode, there just doesn’t seem to be enough distribution channels for all this new content. See: “Report: Distribution Channels Not Matching 4K Content Availability.

Despite a significant quantity of content being shot, produced and stored in 4K, only a small proportion of that is readily available to consumers, analyst Tristan Veale said in a statement.

It’s going to be fun watching the industry fix that. Along the way, terrestrial HD might well become a ghost town.

• Finally, I found this insightful essay by Dan Moren at Macworld. How Apple turns boring tech chores into exciting key features.” Author Moren is right, and it’s just another subtle example of how Apple continues to succeed in ways that aren’t often immediately obvious.

Note: Particle debris will take a break on November 24.

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weekends.

tvOS 11.2 Developer Beta 4 for Apple TV Ready to Download

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 22:42, modified at 22:43

Apple rounded out its Friday developer beta updates with tvOS 11.2 Developer Beta 4 for Apple TV. The iPhone and Apple Watch maker also released iOS 11.13.2 Developer Beta 4 and watchOS 4.2 Beta 4.

Apple TV tvOS 11 beta

Apple releases tvOS 11 beta 4 to developers

tvOS 11.2 improves HDR support for Apple TV 4K, but still doesn’t have the Amazon Prime streaming app. Amazon said earlier this year the app was coming soon, but it still hasn’t materialized.

If Apple sticks with its usual schedule tvOS 11.2 Public Beta 4 should be available in a couple days.

Join Our Apple Context Machine Facebook Group

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 22:37

Jeff and I launched a Facebook Group for The Apple Context Machine, our weekly podcast for in-depth discussions about Apple and the tech world. We’ve long had a Twitter account for the show, but we wanted to add a Facebook Group for our listeners (and readers) to engage us and each other in their own in-depth conversations.

Apple Context Machine Logo

Apple Context Machine Logo

We’d love to have you be part of our group, and look forward to seeing you there.

Bryan Chaffin
Jeff Gamet

Apple Releases watchOS 4.2 Developer Beta 4 for Apple Watch

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 22:28, modified at 22:29

Along with iOS 11.2 Developer Beta 4 Apple released watchOS 4.2 Beta 4 for developers on Friday. watchOS 4.2’s big feature is Apple Pay Cash support, and it includes bug fixes, too.

watchOS developer beta on Apple Watch

Apple releases watchOS 4.2 developer beta 4

Apple offers watchOS betas only to members of its paid developer program. If that’s you, and you already installed the provisioning file, you can install the update by launching the Watch app on your iPhone and going to My Watch > General > Software Update.

Apple Rolls Out iOS 11.2 Developer Beta 4 for iPhone and iPad

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 22:18, modified at 22:29

Just a day after releasing macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Developer Beta 4 Apple rolled out iOS 11.2 Developer Beta 4. The latest iOS beta for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch was released on Friday afternoon.

iOS 11, watchOS 4, tvOS 11, macOS High Sierra developer preview updates

iOS 11.2 Developer Beta 4 is out for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

iOS 11.2 includes Apple Pay Cash support, adds dialog boxes explaining how the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles work in Control Center, brings 7.5 W wireless charging support to the iPhone 8 series and iPhone X, adds a bar below the Control Center horn on the iPhone X screen, and more.

iOS 11.2 Developer Beta 4 is available to members of Apple’s paid developer program. The public betas typically follow within a couple days.

Disk Drill PRO Lifetime License: $34.99

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 22:04

We have a deal on a lifetime license for Disk Drill PRO for Mac. This data recovery software can recover 200 different file types, and more. The lifetime license gives you access to all future updates and major upgrades, and it’s $34.99 through us.

Get a Free 32GB Apple TV 4K With DirecTV Now

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 21:05

DirecTV is launching a promotion for Apple TV 4K. You can get a 32GB model when you pre-pay for four months of service. There is a limit of one TV per account, and two per household.

Apple TV 4K

DirecTV Now has several different television packages available, with prices starting at US$35 per month. If you opt for the cheapest package, you’ll be paying US$140 plus taxes up front. This is US$30 less than if you bought the Apple TV 4K outright. The TV will ship via FedEx Ground and should deliver within 2-3 weeks.

Image of apple TV 4k.

Channels you’ll get include ABC, NBC, FOX, SYFY, USA, MTV, and more. Add extra channels like HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz for a monthly fee (depending on the channel).

5 Cooking Apps to Help You With Thanksgiving Dinner

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 20:44

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it can be a stressful time. Thankfully, there’s an app for that, and we’ve found five cooking apps to help you plan and cook your big meal.


Screenshots of Epicurious, one of the cooking apps.

Epicurious is one of the most popular food apps on iOS. It offers weekly content updates to inspire your cooking, and videos of your favorite recipes. There are over 35,000 recipes to explore, and recipe reviews and ratings from home cooks. Save your favorite recipes in the Recipe Box, manage a shopping list, find seasonal ingredients, and more. Epicurious is Free.


Screenshots of Yummly, one of the cooking apps.

Yummly offers personalized guidance as you cook. It has recipe recommendations, videos, and tools to help you. Save and organize recipes into collections, and see the cooking utensils you’ll need for each recipe. Add ingredients from each recipe into a shopping list that is automatically categorized. Yummly integrates with Apple Health to track nutrition and servings of what you eat. Yummly is Free.

Kitchen Stories

Screenshots of Kitchen Stories, one of the cooking apps.

Kitchen Stories won the Apple Design Award in 2017. It offers recipes with pictures and easy-to-follow instructions, recipe videos, and how-to videos. You can learn how to cook with executive chefs and expand your repertoire by trying out new recipes each week. Add automatically generated shopping lists, collect and save recipes, and use the measurement converter. Kitchen Stories is Free.

NYT Cooking

Screenshots of NYT Cooking, one of the cooking apps.

Straight from The New York Times comes its cooking app. Browse over 18,000 recipes by diet, cuisine type, preparation method, meal type, and more. Save your favorite NYT recipes, or recipes from other websites. Mark recipes you’ve cooked, rate them, and leave notes for other cooks. Plus, the app will keep the screen on as long as you’re cooking, to keep your experience hands-free. NYT Cooking is Free.


Screenshots of OpenTable, one of the cooking apps.

Although not a cooking app, OpenTable is great for when you just don’t feel like cooking. OpenTable lets you book free restaurant reservations at over 43,000 locations around the world. You can find restaurants by location, cuisine, and more, and even get personalized recommendations. View photos, menus, and reviews to find the perfect place. Plus, every time you book and dine, you’ll earn rewards for future meals. OpenTable is Free.

Apple Officially Delays HomePod Launch Until 2018

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 19:59

If you’ve been saving up your pennies to buy a HomePod before the end of the year put on your patience pants because that’s not happening. Apple says it’s delaying the HomePod release until early next year to get everything right.

Apple HomePod delayed until early 2018

Apple’s HomePod isn’t shipping this year

HomePod is Apple’s answer to Amazon Echo and Google Home. It’s a Siri controlled device that’s loaded with speakers for high quality music streaming, uses several microphones to produce the best audio it can based on where it is in a room, And can be paired with a more HomePods for stereo sound and audio in multiple rooms.

In a statement to CNBC Apple said,

We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers. We’ll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.

Apple first showed off HomePod at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference in June and said the device would ship before the end of the year for US$349. Now that mid November has rolled around and there isn’t a HomePod in sight Apple is saying its release time table was a little off.

The delay could be related to obtaining the raw materials for the HomePod’s components, as John Martellaro suggested on Friday’s TMO Daily Observations podcast. It’s also possible—and I think more likely—Apple is having a tough time overcoming design issues.

Designing quality wireless wide area audio systems takes some serious work and getting the wide field microphones to work reliably is no small task. It’s possible Apple found working through those issues is taking much longer than expected.

Apple’s “early 2018” target leaves plenty of wiggle room. “Early” could mean “by the end of spring,” or even “the first half of the year.” If HomePod isn’t shipping by March we may be waiting until late June before it shows up on store shelves.

8 Dark Mode Apps That Look Great on iPhone X

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 19:06

Although Apple didn’t create an official dark mode for iOS 11, that doesn’t mean other apps can’t take advantage of the iPhone X OLED screen. We’ve rounded up a selection of eight dark mode apps that will look great on your iPhone X. Even if you don’t have the latest iPhone, these apps still look good on any Space Gray/Black/Jet Black model.

Canary Mail

Screenshots of Canary Mail, one of the dark mode apps.

Canary is a gorgeous email client that has a great dark mode. It also happens to give you end-to-end encrypted email with PGP. And it works with most IMAP providers like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo. It offers features like mail tracking, a Focused inbox, natural language search, and more. Canary Mail is US$4.99.


Feedly is a news app that connects you to RSS feeds of websites. It’s an aggregation app, which means it pulls in news from multiple sources. News is broken down into categories like Tech, Design, Science, Photography, and more. You can also add your own RSS feeds from any website you choose. Feedly is Free.


Timepage is a beautiful calendar app by Moleskine. It’s a smart calendar that combines events, maps, contacts, and the weather. It features a heatmap to let you easily show the days you are busy or free during a month. You can personalize the calendar with different color themes. You can quickly create calendar events using natural language, then search for those events using Spotlight. Timepage is US$4.99.


