iOS 14

New iOS 14 Features iPhone Users May Not Know About Yet 

Now that Apple has released their much anticipated iOS software update for their mobile devices, iPhone and iPad users everywhere are taking advantage of all the new features and layout changes that came with it. There’s often so many new features that come along with these annual updates that tech lovers can sometimes overlook some of them, so here’s a list of some of the more unique and unknown ones: 

Setting Your Default Email/Web Browser: After years of complaints from users that they cant change their default search engine on their device, Apple has finally decided to let them not only delete the standard ‘Mail’ and ‘Safari’ apps from their devices, but assign their own defaults as well. Users simply open settings and scroll to the bottom where it lists every installed app on your device. Find the mail or Safari app and tap on it, here’ you’ll see them listed as the “Default” browser or email app. Once there you can select and choose your own!

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Getting Rid Of App Home screens: If you’re the type of person who puts every app that they rarely use on a specific page, tucked away, now you can literally hide the entire page from your device’s main set up. Just long-press a single area of your home screen to trigger the new “edit mode,” which will then allow you to tap on the page indicator and remove the page itself. This will not delete the apps on those pages, but will instead move them into the App library where they’re more hidden. 

Searching The Emoji Keyboard: Emoji’s are arguably the most popular keyboard shortcuts available on any device, and now, users can finally search for which emoji they want at any given moment instead of having to endlessly scroll through general categories to find one. All you have to do is launch the emoji keyboard like you normally would and you’ll now find a search bar at the top of the keyboard!

Hidden Photo’s Get A Much Needed Security Update: Previously, if you were to select any number of photos to be “hidden” away from your Photos App’s main page, the photos were simply moved to a hidden folder on the app that practically anyone could go to and click on. With iOS 14, Apple has now added an option to hide the hidden album completely. Users can go into Settings, Photos and then make sure the Hidden Album is switched to “off.” Once this setting is activated, users can only access the pictures in that album if they go back into settings and turn the switch on. 

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Picture In Picture: iPhone users can finally take advantage of Picture In Picture viewing, a setting that was previously only available on the iPad. Now users can make FaceTime calls while replying to emails or text messages without that blurred “Paused” window appearing to the other users. This feature also allows for individuals to continue to watch YouTube videos or TV Shows while scrolling through social media. 

Faux Eye Contact In FaceTime: With iOS 14, users who are facetiming will be able to give their friends/family/loved ones the illusion that they’re looking right at them when they’re looking directly at their screen. It’s one of the more subtle features of the update, but nonetheless, many are excited to see how it looks to make “eye contact” with the people they’re talking to as if they were in person. 

Back Tap: A new accessibility feature now allows users to trigger certain system functions by tapping on the back of their phone. By going into Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap, users can select the amount of taps they want to use and the action they want to initiate. These actions include triggering the Control Center to appear, launching Siri, taking a screenshot, and more!

Apple Software

Apple Announces New Software Updates With Pandemic In Mind

Apple held their annual developer presentation this week and brought a slew of new products to make users’ lives much easier while they’re stuck at home. Overall the company announced a brand new set of wearable devices, a new iOS software interface, new Mac software and so many more updates for the devices we find ourselves using even more now that most of us are still enduring statewide lockdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

This event is one of the few major keynote presentations that comes from the company every year. Typically these events happen in person, but for obvious reasons this year it was purely digital. The spring developer conference that took place this week normally debuts a wide range of internal updates, which for fellow tech nerds like myself is just as exciting as a new iPhone launch, which typically occurs during Apples fall keynote conference. 

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This developer conference was no different, as one of the biggest upgrades that Apple announced was the ability to use multiple products at once with the least amount of lag or technical difficulties. The goal was to make using every device within your home as smooth of an experience as possible, especially considering the world will continue to be staying home indefinitely until this pandemic is over. 

According to Gizmodo Magazine, “the big push here was the ease with which you can use multiple products with the least amount of trouble. Apple says it has open-sourced HomeKit/the Home app to prioritize privacy and ease of use, so that when you add a smart device and set it up through the iOS 14 Home app, it’ll automatically suggest various automation options.”

If you’re a smart home fan you may already own smart bulbs that connect to your phone/Bluetooth devices, and now, Apple is rolling out a new feature with iOS 14 known as “adaptive lighting.” This will allow users that own smart bulbs to change the colors you see in specific rooms automatically based on user preference. 

