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Our first look at the redesigned Apple TV remote boasts more helpful buttons [Update: almost, but not quite]

One of the complaints regarding the Apple TV is its remote. It’s not well-received by a lot of people out there in the wild, and it’s typically one of the only negative marks given to Apple’s set-top box. But the company may be looking to right that ship with the remote’s upcoming redesign.

Update (03/31/2021)Turns out that, as mentioned in the original report, this is actually a remote that Apple designed in collaboration with cable companies. This remote is actually available now, distributed by Universal Electronics. The guide button on the remote was a clue that this could indeed be the case.

The original article continues below.

9to5Mac has the report today, giving us our first look at what’s believed to be the upcoming, all-new and redesigned Apple TV remote. The new “Siri Remote” will be longer than the current iteration of the remote, featuring what can probably be safely described as a more “traditional” design. To that end, it looks like the new remote will feature a lot more helpful and straightforward design.

The original report says that the new remote is internally identified as “B519”. It will feature a navigation wheel, which automatically hearkens back to the iPod of old. Or the first Apple TV remote, for that matter. The new remote will also include the addition of more helpful buttons in general, including the ability to skip ahead and back, a button for on/off, a channel guide button, and much more.

That center button is directly referenced to in the latest tvOS 14.5 beta, too.

What’s interesting is that this might not actually be the remote Apple includes with the new Apple TV. As noted by iGeneration.fr not too long ago, Apple is said to be working on a redesigned remote for cable TV customers. If that is indeed the case and this is what we’re looking at, this could be the remote that those specific customers pick up with their cable box.

It’s possible that Apple will include the current Apple TV Siri Remote in the box with any new set-top box it launches in the future.

We’ll just have to wait and see how this pans out. Considering how much bigger this remote looks in comparison to the current remote, Apple may not be able to include it in the box anyway. But, for folks who aren’t a fan of the current Siri Remote, fingers crossed that Apple can find a way to get this new, button-friendly remote packaged with the new set-top box.

What do you think of this new design?

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tvOS 14.5 beta may hint at a redesigned Apple TV remote with a ‘center button’

Along with rumors swirling around that Apple is planning on introducing a new Apple TV set-top box, a new remote is expected to come along with it. And now tvOS is popping in to throw a reference our way to that potential future, too.

As reported today by MacRumors, the latest developer beta Apple seeded for tvOS 14.5 references a new Apple TV remote. One that’s equipped with a “Center Button”. As you can imagine, that doesn’t necessarily describe the current Apple TV remote in any meaningful way, so it does seem to hint that a new, redesigned remote is in the works.

Within tvOS 14.5’s code, it reads, “Press the center button or the touch surface to continue”. You can see that reference in the tweet from developer Steve Moser just below:

Now, as noted in the original report, there may be a hiccup here. The fourth- and fifth-generation Apple TV does not have a remote with a center button equipped. However, the old “Apple Remote” does include a center button — and that remote is available for the older second- and third-generation set-top boxes. What’s more, that older remote is also compatible with the current Apple TV models, so this line of code could be referencing that.

From the report:

The specific code that was found is in a “setup” app, which would make more sense for a new remote rather than an older remote, but we don’t know for sure that this is a reference to a new ‌Apple TV‌ remote option. If it is indeed something new, the upcoming ‌Apple TV‌ remote could perhaps feature a design similar to the remote app on the iPhone, which features a large touch area, a main center Menu button, and side buttons for accessing Siri, play/pause, the Home screen, and search.

So, nothing guaranteed here. But it could very well be a hint that new hardware is indeed coming down the pipeline.

In related news, Apple recently dropped the reference to “Siri Remote” from tvOS 14.5, and renamed the “Home Button” to “TV Button”. So, those could be additional clues that something new is in the works. And of course, it was reported just recently that Apple is indeed working on a redesigned Apple TV remote, adding fuel to that particular fire.

