Apple's AirPods Pro are the flagship earbuds in the company's lineup, but there are plenty of other third-party truly wireless earbuds out there on the market. Sony is one of the main contenders in the space, so MacRumors videographer Dan took a look at the brand-new WF-1000XM4 earbuds to see how they stack up.


The awkwardly named WF-1000XM4 buds are priced at $279, just a bit higher than the ‌AirPods Pro‌ at $249, although we've been regularly seeing discounted pricing on ‌AirPods Pro‌ in the $200 range (including $189.99 for Prime Day), so that's one factor in favor of the ‌AirPods Pro‌, at least for now.

When it comes to performance, the XM4s offer solid audio quality that can be tweaked to find the perfect balance using Sony's Headphones Connect app for iOS and Android, something Apple doesn't offer. The XM4s also offer excellent active noise cancellation (ANC), but ‌AirPods Pro‌ also perform well in that regard.

While fit is a very personal aspect, Dan found that both sets of earbuds fit well for him, with the XM4s offering a very snug fit that seals well in the ear while the ‌AirPods Pro‌ might be a bit more comfortable over the long term.

Both sets of earbuds are strong performers overall, but where the ‌AirPods Pro‌ really set themselves apart for Apple users is the H1 chip and the capabilities it brings. Instant pairing and automatic switching across devices are very convenient, and the ‌AirPods Pro‌ deliver several other Apple-specific features like Find My integration and audio sharing for connecting multiple sets of earphones to one device simultaneously.

Check out Dan's video for his full thoughts on these aspects and more when it comes to comparing the ‌AirPods Pro‌ and the new Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds.

Related Roundup: AirPods Pro
Tag: Sony
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Pro (Neutral)
Related Forum: AirPods

Aqara makes a range of HomeKit-compatible smart home devices for multiple regions around the world. This review takes a look at four of Aqara's latest products, including its Temperature and Humidity Sensor and the newly-released Hub M2, as well as the Wireless Remote Switch H1 and Smart Wall Switch H1, which launch today.

aqara m2 hub sensor switches

With these new accessories, I was able to add to the HomeKit setup I created with some of Aqara's devices earlier this year, and put the company's new additions to the smart home to the test.

While Aqara does have its own app for controlling and setting up the accessories, it is possible to control, automate, and manage them entirely through Apple's Home app.

M2 Hub

The Aqara Hub ‌M2‌ serves as a smart home control center for a wide range of Aqara sensors, controllers, and other child devices using the Zigbee 3.0 protocol, which can connect up to 128 devices.

aqara m2 hub

In terms of design, the Hub ‌M2‌ features glossy black plastic on the sides and matte black plastic on the top. The overall look is slim and pretty much as good as it gets for a smart home hub, although the matte top surface seemed to have attracted some smears out of the box. The bottom of the device features a thick rubberized base to help keep it still on surfaces and a convenient ‌HomeKit‌ pairing code sticker.

aqara m2 hub rear

The rear of the Hub ‌M2‌ offers an Ethernet RJ45 port, a micro-USB port for power, and a standard USB port. While it does come with a micro-USB cable that is around a meter long, it would be easy to connect a longer cable if needed. I was disappointed that the ‌M2‌ did not come with a power adapter, meaning that I had to find another USB power adapter to use. Aqara also says that it is possible to power the Hub ‌M2‌ from a 5V power bank.

The Hub ‌M2‌ allows users to choose whether they would like to use the Ethernet RJ45 port, which Aqara says provides extra stability and faster response times, or a Wi-Fi connection if the Hub is not situated near an available Ethernet port.

aqara m2 hub top

The Hub ‌M2‌ seamlessly integrates with the Home app, initiated by a simple scan of the ‌HomeKit‌ code on the base. The initial pairing process was fast and any subsequent devices paired with the Hub ‌M2‌ automatically appear in Apple's Home app for minimum hassle.

