The “Hey” Part of “Hey Siri” Is Now Optional

If you use Siri, particularly on a HomePod, you’re probably accustomed to saying “Hey Siri” as the trigger phrase before your requests. In Apple’s new operating systems for 2023, you can now choose to invoke Siri using the traditional “Hey Siri” or just “Siri” (at least in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US). You might appreciate being able to stop saying “Hey” every time, or you might find that using just “Siri” generates incorrect activations. (And if someone in your family’s name sounds like Siri, you may want to turn the feature off entirely!) There are four places to look:

  • iOS 17 and iPadOS 17: Settings > Siri & Search > Listen For
  • macOS 14 Sonoma: System Settings > Siri & Spotlight > Listen For
  • watchOS 10: Watch app > My Watch > Siri > Listen For
  • HomePod Software 17: Home app > long-press HomePod > Accessory Settings > Listen For “Siri” or “Hey Siri”

(Featured image based on an original by Apple)


Nine Tips for Switching from an iPhone with Touch ID to One with Face ID

In 2013, Apple added Touch ID to the Home button of the iPhone 5S. Taking advantage of the uniqueness of fingerprints, Touch ID combines the Home button press to wake up the iPhone with a fingerprint scan to authenticate the user. But in 2017, Apple introduced the iPhone X with Face ID, which relies on cameras and sensors at the top of the screen to authenticate the user via facial recognition. Since then, Apple has slowly been phasing out Touch ID in the iPhone line, with only the third-generation iPhone SE still supporting it. (Only the iPad Pro models have Face ID; other iPads have Touch ID in the Home button or the top button.)

We’re not here to dub one better than the other, but many people find themselves needing to upgrade from an older iPhone with Touch ID to a newer one with Face ID. If you’re trying to switch between Touch ID and Face ID, we have some tips to help.

Unlock the iPhone

Once the iPhone is awake (the screen is lit up), you unlock an iPhone with Touch ID by pressing the Home button. On an iPhone with Face ID, you swipe up from the bottom of the Lock Screen—a bar reminds you where to start—while looking at the iPhone. Face ID is fast and accurate enough that you’ll notice that authentication is happening only if iOS asks to verify your passcode (which it also does with Touch ID).

Return to the Home Screen

When you’re using an app on an iPhone with Touch ID and want to return to the Home Screen, you press the Home button—logical! On an iPhone with Face ID, you repeat that swipe up from the bottom of the screen action you use to unlock the iPhone. You’ll get really good at it.

Switch between Apps

When it comes to switching between apps, iPhones with Face ID offer a unique shortcut. On an iPhone with Touch ID, you must quickly press the Home button twice and then swipe between apps in the App Switcher. Bringing up the App Switcher on an iPhone with Face ID requires swiping up from the bottom of the screen just slightly and then continuing the swipe to the right. But Face ID experts seldom do that. Instead, swipe right and left on the bar at the bottom of the screen to switch between apps—it’s far faster and easier, if hidden.

Activate Siri

On an iPhone with Touch ID, holding the Home button activates Siri. On an iPhone with Face ID, press and hold the side button to activate Siri. Tomato, tomahto.

Open Control Center

When all we had were iPhones with Touch ID, Apple decided we’d open Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. Face ID relies on that gesture for unlocking and opening the App Switcher, so on iPhones with Face ID, you instead open Control Center by swiping down from the top right of the screen. Think of it as swiping down from the cellular, Wi-Fi, and battery status icons.

View Notifications

Because iPhones with Touch ID use a swipe up from the bottom for Control Center, they can devote a swipe down from the top of the screen to displaying the Lock Screen with notifications. The same gesture works on an iPhone with Face ID, but you must start from the left side of the screen.

Use Apple Pay

Paying for a purchase with Apple Pay requires that you authenticate, which means placing your finger on the Home button—but not pressing it!—on an iPhone with Touch ID. Getting the hang of the touch-but-don’t-press action can take some time, but once you have it, you may even have developed a habit of not looking at your iPhone to authenticate Apple Pay. In contrast, with an iPhone with Face ID, you must look at the screen when prompted so the Face ID sensors can confirm you’re making the purchase. Honestly, neither is as easy as double-pressing the side button on an Apple Watch.

