Google removes GApps 100 device limit for uncertified devices, fixes device registration page

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Late last month, Google announced it would block the Play Store and Google Play Services from running on ‘uncertified’ devices. This was meant to keep OEMs from sideloading the Play Store on devices not approved by Google. The company offered a way for custom ROM users to register their devices, but it was a complicated process, because the registration page didn’t actually provide instructions.

Since then, Google has been making tweaks to the process, and now two annoying requirements have been removed.

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Apple Music and iCloud Music Library Face Syncing Issues as Users Discover Temporary Fixes

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Apple Music and iCloud Music Library sometimes face slight delays when syncing your music between devices like a Mac and iPhone, but since the launch of iOS 11.3 reports about these delays have grown much more frequent. On the MacRumors forums, in Apple’s support communities, and throughout numerous Reddit posts, users have mentioned that when they add new music on their Mac or iPad, it no longer appears on their iPhone.

Some users have said that toggling iCloud Music Library on/off works to kickstart the sync and force a refresh of albums on their iPhone, but that has the potential to cause further problems like deleted music and the removal of some song downloads. Fortunately, one user on the Apple support communities website has shared a helpful temporary fix for the issue, which MacRumors has been able to successfully perform more than five times.

Creating a new, blank playlist works to refresh your Apple Music library

To manually refresh your iPhone’s music library, simply create a new, blank playlist by navigating to the Library tab in the iOS Music app, tap Playlists, tap New Playlist, and tap Done. Once the refresh is done, jump to the bottom of the Playlists page and 3D Touch to delete the empty playlist. Note that this will also update songs added and removed within playlists.

There is no fix for this, but there is a work around until Apple fixes this: just create a blank playlist on the iOS device. This forces a read/write with the library stored in iCloud, then all your changes will suddenly get pulled down. You have to do this every time, it’s essentially a manual refresh now.

Unfortunately, the reverse method doesn’t appear to work as consistently in iTunes on Mac, but desktop users also have another potential easy solution to refresh their library: simply rate a song by loving/disliking it. Afterwards, the Recently Added tab in iTunes should refresh with the addition or removal of content that you made on any other devices connected to the same iCloud account.

On both macOS and iOS, you can also add any other new song, album, or playlist to your library to manually refresh and force the content not syncing across devices to appear. Then, you can delete the new songs after everything else has been updated.

Multiple Apple Music subscribers have opened up support cases on the bug, and Apple support in most instances have said that it’s not a known issue. However, support staff told one user that they will start an investigation after he “rebooted, changed password, signed out of iCloud, switched iCloud music library off,” and more.

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Android security update for April brings many fixes for Pixel 2, Pixel, and some Nexus

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Google releases a monthly security bulletin that contain its newest security updates and sometimes functional updates. Today, Google has released the full list of fixes and changes that will come with the April OTA update. Some of these fixes and updates apply to only Pixel 2(XL) devices while others apply to the HTC-made first-generation Pixel (XL) phones. Here are few updates mentioned in the update. Assisted dialing support for Pixel 2 Improve VoLTE – VoWi-Fi handover during emergency calls for all Pixels Reduce delays upon opening certain apps for Pixel 2 Enable IMS911…

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macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 release notes & security fixes

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On March 30, 2018, Apple released the major macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 software update for Mac with under-the-hood tweaks, a bunch of security fixes and some feature additions, including better support for external GPUs, Business Chat in Messages and more…. Read the rest of this post here


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A Quick Look At Major iOS 11.3 Features, Improvements, and Bug Fixes

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iOS 11.3 Features

iOS 11.3 has come with several new features like ARKit 1.5 which has the support of more immersive augmented reality experiences and iPhone Battery Health (Beta). The latest iOS version also includes some new Animoji for iPhone X. Considering it’s a major update, you should take a peek at all the iOS 11.3 features, improvements and bug fixes.

