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Preorder the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 fitness watch for $42 – CNET

xiaomi-mi-band-5

The Mi Band 5 should hit US shores this month. You can preorder it right now for just $42.

Xiaomi

The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is coming soon to the US, bringing a wealth of impressive features to your wrist on the cheap. How impressive and how cheap? Let’s start with the latter: If you simply can’t wait to get your mitts on one, Walmart has the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 for $41.99. Note that it’s being offered via a third-party seller, and that it says delivery will take about two weeks. 

The Mi Band 5’s predecessor was already a pretty solid product, selling for around $35 and standing toe-to-toe with the pricier Fitbit Inspire HR. There’s no official price on the new model, but I’m seeing it from various China-based sellers for $40 to $50. I suspect it’ll end up in the higher end of that range once it reaches US warehouses.

The water-resistant Mi Band 5 features a 1.1-inch color AMOLED display (just slightly larger than the Mi Band 4’s), heart rate and oxygen sensors, dozens of animated watch faces, a magnetic charge cord and a 14-day battery.

That battery is a bit of a disappointment, as the Mi Band 4 was rated for up to 20 days. However, the Mi Band 5 adds several new sport modes, bringing the total to 11. It also adds menstrual tracking.

I’ll know more once I get my hands on the Mi Band 5 — or, rather, get the Mi Band 5 on my hand. I’m hoping it’s better than the $25 Wyze Band, which left me a bit disappointed.

Your thoughts?


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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G leaks ahead of expected Unpacked debut – CNET

galaxy-z-flip-samsung

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip could be getting a 5G variant at Samsung’s next event. 

Juan Garzon/CNET

Samsung sent out invites for its next (virtual) Unpacked event earlier this week. The Aug. 5 event is expected to feature a host of new devices, and a new leak seemingly gives us a peek at one of the new products set to be revealed. 

In a tweet Friday, noted leaker Evan Blass shared what appears to be a promotional video for the upcoming Galaxy Z Flip 5G. Featuring a new bronze color, the foldable flip phone looks similar to the original $1,380 Galaxy Z Flip that was released earlier this year, though with the 5G name it should have at least get some updates to support connecting to the latest wireless networks. 

It’s unclear which, or if, US carriers will carry the new phone and which 5G networks it will support. AT&T and Sprint were the two US providers for the first Z Flip, which ran on 4G LTE networks. 

Given its history, AT&T seems like a decent bet as, in addition to the Z Flip this year, the carrier was the only US provider to sell Samsung’s Galaxy Fold tablet-style foldable when it finally came out last year. 

Sprint has since merged with T-Mobile, which did not sell the Z Flip and backed out of selling the Fold after that foldable’s design issues led to a lengthy delay. Verizon, meanwhile, is the exclusive home of Motorola’s rival Razr foldable and has not yet carried a Samsung foldable device. 

In addition to a new Z Flip, Samsung is also expected to introduce an updated line of Galaxy Note 20 phones and a successor to the original Galaxy Fold. 

Samsung did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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4 things to know before buying that used phone on eBay – CNET

used-phones
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Having a great phone that can handle gaming, streaming and take lovely photos doesn’t mean spending a fortune on the latest flagships like the iPhone 11 Pro or Galaxy S20 Ultra. Buying an older phone, used, can save you a bunch of money, but still puts some awesome hardware in your pocket. Even better, it saves a phone from going to landfill, which we can all agree is a good thing.

But there are some key things to keep in mind if you want the best phone for your money and you want to stay safe when you get it. Here then, are our top tips on how to safely buy a great used phone, whether you want an iPhone ($699 at Apple) or Android.

What features do you need?

First, think about what you actually need from a phone, as this will dictate what sort of level you need to be aiming at. If you just want something to handle some casual WhatsApp messages and play Spotify on your commute, you don’t need flagship levels of performance. Something like 2018’s Samsung Galaxy A8 will likely fit you well.

safe-android-phone-2

safe-android-phone-2

Think about what features you really need in a phone. Is having a button-free display really worth splashing the extra cash on a more modern handset?

