Phone Scoop

printed May 30, 2017
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iOS was created by Apple, and is used exclusively on Apple products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

by:  Apple


Instagram's Direct Messages Now Support Landscape Video

Thursday, 11:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today updated its private messaging tool, making it easier to share certain types of videos. Moving forward, people sending permanent pictures or movies to friends won't have to crop them before sending. Instagram's Direct messaging function supports landscape video, so video will appear in its native format. Instagram also made it possible to share web links privately. Links can be previewed within the message thread, including the ability to select phone numbers and addresses embedded on those sites. Instagram said the landscape and portrait upload tool reaches the iPhone today and will hit Android devices soon. Both iPhones and Androids can share links via Direct starting immediately.


T-Mobile Digits Lets You Call or Text from a Phone, Tablet, PC

Thursday, 7:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Thursday, 10:49 AM

T-Mobile said it Digits service, first announced last year, will go live May 31. Digits allows customers to use the same phone number across multiple devices, or multiple numbers on a single device. The service operates over LTE and works with most connected devices, including phones, tablets, wearables, and computers. Digits relies on an app for Android and iOS devices, though T-Mobile says Digits is also built into the native dialer on certain Samsung phones (Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge +, S7, S7 edge, S8, S8+, Note 5) and the LG G5. T-Mobile customers sign in on whichever device is most convenient in order to access to their phone number, voicemail, text messages, and call history. The service allows a single smartphone to support up to five phone numbers without requiring additional SIM cards. Similarly, a single Digits number can be used across as many as five separate devices. T-Mobile has been beta testing the service since early this year and says the ability to send text messages from PCs is a favorite amongst early adopters. T-Mobile suggests Digits could be beneficial to business customers, as it would allow them to have their personal number and work number ring the same phone, negating the need to carry a second handset. It can serve families, too, allowing landline-based home phone numbers moved to T-Mobile to ring all devices on a family plan at the same time. Digits numbers can be assigned to run on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon phones through the Digits app. T-Mobile said every T-Mobile line will be upgraded to Digits on May 31 for free. A single Digits line can be used on customers' phones, tablets, and so on. New Digits lines added to an existing account (for example, a second number for one phone) cost $10 per month. For a limited time, customers who subscribe to the T-Mobile One Plus plan will be able to add a second Digits line at no extra cost. T-Mobile warns that Digits lines support 911 calls and texts, but reaching 911 via the main account line is best.


Google Photos Adds Archiving Tool to Hide Sensitive Pix

May 24, 2017, 3:32 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The latest version of Google Photos makes it possible to archive photos for safe, out-of-sight keeping. The tool was added to Google Photos 2.15 for Android devices, though it is not yet available to iOS devices or on the web. The archiving tool now appears within the navigation drawer on the left. A tutorial will walk people through the feature upon first use, after which archived photos can be accessed via the nav drawer. Archiving gives people a way to push photos out of their main feed without deleting them. The pictures are still readily accessible, though they will be out of view unless purposely sought out. The archiving function was first spotted by 9to5Google. Google Photos is free to download from the Google Play Store.


Facebook Tweaks Trending News and Expands Fundraising

May 24, 2017, 2:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook updated several of its offerings today, including how it handles trending news and supports fundraising campaigns. Facebook says it has redesigned its trending news function with the goal of surfacing higher-quality content in the news box. Moving forward, clicking on a trending topic opens a new carousel with stories from a variety of publications that users can swipe through. "By making it easier to see what other news outlets are saying about each topic, we hope that people will feel more informed about the news in their region," said Facebook. News articles highlighted in the trending stories section are the most popular on Facebook concerning that specific topic. Popularity is determined by a number of factors. The new trending stories box is available on the web, but Facebook says it is only just beginning to test the new trending stories on Android and iOS mobile devices. Facebook hopes to expand the new trending stories to all mobile users soon. On the fundraising front, Facebook is expanding the ability to raise money to more organizations and groups. For example, personal fundraisers are now available to everyone in the U.S. over the age of 18, and are available in two new categories (community and sports.) Fundraisers are easy to create and share in order to take advantage of the community effect. Facebook says people can raise money for education, medical costs, pet medical costs, crisis relief, personal emergencies, funerals, sports, community, and nonprofits. Facebook says it is able to review all fundraisers and launch them within 24 hours. The platform supports payment processing, vetting, security, and fraud protection for a small fee.