Authenticate in Apps

Beyond Apple Pay, plenty of apps from the App Store, like password managers and banking apps, tie into biometric authentication so you don’t have to type lengthy passwords. As you’d expect, if you previously authenticated by touching the Home button, doing so on an iPhone with Face ID requires looking at the iPhone screen. That’s nearly always what you do anyway, so it’s even easier than touching the Home button.

Register Alternate Appearances

With Touch ID, you can register up to five fingers, which lets you use several of your own and let a trusted spouse or family member authenticate using Touch ID as well. We tend to have more fingers than faces, though, so with Face ID, Apple allows only a single alternate appearance. That shouldn’t be too limiting, but if everyone in your family had a Touch ID finger, sorry, you’ll have to pick a favorite.

(Featured image by Apple)


New M3 Chip Family Powers Updated MacBook Pros and 24-inch iMac

At Apple’s Halloween-themed Scary Fast event on October 30, the company unveiled its next-generation Apple silicon chips for Macs, the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max. Apple also showcased new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models and a faster version of the 24-inch iMac based on these chips. They’re available to order now, with units in stores and orders starting to arrive on November 7, apart from the M3 Max models that will arrive in late November. Apple also dropped the awkwardly positioned 13-inch MacBook Pro model from the lineup, leaving the low end to the highly capable MacBook Air.

Apart from the new chips, the updated MacBook Pro models boast only a brighter screen, a slightly longer battery life in the M3 14-inch model, and a new Space Black aluminum finish for the M3 Pro and M3 Max models. There are no other changes for the M3 24-inch iMac.

M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max Bring More Power to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro

Although the MacBook Air has done an admirable job of supporting everyday laptop users, professionals who rely on processor-intensive apps have long turned to the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro for more power. Apple updated the MacBook Pro to the M2 Pro and M2 Max in January 2023, a release that probably came later than Apple wanted. There’s less reason to upgrade from an M2 model to a new M3 one, but the performance gains are significant when upgrading from Intel-based and M1 models.

The M3 MacBook Pro models beat the equivalent Intel-based MacBook Pro models by 3x, 5.5x, 7.4x, and even 20x, depending on the specific app and task. Overall, Apple claims speed improvements up to 11x over the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro. Gains over equivalent M1-based MacBook Pros are also significant, with improvements from 30% to 60%.

Apple expanded the options for the 14-inch MacBook Pro, so there are now three basic configurations:

  • M3 starting at $1599: It has an 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 8 GB of memory, and 512 GB of storage. You can (and probably should) jump to 16 GB of memory; 24 GB is also available. This model has only two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports and can drive only a single external display.
  • M3 Pro starting at $1999: You have two options here: either 11 or 12 CPU cores and 14 or 18 GPU cores, and either 18 GB or 36 GB of memory. These models feature three Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports and support one or two external displays.
  • M3 Max starting at $3199: The maxed-out configuration also sports two options: either 14 or 16 CPU cores and 30 or 40 GPU cores, plus 36 GB of memory, upgradeable only to 96 GB. These models also have three Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports but can drive up to four external displays.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro has only M3 Pro and M3 Max configurations:

  • M3 Pro starting at $2899: There’s only one option here, matching the beefier 14-inch M3 Pro model: a 12-core CPU, 18-core GPU configuration with 36 GB of memory.
  • M3 Max starting at $3499: The choices here are either 14 or 16 CPU cores and 30 or 40 GPU cores. The lower-end configuration comes with 36 GB of memory and can upgrade to 96; the higher-end configuration has 48 GB of memory and has options for 64 GB or 128 GB.

Storage starts at 512 GB for the M3 14-inch model and 1 TB for the rest, with options for 2 TB, 4 TB, and 8 TB.

Note that the M3 14-inch MacBook Pro replaces the awkwardly positioned M2 13-inch MacBook Pro, which offered only the slightest advantage over its cheaper M2 13-inch MacBook Air cousin. The new M3 14-inch MacBook Pro does cost $100 more than the comparable 13-inch MacBook Pro that it replaces, but that’s a fair trade for the bigger, better screen and 1080p FaceTime HD camera. Now there’s once again a clear physical and performance distinction between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro lineups.

Otherwise, some prices have increased, but in most cases, that may be because the new configurations include more unified memory. For instance, the M3 Pro 16-inch MacBook Pro previously started at $2499 with 16 GB of memory, but now starts at $2899 with 36 GB of memory. Regardless, the professionals buying these speedy Macs can often justify paying more if the performance boost directly increases productivity.