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If, however, you’re really into your photography then you may want to spend a bit more on something that’s got a decent camera on the back. In that case, something like an iPhone X ($900 at Boost Mobile) might suit, or a Galaxy S9 ($230 at Back Market). You’ll have to find that balance between the performance you need and the price you’re happy to pay. Newer phones with more modern features will come with a higher price. 

Buy from a trusted source

Not every phone seller has your best interests at heart, so it’s important to be savvy with your shopping. Some places to avoid should be obvious; don’t buy from the guy selling phones on a street corner, for example, but others can be hit and miss.

eBay is a well-known source for buying anything used and there’s a huge selection of phones to be had. Some of these are sold by refurbishing companies that trade solely in buying and selling used handsets. Others are just regular people trying to offload their old devices when they upgrade. The result is that it can sometimes feel like panning for gold, looking for those nuggets you actually want. Check the next section for more tips on buying on eBay.

My best advice though is to go to trusted companies that buy old phones, refurbish them and sell them on. I’ve used MusicMagpie in the UK and had no problems. Its online catalogue is vast, it clearly lists the condition of the phones, every handset is factory reset and you get a 12-month warranty with every purchase. Prices might be a tad higher than you’d find on eBay but the peace of mind more than makes up for it. Gazelle offers a similar service in the US, although we haven’t tested it ourselves so can’t vouch for the overall quality of the service.

Read moreBest cell phone trade-in options for iPhones and Android phones

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samsung-galaxy-s8-64gb-black-unlocked-very-good-musicmagpie-store-google-chrome-07-07-2020-10-39-15.png

MusicMagpie’s product pages make it very easy to see the condition of the exact phone you’re buying.

MusicMagpie/Screenshot by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Check the details

Whether you’re buying from eBay, Amazon Marketplace or anywhere else, it’s important to pay close attention to what you’re actually getting. Read carefully what the listing says, including any small print that might be hidden further down, in among other details. It may be that phrases like “nonfunctioning” or “battery faulty” are intentionally buried to trick people into buying a phone that no longer works. They’ll also likely explain whether you’re getting the original charging cable, packaging and what sort of nicks and scratches you can expect to see.

Use your common sense here — if a $1,000 iPhone is being sold for only $100, there’s probably something fishy going on. Don’t be the guy who bought a picture of an Xbox One for $735

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safe-android-phone-6

Despite having the latest software installed, this Galaxy S6’s last security update was applied in 2018. That means that there are two years of new exploits that this phone is susceptible to.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Make sure it still gets security updates

I’ll make this as clear as possible: Do not buy a phone that no longer gets security updates from its manufacturer. Unsupported phones are open to all kinds of vulnerabilities that can give hackers easy access to every single piece of information on your handset — or even control it completely. Those bank details, those cute pics of your kids, those sexy selfies you sent to your partner — all could be accessed and stolen.

Most Android phone manufacturers tend to support their handsets for two to three years. Apple takes that further, however, supporting even 2015’s iPhone 6S ($129 at Back Market) with the latest iOS 13. 

It’s frustrating that phones aren’t supported for longer, as the hardware remains perfectly capable, but the outdated software makes the phones vulnerable. I recently compared the 2017 Galaxy S8 to the brand-new Moto G Power and while the S8 performed superbly, it’s right on the cusp of being cut off from Samsung’s regular updates, meaning that it won’t be long before it becomes gradually less safe to use. 

Your best bet is to look at phones that came out within the last two years and are therefore likely still receiving security updates. When you find a phone that suits, google the model name and try and find out if it’s still definitely getting updates, and if there’s an indication of how much longer it’ll get them for. Companies aren’t forthcoming with info about when they’re cutting a product loose, but by looking at what other models are still being supported you can make a fair estimate.

