How to Take A Screenshot on Mac: 5 Methods Explained

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How to Take Screenshots on Mac

Regardless of you’re a student, a software engineer or a typical computer user, you will need to capture a screenshot once in a while. For instance, you may need to take screenshots to finish your new project, share your games scores with friends or in some cases even to a strange bird! Luckily macOS makes it much simpler to take a screenshot on Mac. Simply take a couple of steps below, and you’ll be ready to rock!

So there are five types of screenshots that you can capture on Mac, and we have a detailed section for each of them. Let’s fuel the rocket and see how it works!

How to Take Screenshots on Mac

How to Take a Screenshot on Mac: There are Five Ways

You need know:

  • The screenshots you take are saved as .png files on the desktop in Mac OS X v10.6 and later. Besides, macOS automatically name them as “Screen Shot date time.png.” You can change the format (Refer this to know more.)
  • To save your screenshot to the Clipboard instead of your desktop, you just need to add Control to the key combinations mentioned below. For instance, use press Control-Shift-Command-3 instead of Shift-Command-3.
  • You can open screenshots with Preview, Safari, and other apps.
  • Keep in mind that some apps like DVD Player might not allow you to capture screenshots of their windows.

How to Take Screenshot of Entire Desktop on Mac

With this option, you can capture your entire desktop (no matter what is currently on it). You can generally use this to capture video frames, game scores or so on. Here are the steps involved.

Step #1. Get ready for taking the screenshot. Basically, you have to open up all the programs that you want to capture, and when you’re done, your screen should look exactly what you want the screenshot to be like.

Step #2. Once you’re ready, press the combination of Command+Shift+3 on your keyboard, and release them.

How to Take Screenshot of Entire Desktop in Mac OS X

Step #3. Next, on your Mac desktop, you’ll notice a new file with .PNG extension and this is the screenshot you just took.

Step #4. To confirm it is the file, you can look for the word Screen Shot in the file name.

Step #5. Alternatively, you can double-click the file to open it and see a preview of it.

How to Take a Screenshot of a Specific Area of Desktop on Mac

In case you just want to show a specific area of your screen, you should go for this option. You can use it for capturing a part of your chat, or images on the web or anything else you like (because ultimately it’s your choice).

Step #1. Set up the screen and make sure you know what you want to capture.

Step #2. On your keyboard, press Command+Shift+4.

How to Take Screenshot of Specific Area of Desktop in Mac OS X

Step #3. As soon as you release the keys, your mouse cursor will turn into movable crosshairs.

Step #4. Now drag the cursor anywhere (and this will be one of the corners of the screenshot) and then hold and drag the mouse over the area you’d like to make a screenshot of.

Step #5. After you’re done, you can release the mouse button to get the screenshot in the form of a .PNG file.

How to Take a Screenshot of a Single Window on Mac

There are several windows open on your screen so you can not capture the full screen and you even don’t want to take the pain to capture a specific area. So why not snip a single window?

Step #1. To take a single window snip, first make sure you open the right window.

Step #2. Now press and release Command+Shift+4 on your keyboard.

Step #3. Hit the spacebar.

How to Take Screenshot of Single Window in Mac OS X

Step #4. Now make a single mouse click on the window you want to capture.

Step #5. You can even select something else by moving your mouse around.

Step #6. As soon as you do it, you’ll have the right .PNG file on your desktop.

How to Take a Screenshot of a Menu on Mac

Step #1. First off, click the menu to show the contents.

Then, you need to press Shift+Command+4. Now, the pointer will change to a crosshair.

Step #2. Now, drag to choose the menu and then release your mouse or trackpad button.

Note: If you want to cancel, press the Escape (Esc) key before releasing the button.

You will find the screenshot as a .png file on your desktop.

You can also capture the contents of a menu, but not its title:

To do so,

Step #1. Click the menu to show up its contents.

Step #2. Press Shift-Command-4. The pointer changes to a crosshair. Next, press the Spacebar. Now, the pointer will change to a camera.

Step #3. Next, you need to move the camera over the menu to highlight it and click on your mouse or trackpad.

How to Take a Screenshot of the Touch Bar on MacBook Pro

Ensure that your MacBook Pro is running macOS Sierra 10.12.2 or later:

Simply the press Shift-Command-6 to capture the screen.

You will also be able to customize the Control Strip region of your Touch Bar to include a Screenshot button. Then, you can just tap the Screenshot button to view options for the type of screenshot and where to save it.

Have your say

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iPhone Explained: 20 Key Terms by Apple You Need to Know

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For all its focus on user-friendliness, Apple loves its jargon. But it’s not the standard jargon you’ll see in hardware reviews or database tutorials—it’s Apple’s own brand.

You’ll find oddly-placed capital letters and trademarked monikers throughout your iPhone’s software. If you’re wondering what it all means, you’re in the right place.

1. iOS

iPhone Home Screen

iOS is the name for your iPhone’s operating system, like Windows on a PC. It was previously known as iPhone OS when Apple introduced the product in 2007, but it became iOS with the release of the iPhone 3G. You’ll usually see it followed by the version number, like iOS 12 or iOS 11.3.1.