The Hub ‌M2‌ also supports all four native ‌HomeKit‌ alarm modes and features a surprisingly loud built-in speaker. The speaker is not particularly clear, but its quality is adequate for brief alerts and can easily project across a large room. Like other Aqara hubs, the Hub ‌M2‌ uses its speaker to talk you through the setup process and pairing other accessories, but it can also be used to deliver alerts through automations.

In addition, there are a number of features that are not directly usable through the Home app since Apple does not yet support them, such as the Hub ‌M2‌'s built-in IR transmitter, which can control existing IR home appliances such as TVs.

H1 Double Rocker Switches

Aqara today launches two new smart home double rocker switches for the European market, the Smart Wall Switch H1 and the Wireless Remote Switch H1. The switches support round European wall boxes and 86mm square wall boxes.

The Smart Wall Switch H1 is installed in place of a standard wall switch and can be used to make light switches, ceiling fans, and more, part of your smart home setup. It has a sturdy metal backplate and comes with screws for installation. The Smart Wall Switch H1 also features overheat protection, overload protection, and power monitoring.

I thought that the installation instructions for the Smart Wall Switch H1 could have been better, but most users will benefit from the assistance of a qualified electrician anyway.

The Wireless Remote Switch H1 shares the design of the Smart Wall Switch H1, but does not need to be wired into a wall socket to work. Instead of wired terminals, the back of the switch is flat and has two rubberized bars to help grip to a surface, and there is an adhesive pad included in the box for sticking the switch to a wall. Aqara also suggests that it is possible to drill through the back of the switch's plastic housing to screw it directly into a wall if desired.

Prying the back of the unit off to replace the battery was very difficult, even with a flathead screwdriver, but users will not need to do this very often at all since the Wireless Remote Switch H1 purportedly has a five-year battery life.

aqara switches

The switches feature a satin plastic finish, and are very clicky and tactile. There is a small blue LED toward the bottom of each rocker that flashes to confirm a click. The overall design is slim and discreet, which is ideal for a switch.

Both H1 switches connect using the latest Zigbee 3.0 protocol, and pair simply by holding down one of the rockers until it is detected by the Aqara hub.

You can configure the actions or scenes initiated by the H1's rocker switches in the Home app, or use the Aqara app if you wish to map complex actions such as long or double presses. A Smart Wall Switch H1 and a Wireless Remote Switch H1 can also be used in tandem to upgrade an existing two-way setup.

I personally preferred the versatility of the Wireless Remote Switch H1, but if you are looking for a permanent smart replacement for a wall light switch, the Smart Wall Switch H1 is an ideal solution.

Temperature and Humidity Sensor

Aqara's Temperature and Humidity Sensor is incredibly compact and light, featuring the same minimalist design as many of Aqara's other accessories, making it easy to tuck away inconspicuously.

aqara temperature sensor

With a press of the small button on the top of the sensor, the blue LED flashes, and it almost instantly pairs with the Aqara hub and appears in the Home app.

The Home app is able to display temperature and humidity from the sensor, and it seemed to update without delay throughout the day. The sensor can also detect air quality, but the Home app does not yet support this data. The use of multiple sensors will show an average temperature in the Home app.

The Bottom Line

As with other Aqara accessories, the company continues to set high standards of design, easy pairing, and reliability. Aqara's support for ‌HomeKit‌ and focus on seamless integration in the Home app continues to surpass many other smart home brands, but the company clearly still recognizes the importance of fast pairing and good responsiveness on the network.

It is a shame that Apple does not yet support some Aqara features such as air quality or IR control, but it is good to know that the accessories themselves are future-proof in case support is added in the future.

The Hub ‌M2‌ is the most fully-featured smart home hub I have used, and seems to be a must-have for any user with multiple Aqara accessories, even if it is slightly pricey relative to competitors at $57.99. The multifunction H1 rockers are ideal for upgrading manual wall switches to a smart setup, and the $19.99 Temperature and Humidity Sensor is affordable and reliable.

How to Buy

Aqara's full range of ‌HomeKit‌ accessories is available in the U.S. via Amazon.