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galaxy-s9-crop-andrew-hoyle

The Galaxy S9, being a newer model than the S8, will likely continue getting security updates for longer.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Galaxy S8 ($189 at Back Market), for example, is still listed on Samsung’s support page as getting updates, but it likely won’t be for much longer. It’s reasonably safe to assume therefore that the S9 (launched a year after the S8) will have at least another year of safe use out of it. Buying a used S9 might cost a little more than a used S8, but it’s an investment that’ll be safer for you in the long run.

Make sure when your phone of choice arrives that you fully factory reset it yourself, and make sure to check for all available software updates before doing anything else.

If you’re keen to save some cash by buying used, make sure to check out our full article on the security advice you need to be aware of. Also see how the old S8 compares to the recent Moto G Power. If you’re not keen on buying used but still don’t want to spend all your savings, take a look at our roundup of the best phones under $200.

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Scrabble bans racial and ethnic slurs from the board game – CNET

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Scrabble is banning slurs from the game.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Hasbro, the board game giant that owns Scrabble, is banning the use of racial and ethnic slurs from its official word list. The crossword game will no longer allow derogatory language to be used while playing. 

“Hasbro Gaming is rooted in community and bringing people together, and we are committed to providing an experience that is inclusive and enjoyable for all,” the company wrote in a release on Wednesday. “For that reason, Hasbro is changing the official rules of its Scrabble game to make clear that slurs are not permissible in any form of the game.”

The crossword game uses the Merriam-Webster Scrabble Players Dictionary as its official word list in North America. Hasbro said that it first started removing offensive words in 1994 and continues to regularly review the full list.

The North American Scrabble Players Association, which uses a slightly different word list for its competitive tournaments, also agreed to ban the use of racial and ethnic slurs after a poll was taken by the association’s members. 

The association’s CEO John Chew said in a statement on Wednesday that Scrabble brings together a wide range of people and the association needs to do more to be inclusive. 

“As people have said across the spectrum of responses, removing slurs is the very least that we can do to make our association more inclusive,” Chew said. “I will be reaching out to the community for suggestions in coming months, and look forward to working with everyone to make our community a larger and happier one.”

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Apple Arcade: 8 games we can’t wait to play – CNET

pathless

The Pathless is also coming out on PS5 this holiday season.

The Pathless/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

This story is part of CNET’s coverage of Apple Arcade, including exclusive first looks we got at some of the service’s high-profile new games.

Apple’s subscription mobile gaming service Apple Arcade has released over 120 games to play across the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV since its launch eight months ago. Some of the breakout games on the $4.99 (£4.99, AU$7.99) a month service include The Enchanted WorldWhere Cards Fall and Shinsekai: Into the Depths

Apple Arcade has been steadily releasing new games every week or so and updating others. Even though the gaming service has amassed an impressive catalog of games, we’re still waiting on some of the biggest titles promised at launch. Here are the games that were announced at launch that we can’t wait to play once they’re available. 

The Artful Escape 

Developer: Annapurna Interactive

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artful-escape-2.png

The Artful Escape/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

The Artful Escape tells the story of teenage guitar prodigy Francis Vendetti. On the night of his first performance, Francis finds himself on a psychedelic quest of self discovery. Along the way, he battles dead folk legends and, at times, his own imagination. 

The Artful Escape was first announced at E3 2017 and was listed in the Apple Arcade lineup last year. The X019 trailer promises a colorful, neon, musical side-scroller.  

Box Project

Developer: Aquiris

box-project

box-project

MrMacRight on YouTube/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

When Box Project was announced for Apple Arcade, there weren’t many details available aside from a photo of a cardboard box. Information is still sparse online, but CNET reached out to Brazilian gaming studio Aquiris for more information. A video from YouTuber MrMacRight showed just a few seconds of Box Project in early June and suggested the name might be a working title. The images looked like a medieval style scene with a Wii-like character wielding a sword while battling little green goblins. 