2. iCloud

iCloud Web Home

The name of Apple’s own internet-based data services. iCloud is an umbrella term used for all such technologies provided by Apple, including storage service iCloud Drive, password management system iCloud Keychain, iCloud Backup, and the web interface at (shown above). You’ll probably need to buy some storage space if you want to use iCloud for anything serious.

3. Siri

iPhone Siri Ownership

Your iPhone’s virtual assistant. Press and hold the Home button to talk to Siri. You can ask all sorts of questions and control your smart home gadgets, plus much more. Turn on Siri and adjust the various settings under Settings > Siri and Search.

4. Apple Pay

Apple Pay Uses

A proprietary payment system that uses card credentials stored in the iOS Wallet app. Simply open the app, tap Add Credit or Debit Card, and follow the instructions to add your card. This allows you to pay for items at point of sale terminals using your phone, but you can also use it to pay for items on your Mac too.

Note: Apple Pay availability will differ based on your location and financial institution.

5. Personal Hotspot

iPhone terms - Personal Hotspot

Your iPhone’s personal hotspot allows you to share your internet connection with other devices, either via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB. You’ll find the feature under Settings > Personal Hotspot. Check out our guide to setting up and sharing your iPhone’s data connection for more info.

6. Touch ID/Face ID

Two forms of biometric authentication, using either your fingerprint (Touch ID) or facial recognition (Face ID) to unlock your device, purchase items, and more. You can set up these features, disable them entirely, or re-scan your digits and face under Settings > Touch ID/Face ID and Passcode.

7. Control Center

iphone terms - control center

A means of quickly adjusting settings, media playback, and other handy features by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. Customizing Control Center is just one of the many super useful iPhone shortcuts you should learn.

8. AirPlay

iPhone terms - AirPlay Control Center

Apple’s proprietary local streaming technology for displaying video, playing audio, and mirroring your screen on a TV or external speaker. AirPlay receivers include devices like the Apple TV and HomePod, or third party apps like AirServer on a computer. Flick up to show Control Center, then 3D Touch or long-press the Music panel and choose an output.

9. AirDrop

iPhone terms - Share AirDrop

A wireless method of transferring files locally. You’ll see a list of AirDrop recipients appear when you try to Share content (see below). To change your own AirDrop visibility, swipe up to reveal Control Center, then 3D Touch or long-press the Airplane Mode box.

10. FaceTime

iPhone terms - FaceTime Call

Apple’s proprietary VoIP calling protocol that works with other Apple devices. Allows you to make free voice and video calls to other FaceTime users, accessible either via the FaceTime app or by choosing one of your Contacts and tapping the FaceTime Video or Audio button.

11. iMessage

iPhone terms - iMessage

Apple’s proprietary messaging protocol. If you’re chatting with someone and their name or your chat bubbles appear blue, you’re using iMessage. The service only works between Apple devices (including Mac computers), and can be used with iMessage apps to send money, play games and more.

12. CarPlay

iphone terms - Apple CarPlay

A name for the integration of your iPhone into the dashboard of your car. Setup instructions are slightly different depending on what you drive, and can function via USB or Bluetooth. Once CarPlay has been configured, you can use Apple Maps for navigation, talk to Siri, take calls, play music, and more.

13. Handoff

iPhone terms - Handoff from Mac

Allows you to “hand off” iOS apps to their macOS counterparts in real time. Examples include drafting an email on your iPhone then finishing it on your Mac, quickly sharing tabs between devices, and automatically resuming a Pages document in the same place. This feature works both ways; double tap the Home button to show the app switcher and continue what you were doing on your Mac.

14. Animoji

iPhone X Animoji

A portmanteau of animated emoji, Animoji is an emoji onto which you can map a facial expression. It’s currently an iPhone X-exclusive feature since it relies on the True Depth camera used for facial recognition.

15. Night Shift

iPhone Enable Night Shift

Just like f.lux, Night Shift adjusts the hue of your screen at the end of the day to mimic the setting sun and promote better sleep health. You can schedule Night Shift under Settings > Display & Brightness, and toggle it on or off by swiping up to reveal Control Center then 3D Touching or long-pressing the Brightness slider.

16. Do Not Disturb

A feature that mutes incoming calls and notifications between hours of your choosing, with exceptions for favorite contacts or repeat callers. Stops your iPhone lighting up on the nightstand without turning it off completely, while still ensuring you’re contactable in an emergency. Set it up under Settings > Do Not Disturb.

17. Reading List

iPhone Add to Reading List

The Safari browser’s own “read it later” function, which syncs automatically with its Mac counterpart. Hit the Share button and choose Reading List to add a link to your list, where it will be cached offline for later perusal.

18. HomeKit

iPhone terms - Home App

Apple’s smart home API, which allows smart home devices like the HomePod and Philips Hue talk to each other. You can control HomeKit devices using your iPhone’s Home app, which comes pre-installed with iOS.

19. HealthKit

iPhone terms - HealthKit

Apple’s health and exercise APIs, used to store data for use by the Health app. Apps like Strava and RunKeeper use HealthKit to record workout information.