Instagram Bows Location and Hashtag Search

May 23, 2017, 9:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today made it easier to find story content in its mobile app based on location or interests/topics. A new story ring now appears at the top of the explore section. Stories that have location stickers applied to them will be added to the ring so people can view myriad stories shared from around the world. Similarly, people can now mark their stories with hashtags, making them searchable to others. Instagram says these stories may be shared with a much larger audience via the explore tab, but users can opt to share their location or hashtagged stories only with followers (rather than everyone). The new searching tools will appear in Instagram 10.22 for Android and iOS, which is rolling out this week.


Snapchat Debuts Story Collaboration Tool

May 23, 2017, 8:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Snapchat today unveiled a new feature that makes it possible for many people to contribute to the same story. Snapchat calls the new tool custom stories. One person creates the story and then invites others to add their own snaps. The creator can limit the story so only those invited to contribute are allowed to see it. Further, the creator can geofence the story so only people in a specific location can see the story. Snapchat says stories will disappear after 24 hours if no one contributes to them. Snapchat's new collaborative stories are rolling out to Android and iOS devices in a fresh update to the mobile app.


YouTube TV App for iOS Adds AirPlay Compatibility

May 23, 2017, 7:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google recently updated its YouTube TV app for iOS and gave it the ability to push content to the Apple TV. The Android version of the mobile app can cast video to Chromecast-enabled TVs, but Apple TV users were left without a way to connect the gap between their iPhone and television set. The new version of YouTube TV for iOS adds AirPlay, allowing iPhone owners to view YouTube TV programming on their television set through the Apple TV. YouTube TV for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store, but the availability of the service is limited to just a handful of markets for the time being.


Small Company Takes Apple to Court Over Apple Pay Patents

May 22, 2017, 7:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Universal Secure Registry, a small firm from Boston, has filed a patent complaint against Apple and Visa over the technology used to create Apple Pay. According to the lawsuit, Kenneth P. Weiss, CEO of Universal Secure Registry, holds 13 patents pertaining to the use of fingerprints and one-time tokens in order to authenticate secure financial transactions. Weiss pitched the technology extensively to Visa in 2010. Visa agreed to a 10-year nondisclosure agreement and even assigned engineers to understand how Universal Secure Registry's process worked. Visa never adopted the technology, but several years later worked with Apple, MasterCard, and American Express to create Apple Pay, which launched in 2014. Apple Pay relies on fingerprints and one-time tokens to facilitate iPhone-based mobile payments. Patent law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan — one that represented Samsung and its fight against Apple over Android patents — suggested Universal Secure Registry take Apple to court over the patented technology. Apple has not yet responded publicly to the lawsuit.


5 Most Important Things Google Announced At I/O

May 19, 2017, 12:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google I/O, the search company's annual developer conference, is wrapping up after a whirlwind few days in Mountain View, Calif. Google hit attendees with a blitz of announcements centered around artificial intelligence, machine learning, and mobility. While much of what Google showed off is meant for its developer partners, plenty will reach consumers in the days, weeks, and months ahead — not only on Android devices, but iOS, the web, your car, your wrist, your headset, and more.

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Facebook Streamlines Messenger

May 18, 2017, 11:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook today said it is simplifying the main screen of Facebook Messenger, returning the app's focus to messaging. Facebook has over the last year added numerous features to the messaging tool and the app's usability has suffered somewhat as a result. The app introduces tabs along the top for all the different actions and features, rather than cramming them in small slots on the home screen. The tabs will also show users which of their friends are available for conversations, as well as a dedicated place to host group conversations. The bottom bar now offers shortcuts for making calls, taking pictures, searching or people, playing games, and, later, exploring the forthcoming discover tab. Last, Messenger includes a red dot to help people see what's new. "These changes are designed to make Messenger simpler for you — to help you get to your contacts quickly, jump into your conversations where you left off, start new chats, and stay up to date," said Facebook's David Marcus. The new Messenger is hitting Android and iOS devices this week.