Screenshots of Apollo, one of the dark mode apps.

Apollo is a third-party client for Reddit, and it quickly soared to become one of the most popular. It was created specifically with iOS design guidelines in mind, and features an intuitive gesture-based UI. View media in full glory with the Media Viewer, write posts using the Markdown composer, and lock it down with Face ID/Touch ID/passcode. Apollo is Free.


Instapaper is an app that lets you save articles to read later from all around the web. It has a clean, minimal design that puts the focus on your content. You can read your articles anywhere, even without an internet connection. And the articles are presented in iOS-optimized formatting, stripped of ads and other clutter. Instapaper is Free.


Overcast is a podcast player with features like Smart Speed, Voice Boost, and Smarter Playlists. You can search for and browse podcasts, add the whole podcast or just a single episode. Create custom playlists with smart filters and per-podcast priorities. Download podcasts over Wi-Fi, cellular, or stream them. Overcast is Free.

Today Weather

Screenshots of Today Weather, one of the dark mode apps.

Today Weather is jammed packed with all of the information you could want. Things like air quality, UV index, dew point, air pressure, humidity, moon phase, wind speed, radar, and severe weather alerts. You can choose where you want the app to get data from, like Dark Sky or Weather.com. Today Weather is Free.


If you don’t know what Wikpedia is, where have you been? It’s a great resource for almost anything you can think of. It’s run by a community of writers and editors, who volunteer their time to organize knowledge and make it accessible to everyone. It has over 40 million articles across nearly 300 languages. Wikipedia is Free.

5 Places to Find Cool iPhone X Wallpapers

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 18:47, modified at 18:48

The iPhone X OLED screen is beautiful, so how do you show off its visual awesomeness? With really cool wallpapers, of course. Read on to see some of the cool free iPhone X wallpapers we found.

iPhone X Ad Wallpapers

Apple shows off some pretty cool wallpapers in its iPhone X commercials. You can get that same look with these wallpapers.

First up is the iPhone X wallpaper collection from Xiaomni Ninja. They’re packed in a .RAR format so you’ll need to download the collection to your Mac and double-click the file. Then you can move them to your iPhone X.

iPhone X wallpaper from Xiaomni Ninja

Next, there’s the wallpaper from jpzamoras. It’s on an imgur account so you can download it directly from your iPhone X.

iPhone X ad wallpaper from jpzamoras

iPhone X from the Inside

One of iFixit’s claims to fame are detailed tear downs of new tech devices. The totally owned that with their iPhone X tear down and the special wallpapers they made. One looks like the face of the phone was sliced off so you can see the components inside, and the other is an x-ray shot showing the internals. You can download both directly to your iPhone.

iPhone X internal wallpaper from iFixit

Geometric and Abstract iPhone X Wallpapers

Design+Code put together a beautiful collection of iPhone X wallpapers with abstract and geometric patterns. The have 20 wallpapers you can download directly to your iPhone.

iPhone X geometric wallpaper from Design+Code

Goodbye, iPhone X Notch

The iPhone X display notch doesn’t really bother me, but I get that it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to some people. You can fix that with the wallpaper collection from Mysterious iPhone Wallpaper. They’re available in several pastel shades that turn the notch into a forehead. You can download each directly on your iPhone.

iPhone X wallpaper hiding the notch from Mysterious iPhone Wallpaper

HomePod Shipping Delay, Listener Comments – TMO Daily Observations 2017-11-17

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 18:28

Apple Won’t Accept watchOS 1 App Updates Starting in April 2018

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 14:57

Apple isn’t accepting app updates made with the watchOS 1.0 SDK starting on April 1, 2018. That sounds kind of ominous, but for most Apple Watch owners it’s a non-issue.

Original Apple Watch showing Maps app

Apple is dropping support for watchOS 1 app updates, but your watch is fine

Apple’s note to developer says,

Please note that starting April 1, 2018, updates to watchOS 1 apps will no longer be accepted. Updates must be native apps built with the watchOS 2 SDK or later. New watchOS apps should be built with the watchOS 4 SDK or later.

Apple Watch apps made with the version 1 SDK had limited functionality and were essentially interfaces showing data pushed from your iPhone. Starting with watchOS SDK 2 those apps could have their own functionality, and with versions 3 and 4 they gained improved performance, more versatile background modes, and Core Bluetooth support.

The likelihood any Apple Watch owners are still running watchOS 1 is pretty slim so this change will go mostly unnoticed from the user perspective. Every Apple Watch will continue to work, and even the original model supports the latest version of watchOS 4.

For developers, the story is a little different. If they’re still using watchOS 1 SDK for their Apple Watch apps they’ll have to decide if it’s time to rebuild their apps with a newer SDK version, or kill them off.

If you’re using any Apple Watch apps compiled with watchOS 1 SDK they’ll keep working after April 1, 2018, but unless the developers choose to transition those into watchOS 2 SDK or newer don’t expect to see any updates.

Denise Young Smith Will Leave as Head of Apple’s Inclusion & Diversity

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 01:56, modified at 13:58

Denise Young Smith is leaving her post as Apple Vice President of Inclusion & Diversity, according to TechCrunch. Ms. Young Smith moved to the position in May after a three year stint as head of Apple’s Human Resources. It was the first time Apple had this position at the vice presidential level, and she will be replaced by Christie Smith, a 17 year veteran of consulting firm Delloite.

Denise Young Smith

Denise Young Smith

“We deeply believe that diversity drives innovation,” Apple told TechCrunch in a statement. “We’re thrilled to welcome an accomplished leader like Christie Smith to help us continue the progress we’ve made toward a more diverse workplace.”

Denise Young Smith

Ms. Young Smith will be headed to Cornell University, where she will serve as executive-in-residence. According to Cornell, she’ll work with students to, “build an early career-stage awareness of inclusive leadership and diverse talent.”

Citing one unnamed source, TechCrunch said Ms. Young Smith has been talking with Apple CEO Tim Cook for roughly a year. If accurate, she’s been talking about leaving Apple even before she became Vice President of Inclusion & Diversity.

Christie Smith

In addition to her long tenure at Delloite, Christie Smith’s LinkedIn profile said she is currently Head of Human Resources at Silicon Valley startup GRAIL, Inc. She’s been at GRAIL for the last seven months, or a bit longer than Denise Young Smith has been at her new job at Apple. She will report to Deirdre O’Brien, Vice President of People at Apple.

Inclusion & Diversity

There’s a wee bit of irony in this move in that Ms. Young Smith’s departure from Apple decreases the diversity of its leadership ranks. As of this writing, there are five women on Apple’s Leadership page, including Denise Young Smith. There are three people of color—all women—again, including Ms. Young Smith. Christie Smith adds to the ranks of white executives, while maintaining Apple’s ranks of female executives.

Record and Live Stream Animoji with AnimojiStudio

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-17 00:03, modified at 00:09

If you have an iPhone X and want to record Animoji longer than 10 seconds, and don’t want to have to send your creations to someone just so you can save them, AnimojiStudio has you covered. The Maccast’s Adam Christianson turned me on to the app, and it’s pretty awesome. You can record and save Animoji videos without Apple’s built-in 10 second cap, and you can live stream your Animoji-fied self on services like Periscope. AnimojiStudio is free, but comes with a catch: it uses Apple’s private APIs so it isn’t on the App Store. You’ll need a paid or free developer account and Xcode to compile and install the app, or sideload the precompiled IPA file.

Tim Berners-Lee Wants Your Help in Protecting Net Neutrality from Ajit Pai’s FCC

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 23:41, modified at 23:42

Under Chairman Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is coming for Net Neutrality, facts and public sentiment be damned. Internet-inventor Tim Berners-Lee wrote an editorial for USA Today asking Americans to help save the Internet from an irresponsible vote on Net Neutrality expected from the FCC.

Net Neutrality graffiti on a brick wall

Net Neutrality, the writing’s on the wall

From that editorial:

Today, one of the greatest threats to the Web in America is the plan by the Federal Communications Commission to roll back America’s open Internet safeguards. Net neutrality is the fundamental principle that all content should be treated equally online. It’s what ensures those millions of local businesses can compete on an equal footing with corporate giants. It’s what stops Internet and cable providers from slowing down services for those who don’t pay a premium, or blocking content that doesn’t boost their own bottom lines.

Ajit Pai and the FCC Are Selling Out Americans

The FCC under Ajit Pai has consistently chosen to sell out Americans for the profit of corporations. Under his leadership, the FCC voted to allow broadband providers to sell our browser history, and a vote that would roll back Net Neutrality in the U.S. is expected soon.

From Mr. Berners-Lee:

Please help. If you believe a small group of companies should not control what you can access online, if you want your small business to be given a level online playing field, if you want the freedom to surf the Web freely with the same rights and privileges as others — call your congressional representatives today to urge them to stop the FCC from overturning net neutrality.

Mr. Berners-Lee has it right. Net Neutrality is fundamental to everything we consider “the internet” to be. John Kheit and I discussed the issue on Pop.0 this week, including a look at what could happen without it. Portugal has an ISP that charges you separately and additionally to allow social media, videos, and other services through to your devices.

