iOS

4 easy ways to keep your iCloud password safe

If you’re an iPhone, iPad or Mac user, your iCloud password is the key to your digital realm. With your iCloud password, you can access such personal data as your iCloud mail messages, your calendar, your contacts, and your stored iCloud credit cards. Your iCloud password could even be used to track, lock and wipe your precious devices.

Needless to say, it would be a very bad thing if your iCloud password landed in the wrong hands. But in just a few basic steps, you can secure your iCloud account from the most common threats, and you can take all those steps directly from your device.

Let’s start with the easiest—and most important—way to protect your iCloud password, which is...

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9 nifty Gboard for Android tricks you need to try

The only problem with Google's Gboard keyboard for Android is that I'm totally hooked on its best features. Number and symbol shortcuts above each key? Gotta have 'em. One-handed mode? Ditto. Swipe to delete? Love it, need it.

Read on for nine of the niftiest Gboard features, from dedicated number rows and an on-demand numeric keypad to "neural" translations and a long-press shortcut for oft-used symbols.

Note: Yes, there's also a version of Gboard for iOS, but most of my favorite Gboard tricks only work on the Android version.

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6 easy ways to keep your Android phone secure

Nope, you're not being paranoid. From pickpockets to malware, your Android phone is under siege from all sides. Wily attackers are continually switching up their tactics in hopes of taking control of your device.

Let's acknowledge that there's no foolproof way to protect your Android device from thieves and hackers. Indeed, as a wise technology guru once told me, if a sophisticated crook decides to target your phone, good luck trying to stop them.

That said, there are plenty of ways to keep your Android handset safe from the most common security threats, all with a minimum of effort. Just as a deadbolt will thwart a casual thief, so will a passcode foil a pickpocket, while the right security settings can keep most malware-infected apps at bay.

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iOS

5 handy things the Photos app can do with your iPhone snapshots

With its various “Moments,” “Collections,” and “Memories,” the iOS Photos app has become almost as confusing and frustrating to use as Apple Music. (Don’t get me started.)

But once you get your bearings, there are still plenty of nifty things you can do with your snapshots in Photos. From creating instant, one-tap movies and pasting shapes and captions in your pictures to publishing galleries on the web and undeleting recently trashed images, here are some tips on making the most of Photos.

Create an instant photo movie

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6 ways to maximize the Android phone dialer

Whether you’re trying to avoid telemarketers or you want to share a crazy voicemail you just received, the “stock” phone dialer on your Android phone has some pretty clever tricks up its sleeves.

Not only can the Android phone dialer warn you of spam callers and share a voicemail message via Gmail, Google Drive, or Dropbox, it can also suggest phone numbers based on your location, help you organize or delete shortcuts to “favorite” callers, let you customize your own “quick” text responses for declined callers, and more. 

Note: I tested these tips on a Nexus 5X running on Android 7.1.2, using Project Fi as my carrier. The calling features on your phone may vary depending on the make, model, and carrier of your device.

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8 handy things to do with your new Google Assistant

So your Marshmallow-or-better Android phone just got Google Assistant, and when you long-press the Home button for the first time after the update, your new digital helper asks, “Hi, how can I help?” Talk about an open-ended question.

Read on for eight easy ways to get started with Google’s chatty servant, from telling it what to call you, to making a shopping list, to turning on Bluetooth and even playing Solitaire.

Give Assistant some familiar voice commands

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8 Android app shortcuts that are actually useful

Sometimes, just saving a tap or two can make you feel so efficient, if not actually more productive. This is the aim of Android’s new app shortcuts—small, pop-up shortcut buttons that appear when you long-press on a home-screen app icon.

Some of the available Android app shortcuts, which you’ll find on handsets running Android version 7.1.1 or better, are more useful than others. For example, I could do without the “I’m feeling lucky” shortcut in the Google Photos app, which simply opens a random snapshot. But a shortcut that lets you take one-tap scans of receipts? That’s interesting.

Read on for eight of the more useful Android app shortcuts, from a quick way to free up storage space on your Android device to a shortcut that lets you record a quick audio note.

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