Google Photos Debuts Suggested Sharing, Photo Books

May 17, 2017, 12:58 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 17, 2017, 1:11 PM

Google today made it easier to share photos with others. The new suggested sharing tool relies on machine learning to recognize faces in photos and match them with known contacts. The app will automatically select the best shots from events/locations and offer personalized sharing suggestions to family and friends. The app can, for example, eliminate duplicates and select images that are in focus and then instantly push them to those in the photos. Google Photos can share albums and images with anyone, no Google Photos account required. Google Photos is adding a shared libraries feature, as well, allowing people to share and contribute to specific libraries. Photos added to shared libraries will instantly appear on all devices/accounts linked to the library. Last, Google added a tool called Photo Books to Google Photos, which lets people create photo albums that can then be printed in soft- or hard-covered albums. The tool can automatically pick the best shots among those selected, lay them out instantly, and then print and ship the album. Google said these features will reach Android, iOS, and the web in the coming weeks.


Google Dials Up Voice Calls for Google Home

May 17, 2017, 12:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 17, 2017, 1:09 PM

Google today said its Google Home device can now make free voice calls to landline and mobile phones in the U.S. and Canada. There are no apps, set-up, or apps required. Google Home owners simply need to ask the Assistant to call anyone in their contact list. The tool is smart enough to discern between six users and their individual accounts by their sound of their voice. By default it will dial out from a private number, but users can configure it to display their own number for outgoing calls. Google Home is also adding support for Spotify for music streaming, and will soon support Bluetooth for streaming from any Android and iOS device. Home is gaining more compatibility with Chromecast, too, and can display information requests on connected TVs. These updates are expected to reach Google Home over the coming months.


Google Brings Google Assistant to the iPhone

May 17, 2017, 12:31 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 17, 2017, 12:36 PM

Google today announced Google Assistant for the iPhone. The app can respond to voice input and take action for a wide variety of tasks. It can supplant Siri on the iPhone to read emails, send messages, perform searches, and open/use applications. Google didn't say exactly when Google Assistant for the iPhone will be available.


Apple Pushes iOS 10.3.3 to Developers

May 17, 2017, 11:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple this week released a new beta build of iOS 10 for developers. iOS 10.3.3, which developers can download over the air, is a minor, bug-fixing release. Apple didn't provide any details about what's contained in the new code, nor has it released a version for public beta testers yet. Earlier this week, Apple released a final build of iOS 10.3.2, which was also a maintenance release.


Apple Releases iOS 10.3.2 with Bug Fixes

May 15, 2017, 12:07 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 15, 2017, 12:31 PM

Apple today made iOS 10.3.2 available to the iPhone and iPad. The minor system update primarily resolves bugs, patches security holes, and improves performance. Apple has been testing the update for the past month through its developer and public beta programs. iOS 10.3.2 is free to download and install over the air. Apple also distributed watchOS 3.2.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.5, and tvOS 10.2.1 — all of which focus on security and performance.


Apple Wants iPhone Owners to Take Better Pictures

May 12, 2017, 7:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple recently published a new web site with a number of how-to tutorials on photography for the iPhone 7. Rather than focus on technical explanations, Apple demonstrates how to improve a variety of specific shots, such as close-ups, portraits, panoramas, selfies, and so on. The tutorials are generally about 30 seconds long and include just a few steps for people to follow. The web site can be accessed from any internet device, but the videos are optimized for viewing on an iPhone.


Snapchat Adds Magic Eraser and Limitless Snaps

May 9, 2017, 12:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Snapchat today announced changes headed to its mobile apps that it hopes will entice people to enjoy the ephemeral messaging service. First, Snapchat added a magic eraser to the creative toolset. The eraser allows people to delete items from their photos before sharing. This can be used to create a fun effect, or to hide sensitive content. A new looping tool lets people set their videos to loop for as long as someone cares to view the video. Once that person moves on to the next Snap, the looping video will vanish. Last, and perhaps most significantly, Snapchat is now letting people set the time limit on Snaps (photos and videos) to infinity. "We’ve all felt the frustration of not being able to fully enjoy a Snap — even after replaying it — and we wanted to give you the option of allowing the recipient to enjoy your Snap as long as they’d like. After your friend finishes viewing the Snap and taps to close it, it will delete as usual," explained the company in a blog post. The new features will be available in the Android and iOS Snapchat apps in the days ahead.