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In terms of home security Apple is also stepping up their game and releasing a brand new system that will allow users to specifically designate zones of their property that they want to closely monitor while excluding all other areas. This way users will be notified right away of any activity that’s taking place in those specific areas of the home. Users can also use facial recognition features for close contacts that have been tagged in photos to allow your security system to recognize when certain family or friends arrive at your house. 

If you own an Apple HomePod, it will be able to notify you with who’s at the door, while your Apple TV can then display a video overlay of the security camera located at the door to show you a live feed. 

Apple TV in general is getting a few software updates as well which will support multi-user functionality for Apple Arcade. Apple TV will also begin supporting Xbox controllers for Apple Arcade and will provide picture-in-picture support for multi-player gaming. 

Besides that all new Apple device announcements are still projected to be made in the beginning of September as usual, but users will be able to have access to a majority of the upgrades mentioned above within the coming two months. 


4 Best Offline Messaging Apps For When You Don’t Have Internet

Messaging using internet applications has become one of the most popular ways in which we communicate with one another. Smartphones have the capability to use our internet connection as a messaging line. If you’ve ever texted someone who was internationally travelling, you most likely have used an app like WhatsApp, which allows you to message any number from any location using just your internet connection. 

However, even in this digital age, there are multiple instances where internet connection can still be inaccessible. Whether it be a financial, geographical, or political situation that’s preventing one from having a solid connection to the cyber world, everyone should have the right to digital communication in the 21st century if they want it. Luckily, apps that are made specifically for offline messaging, messaging without any internet connection, are rising in popularity. Here’s a list of offline messaging apps that are being discussed in the tech community now. 

Bridgefy is a new app that’s available for both iOS and Android devices. The app uses your phone’s Bluetooth radio connection in relation to other smartphones around you as a messaging line. Using your smartphone, Bridgefy will immediately connect you to any other smartphone user within a 300 foot radius, it doesn’t even require your actual phone number. In order to add and message a person they need to be pre-saved in your contact list and then you’ll be ready to text. While 300 feet may not seem like a large range of space in relation to texting, if you’re in a situation where your town experiences a complete blackout and you need to check on your loved ones nearby, this app would be perfect for you. 


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Bridgefy Co-Founder Jorge Rios 

It’s important to note that offline messaging is a relatively new concept. All of these apps can only be used if they’re communicating with someone who is also using the same app. The internet runs so many aspects of the planet’s inner workings, so individuals in tech development don’t really focus on projects that are based on the issue of being “offline.” However, the world is a large place that is still underdeveloped, so creating offline messaging capabilities, no matter how minor, is huge. 

FireChat is another offline messaging app available for both iOS and Android devices. Like Bridgefy, FireChat uses a bluetooth connection as a messaging line. However, FireChat only works with devices within a 200 foot radius. Additionally, the app requires users to make an account with them in order to use it. While both of these features may seem like a major disadvantage, FireChat also has the ability to connect to regular WiFi. This may not seem like a benefit, considering we’re talking about offline communication capabilities, however, FireChat can use WiFi for messaging even when there’s no cellular connection or service (for example in a plane or underground). Users have reviewed that the messaging lags, however, the app is free and is offering the ability to message using WiFi exclusively, so it’s a give and take. 

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Briar is an app that’s only available on Android devices, however, it’s definitely worth mentioning. Like Bridgey, Briar doesn’t require users to register with their actual phone numbers, instead it’s simply your name and a set password. Now, you and your fellow Briar users can message without cellular or internet connection. You can add contacts by entering in your friends’ “codes” which every user receives once they sign up. 

Finally, we’re going to throw it back to one of the original modes of close-range, wireless, internet free communication: using a walkie talkie. No, I don’t mean you should actually go out and buy a set of walkie talkies, although that’s also not a bad idea instead, download the Two Way app. ‘Two Way: Walkie Talkie’ is an app that’s available for both Android and iOS devices. Two Way doesn’t require your phone number, email, password, internet or cellular connection; it literally works like a Walkie Talkie. You and your friends/family just need to be within a close enough range and tuned in to the same channel to talk. Due to the fact that the app is meant to be exactly like a real walkie talkie, if people within the surrounding area tune into your radio channel, they can listen in and communicate themselves if they wanted to, so be careful. This app is a simple solution to offline communicating with people in your area; which can be extremely helpful in situations of natural disaster or if you’re with a group of friends and get separated. 

While offline communication is currently as advanced as a simple walkie talkie, these solutions can be extremely beneficial depending on the circumstances. So while we all wait for the tech world to create a device that lets us talk to whoever, whenever, regardless of internet and cellular connection, these free apps should do the job in the meantime.