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Get this 1TB portable SSD for just $130, and more of today’s top tech deals

Adding storage to you computer or tablet doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Take this portable SSD from Western Digital, for example. It offers 1TB of added storage, reads and writes at blazing speeds up to 1050MB/s, and right now it’s just $130.

What you need to know:

  • Blazing fast NVMe technology with speeds up to 1050MB/s and write speeds of up to 1000MB/s.
  • Password enabled 256-bit AES hardware encryption
  • Shock and vibration resistant. Drop resistant up to 6.5ft
  • Cross compatible USB 3.2 Gen-2 and USB-C (USB-A for older systems)
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, etc (may have to be reformatted)
  • Has an Amazon rating of 4.7 stars on over 1,100 reviews
  • Typically priced around $155 – sale price ends today!

Buy for $130

Amazon’s popular Fire HD 8 tablet is down to just $60

Get $10 off this highly-rated 90W GaN USB-C charger

Get this highly-rated sound bar with Bluetooth 5.0 for just $55

Discounted Apple products:

  • Apple Mac mini M1 – this the base model with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. $30 off. Buy for $670
  • Apple Watch Series 6 40mm GPS – get the latest Apple Watch at a steep discount. Buy for $374
  • Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad – this is the new one with the touch pad. Works with 11-inch Pro and newest Air. $100 off Buy for $199

Other notable tech discounts:

  • Snatch, Ted, Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, and more comedies on sale in iTunes for just $5
  • OtterBox Commuter Series Case – if you have an iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max, check out this deal on a highly rated case. Buy for $21
  • 1-year Playstation Plus membership – get access to multiplayer online games, free games, discount games, and much more. Normally $60. Buy for $30
  • Amazon Fire TV Stick + Food Network bundle – includes a 1-year subscription to Food Network’s Kitchen service. Buy for $40

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Apple TV+ brings on Zennen Clifton as creative executive

Apple TV+ continues to add new content to its lineup on a semi-regular basis (with a lot of films and series still in early development), and sometimes that happens on the executive side, too.

Today, Deadline is reporting that Apple TV+ has added one more to its executive list, bringing on veteran Zennen Clifton in a creative executive role. Clifton has been in the entertainment business for a long time, starting off at Endeavor/WME and moving on to Yahoo! Studios at one point. His last gig, from which he left to join Apple in January of this year, was executive vice president at 3BD Networks.

At 3BD Networks, Clifton worked with direct-to-consumer content initiatives, so exactly what Apple TV+ deals with on a regular basis.

From the report:

He joins from digital entertainment studio 3BD Networks, where he was EVP, leading the company’s direct-to-consumer content initiatives and working at its branded content studio.

Clifton’s new role with Apple TV+ is as a creative executive, and he’ll be answering to Matt Cherniss, Apple’s current head of development for Apple TV+. Cherniss joined Apple TV+ back in 2017.

Clifton will be working on quite a bit of development with Apple TV+, both for what’s already in the pipeline and what has yet to be announced (or reported on by the outlets). For Apple, this is a big get as Clifton has plenty of experience in the industry as a whole.

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How to use PhotoBooth for your Instagram story

Instagram offers some great features for creating memorable stories and posts. You can use Multi-Capture to quickly snap several photos for your story. And you can use PhotoBooth for that “photo booth” look, which is what we’ll walk through here.

Just like sitting in that photo booth at the mall, you can capture four pictures of you and your pals, pets, or just yourself. Then, add them to your Instagram story for something a little different. Here’s how to use the PhotoBooth feature in Instagram.

Use PhotoBooth on Instagram

Open the Instagram app on your iPhone and get ready to use this fun feature.

1) Tap the plus sign at the top and swipe to the right to select Story.

2) On the side of the story screen, tap PhotoBooth. If you only see icons, tap the arrow at the bottom of the list to expand it and see the icons with labels.

3) Use the shutter button when you’re ready to start. The feature will count down from three seconds and then capture four pictures a few seconds apart, just like a physical photo booth. You’ll see the delay between each shot as a disappearing square, so you can prepare for the next one.

