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Posts tagged with "iOS 17"

Apple Shares List of Alternate Browsers That Will Be Available to EU Users in iOS 17.4

One element of the changes coming to iOS in the European Union is that beginning with iOS 17.4, EU users will see a choice of browsers when they first launch Safari that can be set as the systemwide default browser. For each country, that list will contain the 12 most popular browsers from its App Store storefront displayed to the user in a random order.

As you can imagine, there is overlap among EU member countries, but there are plenty of differences, too. If you’re curious which browsers will be listed in your country, check out the lists for each of the 27 EU member countries after the break that Apple has told us will appear the first time Safari is launched in iOS 17.4.

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Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 17.3 with Collaborative Playlists, Stolen Device Protection, New Black Unity Wallpaper, and More

Update: This story previously listed paying with Apple Pay as one of the actions protected with Stolen Device Protection on. Apple has since clarified in a Support document that paying with Apple Pay can still be performed using the iPhone passcode.

Today, Apple released iOS and iPadOS 17.3, the third major updates to the operating systems that launched in September and Federico reviewed on MacStories.

iOS and iPadOS 17.3 bring only a couple of major new features, including one that was previously expected to be released in iOS and iPadOS 17.2 (but was then delayed), a welcome new layer of protection and security for your Apple ID, and a set of new dynamic wallpapers.

Let’s jump in.

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Apple’s Journal App: Journaling for All?

I’ve been keeping a journal in Day One since at least 2015, and I’ve got to say, the practice has become very engrained in my otherwise chaotic daily routine. Whenever I get asked about journaling, I always say that it’s a habit that can take any form you like. It can take place in a paper journal, in an app as written entries, as voice notes, or even as captioned photos in a photo diary. The reason I stuck with Day One over the years is because the app is incredibly flexible. It kept up with me during periods of my life when it was harder to write down my daily thoughts, and easier to type a couple of bullet points every day instead. I believe the best journaling tools are those that can adapt to you, not the other way around. But still, when Apple announced they were building their own Journal app, built right into iOS 17, I was excited by the prospect of switching things up in this little habit of mine.

This week, Apple released the Journal app as part of iOS 17.2. As expected, the app is unfortunately only available on the iPhone. Nevertheless, Apple’s first entry in this category is very interesting, to say the least, as it revolves almost entirely around a system of smart journaling suggestions and prompts. I’ve been using it alongside Day One for a couple of weeks now, to both get an idea of what Apple’s approach to journaling is like, and to see how it intends to bring journaling to a wider audience.

Let’s jump in.

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Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 17.2 with Journal App, Messages and Music Improvements, and More

iOS 17.2.

iOS 17.2.

Today, Apple released iOS and iPadOS 17.2, the second major updates to the operating systems that launched in September and I reviewed on MacStories.

iOS and iPadOS 17.2 revolve around two kinds of enhancements: there are a series of updates to built-in apps (mostly Messages, Music, and Camera) and various tweaks to widgets; then, there’s the brand new Journal app for iPhone, which aims to reinvent the practice of journaling for iOS users with a built-in solution that’s deeply integrated with the OS and apps.

We’re going to cover Journal with a standalone article on MacStories from the perspective of someone who’s been keeping a journal in Day One for several years. In this story, I’m going to focus on what else is new in iOS and iPadOS 17.2 and the different improvements you’ll find throughout the system.

Let’s dive in.

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iOS 17.2 Beta’s Sticker Reactions Need a Different Approach

The first developer beta of iOS 17.2 was released earlier today, and among a variety of new features (I’ve been sharing some of the highlights on my Mastodon), there’s the highly anticipated expansion of Tapbacks with custom sticker reactions.

The problem is that, put simply, this feature just isn’t good enough in this first version of iOS 17.2. And since I’m always told to “file feedback early in the process to make sure things get seen”, and since blogging about iOS feature requests on my website makes me feel better than begrudgingly filing actual feedbacks about them, here we are.

Jason Snell, writing for Six Colors:

This new feature has no connection at all with the fun double-tap gesture that’s synonymous with Tapbacks. I didn’t expect stickers to be a peer to Apple’s classic collection of six Tapback icons, but I did sort of assume that at the very least, performing the Tapback gesture would also give you the option of choosing a sticker. (And the right thing for Apple to do would be to display recently used stickers alongside the Tapback icons.)

Instead, to send a sticker response you have to tap and hold on a message and then choose Add Sticker from the resulting contextual menu, then choose a sticker or emoji. It’s an extra step that really shouldn’t be necessary and makes stickers feel like an afterthought, which they apparently are.

