iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
Apple today released iOS 11.1.2 for the iPhone and iPad. This minor release primarily fixes bugs. Specifically, it resolves an issue where the iPhone X screen might temporarily freeze up or become unresponsive to touch input after a rapid decrease in temperature. It also addresses an issue that might result in blurry Live Photos captured with the iPhone X. The small update is free to download and install over the air.
Intel today announced a range of 5G modems for mobile devices that rely on various technologies to handle the transition from 4G to 5G. The XMM 8000 series will handle multi-mode operations on 600 MHz and mmWave band around the globe and will be ideal for PCs, phones, and fixed wireless equipment. The XMM 8060 will focus on 5G New Radio, though it will also be backward compatible with legacy 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. Intel expects this modem to ship by the middle of 2019. Last, the XMM 7660 is a Cat 19 LTE modem that can handle 1.6 Gbps speeds with MIMO, carrier aggregation, and broad spectrum support. This chip, too, will ship in mid-2019. Intel believes this portfolio of chips will help it remains competitive as wireless technology advances.
The International Trade Commission today said it will investigate claims made by Aqua Connect and Strategic Technology Partners that Apple is infringing on its patents. The two California-based firms filed grievances with the ITC in October and assert Apple's Mac computers, iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Apple TVs violate their intellectual property. The specific technology in question was not immediately identified. The ITC will assign the case to an administrative law judge for review. The judge will make an initial ruling that will then be reviewed by the entire ITC panel. Aqua Connect and Strategic Technology Partners hope to ban Apple from selling the devices unless it pays up. The ITC is a popular venue for legal complaints between tech companies because it has the power to prevent them from importing devices into the country.
Apple has made iOS 11.2 beta 3 available to both developers and public testers of its mobile device platform. The main feature of iOS 11.2 appears to be the addition of Apple Pay Cash, which allows iPhone owners to pay one another directly via the iOS messaging application. iOS 11.2 beta 3 cleans up the code a bit. For example a bug impacting calculator operation has been swept under the rug, and several animations found in the calculator have been removed entirely. The update adds a warning screen that explains to end users the difference between disabling Bluetooth or WiFi via the Control Center versus doing the same thing from the Settings menu. The former puts the radios to sleep, while the latter turns them off entirely. iOS 11.2 beta 3 shows off new camera emoji and animations for Live Photos, as well as a way to see "now playing" content in the Control Center when using the iPhone as a remote for the Apple TV. New Live wallpapers on are deck, too. iOS 11.2 beta 3 is free for registered developers and beta testers to download and use.
Apple today released an updated version of its Clips video application with new and fun tools to improve both the experience of using the app and the end results. The most exciting addition is Selfie Scenes, which takes advantage of the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X to place the user inside a 360-degree, animated scene when recording selfies. The app includes 10 scenes created by Apple, such as landscapes, paintings, and spaceships from "Star Wars." iPhone X owners can put themselves in a scene and then pan around, viewing and recording themselves within the landscape. All users will be able to take advantage of new artistic effects that can turn photos or videos into watercolors, oil paintings, sketches, and other art styles in real-time. Clips gains access to more sticker and poster content from Disney, including "Star Wars" characters and Disney favorites such as Mickey Mouse. More than 20 new soundtracks can be used to accompany Clips recordings. Apple redesigned the user interface for Clips with streamlined controls that make it easier to find and use filters, labels, stickers, and emoji. Buttons have new labels, too, and a full-screen browser lets people see their entire project while editing and creating. Last, Clips gains support for iCloud. iPhone and iPad owners can store, access, and edit their Clips projects from any device, which is automatically saved to iCloud. Clips is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple today made iOS 11.1.1 available to iPhone owners. The minor release primarily resolves a keyboard-based autocorrect bug that impacted the ability to type the letter "I", which was often replaced with an odd character. The software update also fixes a bug that cause "Hey Siri" to stop working. iOS 11.1.1 is free to download over the air.
