| Cult of Mac

iOS update fails to deliver promised iPhone battery improvement

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iOS update does not deliver promised iPhone battery improvement
While some iPhone models saw an increase in battery life with iOS 15.4.1, most did not.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Benchmark testing of nine different iPhone models shows that less than half of them experienced any improvement to battery life from the recent iOS 15.4.1 update, despite Apple describing that as a major feature of the new version. More of the handsets saw a decrease instead.

On the devices affected, the drop in battery life is generally small, but it’s nevertheless likely to leave some iPhone users holding off on the update. Which is unfortunate, as iOS 15.4.1 also closes a security hole that Apple says has been actively exploited.

iOS 15.4.1 improves iPhone battery life, macOS 12.3.1 fixes Bluetooth bug

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iOS 15.4.1 release improves iPhone battery life, macOS 12.3.1 fixes Bluetooth bug
If you have an Apple device, it probably got an OS update on Thursday.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple introduced bug fix updates for every one of its operating systems on Thursday. These updates should improve the battery life on iPhone and iPad. And for Mac users, the new version fixes well-publicized bugs recently introduced by macOS 12.3.

However, there are no new features in macOS Monterey 12.3.1, iOS 15.4.1, iPadOS 15.4.1, watchOS 8.5.1 and tvOS 15.4.1 — Apple just fixed small problems. All five updates are available to download immediately.

WhatsApp plans big improvements to voice messaging ‘in the coming weeks’

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WhatsApp voice messaging improvements
Faster playback, the ability to pause recordings, and more on the way.
Image: WhatsApp

WhatsApp on Thursday revealed significant improvements to voice messaging across Android and iOS. The update adds the ability to change the speed of audio playback, pause and resume recording, and more.

It also allows voice message playback to continue when users back out of a conversation to catch up with another. Users can look forward to seeing the changes “in the coming weeks,” WhatsApp said.

Apple finally lets ‘reader’ apps like Netflix and Spotify link to their own sites

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Apple lets reader apps link to their own sites
It's a start.
Image: Apple

Apple on Wednesday confirmed a significant change to its App Store policy that finally allows “reader” apps like Netflix and Spotify to link to their own websites for things like creating and managing accounts.

Until now, including an external link for this kind of purpose was prohibited, and would have resulted in App Store expulsion. That meant a poor user experience for a whole bunch of popular services on iPhone and iPad.

That’s finally changing, but of course, Apple plans to make it as complicated as possible for developers to enjoy it.

Carrot Weather app cheers ‘triumphant return of allergy season’ with major update

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The Carrot Weather, known for snarky forecasts and powerful features, just got a big update.
The Carrot Weather, known for snarky forecasts and powerful features, just got a big update.
Photo: Carrot Weather

If weather apps were judged solely on snarky attitude, there would be one clear favorite: Carrot Weather. But even judged by factors like tracking the weather and variety of features, it’s a darned good app. And now, with a major update released Wednesday “to celebrate the triumphant return of allergy season,” it’s even better.

Don’t rely on automatic iOS updates unless you like getting left behind

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iOS 14.4 debuted to the general public on Tuesday.
Automatic updates are designed to drop late.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

iPhone and iPad users should manually install the latest iOS and iPadOS updates if they want to get their hands on Apple’s newest features and improvements as quickly as possible, according to one Cupertino chief.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, confirmed that automatic software updates don’t drop until one to four weeks after the company makes them available to manual updaters.

How to connect an external keyboard to your iPad

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Satechi’s new aluminum iPad stand is ready for work or play
Add a keyboard and your iPad become a very capable desktop. Or a laptop, if you’d prefer.
Photo: Satechi

Your iPad is a powerful computer, and becomes even more so if you attach a keyboard to it. Fortunately, it’s easy. The only complication is there are a bunch of different options.

Let’s go through the possibilities so you can pick the one that’s best for you.

Xbox Cloud Gaming gets ‘major’ improvements on iPhone and iPad

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Xbox Cloud Gaming gets major improvements
Try them out now and let Microsoft know what you think.
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft this week rolled out a big Xbox Cloud Gaming update that promises “major performance improvements” on iPhone and iPad. They should allow for smoother and more responsive gameplay, the company said.

The changes have already been well-received by Cloud Gaming users, with Microsoft seeing a “significant increase” in positive feedback from players.