As part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative commitment, Apple is supporting the launch of the Propel Center (rendering above), an innovation hub for the entire HBCU community that will provide curriculum, internships, and mentorship opportunities.
Cupertino, California — Apple today announced a set of major new projects as part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) to help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of color. These forward-looking and comprehensive efforts include the Propel Center, a first-of-its-kind global innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); an Apple Developer Academy to support coding and tech education for students in Detroit; and venture capital funding for Black and Brown entrepreneurs. Together, Apple’s REJI commitments aim to expand opportunities for communities of color across the country and to help build the next generation of diverse leaders.
Commitments build on Apple’s $100 million pledge and include a first-of-its-kind education hub for HBCUs and an Apple Developer Academy in Detroit
“We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re launching REJI’s latest initiatives with partners across a broad range of industries and backgrounds — from students to teachers, developers to entrepreneurs, and community organizers to justice advocates — working together to empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for far too long. We are honored to help bring this vision to bear, and to match our words and actions to the values of equity and inclusion we have always prized at Apple.”
Jared Bailey, a senior at Morehouse College, has integrated Apple’s coding and creativity curricula into his public health and community service work as part of the school’s partnership with Apple, a collaboration that is expanding further with the launch of the Propel Center.
Last June 2020, Apple announced REJI in the wake of protests around the world following the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless others. The initiative builds on Apple’s work to advance racial equity in education, the economy, and the criminal justice system, and is led by Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson. REJI complements Apple’s internal efforts to improve diversity and inclusion at every level of the company.
“Every individual deserves equal access to opportunity regardless of skin color or zip code,” said Jackson. “For too long, communities of color have faced gross injustices and institutional barriers to their pursuit of the American dream, and we are proud to lend our voices and resources to build new engines of opportunity that empower, inspire, and create meaningful change.”
Apple’s Support for HBCUs Expands with the Propel Center
Apple is working with Southern Company and a range of community stakeholders to support the launch of the Propel Center, a first-of-its-kind innovation and learning hub for the HBCU community. Apple’s $25 million contribution will enable the Propel Center to support HBCU students and faculty through a robust virtual platform, a physical campus in the historic Atlanta University Center, as well as on-campus activations at partner institutions.
The center is designed to support the next generation of diverse leaders, providing innovative curricula, technology support, career opportunities, and fellowship programs. The Propel Center will offer a wide range of educational tracks, including AI and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creative arts, career preparation, and entrepreneurship. Experts from Apple will help develop curricula and provide ongoing mentorship and learning support, along with offering internship opportunities.
The Propel Center campus (rendering above) — equipped with state-of-the-art lecture halls, learning labs, and on-site living for a scholars-in-residence program — will be located in the historic Atlanta University Center district.
The Propel Center was imagined and designed by Ed Farm, a groundbreaking organization that works to promote innovation and educational equity. The initiative builds upon Apple’s partnership with Ed Farm and the company’s work with three dozen HBCUs, bringing coding, creativity, and career opportunities to campuses and communities across the US.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Apple on this extraordinary project,” said Anthony Oni, Ed Farm’s founder and chairman of the board, and a vice president at Southern Company. “The Propel Center will help cultivate leadership and drive innovation in tech and beyond, acting as a springboard for change in communities across America.”
As part of Apple’s ongoing partnerships with HBCUs, the company is also establishing two new grants to support HBCU engineering programs. Apple’s new Innovation Grants will help HBCU Colleges of Engineering develop their silicon and hardware engineering curriculum in partnership with Apple’s experts. The new Faculty Fellows Program will support HBCU educators pursuing R&D with mentorship programs, curriculum development assistance, and funds to equip their lab spaces.
Building on its longstanding scholarship program with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Apple is also now offering scholarships to 100 new Apple Scholars from underrepresented communities. In addition to financial support, the Apple Scholars program includes mentorship and career development experience at Apple.
MaKisha Funderburke will collaborate with Apple and Clark Atlanta University, where she is a professor, to create the curriculum framework for the Propel Arts program, one of the many educational tracks that will be available to all HBCU students and faculty through the Propel Center.
Hailee Bryant-Roye, an early-childhood education major at Tennessee State University, has been able to pursue new teaching and learning opportunities with Apple’s Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create curricula, offered through the company’s collaboration with TSU. She’ll have access to additional programming, mentorship, and internship opportunities through the Propel Center.
Apple’s First US Developer Academy to Open in Downtown Detroit
Later this year, Apple will open an Apple Developer Academy in Detroit — the first of its kind in the US. Detroit has a vibrant Black entrepreneur and developer community, with over 50,000 Black-owned businesses, according to US Census data. The academy is designed to empower young Black entrepreneurs, creators, and coders, helping them cultivate the skills necessary for jobs in the rapidly growing iOS app economy. Launched in collaboration with Michigan State University, Apple Developer Academy courses will be open to all learners across Detroit, regardless of their academic background or whether they have any previous coding experience.
The Apple Developer Academy will offer two programs in Detroit. A 30-day introductory program is designed for learners who are considering app economy careers and looking to better understand what it means to be a developer. The full academy program is an intensive 10- to 12-month program that will help aspiring developers build the skills needed to participate in the iOS app economy, and even start their own businesses. Apple expects the academy’s programming to reach close to 1,000 students each year with a curriculum that covers coding, design, marketing, and professional skills.
And next month, Apple will host the inaugural cohort of its Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers for a virtual experience, offering one-on-one code-level guidance from Apple experts and engineers, as well as mentorship, inspiration, and insights from top Apple leaders.
Empowering Entrepreneurs Through New Funding Partnerships
To address systemic barriers to access and funding faced by Black and Brown entrepreneurs, Apple is today announcing two new investments in the venture capital and banking spaces, with both projects designed to provide capital to minority-owned businesses. The company will invest $10 million with Harlem Capital — an early-stage venture capital firm based in New York — to support its investments in 1,000 companies with diverse founders over the next 20 years. In addition to providing capital to entrepreneurs of color, Harlem Capital will also lend its expertise to Apple’s broader efforts to advance access to economic opportunity. The firm will offer guidance and mentorship to students at the Detroit Developer Academy and participants in Apple’s Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers. Apple will also support Harlem Capital’s internship program, focused on opening doors for aspiring women and minority investors.
The company will also invest $25 million in Siebert Williams Shank’s Clear Vision Impact Fund, which provides capital to small and medium-size businesses, with an emphasis on minority-owned companies. The fund looks to support businesses that operate in or serve underserved markets, and that foster inclusive growth initiatives.