M3 Chip Improves 24-inch iMac Performance

There isn’t much to say about the refreshed 24-inch iMac, which trades its M1 chip for an M3 but sports no other notable changes and keeps its $1299 starting price. The 24-inch iMac remains an attractive option for anyone looking for an all-in-one desktop Mac.

The switch to the M3 does provide more memory choices. Previously, you could choose only 8 GB or 16 GB of memory. With the M3, 8 GB of memory remains standard, but you can upgrade to either 16 GB (a good idea) or 24 GB (probably unnecessary for most people). Storage still starts at 256 GB, which isn’t much these days, particularly if you take a lot of photos or videos, and you can upgrade to 512 GB, 1 TB, or 2 TB.

Apple gave no hints that it is considering a replacement for the popular 27-inch iMac that Apple discontinued when it introduced the Mac Studio and 27-inch Studio Display. Though the 24-inch iMac has an impressive 4.5K Retina display, it’s still smaller than the 5K Retina display in the 27-inch iMac. Speculation has swirled around the possibility of a 32-inch iMac Pro, but given that a Mac Studio starts at $1999 and the 32-inch Pro Display XDR sells for $4999, it’s hard to imagine such an iMac Pro having a competitive price.

Also missing from the announcement was any mention of USB-C versions of the Magic Keyboard, Magic Trackpad, and Magic Mouse. Those accessories continue to use the Lightning connector and ship with a USB-C to Lightning cable for charging.

(Featured image by Apple)

Social Media: Apple has unveiled the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips alongside new 14-inch and 16-inch models of the MacBook Pro that use the new chips. The company also refreshed the 24-inch iMac, replacing its M1 with an M3.

Forget Your Just-Changed Passcode? iOS 17’s Passcode Reset Has Your Back

The hardest time to remember your iPhone or iPad passcode is right after you’ve changed it. Generally speaking, there’s no reason to change your passcode, but if you inadvertently or intentionally shared it with someone with whom you wouldn’t trust your bank account information, changing it to something new is a good idea. We could also imagine a child who knows your passcode changing it on you as a prank. For whatever reason, if you can’t enter your new passcode, a new iOS 17 feature called Passcode Reset lets you use your old one for 72 hours. Once you’ve tried the wrong passcode five times, tap Forgot Passcode , enter your old passcode , and create a new one . If you’re certain you know the new one, you can expire the old one sooner in Settings > Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode.

(Featured image by


Faster Copying of Two-Factor Authentication Codes from Messages

One welcome feature of Safari is its automatic detection and auto-filling of SMS-based two-factor authentication codes you receive in Messages. It allows you to complete your login quickly, without having to retrieve the code from Messages. But what if you use a different Web browser, like Google Chrome, Firefox, Brave, or Arc? Apple doesn’t allow other developers access to those codes in Messages, but Messages itself recognizes the verification code, marking it with an underline. Rather than transcribing the code manually like an animal, you can Control-click the underlined numbers and choose Copy Code. Then, switch to your Web browser and press Command-V to paste it. Not all websites accept pasted codes, but most will, even if they present a custom interface.

(Featured image by Mihai)


Apple Announces iPhone 15 Lineup, Apple Watch Series 9, and Apple Watch Ultra 2


September is here, and with it, Apple’s latest iPhones and Apple Watches. At its Wonderlust event on September 12, Apple threw back the curtains on the new iPhone 15 lineup, Apple Watch Series 9, and Apple Watch Ultra 2. These devices all provide incremental improvements that make them attractive to people planning to purchase a new iPhone or Apple Watch, though they may not be irresistible upgrades for those still happy with older models. You can pre-order any of them starting September 15, with delivery and in-store availability on September 22.

Alongside the announcement, Apple revealed that iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, tvOS 17, and HomePod Software 17 will become available on September 18, with macOS 14 Sonoma arriving on September 26. Wait a week or two before installing this first batch of updates on essential devices to avoid any last-minute bugs, and hold off on Sonoma for a few months or until you’re confident your necessary Mac apps are compatible. Regardless of when you upgrade, make a backup right before in case an unexpected problem forces you to erase and restore.