Among a number of exciting features that have caught my eyes are “Business Chat” and the all-new music video section in Apple Music. Oh yes, AR has also got a huge boost as well!

iOS 11.3 Features

iOS 11.3 Features, Improvements, and Bug Fixes

iPhone Battery Health (Beta)

It shows information on iPhone maximum battery capacity as well as peak performance capability.

It displays performance management feature that dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns. Moreover, it also recommends if a battery needs to be replaced. (Head over to this post to know more about this power management feature.)

Augmented Reality

  • ARKit 1.5 lets developers put digital objects on vertical surfaces such as doors, walls, and doors in addition to horizontal surfaces.
  • It includes the support for detecting and incorporating images such as movie posters or artwork into AR experiences.
  • It has got the support of higher resolution real-world camera view while using AR experiences.

iPad Charge Management

  • It manages battery health when iPad is connected to power for a longer period of time like when it’s stored in charging carts or used in point of sale systems.

Animoji

  • It has got four new Animoji on iPhone X: lion, bear, dragon, and skull.

Business Chat (Beta) – the US only

  • It allows you to communicate with companies to ask questions, schedule appointments, and make purchases right from the Messages app. Currently, it’s available in the US only.

Health Records (Beta) – the US only

  • You can now access health records, check out lab results, immunizations, and several other important info in a timeline in the Health app.

Apple Music

  • It features an all-new music video experience like updated Music Videos section with video playlists.
  • You can now find friends who have similar tastes with the help of the updated suggestions in Apple Music. For instance, it will help you discover genres people enjoy and mutual friends who follow them.

News

  • Top Stories now show up first in For You.
  • You can now watch Top Videos curated by News editors.

App Store

  • You can now sort customer reviews on product pages by Most Helpful, Most Favorable, Most Critical, or Most Recent.
  • It has improved Updates tab information with app version and file size.

Safari

  • Safeguards privacy by only AutoFilling usernames and passwords after selecting them in a web form field.
  • It has included warnings in the Smart Search Field when interacting with password or credit card forms on non-encrypted web pages.
  • AutoFill for usernames and passwords have become available in web views within apps.
  • The articles that you share to Mail from Safari are now formatted using Reader mode by default.
  • Folders in Favorites now displays icons for the bookmarks contained within.

Accessibility

  • App Store now includes accessibility support for bold and large text for display customization.
  • Smart Invert has now added the support for images on the web and in Mail messages.
  • It has bolstered RTT experience and also included RTT support for T-Mobile.
  • It has improved app switching on iPad for VoiceOver and Switch Control users.
  • Fixes an issue where VoiceOver incorrectly described Bluetooth status and badge icons.
  • Resolved an issue where end call button might not be presented in the Phone app while using VoiceOver
  • Resolves issue where in-app app rating was not accessible with VoiceOver.

Keyboards

  • It has added two new Shuangpin keyboard layouts.
  • Contains support for connected hardware keyboards using the Turkish F keyboard layout.
  • It has improved Chinese and Japanese keyboards for better reachability on 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch devices.
  • Allows switching back to the keyboard after dictation with just a single tap.
  • Fixes an issue where auto-correct could incorrectly capitalize some words.
  • Resolves an issue on iPad Pro which prevented the iPad Smart Keyboard from working after connecting to a captive Wi-Fi access point.
  • Resolved an issue that could cause the Thai keyboard to switch to the numeric layout while using landscape mode incorrectly.

Privacy

  • When you allow an Apple feature to use your personal information, an icon will show up along with a link to detailed information explaining how your data will be used and safeguarded.