Lifting up Community Organizations
As part of its REJI work, Apple continues to build on its contributions toward community colleges, nonprofit advocates, and local organizations working to empower and expand opportunity for the next generation.
Apple is making a contribution to The King Center, a living memorial to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to share his teachings and inspire new generations to carry forward his unfinished work. Next week, Dr. King’s daughter and the CEO of The King Center, Dr. Bernice A. King, will issue a call to action encouraging young people to give back to their communities as part of Apple’s “Challenge for Change” series — a set of conversation guides and learning-based challenges on issues related to race and inequality.
Apple’s contribution to The King Center joins the company’s previous donations to nonprofit organizations that advance equity and justice, including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.
Apple’s support for The King Center will bolster the organization’s work to share Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings and inspire new generations to carry forward his unfinished work.
Facebook continues to panic about upcoming privacy changes in iOS 14. The company has sent a new email to businesses today informing them that it has no choice but to comply with the iOS 14 App Tracking Transparency feature. Otherwise, Apple could remove Facebook from the App Store completely.
As first reported by iMore, Facebook has sent another round of emails to businesses informing them that while it disagrees with Apple’s planned changes, it has no choice but to follow them. Facebook says that the App Tracking Transparency feature, which requires apps to obtain consent from users before tracking them across other websites and apps, will have “hard-hitting implications across targeting, optimization, and measuring campaign effectiveness.”
The company also says that it believes “personalized ads and user privacy can coexist,” which is also a claim Apple has made. The two companies clearly have different versions of what constitutes “user privacy,” though.
Apple’s requirement that all apps in the App Store show a prompt to iOS 14 users in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework will have hard-hitting implications across targeting, optimization, and measuring campaign effectiveness for businesses that advertise on mobile devices and across the web. Apple’s changes will benefit them, while hurting the industry and the ability for businesses of all sizes to market themselves efficiently and grow through personalized advertising. We believe that personalized ads and user privacy can coexist.
Also in the email, Facebook tells businesses that it has “no choice” but to show the prompt seen at the top of this story. Otherwise, Facebook tells businesses that it believes Apple could block Facebook and its other apps from the App Store completely.
Facebook told businesses that whilst it disagrees with Apple’s solution, it has ‘no choice’ but to show the opt-in prompt and to continue using Apple’s device identifier for advertising. The company states that it believes Apple could block Facebook and its other apps from the App Store if it doesn’t comply, bringing ‘further harm to the businesses and users that rely on our services.’
Finally, Facebook says that if users do opt out of tracking, there could be a reduction in “ad effectiveness and limitations on measurements.”
This is not the first time Facebook has warned businesses about the potential impact of the new iOS 14 App Tracking Transparency feature. Last month, Facebook was warning users about the impacts on marketing efforts. Facebook also took out a full-page ad in US newspapers to slam Apple’s changes.
The ads claim that Facebook is standing up to the iPhone maker on behalf of small businesses …
Facebook has published a blog post with more details. It also says it will back Epic Games in its ongoing legal battle over the App Store.
Facebook Inc. attacked Apple Inc. in a series of full-page newspaper ads Wednesday, claiming the iPhone maker’s anticipated mobile software changes around data gathering and targeted advertising are bad for small businesses.
The ads, slated to run in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, carry the headline “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.” They home in on upcoming changes to Apple’s iOS 14 operating system that will curb the ability of companies like Facebook to gather data about mobile users and ply them with advertising.
The attack relates to the fact that iOS will next year force apps to ask for permission if they want to use ad-tracking. It’s expected that most users will refuse, which will mean apps won’t be able to easily offer personalized ads. Ads reflecting user interests earn more money for app developers than generic ads.
The change will significantly impact Facebook, as the ads it carries in the app will be worth less. The social network claims, however, that it doesn’t have its own interests in mind: it is instead standing up for small businesses.
The ad reads:
We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere
At Facebook, small business is at the core of our business. More than 10 million businesses use our advertising tools each month to find new customers, hire employees and engage with their communities.
Many in the small business community have shared concerns about Apple’s forced software update, which will limit businesses’ ability to run personalized ads and reach their customers effectively.
Forty-four percent of small to medium businesses started or increased their usage of personalized ads on social media during the pandemic, according to a new Deloitte study. Without personalized ads, Facebook data shows that the average small business advertiser stands to see a cut of over 60% in their sales for every dollar they spend.
While limiting how personalized ads can be used does impact larger companies like us, these changes will be devastating to small businesses, adding to the many challenges they face right now.
Small businesses deserve to be heard. We hear your concerns, and we stand with you. Join us at fb.com/SpeakUpForSmall
This is an unconvincing tack the company has taken before. Back in October, CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the claim while warning investors of the likely hit to its own ad revenues.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took aim at Apple on Thursday over its plans to limit advertisers’ ability to track iPhone users, suggesting the proposed changes could hurt small businesses and, by extention, the broader economy.
During Facebook’s quarterly earnings call, Zuckerberg told investors that “actions planned by platform companies like Apple could have a meaningful negative effect on small businesses and economic recovery in 2021 and beyond” […]
Zuckerberg argued that “personalized advertising is helping small businesses find customers, grow their businesses and create jobs,” and that measures to limit targeted ads, such as those by Apple and lawmakers in the European Union, would hurt those businesses’ ability to reach customers.
It follows the company yesterday taking a swipe at Apple in a statement to Reuters about planned European legislation known as the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which would force Apple to offer a more level playing field between its own apps and third-party ones.
“We hope the DMA will also set boundaries for Apple,” a Facebook spokesman said. “Apple controls an entire ecosystem from device to app store and apps, and uses this power to harm developers and consumers, as well as large platforms like Facebook,” he said.
Some are suggesting that Facebook is trying to divert attention from its continuing privacy woes over its spyware app pitched as a free VPN service. Reuters reports that Australia plans to fine Facebook over the app.
Sources close to Apple tell us the company is not opposed to ad-tracking, but simply wants it to be transparent to users.
The App Tracking Transparency feature will roll out sometime in early 2021. Apple had originally hoped to launch it with iOS 14 in September, but it ended up delaying the feature to give developers more time to prepare.
a coalition of eight civil and human rights organizations penned an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook regarding the company’s decision to delay the release of the new App Tracking Transparency feature in iOS 14.
