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You can download iOS 12 now. These are the new features to try

The latest version of iOS for iPhones and iPads has arrived. Apple announced the update at its big iPhone launch event last week – and it’s now ready to go. Check your Settings for the update and if it isn’t available now it will be in the coming hours.

The main focus for iOS 12, which was first announced at the Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference last June, was performance. Apple says the new operating system launches apps up to 40 per cent faster, for example. But, as those who downloaded the public beta version have noticed, iOS 12 is also packed with features designed to make your life easier. Here’s our guide to the ones you shouldn’t miss now that Apple’s making it available to download.

Smart notifications

Say goodbye to home screens cluttered with hordes of BBC News alerts and Messenger pop-ups. Apple’s about to updated its notification scene by implementing grouped notifications. It is the simplest of changes – your notifications will be arranged by app or conversation instead of piling up one after the other – that should finally allow you to see your cute golden retriever background. However, while it is new to Apple, notification grouping has been available on Android for some time.

But it doesn’t stop here: Apple has also introduced a feature called Do Not Disturb. Like its name subtly indicates, the widget enables you to remain at peace by turning off notifications – except certain information that you can set up beforehand as “critical alerts”, such as health-related notifications – for a specified amount of time, from an hour to the duration of an event scheduled in your calendar.

It comes with a Do Not Disturb Bedtime version that automatically blocks all notifications when it’s time for you to get your beauty sleep, according to a night-time schedule that you can personalise. That’s the irony of the technology helping you overcome your addiction… to technology.

AR to share

Apple is staking a lot on AR software. Using a format called USDZ and co-produced with Pixar, it is bringing 3D technology to your mobile device that the animation giant has been using for years. The ARKit 2 platform was created specifically to allow users to make the most of USDZ and develop, using camera screen capture or device motion tracking, their own 3D models. Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi described it as “something like AR Quick Look”.

This means that you will be able to create objects and place them into the real world surrounding you – and even share the experience with friends. To demonstrate the new feature, Apple developed SwiftShot, a slingshot multiplayer game using AR. Users were tasked with populating a relatively empty environment made of elongated wooden tables by creating pellet guns to shoot down opponents’ pillars. Play has never got so real.

More AR

The AR crusade doesn’t stop with enabling iOS 12 users to play with the same (or almost) tools that brought Cars and The Incredibles to life. And it certainly doesn’t stop with slingshot games. The AR software will be applied to a whole new range of tools, starting with Adobe 9, where 3D vision will be enabled – so that those Photoshop edits really come to life. Apple has also created the Measure app, essentially a built-in ruler that uses the phone’s camera combined with AR to inform you about the size of objects surrounding you. It doesn’t sound like much – until you buy a brand-new king-size bed from IKEA and find out that it doesn’t fit against your wall.

Memoji is the new Bitmoji

The iPhone already featured Animoji, a carefully selected collection of virtual creatures from which you could choose a spirit animal that would recreate your face movements. Not only is it adding to the options of Animoji available to users – ghosts and koalas will join the gang – but it is also introducing Memoji: an Animoji that you can custom to look like you. Like a Bitmoji, you can change your Memoji’s appearance to match its hairstyle, outfit or skin colour to yours – with the addition that your Memoji will track your some of your facial expressions, like smiles, and recreate them on the screen. Apple also proudly unveiled a tongue-detection feature for both Animoji and Memoji so that your tiny doppelganger made in the iPhone can copy you when you poke your tongue.

Memojis and Animojis can be used when taking a selfie or within messages, and even while you are FaceTiming. And with Apple planning to expanded the number of participants in FaceTime groups to up to 32, it is possible that chatting to cartoon-like versions of your friends is the next big thing for cool kids. However, the firm delayed the expanded FaceTime, which will come as a later addition to iOS 12.

Shortcuts: Siri gets a remake

Apple had already acquired the Workflow app in 2017, which allowed users to create workflows with specific actions chosen from different apps to completely automate certain tasks, such as posting photos to different social networks at once or creating GIFs from a series of photos. Shortcuts – this time an app developed by Apple itself – is based on the similar desire to save time by connecting your pre-designed workflows to Siri. Similar to the already popular IFTTT app, many multi-step tasks that you complete regularly could therefore be created and pre-scheduled in the app so that they are performed automatically.

The example used by the company at the WWDDC in June, while potentially not relevant to all UK nationals, highlighted the level of sophistication of the new app: by just telling Siri “I’m going surfing”, your phone could get the current weather report, the directions to and estimated time of arrival at the beach, and remind you to put sunscreen on.