Apple today released iOS 11.2 Beta 2 to public testers, one day after releasing the developer variant. Of note, iOS 11.2 Beta 2 introduces the Apple Pay Cash tool that Apple announced earlier this year. Though the service is in beta form, iPhone owners can use Apple Pay Cash to send funds directly to one another via Apple Pay. The funds can be send from any credit or debit card associated with the sender's Apple Pay account. Apple Pay Cash shows up as a button within Apple's messaging application, though users can also request money from friends and family. Apple does not charge fees to use Apple Pay Cash, though it is instituting a virtual tool called the Apple Pay Cash card. Funds sent to people land in the Apple Pay Cash card, which can be used immediately to fund Apple Pay-based transactions or send cash to others. It means people have instant access to the money, rather than be forced to endure a minimum transfer window or waiting period. The public beta of iOS 11.2 is free to download for those enrolled in the program. Apple hasn't said when iOS 11.2 might reach all users.
Instagram today said people will be able to add older photos to their ephemeral stories. Before today's update, only photos captured within the previous 24 hours could be added to stories. Now, Instagram said people will be able to take any picture from their camera roll and add it to a story. The tool will automatically call up a sticker so users can provide details on when and where the photo was taken. Instagram said users can rotate, resize, or remove the date sticker if so desired. Stories themselves still disappear after 24 hours. The expanded camera roll access for stories is hitting the latest Instagram mobile app for Android and iOS. It will be available for download soon.
Qualcomm hit Apple with a lawsuit today, alleging the iPhone maker allowed Intel to access Qualcomm's proprietary software. Apple uses modems from Qualcomm and Intel in the iPhone and has separate engineering teams for each. Qualcomm had a strict software license contract with Apple that was meant to ensure its confidential information, including source code, wasn't shared with Intel. Qualcomm says Apple emailed the company in July requesting sensitive information about how its chips work and copied an Intel engineer on the email chain. Qualcomm also says Apple's Qualcomm engineers shared information with Apple's Intel engineers regarding Qualcomm's software. Apple did not immediately offer comment on the latest lawsuit. The two companies have been embroiled in legal battles over the last year, though largely over the cost of licensing wireless chips. Apple is withholding a $1 billion royalty payment owed to Qualcomm until the matter is settled.
Apple today updated its GarageBand music-creation tool for iPhones and iPads. To start, Apple says the revised app will be compatible with the display of the new iPhone X, which goes on sale Nov. 3. GarageBand now includes an expanded library of instruments, called the Sound Library, most of which are available as Group or pack downloads. According to Apple, all instruments in the Sound Library are free. The app adds several new drum styles that can be activated via the drum machine tool. Other additions include support for new languages, new sharing/file options, recording in 24-bit sound, iMessasge stickers, and of course bug fixes and performance improvements. GarageBand is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Apple today released the final version of iOS 11.1 to the public. The minor operating system update has been in beta testing with developers for more than a month. The most significant addition to iOS 11.1 is that of Unicode 10, which includes dozens of new emoji. Moreover, the Apple keyboard now generates multiple emoji options when typing keywords that support emoji. iOS 11.1 also resurrects the 3D Touch App switcher for certain iPhones. On the security front, iOS 11.1 includes a patch for the KRACK WiFi exploit that recently came to light. The improved operating system further offers a number of under-the-hood bug fixes and performance adjustments. iOS 11.1 is free to download over the air. Apple also released watchOS 4.1, which brings LTE-based Apple Music streaming to the Apple Watch Series 3. The watchOS update also includes a new Beats 1 radio application, WiFi toggle, and Unicode 10. WatchOS 4.1 is free to download through the associated iPhone app.
Virgin Mobile USA today said it will offer customers the Apple iPhone X starting November 10. The company will accept preorders beginning November 3, which happens to be the same day the handset reaches Apple retail stores and those of Virgin's owner, Sprint. Virgin did not reveal pricing details for the iPhone X, but it will likely charge customers the full retail price of $999 for the 64 GB model and $1,049 for the 256 GB model. iPhone X owners on Virgin Mobile can get unlimited talk, text and data at up to 4G LTE speeds for just $50 per month.
Google today said it has updated the way it handles queries in Search and Maps when people travel. Moving forward, people will be served search results based on their actual location, not the domain they've indicated on the web (such as .com, .uk, .de, etc.) Google says people using Search in the U.S. will automatically be served Search and Maps results for U.S. locations. When a U.S. user travels to Canada, Google will automatically switch to the country service for Canada in order to deliver the best, most-relevant results while that person is traveling. Google will switch country service back to the U.S. when that traveler returns to the States. People can customize this if they wish. Google says the update won't impact how well Google Search and Google Maps work. Instead, results should automatically follow people as they move from country to country. The reason behind the change is that many people often type in the domain for their home country even when traveling abroad, which can skew results. The change is being made to the mobile web, the Google app for iOS, and desktop Search and Maps.