Apple has now responded to that letter, doubling down on its privacy practices and offering more color on the decision to delay the App Tracking Transparency feature in the first place.
In a letter sent to the Ranking Digital Rights organization, Apple’s Jane Horvath, senior director of global privacy, reiterated that the company believes that “privacy is a fundamental human right.” Horvath explains that Apple delayed the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature in an effort to give developers more time to prepare for the changes.
The letter also confirms that the App Tracking Transparency feature, which is designed to allow users to disable tracking between different applications, is still coming next year. Once in effect, developers will also be required to ask for permission before tracking a user across apps or websites.
“We delayed the release of ATT to early next year to give developers the time they indicated they needed to properly update their systems and data practices, but we remain fully committed to ATT and to our expansive approach to privacy protections. We developed ATT for a single reason: because we share your concerns about users being tracked without their consent and the bundling and reselling of data by advertising networks and data brokers.”
Horvath goes on to emphasize that App Tracking Transparency features don’t prevent advertising, but rather encourages advertising that respects privacy:
“Advertising that respects privacy is not only possible, it was the standard until the growth of the Internet. Some companies that would prefer ATT is never implemented have said that this policy uniquely burdens small businesses by restricting advertising options, but in fact, the current data arms race primarily benefits big businesses with big data sets. Privacy-focused ad networks were the universal standard in advertising before the practice of unfettered data collection began over the last decade or so. Our hope is that increasing user demands for privacy and security, as well as changes like ATT, will make these privacy-forward advertising standards robust once more.”
Furthermore, Horvath has sharp criticism for Facebook, saying that the social network has “made clear” that its intent is to “collect as much data as possible” on its users:
“By contrast, Facebook and others have a very different approach to targeting. Not only do they allow the grouping of users into smaller segments, they use detailed data about online browsing activity to target ads. Facebook executives have made clear their intent is to collect as much data as possible across both first and third party products to develop and monetize detailed profiles of their users, and this disregard for user privacy continues to expand to include more of their products.”
On the flip side, Facebook has criticized the App Tracking Transparency feature and said it could cause ad revenue to drop as much as 40%. Facebook has reportedly met with advertising partners to discuss the impact the change will have on advertising when users have the ability to easily opt-out of cross-platform tracking.
Apple emphasizes again today that advertising that protects user privacy is possible. For example, Apple gives users the ability to disable ad personalization based on first-party data in the Settings app. For users with Personalized Ads enabled, Apple groups together users with similar characteristics, which ensures that a campaign can’t identify a given user.
Once available in 2021, the App Tracking Transparency feature will be accessible by opening the Settings app, then looking for the Privacy menu, and looking for the Tracking section. Apple also says that its new “nutrition labels” for app privacy will be required in the App Store starting on December 8.
Following the release of iOS 14.3 last month, Apple today stopped signing both iOS 14.2 and iOS 14.2.1 — which was only available for iPhone 12 models. That means users who have updated their devices to iOS 14.3 can no longer downgrade to iOS 14.2.
Among all the changes of iOS 14.3, the most notable one is the addition of the ProRAW photo format for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Apple announced the ProRAW feature for the new iPhones during its October event last year, but the feature was only released to users months later.
As for iOS 14.2, the updates brought new emojis, more wallpapers, and support for the HomePod Intercom feature. iOS 14.2.1 arrived a few days later with specific bug fixes for iPhone 12 models.
Reverting to older iOS builds is common for those with jailbroken devices. Restoring an iPhone or iPad to a previous version of iOS can sometimes be helpful for users who experience significant bugs after upgrading to the latest version of iOS.
If you have experienced any serious issues with iOS 14.3, unfortunately you’ll now have to wait until a future update is available rather than downgrading to iOS 14.2. The only possible downgrade for now is from the recently released iOS 14.4 beta to iOS 14.3.
Whether a $499 smartphone can qualify as “budget-friendly” is up for debate. But after extensive testing, what’s not up for debate is that the Google Pixel 4a 5G is the absolute best budget smartphone you can find in the price range. A 3,800mAh battery, a better-than-decent camera, a sleek design, and a powerful processor help catapult the Pixel over most of its competitors.
In fact, it’s got most of the same features as the $699 Pixel 5, though they diverge in several small but meaningful ways. It’s not water-resistant, it doesn’t have wireless charging, the battery is a tad smaller, and its display is 0.2 inches larger. It also sports a polycarbonate body, while the Pixel 5’s is aluminum. Despite the weird official naming, the Google Pixel 4a 5G is a totally different – and much better – phone than the Pixel 4a. The 4a is physically smaller, with a smaller battery, a slower processor, and (obviously) doesn’t have access to 5G.
While Google did release a “flagship” Pixel 5 this year, I think the more budget-friendly Pixel 4a 5G has stolen its thunder. The sleeper-hit is basically a bigger Pixel 5 that’s missing a few features, but $200 cheaper. That means skipping out on an IP rating, 90Hz display, a bit of RAM, and a metal (ish) build, but you get a bigger screen and a headphone jack, paired with with the same camera, internals, and the Pixel software experience. At just $500, this is my favorite phone of 2020.
The Pixel 4a 5G was announced on September 30, 2020, alongside the Pixel 5, the Google Nest Audio, and the latest Chromecast.
The Pixel 4a 5G is, in essence, the 5G-enabled version of the regular Pixel 4a, which came out on August 3. However, there are more upgrades to the Pixel 4a 5G. The phone has a bigger screen, features a faster Snapdragon 765G processor, and comes with a bigger battery.
Pixel 4a 5G is a value-oriented phone made for people who don’t want or need a flashy high-end phone. Like the Pixel 4a, the 4a 5G model’s strong points are its cameras, smooth software, and rock-solid update policy.
Google Pixel 4a 5G – Design and Features
It might sound a bit hyperbolic, but the Pixel 4a 5G is one of the best feeling phones I’ve ever held. The size is perfect for my hands. At 2.9 x 0.3 x 6.1 inches (W x D x H), it’s on the larger side – a full half-inch taller than the iPhone 11 Pro. But the Pixel 4a 5G can hide its size behind a weirdly sleek plastic frame, one that makes it feel sturdy, relatively high-quality, and much grippier than something like the aforementioned iPhone.
The Pixel 4a 5G could be confused with the smaller Pixel 4a at a glance. It has the same matte plastic unibody design, rear capacitive fingerprint sensor, hole-punch front-facing camera, and even identically sized bezels. The cutouts for microphones and speakers on the top and bottom, buttons on the right, SIM tray on the left, and ports on the bottom are all in exactly the same positions as the smaller phone. It’s impressively consistent. However, there are a few key changes, like the wider camera hump, which houses an extra wide-angle camera module, and the overall larger design.