20. ResearchKit

Health-related research APIs, allowing you to take part in scientific studies using little more than your iPhone.

Think Different: iPhone Terms Explained

Apple’s love affair with aesthetics and proprietary technologies has given way to a glossary of Apple speak, and it’s almost certain that we’ll see a few more terms introduced when the next version of iOS and a flurry of new iPhones arrive in the fall. If we haven’t covered a particular term you’d like to see listed, leave a comment below and we’ll add it to the list.

iPhone and iPad – MakeUseOf

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The 13 most common blockchain myths explained

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

With every new technology, there is hype and there is reality. Binary District Journal attempts to separate the wheat from the chaff and put to rest the common myths surrounding blockchain. Everyone and their grandmother has heard of blockchain technology by now — unless you’ve been living under a rock, that is. The best way to understand blockchain is to think about it as a collection of records, or as a sort of ledger which contains transactions (financial or otherwise). Now here’s the twist: this ledger is shared between a network of computers and is updated and reconciled regularly. In…

This story continues at The Next Web
The Next Web

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Quick Takes: Apple’s Ecosystem Explained, Crumb-Resistant MacBook Keyboards, and More

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In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays.

Friday, March 9

Apple’s ecosystem explained: YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee explains why Apple’s ecosystem of products and services is so strong. He also advises against becoming too locked into just one ecosystem.

Commentary: A good example of the strength of Apple’s ecosystem is iMessage and its coveted blue message bubbles, which have essentially become a status symbol. As silly as it may sound, there are a countless number of tweets that mock green bubbles, which is the color Apple uses to display standard text messages.

AAPL sets all-time high closing price of $179.98: The previous record was $179.26, set on January 18, 2018. Apple’s overall all-time high remains $180.62, set during intraday trading on February 28, 2018. AAPL has been on the rise since bottoming out at $150.24 on February 9 amid a wider stock market selloff.

Commentary: Apple shares have technically traded for higher prices, but today’s record high factors in multiple stock splits, including a 7-for-1 split in 2014. Apple’s market cap now hovers around the $915 billion mark.

Timing of Apple’s rumored March event: Apple typically invites the media to its special events roughly 10 to 12 days beforehand, so if there is a March event on its agenda, then we’ll likely hear about it soon.

Commentary: The big question is whether Apple will hold a media event or make its announcements via press releases as it did last year. Rumored products that could debut this month include a new iPhone SE, lower-priced 9.7-inch iPad and MacBook Air models, and the AirPower charging mat, along with iOS 11.3.

Other Reading:

For more Apple news and rumors coverage, visit our Front Page, Mac Blog, and iOS Blog. Also visit our forums to join in the discussion.

Discuss this article in our forums

MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

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iPhone X’s Face ID vs Samsung Galaxy S9’s Intelligent Scan: The Key Differences Explained

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Earlier this week, Samsung announced the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. The company’s latest flagship handsets are iterative upgrades over their predecessors and pack some major internal upgrades and a revamped camera with a variable aperture at the rear. They also feature an improved biometric verification system, with Samsung still being the only company in the market apart from Apple to offer a form of biometric scanning more secure than face unlock and fingerprint sensor — iris scanning.  Continue reading
iPhone Hacks | #1 iPhone, iPad, iOS Blog
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Animoji Vs AR Emoji: Key Differences Explained

If Apple does something with its latest iPhone, expect Samsung to copy it six months later with its new flagship Galaxy S handset. With the iPhone X, Apple introduced Animoji which made use of the TrueDepth camera on the front of the handset to capture your expressions and imitate them on select emoji characters.  Continue reading
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HomePod Rings and Apple Problems: Explained

The greatest challenge Apple has ever faced is scale — and here’s how the company needs to solve for it.

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Every year, at the end of the year, I go over what I consider to be the biggest problems facing Apple. Last year, just before New Year, I wrote about the challenges of scaling:

All of the issues I’ve outlined above are really facets of the same problem: scaling.

Once upon a time, Apple made desktop computers. Now, Apple makes computers for your desk, lap, living room, hands, pockets, wrists, and ears. And they’re working on more. They’re also working on everything that runs and plays on all those computers, both in terms of software and services.

Yet, through it all, Apple has maintained its functional organization and small, focused team-based approach.

Our greatest strength is often our greatest weakness. So too, Apple’s culture. It’s what lets the company do so much but what also causes so much to be left undone.

I’m not one of the people who thinks Apple needs to abandon its past to better serve the future. I don’t think Apple needs to or should become IBM or GE. I think Apple can have its culture and scale it too. But I think it’s got to do a much, much better job shoring up its foundations as it keeps building.

But, like most who write about Apple, I was never responsible for shipping product at scales that reach into the hundreds of millions. Steven Sinofsky, who ran Office and then Windows at Microsoft, and also worked on early versions of SkyDrive and, was.