That, and worse, will be a reality in the U.S. if Mr. Pai has his way. So heed Tim Berners-Lee call for help and call your Congressional representatives. The House of Representatives has a simple lookup for finding your Representative by ZIP code. The U.S. Senate maintains a contact page for every Senator, by state.

Apple iPad Commercial Asks, ‘What’s a Computer?’

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 23:22, modified at 23:23

Apple would very much like for this to be a post-PC era, thank you very much. The company has a new spot out called What’s a computer that does a pretty job of making the case that the iPad does everything a computer does. Especially, or at least, if you’re young. It follows a young woman through her life while she sends things, FaceTimes, looks up stuff on the internet, does school work, sheens around on her bike with iPad on her back, listens to music, draws with Apple Pencil, and more. At the end, her mom comes out and asks what she’s doing with her computer. The young woman looks over her shoulder and casually responds, “What’s a computer?” I’d love your thoughts.

Apple Needs a Smarter Way to Encourage macOS Upgrades

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 21:40, modified at 21:52

High Sierra GM Candidate

macOS High Sierra is a worthy upgrade, but like any, should be approached with care.

Back when macOS High Sierra was released (Sep 25), I published an article on how to get ready.

There, I outlined the mindful steps one can and should take before undertaking a major macOS upgrade.

  1. Make sure all important, “mission critical” apps have been updated to support the new macOS. Especially important are the apps used to back up macOS itself.
  2. Check System integrity with the Disk Utility.
  3. Make sure one has several, verifiable backups. Preferable a bootable clone so that one can return to the pre-install state if necessary.
  4. Be mindful that, in this release, SSDs will be force-updated from the HFS+ file system to APFS. And all that that implies.

Following these steps will help ensure a good experience and allow for a graceful recovery if something goes wrong.

Apple’s Pushy Push

You can imagine my dismay when I read Adam Engst’s article from November 15.

The issue here is that Apple has started the process of downloading High Sierra in the background and then inviting the user in a notification offering to start the install. Author Engst explains:

What happens is that Apple’s Software Update automatically downloads High Sierra in the background and then presents the notification shown at the top of this article to the user, offering just two choices: Install and Details.

macOS upgrade notification.

Too simple, too urgent, not backed up with any logic.

Because the installer is already downloaded, if the user clicks the wrong button, the install starts immediately. This may not be what the user wants, being possibly caught unprepared. Author Engst explains how to bail out immediately.

The Mac App Store has made macOS banner invitations before, but the user typically had to initiate a download. That is, if he/she was careful to click the “more…” button and not fall for the “Update all” gimmick.

A Better Way

I can fully understand Apple’s enthusiasm to get its many users to the latest version of macOS. Important security fixes come with every major (and many minor) macOS upgrades. And yet, the simple minded idea that the user is still running Sierra is not a sound basis on which to encourage an update with a UI/UX that isn’t bullet-proof in its clarity and facility for backing out easily.

Another issue is the severity of the security fixes. Apple takes a happy-go-lucky approach. All’s well. Just upgrade! You’ll be happy. Any discussion of the gravity of security issues would be seen, in my experience, as alarming to the user.

And yet, if the customer, it is argued, needs to take responsibility for maintaining apps and backing up, why can’t they also take responsibility for assessing their security posture? It seems Apple just wants to ignore all these details for the sake of boasting about how popular its new macOS is and cite very good adoption statistics. Or else there are urgent but unspoken security issues.

macOS HS adoption.

macOS High Sierra adoption was good at four weeks. Credit: Bombich Software.

The tech community is currently rich with discussions about artificial intelligence and machine learning. And yet, macOS is crippled in its ability to partner with the user and intelligently advise the user about the seriousness of a pending upgrade.

There are lots of ways to do this. One way might be to develop a hierarchy of urgencies. If the user is on, say, macOS Yosemite, drop out of simple notifications and bring up an information window that describes how vulnerable this old macOS is on the internet. Later versions of macOS can be described appropriately.

Another idea involves full-featured apps that can’t be in the Mac App Store—and hence cannot show up as update candidates there. For example, Carbon Copy Cloner, the full GraphicConverter and MS Office. A macOS autoscan of the Applications folder can probably tell a story about how wise it is to pressure the user into a major macOS upgrade at that very moment.

This is going to be even more critical in macOS 10.14 where, so far as we know now, 32-bit apps just won’t launch after the upgrade. Users will have to be even more prepared.

End of Rant

In summary, I find it less than tactful and overly simple-minded for Apple to assume that, at any random moment, the user should be invited in a popup notification, out of the blue, to make a major upgrade decision. Care, advice and consent are welcome here.

Just as the password analyzer shows a bar displaying the strength of the password, Apple’s macOS could periodically warn the user, in a pleasant and formal way, that an upgrade is more and more urgent as time goes on. The user then has complete control, with no confusion, as to when to make preparations and conduct a mindful upgrade. Near trickery is not needed.

MekaMon: The AR Robot You Control with Your iPhone is Even Cooler than it Sounds

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 21:30

Let’s be honest: Who doesn’t want a battle crab robot in their livingroom? That’s the distilled essence of living in the future, and exactly what Reach Robotics is giving us with its MekaMon. The MekaMon is a 4-legged robot you control with your iPhone or iPad for games and to battle against other MekaMon robots—in real life or AR. It’s is amazingly cool, and you’ll have to pay a trip to the Apple Store (online or in person) to get yours. MekaMon is priced at US$299.95 and is available now.

Apple Fixes iPhone X Live Photos and Video Distortion Bug with iOS 11.1.2

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 21:16

Apple released iOS 11.1.2 on Thursday, a bug fix release for two iPhone X problems. The first is a problem where some iPhone X users found their displays unresponsive in cold weather. The second is an issue where some Live Photos and videos would be distorted on the iPhone X display.

iOS 11

iOS 11.1.2 Release Notes

iOS 11.1.2 includes bug fixes for your iPhone and iPad. This update:

  • Fixes an issue where the iPhone X screen becomes temporarily unresponsive to touch after a rapid temperature drop
  • Addresses an issue that could cause distortion in Live Photos and videos captured with iPhone X

iOS 11.1.2 isn’t showing up everywhere yet. As of this writing, I personally see it through iTunes, but not in Software Update on my iPhone.

iOS 11: How to Remove Photo Metadata for Anonymous Images

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 20:23

Image metadata is typically called Exif data, and it can include date/time of capture, GPS information, type of camera used, and type of software used to edit the photo. If you share images on social media, anyone can potentially download it and view the exif data. Here’s how to remove photo metadata on iOS.

Removing Metadata

In order to view, edit, and remove photo metadata, you’ll have to use a third-party app. An app that I personally use is called Metapho. Another app I’ve found is called ImagExif. What I like about Metapho is it has a Safe Share option. You can quickly share photos with or without metadata directly to social media, or your camera roll.

Screenshots of photo metadata app Metapho.

Metapho is free, with an in-app purchase to edit and remove metadata.

Of course, photo metadata can be useful. You can use it to organize photos based on location, camera model, or date. This is why I only remove metadata when I share to sites like Facebook or Instagram. These websites don’t need to know where I took the photo, or when. Being able to remove photo metadata can give you peace of mind.

Jony Ive: Blindly Holding onto the Past Leads to Failure

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 20:16, modified at 20:28

Apple Chief Design Officer Sir Jony Ive offered a simply, yet powerful message. In an interview with Time magazine on Thursday, Sir Jony said that blindly holding onto the past leads to failure. The comment came in regards to Apple’s decision to ditch the headphone jack in iPhone 7 and the Home button on iPhone X.

Sir Jony Ive of Apple

Sir Jony Ive

“I actually think the path of holding onto features that have been effective, the path of holding onto those whatever the cost, is a path that leads to failure,” Sir Jony said. “And in the short term, it’s the path the feels less risky and it’s the path that feels more secure.”

He added, “It’s not necessarily the most comfortable place to be in when you believe there’s a better way [because] that means moving on from something that has felt successful.”

A Different Way of Claiming Courage

This is a more nuanced way to say what Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller said during iPhone 7’s release. During the keynote event for that device, Mr. Schiller said Apple had the “courage” to remove the headphone jack. Many felt that statement smacked of hubris, which might be true, but hubris doesn’t make the statement itself any less true.

And Sir Jony’s comments explain the philosophy behind Mr. Schiller’s statement. That philosophy is at the heart of Apple’s approach since the return and passing of the late Steve Jobs.

Reality Distortion Field

He also spoke about the process of finding news ways of doing things in a startling powerful way, saying [emphasis added]:

Paying attention to what’s happened historically actually helps give you some faith that you are going to find a solution. Faith isn’t a surrogate for engineering competence, but it can certainly help fuel the belief that you’re going to find a solution. And that’s important.

I love this statement, the way it’s worded. To me, Sir Jony is striking right to the heart of Steve Jobs’s reality distortion field (RDF). That phrase is often used for those times Steve Jobs would convince us that something was better than it was. “You’re holding it wrong” was one such incident, when he was addressing the so-called Antennagate controversy on iPhone 4 signal attenuation.