The Smart Wall Switch H1 and Wireless Remote Switch H1 is unavailable in the United States as it is designed for the UK and EU market. For customers in these regions, Aqara's devices are available through third-party distributors.

Note: Aqara provided MacRumors with a Wireless Remote Switch H1, Smart Wall Switch H1, Temperature and Humidity Sensor, and ‌M2‌ Hub for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

Apple today updated the Dark Sky weather app for the first time since November with improved VoiceOver support and other bug fixes and performance improvements. In addition, Dark Sky complications on the Apple Watch now update more frequently.

Dark Sky App Featured
The full release notes for Dark Sky version 6.8.6:

• Improved VoiceOver support
• Complications on Apple Watch update more frequently
• Addresses an issue that could prevent the moon phase from updating
• Stability and performance improvements

Apple acquired Dark Sky in March 2020, and while its Android app has since been shut down, it was recently announced that Dark Sky will remain available as an iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch app and on the web until the end of 2022.

Apple's stock Weather app on iOS 15 features a new design with more detailed forecasts, notifications, and many other Dark Sky-like features.

Apple Arcade continues its strategy to bring classical and popular games to the game platform, with the latest addition soon to be the classic endless runner "Jetpack Joyride."

apple arcade jetpack joyride
Jetpack Joyride was initially launched in 2011 and is developed by game developer Halfbrick. The game has grown in popularity and consists of Barry's main character embarking on a journey with a jetpack and entrusting the user to control them as they move and avoid obstacles. When it launches on ‌Apple Arcade‌, the game will be rebranded with the addition of a "+" to its name, leaving it to be "Jetpack Joyride +."

Other hit classic games such as "Fruit Ninja" and "Cut the Rope" launched on ‌Apple Arcade‌ earlier this year. ‌Apple Arcade‌ users can subscribe to notifications within the App Store for when the game becomes available.

Ahead of its grand opening later this week on June 24, Apple today shared photos of its upcoming "Apple Tower Theatre" retail store in Los Angeles.

apple town theater
The store will reside in the historic Tower Theatre originally designed in the heart of Los Angeles in 1927. Apple has collaborated with the local community, leading preservationists, and artists to "thoughtfully preserve and restore the theater’s beauty and grandeur."

apple town theater compare
Apple's senior vice president of retail, Deirdre O’Brien, says that this new store "honors the rich history and legacy of this entertainment capital" and that it builds on Apple's special relationship with the people of Los Angeles. The store will mark the 26th Apple Store in the greater Los Angeles area and employ 100 retail team members. Photos of the upcoming store can be seen on Apple's press release.

Apple today announced an expansion of its "Today at Apple" program with a new "Creative Studios" initiative that will provide career-building mentorship, professional industry skills training, creative resources, and access to Apple's full line of products like the iPhone, iPad, and Mac to underrepresented communities around the world.

today at apple creative studios 1
Creative Studios will launch first in Los Angeles and Beijing, followed by Bangkok, London, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. later this year. In each city, Apple said it will work hand-in-hand with nonprofit community organizations to connect youth with mentors and established artists, such as Grammy Award-winning producer Larrance "Rance" Dopson.

Creative Studios programming will revolve around creative areas such as music, film, photography, and art and design, and will be available to young people who face barriers to meaningful artistic education, according to Apple. An eight to 12 week curriculum will provide hands-on sessions, insider industry knowledge, and ongoing feedback from mentors.

In Los Angeles, Creative Studios runs from June 26 to July 22, with free registration available on Apple's website.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

Brave, the browser which has gained momentum and popularity in recent years, is taking another leap forward in its quest to offer users a more private and secure internet experience. Starting today, Brave browser users will have access to Brave Search in beta, a completely new search engine that offers "unmatched privacy."


Brave Search was announced last March, and since its announcement, it's been tested by more than 100,000 users. Brave, which prides itself on being a "browser reimagined," recently surpassed 32 million monthly active users and is hoping that Brave Search will further its role in the browser market.