Instagram PhotoBooth Capture

Then share your story as you normally would. Your story will then play through each photo in the order it was captured, similar to how Multi-Capture photos work.

Do more with Instagram

For other ways to create entertaining stories or posts, check out these additional Instagram articles.

  • How to use Multi-Capture to instantly add photos to your Instagram story
  • What are and how to share stories with Close Friends on Instagram
  • How to add music to your Instagram story
  • You can now share Apple Music lyrics over iMessage or as Instagram Stories
  • How to post on Instagram from your computer

Wrapping it up

If you’re planning to snap some selfies or photos with friends for your Instagram story, give PhotoBooth a try for something different. And be sure to let us know what you think of the feature!

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The best journal apps for Mac to express your thoughts

While you can use a journal on your iPhone and iPad, and certainly write in a physical diary, there are advantages to journaling on your Mac.

First, if you sit down at your computer every day anyway, you can easily take a few moments to jot down your thoughts when you take a break. Second, it’s a comfortable way to journal. Many people these days prefer typing over writing. So using a nice keyboard rather than a pen or smaller mobile device keyboard is easier. And finally, there are some terrific journaling apps for Mac that make the process really enjoyable. You can use photos and formatting or enjoy a simplistic experience.

So if you’re ready, we’ll show you some of the best apps for journaling on your Mac.

Journaling apps for Mac

Here are the apps we’ll cover, in no particular order…
hide

1)
Journaling apps for Mac

2)
Day One

3)
Diarly: Diary, Journal & Notes

4)
Reflection – Personal Journal

5)
Morning Pages – Daily Journal

6)
Diarium – Journal / Diary

Day One

Day One Journal App for Mac

No journal app list would be complete without one of the most popular tools, Day One. And there are plenty of reasons this diary tool gets a lot of love.

Day One features:

  • Go beyond words and use photos, videos, recordings, and drawings to express yourself.
  • Relive memorable moments with the On This Day feature to see what you captured the previous year.
  • Add tags, your location, activities, photos, files, and more to your entries.
  • Create reminders, set up a password, change the appearance, and more.

Day One is available on all your Apple devices. So if you enjoy it, consider upgrading to sync with your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. This way, you can capture your surroundings, moments, and activities on the go.

  • Availability: Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Safari extension, and Android
  • Cost: Free with paid premium versions for additional features

Diarly: Diary, Journal & Notes

Diarly Journal App for Mac

Diarly is another great journal app for Mac. You have a clean, focused writing space, easy navigation, and customization options for the perfect writing experience.

Diarly features:

  • Customize the appearance for light or dark mode, font style and size, line width and height, and image size.
  • Use headers, ordered lists, checklists, and quotes.
  • Insert links, files, locations, and weather.
  • View a timeline of your entries, notes you jot down, a map of locations, filtered views, and more.

With Diarly, you have a simple interface that lets you focus on your words. You can also set up daily prompts, goals, and notifications so you never forget to record your thoughts.

  • Availability: Mac, iPhone, and iPad
  • Cost: Free with a paid subscription for additional features

Reflection – Personal Journal

Reflection Journal App for Mac

If you’re looking for a minimalistic journal app that’s free with no in-app purchases or subscriptions, check out Reflection. This app makes capturing your thoughts simple, making it a definite personal favorite.

Reflection features:

  • Apply color-coded labels to entries like Gratitude, Inspiration, or whatever you like.
  • Use markdown for headers, lists, quotes, and formatted text to get creative with your entries.
  • Insert images to go along with your words or instead of them.
  • Create different journals to hold specific entries, bookmark important writings, and customize the appearance for light or dark mode.

Sometimes less is more. With Reflection, you’ll appreciate the simplicity and ability to concentrate on your words rather than adding all those bells and whistles.