I get why Apple doesn’t want to let users customize the default roster of “official” Tapbacks. iMessage is used by hundreds of millions of people every day, and they don’t want to overcomplicate an established feature with too many options. However, I think a much better compromise would be the following:

  • Align custom sticker reactions with regular Tapbacks in the message bubble so they don’t cover text;
  • Make the ‘Add Sticker’ button appear when you double-tap a message instead of requiring a long-press.

That’s it. I really like this feature, but the design isn’t quite there yet. Hopefully, there’s enough time (and willingness on Apple’s part) to change it.

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Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 17.1 with New Apple Music Features, Small iPad Enhancements, and More

iOS 17.1.

iOS 17.1.

Today, Apple released iOS and iPadOS 17.1 – the first major updates to the operating systems that launched (and I reviewed) in September. I’ll cut to the chase: these are not big updates and don’t come with new emoji. Instead, iOS and iPadOS 17.1 bring a variety of previously-announced (and then delayed) features such as AirDrop over the Internet and new cover art templates in Music, but they don’t address the complete list of functionalities for this OS cycle that Apple originally announced last June.

Let’s take a look.

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Is Apple’s Translate App Still Getting Lost in Translation?

Apple first introduced the Translate app in iOS 14. Although it was a welcomed addition to the language translation space, I stopped using it a couple of months after its release. Many languages were still missing, its interface was lackluster at best, and I found that its French translations were not great. I would also still often rely on Google Translate to translate text in the real world using the iPhone camera — a feature that was initially missing from Apple’s app. This year, however, the Translate app received a substantial makeover and a handful of new features in iOS 17.

Let’s see how Translate fares in 2023.

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Hue Widgets’ Interactive Widgets Are the Easiest Way to Control Complex Hue Lighting Scenes

I’ve never been a big fan of the Philips Hue app. It has improved over time, and I appreciate its fine-grained control over my lights and its Shortcuts support, but the app has always felt a little clunky. That’s why I was happy when I discovered Hue Widgets over a year ago now. It’s a simple widget creation tool that lets you activate your Hue lights and scenes from your iPhone’s Home Screen, which is a much easier and nicer experience than using the Hue app. Better yet, with iOS 17, the app’s widgets are interactive, so lights and scenes can be triggered without ever opening the app.

Many Hue lights support features you can’t control from Apple’s Home app. For instance, many Hue lights can create animated and multi-color gradient lighting scenes that aren’t supported by HomeKit. These extended features can be accessed in the official Hue app, but it doesn’t have widgets, which is a faster and easier way to control your lighting and where Hue Widgets comes in.

Controlling lights and scenes from Home Widgets.

Controlling lights and scenes from Home Widgets.

The Hue Widgets app has two main tabs: a list of the rooms in your home, and an interface for creating widgets. The Home tab allows you to turn on an entire room or zone’s lights or control them individually, turning lights and scenes on and off and adjusting brightness levels, light temperatures, and colors. The official Hue app works similarly, but Hue Widgets’ interface is simpler and faster.

Building a widget.

Building a widget.

However, I’ve spent most of my time in the Widgets tab. Here, you can set up small, medium, or large widgets to control your Hue lights. The small version of the widget controls one light or scene, while the medium and large sizes control four and eight, respectively. After you pick the widget size you want, it appears in the Widget tab’s main interface. Then, tapping on each widget’s tiles walks you through picking a room and light or scene to control. Hue Widgets also lets you assign a color for each tile in your widget. It’s a quick and simple process but requires you to set up your lights and scenes in the Hue app first because Hue Widgets acts as a controller for the Hue app, not a replacement. When you’re satisfied with the widgets you’ve designed, return to your iPhone’s Home Screen to add one of the widgets you built, choosing the size you created in the app.

One thing I wish I could change in Hue Widgets is how it names widgets. Each is named automatically along the lines of ‘Small Widget #1’ and ‘Small Widget #2.’ If you create a lot of widgets, this isn’t ideal because it makes it hard to remember which widget is which. I’d prefer to assign more memorable names myself. I’d also love to see Hue Widgets on the iPad, where it could offer an extra-large widget.

Hue Widgets pairs nicely with Home Widget, which [I recently reviewed](https://www.macstories.net/reviews/home-widget-unlocks-homekit-device-control-that-apples-home-app-doesnt-offer/).

Hue Widgets pairs nicely with Home Widget, which I recently reviewed.

I was a fan of Hue Widgets before iOS 17, but having tried the interactive versions of its widgets, I can already tell I will be using them a lot more than before. Paired with the recent addition of Matter support for Hue hubs, which seems to have improved the responsiveness of my lighting, Hue Widgets has become a core part of my growing home automation setup.

Hue Widgets is available on the App Store for $1.99.