As with the smaller phone, the Pixel 4a 5G’s matte plastic finish is a bit too finely textured and easily picks up oils from your hands. Though the plastic seems durable enough, it does accrue wear more quickly than metal or glass would; mine’s already marked up with a handful of barely-visible scratches from normal use in the last week. The fingerprint sensor itself is also too shallow when the phone is naked, though that’s probably a non-issue, because you’ll use a case. Outside that, it was entirely reliable.
The 4a 5G has a good heft to it, with a similar feeling of density in-hand when compared to the smaller Pixel 4a. The curved edges yeild a comfortable and ergonomic shape to hold, even for extended periods, though it’s a little less easily gripable than the smaller phone. I’d consider this the upper-limit of easy one-handed use.
Mid-range phones always have to strike a balance when they cut corners, and screens usually get the short end of the stick. Even last year’s Pixel 3a and 3a XL had pretty mediocre panels. But this year, Google seriously stepped up the quality of its displays. Like the smaller Pixel 4a, I have no complaints about the screen in the 4a 5G. It gets bright enough outside, dim enough at night, it’s visually quite sharp, and it doesn’t have any issues with uneven backgrounds or “green tint” in dark themes. Google tells us it hits up to 700 nits of brightness at peak and 2 nits at its dimmest, though there are a lot of ways to measure that which makes it hard to compare numbers with other phones. Sure, I’d prefer if it had a higher refresh rate or greater than 1080p resolution, but at this price, it’s hard to get too picky.
Like the Pixel 4a, you don’t have any IP-rated water resistance. While there are gaskets in its design, like around the SIM tray, there’s no way to know how aggressive the ingress protection is throughout the phone without an actual rating, so better to err on the side of caution and refrain from underwater photography or phone calls in downpours.
The stereo speakers work as usual via the top earpiece and bottom-firing speaker, and they sound slightly different compared to the 4a, just a little less shrill/treble-heavy with a more rounded sound and marginally more bass (though these are smartphone speakers and they’ll never thump). Haptics aren’t the best that Google‘s done, and a clear step back compared to the Pixel 4, but they’re marginally better and stronger than the 4a. At least, as a non-“flagship,” you get an actual headphone jack — score one over the more expensive Pixel 5.
In fact, I think it might make more sense to compare the Pixel 4a 5G to the Pixel 5, even though it shares a name with the Pixel 4a. It’s equipped with the same Snapdragon 765G and dual-camera configuration with a new wide-angle secondary. While the outward design and materials resemble the Pixel 4a, inside, this is basically a Pixel 5. Google even has a separate mmWave version of the 4a that will be sold by Verizon, bringing it almost to network parity with the Pixel 5 model sold in the US (minus a handful of Sub-6 bands). From a particular perspective, the phone would be better named the “Pixel 5 Lite.”
In more pure hardware terms, you get 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, which is good enough for a mid-range phone to last a few years. I’m glad that Google has stepped up and realized that’s the minimum these days, and I hope other manufacturers follow in its footsteps.
In the box, you get an 18W USB PD Type-C charger, a three-foot cable, a Type-C to Type-A adapter, a SIM-ejector tool, and the usual warranty cards and manuals.
Software, performance, battery life
Some disagree, but consider Google‘s vision of Android on the Pixels among the best out there, especially on Android 11. With the number of exclusive features Pixels get, we can’t quite say it’s “stock” anymore, but it’s probably the closest you can get with the deep changes most manufacturers implement now. And while it’s very, very hard to express why I like Pixel software so much, I’ll try.
First: The Google Assistant. I’m not as all-in when it comes to smart home hardware as my fellow Android Police editors — I don’t have any Nest cameras (yet) or thermostats — but I still use the Assistant daily on smart speakers, displays, and my phone to control lighting, play music, remotely harass my roommate, and enjoy a remote-free TV life. While I can do all that regardless of the phone in my pocket, Google‘s extra Pixel-exclusive Assistant features are so useful, I’d probably pay a subscription to get them on other phones.
Automatic call screening is among my favorite features. While some of the folks calling me don’t like it too much, spam calls are still a serious issue regardless of whatever progress carriers claim to be making. So the fact that the Assistant can automatically screen calls that come my way and filter out the junk is fantastic, saving me from multiple interruptions a day.
The Pixels also get Google’s snazzy “new” Assistant, with faster on-device recognition and Continued Conversation. That last feature means, once you’ve triggered the Assistant, you can issue follow-up contextual commands and not have to preface them with the hotword either. I use it quite a lot while driving, and I miss it on other devices; although it’s weird Google still doesn’t turn it on during setup.
Beyond the Assistant itself, there are other software perks to Pixel ownership. Google’s Recorder app, for example, comes in handy for us bloggers when taking notes at an in-person event (if we ever have those again). But if you’re the sort that likes dictating notes to yourself, it can just as easily be used for that. The Pixel Launcher is so simple and good I go out of my way to install an improved clone of it on other phones. And, from my perspective, Pixels are mostly free of bloatware; every app they come with is something I’d install myself on another device anyway because I’m so deeply integrated into Google’s ecosystem.
While Google’s software design can still be a little inconsistent across first-party apps (I can’t believe YouTube still refuses to fit in), it’s generally more cohesive than most other Android skins, and it meshes better with third-party apps since many follow Google’s Material guidelines. In total, that makes for a less jarring or disruptive visual experience when you use a Pixel compared to almost any other phone.
There are only a few things I don’t like about the Pixel software experience. For one, Google seems to have re-tuned things like animations to favor higher framerate displays, and something feels just a little bit off on the 60Hz screen on the 4a 5G. (We touched on the same thing in our Pixel 4a review.) I may be alone in this, but I also dislike the effect the hole-punch camera cutout has on software. Google pads it with enough space that its latest Pixels have the largest status bars I’ve seen in years — it’s even bigger than the Essential PH-1. It doesn’t need so much wasted space, and as tall as the screen is already, I don’t like giving it up more of it to empty padding.