Brave Search beta is available to all Brave browser users on iOS, Android, and desktop starting today. At first, users will need to manually select Brave Search as their search engine option, alongside other choices such as Google and Bing. However, Brave Search will become the default and standard search engine for the Brave browser later this year.

Unlike Google and others, Brave Search doesn't track users, their searches, or clicks. Instead, Brave Search "puts users first, and fully in control of their online experience." The "completely independent" search engine also promises full transparency, with "no secret methods or algorithms for bias results," and soon will roll out "community-curated open ranking models to ensure diversity and prevent algorithmic biases" and censorship.

Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder of Brave, says the new search engine is the "real alternative" to Big Tech, such as Google, and that it offers a new way for users to securely and privately browse the web without the worry of their privacy.

Unlike older search engines that track and profile users, and newer search engines that are mostly a skin on older engines and don't have their own indexes, Brave Search offers a new way to get relevant results with a community-powered index, while guaranteeing privacy. Brave Search fills a clear void in the market today as millions of people have lost trust in the surveillance economy and actively seek solutions to be in control of their data.

One major upside for users using Brave Search, currently still in beta, is its ad-free experience. When the search engine exits beta, Brave is pledging to offer users options for an ad-free search experience and an "ad-supported free" experience later. The company also said it would "explore bringing private ads with BAT revenue share to search," as it's done for Brave Browser users.

brave search engine results
Brave relies on its own index for the web, rather than relying on Google Search and Microsoft's Bing. To do this, Brave is relying on "anonymized contributions from the community to improve and refine results."

In order to present a true independent alternative to big tech, Brave decided to build its own index rather than rent it from Google or Microsoft, as other smaller search engines are currently doing. Brave Search includes anonymized contributions from the community to improve and refine results.

At launch, Brave's index will still struggle to meet the levels of Google and others with search queries such as image search. Until Brave's index can expand, it will rely on using third-party APIs. Brave Search is also introducing an "independence metric" that will inform users on the independence of their search results to ensure no bias in the index or algorithm.

Brave Search is also introducing the industry's first search independence metric, displaying the ratio of results coming exclusively from Brave's index. It is derived privately using the user's browser as we do not build user profiles. Users can check this aggregate metric to verify the independence of their results and see how results are powered by our own index, or if third-parties are being used for long tail results while we are still in the process of building our index.

Brave Search in beta is available starting today for Brave browsers on iOS, Android, and the desktop. It will also be available to non-Brave browser users at search.brave.com

Tag: Brave

Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn is offering "record-high" signing bonuses in an effort to recruit workers for iPhone 13 production over the next few months, according to the South China Morning Post.

Untitled

‌iPhone 13‌ Pro in Matte Black render via EverythingApplePro

The report claims Foxconn is offering up to 8,000 yuan ($1,235) as a signing bonus to former workers willing to return to its Zhengzhou, China factory to assist with iPhone assembly during the "peak season," up from 5,500 yuan last month and 5,000 yuan in 2020. Workers will receive their bonuses after working for Foxconn's iPhone assembly division for four months and staying until the end of the peak season, the report adds.

Apple manufacturers like Foxconn commonly offer signing bonuses in the months leading up to an iPhone launch, but this year's bonus range for returning workers is the highest since the Zhengzhou factory started operations in 2010, according to the South China Morning Post's review of past recruitment ads from Foxconn.

Apple is increasingly expected to unveil the iPhone 13 lineup in September, marking a return to its usual launch timeframe after unveiling the iPhone 12 lineup in October 2020 due to reported COVID-19-related production delays.

iPhone 13 models are rumored to feature a smaller notch at the top of the display, but otherwise they are expected to have a similar design as their iPhone 12 counterparts. Other key new features expected include a faster A15 chip, a 120Hz refresh rate on the Pro models, several camera upgrades, a new Matte Black color, and more.