Google in Talks to Buy Fitbit

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is currently in talks to purchase the fitness-oriented smartwatch manufacturer Fitbit, according to Reuters. In response to the news, Fitbit’s stock rose by 18% before the stock was halted. If the purchase goes through, the implications for both companies as well as for the smartwatch industry generally could be significant.

While Fitbit enjoyed tremendous popularity with the release of its original fitness trackers, which introduced the concept of tracking one’s health with a smartphone-connected wearable device to many consumers, the company has since been overshadowed by the release of competing products, not the least of which is the Apple Watch. Apple’s take on the smartwatch concept includes essentially all of the fitness-related features Fitbit’s products offer, including heart rate monitoring and sleep tracking, while adding unique features and integrating deeply with the company’s iOS platform. Google, on the other hand, has found little success with its Android Wear operating system, and the Android-compatible smartwatch market in general suffers from an overabundance of mutually-incompatible software choices, including Samsung’s Tizen and Fitbit’s proprietary operating system.

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The acquisition of Fitbit, then, could potentially lead to an abandonment of the Wear OS platform, which has failed to meaningfully take off with both manufacturers and third-party software developers, and the integration of Fitbit’s software more deeply into the Android operating system, among other outcomes. Though Google has recently made strides in its hardware offerings, the company has never manufactured a smartwatch. Currently, Fitbit products are compatible with both iOS and Android devices, providing near-identical functionality on both; it remains to be seen whether a Google-owned Fitbit would continue to produce devices that work with Apple’s line of smartphones. In the past, Google has shown more of a willingness to work with its competitor’s platform than Apple has; Google has made many of its applications available on Apple’s App Store, while the inverse is not true. As such, there’s a good case to be made that a Google-owned Fitbit would continue to make fitness trackers that work with iPhones, though they may begin to include Android-only features stemming from a close relationship between the manufacturer and their potential parent company.

In a bid to maintain its relevancy amidst increasing competition from larger manufacturers, Fitbit acquired Pebble, one of the very first smartwatch manufacturers which began life on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, in 2016. This coincided with the discontinuation of all Pebble smartwatches as the original team was absorbed into the larger company, much to the disappointment of fans of the first significant smartwatch. Today’s news suggests that Google is poised to make a similar move. While the Fitbit brand still has sway over consumers, the company’s notoriety is fading, and Google is focused on unifying its hardware offerings under the Pixel brand umbrella following the announcement of its Pixel 4 smartphone, the new Pixelbook, and the upcoming Pixel Buds. Google has also recently discussed its focus on “ambient computing,” or a way of interacting with computers that blends seamlessly into the user’s ordinary life. As such, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Google shutter the development of Fitbit-branded devices, instead announcing a “Pixel Watch” or something similar, which would combine the health-tracking capabilities now standard on smartwatches with new Android-specific features.

As of now, of course, it’s unclear what these features could entail, but Google’s unmatched investment in developing artificial intelligence combined with their focus on ambient computing could offer clues. For several years, Google has developed and refined its Google Assistant, which is featured on Android phones as well as the Google Home line of smart speakers; it stands to reason that the virtual assistant would make the leap to any potential Google smartwatch. Additionally, Google has debuted radar-based gesture recognition technology on the Pixel 4, which allows users to control their phone by moving their hands over the screen; a similar system, if executed effectively, would seem right at home on a Google smartwatch. As Google has a history of making surprising and innovative technological developments, particularly in the areas of neural networks and machine learning, the company has a lot of potential to make waves with its take on the smartwatch.

Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade Creates a Niche for High-Quality Phone Games

For years, games for smartphones have broadly fit into one of two categories – either they were free-to-play, oftentimes packaged with obtrusive advertisements and microtransactions built into an experience designed to get you to fork over real money, or they were premium titles, requiring players to invest a nominal up-front fee. While the latter category usually offers more polished and fun titles, few smartphone users are willing to spend money in the App Store, making the former category substantially more profitable for developers. As a result, the number of premium games on offer for both Android and iOS devices has dwindled in recent years, and smartphone users looking to play video games on their devices are often left with titles that subtly encourage them to part with real money for in-game advantages. Looking to address this problem in the gaming environment on their devices, Apple announced the subscription service Apple Arcade, which for $4.99 per month provides iOS users with a selection of high-quality, ad-free mobile games with no microtransactions present.