  • Availability: Mac
  • Cost: Free

Morning Pages – Daily Journal

Morning Pages Journal App for Mac

If you’re interested in getting insights about what you write, take a look at Morning Pages. After you jot down your thoughts, you’ll learn about the emotions in your words. How much positivity or negativity do you capture in your journal? Morning Pages will tell you.

Morning Pages features:

  • Set a daily reminder to keep up with your journal.
  • Password-protect the app so no one can invade your thoughts.
  • Enjoy a simple interface with distraction-free writing.
  • View your stats for the number of words you write, how many days in a row, and average writing time.

For something unique in a journal app, Morning Pages may help you understand what you’re feeling by the words you’re writing. Give it a try and you might just appreciate this distinctive feature.

  • Availability: Mac, iPhone, iPad, and the web
  • Cost: Free with a paid subscription for additional features

Diarium – Journal / Diary

Diarium Journal App for Mac

For a journal that connects your contacts, calendar, and social media accounts, Diarium can include who and what is important to you in your entries.

Diarium features:

  • Receive daily reminders so you never forget to record what’s happening.
  • Include photos, audio, drawings, locations, people, and tags in your entries.
  • Password-protect your diary to keep it private.
  • Enjoy an intuitive interface that works like Microsoft Word with formatting for fonts and lists.

Diarium is another terrific journal app for Mac that lets you add more than words to your entries. The app is free, but if you want to sync it with your other devices to journal anywhere, anytime, take a look at the optional paid subscription.

  • Availability: Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows
  • Cost: Free with a paid subscription for additional features

Wrapping it up

Everyone’s tastes and preferences are different. That’s why you’ll find such a variety of features in journal apps for Mac. You might love adding audio recordings or drawings to your entries, while your friend might appreciate a basic and clean interface with words alone.

Let us know which one or more of these you plan to try. Or, if you prefer a different journal app for Mac, share it below and let us know what makes it special!

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iOS 14.5 will add a tool for battery recalibration in iPhone

Earlier today, Apple seeded the sixth beta of iOS 14.5 to developers. Now that the pre-release software is out there in the wild, new discoveries are being made. Including a new tool Apple will include with the latest update.

As first discovered by 9to5Mac today, Apple will be adding a battery recalibration tool alongside the public launch of iOS 14.5. This new feature will let users themselves recalibrate the device’s internal battery if performance is not where it is expected to be.

The upcoming feature was discovered in the iOS 14.5 beta code, hinting at its impending arrival with that software update. Another strong indicator that the feature is incoming is the fact that the code also includes a URL that leads to an official Apple support document regarding the upcoming addition.

From the support document:

iOS 14.5, coming later this spring, includes an update where the battery health reporting system will recalibrate maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max to address inaccurate estimates of battery health reporting for some users. Symptoms of this bug include unexpected battery drain behavior or, in a small number of instances, reduced peak performance capability. This inaccurate battery health reporting does not reflect an issue with actual battery health.

As you can see from the above excerpt, the feature is apparently only tuned for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. There’s no direct mention of the iPhone 12 lineup in Apple’s support document.

Apple’s documentation also says that this process can actually take weeks to complete, after the user initiates it. The battery recalibration will take place during the regular recharge cycles. Once the process does complete, though, the updated information regarding peak performance capability and maximum capacity percentage will display in the Settings app for the battery.

If the recalibration is not successful, though, the software will suggest the user take their device to an Apple Authorized Service Provider:

Recalibration of the battery health reporting system was not successful. An Apple Authorized Service Provider can replace the battery free of charge to restore full performance and capacity.

Still no word on a specific launch date, but the iOS 14.5 update is expected to arrive sometime this spring.

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How to remove Google’s tracking cookie from your embedded YouTube videos

If you embed YouTube videos in your own blog posts, you may want to remove Google’s invasive tracking to both protect the privacy of your visitors and make your site faster. In this tutorial, we’ll teach you how to embed YouTube videos in a privacy-enhanced way.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this tutorial…
Show the table of contents

Why does YouTube set a tracking cookie?