Some Other Improvements and Bug Fixes

  • It has come with the support for the AML standard that offers more accurate location data to emergency responders when SOS is activated.
  • It includes the support for software authentication as a new way for developers to create and enable HomeKit compatible accessories.
  • Podcasts now allow you to play episodes with a single tap. You will also tap into Details to get more info about each episode.
  • It has improved search performance for users with long notes in Contacts.
  • It has improved the performance of Handoff and Universal Clipboard when both devices are on the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Resolves an issue that could prevent incoming calls from waking the display.
  • Fixes an issue that could delay or prevent playback of Visual Voicemail.
  • Fix an issue that prevented opening a web link in Messages.
  • Gets rid of an issue that could prevent users from returning to Mail after previewing a message attachment.
  • Resolves an issue that could cause Mail notifications to reappear on the Lock screen after they had been cleared.
  • Troubleshoots an issue that could cause time and notifications to disappear from the Lock Screen.
  • Addresses an issue that prevented parents from using Face ID to approve Ask to Buy requests.
  • Resolves an issue in Weather where current weather conditions may not have been updated.
  • Troubleshoots issue where contacts may not sync with a car’s phone book when connected over Bluetooth.
  • Fixes an issue that could prevent audio apps from playing in cars when the app was in the background.

That’s all!

Have your say

What’s your take on iOS 11.3 and which are the new features that have impressed you a lot? Shoot your feedback in the comments.

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tvOS 11.3 release notes & security fixes

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On March 29, 2018, Apple released the tvOS 11.3 software update, bringing the ability to play videos in their original frame rate to owners of the fourth-generation Apple TV, plus other improvements such as ad-free music videos for Apple Music members right in the Music app…. Read the rest of this post here


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iOS 11.3 Fixes Battery Throttling, Adds New Animoji, and More

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Apple isn’t done improving and adding features to iOS 11 yet. Anyone with a compatible iPhone or iPad model can now download iOS 11.3 over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update.

You can also update through iTunes by plugging in an iOS device, selecting the iPhone or iPad, and then choosing the Summary section. Then select Check for Update.

Unlike some software updates that only brings bug fixes and other behind-the-scenes improvements, iOS 11.3 is a major step forward offering a number of new features for users. Here’s a rundown of what to expect.

Say Hello to Battery Health

Apple stirred controversy in late 2017 when it admitted that it slows down the processors on some older iPhone models to help protect from unexpected shutdowns and preserve the overall battery life. But a new addition in iOS 11.3 is providing users more information about their handset battery.

Found under Settings > Battery > Battery Health is the new Battery Health feature.

iOS 11 Battery Health

In the first section, users can see the current maximum capacity of the handset battery compared to when it was new. You’ll also be able to see if the battery is currently supporting peak performance.

If not, anyone with an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, or iPhone 7 Plus can disable the power management option after the first unexpected shutdown on a handset. If that happens, you’ll see this message:

“This iPhone has experienced an unexpected shutdown because the battery was unable to deliver the necessary peak power. Performance management has been applied to help prevent this from happening again.”

But be careful before you select that option, as you can’t turn it back on. The power management feature will automatically kick in if your iPhone ever shuts down unexpectedly.

Anytime your maximum battery capacity drops below 80 percent, you’ll also see a message that replacing the cell will restore the handset to full performance and capacity. Click through to see more information about replacement options through Apple.

A comprehensive support document also offers more detail about iPhone batteries and handset performance. You can even learn about some great tips to help get the most out an iPhone battery.

While the feature won’t exactly change how lithium-ion batteries work, it will give users a better idea of how their battery could be affecting overall performance. And it’s something Apple should have originally done when it rolled out the power management feature in 2016.

New Animoji for the iPhone X

ios 11.3 fixes and features

Those wacky and crazy Animoji for iPhone X users are even getting a big boost with iOS 11.3. A surprise hit, Animoji use the TrueDepth camera in the iPhone X to capture more than 50 different facial features and overlay them on the fun emoji-like characters.

Apple is adding four more characters to the mix: a dragon, bear, skull, and lion. Those additions will bring the number of Animoji up to 16. So expect to see a lot more Animoji karaoke.

Health Records in the Health App

ios 11.3 fixes and features

The Health app is also taking a big step up with a great new addition. With the app in iOS 11.3, Apple is teaming up with a number of different medical institutions across the United States to allow users to quickly and easily access to their health records.

Using the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard, Apple worked with the providers to create a way to transfer electronic medical records.