Sinofsky understands developing and shipping software and services at massive scale. So, when the topic of Apple and software and services quality came up again, Sinofsky took to Twitter for what can only be described as an epic — and epically long — tweet storm and reality check. (And, unsurprisingly, the former Microsoft guy understands Apple-at-scale better than any Apple pundit or reporter.)

Excerpted from @stevesi:

Several important points are conflated in the broad discussion about Apple and software: – Quality – Pace of change – Features “versus” Quality – Innovation

Scanning the landscape, it is important to recognize that in total the work Apple has been doing across hardware, software, services, and even AI/ML — in total — is breathtaking and unprecedented in scope, scale, and quality. Not saying that lightly or trolling. It just is.

It is absolutely ok — in fact, it’s imperative — that we report constantly and consistently about bugs and issues that need to be fixed. But it’s just as important to stop and remember all the features that we’ve gotten over the last few years, and what they’ve enabled, beyond just the bugs that need to be smoothed out.

Few companies have done so much for so long with such a high level of consistency. This all goes back to the bet on the NeXT code base and move to Intel for Mac OS plus the iPod, which began the journey to where we are today.

The pace of change has been remarkable. In the 10 years from when Apple acquired NeXT OS X was reinvented in a completely modern architecture. And in the next 10 years the iPhone went from that code to where we are today.

One must consider in those 20yrs there were releases every 12-18 months for the entire time. While some were larger/smaller, there wasn’t much comparable anywhere and certainly nothing without some big gaps. There were some massive architectural bets playing out over years.

Some years and releases are met with far-reaching excitement. Others with the equivalent of “bored now”. The truth is always in between — not every whiz-bang new feature keeps being used for years and some barely noticed architectural changes reap dividends for decades. Over the course of the last twenty and ten years, though, all of the those updates all stacked together have undeniably enabled entirely new, more personal, more functional workflows and brought as all the future faster.


The pace, scope, and quality of change is unprecedented in the industry. That’s a debt to the whole team, especially to the leadership like Jobs and Forstall (and the people in place now who were there). Apple was disrupting the PC market with a unique POV but no one knew.

What is lost in all of this recent discussion is the nuance between features, schedule, and quality. It is like having a discussion with a financial advisor over income, risk, and growth. You don’t just show up and say you want all three and get a “sure”.

You can have it be fast, you can have it be good, and you can have it be cheap, but you can’t have it be all of those things at the same time…

On the other hand, this is precisely what Apple did so reliably over 20 years. But behind the scenes there is a constant discussion over balancing these three legs of the tripod. You have to have all of them but you “can’t” but you have to. This is why they get paid big $ .

When you look at a feature like FaceID and trace it backwards all the way to keychain—see how much long term thought can go into a feature and how much good work can go unnoticed (or even “fail”) for years before surfacing as a big advantage. That’s a long term POV AND focus.

Passbook was similar. When Apple introduced it, many rolled their eyes at how limited it was. But it was clear Apple was just laying foundations, and that parts could be swapped in and layered on. And then we Passbook became Wallet, we got Apple Pay authenticated through Touch ID — and now through Face ID. Same with iCloud Keychain, Extensibility, Continuity, and so many of the technologies that started small and became fundamental parts of the architecture over time.

There’s nothing magic about this. It goes back to a balancing act. Mature orgs just manage this the whole time. There are processes and approaches that you use so you never face the absurd notion that this is a zero sum trade off between quality, schedule, features.

What happens to a growing project over time is that processes and approaches need to re-thought. It just means that how things once scaled—tools like deciding features, priorities, est. schedules, integration test, etc—are no longer scaling as well. That happens. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

What I think it happening at Apple now is not more dramatic than that. What they had been doing got to a point where it needs an adjustment. Reality is that for many at Apple it feels dramatic b/c it might be first time they have gone through a substantial “systems” change.

A system designed to support one product (Mac), scaled to the biggest product in history (iPhone), added on to with several more significant products (iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePod) will show stress fractures.

Smart executives will have some special projects groups go off an explore other ways of managing future projects, and allow existing systems to be tested and evolved in new ways to better support existing projects.

Just like Apple considered several candidates for a new language before unveiling Swift, and several candidates for a new file system before unveiling APFS, almost all of this happens internally, in small groups, and and only looks sudden from the outside.

In any absolute sense the quality of Mac/iOS + h/w are at quality levels our industry has just not seen before. Think of the scale of iPhone X release. From zero to 30M in months. That’s just insane. And it works better/more reliable than just about anything else I can buy.

How does that explain general “buggy” feeling w/ so many super smart/skilled people saying products are suffering? It’s because of the depth and scale of usage that comes w/success. A responsibility.

Look, there are bugs. You (and Apple) can make a list of them. But mostly this is about change. I know people say that isn’t the case but it is. On any absolute scale number of bugs—non-working, data losing, hanging mistakes—in iOS/Mac is far far less today than ever before.

I’ve said this before: Humans forget past pain quickly but feel present pain acutely. It’s what lets us survive. There are fewer showstoppers today because Apple became really good at finding and fixing them. Kernel panics and SpringBoard crashes, which used to be frequent are few and far between now.

