Google Home Mini update will re-enable touch control feature

Google Home Mini hands-on

Shortly before the Google Home Mini launched, it was discovered that some pre-release units were recording their owners 24/7. The issue was related to the Home Mini’s top touch controls, and so Google decided to permanently disable that feature to prevent the issue from happening. Two months later, though, the touch functionality is making a comeback.

Google says that it’s prepping an update for the Google Home Mini that will reactivate the device’s touch features. This means that you’ll be able to touch the sides of the Google Home Mini to play and pause music, end phone calls, and silence alarms. This time, though, you’ll long press the side to perform these functions.

This feature will be enabled by the update to v1.30. The update will launch today, but it’ll be available in Google’s preview firmware channel first before rolling out to the public. If you just can’t wait any longer for the touch feature on your Google Home Mini, you can join the preview channel.

To join the Google Home Mini preview channel, go into the Home app on your Phone, select the settings for your Google Home device, then tap on the Preview Program option and opt in.

While you can use your voice to do things by saying “Ok Google”, it’s also nice to have the option of just touching the side of the Google Home Mini to control it if you’re nearby. When Google announced that it was disabling the touch feature a couple of months ago, it never said anything about re-enabling it, so it’s good to see Google bringing the feature back a couple of months later.

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Apple Updates iTunes to Re-enable Apps and Tones Downloads

Apple has quietly released a new version of iTunes that reintroduces the iOS App Store and ringtones that were previously removed from the desktop software.

The company said it released the version, iTunes 12.6.3, due to “certain business partners” that might need the ability to install apps via the software, according to an Apple enterprise support page. But despite its target of users in a “business environment,” the version of iTunes to available to everyone.

The iTunes App Store and ringtones marketplace was removed with the release of iTunes 12.7 in September. The update revamped software and shifted the desktop client to focus solely on music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and audiobooks. Following the change, apps and ringtones could only be dowloaded using an iOS device.

For enterprise clients, Apple offers various Volume Purchase Programs and Apple Configurators for mass-deployment of apps in a business environment. But iTunes 12.6.3 suggests that certain business partners still need the ability to push out apps via Apple’s desktop client.

Essentially, iTunes 12.6.3 is the older version of iTunes — pre-App Store removal — but with support for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and other devices running iOS 11. Once it’s installed, however, users will no longer be prompted to update to future versions of iTunes.

It’s worth noting that iTunes 12.6.3 doesn’t include any technical support or documentation. It’s also currently unclear how long Apple will support the business-focused version of iTunes. In the interim, the release of iTunes 12.6.3 is good news for users who still want to use the desktop client to purchase apps and ringtones.

How to Install iTunes 12.6.3

To install iTunes 12.6.3, you can download the appropriate installation package from the company’s enterprise support page or from the links below. Once it’s downloaded, run the installer and follow the provided instructions.

On another note, most users will need to rebuild their iTunes library after downloading the new version. You can do so by following the steps below.

  1. Launch iTunes 12.6.3
  2. Hold down the Option key.
  3. Click “Create Library…” from the dialog window.
  4. Name the Library.
  5. Migrate your music and content using the “Add to Library” option under Files.

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