But that’s just one version of the RDF. Many of Apple’s most stunning accomplishments happened when Steve Jobs convinced a team of engineers they could do something everyone knew couldn’t be done. By insisting it be done anyway—sometimes with ridiculous deadlines—time and again they did it.

This is exactly what Sir Jony was talking about, only he’s approaching it from the opposite direction as the RDF. And perhaps that’s why Apple appears to be the best at fostering this sort of faith-based approach to innovation. Believing you can do what others consider impossible may be the very heart and soul of working at Apple.

5 Composite Image Apps to Create Art on iOS

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 19:31

Composite images, also known as a photomontage, is a combination of photos to create a new photo. You can use professional software like Photoshop for this, or use any of these apps for iOS. We’ve rounded up 5 composite image apps to create these artworks.


Screenshots of Juxtaposer, one of the composite image apps.

With Juxtaposer you can mix and match photos to create surreal artworks. The image adjustment tools lets you match each images’ color and lighting. You can save cutout images for later use using the Stamp Manager. There are 20 blend modes as well, to create unique effects. Composites are exported at the full resolution of the background image, even if it’s 40MP+. Juxtaposer is US$2.99.


Screenshots of Pixelmator, one of the photo retouching apps. It also works as composite image apps.

We’ve previously written about Pixelmator, but that’s because it’s such a well-rounded app. Pixelmator is an alternative to Photoshop that lets you do different things. It features layer-based editing, so it can work as one of the composite image apps. Copy and paste images on top of each other, then use blend modes and the erase brush to shape your creation. Pixelmator is US$4.99.

Enlight Photofox

Screenshots of Enlight Photofox, one of the composite image apps.

Enlight Photofox is version 2 of the old Enlight app. Whereas Enlight focused on photography, Enlight Photofox seems more focused on graphic design. With great editing tools like masks, double exposures, and copy/paste elements of photos into one another, this app makes a fine addition to the composite image apps. Enlight Photofox is Free, with in-app purchases.


Screenshots of Union, one of the composite image apps.

Union joins the composite image apps to let you create superimposed, silhouetted, and double-exposed photos. First you load a background image, solid color, or transparent layer. Then add on foreground images, solid colors, or shapes. You can easily erase different areas of the foreground images. Adjust the size and position of each image to make it look realistic. Finally, make color adjustments to match the colors of the foreground images to the background image. Included with the app is Pixite Source, which is a free resource for professional images, textures, and overlays. Union is US$1.99, and probably the best app here.


Screenshots of Superimpose, one of the composite image apps.

Like Union, Superimpose is focused solely on composite image editing. Where Superimpose stands out from the rest is its masking. You just tap  on one area of a photo, and the app will automatically mask all of the areas with similar colors. For manual masking, use tools like brush, lasso, polygon, global color similarity, rectangle, ellipse, linear, bi-linear, radial gradient, mask from image, mask from text, magic mask, and hair refine tools. Superimpose is US$1.99.

Apple Accelerates macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Cycle with Release of Developer Beta 4

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 19:08, modified at 19:26

Apple seeded macOS High Sierra 10.13.2 Developer Beta 4 on Thursday, just three days after the release of Developer Beta 3. This marks an acceleration of the release cycle, which in the past has meant Apple is nearing release.

No new features have as yet surfaced in the 10.13.2 release cycle, suggesting it’s a bug fix and performance-centric update.

macOS High Sierra beta

Macs that have been provisioned for developer betas will find the update in Software Update on the Mac App Store. Developers can provision Macs in the Apple Developer Connection.

John’s macOS Upgrade Rant – TMO Daily Observations 2017-11-16

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 18:46, modified at 21:42

BauBax Travel Windbreaker: $109.99

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 17:04, modified on 2017-11-19 22:10

Check out the BauBax travel windbreaker. In addition to being water-repellant, it has 15 features including built-in neck pillow, eye mask, gloves, iPad pocket, drink pocket, and many more. That was enough to help the company raise US$9 million on Kickstarter, and now it’s shipping. You can get it for $109.99 through us, less than half retail. [Link corrected below. – Bryan]

iPhone X Wait Times Drop to 2-3 Weeks

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 16:53

iPhone X shipping times are improving with waits down to two or three weeks instead of the five and six weeks we were seeing. That’s a sign Apple is getting production under control, and not a lack of consumer interest.

iPhone X pre-order tips

Waits for iPhone X drop to 2-3 weeks

Apple’s website currently shows “2-3 weeks” for new iPhone X orders on all carriers in 64 GB and 256 GB capacities. That’s for Space Gray as well as Silver. The company has also been delivering many orders earlier than expected.

The company was dealing with production bottlenecks leading up the the iPhone X launch and inventory was initially very limited. Preorders sold out within minutes with backorders stretching out weeks.

Those delays started shrinking as Apple apparently got a handle on its production issues. The company was able to get inventory in stores for the official rollout, and now it looks like buyers will have shorter waits to get ahold of their new iPhone X.

Use Reminders on Macs, iPhones, and iPads to Remember Anything

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 16:45, modified at 16:46

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #253

I’ve been a chronic forgetter for as long as I can remember. For decades, I’ve been telling my family and friends that I forget pretty much everything unless I write it down. If you didn’t see me write it on my to-do list or calendar, I would say, it had already been forgotten.

I had a system, though. I never left home without a pen and pad in my pocket. And when I got back, one of the first things I did was transfer anything I’d written on my pad to my to-do list or calendar, which were old-school, made out of paper, and a fixture on my desk.

It wasn’t until a few years ago I felt Apple’s digital tools on Mac, iPhone, and iPad were ubiquitous and reliable enough to replace my paper-based list and calendar.

In the Beginning

In the beginning, I tried adding everything I wanted to remember to a bunch of different calendars in iCal (now known as Calendar). But with literally hundreds of items on my to-do list, and dozens of time-based items already on my calendars, it quickly became overwhelming. I tried color-coding, selectively disabling and enabling calendars, and more, but the system always felt imposing and out-of-control.

Along the way I’ve tried many Mac and iOS apps purported to organize thoughts and ideas, including OmniFocus, Things, and many others. While many users find tools like these useful, I found myself spending far too much time organizing and rearranging my things, and far too little time actually doing them.

After years (decades?) of research, I’ve finally put together a system that ticks all of the checkboxes for me. It’s easy to manage, use, and share; always available, and (best of all), there’s nothing new to buy or learn. My system uses only apps and services already installed on your Mac and iDevices, namely the Calendar and Reminders apps, and Siri.

Now I use Reminders for my Reminders

Here’s how it works: When I need to remember something, I merely ask Siri (on my Mac, iPhone, or Apple Watch) to remind me of that thing at a specific time and date. The item is recorded on the Inbox list in Reminders. Then, I’ll be reminded (with an onscreen alert and sound) at the appropriate date and time. And, since I’m never far from an Apple device, I rarely miss a reminder.

Finally, there’s one more trick I use to help me remember things at the right place: Location-based reminders.

For example, Siri knows where I live, so, I merely say, “Hey Siri. Remind me to upload my column when I get home.” Then, when I arrive at my house, I’ll get an alert on my phone or watch saying, “Upload your column.”

I say, "Hey Siri... Remind me to upload my column when I get home..." and it's done.

I say, “Hey Siri… Remind me to upload my column when I get home…” and it just happens

I’d love to see a paper-based to-do list do that!

4 Great Note Taking Apps for iPad and Apple Pencil

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 15:32

The iPad is a great note taking tool for classes and meetings, so it’s only fitting to find a lot of really great note taking apps for Apple’s tablet. The Mac Observer rounded up some of our favorites to help you pick the one that’s best for you.

iPad Pro and Apple Pencil note taking app

Need a solid iPad note taking app? Check out TMO’s picks.

Apple includes its own Notes app with the iPhone and iPad, and it’s a perfectly capable tool. It isn’t, however, on our list because we’re focusing on apps that give you something more, or at least different, for your note taking needs.


First up is Notability from Ginger Labs is hard to beat with its great note organizing system, support for importing graphics and charts, PDF support, web page importing, and markup tools, plus lets you record audio. It includes Apple Pencil support, pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, left and right hand mode, and shape tools. Notability’s one drawback is that while typed and PDF text is searchable, handwritten text isn’t.

Notability for iPad

Notability works with any iPad and most styluses

Notability is priced at US$9.99 and version 7.1 adds iPhone X compatibility along with Files app support, and there’s a companion Mac app, too.

GoodNotes 4

GoodNotes fromTime Base Technology is another worthy note taking contender. Instead of categories with subsections, like Notability, GoodNotes uses individual notebooks. It works with Apple Pencil and lets you import images and other graphics, supports PDF, includes shape tools, offers highlighting tools, and includes support for left and right handers. While organizing is a little limited compared to Notability, it does support searching handwritten notes—an incredibly handy feature for students.

GoodNotes 4 costs $7.99, and there’s a companion Mac app that supports syncing.

Notes Plus

Van Tran’s Notes Plus supports Apple Pencil, uses notebooks for organization like GoodNotes, and you can import graphics and PDF. It also supports creating shapes, records audio, and converts handwriting to text, plus it has a built-in web browser so you can look up information without jumping to another app.