Google Gives Enterprise Admins More Control Over iPhones

May 2, 2017, 12:40 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today expanded the security features Google Mobile Management administrators can enforce on corporate iOS devices. The new tools will let businesses that rely on Google's device management service to ensure iPhone and iPad users conform to corporate security policies. For example, G Suite admins can now sync managed corporate contacts to iOS devices and revoke access when needed. This is particularly helpful when using global address lists, which are now compatible with the native iOS email, calendar, phone, and contacts apps. G Suite admins can also now configure Google account on iOS to sync contacts and calendars, manage Safari browser settings, manage photo sharing, and set permissions with respect to screenshots, screen recording, Siri, and Apple Watch. The new tools are rolling out to all G Suite admin users over the next few weeks.


Instant Games on Facebook Messenger Begins Broad Roll Out

May 2, 2017, 12:26 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook today said the Instant Games it announced last month are now available to Facebook Messenger users around the world. Instant Games on Facebook Messenger rely on AI-assisted bots that can play turn-by-turn games with single players, as well as help challenge others to games via Messenger. One of the first games to take advantage of bot-enabled gameplay was Zynga's Words With Friends, though more than 50 bot-enabled titles are now available worldwide. Facebook says users should begin to see even more features within games as developers add support for bots. The new Instant Games on Messenger will roll out over the next few weeks worldwide for both iOS and Android.


Google, Amazon, eBay Call Time Out On Apple Watch Apps

May 2, 2017, 7:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A handful of marquee apps have dropped support for the Apple Watch in recent weeks, according to AppleInsider. Checks of the iTunes App Store show Google Maps, Amazon, eBay, Target and others have removed the Apple Watch from their list of supported devices. With Watch apps, developers create a watchOS version that goes alongside the standard iOS version. The companies above have ceased distributing the watchOS companion app with their full iOS apps, which means the apps are no longer available to the watch. Google was the only company to issue a statement. It said: "We removed Apple Watch support from our latest iOS release but expect to support it again in the future." Removing apps from Apple's wearable doesn't necessarily signal that the platform is in decline, but it does show supporting the platform may not be viable from a third-party business standpoint. Apple did not comment on the matter.


Google Assistant Can Help You Channel Your Inner Julia Child

Apr 26, 2017, 11:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today updated its Google Home product with the ability to walk people through various recipes. Google Assistant can dictate step-by-step cooking instructions for more than 5 million recipes. Google says people need only pick a recipe from the Google Search app on their iOS or Android smartphone and hit the new "Send to Google Home" button to save the recipe to their Google Assistant. The recipe can be recalled anytime on the Google Home by using the "Ok Google, start cooking" command. Google Home will then guide people through the recipe until it is done. People will be able to ask questions about specific steps along the way, as well as listen to music, make measurement conversions, set timers, and more. Google said the new feature is being rolled out over the next few weeks. Google didn't say if the recipe tool will be available from Android smartphones that include Google Assistant.


Google Maps Improves Parking Spot Finder

Apr 26, 2017, 11:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google has this week made good on previous promises to make it easier for people to locate their cars after parking them. Maps for Android and iOS is being updated with a dedicated "Save Your Parking" tool that lets people not only pinpoint the location of their car on a map, but add details such as floor level, section, or parking spot for large parking structures. Further, Maps users can set timers to coincide with parking meters complete with custom alerts before the meter runs out. Last, people will also be able to share their parking location with others in instances that require people to meet at a parked car. On iOS devices connected to cars via Bluetooth, Maps will automatically record the parking spot when the owner disconnects and walks away from the vehicle. Google Maps has offered rudimentary parking spot help for some time. These new features allow people to take more control and add details that Maps didn't previously offer. Google Maps for Android and iOS is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store, respectively.