Let’s look at each of the new products.

iPhone 15 Lineup

Last year, Apple moved to a four-part iPhone lineup that continues this year, with the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 and the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus. On the high end, we get the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, again in those 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch sizes. The company updated the industrial design with slightly contoured corners. The iPhone 15 models come in five pastel colors with an aluminum enclosure and color-infused back glass, whereas the iPhone 15 Pro models now boast a titanium enclosure in four colors.

Along with the updated industrial design, all the iPhone 15 models share three notable changes:

  • USB-C for charging and data transfer: Driven by new European Union regulations, the iPhone 15 models all trade their Lightning port for a USB-C jack. Although it will be annoying to keep both Lightning and USB-C cables around until all Lightning devices have aged out, many Apple users already have USB-C cables and chargers for iPads and MacBooks.
  • Roadside Assistance via satellite: This extension of Emergency SOS via satellite allows anyone experiencing vehicle difficulties in a cellular dead zone to get help using satellite messaging. Apple includes access to satellite services for 2 years, and AAA membership in the US includes the roadside service. Those who aren’t AAA members will be able to purchase service separately.
  • Better Precision Finding: The iPhone 15 and new Apple Watch models all have a second-generation Ultra Wideband chip that lets users employ Precision Finding in the Find My app to locate each other accurately at a much greater range. Apple suggests you can use it to find iPhone 15-equipped friends in a crowd.

Although the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus aren’t as technologically capable as their Pro siblings, they’re more interesting than the iPhone 14 models they supplant. They receive increased performance thanks to the A16 Bionic chip from the iPhone 14 Pro, and the chip also enables computational photography improvements on top of a new 48-megapixel camera. Also inherited from the iPhone 14 Pro is the Dynamic Island, which displays alerts and Live Activities in the area surrounding the camera and sensor package at the top of the screen, eliminating the need for a notch.

Even though there’s more new on the Pro end, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max don’t make as significant a jump from their iPhone 14 Pro predecessors. The change everyone will notice is the new Action button that replaces the Ring/Silent switch. You can press and hold it to put an iPhone 15 Pro into silent mode or redefine it to activate Voice Memos, set Focus modes, access the camera or flashlight, enable Accessibility options, or launch a Shortcut. 

The 48-megapixel main camera gains additional computational photography capability thanks to the new A17 Pro chip underpinning the iPhone 15 Pro models, but the most noteworthy enhancement is restricted to the iPhone 15 Pro Max. A tetraprism design enables its Telephoto camera to achieve a 5x optical zoom, an unprecedented capability available only for photographers who don’t mind the 6.7-inch form factor.

Several other improvements are technically impressive but likely of interest and utility only to media professionals. The iPhone 15 Pro’s USB-C port supports USB 3 transfer speeds up to 10 gigabits per second (the iPhone 15 is limited to USB 2.0’s pokey 480 megabits per second), and support for Wi-Fi 6e will enable faster wireless transfers. Both will be welcome to those transferring large image, audio, or video files.

Pricing remains basically the same, with the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus starting at $799 and $899 for 128 GB of storage, with 256 GB and 512 GB options. The iPhone 15 Pro costs $999 for 128 GB, with 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB storage options. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is $1199 for 256 GB, with 512 GB and 1 TB storage options. If those prices are too steep for your budget, the iPhone SE ($429), iPhone 13 ($599), and iPhone 14 ($699) all remain for sale.

It might be worth upgrading from an iPhone 14 to an iPhone 15 for the 48-megapixel camera and Dynamic Island, but it’s harder to recommend an upgrade from an iPhone 14 Pro unless you find the 5x Telephoto camera indispensable. Otherwise, the older your current iPhone, the more you’ll be impressed by the new models.

Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2

Last year brought the release of the beefy Apple Watch Ultra, so it wasn’t surprising that Apple gave us the Apple Watch Ultra 2 this year alongside the Apple Watch Series 9. They have no industrial design changes, and their improvements are driven by the increased performance and efficiency of Apple’s new S9 SiP (a package containing multiple chips).

Most notable among the changes is a new double tap gesture, which relies on the S9’s faster Neural Engine to detect when your index finger and thumb perform a double tap. watchOS 10 interprets the gesture as activating the primary button in an app, so it can be used to answer or end a phone call, stop a timer, play and pause music, snooze an alarm, take a photo, or open and scroll through the new watchOS 10 Smart Stack from the watch face. It will be available next month. 