Notes Plus on iPad Pro

Notes Plus on Apple’s iPad

Notes Plus is priced at $5.99. There isn’t a companion Mac app, but it does include a presentation mode for projectors and other displays.

MyScript Nebo

MyScript Nebo not only requires an Apple Pencil, which limits the app to the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. You can import images, create diagrams, draw shapes, enter math equations, organize your work in notebooks, and convert your hand written notes into editable text. In fact, that’s its stand out feature.

MyScript Nebo for iPad

Nebo from MyScript on the iPad

MyScript Nebo costs $2.99. There isn’t a companion Mac app, but it does offer syncing between iPads through Dropbox.

Pages: New Options for Formatting Links

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-16 13:43

A few years ago, I wrote about dealing with the way Pages formats URLs in your text, but in newer versions of the application, your options are a bit different. As always, when you type “www.macobserver.com” or now even something like “apple.com” into a Pages document, the program will automatically create a clickable link and add an underline to it:

Clickable URL in Pages Document

Sometimes, that’s really cool! If you’re passing along a file to a colleague, for example, and you want him or her to be able to click to go to the websites you refer to without having to copy and paste, everything’s peachy. However, if you just wanna be able to refer to “apple.com” in your gosh-darned text without the gosh-darned program underlining it, then whaddya do? Well, if you need to remove only a single instance where that’s happened, click the link in your document, and a little box will pop up.

URL Edit Button for linked text in Pages document

Click “Edit” on that, and then one of the next options is “Remove.”

Remove Button for getting rid of the underline in linked text in Pages

If you choose that, Pages’ll do away with the one you selected. But if you’d like the program to just stop auto-formatting links altogether, head to Pages > Preferences first from the menus at the top of your screen…

Pages Menu showing Preferences where you can set linked text behavior

…and then pick the “Auto-Correction” tab.

Pages Preferences Window showing Auto-Correction settings for linked text formatting

The choices I’ve called out above are the ones relevant to this tip. Makes sense, right? If you leave “Automatically detect links” ON but turn the box underneath it (“Automatically apply Link style”) OFF, then “apple.com” will still become a clickable link when you type it, but it won’t be automatically underlined. However, if you turn both boxes off, URLs will appear just as text—not clickable, not underlined. Neat!

Most of the time, I actually leave these link formatting options on, as it’s pretty handy to be able to have a clickable link automagically inserted, but every once in a while, it drives me crazy on a particular document. And in those cases, I’m glad I can toggle this feature off. I don’t need to be driven crazier than I am, friends.

Wearable Market Breakdown, Harry Potter AR, iPhone X Camera – ACM 437

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 23:29

More Adventures With the macOS High Sierra Install

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 20:33, modified at 20:42

High Sierra GM Candidate

macOS High Sierra has been a generally smooth upgrade for the author.

My last report on High Sierra was just over a week ago.

Since then, I have some items to report on.

Screen Saver

Previously, I reported a graphics lockup/freeze on my 2013 Mac Pro when I loaded up the Cosmos directory in /Library/Screen Savers/Default Collections with extra images, That happened after 6-12 hours.

I removed most of the astronomy files until only nine remained, the largest of which is 2.5 MB. (Many of Apple’s default images in other directories are much larger.) I still got the lockup, and the only way out was to restart with the power button.

I also previously reported that the “Nature Patterns” screen saver had no problems. I spoke too soon. Those images also resulted in a graphics lockup after 6-12 hours—or overnight. As a test, I reverted to one of the standard, simple screensavers, “Shell.” That animated screen saver has been in use for a week without any problems.

The Shell screen saver.

SImple, built-in screen savers haven’t caused a problem.

There was never, never a problem with the Aerial, National Geographic, Cosmos and Nature Patterns in macOS 10.12 Sierra. I haven’t yet found any definitive discussion about this change from Sierra to High Sierra. That said, macOS screen saver freezes seem to be a thing. See: “How to Fix a Stuck Screen Saver in OS X

Time Machine

In High Sierra, I get an interesting (and alarming) notice that my next backup will occur when the disk is connected. (See image below.) But it already is! And backups continue normally, as scheduled. So that would suggest no simple, obvious USB connection issue. (Yes, I checked the cable.) But see below.

Time Machine message in error.

One can only say: WTF

I discovered that unchecking and rechecking the “Back Up Automatically” checkbox fixes the wording, but, as I said, there’s no impact on the actual operation of Time Machine.

Time Machine with standard message.

This is how it should look.

This may be a 2013 Mac Pro issue. I only found one reference to this problem. I haven’t found a fix, and I’m not planning right now to reformat the TM drive and start over until I know more. Especially since backups are continuing on schedule.

Boot Spinner

I previously mentioned that I had not experienced the Boot Spinner in High Sierra. Again, I spoke too soon. A few days ago, after a reboot, the spinning beach ball just wouldn’t release the Finder to me. I waited 15 minutes and then did a restart with the Mac’s power button. The Mac came back up normally, and I resumed work.

It hasn’t been a persistent problem, having only happened once. Because I’m running a simpler screen saver now, I haven’t had to reboot very much at all. My uptime now stands at 5 days, 9 minutes.

Sound Input

High Sierra continues its wonky habit, like previous releases of macOS, of maxing out the sound input level even after you set it where you want it.  I have to check that before every podcast. One would think this would get fixed in a fix-up release like High Sierra. C’mon Apple.

Sound input level.

Sound input level doesn’t stay where put. Always reverts to max.

The Good News

So far, these are the only items I have to report. The upgrade from Sierra to High Sierra was very smooth and all my mission critical apps, including those for podcasting (from Rogue Amoeba), are working great.

If you have something to report, please let me know in the comments below. Feedback from 2013 Mac Pro users is especially welcome because this Mac has a history of idiosyncratic issues with macOS.

DJI Sells New Mavic Pro Drone Exclusively With Apple

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 20:32

DJI is selling a new Mavic Pro drone, and it will be sold only at Apple Stores and Apple’s website. Called the Mavic Pro Alpine White, it’s available starting Wednesday for US$1,049.

Mavic Pro Drone Alpine White

Image of the Alpine White Mavic Pro drone.

The new Mavic Pro Drone has an advanced stabilized camera system and intelligent features on its FlightAutonomy system, like ActiveTrack, TapFly, and Gesture Mode. It has the OcuSync video transmission system, which lets you shoot video up to 4.3 miles away. The drone gives you up to 27 minutes of flight, and tops out at 40mph in Sport Mode.

DJI is offering the Mavic Pro Drone as a holiday combo. It comes with a remote controller, two extra Intelligent Flight batteries, two pairs of propellers, and an aircraft sleeve. The drone is roughly the size of a water bottle, so it’s easy to transport in a bag or purse. Check out the new Mavic Pro drone on Apple’s website.

Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 44

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 19:48

Safari Technology PreviewApple released released Safari Technology Preview 44 (Safari TP44) on Wednesday. This release enables Payment Requests by default, and it includes 38 other improvements and bug fixes, too.

Bug fixes and other improvements cover Conic Gradients, Image Bitmaps, Web API, CSS, Rendering, a bunch of Wen Inspector issues, Web Driver, Media, CSS Grid, Security, and Extensions.

Developers (or others wanting to living on the browser bleeding edge) can download Safari TP44 from the WebKit.org website.

5 Video Editing Apps For iPhone Videographers

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 19:36, modified at 19:37

So far we’ve rounded up plenty of photo apps to enhance your images. Now it’s time to focus on videographers. We’ve found 5 video editing apps that will supercharge your videos, both for beginners and more advanced users.


Screenshots of VSCO, one of the video editing apps.

Short for Visual Supply Company, VSCO is a photo/video editor, camera, and social network in one. The app offers a plethora of professional filters for photos, and recently VSCO added the ability to edit videos too. It offers a camera to shoot RAW images, then a way to apply filters. After that, fine tune your image with tools like exposure, contrast, highlights/shadows, clarity, and more. VSCO is Free, but video editing is only for VSCO X members, which costs US$20 per year.


Screenshots of Clips, one of the video editing apps.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include Apple’s own video editing app, Clips. Clips is aimed more towards Snapchat users, not professional videographers. The app lets you quickly create fun videos. There are no advanced controls, only a shutter button. You can also add photos interspersed with video clips. When you’re done, you can add stickers, create captions and titles with your voice, add filters and special effects, and more. Clips is Free.

Enlight Videoleap

Screenshots of Enlight Videoleap, one of the video editing apps.

Enlight Videoleap is a bit more advanced than VSCO and Clips. With Videoleap you have advanced tools like green screen/chroma key compositing, a timeline to see the clips frame by frame, layer-based editing, clip editing, and a whole lot more. Of course, it also offers more basic tools like special effects and filters. Enlight Videoleap is Free, but the advanced tools requires a subscription for unlimited access.


Cinamatic joins the video editing apps from the developers of Hipstamatic. Cinamatic is meant for quick, short videos, from 3 seconds to 60 seconds long. Like the photo editing app Hipstamatic, Cinamatic offers the retro/analog look with filters. You can add a soundtrack, merge video clips, use advanced image controls, and rearrange segments. There are full capture options to shoot manual control, time-lapse, and slow motion videos. Cinamatic is US$2.99.


