Everything You Should Know About the Latest iOS Update

From unlocking your iPhone with a face mask on to having more control in terms of app tracking, here’s everything you should know about the iOS 14.5 .

The 3rd of May 2021 saw Apple iPhone users scrambling to update their iOS versions to the tech giant’s newest firmware release. Regarded as the manufacturer’s most controversial iPhone operating system update yet, 14.5 packs new updates in user privacy, Face ID unlocking, the beloved emojis, Music app, and other security enhancements.

Why is it “controversial”?

Even before iOS 14.5 arrived on our iPhones, tabloids and news outlets left and right were already rushing to release pieces on how the new iOS firmware update will affect Facebook and other applications that rely on ads for revenue.

The part of the feature-packed update that made it controversial was the app tracking transparency (ATT) feature that gives iOS device users the option to allow or disallow applications from tracking their activities in exchange for more relevant advertisements.

Before the new Apple update, users weren’t explicitly informed about app tracking and how applications such as Facebook use their data. Most were unaware that applications can track their movements in other, non-relevant ways on their iPhone or smartphone.

The controversial part of this was Facebook and others using these divergent methods as a way to jack up their revenue. They don’t earn on subscriptions, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had already expressed (when he appeared before Congress in 2018) that Facebook relies on ads to make money.

For other applications that make money the same way, iOS 14.5 can cost these companies a vast amount of money. The update even led to a publicized fallout between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Users disabling apps from tracking means these applications won’t be able to get their usage data from the date on other applications, such as shopping apps. Advertisers, frustrated, know they wouldn’t pay the same price for less, or no data. Before the new iOS 14 update, users would generally notice that products they’d been eyeing on other applications show up on Facebook Ads – this is a specific product of app tracking.

More on the big features

Unlocking iPhone With Face Mask On

Another iOS 14.5 feature that made headlines was that users can now unlock their iPhones even with a face mask. This feature came to the rescue, albeit a bit late, of iPhone users struggling to put their masks down to unlock their iPhone using Face ID.

Some headlines, however, can be a tad misleading. What Apple might not tell you from the start is that this feature requires one to have an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch will let you bypass Face ID and unlock your phone. This requires both the iPhone and Watch to be close to each other, or else you’d have to put your mask down for a Face ID unlock or type your PIN.

Apple Maps crowdsourcing

iOS 14.5’s new Apple Maps adapts a key feature from Waze. The latter is the most popular one of its kind to allow real drivers to crowdsource accidents, speed traps, and other hazards on the road. The new iOS update saw Apple’s native map app allowing users to do the same.

You can now report accidents, hazards, and speed traps you encounter yourself with your voice and Siri, allowing you to report these things without having to take your eyes off the road.

Other feature updates

A lot came with the new iPhone update. Aside from the ATT updates and face mask unlocks, none of the updates were landscape-changing. But iPhone users did receive 200 new emojis, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, new Siri voices, battery health calibration, PS5 and Xbox controller support, dual-sim 5G support, and many others.

What do these features mean for consumers like me?

The ATT update would change your experience on the internet by a lot, and you probably won’t even notice it. You’ll see fewer ads that seem all too familiar, and if you’re one of those users who are heavily aware and conscious about their data, you’re probably happy about this ATT update.

Another thing, the face mask unlock feature would only benefit you if you own an Apple Watch and have it paired with your iPhone, which isn’t the case for every iPhone user enjoying the new update.

As for maintaining your iPhone’s performance, you can rely on this iOS update to patch a few things up for you software-wise, but if you have problems with your hardware, you’re better off reaching out to repair stores that specialize in iPhone repair. If this is where you’re at, call or visit us at Cell Phone Fix today!

Play It Safe: Top 5 Family-Friendly Apps for Kids

Thanks to COVID-19, kids are spending a lot more time on their devices. Whether it’s a MacBook Air for school, the iPad for music lessons, or just an iPhone 8 for regular screen time, kids are in front of screens more than ever before. Let’s use that time wisely! We’ve done our research and have found some of the top education apps for children. Check out a few of the options we’ve come up with:

Goodness Shapes

Age Range. 3-6 

If you’re a parent of a 3-6 year old, you know that they can be handful sometimes (did we sometimes? We meant always). You always have to keep your eyes peeled, waiting for them to run towards your freshly painted wall with an uncapped Sharpie. And let’s not get started with entertaining them on road trips or doctors visits. The simple solution is to give your toddler a phone or tablet, enjoy a little peace and quiet, and try not to think about how much screen time they’ve already had. Take away some of that guilt and try out the Goodness Shapes app! They are never too young to learn their shapes, so take that screen time and let the learning begin. 