But “frustrators”, the small things that crop up and harshen your user experience in one way or another, feel more frequent. That’s a function of Apple’s much, much, much wider product portfolio (the teams are doing far more than ever before), and our increased usage of the wider product portfolio (we’re hitting them harder than ever before).

No one ever anywhere has delivered a general purpose piece of S/W+H/W at scale of 1B delivering such a broad, robust, consistent experience. We don’t have a measure for what it means to be “high quality”. I can say that in any absolute sense, Apple has exceeded everyone else.

So Apple will just renew the engineering process. It means thinking about how risk is analyzed, how schedules are constructed, how priorities are set. This is literally what it means to run a project and what we are all paying them to do.

They have more data and understanding to make adjustments than anyone. The only thing I think is fair to say from the outside is that this is not nearly as dramatic as it is getting made out to be…

If you’ve been paying attention, change has been happening for years. Last year was different than the year before. And the year before, different than the year before that. Craig Federighi has said as much at the last couple of WWDCs, including last year’s revelation that engineers were given time to work on and fix issues they felt were important beyond the release spec and schedule.

The idea though that this is some massive shift to focus on one dimension of the overall product process: quality OR features OR date is just nonsense. Nothing of scale is thought of or executed that way.

So to me on Apple, even as an outsider, I feel confident saying that this isn’t reactionary/crisis or a response to externalities. Importantly it isn’t a massive pivot/”student body left”. It’s a methodical and predictable evolution of an extremely robust and proven system.

As Jason Snell, former head of Macworld, currently at Six Colors, pointed out — Sinofsky is one of the few people who could have written this.

For anyone who cares about understanding Apple at scale, it’s terrific that he did.

iMore – Learn more. Be more.

How to Find HomePod’s Serial Number: Three Methods Explained

How to Find HomePod Serial Number

Just like your iOS device, HomePod has a serial number. You may need it for multiple reasons. For instance, you would be asked for it when seeking help with a technical issue from Apple Support. It would also help you find the warranty status of your smart speaker. Finding HomePod’s serial number is pretty simple, and you can access it in three ways.

You can view the serial number of the Siri-based speaker from the device itself. Besides, it’s available both in the Settings and Home apps on your iOS device.

How to Find HomePod Serial Number

How to Find HomePod’s Serial Number

Find Out the HomePod Serial Number from Home app on your iPhone and iPad

Make sure that your iOS device is signed in with the same Apple ID that you used to set up your speaker.

Step #1. Launch the Home app on your iOS device.

Step #2. Tap on Home tab.

Step #3. Next, press and hold the HomePod icon.

Step #4. Next up, tap on Details.

Step #5. Up next, scroll down to view the serial number.

How to View HomePod’s Serial Number from Settings App on iPhone and iPad

Step #1. Launch Settings on your iOS device.

Step #2. Now, tap on your name.

Step #3. Next, scroll down to HomePod to view the serial number.

Check the HomePod’s Serial Number on the Device Itself

You can see the serial number of your HomePod on the device itself. It is also printed on the bottom along with its model number, FCC markings, e-waste warnings and other regulatory markings.

That’s it!

Wrapping up

Have any question? Toss it up in the comments below.

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Recode Daily: Facebook’s breakup with news, explained

Plus, Apple’s iOS has surpassed global box office revenue, robots crush humans in a Stanford reading test, and the new-money bros spawned by the cryptocurrency craze.

Here’s a round of responses to Facebook’s move away from news: On Friday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media site will prioritize content from friends and family over content from brands and professional publishers; live and news video will be deemphasized, too. Some see this “wild reversal” in line with Zuckerberg’s personal goal to fix Facebook in 2018 — maybe Facebook’s new ambition is to rebalance and shrink its massive and messy global footprint. Others say that in the post-Trump media landscape, Facebook killing news is “the best thing that ever happened to news.” Adam Mosseri, the product boss for Facebook’s News Feed, talks in depth about the site’s recent sweeping changes (Mosseri is scheduled to speak at Code Media next month). “Facebook is done with quality journalism — deal with it,” says media thinker Frederic Filloux, who says Facebook is moving on from news after killing such longstanding industry certainties as brand, authorship and business model.

Users of Apple’s iOS mobile operating system will spend more than $ 100 million a day on apps in the App Store this year — overtaking global box office revenue. Apple has reported that iOS developers earned $ 26.5 billion in 2017, up 33 percent from the previous year’s $ 20 billion. [Horace Dediu / Asymco]

Robots beat humans on a Stanford University reading comprehension test for the first time. The robots were built by artificial intelligence teams from Alibaba and Microsoft. [Sherisse Pham / CNN Money]

Ever dream about publicly rating your boss? Take a look behind the scenes at Glassdoor, the website where employees share salary information and post anonymous reviews evaluating their office environments and bosses. The second-most-popular jobs website, Glassdoor is valued at more than a billion dollars, and is also a way to report on workplace misbehavior — in the wake of the #MeToo movement, could it be part of the solution? [Lizzie Widdicombe / The New Yorker]

Top stories from Recode

People love Google’s new feature that matches your selfie to a famous painting.