Screenshots of Splice, one of the video editing apps.

GoPro has a video editing app called Splice, but it works for all videos, not just ones taken with a GoPro. With Splice you can automatically sync your video to the beat of a soundtrack, trim clips in a traditional timeline, add title slides, text overlays and a custom outro, choose transition styles and speeds, and apply filters and adjust background colors. You can save videos up to 1080p quality, and share directly to social media or save it to your camera roll. Splice is Free.

Goodbye Pokémon, Harry Potter Wizards Unite is Coming to iPhone AR

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 19:14, modified at 19:15

ZOMGZOMGZOMG! Harry Potter is coming to augmented reality! Niantic, the makers of Pokémon Go, and WB Games have pre-announced Harry Potter Wizards Unite, an augmented reality world based on JK Rowling’s enduringly popular books.

Harry Potter Wizards Unite

“Wizards Unite uses state-of-the-art augmented reality technology to reveal the magic all around us,” the company wrote in its pre-announcement. “Explore real-world neighborhoods and cities to discover mysterious artifacts, learn to cast spells, and encounter legendary beasts and iconic characters along the way!”

Harry Potter Universe Made for AR

Sign me up! In fact, I did just that. You can sign up to be “first to know” when Harry Potter Wizards Unite launches at an unspecified date in the future. I expect this to be bigger than Pokémon Go. Not only does Niantic have everything it learned with Pokémon Go, Wizards Unite can be built with iOS 11’s ARKit.

There’s also a lot more material to draw on with the Harry Potter world. There are all manner of things that can simply be seen to be enjoyed, rather than relying on the mechanics of collecting and competition as game anchors.

So far, all we have is a name and a title splash screen, shown above. We’ll update you when more information becomes available.

Artemis from Andy Weir is Out and Here’s Where to Buy It

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 18:54

Andy Weir is famous for his science thriller The Martian, and his highly anticipated second book, Artemis, is available. If you’re champing at the bit to get your copy read on to see where it’s available.

Artemis by Andy Weir

Andy Weir’s Artemis is available on Amazon, iBooks, and more

The book is a near future thriller that takes place on the first city on the moon, Artemis, where a criminal planning the perfect crime uncovers a conspiracy to take over the entire city.

Artemis on Amazon

Of course Amazon has Artemis on release day available in several formats. It costs US$16.49 in hardback, it’s inexplicably $19.95 in paperback, $13.99 for Kindle, and $9.99 as an MP3 CD.

Overnight shipping is available, and your can feed your need for instant gratification with the Kindle version right now.


Artemis is available on Apple’s iBooks Store for $13.99 if you want to start reading right away. You can buy it through the iBoos app on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac.

Barnes & Noble

Sometimes overnight delivery just isn’t good enough when you want to start reading a physical book like Artemis. Barnes & Noble has it in store today for $19.98 in hard back, and is also showing it available in paperback for $19.91, on Nook for $13.99, and as a $23.90 audiobook.

I’m all about shopping local when I can, so I like to visit the independent bookstores near me. Boulder Book Store and Tattered Cover, both in Colorado are my favorites. I really need to visit Portland so I can check out Powell’s, too.

Apple’s Aqua Connect Patent Fight, Firefox Quantum – TMO Daily Observations 2017-11-15

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 18:22, modified at 18:23

Sphereo X2 Wireless Bluetooth Speakers: $29.99

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 18:17

We have a deal on a pair of Sphero X2 Speakers. These wireless Bluetooth speakers come with a charging dock, but allow you to place the speakers wherever you want. They’re $29.99 through us.

iPhone X Review: Here’s What Apple Gets Right, And Wrong

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 15:53, modified at 19:15

Apple’s newest flagship smartphone, the iPhone X, is loaded with new features like an OLED screen, Face ID, and wireless charging. Is it worth the US$999 price tag? Read on to find out.

The iPhone X (pronounced “ten”) measures 5.65-inches tall by 2.79-inches across and 0.3-inches thick. That makes it slightly larger than the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. The iPhone X weighs more than either at 6.14 ounces, but less than the iPhone 8 Plus.

iPhone X size comparison with iPhone 7

iPhone X (right) compared to iPhone 7 (left)

Apple packs its biggest iPhone screen so far into the X at 5.8-inches diagonally, compared to the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus at 5.5-inches. That’s possible because Apple removed the Home button and spread the screen out to the phone’s edges.

iPhone 7 and iPhone X back view

iPhone 7 (left) and iPhone X (right) rear-facing cameras

You don’t get as many choices with the iPhone X. Instead of several color options the iPhone X comes in Space Gray or Silver and both versions have a black front bezel. You also get to choose from two storage capacities: 64 GB for $999, or 256 GB for $1,149.

iPhone 7 and iPhone X edge comparison

iPhone 7 (left) and iPhone X (right) bottom edge

iPhone X OLED Screen

The iPhone X is Apple’s first iPhone model with an OLED screen instead of LCD. At 5.8-inches diagonally it’s bigger than the iPhone 8 Plus display, but Apple packed that into a body that’s only slightly larger than the iPhone 8. That’s because Apple did away with the Home button, and pushed the screen’s dimensions out to the edges of the phone’s body. The end result is a phone that’s almost all display.

Apple calls the iPhone X display “Super Retina” because it’s higher resolution than the Retina display in the iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone X 5.8-inch display is 2436 x 1125 pixels at 458 ppi. The iPhone 8 Plus 5.5-inch screen is 1920 x 1080 at 401 ppi.

You can’t tell the difference between the displays simply by looking for jaggy edges on letters. Instead, it’s all about color and the overall impression the display makes. The colors are richer and deeper but don’t feel over saturated, and everything looks so sharp it almost feels like the display is simulated. In fact, the iPhone X display is so good it feels like someone printed out a high resolution graphic and pasted it on top of the glass.

I’m not into watching movies on my iPhone, but the tests I watched to better appreciate the OLED screen made me feel like my Sony Bravia LCD television is basically crap. That’s saying a lot because this is the best television I’ve ever owned and I really love its image. If you’re looking for the best possible display in an iPhone, just but the X and be done with it.

Screen brightness indoors and outdoors is excellent and held up well under Colorado’s bright sunny skies with Apple’s default settings. I didn’t feel like my eyes were burning out of my head when I was reading in the dark, either.

iPhone X Home screen notch

The iPhone X notch on the Home screen (left) and in an app (right)

The biggest concern I had with the display before getting the iPhone X in my hands—which is a big concern for a lot of other people, too—was the notch. That’s the black strip at the top of the display where the front facing cameras and sensors live. There’s a little screen nubbin on either side of the notch, lovingly called the horns, where you see things like cell signal strength, WiFi, battery remaining, and the time.

Here’s the deal: Notch complaints are much ado about nothing. You’re aware of the notch the first time you look at your iPhone X because everyone told us it’s supposed to be a problem. After a few minutes of using the phone the notch fades from your vision and that’s the end of worrying about it. That held true even for me and I spent days intentionally playing around with apps and wallpapers to see how the notch stands out. Turns out it doesn’t, even when you embrace it—which can be gloriously awesome.

Some people are experiencing a problem where the screen becomes unresponsive to touch when the temperature drops quickly. The problem, they say, happens when stepping outside into the cold from a warm room. A thread on Reddit has been following the issue with people saying they experience the issue when moving from indoors where it’s 70 F to 50 F weather outdoors.

I wasn’t able to replicate the problem going from 70 F indoors to 27 F and snow outdoors. That doesn’t mean this isn’t a real issue for those that experience it; just that it isn’t happening to everyone. Apple says they’re addressing the issue in a future software update.

Next Up: iPone X Cameras, Sound, and Gestures

iPhone X Cameras

Early reports called the iPhone X rear-facing cameras the best in any smartphone. I don’t want to fall victim to hyperbole, but holy crap the cameras are great. Like Apple’s Plus model iPhones, the iPhone X has two rear-facing cameras. They’re both 12 megapixel with one wide angle and the other telephoto. The wide angle lens sports an ƒ/1.8 aperture and the telephoto’s aperture is ƒ/2.4 with a 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom.

iPhone X flower photo outdoors

iPhone X outdoor shot captures reds well

Let’s cut to the chase: coming from non-Plus 4.7-inch iPhones I can say without hesitation the iPhone X cameras are better than any phone I’ve ever used. Granted, going from the single camera in my iPhone 6, 6S, and 7, the X cameras are a big step up—but the difference is more significant than I expected.

Instead of crafting a bunch of artificial conditions to test the iPhone X cameras I put them through the worst possible testing scenarios I could imagine: real world use.

iPhone X city street with bright sky and clouds photo

The iPhone X cameras handled the sky contrast remarkably well

The iPhone X handled outdoor shots very well, which isn’t a surprise. Outdoor lighting tends to be easier on cameras. The real test was comparing the same shots taken from an iPhone 7 and iPhone X. The X photos consistently had better color reproduction and contrast, and shots where skies were blown on on the 7 had more detail.