Siri upgrades HomePod

Shortcuts is not just a thing of the mobile device: it will be available on HomePod as well, along with multiple new highlights. Notably, the “Hey Siri, where is my iPhone” feature that will make your phone instantly ping, and which also works on other iCloud-related devices. You will still be stuck for finding your keys, but lost iPads and MacBooks may well not be a nuisance anymore.

You will also be able to set multiple timers and name them differently so that Siri can tell you how long is left on your chocolate cake or lasagna timer, as well as find out nutrition facts such as calories or fat content while you’re at it. Finally, Siri will let you find out the name of the song stuck in your head for the past 24 hours by singing the lyric to it. Karaoke meets personal assistant.

Finally improved maps

Apple’s struggle to make Maps a reliable, convenient and efficient tool is not new – as early as 2012, CEO Tim Cook even wrote an apology letter expressing how “extremely sorry” he felt for falling short on the commitment of bringing the best technology to iPhone customers. In this case, the commitment entailed bringing users to the right location – a commitment that, when not fulfilled, is the source of incredible levels of frustration.

With iOS 12, Apple says it is entirely re-thinking Maps in the hope of finally getting it right. Instead of gathering data from third parties, which was the case until now and led to the mislabelling of places – the subsequent havoc is not difficult to imagine – the new Maps will be based on information gathered by first parties and Apple Maps vans that have been circulating around the world since 2015.

This should lead to maps that are more detailed and quicker to include traffic changes such as those linked to road constructions. Also to be noted in the “innovative transport” category of iOS 12: CarPlay will finally let you use third-party apps such as Waze or Google Maps. But hopefully Apple Maps will be so competent you won’t even need it. At least that’s Apple’s theory.

The inevitable privacy and security settings

In the technology world of 2018, it wouldn’t be an upgrade if it didn’t involve some level of enhanced privacy and security settings. And iOS 12 is not an exception to the rule. Passwords will be more un-hackable than ever as Safari and iOS apps will automatically generate stronger passwords that can then be stored in iCloud and made available in your other connected iOS devices.

Apple has also made it about convenience, and particularly about making the two-factor authentication process easier – that’s when you are required to put in a second code to access your account, often one that is sent by text. In iOS 12, the code sent will automatically be loaded onto the app via a feature called Security code AutoFill. (Again, something Google’s Android has done for a while).

Tracking in Safari was also a focus of Apple’s attention. Currently, social media sharing icons on web pages are a way to track you even if you don’t use them – so Apple is blocking them. It is also restricting fingerprinting, still in Safari, so that ad trackers stop building user profiles based on browsing habits. Will the recurrent “5-star hotel discount in Crete” ad become a thing of the past? iOS 12 sure seems like it can contribute to its fall.

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How to play retro games on android.

How to play Retro Games on Android (ANY Device and ANY Game)
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Best Mid Range Smartphone

The best mid range Smartphone phone of 2018 reviewed and rated

What constitutes as the best ‘mid-range’ phone has changed rather dramatically in recent years. With flagship phones like the iPhone XS Max and Samsung Galaxy Note 9 comfortably pushing passed the £1000 mark, from a price perspective the goalposts have undoubtedly shifted in the same direction. So here are a comprehensive list of Best Mid Range Smartphone , click on the associated link to purchase or view Moree information too.  All us content creators ensure we bring you the very latest news and information in the world of tech and its new. So want to see what other have to offer after this post. Well head over to the following site, which I personally use too.

At the same time, there are new handsets taking a fresh approach – offering the best possible hardware at the lowest possible price – that also fit within what we would consider mid-range in 2018; handsets like the Pocophone F1, which offer flagship specs without the price-tag.

With these factors in mind, here you’ll find a rundown of phones that we think offer the best bang for your buck while costing around half as much as you would expect to pay for a 2018 flagship.

How we select the best budget smartphones

Just as with any of our other ‘best smartphone’ roundups, this list is designed to reflect the best that the current smartphone market has to offer based on constraints like price and feature-set. We review every phone we consider before it can be placed in a line-up such as this, slipping our SIM cards in and using each phone as our main device solidly for a week at the very minimum.

We test claims on performance and battery life with both real-world and artificial benchmarks, we trial new features and cast a scrutinous eye over every facet and flaw that these phones might possess, all in the pursuit of providing a clear, concise review of the latest smartphone to make your buying decision as easy as possible.