Take some time to sit with them as they play – several studies have shown that co-playing with your children leads to faster development and better engagement.

ABCmouse.com 

Age Range. 2-8 

Want to take learning to the next level? Try ABCmouse. Covering topics like math and reading while also including music and art, this app really has it all. Depending on your child’s age, you can purchase different bundles that increase with difficulty. Get started with a 30-day trial and see how your kids like it. With ABCmouse, you can ensure your child’s time spent on the iPad or Galaxy tablet is enjoyable, but still educational.

Quick Math Jr.

Age Range. 4-8 

Time for some honesty – who still counts with their fingers? Well, you’re not alone. We all know we should have taken our math classes more seriously in school, but sometimes it was just plain boring. Luckily for your children, they live in an age booming with exciting – and helpful! – math apps. Quick Math Jr. is a great outlet for some of that loose energy, keeping kids engaged with math problems and puzzles. This simple app makes math an enjoyable experience with challenges and games designed for kids ages 4-8.

Duolingo

Age Range. 10+

The younger you start learning a language the better. To reach a high language proficiency, it’s best to start learning at around 10 years old, according to a Scientific American article. While Duolinguo can’t necessarily ensure total language proficiency, the app will help them build the foundation that will serve them well in future language courses. Another great part of Duolingo is that your child can complete English grammar lessons as well! Get your kids started early with the Duolingo app so they can take their language learning to the next level.

Swift Playgrounds

Age Range. 9+ 

We all know that learning how to code is a great advantage, but like math, learning to code sounds incredibly dull. That’s where Swift Playground comes in! This genius app allows your kid to start learning to code in a fun and engaging environment. While you child may not become the next big tech giant, giving them that extra coding skill will be a great help. From website building to video game creation, coding is a vital tool that your kid can use for years to come.

Sorting Through Old Photos and Contacts – Do You Need Them All?

We’ve all been there before — taking multiple photos from different angles just to make sure you get the best shot possible (even though most of them aren’t worth sharing). Or taking a hundred selfies with a hundred different faces only to just post one on Instagram. And if you’ve really gotten into phone photography after reading our iPhone 12 camera blog, you probably have a camera roll full of test shots that you’ll never edit or upload. And remember adding that one “friend” into your contacts but then never messaging them? So what should you do with all of those photos and contacts you no longer need?

In this blog, we’ll cover a couple of reasons why you should consider sorting through your old photos and contacts. After all, 2021 could be your year of productivity and efficiency (check out our 2 cents on that topic)!

How Should You Clean Out Your Photos and Contacts?

1. Organization

If you’re anything like us, your phone’s camera roll is probably anything but organized. And you probably don’t want to waste a ton of space on photos and videos you will never use or upload to social media. But with our tips in hand, you’ll have an organized camera roll before you know it!

For your first step in the organization process, we recommend creating albums for your photos and categorizing them that way. You can organize by timeline, by people, by events, or any category you want! That way, the next time you’re looking for a specific photo, it will be at the tip of your fingers.

And if you’re overwhelmed by the mass of photos in your camera roll, you can select photos in bulk and transfer them to a specific album as well. It’s quick and organized!

2. Save on the Cloud

Not quite sure if you’re ready to part with all of those photos just yet? Upload them to the Cloud! This option is for iPhone users only, of course, but it allows you to store your images elsewhere and free up some space on your phone in the process. As long as you have internet access, you’ll be able to transfer your photos from your phone to the Cloud.

3. Delete, Delete!

This is the not-so-fun part — we know. But just remember that the best part of a moment captured in a photo is the moment itself. Just think about how many duplicate, blurry, and screenshotted images are just sitting on your phone! Delete any photos that just don’t stand out to you, because that probably means you’ll never use them for anything. And in the end, decluttering will feel good — trust us.