It’s the No. 1 free app on the App Store.

Apple’s star presence no longer overshadows CES.

Amazon’s Alexa voice platform — and now Google’s Assistant voice platform — were the clear ecosystem winners of CES.

To understand 2018, you first have to understand the 1990s, Vanity Fair’s David Friend says.

Everything from #MeToo to President Trump has its roots in the naughty nineties,” he says on the latest episode of the Recode Decode podcast.

This is cool

Everyone is getting hilariously rich and you’re not.

Recode – All

Apple’s iCloud Fully Explained

iCloud has been around for years now and it’s become essential to how many people store photos and documents, send emails, and sync and backup their devices. However, many Apple users don’t understand iCloud or don’t use it to its fullest ability; and it’s easy to see why.

Apple describes iCloud as “a breakthrough set of free cloud services that work seamlessly with applications on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to all your devices.” But what does that even mean?

While Apple is generally great at making and marketing top-notch products and services, iCloud is a convoluted, beautiful mess.

This post will explain iCloud’s many features, how to use iCloud effectively, and attempt to describe how iCloud is designed to make your digital life easier.

What Is the Cloud?

To understand iCloud, one must first understand what the cloud is. For many consumers, the term “cloud” is thrown around a lot, but hardly ever explained. Simply put, the cloud is the Internet—or rather the hardware and software that make the Internet function.

Many cloud services or Internet-hosted services exist. For example, cloud storage simply refers to networked servers that are used to store data remotely.

Cloud services can also include data syncing, email services, and other network applications that require an active Internet connection.

Many modern cloud services utilize both the Internet and your local device to make their services run as smoothly as possible. For example, while your email may be stored online it can also be downloaded to your device and randomly accessed without an Internet connection via an application known as an email client.

Of course, you may be thinking that email messages and attachments download to your device automatically as needed. This is because many cloud services decide what is best for you and handle streaming, caching, and downloading automatically so that you don’t have to. This allows you to check your email, snap a photo, or edit a document without ever worrying about what happens in the background. When implemented correctly these services “just work.”

What Cloud Services Are Available?

There are many cloud services available today. Cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Drive, and OneDrive allow you to store files in the cloud to be accessed from virtually any computer that has an active connection to the Internet.

Cloud storage services may also let you sync your devices’ files or your phone’s camera roll automatically.

Email services often integrate contact, calendar, and tasks syncing—such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo! as part of their cloud-based service.

While email and storage may be the most common forms of cloud services, other services also exist, such as note taking/syncing (Evernote), VoIP and video calling (Skype, Oovoo), messenging (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Kik), video streaming (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, YouTube), online learning (Duolingo, Udemy), password managers (1Password, LastPass), and more. You might be thinking by now that the cloud seems a lot like the Internet, that’s because it is in fact the Internet.

What Is iCloud?

So now that we understand “The Cloud” in general, what is iCloud? It’s pretty much everything above and more rolled into one neat package that works well with all of your Apple devices; while still providing access to some of your data from non-Apple devices and services.

Is iCloud for everyone? No. But, if you you have a lot of Apple devices or if Apple is your primary ecosystem, it will likely be the best option for you.

iCloud offers email, cloud storage, photo/video syncing, password management, browser syncing, game syncing, video calling, VoIP audio calling, note syncing, contact syncing, calendar syncing, and more.

In addition to all of that, iCloud creates and stores encrypted backups of your iOS devices, helps you locate your devices and close friends, and integrates with almost every Apple app and service to make this possible.

How Much Does iCloud Cost?

All of the features of iCloud are free and include 5 GB of online storage space. Apple offers the following additional storage plans all under $ 10 per month and that iCloud storage can actually be shared with up to four other family members.

  • 50 GB for $ 0.99 per month
  • 200 GB for $ 2.99 per month
  • 2 TB for $ 9.99 per month

Less than one dollar a month is an amazing deal to be able to store 50 GB worth of photos, videos, backups, and files. Keep in mind, syncing contacts, purchasing iTunes media, email, etcetera doesn’t count toward your storage, so in a sense you get a lot more than 50 GB considering you can access your entire iTunes music and video library in the cloud.

How Do I Setup iCloud?

Setup is pretty straightforward. When setting up a new Apple device you’ll have the opportunity to sign in (or sign up) for iCloud.

You can also sign in using the Settings app on your iOS device or the System Preferences on your Mac. Once signed in, enable the features you want to use.

In an ideal world that would be it; but, unfortunately it’s not. There are two things you should be aware of:

First, you can’t change your iCloud email address, so choose wisely as this account will be used to sync your favorite content, important settings, and more. And creating a new iCloud account later may not be a desirable experience.

Luckily, you can add up to three email aliases at a time. These aliases are essentially alternate email addresses you can send and receive with. Emails will be received in the same inbox as they are all associated with the same account.

Second, many people have had an iTunes account for years that they’ve used to purchase music, movies, TV shows, books, and Apps. Sure you can use your new iCloud account to make these same purchases; however, you won’t be able to merge your old iTunes account purchases into a new iCloud account.