Enter the Construct

Developer: Directive Games

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apple-introduces-apple-arcade-enter-the-construct-03252019

Apple

Not many details were available about Enter the Construct last year, except that it was expected to be available at Apple Arcade’s launch. At that time, the images and videos showed the game as a first-person sci-fi shooter. Since then, there has been little to no information about Enter the Construct, so it’s possible it’s taken on a new name or has been canceled. CNET reached out to Directive Games and we’ll update when we hear back. 

Fantasian

Developer: Mistwalker

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d2orunpucait0-u

Mistwalker

Fantasian’s creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, a mastermind behind multiple RPGs including Final Fantasy, posts updates about the upcoming JRPG game fairly regularly on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you’re excited about Fantasian, you can scroll through Sakaguchi’s social media and get a look at the game’s concept art and the handcrafted dioramas as they’re being built. Mistwalker has posted designs of New Town En, Magitech Factory in Machine City, Secret Base and the Water City of Vence from the game.

HitchHiker

Developers: Mad About Pandas

hitchhiker

hitchhiker

HitchHiker/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

HitchHiker is a mystery puzzle game where you play as the hitchhiker who doesn’t remember anything about their identity, their past or their destination. You’ll travel with five different drivers and make choices in the conversations that can help you remember your dark secrets. Solve environmental puzzles, keep an eye out for clues everywhere and make alliances — but remember that nothing is what it seems. 

The Pathless

Developers: Giant Squid

pathless

pathless

The Pathless/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

The Pathless is one of the most anticipated games coming to Apple Arcade. You’ll play as the Hunter, tasked with fighting a curse of darkness and corrupt spirits with your eagle companion. Explore beautiful, misty forests on a magical island, solve puzzles and fight battles. The Pathless is a follow up to the studio’s previous game, Abzû. You’ll also be able to play The Pathless on the upcoming PS5. 

Proxi

Developers: Will Wright and Gallium Artists

proxi

proxi

Team Proxi/Twitter

Proxi is an AI simulation game from The Sims creator Will Wright. The game is built out of the player’s memories, using them as building blocks in the 3D world. Instead of creating a city or a house, as the player would do in The Sims, Proxi models the brain. You can store memories and millions of interconnected concepts, according to the website. 

Ultimate Rivals: The Court

Developer: Bit Fry

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ultimate-rivals-the-court

Bit Fry/Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

This is a follow-up game to last year’s Ultimate Rivals: The Rink. Last December, Apple debuted the Ultimate Rivals franchise at the Game Awards. Future iterations of the game could bring football, baseball or soccer to Apple Arcade.

A few rumored games

In an early June video, YouTuber MrMacRight mentioned Necrobarista from Route 59 Games as a possible future addition to Apple Arcade’s library. Necrobarista is a game about the dead having one last night to mingle with the living, and is set to come out on Steam as well.

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Creepy ‘Creaks’ game moves into Apple Arcade neighborhood – CNET

creaks-gameplayscreenshot-birdtower

Creaks is a mysterious and creepy hand-painted puzzle platformer. 

Apple

This story is part of CNET’s coverage of Apple Arcade, including exclusive first looks we got at some of the service’s high-profile new games.

Apple Arcade on Friday added Creaks, a new puzzle platformer game from indie developer Amanita Design, to its growing catalog of over 120 games. Creaks joins the developer’s other game, Pilgrims, on Apple’s subscription mobile gaming service.

In the game, you’re spending a quiet evening in your room when the light starts flickering and the ground trembles. The wallpaper pulls back to reveal a secret door, and someone, or something, is making noise in there. Grab your flashlight and explore a mysterious subterranean world of bird people. Lurking in the shadows are deadly, shape-shifting monsters. When you shine a light on them, they transform into furniture.  

The developers suggest using a controller and headphones for the best gameplay experience.  

