Apple’s Emoji Search Is Bad

Emojipedia’s Jeremy Burge, following a series of tests with emoji search, a built-in macOS feature that still isn’t available on iOS:

Prior to macOS Sierra’s release in September 2016, emoji search for Mac was the opposite: general terms wouldn’t return any results – but if you knew the emoji name you could get it to appear 100% of the time. This is no longer the case.

I do wonder if an internal effort to make these types of search and prediction tools better in the longer term is making them worse for users in the short term.

It’s not just that it’s bad because the results are somewhat lackluster. It’s bad in the sense that typing Apple’s exact description for an emoji sometimes doesn’t bring up the character it belongs to. If someone is in charge of this feature for the Mac, I hope they can take a serious Continue reading “Apple’s Emoji Search Is Bad”

Obscura 2 Review: An Approachable Manual Camera App with Tasteful Filters

I enjoy taking lots of photos. Over the years, I’ve dabbled with DSLRs, but more often than not these days, I use my iPhone because it’s always nearby.

I’ve historically used Apple’s built-in Camera app. It has the advantage of being available from the Lock screen, which is a big plus because it lowers the barrier to getting up and running with the camera. Later, I would go back and pick out the best shots, edit them a little in the Photos app, and share a few.

Over the past couple of weeks though, I’ve been moving between Apple’s Camera app and Obscura 2, which was released today by developer Ben McCarthy. I’ve used manual camera apps in the past, but always wound up going back to Apple’s option in the end.

Obscura has been different. I’ve found myself going back to it repeatedly because I enjoy the way

Obscura 1 camera control UI (left) and Obscura 2 UI (right).

Continue reading “Obscura 2 Review: An Approachable Manual Camera App with Tasteful Filters”

Illustration in the iOS 11 App Store

Khoi Vinh, writing about one of my favorite aspects of the iOS 11 App Store:

Apple’s dramatically redesigned App Store got a decent amount of attention when it debuted last year with iOS 11, but its unique success as a hybrid of product design and editorial design has gone little noticed since. That’s a shame, because it’s a huge breakthrough.

I myself paid it scant attention until one day this past winter when I realized that the company was commissioning original illustration to accompany its new format. If you check the App Store front page a few times a week, you’ll see a quietly remarkable display of unique art alongside unique stories about apps, games and “content” (movies, TV shows, comics, etc.). To be clear: this isn’t work lifted from the marketing materials created by app publishers. It’s drawings, paintings, photographs, collages and/or animations that have been created expressly Continue reading “Illustration in the iOS 11 App Store”

The Apple Watch Has Found a Surprisingly Useful Home With Everyone That Works on Their Feet

Speaking of the Apple Watch becoming an essential everyday device, Mike Murphy published a fascinating story at Quartz:

You might’ve noticed that the person who took your order at the bar, brought you the shoes you wanted to try on, or perhaps even patted you down at the airport security line, is sporting an Apple Watch, which starts at $329 for the newest Series 3 watch. And there’s a pretty simple explanation: Many service-industry jobs where employees have to be on their feet all day don’t allow workers to check their phones while they’re on the clock. But that rule doesn’t necessarily apply to a piece of unobtrusive jewelry that happens to let you text your friends and check the weather.

Quartz spoke with airline attendants, bartenders, waiters, baristas, shop owners, and (very politely) TSA employees who all said the same thing: The Apple Watch keeps them in touch Continue reading “The Apple Watch Has Found a Surprisingly Useful Home With Everyone That Works on Their Feet”

Second Life: Rethinking Myself Through Exercise, Mindfulness, and Gratitude

“There’s something in your latest scan that we need to double check.”

Here’s what I’ve learned about cancer as a survivor: even once you’re past it, and despite doctors’ reassurances that you should go back to your normal life, it never truly leaves you. It clings to the back of your mind and sits there, quietly. If you’re lucky, it doesn’t consume you, but it makes you more aware of your existence. The thought of it is like a fresh scar – a constant reminder of what happened. And even a simple sentence spoken with purposeful vagueness such as “We need to double check something” can cause that dreadful background presence to put your life on hold again.

Continue reading “Second Life: Rethinking Myself Through Exercise, Mindfulness, and Gratitude”

Apple Debuts New Data and Privacy Website in Europe Ahead of GDPR Effective Date

Today, Apple unveiled a new data and privacy website to comply with the European Union’s GDPR legislation that goes into effect on May 25th. The site allows users to copy and correct personally identifiable information associated with their Apple IDs and deactivate or delete their accounts. Although the new copy and deactivation options are only available in the EU, they will be rolling out throughout the remainder of the year to the rest of the world.

Continue reading “Apple Debuts New Data and Privacy Website in Europe Ahead of GDPR Effective Date”

AppStories, Episode 56 – Controlling The Time Spent on Your iPhone

On this week’s episode of AppStories, we talk about managing time spent on smartphones, including what manufacturers like Apple and Google are doing to address the issue, what users can do, and how we deal with being on our iPhones too much.