Because of this slight oversight, there are two options. First option is to begin anew and only use your new iCloud account (this could get expensive if you have a lot of purchases). The second option is to continue using your old iTunes account for purchases. By doing the second option you’ll have to sign in with two accounts, but you’ll be able to keep your purchases and Apple has made it easy to do so in recent iterations of iOS.

Enabling iCloud

Once you have an iCloud account you will want to login on all of your Apple devices and make sure the features you wish to use are enabled.

To enable iCloud features on your iPhone go to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud.

iCloud settings on your Mac are located in the System Preferences under Accounts.

iCloud Enabled Apps

The following sections will go over the different things you can do using your iCloud account and some of the applications available on your Mac or iOS device that utilize iCloud services.


Email is a core feature of iCloud and has a variety of functions that help make it one of the better email services available today. Email with iCloud is very straight forward and can be accessed via the web ( or through an email client such as the Mail app built into all iOS and macOS devices.

iCloud mail offers the option, known as MailDrop, to send large attachments by storing them in iCloud allowing recipients to download large files by simply clicking a link.

It also has a variety of customization options and allows users to markup PDFs and other documents on their iOS device. In addition, the macOS and iOS Mail clients allow users to add multiple accounts in addition to their iCloud account, making it a great place for all of your email needs.

Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, and Notes

With an iCloud account all of your appointments, contact cards, reminders, and notes are synced between your Apple devices. This is a nice feature because if you buy a new device you don’t miss a thing or have to ask who’s texting you.

Notes is especially nice. The latest iteration of the Notes app includes categories, style formatting, checklists, collaboration, drawing capabilities (including Apple Pencil support), image support, and more. You can even add rich links to notes from Safari or other apps.


Today people take more photos than they know what to do with; and according to Flikr, 47% of Photos shared to their site in 2016 were taken on an iPhone. Photos of people’s family, their vacations, and even what they ate for breakfast are being taken and stored at an alarming rate.

With so many important—and some not so important—photos, it’s equally important that they don’t get lost. When logged into iCloud you can choose to enable iCloud Photo Library which will sync your library across devices and back them up to the cloud (if you have enough iCloud storage). You can also upload new photos and choose to optimize storage on your devices.

iMessage and FaceTime

iMessage and FaceTime allow for seamless communications between Apple devices. With iCloud, you can choose to send and receive text and multimedia based messages, video calls, and audio calls (yes FaceTime does VoIP-style audio calls) using your Apple ID. Of course, this is one of those iCloud features that’s just built into the service using your Apple ID.

Files and iCloud Drive

iCloud Drive is a cloud storage solution that allows you to sync files and folders across various devices. By default your Mac syncs the Desktop and Documents locations; however, you can choose which directories to sync.

In iOS 11, you can use the new Files app to manage files stored on your iPhone, in iCloud Drive, and on supported third-party services such as Dropbox.

This is an awesome feature that ensures your files are always within reach when you need them most.


iCloud Backup is amazing. But the initial backup (and restoring) can take some time even on a high-speed Internet connection. After this, backups occur in the background at times when the phone is not in use and generally happen pretty quick.

What makes iCloud Backup so fantastic is that it backs up everything (settings, apps, data, etc.) and it just works. One thing to keep in mind: text messages/iMessages are also backed up. It’s probably best to clear all unwanted messages before backing up and restoring a new device as messages are part of the initial restore and can make it take a lot longer. One other tip: don’t disconnect from your current Wi-Fi connection when a restore (or backup in some cases) is taking place; it can cause the restore to fail.


iWork is Apple’s productivity suite and includes Pages (written documents), Keynote (presentations), and Numbers (spreadsheets). Currently iWork is also available in iCloud — so it can easily be accessed by virtually any device with a web browser — and has apps for iOS and macOS. It also supports real-time collaboration much like Google Docs.


There are many password management applications available ranging from Last Pass to 1Password. But few people realize that Apple integrates its own robust password keeper right into macOS and iOS.

It’s called Keychain and it seamlessly integrates with Safari, and many third-party apps and browsers. Additionally, you can choose to encrypt your Keychain and sync it across devices using iCloud.

Using Keychain is pretty straight forward, with iPhone X Face ID usually starts automatically when it detects a login screen that you have a login for. Otherwise look for the key icon that appears on your iOS keyboard’s suggestions.

You can add new logins manually using the built in Keychain application on macOS or by going to Passwords in your iPhone’s Settings.


Safari remains possibly the best browser for iOS. Most other Internet browsing applications for iOS are built on top of it and don’t have all the features and privacy options that Safari offers. Safari works with Keychain (as mentioned above) and its data can be set to sync across all of your macOS and iOS devices.

In addition, Safari has an excellent “reader” mode that formats articles so they’re easy to read. You can also save articles and sites to a reading list. This reading list is also synced via iCloud.