The service, which launched just a few days ago, is already being praised by media outlets for offering a solution to the dearth of quality games available for smartphones. For the price of a typical premium smartphone game per month, Apple Arcade gives access to more than 70 titles, many of which were custom-designed for the service. This wide selection of titles, which subscribers have unlimited access to for the duration of their subscription, ensures that gamers can find titles that match their specific interests as well as explore other genres of gaming without investing money in titles they’re not sure if they’d like. Apple has leveraged the service to fund the development of indie titles that otherwise would not have been realized, as their designs aren’t conducive to the free-to-play model that currently dominates the industry. As an example, Card of Darkness, a game which combines dungeon-crawling mechanics with a virtual card game, was developed by a ten-person studio paid directly by Apple to be featured exclusively on the Apple Arcade service.

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Card of Darkness has already received rave reviews, as media outlets praised its dynamic and addictive gameplay unencumbered by ads or in-app purchases. The success of this title, in addition to the others on the platform, bodes well for the future of the service, whose innovative approach to game development is likely to produce titles of similar and even greater acclaim as time goes on. Because the funding of titles is handled up-front by Apple on a per-app basis, developers don’t have to worry about generating a return on their investment, freeing them to explore risky but unique game design options and package them into a visually appealing and polished product. 

Developers creating experiences for the Apple Arcade platform have to contend with a number of rules and restrictions that Apple places on developers, though. Game creators are required to ensure that their titles function well on a variety of devices Apple offers, many with radically different form factors, and must localize their games for 14 different languages to ensure that all markets have access to the same selection of titles. For many developers, however, the trade-off is worth it, as the service makes possible titles that wouldn’t be financially viable under the standard App Store model. Where Cards Fall, for instance, has been in development for long before the announcement of Apple Arcade, but seeing as the game offers 20 hours of narrative-driven content, the developers would have charged roughly $20 for the title, which is a substantially greater cost than the vast majority of App Store titles. Apple Arcade ensured that the title, which otherwise may never have seen the light of day, would be financially viable.

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For Android users, Google offers a competing service called Google Play Pass, which for an introductory price of $1.99 per month grants access to a collection not only of games, but of other apps, like weather and photography programs. While the competing service is superficially similar to Apple Arcade in its structure, the selection of games available on Google Play Pass is not as strong. Android is a more difficult operating system to develop games for, as a staggering variety of hardware combinations need to be taken into account as different manufacturers support different features. Additionally, Google Play Pass pays developers based on users’ engagement with their apps, meaning developers who create titles that users play for long periods of time make substantially more money than developers who create short titles. As not every game has to be long-lasting to be fun, this practice discourages developers interested in creating shorter experiences. It’s unclear exactly how Apple decides how much to pay developers for titles on their service, but developers have expressed satisfaction with the deals they’ve made with the software giant.

With the advent of Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass, the once-bleak market for smartphone games seems to be making a resurgence. As consumers shift towards preferring a Netflix-style of content delivery generally, wherein they pay a monthly fee for unlimited access rather than paying for titles individually, services like these take advantage of this change in customers’ mindset. Given the surprising early success of Apple Arcade, and the introduction of similar services from Nintendo and Sony for their respective platforms, the subscription model of video gaming seems poised to reshape the industry as a whole. 


How to Take Advantage of Smartphones’ “Digital Wellbeing” Tools

It’s no secret that over the past several years, smartphones have taken over nearly every aspect of most of our lives, as we use the versatile devices for everything from communicating with friends to catching up on work emails to consuming entertainment. As smartphone use is on the rise, many are concerned about the negative impact that device addiction may have on our lives, interfering with our engagement with the real world. This concern is shared even by developers of smartphone software, who have introduced tools to allow users to limit their exposure to their devices, which are categorized under the umbrella term “digital wellbeing.” Such tools are available on both Android and iOS devices, and while their presence may not be obvious, digital-wellbeing features are built into the operating systems of many popular smartphones.