Performance on the 4a 5G struck me as odd. The phone is clearly faster than the smaller Pixel 4a — side-by-side with last year’s Pixel 4, which has a higher-end chipset, it loads most apps in almost the same time — but it’s simultaneously more prone to so-called Android “jank” for me, dropping frames more often than the less capable Pixel 4a feels like it does. We know from experience with other phones that the Snapdragon 765G is a capable chipset, and yet something still feels off at times. I have to assume that it’s a software issue, and other curiosities like too-small resolutions for the first-party hole-punch wallpapers imply to me that we might see a sweeping bug-fix update land soon (we’ll update our coverage if and when that changes).
But outside that “jank” — imaginary or otherwise — the phone was plenty fast. The GPU may not be the most powerful, but it was strong enough for some light Fortnite as well as more casual titles. Day-to-day performance was also generally good, and I didn’t notice any issues with app slowdowns or freezes.
5G remains mostly useless, and I usually get slower speeds on T-Mobile’s 5G here in Boston than I do on LTE. If and when 5G becomes truly relevant, the 4a 5G will support it — though there’s 5G and then there’s 5G. While Verizon will be getting a version of the phone with mmWave, the “standard” unlocked version only supports sub-6Ghz 5G. That’s the 5G that actually matters for most of us, but it’s also the 5G that will make the least difference to things like speeds. Ultimately, there’s really no reason to go out of your way to buy a 5G phone right now unless it happens to come with it, but the 4a 5G does.
The 3,800mAh battery in the 4a 5G may not be the biggest you can get in a phone this size, but Google manages to stretch it out to last all day — and then some. While I look forward to putting it through its paces in more circumstances, the phone managed just over eight hours of screen-on time over two days, and this was in mixed use with a few hours of GPS navigation as a standalone Android Auto screen, browsing, reading, and taking photos across Wi-Fi, LTE, and 5G connections. I even tested this on Google Fi, which is notorious for wrecking battery life. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the 4a 5G may break 10 hours of screen-on time in a single day in certain use cases. In short: this is an even bigger battery champion than the smaller Pixel 4a was.
That’s good, because it’s not the most convenient phone to charge. While it can top up at 18W with the universal Power Delivery standard, and that’s enough for the majority of us that plug a phone in overnight, it lacks wireless charging for convenient topping-up during the day, and it doesn’t have an ultra-fast high-wattage charging mode for emergencies. Personally, I think 18W is still fine at this price, but more powerful specs like OnePlus’ Warp Charging have saved my butt in emergencies, and I’d like to see more phones support faster charging speeds.
Google‘s Pixels are known for having some of the best smartphone cameras you can get. Even with an older sensor, that remains true today — proof that software matters more than hardware in this era of computational photography. While I still prefer the utility of a telephoto, Google did convince me that the wide-angle camera can actually be useful with the Pixel 4a 5G.
The primary camera’s performance seems about equivalent to the Pixel 4, 4a, and prior Pixel phones. That makes sense, It’s using the same sensor and probably the same lens configuration. But there is one notable difference compared to last year’s Pixel 4: Camera processing takes a little longer. I’m told the Pixel 5 suffers the same behavior. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it is noticeable. Otherwise, you get the same hyper-real photos with great clarity, sharpness, and a tendency to favor slight underexposure (which makes for attractive contrast). Some super detailed, super high-contrast scenes can look a bit muddy on a very close crop (like the photo looking through the branches of a downed tree in the gallery above), but Google generally does an exceptional job preserving detail.
This, in tandem with the Pixel 5, is the first time Google has done a wide-angle camera in a Pixel, and it delivered. My biggest complaint is that its minimum focus distance is too far out, somewhere around two feet. That’s not unexpected, but it does mean I can’t use it for quite as many fun shots as I’d hoped. Though I did notice some very slight chromatic aberration (i.e., “purple fringing”) with leaves against the sky, it wasn’t too noticeable or distracting outside a crop, and I was stunned at the dynamic range.
Usually, the smaller aperture you get on wide-angle cameras means worse performance indoors or in poor lighting, and that isn’t the case here. Google’s wide-angle camera is equally good indoors our outdoors, and it even does okay in low-light. It’s definitely noisier in challenging circumstances than the primary, and even a tiny bit muddy with certain textures, but it does a great job. Although overall results are sharp enough, it’s also a little soft on a crop, and more likely to lose fine detail (like the leaves on the forest floor in some of the photos above). While both the primary and wide-angle suffer some unavoidable lens flare if bright lights like the sun are in scene, the long shape of the flare on the wide-angle camera is less pleasing and unexpected. Color balance between lenses in the same scene changed a little more than I hoped, but it was much more consistent than some manufacturers accomplish. For all I know, Google may actually be doing it intentionally to take a better shot.
The Google camera also has a couple new features like portrait light, that lets you dynamically adjust lighting for a portrait photo after the fact. It’s technically very cool, but I know I’ll never use it.
While I still lament it, the loss of the telephoto isn’t the end of the world. Google’s Super Res Zoom is probably the best software zoom solution out there, and it plugs the gap well enough. Paired with the wide-angle, the camera is now objectively more versatile, even if I know I would use a telephoto more often, myself.
Night Sight and Astrophotography are both still great features, and they both work with the wide-angle camera, though results are noisier and a bit streaky.
In short, Google made another amazing camera here, wide-angle and all. When the day finally comes for Google to switch to a bigger, more modern sensor in Pixels, the results will probably be incredible. But for now, it still takes the Android crown unless you need a sharper telephoto or wider wide-angle.
The more I ruminated on it over the last few days as I sat down to write this review, the harder I struggled to find things to complain about with this phone, and that’s weirdly high praise. When things are great, and nothing is really wrong, that’s a neutral state for a tool; it’s just doing what it should. It’s when things are bad, or something breaks, you can feel bothered or even frustrated. But the Pixel 4a 5G didn’t leave me complaining — and that’s enough to call it great in my mind.
Buy it if:
You want a Pixel 5 on a budget — it’s basically a bigger, “lite” version.
Camera performance, battery life, and price are your biggest concerns.
You’re so deeply integrated into Google’s services that you honestly can’t see a way out please help me.
Don’t buy it if:
You want The Real Flagship Experience™ and need more power, a smoother screen, and an IP rating.
Budget constraints are either narrower or looser — there are better values at both ends of the spectrum between the baby Pixel 4a and Samsung Galaxy S20 FE.
Google has taken a drastically different approach with the Pixel lineup. They’ve focused on providing a great user experience without maxing out the specs on the processor or the screen. The Pixel 5 maybe this year’s Google‘s flagship, but it’s not a flagship device as we know it.