Apple Spits Out Fourth Round of iOS, WatchOS Betas

Apr 24, 2017, 12:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.3.2 Beta 4 available to developers. Apple hasn't provided any specific details about what's in iOS 10.3.2; it likely focuses on resolving bugs and smoothing over performance issues. Apple also made fourth betas of watchOS 3.2.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.5, and tvOS 10.2.1 available to developers. Apple hasn't indicated if or when these new in-progress operating systems will be released to public beta testers. Public betas typically drop a day or two after the developer betas. Consumers interested in testing pre-release software will need to register their Apple device, such as the iPhone 7, in order to receive beta builds of iOS and other platforms.


Apple to Help Make Live Photos More Shareable On the Web

Apr 20, 2017, 12:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released a new tool for developers that should make it easier for people to share their Live Photos with others. Specifically, the company made available the LivePhotoKit JS API. Apple says, "This new JavaScript-based API makes it easy to embed Live Photos on your web sites. In addition to enabling Live Photos on iOS and macOS, you can now let users display their Live Photos on the web." Live Photos, which are essentially short moving pictures, can be shared between iOS and macOS devices, but not so easily across platforms. Google solved this problem with its own Motion Stills app for iOS, which lets iPhone owners turn Live Photos into web-compatible GIFs. Apple says it will be up to individual developers and web sites to put the LivePhotoKit JS API to use on their own sites. Until they do, Google's Motion Stills app remains a viable alternative.


Microsoft Will Help You Ditch Passwords

Apr 19, 2017, 12:25 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has a new tool for Android and iOS device owners to use when signing into Microsoft accounts. The phone sign-in functionality relies on the Microsoft Authenticator. People can add their Microsoft account to either the Android or iOS version of the Microsoft Authenticator mobile app. Then, when signing into a new Microsoft app, people will only have to put in their username. The Authenticator will pop up a notification on users' phones that, once approved, unlocks access to the new app. "This process is easier than standard two-step verification and significantly more secure than only a password, which can be forgotten, phished, or compromised," said Microsoft in a blog post. Microsoft Authenticator is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.


Snapchat Adds 3D Lenses

Apr 18, 2017, 3:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Snapchat today introduced a new way to use its Lenses feature in a way that the company says is more interactive. When using the rear camera, Snapchatters can discover new Lenses that can "paint the word around you with new 3D experiences." These new Lenses include sticker-like animations that float and move around people within Snapchat images. The 3D Lenses are available in an update to the Android and iOS mobile Snapchat app. Snapchat is free to download from the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.


Google Maps Timeline Feature Travels to iOS Devices

Apr 18, 2017, 1:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made the Timeline tool of Google Maps available to iOS devices. Timeline tracks users' movements based on their location, providing a clear picture of where they've been, for how long, and how they got there. Timelines can be useful for recalling information about unfamiliar places you may have visited, as well as keeping tabs on your favorite locations. Users are in control of what appears in their Timeline. The feature gives people full control over deleting specific locations, routes, days, and even the entire travel history. People can customize their typical mode of transportation, as well as view place cards of locations or businesses they’ve previously visited. Last, Timeline will provide monthly recaps to iOS users via email with summaries of the cities, countries, and places they’ve visited over the previous month. Timeline is optional and can be disabled. Google Maps is free to download from the iTunes App Store. Timeline has been available to Android devices for some time.


Google Wholly Revamps Google Earth for Desktop and Mobile

Apr 18, 2017, 7:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today released a brand new version of Google Earth that it has spent two years crafting. This revised Google Earth is all about giving people more ways to view things thanks to changing perspectives, new zooming behaviors, and, of course, plenty of ways to share. Google Earth now includes Voyager, a tool for exploring and taking guided tours on the planet's most famous locations. For example, Natural Treasures from BBC Earth will take you to caves, jungles, and more, while the refreshed "I’m feeling lucky" search button will randomly select an interesting spot and tell you everything. Maps includes a wider variety of Knowledge Cards that provide details about places around the globe. Google Earth gains more 3D content, as well, allowing people to swoop through the Grand Canyon or check out European castles from every angle. The new Google Earth is available on the web in Google's Chrome browser as well as a new dedicated mobile app for Android devices. Google says it will bring the new Google Earth to iOS and more browsers in the future.