Check out the trailer here:

With Apple Arcade‘s release in September, Apple firmly staked its claim in the mobile gaming world. The subscription gaming service costs $4.99 a month (£4.99, AU$7.99) and lets you play more than 120 new and exclusive games across the iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod Touch and Apple TV.

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Creaks game creeps into Apple Arcade’s neighborhood – CNET

creaks-gameplayscreenshot-birdtower

Creaks is a mysterious and creepy hand-painted puzzle platformer. 

Apple

This story is part of CNET’s coverage of Apple Arcade, including exclusive first looks we got at some of the service’s high-profile new games.

Apple Arcade on Friday added Creaks, a new puzzle platformer game from indie developer Amanita Design, to its growing catalog of over 120 games. Creaks joins the developer’s other game, Pilgrims, on Apple’s subscription mobile gaming service.

In the game, you’re spending a quiet evening in your room when the light starts flickering and the ground trembles. The wallpaper pulls back to reveal a secret door, and someone, or something, is making noise in there. Grab your flashlight and explore a mysterious subterranean world of bird people. Lurking in the shadows are deadly, shape-shifting monsters. When you shine a light on them, they transform into furniture.  

The developers suggest using a controller and headphones for the best gameplay experience.  

Check out the trailer here:

With Apple Arcade‘s release in September, Apple firmly staked its claim in the mobile gaming world. The subscription gaming service costs $4.99 a month (£4.99, AU$7.99) and lets you play more than 120 new and exclusive games across the iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod Touch and Apple TV.

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Hands-on with iOS 14 pubic beta: We tried all the new features coming soon to your iPhone – CNET

iOS 14 developer version

iOS 14 brings a number of refinements large and small to iPhones, including the ability to pin widgets to your home screen and have picture-in-picture video.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Apple on Thursday launched the public beta version of iOS 14. The latest iPhone operating system includes new customizations for the home screen, picture-in-picture video, better widgets, a new Siri interface and App Library, a new way to organize your apps. We’ve been using the developer beta since it came out last month and are now trying out the similar public beta of iOS 14 with features such as the Translation app, Back Tap, new group Messaging options and new Memoji customizations, which include the option to add a face mask. 

The final version of iOS 14 will be released in the fall alongside the heavily rumored iPhone 12. Over the coming weeks and months we’ll continue updating this article with previews of new features and changes as subsequent updates to iOS 14 are released. This isn’t a review of the public beta software; rather it’s a hands-on preview of some of the significant features in iOS 14 and how they work.

The iOS 14 home screen is the same, but also different

At first glance, an iPhone 11 running iOS 14 doesn’t appear to be any different. All of my apps are right where they were in iOS 13. But a simple swipe to the right reveals a page called the App Library, which organizes all my apps in one place.

It would be easy to compare the App Library to the Android app drawer. But Apple has put its own twist on things by grouping apps into categories. Twitter, Instagram and similar apps are grouped together under the Social category, for example.

iOS 14

iOS 14

The App Library organizes all your iPhone apps into one space.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The groups look like large app folders but there’s no need to open one up to get to an app. You simply tap the app and go. Groups with more than four apps have mini app clusters. You can tap them to expand the cluster and then tap the app you want.

When you open the App Library search bar, an alphabetical list of all your apps appears. So between Siri, search, your home page and the options on the App Library page there’s now a bunch of ways to find and open your apps in iOS 14.

Widgets can be pinned to your home screen

With the announcement of iOS 14, Apple now has three forms of apps: There are apps, widgets based on those apps and App Clips. That last one I’ll talk about momentarily. In iOS 13, widgets showed up in the Today View page to the left of the home screen. But now you can pin widgets directly on your home screen. You simply long press on the screen, tap the plus button and the Widget Gallery pops up.

The Widget Gallery is a mix of suggested widgets as well as a list of apps that have a widget you can install. Since this is the beta version the only widgets are currently for Apple apps. 