OnePlus 6T Best Mid Range Smartphone

Best Mid Range Smartphone
£409.95 View at eBay
£439.00 View at Amazon
£469.00 View at OnePlus

Pros

  • A huge leap in OnePlus design
  • Seriously fast
  • Fast Charge is still great
  • A well thought-out version of Android with great extras

Cons

  • Camera still needs improvement
  • Missing a few ‘flagship’ features

The OnePlus 6T is arguably the phone that demonstrates just how much OnePlus as a company has grown up in its short lifespan. While at the upper end in this mid-range roundup, starting at £499, the OnePlus 6T feels practically as much of a flagship as any iPhone or top-tier Samsung does.

Not only does it adopt a beautiful metal and glass design, and a notch-laden extended display, just like the rest of 2018’s flagships, it also offers some of the best smartphone performance on the market. There’s a cleanly-skinned Android 9.0 Pie experience with some meaningful tweaks and the company’s excellent Fast Charge technology. Making out one of the Best Mid Range Smartphone

The primary cameras are also a massive improvement on their predecessors, even if they still lag slightly behind the best in the business. There’s no headphone jack, however OnePlus has added a slick in-display fingerprint scanner that’s the final futuristic feature.

Pocophone F1

Best Mid Range Smartphone
£275.00 View at eBay
£310.00 View at Amazon Marketplace
£320.00 View at Amazon

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Superb performance
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Decent cameras

Cons

  • MIUI for Poco will take some getting used to
  • Thick bezels
  • Plastic build
  • No NFC

Being supported by Chinese tech giant Xiaomi’s manufacturing infrastructure has allowed new player Pocophone to make a serious splash with its first handset, the Pocophone F1. For around $/£300 you get a liquid-cooled Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with at least 6GB of RAM, a huge 4000mAh battery, a decent notched Full HD+ display and a surprisingly good pair of AI-enhanced main cameras making this also one of the Best Mid Range Smartphone

The MIUI for Poco skinned Android experience will take a little getting used for anyone who hasn’t used a Xiaomi phone before, but the price/performance balance this handset strikes borders on astonishing.

It comes in three polycarbonate finishes (red, blue or black) or, if you’re willing to fork out a little more cash, the Kevlar-backed ‘Armored Edition’ seen above.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2018)

Pros

  • Great OLED screen
  • Solid value
  • Ultra-wide camera is fun

Cons

  • Weak GPU
  • Slow charging and no USB-C

The Samsung Galaxy A7  is a lower-cost alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9. It’s a compelling choice with some neat extras including an extra ultra-wide camera and a strong OLED screen; two things you’d rarely normally find at this price.

This is far from a gaming phone, though. The Galaxy A7 has a solid CPU, but its graphics chipset is among the weakest in this class and we’d recommend something else if you love mobile gaming.

The ultra-wide secondary camera is a great feature too, giving some variety to the shots you take. The main camera is perfectly adequate, especially at the £309 price.

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Honor 10

£324.99 View at eBay
£289.00 View at Appliances Direct
£289.00 View at Laptopsdirect

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Powerful hardware
  • Good value

Cons

  • EMUI Android skin is bloated
  • Some performance bugs

Honor has released a lot of great value-for-money smartphones in 2018 but its latest flagship, the Honor 10, is the best. It’s a stylish and capable smartphone that gives you most of what the pricier Huawei P20 does for under £400.

You get dual AI-enhanced cameras set within the phone’s eye-catching ‘Aurora’ reflective glass back, fast charging and the same Kirin 970 processor that powers Huawei’s current top smartphones, complete with NPU (neural processing unit) for AI-based tasks.

The company’s EMUI software experience is highly customisable but might be the biggest issue as it also brings with it a few bugs and a little slow-down from time to time. Nothing some focussed software updates can’t fix, though.

Nokia 7 Plus

£246.25 View at eBay
£279.95 View at John Lewis

Pros

  • Big, bright screen
  • Impressive battery life
  • Android One has potential

Cons

  • Lots of app crashes and software bugs
  • Could do with some design tweaks

A big display, a big battery, lossless optical zoom on its primary dual camera and a clean and up-to-date Android One experience make the Nokia 7 Plus an easy recommendation.

One of HMD Global’s best phones since licensing the Nokia brand, the Nokia 7 Plus left us pleasantly surprised by what it brought to the table, considering it can be had for under £350. The polycarbonate body of the Plus comes with the Nokia line’s signature copper accents, helping it stand out from the crowd. There’s a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor too.

The Snapdragon 660 processor is more conservative than what the majority of phones in this lineup come packing, but paired with clean Android One software onboard, this phone feels just as fast and fluid as any more premium handset. Don’t forget to share this post if you found it useful. Best Mid Range Smartphone

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