Tim Hardwick

Tim is a Contributing Editor at MacRumors. His writing has appeared in over 30 newsstand print and online publications covering a range of topics. Originally from Liverpool, England, Tim can sometimes be found accessing a personal wi-fi hotspot on the Yorkshire Moors.



Apple Announces New Fifth-Generation iPad Mini With Apple Pencil Support, Revamped Retina Display and A12 Bionic Chip

Apple today launched a new fifth-generation iPad mini, featuring an upgraded A12 Bionic processor, first-generation Apple Pencil support, a new advanced Retina display panel, and the same $399 price tag as the previous model. Apple says that with the new A12 Bionic chip, the iPad mini now delivers three times the performance and nine times faster graphics. Meanwhile the advanced Retina display with True Tone technology and wide color support is 25 percent brighter and has the highest pixel density (3 million) of any iPad. Elsewhere, an 8-megapixel rear camera brings improved low-light performance and HD video recording, while the front facing camera has been bumped up to 7 megapixels for better-quality selfies and FaceTime HD. The new iPad also benefits from the same Wi-Fi performance and Gigabit‑class LTE that's built into the latest iPad Pro models, and retains the headphone jack found in previous iPad mini models. "iPad continues to provide magical new experiences for a growing range of uses where it is the absolute best device, from playing games in augmented reality to note-taking and drawing with Apple Pencil, from streaming HD movies and editing 4K films to learning to develop apps with Swift Playgrounds," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "Today the iPad family takes two big leaps forward with an all-new 10.5-inch iPad Air that brings high-end size, features and performance at a breakthrough price, and a major upgrade to the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which also brings Apple Pencil, Retina display and the A12 Bionic

Spotify Offering UK Family Plan Subscribers a Free Google Home Mini Speaker

Spotify on Monday began offering all premium Family plan subscribers in the U.K. a free Google Home Mini smart speaker. From today, both new and existing family plan subscribers can claim their free Google speaker, worth £49, simply by heading to the Spotify website. The offer ends on 14 May 2019. Spotify's premium family plan costs £14.99 per month and allows up to six people to access the service using a personal account for each family member. Apple Music vs. Spotify With that in mind, it's worth noting that the free speaker offer can only be claimed by the master account holder. However the device's built-in Google Assistant can recognize up to six different voices in the home, which means each person in the family can stream Spotify tracks from their own accounts.

Apple's Online Store Goes Down Amid New iMac and iPad Rumors

Apple's online store has gone down this morning. The company typically takes the site down pending changes to its product lineup, so we may well see new product announcements later today. Apple has several rumored products debuting soon, including a new affordable iPad, iPad mini 5, next-generation AirPods, and its long-delayed AirPower wireless charging mat. At least some of these product announcements were expected to be made via press release during the company's March 25 "It's Showtime" event, which will reportedly be service-focused, but Apple could feasibly announce new products sooner. Indeed, well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman recently suggested Apple could decide to announce new iMacs and iPads ahead of its upcoming media event in order to underline how much it intends to focus on news and video services. If Apple was to be planning, say, new iPad and iMac announcements for this week, it would make a real statement about how much it wants to focus its March 25th event on its news and video services.— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) 16 March 2019 We'll follow up on this development shortly when we learn

How to Set a Firmware Password on Your Mac

Using a login password on your Mac is a simple way of ensuring your macOS user account stays private, and using FileVault to encrypt your startup disk means only users who can log in to your Mac can read the disk's data. However, neither security method will prevent someone from booting your machine from an external hard drive. One way to eliminate this vulnerability is by setting a firmware password on your Mac, which will prevent it from working with any other bootable volume than the one you've designated. However before you follow through with the procedure, there's a potential drawback you should definitely consider. The password is held in a special area of persistent memory on your Mac's mainboard, so it's not something you can reset easily like other passwords. In fact, if you forget the firmware password, the only way to get it reset is to schedule an in-person service appointment with an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider. With that caveat in mind, here are the steps you can take to set up a firmware password on your Mac. How to Set a Firmware Password on Your Mac Power off your Mac if it's already running. Turn on your Mac and then immediately press and hold down the Command (⌘) and R keys to activate Recovery Mode. Wait for the OS X Utilities screen to appear, then select Utilities -> Startup Security Utility from the menu bar. Click Turn On Firmware Password.... Enter the same firmware password in both fields provided, then click Set Password. Click Quit Firmware Password Utility. Click the Apple () menu and