Other S9-driven improvements include:

  • Brighter displays: The Apple Watch Series 9 can now display up to 2000 nits, and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 can go up to 3000 nits, making them more readable in bright sunlight.
  • On-device Siri: Siri requests that don’t require information from the Internet can now be processed on the Apple Watch locally, making Siri more helpful for starting workouts or setting timers when there’s no cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.
  • More capable and accurate Siri: You can now use Siri to access Health data such as sleep hours, Activity ring progress, and more. Plus, you can use Siri to log health data such as weight, period, or medications taken. These capabilities will be available later this year. Apple also claims 25% more accurate dictation.
  • Precision Finding and HomePod integration: The second-generation Ultra Wideband chip in the S9 enables the Precision Finding feature that can direct you to a lost iPhone 15 rather than just playing a sound. Also, when you get close to a HomePod, the Apple Watch provides media controls or offers media suggestions in the Smart Stack.

Finally, both the original Apple Watch Ultra and the new model gain a new Modular Ultra watch face that uses the outermost edge of the large display to present real-time data like seconds, altitude, or depth.

The Apple Watch Series 9 starts at $399 for a 41mm aluminum GPS-only model; 45mm models are $30 more, and cellular connectivity adds $100. It’s available in pink, midnight, starlight, silver, and PRODUCT(RED). In stainless steel, pricing starts at $699 for a 41mm model and includes cellular connectivity; the 45mm models are $50 more. Some textile bands and all stainless steel bands cost an additional $50 to $300. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 remains $799 with an Alpine Loop, Trail Loop, or Ocean Band.

While undoubtedly the most capable watches Apple has ever produced, these new models don’t offer enough new to warrant an upgrade from last year’s models. They’re great for those getting started with the Apple Watch or upgrading from a much older version. Don’t forget that Apple still sells the Apple Watch SE, which lacks the Always-On display and ECG capabilities of the Series 9 but is $150 less expensive. Apple’s comparison page can help you tease out the differences.

(Featured image by Apple)


Erase Image Content in Preview with Copied Color Blocks

Apple’s Preview is a surprisingly capable graphics editor for making quick changes to screenshots and other illustrations, but it lacks a built-in way to delete content while leaving the background. Here’s the workaround—select a rectangle of the background color, copy it, paste it, and then move it over the undesirable content—as shown in the After screenshot below, where blue selection dots denote the pasted box. As you resize the box, press Shift to prevent it from resizing proportionally, which helps you make it the shape you want. If you need a second box of the same color, Option-drag the first box to copy it. When you save and close, your boxes will be merged into the image, permanently removing the content underneath, so make sure they’re in the right spot before moving on.

(Featured image based on an original by


Frustrated by System Settings? Use the View Menu or Search

In macOS 13 Ventura, Apple replaced the creaky System Preferences with System Settings, which uses a more iOS-like interface. Many people find System Settings overwhelming, partly because they had memorized where to look in System Preferences (but System Settings has many other design flaws as well—it’s not your fault). We have two recommendations to make it more easily navigable. First, for an alphabetical approach, use the View menu, which lists the panes that way, along with the top-level items in the General settings pane. Second, make heavy use of the search field at the top of the System Settings sidebar—it’s the only way to find some deeply nested settings.

(Featured image based on an original by


Beware Executive Imposter Scams Aimed at New Employees

We’re hearing about new hires who receive an email or text from someone claiming to be the CEO of their new company, asking the employee to carry out some small task like sharing personal information, purchasing a gift card for a client, or wiring funds to another business. The new employee, eager to make a good impression and lacking the context of what’s reasonable, is tempted to do as asked. (The scammers seemingly gather the necessary information by scraping LinkedIn for job changes and corporate titles, then cross-referencing with email addresses and phone numbers stolen in data breaches.) To reduce the chances of such a scam succeeding, train new employees during onboarding not to trust unsolicited messages from unfamiliar addresses or numbers, be wary of unusual requests, and check with a trusted source within the company before replying in any way.

(Featured image by Photograph)


Things You Need to Know Before Moving to a New iPhone

Are you among the millions of people planning to get a new iPhone 15? It’s exciting, we know, but don’t move too fast when getting started with your new iPhone, or you might cause yourself headaches. Instead, follow these instructions when you’re ready to transfer your data—and, for many people, much of your digital life—to the new iPhone. Apple also has a series of videos you can watch.

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