Instagram Debuts Private Collections

Apr 17, 2017, 1:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today made saving groups of photos more appealing through a new collections tool. Until today, users could only bookmark favorite photos for later. Now, Instagram makes it possible to create and name new collections of bookmarked posts that are batched together. This applies to both new and existing posts. Instagram says people can cultivate as many collections as they wish, which can be used to tag and manage types and/or styles of photos, as well as the contributions of select people or groups. Collections will remain private to the person who created them. The new collections feature is rolling out to the Android and iOS versions os Instagram over the next week. Instagram is free to download.


Third Round of Betas for Apple Platforms Reach Developers

Apr 17, 2017, 1:48 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.3.2 Beta 3 available to developers. Apple hasn't provided any specific details about what's in iOS 10.3.2; it likely focuses on resolving bugs and smoothing over performance issues. Apple also made third betas of watchOS 3.2.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.5, and tvOS 10.2.1 available to developers. Apple hasn't indicated if or when these new in-progress operating systems will be released to public beta testers. Public betas typically drop a day or two after the developer betas. Consumers interested in testing pre-release software will need to register their Apple device, such as the iPhone 7, in order to receive beta builds of iOS and other platforms.


Google's Family Link App Reaches iOS Devices

Apr 14, 2017, 11:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today expanded the availability of its Family Link application to iOS devices. 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. Google is offering Family Link through an early access program. Parents interested in testing it can request an invitation directly from Google. Though parents can now use Family Link from an iPhone, the child's handset still needs to run Android 7 Nougat and up. Family Link for iOS is available from the iTunes App Store.


Instagram Ups Its Sticker Game

Apr 13, 2017, 10:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today rolled out new sticker tools meant to help people be more creative in their posts and stories. First up is the ability to turn your selfie into its own sticker. Instagram says the latest version of its mobile app lets people capture mini selfies, apply frames, and use the framed selfie as a sticker on posts. The selfie sticker can be resized, moved around, and enhanced with other tools. Selfie stickers can also be pinned to videos, including those shot with Boomerang. The new Instagram adds four more geostickers so people in Chicago, London, Madrid, and Tokyo can dress up their posts with artwork and themes related to those cities. Geostickers are interactive, so people who watch a story can tap the sticker to see the location page. Last, Instagram is making it easier to find stickers thanks to a new shortcut. The tool will pop up users' most recently used stickers for quick access. The new version of Instagram is available for Android and iOS devices.


Facebook Messenger Adds Group Payments

Apr 11, 2017, 11:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook today made it possible to pay groups of people within Messenger. The app has supporter peer-to-peer payments since 2015, but they were limited to single people. The latest version of Messenger makes is possible to send funds to a group of people. Facebook suggests the tool will be helpful when groups need to split a restaurant check or share the costs of gifts. The tool, found under the "more features" menu, makes it possible to pay an entire group or just several members of a group. Payments can be spread out evenly, or customized based on the situation at hand. The function even supports annotations, allowing users to tag the payment so they know why it was made. Messenger users will need to have a debit card associated with their account to send money. The new Messenger for Android is rolling out over the next few days. Facebook didn't say when group payments will reach the iOS version of Messenger. Group payments are only available in the U.S. for now.


Instagram Simplifies Disappearing Message Behavior

Apr 11, 2017, 10:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Instagram today rolled out a new style for sharing ephemeral messages with others. Disappearing photos and videos are still shared via the Direct messaging tool, but moving forward they are included within ongoing threaded conversations between people or groups, rather than pulled out separately. Instagram features a new blue camera icon in the Direct messaging feature for capturing disappearing photos or videos. The blue camera icon is also available within individual message threads. An arrow button lets people select the friends or groups with whom they'd like to share, and a new function lets users keep track of who's viewed disappearing messages. Instagram has retooled notifications, too, so disappearing messages will be called out thanks to new blue highlighting. Disappearing messages can be replayed once, and the sender will be notified if the message is played twice and/or captured via screenshot. The new Direct messaging feature is rolling out to Instagram for Android and iOS devices this week.