Instagram today added several new creative options for users that should expand what they're able to do with the app. First, a tool called Superzoom is here to add some drama to videos. Tapping Superzoom with cause the video to automatically zoom in with suspenseful music. Instagram says Superzoom works with either the main or selfie cameras, and results can be sent privately or added to users' stories. Next, Instagram is offering, for a limited time, new Halloween-themed face filters and stickers. The face filters allow people to turn themselves into zombies, vampires, and more, while the stickers can be added for holiday fun. The face filters and stickers will be available through November 1. Superzoom is here to stay. The new tools are available in the latest version of Instagram for Android and iOS.
Apple confirmed that it has acquired PowerbyProxi, a New Zealand-based company that designs and sells wireless charging products for both consumers and businesses. Apple did not provide terms of the deal. Wireless charging appears for the first time the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Apple adopted the Qi wireless charging standard for its new iPhones. These latest iPhones can use existing Qi-based wireless charging pads, though Apple will release its own charging pad early next year. Apple didn't say why it bought PowerbyProxi, but clearly it can use the company's expertise to create more charging pad accessories for iPhones and other products.
Instagram today added a feature to its live video tool: the ability to add a second participant. When broadcasting live video, a new button makes it possible to invite another to join the broadcast. When that person accepts, the live video will change to a split-screen view with the original broadcaster in one window and the invitee in another. The original broadcaster can remove their guest and add someone else at any time, and so too can the invitee leave the stream whenever they wish. A new symbol (two stacked circles) makes it easy to see when live video includes more than one participant. Instagram says the new live video feature is rolling out to the latest version of its Android and iOS mobile apps.
Apple today shared a number of details concerning the iPhone X launch, which will officially get under way October 27. First, Apple says Apple Stores will stock the device for launch-day purchases. "Stores will have iPhone X available for walk-in customers, who are encouraged to arrive early," said Apple. That means those who don't preorder the phone may be able to pick it up at their local Apple Store, which will open at 8a.m. local time on Friday, November 3. Numerous reports have suggested launch day stock of the phone may be severely limited. Preorders for the iPhone X begin at 12:01a.m. PDT on October 27. Apple suggests people take advantage of the Apple Store mobile application to complete their preorder. People who are members of the iPhone Upgrade Program can check to see if they’re eligible to upgrade and get a head start on their iPhone X upgrade between now and 4p.m. PDT on Thursday, October 26. Apple will accept trade-ins. Eligible smartphones will be accepted for up to $375 in credit towards the cost of a new iPhone X. The iPhone X will be available in silver and space gray in 64 GB ($999) and 256 GB ($1,149) variants. People interested in buying the device through Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program can score the phone and AppleCare+ starting at $49.91 per month. Last, Apple said a number of accessories will be available for the iPhone X on launch day, including silicon and leather cases, and Lightning Docks. The iPhone X sports a new design when compared to the iPhone 6, 7, and 8. It has a 2:1 display that measures 5.8 inches across the diagonal. It includes wireless charging, dual cameras, and Face ID, Apple's new facial recognition security feature.
Apple today made iOS 11.1 Beta 5 available to developers. According to Apple, the minor update contains bug fixes and other under-the-hood improvements. For end users, the latest iOS build also contains hundreds of new emoji for the iPhone and iPad thanks to the addition of Unicode 10. Apple detailed some of the new emoji earlier this month, which include new characters, food, animals, creatures, and hand gestures. Apple hasn't said when the final version of iOS 11.1 will be available to the public. The company will likely push a new public beta of iOS 11.1 to testers later this week.
Google is allowing people to use their non-Gmail email service within the Gmail app for iOS. Apple's own iOS email app and Microsoft's Outlook email app both already support multiple email services, as does Gmail on Android handsets. This will be the first time Google has brought the feature to its iOS Gmail app. Those interested in testing the feature can sign up with Google to take the beta app for a spin. The beta app will be distributed through TestFlight, rather than the iTunes App Store. Google hasn't said how long the feature might be in testing before it reaches final form.