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While digital wellbeing features have existed in Android for some time, their functionality has been expanded for Android 10, the latest version of Google’s operating system. While Android 10 is currently only available for Google Pixel devices, the software update should roll out to other smartphones soon, as manufacturers work to optimize the software for their individual devices. Digital Wellbeing is one of Google’s prioritizes for this version of the operating system, and a number of landmark features have been introduced. For instance, users can enable a so-called “Focus mode,” which disables certain apps deemed to be distracting, and users can also set a maximum amount of time they’re allowed to use each app per day. Additionally, Android 10 introduces a “wind down” mode, which is designed to help users fall asleep at the end of the day by switching the screen to a less-engaging grayscale mode and turns on Do Not Disturb. Android 10 users can also view the amount of time they spend using each app in the Settings menu, and see which apps are occupying the most of their time.

iPhone users, too, have access to tools that are meant to improve their relationship with technology. iOS 12 includes a mode called “Screen Time” which, like its Android counterpart, allows users to view statistics about how often and for how long they use particular apps. This mode also allows users to view the number of times they’ve picked up their phone as well as the time of day they’re most frequently active on their devices. Both operating systems allow users to create limits on how long they use their phones, but whereas Android allows users to set limits on an app-by-app basis, iOS users are only able to set limits by category. iPhones running iOS 12 also have a “Bedtime mode” feature, which dims the display of the lock screen at night to prevent your phone from waking you up when it’s on your nightstand.

Both operating systems allow users to create limits on how long they use their phones

In addition to specialized tools built into their operating systems, Google offers advice for how to ensure the way you’re using your devices is healthy and positive. The company has a page inviting users to reflect on their technology habits, encouraging them to “take the first step toward understanding your relationship with tech, and get tips and tools to help your digital well-being.” This page presents visitors with a quiz, asking them questions about their usage of technology and whether it interferes with their other obligations, whether those are related to work, family, or friends. The company recommends users take advantage of the Google Assistant, which allows people to interact with their phone using only their voice, to spend more time away from the device’s screen, and also suggests users customize the notifications they receive on a per-app basis to prevent them from becoming overwhelming.

While it may seem counterintuitive to rely on our phones to provide us with ways to limit our engagement with technology, the integration of smartphones into our daily lives is a fact of living in the modern era. As such, these tools are a welcome addition to the smartphone ecosystem, and as developers continue to compete for our attention with ever-more engaging apps, the prospect of enforcing self-imposed limits on smartphone usage may become increasingly enticing.

iPhone 3

Early Reviews of New iPhones are Very Positive

When Apple unveiled its newest generation of iPhones last week, which include the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Max, immediate reactions were mixed, as many rightfully observed that Apple seemed to be playing it safe, offering minor improvements to features that already existed in previous generations of iPhones while reducing prices instead of introducing any groundbreaking new technology. In fact, these new iPhones removed some features present on previous devices which were considered unimportant, such as 3D Touch. This year, Apple seems to be focusing on improvements to the core iPhone experience rather than expanding into new territories, and early reviews suggest that this strategy has paid off, as journalists many describe the new iPhones as offering the best smartphone experience for most people right now.

Nilay Patel from The Verge, for instance, describes the iPhone 11 quite simply as “the phone most people should buy,” adding that “it’s great where it counts, and totally fine everywhere else.” While admitting that the iPhone 11 is basically just an incremental upgrade over last year’s iPhone XR, Patel suggests that the improvements to the phone’s overall design, including sturdier glass and better water resistance, result in a very polished user experience. Although the only major improvements Patel observes are the “cameras, the slightly better battery life, and the processor,” he notes that these and other features were already so good on the previous generation that these improvements, albeit slight, still result in a stellar device. 

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Though Patel complained about Apple’s continued reliance on a large, bulky, outdated 5W wall charger, he praised the battery’s performance, noting that you’d have to really go out of your way to fully drain the battery in less than a day. He also describes the new cameras as “a massive step forward,” and praised the quality of the images the phone is able to capture, noting that, in most respects, the camera experience is identical to the pricier iPhone 11 Pro. In particular, the new phone performs particularly well in low-light environments due to advancements in camera and image processing technology. As battery life and camera quality are two of the top concerns for people buying a new smartphone, it makes sense that Apple chose to focus in these areas, and according to reviewers the results of doing so have paid off.

The consensus seems to be that Apple hit the ball out of the park with all of their iPhone offerings this year, introducing a product which will be difficult for competitors to beat.

The iPhone 11 Pro, which Patel also reviewed, represents an even greater improvement in these key areas, with an even better battery life and an additional camera with a telephoto lens, as well as a higher-resolution display and a faster, more efficient chipset. The Pro models additionally include a fast-charging feature, unlike the base model, and improved LTE performance (though support for 5G isn’t included.)