Ulysses 15 Introduces Split Text Editing Window, Keywords Manager, and More

Version 15 of Ulysses was released today, bringing some notable new features to the popular Mac and iOS app for writers. On Mac, users now edit two texts simultaneously in a split editing window, with options to display the two texts next to or on top of each other and switch the editors around. The currently active editor remains highlighted to make it easy to recognize, while both sheets retain their individual zoom settings. The developers have also added new shortcuts to allow for fast switching between (Command+Shift+3) and simultaneous scrolling (holding Option) of the two editors, making it easier for writers to refer to their research while writing, for example. Ulysses 15 also brings new search and management features to keywords, with a new way to search for keywords in the sheets panel. There's also a new Keywords Manager lets users edit all keywords in one spot, with options to change colors, rename, merge or delete them. Elsewhere, users can now set pre-defined image sizes that apply during export, and Ulysses is now able to display previews of web images inside the editor (i.e., images that are referenced with a URL). Web images are now also supported when exporting to PDF, DOCX, or ePub. In addition, Ulysses for Mac, iPhone and iPad now includes an option to turn on a dark mode for the export preview, enabling users to view what a final ebook, PDF document or blog post will look like without being blinded by a contrasting white screen. Ulysses can be downloaded for free on the App Store and the Mac App Store. After a 14-day

Kuo: Apple's AR Glasses to Launch in 2020 as iPhone Accessory

Apple's first rumored head-mounted augmented reality device could be ready by the middle of next year, according to a new report out today from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via Economic Daily News [Google Translate]). A fanciful mockup of digital glasses via TechAcute According to Kuo, Apple's AR glasses will be marketed as an iPhone accessory and primarily take a display role while wirelessly offloading computing, networking, and positioning to the iPhone. Designing the AR glasses to work as an iPhone accessory is also expected to allow Apple to keep the glasses slim and lightweight, rather than trying to pack in all the processing hardware into the one device. Kuo believes Apple is aiming to begin mass-producing the glasses as early as the fourth quarter of this year, although he admits the timeframe could be pushed back to the second quarter of 2020. Back in November 2017, Bloomberg reported that Apple was developing an AR headset and aimed to have it ready by 2019, although the company could ship a product in 2020. The report said the headset would run on a new custom operating system, based on iOS, and dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system." Apple has been exploring virtual reality and augmented reality technologies for more than 10 years based on patent filings. The company is also rumored to have a secret research unit comprising hundreds of employees working on AR and VR, exploring ways the emerging technologies could be used in future Apple products. Apple CEO Tim Cook has talked up the prospect of augmented reality several times, saying he

Disney+ Streaming Platform to Host Entire Disney Motion Picture Library

Disney CEO Bob Iger has shared additional details on the company's upcoming Disney+ streaming service, which will compete with Apple's forthcoming digital video platform. Speaking to shareholders on Thursday, Iger said the Disney service will offer subscribers "the entire Disney motion picture library," and will signal the end of the so-called "Disney Vault". The service, which I mentioned earlier is going to launch later in the year, is going to combine what we call library product, movies, and television, with a lot of original product as well, movies and television. And at some point fairly soon after launch it will house the entire Disney motion picture library, so the movies that you speak of that traditionally have been kept in a "vault" and brought out basically every few years will be on the service. And then, of course, we're producing a number of original movies and original television shows as well that will be Disney-branded.As Polygon notes, Disney typically makes individual titles available on home video for limited periods of time. Once a run of a particular movie on DVD and Blu-ray has sold through, Disney returns it to the "Vault" until it's released again. Iger also said that newer films will find a home on Disney+ within a year of their theatrical release. "It's going to combine both the old and the new," Iger continued. "All of the films that we're releasing this year, [starting] with Captain Marvel, will also be on the service." Disney+, which will be home to Disney, Star Wars, and Marvel content, is set to launch in "late 2019," more than