Sponsored by:

  • Techmeme Ride Home – Search for Techmeme Ride Home on your podcast app now.
  • AutoWake – the world’s first haptic smart alarm for your Apple Watch.
    • The first 11 people to tweet at @AutoWakeApp with the code word ‘Espresso’ will receive a free promo code.

→ Source: appstories.net

Apple Confirms WWDC Keynote for June 4

In mid-March Apple announced that WWDC 2018 would take place the first week in June, and today the company confirmed that, following past tradition, the keynote for that conference will take place on June 4 at 10:00am Pacific.

Apple is expected to unveil the latest versions of its major operating systems at WWDC, including iOS 12, watchOS 5, and macOS 10.14. If the keynote is anything like last year’s, we may see several hardware products announced too. A live stream for the keynote has not yet been confirmed, but it remains likely since WWDC is one of the prime Apple events of the year.


Support MacStories Directly

Club MacStories offers exclusive access to extra MacStories content, delivered every week; it’s also a way to support us directly.

Club MacStories will help you Continue reading “Apple Confirms WWDC Keynote for June 4”

A Redesigned 1Password 7 for Mac Enhances Watchtower and Adds Flexibility to Vaults, App Login Support, and More

AgileBits has released 1Password 7 for Mac, a significant update that is free to subscribers but also available as a standalone download. I’ve used 1Password since I started using a Mac. The app has always been the best way to store passwords for websites, and for years, that’s primarily how I’ve thought of it.

There’s been more to 1Password than just password storage for a while now though, and what sets this update apart is the depth of those other features and the ease with which they can be incorporated in your everyday computing life. That’s important because it doesn’t take much friction for someone to get lazy about security.

1Password 7 is a comprehensive update that touches every corner of the app. The app will still be familiar to long-time users, but features like Watchtower and Vaults have been extended with new capabilities that are worth exploring if

Watchtower provides alerts of security breaches that may have exposed your login credentials.
Creating a new vault.
1Password has a redesigned dark sidebar that collapses.
Secure notes support Markdown formatting syntax.

Continue reading “A Redesigned 1Password 7 for Mac Enhances Watchtower and Adds Flexibility to Vaults, App Login Support, and More”

‘Day One in Depth’ Is a New Video Course from The Sweet Setup

Following its recent courses on Things and Ulysses, today The Sweet Setup has launched a new ‘Day One in Depth‘ video course aimed at helping you become an expert of the popular journaling app.

A major strength of Day One is its flexibility – it’s full-featured on both iOS and Mac, supports a host of both system-based and web-based methods for saving content, and therefore it can be used in a way that serves you best at any given moment. There’s a lot to cover about the app, and The Sweet Setup hits all the bases well in the eight videos of its new course, which are titled:

Spark 2 Hands-On: Email for Teams with App Integrations

I’ve made no secret of my complicated relationship with email over the years.

While I’m always trying to optimize my email setup and finding new ways to spend as little time managing email as possible (for instance, I let SaneBox categorize emails on my behalf), my underlying problem lies in the scarcity of desktop-class email clients for iOS with specific features I’m looking for. As I shared in an episode of AppStories, these include: modern email options such as snoozing, read receipts, or “send later”; the ability to customize the app’s sidebar with mailboxes and saved searches; and app integrations to save messages into other iOS apps either as links or PDFs.

I’ve tried dozens of different email apps for the iPhone and iPad over the years. Some of them stuck for several months on my Home screen, like Airmail; some turned out to be ill-fated experiments; others

Saving an email message to Things on iOS using Spark 2. The link takes you back to the message in Spark.
An email message published on the web with Spark 2. Some responsive layouts aren't fully supported yet.
Sharing an email message in Spark 2.
Chatting alongside a message in Spark 2.
A shared draft shows multiple typing indicators and supports inline chat.

Continue reading “Spark 2 Hands-On: Email for Teams with App Integrations”

Gemini Photos Declutters Your Photo Library

MacPaw has released a brand new iPhone app that takes the ideas from Gemini 2, the company’s duplicate file finder on the Mac, and applies them to your iOS photo library. Gemini Photos uses an algorithm to analyze your photos that suggests the ones you should consider deleting. With photo files getting bigger with each improvement of the iPhone’s camera and features like Live Photos and burst mode, a utility like Gemini Photos can save significant amounts of space on your iPhone.

Continue reading “Gemini Photos Declutters Your Photo Library”

The Power Mac G4 Line

The tower form factor may be a thing of the past, at least until the new Mac Pro shows up next year, but for years, if you needed the most powerful and flexible machine money could buy, the Power Mac was the only way to go.

For almost five years, the heart of the Power Mac was the PowerPC G4 chip. Starting in 1999 it clocked at just 350 MHz, but by the time the Power Mac G4 line was retired, a tower with dual 1.42 GHz CPUs could be ordered. In that time frame, things like Gigabit Ethernet, SuperDrives, and Wi-Fi became mainstream.

