Apple patent shows how an iPhone could quickly dispel water from its speaker

Image: lili sams/mashable

Your next iPhone may be able to spit out water using sound.

Apple’s latest patent, published on Thursday details a mechanism to essentially blast out excess water from your iPhone’s earpiece or speaker.

Why would you want this? To keep your precious iPhone dry and prevent liquid from damaging any internal components, of course.

The patent describes two parts of a meshing screen cover, a “hydrophobic portion to resist the entry of liquid” and a “hydrophilic portion to aid in the removal of liquid” in the iPhone’s audio chambers.

To monitor the liquid removal process a tone or acoustic signal may be generated by the speaker,” which will help detect and remove the liquid. This is like an existing feature on the Apple Watch Series 2 called “Eject Water Mode,” which also blasts out water through its tiny speaker using sound. You can see how it works with Apple Watch 2 in the video below:

Obviously, the Apple’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are already water-resistant, but there’s currently no mechanism for removing water from the speakers, microphone or the lightning port. You just have to let them dry out on their own. A feature like the one described in the patent could speed up that process.

Since the technology is only a patent, there’s no guarantee if it’ll ever make it into an iPhone. But we’ve got our fingers crossed.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/05/apple-iphone-water-eject-patent/

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Uber adds a safety feature, Gorrilaz launch an AR app and Microsoft tries social media: this week in apps

It’s been a busy week: Elon Musk confirmed that the Tesla Semi truck is coming soon, Instagram announced reaching 200 million daily active users on stories and Messenger reached 1.2 billion, so it’s understandable if you missed some of this weeks best apps.

Luckily, we’ve kept up for you. Each week, we round up the latest app news, along with a few of our favorite new and updated products, to keep you in the loop with everything coming to your smartphone.

SEE ALSO: Apple could kill almost 200,000 apps with iOS 11

Here’s what caught our eye this week. If you’re looking for more, make sure to check out the last installment.

Uber adds a new safety feature

Image: uber

While Uber continues to be caught up in controversy, the company has rolled out a widely requested safety feature – cross streets for pickup and destination points for users who may not be comfortable sharing exact addresses. Now, users can just enter two cross streets for pickup or drop off to keep their comings and goings a little more private.

Gorrilaz launch an AR app

Image: gorillaz

Image: gorillaz

The tech savvy band has launched a new app that uses augmented reality technology to display objects from their recent music videos in the user’s surroundings. Users will also be able to listen to the band’s upcoming album, Humanz, which according to NME will soon be released early via an in-app “houseparty.”

Download iOS and Android.

Giphy launches “Giphy Says”

A new app from the internet’s favorite called “Giphy Says” converts words into gifs. The app is simple – just record a video of yourself or someone else saying something and Giphy will transcribe and beautify your message with “filters.” One filter even converts everything you say to emoji!

Download iOS.

Elsewhere:

Image: microsoft

Image: microsoft

Microsoft launched Sprinkles, an experimental app that can “make your photos fun in 2 seconds.” The app combines the company’s previous experiments like guessing your age or emotion with the popular Snapchat-like aesthetic of stickers and captions. You can try the iOS app here. This week the company also launched an iMessage app called “Who’s In” that aims to make it easier to meet up with your friends, but ends up making it harder than ever.

Apple has ended all updates Workflow, the task automation app that the company acquired in March and then made free on the app store. The app is reportedly going into maintenance mode, which means that it will no longer expand functionality, though the company plans to keep supporting the existing functionality at least for now.

Image: runtastic

Image: runtastic

Fitness app Runtastic has launched a new healthy recipe app called Runtasty. The video based app makes it easy to find and cook healthy recipes.

Download iOS and Android.

And lastly, check out Easter Egg Peg, a silly but addictive game. Download iOS.