Find My iPhone / Activation Lock

If you don’t have Find My iPhone (or Find My Mac) enabled for your iPhone, iPad, AirPods, Apple Watch, or Mac, stop what you’re doing and go enable it. Once enabled you can locate or disable your Apple devices from the Find My iPhone app or by going to

Enabling Find My iPhone (or Mac) also enables Activation Lock. With Activation Lock you can keep your devices secure in the event they are lost or stolen. Activation Lock makes the phone unusable to anyone without access to your iCloud account. Once triggered it won’t allow anyone to disable Find My iPhone, erase your device, or reactivate and use your device until the Lock is disabled and the device is safe in your hands.

To enable Activation Lock simply login to iCloud or the Find My iPhone app and put the missing or stolen device into Lost Mode. Using the App or website you can see the current or last known location of your devices on a map. You can also make the device play a sound (if it’s still online), erase it (if it’s online or when it comes back online), or get directions to the current or last known location.

In addition to your own devices, there is also the option to be able to see family member devices as well if you are using iCloud’s family features.

Find My iPhone is a great way to prevent your expensive iOS or macOS device from becoming lost or stolen.

Find My Friends

Like Find My iPhone, Find My Friends helps you locate or share your location with select users for a specified or indefinite amount of time. You can also choose to be notified when a user enters or exits a location using geofencing. For example, you could be notified when your kids arrive home after school or your spouse leaves work.

In terms of privacy, you can stop sharing your location at anytime; however, parents can use the iPhone’s restrictions settings to keep Find My Friends from being disabled by their children.

Find My Friends is also a great way to find and meet up with groups when in crowded areas such as amusement parks, airports, or convention centers.

iTunes, TV, and Apple Music

With iTunes and Apple Music, all of your favorite media is available to purchase, rent, or listen to anywhere and anytime. Apple Music and iTunes purchases are available on your iPhone, iPod, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. Apple Music is also available on Apple Watch.

Many movies on iTunes are now available in 4K HDR (or Dolby Vision) and cost $ 19.99 or less. Look for sales and you’ll find movies for as low as $ 4.99. What makes movies purchased from iTunes better than DVDs or Blu-rays is that they are available in the cloud for streaming or download. Additionally, they have extra content like their disc counterparts, but they don’t have previews. Gone are the days of fast forwarding through previews, fumbling with discs, or losing your movies. As an added bonus, Apple often makes updates for free, like resolution updates, content updates (iTunes Extras), and more.

TV shows from iTunes are a little different. While the TV App is great for finding movie and TV content from a variety of platforms, purchasing TV content will vary from person to person. This is because if you have TV or on demand services you can generally find shows for free. iTunes television content is competitively priced, but can often be found for free elsewhere.

Then there’s iTunes Music and Apple Music. Music Streaming is quickly taking over the world and Apple Music and Spotify are the gold standard for the service. Apple Music offers an Apple-like experience from the UI design to the quality of the content. If you you’re part of the Apple ecosystem it may be the best way to go. It’s $ 4.99/mo. for students, $ 9.99/mo. for individuals, and $ 14.99/mo. for families of five or less.

Apple Music allows you to stream and download content, create playlists, listen to online radio, play Apple exclusive content, and more.

Content purchased or added for iTunes and Apple Music doesn’t count toward your iCloud storage so you can have a huge library of content available right at your finger tips.


If you enjoy reading on your iPhone or iPad, iBooks is awesome and like iTunes syncs with iCloud. You can sync bookmarks, highlights, notes, and more. Books purchased in iBooks are always available to download again and your library can be synced across devices using iCloud.

News, Home, and Game Center

While Apple’s News app doesn’t require an iCloud subscription, it still helps make the experience a little more magical. Apple News started out as Newsstand, an app for subscribing to magazines. Since then, it’s evolved into a news aggregator so that users can get all of the news that’s relevant to them in one place. With iCloud, your preferences are remembered and synced across devices automatically. If you buy a new device you can pickup right where you left off.

The Home app is also one where iCloud works it’s magic in the background. Thanks to iCloud your smart home devices can be accessed on any device and if you purchase a new one you’re good to go right after logging in.

The same logic applies to Game Center. Game Center remembers what games you’ve played and can be used as a Single Sign On (SSO) of sorts for some of your games. However, unlike other features in this article you don’t have to use your main iCloud sign on. You can choose to use another Apple ID for Game Center.

Family Sharing

iCloud isn’t just a service for individuals. Apple recognizes that people have families (up to five members) and that they may want to share content, payment methods, and more.

Family Sharing allows you to access content from your family’s account. Additionally, younger family members can request to purchase an item and that request can be approved or denied from a parent device.

With an Apple Music family plan, your family can each have their own personalized Apple Music experience.

Third Party Integration

What really makes iCloud a winner is that it doesn’t stop with Apple-created apps and services. Third-party app developers can take advantage of iCloud’s syncing and storage for their apps.

When done right you can delete an app or game and reinstall it without losing any data. Additionally, apps can sync data across devices using iCloud so you’re always up-to-date. It’s quick, easy, and seamless, and it’s what makes iCloud a complete package.

iCloud isn’t perfect and it’s always evolving. But it’s a treasure trove of features and services that some still haven’t discovered. Using iCloud to its fullest can help to make you a true pro-user when it comes to your Apple products.

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