Related Roundup: iPhone 13
Tag: Foxconn
Related Forum: iPhone

Prime Day is still ongoing today, offering numerous discounts across many different storefronts on Amazon. Yesterday we highlighted some of the best Apple discounts, some of which are still on sale. Today, we're focusing on popular third-party accessories from companies like Anker, Belkin, Ecobee, and more.

primeday2020 feature3Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

There are a few things to note. Firstly, Prime Day sales are typically time sensitive, so purchase quickly if you're interested. Secondly, Amazon Prime Day sales require an Amazon Prime membership. Lastly, deals change fast during Prime Day, so the prices you see below may eventually change on Amazon.

Anker

anker quickie
Wireless Charger

Portable Batteries

Audio

Wall Chargers

JBL

91n LDxrlmL
JBL has its Boombox Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker discounted to $274.95 during Prime Day, down from $399.95. It's available in three different colors, and will be on sale for the rest of Prime Day.

Sandisk and Seagate

Storage solutions from Sandisk and Seagate are on sale for up to 35 percent off today, including popular external hard drives like the LaCie Rugged Mini 4TB Portable Drive.

prime stuff

Incipio Brands

incase prime day

  • Incipio - 30 percent off popular smartphone and AirPod cases, including the Duo, Grip, Slim, Organicore and more.
  • Incase - 25 percent off MacBook cases and sleeves, bags, backpacks and more.
  • Survivor - 30 percent off its refined rugged smartphone and iPad cases, including the Strong, Clear, All Terrain, Endurance, and more.
  • Griffin - 30 percent off its power and productivity solutions.

Ring

ring video doorbell 2 featured

Belkin

belkin prime day

Ecobee

new ecobee
June 21-22

June 22 Only

Miscellaneous

  • Aura Frames - Save up to $100 on Aura digital frames
  • Brydge - Save up to $60 on Brydge iPad keyboards
  • Nomad - Save up to 30 percent during the Summer Prime Sale
  • Eero - Save up to 40 percent on Eero Mesh

Keep up with all of this week's best discounts on Apple products and related accessories in our dedicated Apple Deals roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Apple this week made the HomePod mini available to order in New Zealand, with pricing set at $159 including tax. Available in Space Gray and White, the speaker currently faces a 2-3 weeks shipping estimate in the country.

homepod mini thumb feature
Apple confirmed the HomePod mini would be launching in additional countries during its WWDC keynote earlier this month. The speaker became available to order in Austria and Ireland last week, and it will be released in Italy later this year. The international expansion comes after the full-sized HomePod was discontinued earlier this year.

HomePod mini was first released in October 2020 in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Spain, and the UK.


Like the full-sized HomePod, the HomePod mini features built-in Siri for controlling music playback, managing HomeKit accessories, and more. Starting with tvOS 15, two HomePod minis can be set as an Apple TV 4K's default speaker outputs.

Related Roundup: HomePod mini
Buyer's Guide: HomePod Mini (Buy Now)

The U.K. government on Tuesday will perform its first national test of a new Emergency Alerts system, but only Android users will receive the alert, with iPhones to be included in a smaller, regional test later this month, the Cabinet Office has confirmed to MacRumors.

emergency alerts e1624357268188
The government-issued emergency alerts, set to go live this summer, are part of a public safety system similar to one used in the U.S. that is designed to warn smartphone and tablet users if there's a danger to life nearby, with advice about how to stay safe. Alerts will be either national or localized depending on the threat level, and will be sent in cases of severe flooding, fires, explosions, terrorist incidents, and public health emergencies.

When an alert arrives, your phone or tablet may make a loud siren-like sound, even if it's set to silent, vibrate, or read out the alert. When an alert is received, the sound and vibration will last for about 10 seconds, and some alerts may include a phone number or a link to the GOV.UK website for more information.

On Tuesday, the government and mobile phone networks are due to test the emergency alerts nationally for the first time, between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. local time. The first test will occur for Android devices only, while iPhones will be included in a test for the first time on Tuesday, 29 June, although the test will be localized in the Reading, Berkshire area.

Users can opt out of some emergency alerts, but not the most serious ones, says the U.K. government. Users can't opt out by subject, only by how serious the emergency is. If you opt out because you do not want flood warnings, for example, you might miss alerts for fires and terrorism. For this reason, the official advice is to keep emergency alerts switched on.