Google did away with the finnicky radar sensors that enabled Motion Sense features on the Pixel 4 and 4 XL. Motion Sense wasn’t really as useful as the advertisements made it out to be. Because of this, the fingerprint scanner is back. Next, we don’t have the latest Snapdragon chipset on the Pixel, but we do get the capable Snapdragon 765G with support for 5G networks. Finally, the Pixel 5 swaps out the 2X telephoto from last year in favor of a new ultra-wide camera.
The overall form factor is far more manageable with a 6-inch display with a punch-hole selfie camera cut out and compact size. The Pixel 5‘s design is largely based on the Pixel 4a that came just weeks before it, but it comes with the slimmest bezels we’ve ever seen on a Pixel phone. It also has a beefier 4080mAh battery compared to the Pixel 4 XL’s 3,800 mAh. Combined with the power-efficient Snapdragon 765G, the Pixel 5 should also see improvements in battery life, but we’ll get to that.
Google Pixel 5 specs:
Body: 144.7 x 70.4 x 8 mm; 151g; Gorilla Glass 6 front, recycled aluminum enclosure reinforced with plastic; Colors: Just Black and Sorta Sage; IP68
The Pixel 5 does achieve something new. It’s got a housing made of recycled aluminum. However, it still supports wireless charging (and even supports reverse charging this year) – proving that smartphone makers don’t need to make fragile glass sandwiches to achieve the popular feature. Google did this by putting the charging coil on the outside of the housing before applying the texturized coating and ran the coil through holes cut out of the back of the chassis.
We can’t help but think that Google is taking a step backwards with the Pixel 5. However, its lower price and focus on experience may be in Google’s favor. The need for a cheaper headlining 5G smartphone is more urgent than in the past and its price point pins it up against the recently announced iPhone 12 Mini, the OnePlus 8T, and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE.
The camera hardware stays the same on paper, but we’re curious to see if the software has allowed advancements in imaging. We’ll keep an open mind and let you know if Google has solidified its software and camera experiences with the Pixel 5. Let’s move into the box and see what’s inside.
On the exterior, the Pixel 5‘s box shows the phone’s picture with the chosen coat of color. Our model is the “Sorta Sage”. The Pixel 5 comes with the bare necessities inside the box, which prominently features the #teampixel hashtag and 5G logos.
The phone comes with some documentation, a SIM tool, USB “Quick Transfer adapter”, 18W USB-C PD adapter, and USB-C charging/data cable. Google only included earbuds once with the Pixel 3 (XL) but later removed them for the Pixel 4 (XL) in the US.
The Google Pixel 5 is not your average glass sandwich as it’s got a body made of recycled aluminum. In fact, Google deserves praise for proving that phone makers don’t need to use plastic or glass to get a smartphone to support wireless charging. You see, aside from wireless charging, having a smartphone with glass on the back makes it much easier for RF signals to pass through and makes it more prone to damage. This metal body also makes the Pixel 5 the first 5G-enabled smartphone with a metal body construction (even if it’s partially metal).
As Google explains, the Pixel 5‘s charging coil is placed right on the outside of the aluminum chassis before the assembly is placed in an injection mold. The wiring for the coil passes through the metal shell before getting a layer of “bio-resin,” which is basically a thin plastic layer. After that, the body is smoothened out and coated with either the “Just Black” or “Sorta Sage” exterior coating.
Google says you won’t be able to feel the coil behind the coating and its reasoning for going with this structure of materials over plastic or glass is to keep the phone thin. This coating feels unlike any other Android smartphone. It feels like granite or sandstone that’s been smoothened out and soft to the touch. The grip here is superb and certainly better than that of any glass.
The 6-inch screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 6, and just like the Pixel 4a, the 5 has a punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera. Under strong light, we can faintly see the proximity sensor behind the display, just below the earpiece. We appreciate these little touches that help keep the bezels slimmer than ever.
Compared to the Pixel 4’s 5.7-inch display, the Pixel 5 has got a larger 6-inch screen that fits in a device that’s slimmer in every dimension, even shaving off some weight. This is due to the extra bulk that the radar sensors took up in the previous-gen Pixels. The Pixel 5 weighs 151g and measures 144.7 x 70.4 x 8 mm, and is rated IP68 water resistance.
On the left side is a SIM card tray with space for a single nanoSIM. Remember that the Pixel 5 also supports an internal eSIM for dual SIM connectivity. The right side has a volume rocker and ultra-shiny power key. The accented power key on the Sorta Sage Pixel isn’t painted in a different color as Google has done in the past. It has made this button and the “G” logo on the back shiny, giving them a nice contrast to the soft, textured exterior coating.
The fingerprint scanner can be seen and felt easily at the back. Meanwhile, although there’s a camera hump present, it doesn’t protrude enough to cause the phone to rock back and forth on a table.
There’s no headphone jack on the Pixel 5, just the one USB-C connector at the bottom. The left port is a microphone, and the right port is one of two loudspeakers. There’s also a tiny microphone hole in the camera square on the back.
The overall design very closely mimics the Pixel 4a but with a slightly larger display and, of course, the dual cameras. We are content with the rounded sides and high-grip material on the back of the Pixel 5. We are glad to see more phone makers revert to more compact form factors as things have been getting a little out of hand, pun intended.
The Google Pixel 5‘s price point positions it in the same space as the newly-announced iPhone 12 mini, the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, and the vivo X50 Pro. Although all of them are around the same price, some offer more value than others depending on your needs.
Then other packages offer the same or more for a lower price. The first device that comes to mind is the OnePlus Nord, which has twice as many cameras and runs the same chipset for less. The Nord even has faster Warp Charging, but it does omit wireless charging. The OnePlus 8T is priced like the Pixel 5 but offers high-end performance and 120Hz smoothness.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini are just arriving on the market, and this is the first year that these iPhones will offer 5G support. Their preliminary reviews reveal that battery life is weaker than their predecessors. Still, the iPhone cameras are top-tier, and iOS is smooth and responsive.
The Pixel 5 has improved video recording this year with its processing tweaks and new stabilization modes. Suppose you’re after something that’s going to give you an even more advanced video recording experience. In that case, the vivo X50 Pro has a micro gimbal built into the camera assembly with some nifty controls and shooting modes.
The LG Wing is an entirely different class. Aside from having a higher price, it’s experimental T-shaped form factor brings a fresh way to interact with a smartphone. Both it and the vivo X50 Pro are running the same Snapdragon 765G chipset with support for 5G networks.