Researchers say they've found a serious gap in the WPA2 security protocol that can allow hackers to use key reinstallation attacks (KRACKs) to compromise most WiFi devices. The researchers say the method allows hackers to read encrypted information transiting via WiFi, including passwords, emails, photos, credit card numbers, and more. KRACKs can access nearly all WiFi traffic and, depending on the individual network safety configuration, insert code and alter data, such as send malware. The researchers claim the weakness is in the WiFi standard itself, and not in individual products, which is why the vulnerability is so widespread. Devices running Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, macOS, and other platforms are impacted. The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) agreed with the researchers' assessment and warned, "The impact of exploiting these vulnerabilities includes decryption, packet replay, TCP connection hijacking, HTTP content injection, and others. Note that as protocol-level issues, most or all correct implementations of the standard will be affected." In other words, even if WiFi devices are being used properly, with passwords, they are still vulnerable. Google said it is aware of the issue and will patch the vulnerability in a future security update. The WiFi Alliance has not yet responded to the researcher's revelations.
Google has made it possible for people to control media playback on their Chromecast devices through their smartphone. The new behavior is available via Google Assistant on Android and iOS devices. People can issue voice-based commands on their mobile phone to play music and/or videos directly on Chromecast dongles, whether the dongles be attached to speakers, television sets, or embedded in boomboxes. People who own multiple Chromecast dongles can specify which one their phone controls. Prior to this change, a Google Home was required to control Chromecast dongles from a phone. Now, Google Home is no longer needed. The feature has been rolling out slowly, but Google confirmed that it is now available to everyone.
Qualcomm has filed more lawsuits against Apple, this time seeking to prevent Apple from manufacturing and selling the iPhone in China. The fresh litigation was filed in an intellectual property court in Beijing. The two companies are embroiled in a series of legal battles over licensing fees. Apple insists that Qualcomm overcharges by requiring compensation not only for the actual chips, but also for licensing the technology in the chips. Qualcomm often demands that hardware makers pay it a percentage of the total device sale, rather than just a per-chip or per-license fee. As a result of the on-going litigation, Apple has withheld more than $1 billion in royalty payments from Qualcomm. Qualcomm's technology licensing practices have run afoul of several governments, including the U.S., China, and Korea.
Sprint today debuted a new resource for parents called Safe & Found. It allows parents to view their child's smartphone location any time, as well as set controls over apps and usage. The service includes real-time geolocation and geofencing, which allows parents to create safe zones in which their children are permitted to travel. If the child's phone departs the geofenced area, parents will receive alerts. The service includes an SOS button, which will send an emergency alert with the child's location to all family members. Alternately, if the phone is lost Safe & Found lets subscribers find, lock, or wipe it remotely. Parental controls give mom and dad the ability to restrict calls to trusted numbers, install age-appropriate apps, and regulate usage based on the time of day. The service includes content restrictions, too, so inappropriate web content and apps are blocked from kid phones. Safe & Found costs $6.99 per line per month and it is compatible with Android and iOS devices.
Facebook today made it possible for Android, iOS, and web users to order food for takeout or delivery without leaving the app. The social network has partnered with a number of food delivery services, including Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow, EatStreet, Slice, and Olo, as well as a handful of restaurants, including Papa John’s, Wingstop, Panera, Jack in the Box, TGI Friday’s, Denny’s, Chipotle, and Five Guys. A new "Order Food" option appears under the Explore menu. Facebook users will be able to search for food by cuisine or location, read reviews from friends, and order directly from within Facebook. People can select the delivery service that works for them, or sign up for a delivery service if they've never used one before. Facebook says the new service is available everywhere in the U.S.
Google today expanded the scale of its Google Express service with the addition of Target stores nationwide. Starting immediately, people who live in the 48 contiguous states can ask Google Assistant on the Google Home product to purchase items from Target. Target offers two-day delivery of most items, and orders over $35 ship for free. Google says the device will soon support the Target RedCard for discounted shopping, as well as common purchases for easy reordering. Google is bringing this same voice-based support for Google Express to Google Assistant on Android and iOS smartphones in the near future. People will be able to say something like "Ok Google, buy a kids bomber jacket from Target," and Google Assistant will call up a selection of jackets on the phone with purchase links. Google says some 50 retailers support Google Express. The company didn't specify how soon Google Express will reach phones.