Icon Allegedly Found in iOS 12.2 Beta Suggests 7th Gen iPod Touch Will Have All-Screen Design [Update: Fake]

An icon has been shared on social media this morning that purportedly references Apple's next-generation iPod touch. The image below was shared by self-described tech product leaker Jonathan Mitchell, who claims to have unearthed the icon in iOS 12.2 Beta 4. I was doing some coding in iOS 12.2 Beta 4. I cracked this here on what a new iPod touch 7th generation could look like. HLipod is the 6th generation HLipod2 is a unreleased generation. *Notice no home button and it looks to be a full screen display.* @OnLeaks @stroughtonsmith pic.twitter.com/pXLzif5JMZ— Johnathan Mitchell (@jaymit2090tx13) March 8, 2019 The icon labeled "HLSipod2" on the right is shown beside the existing icon for Apple's current-generation iPod touch, suggesting that an unreleased seventh-generation iPod touch will inherit the design elements of Apple's flagship all-screen iPhones and do away with the Home button. That said, the device in the icon doesn't have a notch and it also appears to be off-center, which could mean that it's being used by Apple as a placeholder in the iOS 12 beta. Either that, or it's not genuine at all. In January, developer Steven Troughton-Smith discovered references in iOS 12.2 to an "iPod 9,1," which does not match up with any known iPod touch devices, suggesting it is a new next-generation model. However, the iPod listing in iOS 12.2 does not appear to have Face ID or Touch ID. Last month, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he expects a new iPod touch with a faster processor to launch in 2019, but Kuo made no mention of a possible redesign for the device.

How to Reset or Force Restart Your Apple Watch

There are a number of things you can try if your Apple Watch stops responding for whatever reason. This article outlines your options. The first and most straightforward solution is to reset your Apple Watch, which is basically a way of turning it off and on again. This is useful if, say, an app has crashed and a standard force quit doesn't work, or if the live data transfer between your iPhone and Apple Watch seems inconsistent. Note that you can't restart an Apple Watch if it is charging, so undock it first before attempting the following steps. How to Restart an Apple Watch Press and hold the side button until you see the Power Off slider on the screen. Drag the Power Off slider with your finger. Once your Apple Watch has turned off, press and hold the side button again until you see the Apple logo. If that didn't solve your issue, you can try a force restart on your Apple Watch. Note that this should only be used as a last resort. And whatever you do, don't perform a force restart if your Apple Watch is in the middle of an OS update. How to Force Restart an Apple Watch Press and hold both the side button and Digital Crown for at least 10 seconds. Release both buttons when you see the Apple logo.What to Do if You Forget Your Passcode If you forget your Apple Watch passcode, you'll need to erase the device and then restore from a backup. You can perform this action by launching the Watch app on your paired iPhone: tap the My Watch tab if it's not already selected, tap General -> Reset, then select Erase Apple Watch Content and Settings .

How to Use Apple Diagnostics to Check for Mac Hardware Problems

Mac issues can occur for a variety of reasons, but in general most errors can be traced back to unstable software. The best way to prevent problems from cropping up is to make sure you are using the latest versions of Apple's programs and third-party applications. However, if you've troubleshooted software and the problem persists, it's time to consider whether it's your Mac's hardware that's at fault. Disk Utility is the first program you should fire up if you suspect disk errors or permission issues, but if that fails to identify the problem or you can't even get your Mac to boot up into the operating system, you can try using Apple's integrated Mac diagnostics tool. Apple Diagnostics is built into every Mac released since June 2013. If you have an earlier Mac, the equivalent is called an Apple Hardware Test (AHT), but the basic principles are the same. To start using Apple Diagnostics or AHT, first turn off any firmware password if you're using one. Next, shut down your Mac, disconnect all external devices except keyboard, mouse, display, and any Ethernet connection, and then follow the steps below. Press the power button on your Mac and then immediately press and hold down the D key on the keyboard. (To start Apple Diagnostics over the internet, hold down Option-D.) Release the D key when the prompt appears on the screen asking you to choose your language using the arrow keys. Join a local Wi-Fi network if prompted. If your Mac is a pre-2013 model, you'll be given the option to "Perform extended testing," which essentially checks every block