Each widget comes in three sizes: small, medium and large. Widgets have a fixed width that lines up with app columns on the home screen. So you can’t put one in the middle of your screen. Having widgets that are different sizes integrated among my apps makes the iPhone home screen look contemporary and compelling. And let’s acknowledge there is definitely a Windows Phone tile vibe going on, which isn’t a bad thing.

Widget stacks and the Smart Stack

Perhaps one of the coolest customizations on the home screen is a widget stack. You create one simply by dragging one widget on top of another that’s the same size. To view the widgets in a stack, you swipe up or down, which brings a different one to the top.

Who would have thought widgets could be so exciting in 2020? And before you comment, I know Android did widgets a long time ago. But it’s lazy to dismiss iOS 14 widgets simply as a copied feature, especially since Apple’s put its own spin on widgets with what’s called a Smart Stack.

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ios-14-smart-stack

You can find the Smart Stack in the Widget Gallery and then pin it to your home screen like a widget.

Patrick Holland/CNET

iOS 14 creates a Smart Stack of widgets based on the apps you use the most and the time of day you use them. So if you use the Maps app regularly after work, that’s when that widget will be at the top of your Smart Stack. If you always check the weather in the morning, then that’s one the top when you wake up. Your iPhone curates your Smart Stack for you. I’m excited to see how this will work after I’ve spent more time with iOS 14.

I’m sure many people will never touch a widget or Smart Stack in their lives and will never be the wiser, which is why Apple’s implementation is savvy. In one sense, nothing’s changed on your home screen. But in another, so much is different.

App Clips are basically mini apps for your iPhone

iOS 14 brings an entirely new way for you to interact with an app. It’s called App Clips and is aimed at apps that aren’t on your iPhone. Essentially, an App Clip is a mini app with limited functionality as determined by the app’s developer. The idea is you don’t have to take time or phone space to download an entire app and instead you can have a fast experience.

During the WWDC keynote, Apple showed off a customer signing up for a rewards club at a coffee shop via an App Clip. QR codes and NFC can trigger an App Clip. But you can also send them via a friend for ordering food, or find one for a business in Maps.

If developers widely adopt App Clips, it could help keep your iPhone decluttered and change your relationship with apps.

Now playing: Watch this: First take: iOS 14 and all its new features

8:10

iOS 14 lets you hide app pages

If you have apps that you use infrequently but don’t want to delete, you can put them all onto a page and hide it. You still have access to the apps via search, Siri or the App Library, but they’re out of view.

In theory you could hide all your apps, fill your home screen with widget stacks and still be able to use your iPhone. I think I’m going to have to try that at some point.

Picture-in-picture comes to your iPhone

After being on the iPad for a number of years, the picture-in-picture video feature has arrived on the iPhone via iOS 14. To be honest, it’s more like picture-in-home-screen video, or picture-in-different-apps video. This works not only for videos but also FaceTime calls.

ios-14-pip-1

ios-14-pip-1

You can collapse videos into a tiny player window and watch it while having access to everything on your iPhone.

Patrick Holland/CNET

I love being able to turn my FaceTime chat into a tiny window so I can access something else on my iPhone. It allows me to keep the conversation going without that blank screen showing up to people on the other end of the call. And you can pretty much move the mini FaceTime window anywhere you want.

Videos work similarly: If I’m watching a video in fullscreen via an app like Safari, I can swipe up to enter the app switcher view and then tap the home screen to minimize it. You can resize the video window and move it around accordingly. If you push it off to the side, the audio will keep playing without the picture.