Emergency alerts work on iPhones running iOS 14.5 or later. The ability to opt-out appears on iPhones in Settings -> Notifications, under "Emergency Alerts," where there's a switch to disable "Severe Alerts."

Update: the U.K. government website has now been updated to clarify iPhone inclusion in the June 29 test.

London Underground passengers will be able to get mobile coverage across the rail network by the end of 2024, it has been announced.

transport for london
In a press release, Transport for London (TfL) said the capital's Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road and Bank stations would be among the first fully connected stations by the end of the year, followed by Tottenham Court Road, Euston, and Camden Town by the end of 2022.

Mobile reception was introduced on the eastern half of the Jubilee line in March last year. TfL says the additional infrastructure will support 5G as well as 4G, but that it will be the responsibility of mobile operators to offer support for the fastest network speeds.

The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, who was re-elected last month, said in a statement:

"I promised Londoners that if they re-elected me for a second term as mayor I would deliver 4G throughout the tube network. It's already up and running on the eastern half of the Jubilee line and I'm delighted to announce today that I am fulfilling that commitment and full internet access will be available across the tube, with key central London stations such as Oxford Circus and Euston set to benefit before the end of next year."

TfL is partnering with BAI Communications (BAI), a global provider of 4G and 5G connected infrastructure, to plug so-called coverage "not-spots" in the underground network. The over 1,242 miles of fibre cabling installed in London Underground tunnels will also benefit above-ground coverage for buildings and other infrastructure by allowing more mobile transmitters to be installed.

Facebook this week launched its Clubhouse competitor in the U.S., called Live Audio Rooms, along with its new podcasts service, details of which we covered previously.

facebook live audio rooms
To begin with, Live Audio Rooms is only available to some public figures and certain groups, and can only be hosted through the Facebook iOS app, but both iOS and Android users can join a room, and the feature supports up to 50 speaking participants and an unlimited number of listeners.

While Clubhouse already has a solid user base, it limits the number of people who can enter a room, so Facebook's offering has one up on its rival from the off. Facebook users can also "raise a hand" to join a conversation, and use reactions to participate in real time.

In addition, Live Audio Rooms is set to receive more features that Clubhouse presently lacks, including notifications when friends or followers join a room and live captioning.

facebook live audio rooms clubhouse rival
Users can discover and join Live Audio Rooms within Facebook Groups. In private groups, admins can control whether moderators, group members or other admins can create a Live Audio Room. Meanwhile, in public groups, both members and visitors can listen to the Live Audio Room, but in private groups, only members can listen.

Live Audio Room hosts can also select a nonprofit or fundraiser to support during their conversation, and listeners and speakers can directly donate.

Among the U.S.-basd public figures with first access to Live Audio Rooms are music artist TOKiMONSTA, football quarterback Russell Wilson, Internet personality Omareloff, and entrepreneur Amanda Nguyen. Initial group conversations are also being hosted on topics ranging from dance and vegan food to guided meditation.

Apple is set to receive supply priority status from pure play foundry TSMC for iPhone 13 chip orders going into the third quarter of 2021, as the Taiwanese partner grapples with orders for automative and other device chips amid a supply shortfall, according to DigiTimes.

iphone 13 teal

TSMC is also set to ramp up its output for the upcoming iPhone series in the third quarter, the sources indicated.

Other chip suppliers in Apple's supply chain, including Genesys Logic and Parade Technologies, are also scaling up supply to fulfill Apple's orders for the third quarter, which are said to be 30-40% higher than second quarter levels.

With the ‌iPhone 13‌ series expected to follow a more usual launch timeline this year, chipmakers are poised to see Apple's orders peak for 2021 in the fourth quarter, said DigiTimes' supply chain sources.

The ‌iPhone 13‌ models dropping in September are expected to look similar to the 2020 ‌iPhone‌ lineup, with four devices in sizes that include 5.4-inches, 6.1-inches, and 6.7-inches, with two of the iPhones being higher-end "Pro" models and two positioned as lower-cost, more affordable devices.