WATCH: If you give up your seat on a Delta flight you could get almost $10,000

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/04/16/uber-atob-gorrilaz-ar-microsoft-social/

Apple Clips scored up to 1 million downloads in its first 4 days

In its first four days on the market, Applesnew social video editing app Clips reached between 500,000 and a million downloads, according to estimatesfrom app store analytics firm App Annie. However, despite heavy press coverage and featured positions in the App Store, Clips hasnt yet broken into the top 20 apps by ranking in the U.S. App Stores Top Charts.

The day after its debut on Thursday, the app climbed to No. 28 in the App Store, its highest rank so far, per App Annies data. To put that in perspective, Apples Music Memos app a fairly niche app aimed at musicians reached No. 29 that day.

Music Memos, we should note, no longer registers on the Top Overall Charts, as App Annie doesnt track rankings below No. 1750.

But according to data from two firms, Sensor Tower and App Annie, Clips alreadybeat Music Memos in terms of downloads, if not rankings.

Another point of comparison for Clips is Instagrams Layout. While the former is focused on video and the latter is for photos, both apps are broadlyabout editing media for the purpose of social sharing. During Clips first four days, it was ranking in the No. 5 to No. 6 range in the competitive Photo & Video category on the App Store, while Instagrams Layout was in the No. 17 to No. 35 range, and as low as 80, in its first days, App Annie said.

But Clips is slipping in the U.S. charts already. Over itslaunchweekend a time whenthe app could have gotten a boost from curious users looking to play with Apples latest toy Clips instead continued to drop. By Saturday, it was No. 39 in the U.S. By Sunday, 40. Today, its 53.

U.S. rankings dont tell the full story of downloads, of course Clips is available worldwide. But in this case,the U.S. accounts for around a quarter of its total downloads, so its performance in this market matters.

The U.S. is currently thelargest market for Clips downloads (25% share), saysApp Annie, followed by China (roughly 16%), with Japan, Russia and Hong Kong rounding out the top five.

Beyond Clipssimply being a new app from Apple, the appwill ultimately succeed or fail based on its ability to tap into the network effects that come with social sharing.

The average user is not yet aware of it, notes Danielle Levitas, Senior Vice President, Research & Professional Services at App Annie.Theyll start to become more aware of it through thatnetwork effect as people share these clips in Facebook, in Instagram, in WeChat, she says. Clips does not have its own built in social network, so it will rely on these shares.

The question for Apple will be not only where this is in terms of downloads which is obviously important when a new app launches butwhat is the network effect?, saysLevitas.

Those effects will be tied to Apples ability to get the app onto peoples devices. In this area, it has an advantage: it owns the platform. With a 42 percent share of smart devices in the U.S. and the App Store as thesingle point of entry to the world of mobile applications, Apple can heavily promote its own apps if it chooses. And it certainly is doing so with Clips.

The company placed Clips in featured banners both on the homepage and in the Photo & Videocategory pagein its App Store, and it gave Clips the number one positionon ApplesNew apps we love list.

Plus, theres the accompanying onslaught of press coverage from not only the typical array of technology news sites and Apple blogs, but also a slew of mainstream media outlets like The Wall St. Journal, Reuters, Time, CNN, CNBC, and many others. Its kind of impossible to not know that Apple launched a new app, if you spend any time online at all.

That being said, not all iOS device owners read the news, or launch the App Store regularly.

It seems like Clips is catching on with those whove tried it, however, leading to a 4-star rating and many rave reviews on the App Store. The appseems to appeal to those who are already familiar with video editing, and find Clips to be a less bloated alternative to iMovie for iOS. But those with less experience complainedthe app doesnt feel that intuitive or has poor navigational elements, among other things.

As TechCrunchs own review noted, many of Clipsfeatures are buried, with the goal of keeping it simple. This could have the side effect ofmaking them hard to find. Andits clearnot everyone agrees that Apple has built a straightforward app. The user interface is not as simpleas it could be, some reviewers said, leading to a bit of learning curve to getting the hang of it. These are areas Apple may need to iterate upon in the future.

In the meantime, Apple couldgain real-world insight into what people want to do with their videos. Eventually, it could choose toport a feature or two from Clips like its filters, overlays or other live editing tools to its main Camera app.