Google has made Google Opinion Rewards available to iOS users through a new app. As it does on Android handsets, Google Opinion Rewards will send surveys to iOS devices that people can complete for cash rewards. Google says surveys have between one and 10 questions, and always take less than 30 seconds to complete. iPhone owners can earn up to $1 for each completed survey. Google says iPhone users will have to link their PayPal account to make use of the rewards (on Android, the rewards are deposited into users' Google Play accounts.) The Google Opinion Rewards app is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
Google today announced a new service called Movies Anywhere, which allows people to bring together their movie collections from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu into a single library that can be accessed from any device. Google is launching Movies Anywhere in the U.S. first and it includes movie purchases from major studios Disney, Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal, and Warner Bros. As an incentive, Google is offering free access to a handful of movies to those who link two or more accounts to Movies Anywhere, including last year's Ghostbusters and Jason Borne. Use of Movies Anywhere is free.
Apple today released iOS 11.0.3 to help clean up some ongoing issues in the code. According to Apple, the updated system fixes an problem where audio and haptic feedback would not work on some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus devices. It also addresses an issue where touch input was unresponsive on some iPhone 6s displays that had been repaired with non-genuine Apple parts. iOS 11.0.3 is free to download for iPhone and iPad owners. Apple is already testing iOS 11.1, which will include hundreds of new emoji. Apple hasn’t said when the public can expect to see iOS 11.1.
Twitter has rolled out a new way to see what's happening live around the world with the addition of a "Happening Now" tool in users' timelines. Twitter says the Happening Now content will center on events and topics it thinks users will be interested in, though it is kicking off the feature with a focus just on sports in the U.S. Users can tap the new icon to see what the event is, hide the event from their timeline, or select the featured photo to view conversations about the event. Twitter didn't say when Happening Now might be expanded to other event types, such as concerts, or regions. Twitter often seeks out ways to capitalize on the real-time nature of its service and Happening Now is the latest such attempt. The new tool is being made available to both Android and iOS devices via the latest version of Twitter, which is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.
Microsoft today ported its Cortana personal assistant to its Skype chatting application, providing people with access to information without forcing them to leave Skype. Microsoft says Cortana in Skype can suggest useful information based on chat contents, suggest smart replies, manage schedules and/or reminders, and more. Beyond the proactive assistant duties, Cortana exists as a Skype contact with which users can have "conversations" to check movie times, the weather, flight status, stock quotes, and restaurant recommendations. Microsoft says it is rolling out Cortana to Skype users in the U.S. gradually beginning today. The personal assistant is available to the Android and iOS versions of Skype. Microsoft today also updated its Outlook mobile email and calendar app for Android and iOS devices with much wider support for varied calendar actions. For example, Android and iOS users will now be able to view and edit shared Office 365 or Outlook.com calendars; manage someone else’s calendar at work; connect your Meetup account to Outlook; and more easily manage events from mobile devices. Outlook for Android and iOS is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.
Apple today made iOS 11.1 Beta 2 available to developers. According to Apple, the minor update contains bug fixes and other under-the-hood improvements. For end users, the latest iOS build also contains hundreds of new emoji for the iPhone and iPad thanks to the addition of Unicode 10. Apple detailed some of the new emoji in a blog post last week, which include new characters, food, animals, creatures, and hand gestures. Apple didn't say when the final version of iOS 11.1 will be available to the public.
Microsoft executive Joe Belfiore on Sunday explained in a series of Tweets that the company is no longer creating new software or hardware for its Windows Mobile platform. Belfiore was responding directly to questions posed by fans when he said, "Many companies still deploy [Windows Phone] to their employees and we will support them! Of course we'll continue to support the platform ... bug fixes, security updates, etc. But building new features/[hardware] aren't the focus," Belfiore admitted that he, like Microsoft founder and former CEO Bill Gates, has switched to Android. "As an individual end-user, I switched platforms for the app/hw diversity." The questions put to Belfiore arose due to Microsoft's recent move to expand its Edge browser to to iOS. The browser is in beta mode via the App Store. Microsoft has focused much of its mobile app efforts on the Android and iOS platforms in recent years with its Office productivity suite, Skype communications tool, Android Launcher, OneDrive, and more. In the end, apps became the problem for Windows 10. "We have tried very hard to incent app [developers]. Paid money ... wrote apps for them ... but volume of users is too low for most companies to invest," wrote Belfiore. With no real selection of apps, Windows Mobile didn't have much of a chance against the Android and iOS platforms, which each offers more than one billion apps available to end users.