Qualcomm Countersuit Says Apple Hobbled Its Chips

Apr 11, 2017, 7:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 11, 2017, 10:55 AM

Qualcomm filed a retaliatory lawsuit against Apple and accused the iPhone maker of bad behavior. The filing is in response to one Apple made against Qualcomm earlier this year. It that argument, Apple accused Qualcomm of abusing its market position to unfairly charge for chips and licenses. Qualcomm's response points out five major grievances with Apple, suggesting the company has not negotiated in good faith to license Qualcomm's patents. Specifically, Qualcomm says Apple "chose not to utilize the full performance of Qualcomm’s modem chips in its iPhone 7 [and] misrepresented the performance disparity between iPhones using Qualcomm modems and those using competitor-supplied modems." Qualcomm also accused Apple of breaching and mischaracterizing agreements with Qualcomm, interfering with Qualcomm's licensees, encouraging regulatory attack around the world, and threatening Qualcomm to go public over disparities in chip performance. Qualcomm is seeking damages from Apple for "reneging on its promises in several agreements" and it wants Apple to cease interfering with Qualcomm's partners. Qualcomm has come under fire from several governments, including that of the U.S., that allege Qualcomm uses predatory and unfair licensing practices.


Apple Offers Developers a Fresh Round of Beta Builds

Apr 10, 2017, 12:17 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.3.2 Beta 2 available to developers. Apple has not provided any details about what's contained in iOS 10.3.2, though it likely focuses on resolving bugs and performance issues. Apple also made second betas of watchOS 3.2.2, macOS Sierra 10.12.5, and tvOS 10.2.1 available to developers. Apple hasn't indicated if or when these new in-progress operating systems will be released to public beta testers.


YouTube TV Goes Live In Several Markets

Apr 5, 2017, 12:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

YouTube today launched its YouTube TV service in five major U.S. markets: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. YouTube TV gives cord cutters a way to watch live television online. As of today's launch, YouTube TV offers more than 40 television networks, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, USA, FX, Disney Channel, Sprout, E! and Bravo. YouTube TV plans to add AMC, BBC America, IFC, Sundance TV, WE tv, and BBC World News soon. Showtime is available for an extra monthly fee. The monthly service is accessible from mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, and PCs, and Android and iOS device users can cast YouTube TV shows to their Chromecast-equipped TV. YouTube TV includes a cloud-based DVR with unlimited storage for saving and accessing shows from practically anywhere. Google allows people to store recordings for free for up to nine months. Each YouTube TV subscription includes up to six individual accounts for personalized recommendations and DVR recording. YouTube TV costs $35 per month and doesn't require any contracts or commitments.


Apple Retunes Apple Music for Android Devices

Apr 4, 2017, 2:22 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released Apple Music 2.0 for Android handsets and the app introduces a number of features found on the iOS version. To start, Apple Music for Android drops all elements of Google's Material Design in favor of Apple's app design language. The Android app user interface now mirrors that of the iOS version. In-app navigation is simplified thanks to four major sections, called Library, For You, Browse, and Radio. These make it easier for people to move through the app to find their own music or new tunes recommended by Apple. Apple Music 2.0 for Android also adds on-screen song lyrics and larger album art. The app is free to download from the Google Play Store, but the service costs $10 per month.


T-Mobile Adds Free Roadside Assistance to SyncUp Drive

Apr 4, 2017, 7:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today improved the appeal of its SyncUp Drive product by adding access to Allstate Motor Club. T-Mobile is updating the mobile app that accompanies its in-car diagnostics and mobile hotspot tool to include free roadside assistance. Customers who have the SyncUp Drive will need to accept the new terms of service and enroll themselves in the Allstate Motor Club through the mobile app. Once signed up, stranded drivers will be able to summon help with tire changes, tows, fuel delivery, lockouts, or jumps. In addition to roadside assistance, SyncUp Drive also offers vehicle diagnostics, speed alerts, location tracking, driver analysis, and an in-vehicle hotspot. The module costs $150, though T-Mobile is offering it for $2 per month when financed over 24 months ($48 in total). The new SyncUp Drive app is rolling out to Android and iOS devices this week.


Apple Releases iOS 10.3.1 to Fix Bugs

Apr 3, 2017, 12:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today pushed a minor system update to iPhones, iPads, and iPods that's primarily meant to fix bugs. iOS 10.3.1, which clocks in at under 50 MB, also improves device security. The update is free to download and install over the air.


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