But Clipsreal test wont be rankings or downloads, butin the number of clips the app ends up producing, and their distribution. Those numbers wont be visible for at least a month out from launch, at the earliest.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/04/11/apple-clips-scored-up-to-1-million-downloads-in-its-first-4-days/

12 ways to hack-proof your smartphone

Protect your privacy, data and peace of mind with this guide to beating thieves, whether theyre online or on the street

As weve recently seen from leaked CIA documents, no one is immune to hacking attacks. Heres how to protect yourself against them, whether they come from opportunist thieves or state-sponsored spies.

1. Keep up to date and dont open up holes yourself

When it comes to protecting yourself against hackers, step one is always to install software updates as soon as they become available: thats as true on smartphones as it is on computers. Yes, updating can be a tiresome and intrusive process, and it sometimes brings annoying changes to the interface that youre used to. All the same, a huge proportion of successfulhacks exploit vulnerabilities that have already been patched; exposing yourself unnecessarily is justdaft.

Id also strongly advise against using unofficial tools to root your phone (known as jailbreaking on iOS), unless you know exactly what youre doing. On a rooted phone, technical safeguards can be defeated, allowing apps to perform all sorts of actions that are normally prohibited and that can include snooping on your personaldata.

2. Be careful of what you install

When you install a smartphone app, you may be asked to grant it various permissions, including the ability to read your files, access your camera or listen in to your microphone. There are legitimate uses for these capabilities, but theyre potentially open to abuse: think before you approve the request. That applies especially to Android users, as Googles app-vetting process isnt as strict as Apples, and there have been reports of malicious apps spending months on the Play Store before being spotted and taken down.

Android also lets you install apps from third-party sources: this allows services such as Amazons competing Appstore to operate, but it also provides an easy way for rogue apps to get onto your phone. Id strongly advise against installing anything from an unfamiliar website.

3. Review whats already on your phone

Even if the apps on your phone seemed simple and safe when you installed them, subsequent updates could have turned them into something more sinister. Take two minutes to review all the apps on your smartphone, and see which permissions theyre using: on iOS, youll find lots of relevant information under Settings > Privacy.

On Android, its harder to get an overview of which apps have which permissions, but there are plenty of security apps that help here, including free packages from Avast and McAfee. These tools can also jump in and alert you if youre trying to install an app thats known to be malicious, and warn you if a phishing attack is trying to trick you into entering a password into an untrusted app orwebpage.

4. Make it hard for intruders to get in

If a thief gets physical access to your phone, they can cause all sorts of trouble. For a start, your email app probably contains a trove of personal information. Make sure your phone is locked when not in use: both Android and iOS can be set to require a six-digit passcode. Your device may offer other options too, like fingerprints or facial recognition. Such methods arent perfect a really determined hacker could copy your fingerprints from a drinking glass, or trick a camera with a photograph of you but theyre a lot better than nothing.

And be wary of smart unlock features, which automatically unlock your phone when youre at home, or when your smartwatch is near; these could let a thief bypass your unlock code altogether.

5. Be prepared to track and lock your phone

Plan ahead, so even if your phone is stolen, you know your data is safe. One option is to set your phone to automatically erase itself after a certain number of incorrect attempts to enter the passcode.

If that seems a bit drastic, dont forget that both Apple and Google operate find my device services that can locate your phone on a map, and remotely lock or erase it. For Apple users, this is accessed through the iCloud website you can check its enabled on the phone in Settings > iCloud > Find My iPhone. Android users can access Googles service at google.co.uk/android/devicemanager. You can also make a missing phone ring helpful for drawing attention to the thief, or tracking down a handsetthatsbeen merely mislaid.

6. Dont leave online services unlocked

Auto-login is a very convenient feature, especially since a virtual keyboard can make typing passwords a chore. Its also a huge liability: an intruder simply needs to open your browser to gain access to all your online accounts.