My low light shots turned out great, too. I snapped photos at a concert in a small venue, which typically has been pretty difficult. The low light everywhere contrasted by the bright stage lights has always proven difficult for my iPhones prior to the X. Now, instead of fiddling with the contrast before taking the photo I can pretty much just point and shoot.

iPhone X low light photo of band on stage

iPhone X is great with low light shots

Brighter areas weren’t blown out while dark areas still had detail, and I finally felt like I had a smartphone camera that gave me what I wanted in my low light shots.

The 7 megapixel front facing camera makes selfies so much better, especially if you use Portrait Mode—a feature previously limited to rear facing cameras on Apple’s Plus model phones. Being able to swap out portrait effects in real time is great and while 7 MP isn’t pro level for photography the iPhone X front facing camera takes some high quality photos. In comparison, my iPhone 7 front facing camera feels a little anemic now.

iPhone X selfie portrait mode with front facing camera

iPhone X Selfie Portrait Mode with out of focus background

And now for the obligatory Animoji discussion: Bag on Animoji all you want, but it’s going to sell phones. Animoji uses the front facing camera to map your facial movements on to animated emoji characters. The set of twelve includes a robot and chicken, unicorn, alien, monkey, cat, dog, fox, pig, panda, rabbit, and smiling pile of poo.

The TrueDepth camera does double duty with Face ID scanning and Animoji, and it’s remarkable. You can watch the animated face match yours in real time with surprising accuracy. You can record up to ten seconds with audio and then share your Animoji with anyone. The great thing is your Animojis are little videos so you aren’t limited to sharing with other iPhone X users. Anyone with a smartphone, tablet, or computer can watch.

While the facial tracking was creepily accurate, it did seem to have trouble with my glasses. My Animoji eyebrows tend to flitter in the animations when I’m wearing my glasses, and that problem goes away when I take them off. Watch the eyebrows in the video above to see the tracking problem with glasses, and the video below without glasses. Still, the whole Animoji thing is more fun than it should be and I’m not surprised at all that Animoji Karaoke is already a huge thing.

iPhone X Sound and Speakers

For everything the iPhone X does it’s easy to forget that it’s also a phone. My first impression when I tested call quality was that something was wrong because everything sounded so different. Turns out that the iPhone X’s audio quality is better than the iPhone 7—and that’s really saying something considering how good the iPhone 7 sounds.

Everyone I called said I sounded better, too. Not only did Apple improve speaker quality with the iPhone X, their engineers improved the microphone quality, too.

I found that held true for speaker phone calls as well. In fact, speaker phone calls sound so good that I’m already in the habit of using that feature at my desk instead of earpods with a mic. It’s probably a good thing I don’t share an office with anyone.

Just like the iPhone 7, Apple includes Lightning Earpods in the box, along with a Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter. If you need to charge while using the Lightning Earpods, Belkin’s dongle with dual Lightning ports is still available and works just fine.

After a year with the iPhone 7 I found the lack of a headphone jack really wasn’t an issue for me and I expect that to be the same with the iPhone X. The place where I have an issue is the lack of a Lightning port on Apple’s Mac computers. I know a lot of people who use their Earpods for Skype and Google Hangouts calls on their Mac in addition to taking calls on their iPhone.

Lightning Airpods aren’t compatible with the Mac, so you you need a second set of earbuds with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, or Bluetooth headphones. Not everyone wants to drop $150 on AirPods, and switching other wireless headphones from your iPhone to your Mac isn’t as quick as moving a cable from one device to another.

iPhone X Gestures

Apple switched up the Home screen gestures we’ve learned over the years, but just for the iPhone X. Without a Home button, some of the things we do with our other iOS devices—like double-press to see the App Switcher—aren’t an option. Apple’s fix was to turn everything that relied on the Home button into a gesture, and to shuffle all those gestures around to new places.

I was leery of what Apple was doing with iPhone X gestures before the phone came out. That quickly changed once I had mine in hand. The gestures seem logical and natural, and I was surprised at how quickly they became second nature. After only a couple days I was swiping up to unlock on my iPhone 7 and my iPads all the time before remembering I had to touch the Home Button. Like an animal.

And that’s the problem with gestures: Apple broke its consistency with the iPhone X. Swipe up is unlock and return to Home screen, everywhere else it’s Control Center. Swipe down is Notification Center, but only from the left horn; Control Center is a swipe down from the right horn. That means I have to pay attention to which device I’m using and remember two unique gesture sets—three if I use my MacBook Pro trackpad.

If you’re an iPhone X and iPad user, get ready for some frustration. Not so much because you need to remember two gesture sets, but because you’ll be annoyed your iPad isn’t the same as your iPhone.

After all that praise, here’s the gesture that really sucks: Reachability. You’ll have to update to iOS 11.1 to experience Reachability for good or ill, and you’ll have to go to Settings > General > Accessibility to enable it. You invoke Reachability by swiping down from the Home bar at the bottom of the screen—when it works.

More often than not I ended up looking at my direct messages in Twitter instead of sliding everything part way down the screen. Apple got a lot right with iPhone X gestures, but not with Reachability.

If you want to learn more about gestures and hardware buttons check out TMO’s iPhone X Starter Guide.

Next up: Face ID, Apple Pay, and Some Complaints

Face ID

Face ID is Apple’s replacement for Touch ID that relies on scanning our faces instead of finger prints to serve as our iPhone passcode and authorize Apple Pay transactions. Since the iPhone X sports an edge-to-edge screen, there isn’t any room for a Home button or the Touch ID sensors it holds. iPhone X solves that problem by using the new TrueDepth camera to scan your face.

Like Touch ID, Face ID stores a unique value, or hash, generated from the scan instead of an image of your face. That hash is tucked away in the Secure Enclave and isn’t shared with Apple. Apple’s goal is to keep your biometric data—either your finger print or face scan—as secure as possible.

Face ID facial scanning process

Face ID scans your face using the front-facing TrueDepth camera

The initial setup for took less than a minute, even with my continued failure to show the right side of my face to the camera. Apple handled that gracefully by showing an animated arrow pointing which way I needed to look.

Apple says it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing glasses or grow or shave facial hair, and so far that’s proven true for me. I set up Face ID while wearing my daily use glasses, then tried it with my computer and sunglasses, and without any at all. Face ID has been fast and reliable for me most of the time and doesn’t feel any slower than Touch ID.

I have, however, had a couple failures. The morning after I set up Face ID failed to recognize me when I tried unlocking my iPhone X in bed just after waking up. The system learns and the next morning it wasn’t a problem at all. The two take aways there are that Face ID really does improve accuracy over time, and I look pretty sorry when I first wake up in the morning.

I also found Face ID to be pretty much worthless when my iPhone is laying flat on a table. Even after trying Dave Hamilton’s suggestion to go to Settings > Face ID & Passcode and turn off Require Attention for Face ID, I still had to pick up my iPhone to unlock it.

Overall I’m really pleased with Face ID and feel like it’s a worthy successor to Touch ID. That said, I have one major sticking point with the feature: Apple Pay.

Apple Pay

For as reliable as Face ID is for me, it surprisingly falls flat with Apple Pay. Every time I tried to use the iPhone X instead of my credit card to pay for something I had the same experience: Hold my iPhone over the credit card terminal, then double-press the side button when when I got the on-screen reminder followed by a socially awkward dance while moving my face around the front-facing cameras trying to get the phone to authenticate. I ultimately have to enter my iPhone passcode to complete the purchase while accepting the fact I ensured no one else in line will ever consider inviting me to their holiday party.

I don’t have an explanation for why Face ID is so quick and reliable everywhere except with Apple Pay for me. I’m hoping—and assuming—the problem is me and once I get more familiar with using Face ID that will go away. Still, the fact that it’s taking more effort to master Face ID with Apple Pay compared to Touch ID is a little frustrating.

iPhone X Battery

The iPhone X packs in a 2716 mAh battery, which is a little more than the iPhone 8 Plus at 2691 mAh. Bigger is better when it comes to battery numbers, but what does that mean for real world use? My worries about my battery conking out part way through the day are gone. I’m not always on the hunt for a charger like I was with my iPhone 7.

That’s a big step up from my old iPhone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is going to get insanely awesome battery life. If you’re watching videos all day long, for example, the battery won’t hold up as well compared to taking a couple calls during the day and responding to the occasional text message.

Like the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, the iPhone X supports Qi compatible wireless chargers. The charger plugs into a power source and you set your phone on its pad to juice up the battery. Wireless is convenient because you don’t have to plug any cables into your phone, but it isn’t a good option when you need to charge up fast.

Wireless charging isn’t very efficient and it’s particularly slow—for now—on the iPhone X. Apple says that’ll change with a software update, but even then it won’t be as fast as using your iPhone’s Lightning cable. That’s just how wireless charging works.

And Now the Complaints

For all of the great features in the iPhone X there’s still a couple things bugging me. First, there’s the psychological stress that comes with the phone’s glass body. I never broke my iPhone 4, which also had a glass front and back, but there’s something about the iPhone X that makes me irrationally worried I’m going to break the phone.

I put mine back in the box within seconds of first taking it out and ran out to buy a case. I hadn’t even turned the phone on or peeled the protective plastic sheet off yet. Once I had a case on the phone I felt comfortable I wasn’t going to magically break it. I’m seriously creeped out when I don’t have a case on my iPhone X.