How to Force Restart a MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro

Force restarting a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro is generally considered a last resort, but if the worst happens and your machine freezes up, it's the quickest way of getting things running again. Before taking this extreme option though, it's worth making sure that you've exhausted all potential software solutions. If it's just an application that's frozen rather than the operating system, hold down the Option (⌥) key then right-click the offending app's icon in the Dock and select Force Quit. If the OS is frozen but the mouse cursor still responds, click the Apple () symbol in the upper left corner of the screen and select Restart. Otherwise, try holding down the Control (Ctrl) key and pressing the power button. If the system shutdown dialog appears, select Restart from the available options. On MacBooks with physical function (F1–F12) keys, the power button is the key in the upper right corner of the keyboard (if it's an older Mac with an optical drive, this is also the Eject button). Touch ID button on a 2018 MacBook Air On a 2018 MacBook Air, the power button is the Touch ID button in the top-right corner of the keyboard, and on a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, it's the Touch ID surface on the rightmost side of the Touch Bar. How to Force Restart Your Mac Press and hold down the Command (⌘) and Control (Ctrl) keys along with the power button (or the Touch ID / Eject button, depending on the Mac model) until the screen goes blank and the machine restarts.If your MacBook repeatedly freezes and you're unsure what's causing the problem, consider

How to Force Restart iPhone 6s and Earlier Models and Enter DFU Mode

This tutorial explains how to force restart Apple's iPhone 6s and earlier models, and how to activate Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) mode to troubleshoot your device if needed. A hard reset basically force-reboots your iPhone, which is useful if the device is freezing, throwing up errors, or has stopped responding completely. DFU mode, on the other hand, restores an iPhone if a reset or standard Recovery Mode doesn't solve the problem you're experiencing. DFU mode lets the device interface with iTunes, update the firmware and restore the OS without automatically installing the last downloaded version. It's useful for installing older versions of iOS if a beta malfunctions, or if a jailbreak goes bad.

Apple Music vs. Amazon Music Unlimited

Apple Music has become immensely popular since it launched in 2015, and now has over 56 million subscribers worldwide. So how does it stack up against ecommerce giant Amazon's rival premium streaming service in terms of features, music catalog, and cost? Keep reading to find out. Amazon actually has two music services, so before we go any further it's worth explaining the difference. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you already have access to Amazon Prime Music, as it's bundled in with the service. In fact, Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited are similar in many ways, so if you are a Prime member and you're interested in Amazon's standalone streaming service then it's worth getting to know Prime Music first. Both services share the same interface and apps, and offer similar features like the ability to download songs, albums and playlists for offline listening. The main difference between the two offerings is the number of songs you have access to. Amazon Prime Music has two million songs in its catalog, but paying the extra for Amazon Music Unlimited gets you access to 50 million songs, including the majority of new releases. Subscriptions and Plans An individual Apple Music subscription costs $9.99 per month in the United States, with slight price variations in other countries and territories. Membership means you can stream Apple's music catalog, download music and videos for offline listening, and get access to new releases and exclusives, as well as a back catalog of shows broadcast on Apple's Beats 1 radio station. The price you pay for an