Though major design changes aren't expected, rumors suggest camera improvements, a faster A-series processor, a new 5G chip from Qualcomm, increased battery life, and some tweaks to the notch. Check out our dedicated iPhone 13 roundup for all the details.

Related Roundup: iPhone 13
Related Forum: iPhone

Apple in iOS 15 is making major changes to the FaceTime app, introducing a whole range of new features that turn ‌FaceTime‌ into the ultimate hub for interacting with friends, family, coworkers, and more.

ios 15 facetime guide
Our ‌FaceTime‌ guide outlines everything that's new in the ‌FaceTime‌ app in ‌iOS 15‌ and iPadOS 15, and many of these features are also in macOS Monterey and can even be used in tvOS 15. We've also included detailed how tos and tutorials so you can dive right into ‌FaceTime‌ after upgrading.

SharePlay

SharePlay is ‌FaceTime‌'s biggest new feature, and it's basically a way for you to do more on ‌FaceTime‌ calls with your friends and family. You can watch TV together, listen to music, and share your screen.

facetime shareplay screenshots mythic quest

Watch Movies and TV

When you're on a ‌FaceTime‌ call, you can choose to stream movies or TV shows and everyone on the call will see the same synced playback and controls. You can watch on the iPhone or iPad, or swap over to the Apple TV to watch on the big screen while you continue your call.

facetime shareplay tv show
As you chat and watch, the volume will automatically adjust so that you can hear everyone talking without missing the show.

You can ‌FaceTime‌, watch content, and also do other things on your ‌iPhone‌ for the ultimate multitasking experience.

Listen to Music

If you play an Apple Music song while on a ‌FaceTime‌ call with friends, everyone can hear what's playing and can contribute to a shared music queue. The SharePlay music interface offers up synced playback controls, and everyone can see what's coming up next.

facetime music sharing
You can listen to music over your ‌iPhone‌, or send it over to the HomePod while remaining on the ‌FaceTime‌ call.

Share Your Screen

Apple has long allowed screen sharing over Messages on the Mac, and this year, that functionality is coming to the ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ too. You can share your ‌iPhone‌'s screen with everyone on the call, which is useful when you're planning a vacation, choosing a movie, browsing through a photo album, and more.

facetime screen share

SharePlay Messages

If you're on a ‌FaceTime‌ call but want to send a quick link or image over to the group, you can access your group Messages chat right from the call.

Apple changed how ‌FaceTime‌ works in ‌iOS 15‌, so you can create something more akin to a Zoom link, but for ‌FaceTime‌. You can make a ‌FaceTime‌ link that other people can tap to join your ‌FaceTime‌ call.

facetime create web link
Links let you schedule ‌FaceTime‌ calls in advance and then share the links with others so everyone can join the meeting or group chat at the appropriate time. ‌FaceTime‌ integrates directly with the Apple Calendar app.

To create a link, just open up the ‌FaceTime‌ app and then tap the "Create Link" option next to "New ‌FaceTime‌." You can share the link in a text message, another messaging service, an email, or AirDrop it, and people can click it to join in.

FaceTime on PCs and Android Devices

Apple created ‌FaceTime‌ links because there's a new option to join ‌FaceTime‌ calls on the web, which means PC and Android users can participate in ‌FaceTime‌ for the first time.

facetime android
An ‌iPhone‌, Mac, or ‌iPad‌ user needs to create a ‌FaceTime‌ link, but once created, anyone can tap it to join. To join from the web, Chrome or Edge browsers are required. ‌FaceTime‌ from the web works on-on-one or in Group ‌FaceTime‌ calls.

Spatial Audio

‌FaceTime‌ supports Spatial Audio in ‌iOS 15‌, so if you're chatting with multiple people and their pictures are in different spots on your screen, it sounds like their voices are coming from the right spot on your device.

facetime spatial audio
Apple says that individual voices are meant to sound like they're coming from the direction in which each person is positioned on the screen, which is meant to make conversations flow more naturally.