Available to view in the Health Data section of the app, you can check records from a number of different institutions in one view. Some of the information you can see includes allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures, and vital signs. You’ll also see a notification when the data is updated.

All of the health records are encrypted and protected by the iPhone passcode. While 12 different institutions support the feature at launch, Apple is promising to add others in the future.

Other New Features in iOS 11.3

iOS 11.3 offers some additional smaller improvements that you might not notice right away:

  • Developers will be able to start taking advantage of ARKit 1.5 for their apps. The augmented reality protocol can now recognize and place virtual objects on vertical surfaces—think doors and windows. Also included is support for detecting and incorporating images like movie posters in AR. The real-world view through the camera also sports 50 percent better resolution and an auto-focus capability.
  • Rolling out in beta, Business Chat will allow users to chat with a business directly in Messages to schedule an appointment, make a purchase, or talk with a customer service representative. Some of the business available will include Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s, and Wells Fargo.
  • Anytime an Apple app wants to use or access personal information, you’ll see a new privacy icon along with a link that provides more information about how Apple will use and protect the data. That’s enormously timely with the Facebook’s seemingly lax approach to data protection.
  • Adding support for Advanced Mobile Location will automatically send your location whenever a call is made to emergency services where the feature is supported.
  • Apple News now features an improved Top Stories section and a new video option in the For You section.
  • Apple Music subscribers can view a revamped Music Videos section with a number of exclusive playlists. Music lovers can also view friends with similar tastes in tunes.

Ready, Set, Download iOS 11.3

Apple’s iOS 11.3 has a little something for every iPhone or iPad user. From more control over battery life and performance to new Animoji and much more, the substantial update should help tide us over until the official arrival of iOS 12, more than likely coming sometime this fall.

And while you’re checking out all of the new features in iOS 11.3, make sure to take a look at some great iPhone shortcuts to help become more productive.

Image Credit: ifeelstock/Depositphotos

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Hori’s replacement Joy-Con fixes Nintendo Switch’s D-Pad, with some sacrifices

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The Nintendo Switch may very well be one of the best consoles of all time, but one thing that’s not so neat is its lack of a proper D-Pad. Hori’s upcoming replacement Joy-Con fixes that problem. Unfortunately, it also takes away some of the Switch’s best features. The replacement Joy-Con looks just like the original one, except that it swaps the default directional buttons for a very traditional-looking D-Pad, and comes in a deep blue. The Switch opts for separate buttons instead of a D-Pad because you can detach the controllers and use each joy-con as a separate mini controller.…

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Mark Zuckerberg says he’s ‘open’ to testifying to Congress, fixes will cost ‘many millions’ and he ‘feels really bad’

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In a wide-ranging interview, the Facebook CEO admitted that the social networking giant may have made mistakes in opening up its network so much a decade ago.

While not definitively saying yes, Mark Zuckerberg says he’s “open” to testifying before members of Congress regarding Facebook’s recent privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. The data firm, which worked for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign before the 2016 election, is now embroiled in an ongoing controversy about how it collected user data from the social networking giant without user consent.

In a wide-ranging interview with Recode this afternoon, the Facebook CEO and co-founder said that he would appear before legislators if he was the “right’ one inside the company to give lawmakers information about what happened.

“I’m open to doing that,” he said when asked if he’d testify. “We actually do this fairly regularly … There are lots of different topics that Congress needs and wants to know about, and the way that we approach it is that our responsibility is to make sure that they have access to all of the information that they need to have.”

“So I’m open to doing it if I’m the right [person],” he added. (Note to Mark: You are the right and only person to speak for Facebook at this point in the controversy.)

The worst-case scenario for Facebook would be increased data regulation, which could cripple Facebook’s advertising business that relies on collecting lots of data from its users. Facebook already lost roughly $ 50 billion in market cap this week alone.

Zuckerberg admitted multiple times throughout the 20-minute interview that Facebook had made major mistakes in the building of its social platform — going as far back as 2007 — that ultimately led to Cambridge Analytica’s ability to misuse the personal profile information of some 50 million users. Unlike in his statement posted to his Facebook page on Wednesday, Zuckerberg even apologized.