Ideally, therefore, you shouldnt use auto-login features at all. If you must, use a password manager app that requires you to regularly re-enter a master password. And dont use the same password for more than one app or service: if that one password gets found out, it can be used to access a whole range of private information. This applies even if youre perfectly scrupulous about keeping your smartphone secure: hackers regularly break into online services to steal user credentials, which they then try out on other sites.

7. Adopt an alter ego

If youve followed this advice so far, it should be very difficult for anyone to get into your phone. However, some major hacks have been pulled off without any access to the victim at all. If someone can find out (for example) your date of birth, home town and mothers maiden name all stuff that can be easily picked up from a site like Facebook thats often all they need to reset a password and start breaking into your accounts. You can see off such attacks by fictionalising your past with details that are unlikely to be guessed; perhaps, for the purposes of security, you were born in 1999 to MrsVictoriaBeckham, ne Adams.Just remember what you claimed, or you could end up locking yourself out.

Personal
Personal information can easily be gleaned from sites such as Facebook.

8. Beware open wifi

We all know theres a risk involved in using an open wireless network. But you may not realise how severe it is: anyone in the vicinity can snoop on what youre doing online. This sort of attack demands specialist software and skills, so its unlikely to be a hazard in your local cafe, but its not a danger that can be ignored.

If youre at all doubtful about a wireless network, dont connect stick with your phones mobile internet connection. Or use a VPN tool such as CyberGhost or TunnelBear (both available free for Android and iOS). These tools route your traffic through a private encrypted channel, so even if someone is monitoring your traffic they wont be able to see what youre up to.

9. Dont let lockscreen notifications give the game away

Lots of apps pop up messages and notifications on your phones lockscreen. Its worth thinking about what these notifications may reveal. If you work for a big banking company, for example, a visible email from a work colleague or a meeting remindertells a thief that this might be a particularly interesting phone tosteal.

On iOS, also consider disabling access to Siri from the lockscreen. Siri isnt supposed to give away personal information before you enter your passcode to unlock the iPhone, but past hacks have let intruders use Siri to unlock the device, access details of contacts and view photos. Its safest to shut the feature off entirely: youll find the option under Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Disable Siri on theLockscreen.

10. Lock individual apps

A strong passcode helps keep thieves out of your phone, but what if a stranger snatches your phone while youre using it? Or asks to borrow it to check a website, then bolts off down the street?

On Android, as a second line of defence, you can lock individual apps, so even if someone can get past your lockscreen, they cant open your email or banking app without a second password. This capability isnt built into the OS, but there are plenty of free apps that provide it, such as AVG AntiVirus Free. iOS users cant directly lock individual apps, but check out Folder Lock free on the App Store which can password-protect your documents and folders, reducing the amount of information a thief canaccess.

11. Get a warning when your phone goes walkies

If youre on the fence about investing in a smartwatch, heres a little-known feature that could swing it: Apple Watch and Android Wear devices can warn you immediately if they lose Bluetooth contact with your phone. If you get this notification while youre in a public place, theres a good chance someones just picked your pocket, and is currently making off with yourphone.

The device will normally be less than 50 metres away when the connection drops, so the warning gives you a chance to ring the phone right away, hopefully drawing attention to the thief and prompting them to jettison it. Failing that, you can lock it before the culprit has a chance to starttryingtobreak in and steal yourdata.

12. Keep an eye on things behind the scenes

No matter how cautious you are, you cant completely eradicate the danger of your phone being hacked not unless you refuse to install any apps or visit any websites. What you can do is supplement your on-device security measures with an online service. LogDog available for both Android and iOS is an app that monitors your identity on sites such as Gmail, Dropbox and Facebook. It alerts you to suspicious activity, such as logins from unfamiliar places, giving you a chance to step in and change your credentials before serious harm can be done. As a bonus, LogDog will also scan your email and highlight messages containing sensitive data such as credit card details and passwords, which you can then purge to ensure they dont fall into the wrong hands.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/26/12-ways-to-hack-proof-your-smartphone-privacy-data-thieves