Spatial Audio requires an ‌iPhone‌ with the A12 Bionic or later.

Grid View

‌FaceTime‌ in ‌iOS 15‌ has a new Grid View, which puts ‌FaceTime‌ on par with other videoconferencing apps. You can organize everyone into the same-size tiles, and the person speaking is automatically highlighted.

facetime grid view

Portrait Mode

‌FaceTime‌'s Portrait Mode blurs out the background behind you and puts the focus on you. An A12 Bionic chip or later is required for this feature.

facetime portrait mode

Microphone modes

There are two microphone modes in ‌iOS 15‌. Voice Isolation is designed to minimize background noises to focus on your voice, while Wide Spectrum makes sure the ambient noise is audible, something that's ideal for group calls.

Mute Alerts

If you're on a ‌FaceTime‌ call and you start talking while muted, you'll see an alert on your ‌iPhone‌ that lets you know the mute button is on.

Zoom

While using the rear-facing camera on a ‌FaceTime‌ call, there's an option to zoom in on what's on the screen.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about ‌FaceTime‌ in ‌iOS 15‌, know of a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Related Roundups: iOS 15, iPadOS 15
Related Forum: iOS 15

Apple today announced it is offering an extended one-month free trial for the Paramount+ streaming service to new users who subscribe within the Apple TV app through June 30, as spotted by The Mac Observer. The offer is valid in the U.S. only.

paramount plus apple tv app
Previously known as CBS All Access, Paramount+ provides access to TV shows and movies from ViacomCBS and its various subsidiaries, including CBS, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, and others. The streaming service typically offers a seven-day free trial to new users when subscribing directly.

Paramount+ is one of several "Apple TV channels," meaning that users can subscribe to and watch the streaming service in the Apple TV app. Users can also download the Paramount+ app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.


Paramount+ costs $4.99 per month with ads, or $9.99 per month without ads.

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Building on the success of the series, Apple TV+'s "Ted Lasso" is now officially selling merchandise related to the show, including mugs, t-shirts, jerseys, and more.

ted lasso merch
The new listings, spotted by 9to5Mac, including marketing from the team portrayed in the hit TV series named A.F.C. Richmond. "Fan Favorite" merchandise includes a $60 Richmond jersey, a $42 hooded sweatshirt, a $16 pint glass, a $15 mug with the "Be a Goldfish" quote, borrowed from one of the show's episodes, and more.

Some of the items such as an embroidered $34 "A.F.C. Richmond" hat and "Ted Lasso" engraved tumbler are listed as "Coming Soon." The new merch is available through The Warner Brothers Shop, where merchandise for other popular shows such as "The Games of Thrones," "Friends," "Tom and Jerry," and more can be found.

Update: "Ted Lasso" also received a Peabody Award today for excellence in storytelling. The award was presented virtually by Will Ferrell and was accepted by "Ted Lasso" star and executive producer Jason Sudeikis.

Despite previous attempts to put the situation at rest, some iCloud users continue to experience spam calendar invitations, causing their calendars to be filled with random events.

iOS Spam Calendar Feature
The situation received widespread coverage in 2016, where Apple said that it was "actively working to address this issue" by "identifying and blocking suspicious senders." Victims are targeted in various ways. The most common method is by receiving a normal iCloud calendar invitation through their calendar app.

Interacting with the invitation, including declining, accepting, or choosing "Maybe," lets the spammer know that the email is valid, so it can continue to be targeted.

Other users are targeted through web pop-ups on potentially malicious or adult websites. Apple has not publicly commented on what specific measures it has taken to solve the issue, but through a video posted by Apple Support, that has so far garnered more than 97,000 views, it has a solution.

The video advises that users, logically, unsubscribe from these spam calendars. The video doesn't offer any insight into what proactive measures users can take to not receive the invitations in the first place.

One measure that some users have found to be helpful is to redirect calendar invitations to their email, rather than an in-app calendar invitation. By redirecting invitations to their email, users can better manage and delete calendar invitations. For more detailed instructions, make sure to check out our how to.