Second, I also suffer from Apple TV Remote syndrome with the iPhone X. Without the Home button as a visual and tactile cue I pick up my phone upside down surprisingly often. Face ID doesn’t work when the TrueDepth camera is at the bottom of the screen, and unlike the iPad, the screen doesn’t rotate to match the phone’s orientation in your hand.

And finally, the side button (formerly Sleep/Wake) and the volume buttons make for some ridiculously complicated press combinations. Press the side button once and it sleeps your iPhone, but if you press it longer you get Siri. Press twice and Apple Pay kicks in, and press five times for SOS.

Want to power off your phone? That’s the side button and volume down. Screen shot? That’s side button and volume up. Want to hard restart your iPhone? That’s volume up, volume down, then the side button. And don’t get me started on DFU mode. The point is the last time I had to deal with so many arbitrary button presses I was wearing a Timex digital watch.

The Bottom Line

The iPhone X may be the most expensive smartphone Apple has offered to date, but it’s also really impressive. I love the display, the cameras are awesome, and Face ID works so well it pretty much becomes transparent. I’m pleased with the battery life, and overall performance makes the phone feel like a fine-tuned machine. I really like this phone a lot.

Most of the new gestures make sense and are easy to remember, except for Reachability. That one is enough of a hassle that I get frustrated almost every time I try it. It’s also a little confusing hopping over to my iPad Pro and finding the iPhone X gestures don’t work. Maybe next year Apple will get all of its iOS gestures in sync. And I wish Apple hadn’t turned the physical buttons into a complicated collection of presses that the average user won’t remember.

The upfront price tag, starting at $999, may feel steep but Apple and the cell service providers have been pretty clever and taking away that sting by offering their annual trade up programs where you get what amounts to an interest free loan. The bonus is you can trade your phone in every year for the newest model.

All that said, this is the best iPhone Apple has made so far and it sets a pretty high bar for next year’s models. Right now Apple has only itself to beat.

Apple Facing ITC Patent Infringement Investigation Over Aqua Connect Complaint

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-15 14:41

The U.S. International Trade Commission is investigating Apple over patent infringement allegations stemming from a complaint submitted by Aqua Connect and subsidiary Strategic Technology Partners.

ITC investigating Apple over Aqua Connect patent infringement complaint

Aqua Connect patent infringement complaint now an ITC investigation

ITC details about the alleged patent infringement are sparse at the moment. The ITC said in a statement,

The complaint alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States and sale of certain personal computers, mobile devices, digital media players, and microconsoles that infringe patents asserted by the complainants. The complainants request that the USITC issue a temporary exclusion order and a temporary cease and desist order based on a motion for temporary relief, and that the USITC ultimately issue a limited exclusion order and a cease and desist order.

Apple products in the investigation include “certain Apple Mac computers, iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Apple TVs.”

Presumably the ITC complaint relates to a patent infringement lawsuit Aqua Connect filed in October related to AirPlay mirroring which lets users share the screen from one device to another. Wirelessly sharing your Mac’s desktop through an Apple TV to show a presentation, for example, uses AirPlay mirroring.

The ITC hasn’t made any decisions about the merit of Aqua Connect’s complaints, and the case hasn’t been assigned to a judge yet.

Apple Watch Retakes #1 Slot in Wearables in Q3

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-14 23:18, modified on 2017-11-15 04:12

Apple Watch retook the top spot in wearables during the September quarter, according to research firm Canalys. Apple shipped 3.9 million Apple Watch units during the 3rd quarter, including some 800,000 Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular. Those numbers are Canalys estimates, as Apple doesn’t reveal shipping numbers for Apple Watch.

Canalys also said that sales of Apple Watch were suppressed due to limited availability of the Series 3.

Canalys Smartwatch Market Share Estimates for Q3 2017

Canalys Smartwatch Market Share Estimates for Q3 2017

As shown in the chart, competition for the top three spots was tight. Apple was #1 with 23% of the market, while Xiaomi was #2 with 21% of the market. Fitbit came in third with 21%. Huawei was a distant fourth with 6%, while Samsung took the fifth spot with 5%.

Wearables Canalys Analysis

“Apple and Samsung are increasing user stickiness and brand loyalty by adopting an ecosystem strategy, which includes wearables and audio accessories,” Canalys Research Analyst Mo Jia said in a statement. “Smartphone vendors must reevaluate their respective smartwatch strategies to derive more value beyond smartphone growth.”

It’s hard to see the argument that Samsung is doing this same thing Apple is doing based on those numbers. But maybe that’s just nitpicking.

Market share based on outside estimates is tricky, at best, and there’s a limit to how closely one should take these numbers. They do, however, offer a way to keep abreast of trends in any given space. The trend I’m seeing is that wearables are being dominated by Apple, a fitness tracking company (Fitbit), and a we-make-all-kinds-of-random-wearables company (Xiaomi).

That leaves Android Wear and whatever Samsung thinks it’s doing an increasing afterthought in this market.

To that end, Canalys Analyst Jason Low said, “Google must show stronger commitment to help Android Wear vendors, which are now mostly watchmakers and fashion brands, to further improve the user experience and app ecosystem. Otherwise, the market will see further consolidation, as vendors such as Apple, Samsung and Fitbit dominate with their watch software platforms.”

Firstly, it’s weird to include Samsung at the top. I mean, really weird. Sub out Xiaomi for Samsung in that quote, and it makes a lot more sense. Secondly, Canalys’s recipe for Google and Android Wear isn’t bad advice, but those aren’t the kinds of things Google excels at. Accordingly, look for Apple, Xiaomi, and Fitbit to continue to dominate, each with very different strategies.

How Many Times Can You Fold a Podcast? – Mac Geek Gab 683

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-14 23:10

Note: Shownotes are in progress…

Chapters/Timestamps/Stuff mentioned:

Apple’s Lisa Jackson Joins Execs from JetBlue and Others to Discuss Sustainability in Open Forum

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-14 21:52

The Washington Post is organizing a forum called A World in Balance for business execs, policy makers, and experts to discuss sustainability. Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives at Apple, will participate.

“Speakers will debate the tradeoffs involved in conserving Earth’s natural resources, discuss new models for sustainable business practices and examine the relationship between democracy and sustainable development,” The Washington Post said.

Scientists’ Warning

The announcement comes the same week as the journal BioScience published a paper cosigned by 15,000 scientists from around the world. That paper, “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice,” is a follow up to a 1992 paper that argued that humans are “on a collision course with nature.”

A World in Balance takes place on Thursday, November 16th, at 9:00 AM EST. You can sign up to be notified of the live streaming event.

Mac Caddy on Kickstarter Sits on Your iMac, Includes Camera Cover

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-14 21:01, modified at 21:02

Check out the Mac Caddy on Kickstarter. It’s a clip-on caddy designed to specifically fit on the back of current iMacs. That’s the slim edge 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac design from late 2012 to current 2017 models. In addition to being a caddy to help reduce desk clutter, it also has a built-in camera cover for those concerned about privacy. There are cable slots on the side, as well as compartments for your stuff. The company has raised US$2,600 towards a goal of $18,000 so far, with 27 days to go. Funding is earmarked for tooling to put the Mac Caddy into production. As of this writing, there are Early bird slots available for $30 that will net you a Mac Caddy. As someone with a messy desk, it instantly resonated with me.

Mozilla Launches Firefox Quantum for Mac, Twice as Fast and More Customizable

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-14 20:36, modified at 20:49

Mozilla launched a new version of its Firefox browser called Quantum the organization says is faster and more customizable than previous versions. Quantum is being seen as a major effort to gain back market share from Google’s Chrome with a new “Photon” user interface and a new, speedier engine.

And out of the box, it looks great, is super fast, and quite responsive.

The Mac Observer on Firefox Quantum

The Mac Observer on Firefox Quantum

Firefox Quantum

“What you’ll notice first is that the new Firefox is blazing fast,” Mozilla wrote on its blog. “In fact, you’ll enjoy speeds up to twice as fast as a year ago. It’s also more powerful. We’ve rebuilt Firefox from the ground up to focus on how you use the Web today to watch, listen, create and play without limits. We’re excited to deliver a browser that feels completely different — modern, quick and efficient. We think you’ll agree: It’s a quantum leap forward in how you’ll experience the Internet. ”

The group also claimed there are 265,252,859,191,742,656,903,069,040,640,000 ways to customize the toolbar. I haven’t added them all up, yet, but Photon is very customizable. Oh, and that’s 265 nonillion, for those keeping score at home.

Firefox Quantum (version 57) is free, and available for Mac, iOS, Windows, Linux, and Android.

O-H-A?-O State Trolls Apple for the Autocorrect Bug

Permalink - Posted on 2017-11-14 19:03, modified at 20:08

Oh my, but this makes me laaaaugh. Ohio State University trolled Apple for the now-corrected iOS autocorrect bug that turned the letter “i” into an A with a mystery symbol. And it was some pretty expect trolling. Below is a tweet iDownloadBlog found from someone at the college’s football game against Oklahoma State University. There are other tweets, too, but the point is that’s some funny ^#%@.