Apple says it is taking a close look at an issue impacting the iPhone 8 battery. According to a half dozen reports, the iPhone 8 battery sometimes swells during charging to the point of damaging the phone. Several iPhone 8 owners have posted photos of their devices, which have burst open due to the swollen battery. Apple issued a brief statement saying, "We are aware and looking into it." The number of affected iPhones appears to be very small and there have been no reports of fires or burns.
Apple today said it will introduce hundreds of new emoji with the debut of iOS 11.1 as soon as next week. The company has baked support for Unicode 10 into the future release of iOS and plans to disseminate it to developers and beta testers in the days ahead. Unicode 10 includes new characters, food, animals, creatures, and hand gestures. Apple says the new emoji will be available within iOS, macOS, and watchOS. Apple didn't say when the final version of iOS 11.1 will be available.
Microsoft today made a beta version of its Edge browser available to Android and iOS devices. The beta, available to registered Windows Insiders, requires users to initiate the signup process through a Windows 10 PC. Edge for mobile devices ports over popular desktop features, include Favorites, Reading List, New Tab Page, and Reading View. It can sync bookmarks and browser history with the desktop and includes a built-in QR code reader. It's only available to U.S. beta testers in English for now. Microsoft today also released a new launcher for Android handsets. The launcher replaces the native home screen on Android devices in favor of Microsoft's. It includes Windows 10 features such as favorites, recent photos, documents, and more. Before today, the Microsoft Launcher for Android was in beta status via the Microsoft Garage. It is now available for download through the Google Play Store.
Google today said its Home-based Google Assistant product can easily find your Android or iOS smartphone. Home owners need only say, "OK Google, find my phone." The Assistant will ring Android phones, or send a call to iPhones, even when the phone is in silent mode. Google envisions this as a quick and helpful way for finding missing handsets in the house. Moreover, Google has improved the voice-calling feature to include users' mobile phone numbers. Now, voice calls made via Google Home will show the owner's registered number. Previously, it showed Home-based calls as "unknown" or "unlisted" in the caller ID. This should help people connect calls to people who might otherwise not pick up. Google Assistant is being improved continuously for the Google Home.
Google has increased the availability of its Allo messaging app to more desktop browsers and mobile devices. Specifically, the service is now available to the Firefox and Opera browsers. It was previously only available within Chrome. The messaging service can now also be accessed online by iOS users. Allo was previously only available online to those using Android handsets. Allo is unique because it includes baked-in support for the Google Assistant. The new support for Firefox, Opera, and iOS is rolling out slowly over the next few days.
Apple today released iOS 11.0.2 for the iPhone and iPad. The minor update tackles a bug that resulted in crackling during voice calls on the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Apple didn't say if the release resolves other bugs. iOS 11.0.2 is free to download over the air.
Apple has made available mobile-friendly versions of its iOS 11 and macOS 10.13 kernels through GitHub. The kernels are both compatible with ARM-based mobile chips, but are far from complete operating systems. The kernel is the core source code for iOS and macOS, and doesn't include the user interface or application framework, which means anyone interested in developing on the kernel would have to create most of the operating system on their own. Apple has typically made the macOS kernel available with each major build, though it hasn't offered the iOS kernel as often. The fact that both kernels compatible with ARM chips is a curiosity. Developers can download the core platform code from GitHub under fairly strict licensing terms.
Google today made its Family Link tool available to parents in the United States without an invitation. Family Link is a service that lets parents set up and monitor their children's Android smartphones. Parents can use the app to create Google accounts for kids younger than age 13, which are linked to the parent's Google account. Parents can then approve and block apps from the Google Play Store, control screen time with daily limits, and remotely lock or prevent devices from being used at night. Though parents can now use Family Link from an Android handset or an iPhone, the child's handset still needs to run Android 7 Nougat and up.