“We let the community down and I feel really bad and I’m sorry about that,” he said. Earlier, and in this interview, he had called the mistakes a “breach of trust” with its users.

It’s one that Facebook was clearly responsible for. Zuckerberg reflected on these faults in how Facebook was built in the first place, techniques which it also used to grow enormously. The original mistake, he said, was the decision to open Facebook’s data trove so broadly to third-party developers without proper monitoring, which began in 2007 and was turbocharged with his 2008 launch of single sign-on feature called Facebook Connect. The vision was that people would be able to bring their Facebook identity, as well as their friend network, with them into all of the other apps and services they used online.

That wasn’t what people actually wanted, Zuckerberg said he has now come to realize. “Frankly, I just think I got that wrong,” he said, a sentiment that most Silicon Valley moguls are loath to admit.

“There was this values tension playing out between the value of data portability — being able to take your data and some social data, the ability to create new experiences — on one hand, and privacy on the other hand,” he said. “I was maybe too idealistic on the side of data portability, that it would create more good experiences — and it created some — but I think what the clear feedback from our community was that people value privacy a lot more.”

He also regrets how the company handled the original revelation that Cambridge Analytica had collected Facebook user data back in 2015. At the time, the firm gave Facebook a written statement that any data it had collected was deleted, but now Zuckerberg said he wishes Facebook had actually done its own check to confirm that claim.

“At the time it didn’t seem like we needed to go further on that,” he said. “Given what we know now, we clearly should have followed up, and we’re never going to make that mistake again.”

But Zuckerberg did not give any details about why the company did not do those checks, or about why broader monitoring of third-party developers — who in some cases were given vast troves of user information — was so shoddy.

He said Facebook is now trying to go back and check who has user data, although it’s essentially an effort to put the genie back into the bottle. When asked if he could recover some of the data now, Zuckerberg admitted, “not always.”

To help fix what has been broken — Facebook’s famous former motto was “move fast and break things” — Zuckerberg announced earlier today that Facebook will start to investigate if other developers abused its policies in the same way Cambridge Analytica did.

That won’t be easy, Zuckerberg acknowledged.

“The data isn’t on our servers, so it would require us sending out forensic auditors to different apps,” he explained. “We do know all the apps that registered for Facebook, and all the people who were on Facebook who registered for those apps, and have a log of the different data requests that the developers made. So we can get a sense of — what are the reputable companies? What are companies that were doing unusual things?”

Facebook, he said, will try to flag suspect behavior for a deeper dive. “Anyone who either has a ton of data or was doing something unusual, we’re going to take the next step of having them go through an audit,” Zuckerberg said.

How big could the problem be? Pretty big, apparently. Zuckerberg estimated that this process will take months, cost “many millions of dollars,” and include at least basic analysis of the data collection from tens of thousands of apps.

“The conversation we were having internally on this is: Are there enough people who are trained auditors in the world to do the number of audits that we’re going to need quickly?” he said.

Still, in keeping with Facebook’s — and his own — values of trying to remain a neutral platform in an increasingly fractured world, Zuckerberg also reiterated his concern about having too much of his own personal ideology influencing Facebook’s rules and regulations.

“A lot of the most sensitive issues that we face today are conflicts between real values, right? Freedom of speech, and hate speech and offensive content. Where is the line?” he said, sounding more like an ethics student than the billionaire CEO of one of the world’s most valuable and influential companies.

“What I would really like to do is find a way to get our policies set in a way that reflects the values of the community, so I am not the one making those decisions,” Zuckerberg said. “I feel fundamentally uncomfortable sitting here in California in an office making content policy decisions for people around the world.”

“[The] thing is like, ‘Where’s the line on hate speech?’ I mean, who chose me to be the person that did that?,” Zuckerberg said. “I guess I have to, because of [where we are] now, but I’d rather not.”

Now, of course, he might have to.

(Note: Recode will post the entire transcript as soon as it is ready.)


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