Google sets a tracking cookie for YouTube videos for marketing and advertising purposes. Because YouTube tracking violates the European Union’s strict GDPR laws, Google was forced to offer a GDPR-compliant alternative which uses no data-collecting HTTP cookies.

Although Apple’s Safari browser is blocking ad trackers by default, YouTube tracking cannot be avoided if you embed videos as you normally would, by linking to them on youtube.com. With a simple change, however, you can get rid of YouTube’s data-collecting HTTP cookie in embeds.

An image displaying a YouTube logo set against a black background to illustrate the tutorial about how to remove YouTube tracking cookie

Follow along with us as we show you how to remove YouTube tracking.

How to remove YouTube tracking

With a few clicks, you can copy a privacy-enhanced embed code that basically links to a privacy-enhanced YouTube URL which ensures no data-collecting cookie is sent.

  1. Open youtube.com in your favorite desktop web browser, like Safari.
  2. Start playing a video you’d like to embed in your own posts.
  3. Choose the option labeled “Share” underneath the video.
  4. Hit “Embed” in the Share popup.
  5. Scroll down and tick the box next to “Enable privacy-enhanced mode.”

Doing so will change the URL-embed to use the youtube-nocookie.com format.

“Privacy Enhanced Mode allows you to embed YouTube videos without using cookies that track viewing behavior,” according to a support document on the Google website. “This means no activity is collected to personalize the viewing experience.”

If you’re not using YouTube’s own embed codes in your own posts, you can also do this manually by changing the domain for the embed URL in your HTML code from https://www.youtube.com to https://www.youtube-nocookie.com, as we noted earlier.

→ How to loop YouTube videos

“Since this is a different domain, network administrators also need to add the domain youtube-nocookie.com to their firewall whitelist in addition to youtube.com,” Google cautions. Videos embedded in this mode will not influence the viewer’s browsing experience on YouTube. Also, this mode is only available for embedded players on websites.

How to verify if YouTube’s privacy-enhanced mode works

You can verify that this is working by using Safari’s Privacy Report feature that displays a list of known trackers that have been blocked from tracking you when you visit a website.

  1. Load up the original webpage with the video embedded the usual way.
  2. Choose “Privacy Report”from the Safari menu.
  3. Memorize the number of trackers flagged.
  4. Now replace the embedded video with its non-tracking variant.
  5. Choose “Privacy Report” again.

The number of trackers flagged in Safari should decrease by one.

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Siri adds a pair of new voices and will no longer default to a female voice in iOS 14.5

Apple is currently working on releasing the latest major update to iOS 14. The company just seeded the sixth beta of iOS 14.5 earlier today. And it turns out the upcoming new software will feature a pretty big change for Siri.

Apple has been tweaking its digital assistant for years now, aiming to improve its functionality for users. While that will remain the case, Apple is making a different kind of change with the upcoming launch of iOS 14.5 (via TechCrunch). In an effort to tackle bias in voice interfaces (which predominantly lean towards a female voice), Apple is making it so that Siri will no longer default to the female voice it does now.

This means that, after the public launch of iOS 14.5, choosing Siri’s default voice will now be part of the setup process when getting a new handset. And, with folks already using their device and upgrading to iOS 14.5, they will be able to choose Siri’s voice as well.

Compact Siri on iPhone at Desk

Apple is adding a bit of diversity to the mix, too. The company is adding a pair of new voices for customers to choose from:

We’re excited to introduce two new Siri voices for English speakers and the option for Siri users to select the voice they want when they set up their device,” a statement from Apple reads. “This is a continuation of Apple’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, and products and services that are designed to better reflect the diversity of the world we live in.

According to the original report from TC, the two new voices utilize “source talent recordings”, and then are run through Apple’s own Neural text-to-speech engine. The goal is to keep the organic feeling to the voice assistant, no matter what speaking voice Siri is using at the time. From the report, apparently the new voices sound very good:

I’ve heard the new voices and they sound pretty fantastic, with natural inflection and smooth transitions. They’ll be a welcome addition of choice to iOS users. I’ll embed some samples here after the beta drops.