The Google Pixel 5 is an evolution of the kind of smartphone that Google wants to offer. It solves the battery life issue that’s plagued all Pixel phones before it, and it’s taken a decision to switch up the hardware materials while keeping Google’s obsession with using non-standard textures and an understated design and overall look. We are also glad to see something more compact and pocketable arriving in a sea of super long glass slabs.
Google was creeping up on $1000 territory with the Pixel 4 XL but pumped the brakes with the Pixel 5 while cutting corners in just the right areas that don’t compromise the overall experience. The midrange processor might be a turn-off for some who would instead go with a cutting-edge chipset, which both Samsung and OnePlus will gladly sell you for the same price. In any case, performance is adequate for a smartphone in this day in age (as my colleague Prasad would attest), and the Snapdragon 765G will age gracefully.
Then there’s the camera, which feels more like a side-step than advancement. Although Google is adamant about the features and improvements to the camera, the software side of photography can only improve so much. We feel that this ceiling has been reached, and Google is due to put out a new Pixel with a more advanced camera. The Pixel 2’s camera was ahead of its time, but today the Google Pixel 5 is really just playing catch-up with the new ultra-wide camera. The selfie camera is also due for an update.
Google’s implementation of Android 11 on the Pixel 5 is smooth and consistent – perhaps the best stock Android has ever gotten. It will be interesting to see Google’s next step from here, but the Pixel 5 is a great first move for a lineup that’s bound to benefit from a future high-end Pixel 5 “Pro” model if there ever is one.
Less bezel, more screen, more pocketable
Plastic-reinforced metal build with two-directional wireless charging
Much-improved display brightness over Pixel 4
Speakers are loud
Superb battery endurance
Pixel-only features like Hold for Me and Robo Call-screening
Finally, an ultra-wide camera on a Pixel
Snapdragon 765G performance is severely handicapped in this phone
Recycled main camera hardware with incremental improvements to image quality
The end is officially here for Adobe Flash. As previously announced, Adobe has confirmed that it will no longer provide support for Flash Player after December 31, 2020, and it will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning on January 12, 2021.
The writing has been on the wall for the end of Adobe Flash for years. Way back in 2017, Adobe announced its plans to drop support for the Flash plug-in by the end of 2020, and it is now making good on that promise.
As Adobe has worked to wind down Flash over the last three years, Apple’s message has been consistent. The company emphasized on its WebKit blog at the time of Adobe’s announcement that the transition from Flash began in 2010 for Apple users:
Apple users have been experiencing the web without Flash for some time. iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch never supported Flash. For the Mac, the transition from Flash began in 2010 when Flash was no longer pre-installed. Today, if users install Flash, it remains off by default. Safari requires explicit approval on each website before running the Flash plugin.
But of course, the relationship between Apple and Adobe in regards to Flash had been strained for years, ever since Steve Jobs famously published his “Thoughts on Flash” piece back in 2010 to address what was a major point of criticism at the time for iPhones and iPads as computer replacements.
I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true.
In the letter, Jobs bemoaned Flash for its many flaws, including things like reliability, security, battery life, and performance. While Adobe contested Jobs’ claims at the time, Apple never did bring Flash to the iPhone and iPad, and Flash’s downfall began shortly thereafter.
Adobe has a website dedicated to providing information about the end-of-life plans for Flash, saying that users should uninstall Flash from their computers immediately to “help protect their systems.”
Since Adobe will no longer be supporting Flash Player after December 31, 2020 and Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021, Adobe strongly recommends all users immediately uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems. Some users may continue to see reminders from Adobe to uninstall Flash Player from their system.
Since Adobe will no longer be supporting Flash Player after December 31, 2020 and Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021, Adobe strongly recommends all users immediately uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems.
Some users may continue to see reminders from Adobe to uninstall Flash Player from their system. See below for more details on how to uninstall Flash Player.
UPDATED: December 2, 2020
As previously announced in July 2017, Adobe will stop supporting Flash Player after December 31, 2020 (“EOL Date”).
Open standards such as HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly have continually matured over the years and serve as viable alternatives for Flash content. Also, major browser vendors are integrating these open standards into their browsers and deprecating most other plug-ins (like Flash Player). See Flash Player EOL announcements from Apple,Facebook,Google,Microsoft and Mozilla.
By providing more than three years’ advance notice, Adobe believes that there has been sufficient time for developers, designers, businesses, and other parties to migrate Flash content to new standards. The EOL timing was in coordination with some of the major browser vendors.
After the EOL Date, Adobe does not intend to issue Flash Player updates or security patches. Therefore, Adobe will continue to prompt users to uninstall Flash Player and strongly recommends that all users immediately uninstall Flash Player.
To help secure users’ systems, Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021.
Major browser vendors will disable Flash Player from running after the EOL Date.
Flash Player may remain on your system unless you uninstall it. Uninstalling Flash Player will help secure your system since Adobe does not intend to issue Flash Player updates or security patches after the EOL Date. Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021 and the major browser vendors will continue to disable Flash Player from running after the EOL Date.
Click “Uninstall” when prompted by Adobe in Flash Player, or follow these manual uninstall instructions for Windows and Mac users.
Since Adobe is no longer supporting Flash Player after the EOL Date, Adobe will block Flash content from running in Flash Player beginning January 12, 2021 to help secure users’ systems. Flash Player may remain on the user’s system unless the user uninstalls it.
As the EOL Date approaches, the number of Flash-supported browsers and operating systems will continue to decrease so Adobe strongly recommends that all users immediately uninstall Flash Player.
Apple Safari version 14, released for macOS in September 2020, no longer loads Flash Player or runs Flash content. Please visit Apple’s Safari support for more information.
When it came to note-taking apps on mobile, Evernote was one of the earlier entrants. They helped popularize the idea behind the ability to sync your notes and also collaborate with other people on the same note in real-time, but this does not necessarily mean that the app is for everyone.
Some of you might have different needs and maybe you’re seeking an alternative to Evernote. If you are, you’ve come to the right place because here are some worthy Evernote alternatives that you can check out for Android and iOS.
Notion might not necessarily be an app that you have heard of, but it doesn’t detract from the app’s value and potential. In addition to being a decent note-taking app, Notion pulls double and triple duty by being an app that can help manage your workflow through Kanban-styled boards, timeline views, and more.
OneNote is an app developed by Microsoft that’s designed to be a note-taking app. It is a pretty straightforward app and comes with some features that Evernote users might actually be familiar with, but that’s a good thing. It can also sync over Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service, so if you have an account, it can back it up to the cloud quickly and easily and you’ll be able to access it from other devices like a computer.