Apple Partner Wistron Gets Initial Approval for New iPhone Factory in India

Apple's main iPhone manufacturer in India has won initial approval to build a new smartphone factory in the country. The Economic Times reports that India's IT ministry has given assent to Taiwan-based Wistron to construct the new factory, which now just needs approval from the Indian Cabinet to go ahead. Wistron will make cheaper iPhones in the new plant, reportedly beginning with the iPhone 8. Foxconn meanwhile is poised to build Apple's latest high-end smartphones, including the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, once its application gets similar approval by the relevant government departments. Foxconn sees production plants in India as a way to diversify its supply chain away from China, where most of the Taiwan-based firm's facilities currently reside. Apple has been pushing to set up an iPhone manufacturing hub in India ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi began promoting his "Made in India" initiative, which requires that 30 percent of products sold by foreign companies be manufactured or produced within the country. India is the world's second largest smartphone market, but just one in four Indians are said to own a smartphone, providing Apple with an opportunity to sell iPhones to millions of new customers in the country. However Apple is said to have had little success so far in what is a very price-sensitive market, with more than 75 percent of the smartphones sold in the country costing less than $250, according to one report. Apple revamped its India strategy in 2018 to include better and longer-lasting retail deals with higher sales

Apple Music vs. Tidal

Apple Music and Tidal are well known for their exclusive releases and both streaming services have been around since 2015. In that time, Apple Music has become the most popular streaming service in the US, but Tidal has a dedicated subscriber base for a variety of reasons. Dubbed as the artists' music platform, Tidal is owned by Jay-Z and a variety of other successful music artists, and the company makes a point of paying artists more per stream than Apple Music. But is it a better service for the average listener? Read on to learn what both have to offer. Subscriptions and Plans An individual Apple Music subscription costs $9.99 per month in the United States, with slight price variations in other countries and territories. Membership means you can stream Apple's music catalog, download music and videos for offline listening, and get exclusive access to new releases and exclusives, as well as a back catalog of shows broadcast on Apple's Beats 1 radio station. Tidal also offers a $9.99 per month individual subscription, although again prices may vary in other regions. For the audiophiles out there, Tidal also offers a $19.99 per month individual subscription with lossless "High Fidelity" sound quality and high definition videos. Apple Music price plans An Apple Music student subscription costs $4.99 and requires you to sign up using your educational institution credentials. Tidal offers two student plans: $4.99 for the Premium service and $9.99 for the HiFi service. Note that students need to re-verify their eligibility every 12 months for both services.

Hunter Douglas PowerView Window Shade Motorization System Gets HomeKit Support

Hunter Douglas has finally brought Apple HomeKit support to its PowerView Motorization system, which is designed to control Hunter Douglas motorized window shades. The PowerView Motorization Hub lets users control, time, and set their window shades to raise, lower, and tilt on an automatic schedule. Originally released in 2017, the system only supported Amazon and Google services out of the box, but the company said at the time that support for HomeKit would come later the same year. However it appears to have only just surfaced. After applying the update, users with the Powerview Hub Gen 2 should be able to enjoy HomeKit integration and control their window shades and blinds via Siri voice commands. If the support works as it was originally promised, users should also be able to incorporate shade settings into HomeKit scenes for full-home automation. (Thanks, Jeff!)

iPhone Chipmaker Dialog Expects Single-Digit Revenue Drop Following Completion of Apple Licensing Deal

Apple supplier Dialog Semiconductor on Wednesday reported a slight rise in fourth-quarter operating profit, but warned investors that its revenue in 2019 would decline as it finalizes a deal with Apple to license its iPhone power management technology. According to Reuters, shares in Dialog rose by nearly 4 percent after its forecast of a single-digit percentage revenue drop this year came in above analysts' predictions of a 9 percent fall. Last October, Apple agreed to a business arrangement with the German chipmaker to license its iPhone power management technology and transfer technical assets, in a deal worth $600 million. As part of the agreement, Apple acquired some of the Anglo-German chipmaker's assets and 300 of its R&D staff, or around 16 percent of Dialog's workforce. The deal represents a huge investment for Apple, which will take over Dialog facilities in Italy, Germany, and the U.K., expanding its chip research and development significantly across Europe. Dialog's shares rose as much as 34 percent on news of the deal, their highest since 2002. The firm's partnership with Apple makes up around 75 percent of its revenue. The agreement followed a report earlier the same month claiming Apple would design its own power management chips as early as 2018, which came as a serious blow for Dialog, the exclusive designer of the current main power management chip for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models.