The new voices are available or English speakers, but they will be available across the globe, according to the report.

Do you use a different voice for Siri, rather than the default female one?

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Apple seeds sixth betas of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, macOS 11.3, tvOS 14.5, and watchOS 7.4 to developers

Apple on Wednesday went ahead and seeded the latest betas of its popular operating systems to developers.

Today, Apple seeded the sixth betas of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, macOS Big Sur 11.3, tvOS 14.5, and watchOS 7.4 to developers. As is par for the course with these pre-release versions of the software, it’s meant for development purposes only. As such, it shouldn’t be installed on a daily driver, as the software may still have some technical issues that can impede every day use.

To install iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5’s latest developer beta, registered developers can simply install the new software as an over-the-air (OTA) update on registered devices. The same can be said for the other updates as well.

Here’s what’s new in iOS 14.5

As mentioned above, Apple is adding quite a bit into the newest iOS version. Here are the major bullet points:

  • Support for 5G in dual-SIM mode for iPhone 12: Apple’s newest iPhones are equipped with both a physical SIM card and a digital eSIM. This is a dual-SIM design, making it possible to have two separate phone numbers on the same device. Right now, dual-SIM supports LTE. However, that will change with the public release of iOS 14.5.
  • Apple Fitness+ adds AirPlay 2 support: One of the drawbacks of Apple’s fitness-centric subscription service was the fact it didn’t support AirPlay 2 at launch. So, as of right now, you need an Apple TV set-top box to watch the workouts on your primary TV. Either that, or rely on your iPhone or iPad to watch the workouts. That’s changing with iOS 14.5, as the new software adds support for casting Fitness+ to AirPlay 2-enabled devices. It won’t allow for showing real-time metrics on the screen, though.
  • iOS 14.5 will let Apple Watch owners unlock their iPhone while wearing a mask: Another oft-requested feature, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Apple doesn’t support Touch ID in it is newest iPhones, which can make unlocking with Face ID while wearing a mask a pain. But Apple is helping with that. Apple Watch owners will be able to confirm unlocking their iPhones while wearing a mask with iOS 14.5.
  • Support for new wireless game controllers: iOS already supports a range of wireless controllers, mostly to help with playing games available in Apple Arcade. But the support also makes it possible to play games not available in Apple’s subscription service. With iOS 14.5 beta 1, Apple is adding support for the newest game controllers on the market: Sony’s DualSense controller for the PlayStation 5, and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X controllers.
  • Siri lets you choose a default music streaming app: With iOS 14.5, users will be able to select a default music app for streaming content. This means users will no longer have to specify to use Spotify (or another service) to play a song. They can simply set it as the default, ask Siri to play the song, and it will use the correct service to play the audio.
  • iOS 14.5 adds Find My support for some Beats headphones: In addition to the other features, iOS 14.5 also adds Find My support for certain Beats-branded headphones. That includes the Powerbeats Pro and Flex headphones.

The other tidbits

And here are some additional changes in the upcoming update:

  • Multi-user support for Apple Card: Yet another feature being added to something that probably should have been present right from the jump. With the impending launch of iOS 14.5, Apple will add multi-user support for the Apple Card at some point in the future. It will handle this via Family Sharing, and account owners will be able to track spending, invite family members to share the card, and more. Unlike the other features, though, this is just a tease. There’s no specific information saying this feature will arrive with the public launch of iOS 14.5. However, it’s certainly possible it rolls out then, though.
  • There’s a new interface in the Settings app and Watch app for when your software is up-to-date.
  • Apple has tweaked the interface, albeit slightly, in the Podcasts app
  • There’s a new “Hey Siri, call emergency” feature
  • Apple is said to be working on the A14X processor, hinted at in a previous beta of iOS 14.5.

The latest betas are available now.