Set a third-party browser or mail app as default

It wasn’t mentioned in the keynote, but at the bottom of the iOS 14 preview page on the Apple website is a small announcement for a feature many of us have yearned for: You can now choose system default apps from third parties. 

iOS 14 will let you set a third-party app as your default internet browser or mail app. The catch here is that developers need to flag their app as a browser or mail app for it to work. In theory, this means you could use Chrome or Firefox as your default mobile browser or Gmail as your default email app. I’m excited to see this in action once developers have enabled their apps.

iOS 14 adds the Translate app to your iPhone

The new Translate app has a couple of modes. In the vertical position you can have it translate words and phrases as well as showing the definition of those words. When you rotate it into landscape, it enters conversation mode, allowing each speaker to have half the screen with their translation showing. You can even have the app show the translation in full screen or speak it for you.

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ios-14-translate-app

The translate app works between 11 different languages.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Apple Maps gets cycling directions

Google Maps has had directions for bike routes for a while. But with iOS 14, Maps is adding cycling directions of its own. And there are some well-thought out options: You get elevations and warnings about streets or where you’ll need to walk your bike. You can also toggle options to avoid like stairs, hills and busy roads. Bike routes in Maps show locations such as bike repair shops and coffee shops along the way. At launch, cycling directions will only be available in a handful of cities.

ios-14-apple-maps-cycling

ios-14-apple-maps-cycling

Maps now supports directions for cycling.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Green light means your camera is on

A useful feature in iOS 14 is an indicator light that lets you know if an app is using your camera or mic in the background. When your phone’s mic is on, an orange dot appears on the top right side of the screen. The dot shows up green when an app is using your camera, leaving zero doubt about what’s going on.

Trigger a shortcut by tapping on the back of your iPhone

There are a ton of new accessibility features, but one that stands out to me is Back Tap. In the Touch section of the Accessibility settings you can enable Back Tap, which lets you trigger an action or shortcut by double-tapping or triple-tapping the back of your iPhone. For example, I can double tap to bring up the Control Panel. And if I double tap again, the Control Panel goes away.

You can select from over two dozen actions and shortcuts to be triggered with Back Tap like taking screenshots, or bringing up the magnifier.

Sound Recognition can alert you to alarms and animals

Another compelling Accessibility feature is called Sound Recognition. It can alert you if your iPhone detects specific sounds, such as a fire or smoke alarm, or an animal. You select which sound you want to be notified about and when your iPhone detects one of those sounds, it will notify you with an on-screen alert.

ios-14-sound-recognition

ios-14-sound-recognition

Sound Recognition helps people with impaired hearing know what’s going on around them.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Messages get Memoji face masks and new group thread mentions

If you’re big on group threads, iOS 14 makes them even more manageable. You can mention a specific person in a thread and only alert that person. You can also pin conversations to the top of the app.

iOS 14

iOS 14

In a sign of the times, you can now add a face mask to your Memoji.

Patrick Holland/CNET

There are a bunch of customizations, including new hair and headwear styles for Memoji, as well as the ability to add a face mask.

Phone calls and Siri get small

Instead of an incoming call taking up your entire screen before you answer it, it will now show up as a banner notification across the top. You tap to answer or swipe it away.

Siri, which had a similar bad habit of taking over your entire screen, now appears as an animated orb at the bottom.

Another iOS 14 beta is on the way

A public beta version of iOS 14 will launch later this month. iOS 14 will run on the same iPhones that are supported in iOS 13 — specifically, the iPhone 6S and newer.

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4 reasons not to install the iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 beta right away – CNET

iOS-14-iPhone-Widgets-Beta

The new widgets look fancy, but they’ll look even better when iOS 14 is officially released later this year. 

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Apple just released the iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 public beta. Now, anyone with a compatible iPhone or iPad can get an early preview of the features that everyone else will get this fall. If you’re willing to put up occasional bugs and issues, you can install and help test it right now. But should you? My sage advice: wait until September. 

Even though the shiny new features in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 are incredibly tempting, it’s probably best that you hold off on installing the beta right now. 

Why? Glad you asked. Here are four reasons you should wait. 

ios-14-public-beta

ios-14-public-beta

As tempting as it might be to tap that Install button, hold off for now. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

1. Some apps are going to break

In order to add new features and capabilities to iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple has to make changes to the code that app developers use to build against. It’s because of those changes that during the beta process, before developers can publicly release updates to fix any issues, that some apps will undoubtedly break. 