Chinese Online Retailers Start Second Round of iPhone Discounts

Online retailers in China have begun discounting iPhones for the second time this year. Reuters reports that several mobile vendors this week announced discounts on iPhone models, including Apple's latest flagship iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Gadget retailer Suning.Com Co Ltd said it would slash the price of the iPhone XS by as much as 1,000 yuan ($148.95) from its official price. Suning had lowered the prices of other iPhone models in January along with other retailers, but those cuts excluded the iPhone XS. Pinduoduo Inc, an e-commerce site best known for selling inexpensive goods, has also said it would sell the 64GB edition of the iPhone XS for 6,999 yuan, a drop of over 1,000 yuan from the official price.JD.com is also reportedly poised to offer discounts on its Apple products, including the iPhone XS and XS Max, which escaped the online retail giant's first major round of discounts in January. Apple first dropped iPhone prices for third-party distributors in China on January 10, allowing vendors to purchase iPhones more cheaply and pass those savings on to customers. Apple cut prices on most iPhone models, but the XR saw the biggest discounts. Apple launched the price cuts after seeing iPhone sales fall significantly in China during the holiday quarter of 2018, leading to lower iPhone revenue than expected. One report said Apple was seeing improved iPhone sales in China following the price cuts. Apple has also partnered with Ant Financial, the finance arm of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, and several state-owned banks to let consumers purchase iPhones via

Apple Music vs. Google Play Music

Need help deciding whether Apple or Google has the right music streaming service for you? Then keep reading. Apple Music launched in 2015 and was a relative latecomer to the streaming services market, but Apple's continual development of the platform has made it into one of the most popular choices for enjoying digital music. Google's music strategy on the other hand has been confusing in recent years, so before we dive in with a deeper look at the two streaming service rivals, here's a quick recap. Google Music Google launched its original Play Music streaming service in 2011. Like Apple Music, Play Music gives you access to a vast music library, music recommendations, radio stations, and offline listening, all for a monthly fee. In a unique contribution to the streaming services field, Google Play Music also lets all Google account holders (i.e. not just subscribers) upload up to 50,000 tracks from their existing music library to the cloud, for storage and online streaming. In May 2017, Google launched an on-demand ad-supported music streaming service called YouTube Music, shortly followed by YouTube Music Premium – a revamped version of its ad-free YouTube Red subscription service with a renewed focus on original programming. The rebranded service includes personalized playlists, intelligent search, support for background playback on mobile and music downloads for offline listening. It also offers access to remixes, covers and live versions that aren't available on other platforms. Initially Google said its new YouTube Music service would replace Google

Apple Supplier Corning Working on Glass Display Solution for Foldable Phones

With foldable smartphones from the likes of Samsung and Huawei now out in the open, speculation has been piqued over whether Apple will follow suit. We know the company has explored ideas related to foldable phones in patent applications, but Apple is unlikely to release a foldable iPhone unless it can meet strict quality standards, and judging by the bulky designs and expensive price tags of early foldable devices, that could still be some ways off. Huawei Mate X One innovation in particular that Apple could be holding out for is foldable glass. Early folding phone manufacturers have been relying on plastic polymers to make their flexible displays, but unlike glass, plastic creases and crinkles over time. The material is also less robust and easier to scratch, which is why the deviation from traditional glass smartphone panels is all the more noticeable. Corning, the makers of Gorilla Glass, is known to be actively developing a foldable glass solution that could one day find its way into a future foldable iPhone. Corning is a long-time Apple supplier, and its Gorilla Glass products have been used in the iPhone and the iPad for several years, which makes its current work on glass that's 0.1mm thick and can bend to a 5mm radius all the more interesting. "In a glass solution, you're really challenging the laws of physics, in that to get a very tight bend radius you want to go thinner and thinner, but you also have to be able to survive a drop event and resist damage," Corning general manager John Bayne recently told Wired. "The back of the problem we're trying