The Power Mac G4 came in three distinct cases over the years it was available. Each style of machine saw several revisions while in service, bringing the total number of models to 10. That’s a lot of computers to cover, so let’s get started.

Continue reading “The Power Mac G4 Line”

Castro 3 Review: The Castro You’ve Always Wanted

Castro has long been one of the premier podcast clients on iOS, and its excellent version 2 – with an innovative triage system and delight-inducing design touches – helped solidify it as such. Those strengths in 2.0, however, were mitigated in part by the absence of a few key features that competing podcast apps tout. That changes with Castro 3.

If you’re unfamiliar with the app, Castro’s centerpiece feature is a triage system involving an inbox and queue. The premise is that, with the rising popularity of podcasting, there are more great podcasts available than ever before. If you subscribe to lots of shows, the standard episode management tools found in competing apps likely aren’t sufficient. With Castro, by default new episodes of shows land in your inbox, and can then be sorted to the top or bottom of your queue and downloaded, or archived if they’re not of

Left and Center: Castro 3's player screen; Right: Castro 2's player screen.

Continue reading “Castro 3 Review: The Castro You’ve Always Wanted”

Regain Control of Your Inbox with SaneBox’s Customizable Tools [Sponsor]

At its core, SaneBox is about making sure that only your most important messages hit your inbox. Other messages are safely stored in automated folders like the @SaneLater, @SaneBulk, and @SaneNews folders for reviewing later.

But email sorting is just the tip of the iceberg. With custom folders, custom snooze settings, and @SaneReminders, SaneBox takes email management to the next level.

Set up a custom folder and train it by dragging in a few messages. SaneBox will send all messages from the senders to your new folder. It’s a painless way to organize messages for a special project.

SaneSnooze folders can be customized to defer messages anywhere from hours to weeks. SaneBox comes with default snooze folders like @SaneTommorrow and @SaneNextWeek, but adding custom snooze folders lets you set when messages reappear in your inbox with precision.

SaneReminders are a great way to keep on top of tasks. Send yourself Continue reading “Regain Control of Your Inbox with SaneBox’s Customizable Tools [Sponsor]”

Google Introduces YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Subscription Services, Retires YouTube Red Moniker

Google seems to have an affinity for constantly rebranding its products, and today is the latest example of that. Soon, YouTube Red will be replaced by the more costly $11.99/month YouTube Premium service – the good news is that Premium members will get all the benefits of YouTube’s new Music service thrown in too. And if you’re an existing Red subscriber, or sign up quickly before Premium launches, you can lock in the existing $9.99 monthly rate and still get all the benefits of Premium and Music.

YouTube Music is Google’s attempt at taking on streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify directly. Launching May 22nd, YouTube Music will have both a free tier and a paid, $9.99/month option. The main focus here is the paid plan though, as it will be the only way to enable background listening – a pretty important feature for music. Paid Continue reading “Google Introduces YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Subscription Services, Retires YouTube Red Moniker”

Connected, Episode 193: They Belong to the World Now

The future of third-party Twitter apps looks grim, but is it the end of the road? What makes an upgrade worthy of a price tag? Do class action lawsuits even matter? Should you use AirPods on planes? Does anyone like show descriptions written as hypothetical questions?

On this week’s episode of Connected, we talk about changes coming to third-party Twitter clients, the economics of the App Store when it comes to selling new versions of apps as separate purchases, and why you really shouldn’t use AirPods on planes. You can listen here.

Sponsored by:

Apple Updates Its Website for Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Apple has updated its homepage and accessibility webpage to celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day. The event, which Apple has marked in a variety of ways over the years, was created to promote access to technology and foster inclusion for people with disabilities.

Apple’s homepage includes a banner image highlighting the accessibility features of its products with the statement ‘Technology is most powerful when it empowers everyone.’ The Accessibility section elaborates on that idea with a video first published in 2016 and the following:

Taking a family portrait. Catching up over FaceTime. Raising the blinds to let in the morning light. We want everyone to enjoy the everyday moments that technology helps make possible, so we work to make every Apple product accessible from the very start. Because the true value of a device isn’t measured by how powerful it is, but by how much it empowers you.

The Continue reading “Apple Updates Its Website for Global Accessibility Awareness Day”

Apple Announces ‘Everyone Can Code’ Partnership with Schools for Blind and Deaf Students

In March, Apple lead a Swift Playgrounds course at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Today, which is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Apple announced that is partnering with schools in California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, and Massachusetts:

Beginning this fall, schools supporting students with vision, hearing or other assistive needs will start teaching the Everyone Can Code curricula for Swift, Apple’s powerful and intuitive programming language.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said:

“Apple’s mission is to make products as accessible as possible,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We created Everyone Can Code because we believe all students deserve an opportunity to learn the language of technology. We hope to bring Everyone Can Code to even more schools around the world serving students with disabilities.”

In addition to existing iOS accessibility features, Apple is augmenting the Everyone Can Code curricula with tools and resources targeted at Continue reading “Apple Announces ‘Everyone Can Code’ Partnership with Schools for Blind and Deaf Students”