A simple Twitter search just a couple of hours after the public beta went live returns complaints about a banking app and Sky TV are both broken on iOS 14. I scrolled through maybe 10 tweets before I found those examples. Surely, there are more.

Now playing: Watch this: iOS 14 hands-on preview: Trying out the developers’…

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Complicating matters is the fact that Apple releases several beta updates throughout the preview period and anyone of those updates can include changes that break an app. So even if your banking app works just fine on Public Beta 2, there’s no way to know if Public Beta 3 will break it. 

Moral of the story? If there are critical apps that you wouldn’t be able to do your job, manage your money or even get into your house using a smart lock — don’t install iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 yet. 

07-iphone-smart-battery-case

07-iphone-smart-battery-case

You’re going to need some extra battery power during the beta. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

2. Battery life is always the last thing that gets better

I have one of Apple’s Smart Battery cases, but I rarely use it. At least, until I start testing the next version of iOS when it becomes metaphorically glued to my iPhone. 

I can’t say for certain, but it always feels as if during the beta program Apple focuses on implementing and improving features for the majority of the time. Then as September gets closer, with it the official release, the focus switches to improving battery and getting it back to where it was pre-beta. 

iOS-14-iPhone-Widgets-Beta

iOS-14-iPhone-Widgets-Beta

iOS 14 looks cool, right? 

Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET

3. There will be random restarts and bugs

It’s a given. Apple isn’t done working on iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 and there are going to be issues that slip through (use the Feedback to report them!) or that Apple knows about, but plans to fix in a future build. 

For example, just this morning I tried to change songs in Apple Music while AirPlaying to a nearby speaker. The moment I touched the next button, my screen went black and I saw the Apple logo. 

A few seconds later, my phone was back up and running with no issue. But instances like this, although infrequent, can be annoying, frustrating and, depending on what you’re doing at the time, could potentially cause you to lose work. 

recovery-mode

recovery-mode

You’ll need to put your iPhone or iPad in recovery mode to get rid of iOS 14. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

4. Going back to iOS 13 isn’t ideal

It is possible to uninstall iOS 14 and roll back to a more stable operating system, but even that comes with a big downside — you’ll have to factory restore your iPhone iPad. That means you’ll either have to start again, as if your device is brand new, or if you created a backup before installing the beta, use that as a restore point. 

Either way, you’ll probably lose some data — maybe even a lot of data — and that’s not something any of us want to deal with. 

Even if you hold off on installing iOS 14 right now, you can get acquainted with some of its best features now. Here’s are the biggest changes to the home screen, privacy controls and a new video tool called picture-in-picture.

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Spotify, Waze and other popular iOS apps crashing – CNET

spotify-logo-3
Angela Lang/CNET

Several popular iOS apps experienced crashes on Friday morning, including Spotify, Waze, Tinder and Pinterest. Problems persisted for roughly two hours, though the apps for Apple’s mobile operating system appear to be working again.

Multiple members of the CNET staff experienced crashes with the Spotify app on iOS, and the Waze app also crashed for one staff member. There were also reports on social media of issues with Pinterest, Tinder and some other iOS apps. Outage monitoring site Down detector noted spikes in reported problems with a handful of popular apps on Friday morning, including Spotify, Waze, Pinterest and Viber.

The issue doesn’t appear to have impacted Android version of the apps. 

Spotify acknowledged the problem on Twitter. “We’re aware of some issues right now and are checking them out! We’ll keep you posted,” the company tweeted. The streaming service gave the all clear just after 6 a.m. PT.

What is unclear is exactly what caused the problems, though some reports suggested it could be related to Facebook’s software development kit that manage things like logins, analytics and ad integration. The social network didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Spotify, Waze, Tinder and Pinterest also didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.