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The major complaint reviewers had with the new phones was the operating system, iOS 13, which presents users with bugs and other annoyances. They’re quick to note, however, that Apple has a good track record of improving user experience on its phones with software updates, though it is not certain as of yet when Apple will release an update to address issues of performance and stability. Like the rest of the phone, iOS 13 represents only an iterative improvement over last year’s software, but the experience remains snappy, streamlined and simultaneously intuitive and densely packed with features. Still, Patel recommends waiting until Apple irons out these issues before purchasing a new iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro.

Overall, reviewers felt that the cheaper iPhone 11 was the best option for most people, as the improvements in the Pro model, while substantial, don’t justify the additional several hundred dollars in cost. Instead, the Pro models are recommended for those who demand battery life, image quality, and speed that far exceeds the competition and are willing to pay roughly a thousand dollars for that privilege. Still, the consensus seems to be that Apple hit the ball out of the park with all of their iPhone offerings this year, introducing a product which will be difficult for competitors to beat.


Apps to Organize Your Life

For nearly everybody these days, smartphone addiction is a simple fact of life, as most of us struggle to imagine life without our devices. But while it’s easy to spend hours upon hours staring at our screens, consuming mindless content like Netflix shows and Youtube videos, the potential of our phones to positively impact our daily lives is much greater than that. Thanks to the widespread availability of third-party applications on both iOS and Android devices, there’s no shortage of apps that promise to enhance your lifestyle in any number of ways. But this abundance of apps can make it difficult to determine which are worth downloading and investing time and money into and which are just a waste of time. As such, this article showcases the best and most useful lifestyle apps out there.

Perhaps the most versatile of these apps is IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That and allows you to program your phone to take actions automatically in response to certain events. For example, you can create a program that automatically turns on the Wi-Fi radio on your device when you enter your home and turns it off when you leave, or one that automatically shares social media posts across different platforms. IFTTT is designed to work with a multitude of services and platforms, such as Philips’ Hue lighting system and the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, enabling greater flexibility with respect to how services work together and integrating system not originally designed to be compatible with one another. Using IFTTT, you can create your own “applets,” or download ones shared by the community by taking advantage of a polished and easy-to-use interface. IFTTT is available for iOS, Android, and personal computers, and is free for personal use.

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If you’re a frequent online shopper, you may enjoy the convenience of having packages delivered right to your doorstep but may have some difficulty keeping track of what you’ve ordered and when your products are due to arrive. That’s where Slice comes in. The free app, available for both iOS and Android devices, not only aggregates and tracks your deliveries in real time, but also notifies you when the prices of items you’ve ordered changes or when the products you’ve purchased are recalled. Additionally, the app lets you scan barcodes for items that you’re shipping out to track their delivery progress, and if you link the app to your Amazon account, it will allow you to view detailed stats about the categories you spend money in and how your spending habits change over time.

Live in a city and interested in taking advantage of more public transit options? Citymapper may be the app for you. Available for both major smartphone operating systems, Citymapper integrates all major forms of urban public transport, including walking, cycling, and driving services, to help you determine the best way to get from point A to point B. The free app includes information about subway, bus, and taxi services, including prices and schedules, and combines routes from different modes of transportation to provide the most efficient navigation option. Additionally, Citymapper can send you notifications to let you know of things like changes in prices or schedules, service outages, and traffic information. By taking advantage of Citymapper, you can save time and money and reduce the stress of moving throughout a complex urban environment.

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Finally, potentially the most important lifestyle app on the list is Mint, which helps you track and plan your finances by connecting to your bank account, credit card, and other services. The app keeps a running list of all of your purchases and earnings, and breaks them down into categories to let you know when you’re over or under your monthly budget. Mint automatically checks and updates your credit score at regular intervals, and gives you advice on how to adjust your spending habits to maximize your score. The app also provides offers and recommendations for different credit cards, and helps with making decisions about loans and investments. While some users may be skeptical about sharing their financial data with a third-party, the app, developed by Intuit, who also develops Turbotax, promises to be very secure, and the potential to save money and improve your credit score is likely worth the perceived risk.

It’s impossible to create a fully comprehensive list of useful lifestyle apps in the space of a single article, and as such, there are a countless number of high-quality apps not listed here that are likely worth your time. As such, you should do your own research to determine which apps are best for you. Good resources include the “lifestyle” category of the app store on your smartphone of choice, and be sure to check the user reviews before downloading an app. Additionally, it’s a good idea to use a search engine to look up more detailed and objective information about apps before you download them, as some less-popular apps have potential security risks, particularly when they access sensitive data. Nevertheless, the app ecosystem has never been larger and more diverse, and taking advantage of the resources available to you can improve your life in surprising and unique ways.