4. Establish a “Cleaning Out Routine”

Get into the habit of cleaning out your photos by setting a weekly or monthly reminder to do so. Or you could even set a weekly reminder to organize them and a monthly reminder to delete the ones you no longer need/want!

Don’t put it off any longer; now that you have the tips and tricks to sort through your phone’s photos and contacts, go ahead and go for it! And if you need any assistance along the way, don’t hesitate to give Cell Phone Fix a call.

These iPhone 12 Camera Tips Will Make You a Phone Photographer Pro

Productivity in 2021: Apps That Work on Mobile and PC

Need to boost your productivity this year, but you’re not sure what tools to start with? We understand! There are seemingly endless productivity apps available, with almost all of them offering you the latest and greatest tools. If you’re already struggling with getting all of your work done, you definitely don’t have time to sift through each and every productivity app and find one that suits you.

Luckily, in this blog, we will cover what we consider to be some of the best workplace productivity apps out there! We’ll discuss the benefits of each app so you can quickly and efficiently decide which app(s) will assist you the most.

1. Slack

Function: Slack is a communication and messaging tool that allows both in-office teams and global, remote teams to communicate, collaborate, share files, and more all in one place. Slack is a wonderful alternative to emails because it allows real-time responses and conversations. If you’re looking for a productivity app that will bring your team together and produce successful outcomes more efficiently, then Slack is the way to go!

Benefits: Perhaps the largest benefit Slack offers is streamlined, simplified lines of communication. It offers three basic communication features: open channels (visible to everyone), private channels (visible to select team members), and direct messages (visible to one coworker). Another benefit is Slack’s ability to easily integrate with other apps (Google Drive, MailChimp, the list goes on). When you keep everything in sync with Slack, it becomes a one-stop platform for all of your productivity, communication, and sharing needs. You can also drop and share all kinds of files within your Slack conversations (images, PDFs, Word Docs, Google Docs, etc.).

Mobile vs. PC: Slack has released updated versions of both its desktop and mobile apps this year, and the apps complement each other quite well. The mobile app is simple, organized, and easy to navigate. It can also be downloaded on both iPhones and Androids. Like the desktop app, it offers a “Mentions & reactions” screen, where users can quickly find Slack messages that mention them and/or reactions to their messages.

2. Airtable

Function: Airtable is a platform that allows you and your team to create and share databases. You don’t have to be a database expert to use it, either! Other than creating databases, the platform also lets you store, organize, and collaborate/communicate on tasks within the database. 

Benefits: Airtable is a lot like a spreadsheet, except simpler and more user-friendly. With Airtable, you can organize a large amount of information as well as the relationships between that information, which means you can better categorize your information as well. Additionally, Airtable has an Import feature, which allows you to upload existing data from other apps. The true beauty of Airtable lies in its flexibility—it will adapt to whatever organizational tasks you need it to.

Mobile vs. PC: Airtable’s mobile app has a few functionality limits. For example, you cannot create new fields in mobile; you can only view existing fields. You also can’t create or view Forms or Apps in mobile. That being said, navigating Airtable is equally as simple in mobile as it is in desktop.

3. Microsoft Teams

Function: Microsoft Teams is another collaboration platform that offers chat channels, document storage and sharing, online meetings and video calling, and more. These features make it quite similar to Slack, except Microsoft Teams is free with Microsoft365 and Office365.

Benefits: Because of its integration with Office365, Microsoft Teams makes it incredibly easy to collaborate on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. You can create the document in Microsoft Teams rather than having to open up a separate app. Another excellent feature is the user’s ability to follow channels that they are interested in/a participant in and hide whatever channels they do not what to see. This makes Microsoft Teams more customizable than other collaboration platforms.

Mobile vs. PC: With Microsoft Teams, you can stay connected anytime and anywhere by using the mobile smartphone app. With the app, you not only have access to all of your conversations and documents, but you can also respond to channels and join meetings as you would via desktop, PC, or laptop web browser.

There are many other productivity apps out there, of course. But we believe our top three choices will improve your overall workflow, help you get more done, and keep you self-motivated to accomplish more!

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