If you don’t need a full-fledged word processor like Google Docs and want something small and simple to jot down your notes, it would be remiss of us if we did not include Google Keep on this list. Given that this is a Google product, it quite easily integrates across Google’s other services, so if you’re tied into the Google ecosystem, this is a no-brainer.
Dropbox made a name for themselves as being a cloud storage service, but the company has been slowly expanding on its offerings and Paper is one of them. If you’re someone who uses Dropbox quite a bit, then using Paper would make a lot of sense as not only does it allow users to take down notes, but they can also sync it and collaborate with other users.
Simplenote, as the name implies, is a very simple and straightforward note-taking application. If you’re just looking for something that takes down notes well and can sync across a multitude of platforms (it’s also available on Linux), then Simplenote is a great alternative to Evernote.
These days as we work from home, being able to collaborate digitally and virtually is slowly becoming a necessity, and Notejoy excels in that regard. Users can quickly make changes to their notes and documents that can then be synced with other users in the team. There is also the ability to include reactions, threaded discussions, note views, and more.
If you’re looking to take your note-taking and productivity to the next level, there’s a good chance that you might have heard of the Todoist app. This is not only a note-taking app, but a planner, project manager, and reminder app all in one. You can use it to track your goals for your current projects, collaborate with other users, and it also integrates with other apps and services like Gmail, Slack, and more.
If you just got a new iPhone, there are lots of things you can do to make the most of the great cameras you now have in your pocket. I’ve selected some of the best camera and photo editing apps that will help you enhance your shots with your iPhone.
Halide is probably the most popular app for those who take mobile photography seriously — and also one of my favorite apps for iPhone. It features all the advanced controls you’d expect from a professional camera, including shutter speed, ISO, and white balance adjustments.
However, Halide is more than a camera app with manual controls. The app has some unique features to enhance photos by using artificial intelligence and other technologies. For instance, iPhone XR and iPhone SE (2nd gen) users can take portrait photos of animals and objects even without having two rear camera lenses.
You can also capture high-quality RAW photos, check histograms and metadata information, adjust focus precisely with focus peaking, export the depth map of the images, set Siri shortcuts, and much more.
You can try Halide for free on the App Store. The app requires an annual subscription of $11.99 or a lifetime license of $39.99 after the 7-day trial period.
After taking some great photos with your iPhone, you’ll need some professional tools to edit them — but don’t think you need a computer for that. Darkroom is one of my favorite photo editors since it is available not only for iPhone but also for iPad and Mac.
One of the best things about Darkroom is that the app is extremely intuitive and easy to use, even if you are not a professional photographer. The app comes integrated with the iCloud Photo Library, so you don’t have to waste time selecting and importing the photos you want to edit.
With Darkroom, you can adjust the brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows, color temperature, and other details of the photos you’ve already taken. In fact, the app also lets you edit videos and even Live Photos. In addition, you’ll also find a curve editor, watermark options, advanced support for RAW photos, and even integration with the Halide app.
The best part is that you can use most of the features of Darkroom for free, which is available on the App Store. There’s a $19.99 annual subscription to unlock all the app features.
Focus is a must-have app for those who love taking portrait photos with the iPhone. While Apple took some time to let users change the level of blur in the backgrounds of portrait photos, Focos app offers this option since its release in 2017.
But Focos goes beyond adjusting the blur of the portrait photos as it generates different diaphragms with multiple bokeh spot effects and presets that simulate the feeling of professional lenses in the photos. There are even options to add 3D lighting and change the photo’s depth map to refine the blurred background.
What’s more impressive is that Focos uses AI to create an artificial depth map for any photo, even if it wasn’t taken with iPhone’s Portrait Mode. It’s amazing what you can do with your photos with this app.
Focus is available for free on the App Store, but some features require a $7.99 annual subscription or a $12.99 lifetime license.
Adobe Lightroom is the famous photo editor used by many professionals around the world, and although it is known for its desktop version, Adobe also offers a mobile version of Lightroom for iOS.
It’s extremely easy to edit your photos in Lightroom for iOS, even if they were taken in RAW. The app includes options to adjust lighting, colors, effects, details, and more. You can even distort photos, apply lens corrections, or use the automatic mode to set the best settings for that image. It also features different color profiles and settings presets.
If you’re subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud, you can synchronize everything between the mobile and desktop versions of the app — so you can start editing a photo on your iPhone and then finish it on your Mac or iPad.
Since a camera is not made only of photos, this list wouldn’t be complete without an app to work on videos. DoubleTake is an app created by the same company behind FiLMiC Pro and it enables a new way to record videos with your iPhone.
Sometimes capturing video from just one camera is not enough, which is why DoubleTake came with a simple yet smart solution. If you ever needed to record the video from two different angles in order to create more professional-looking content, the app lets you choose two of the iPhone cameras to capture everything at the same time.
You can choose from ultra-wide, wide, telephoto, and selfie lenses to start a multi-cam video. The app also lets you switch between 24, 25, and 30 frames per second. There are no complicated settings or anything like that — all you need to do is open the app, choose the cameras you want, and start recording.
With these apps listed here, you have everything you need to start shooting and editing like a pro with your iPhone. While there are some paid apps like Halide, you can find great alternatives to enhance your photos for free on the App Store.
Motorola has announced which of its phones will receive an update to Android 11, along with some of the new features to expect. The list of phones is long; if you purchased a Motorola device in the past 12 months or so, chances are you’re covered.
Here’s the full list:
motorola razr 5G
motorola razr 2019
motorola one 5G
motorola one action¹
motorola one fusion
motorola one fusion+
motorola one hyper
motorola one vision
moto g 5G
moto g 5G plus
moto g fast
moto g power
moto g pro
moto g stylus
moto g9 play
moto g9 plus
moto g9 power
moto g8 power
Lenovo K12 Note
According to Motorola, Moto users should expect features like Chat Bubbles, streamlined device and media controls, and improved privacy settings. We also confirmed earlier this month that as part of Motorola’s Android 11 update, some of its phones will support a new Desktop Mode.
It’s unclear which Motorola devices will support the new mode, but we got a brief glimpse at it possibly running on the Moto G 5G Plus. Either that or it was the company’s upcoming Snapdragon 865-powered “nio” handset.
The plan right now is for Motorola to roll out Android 11 “in the coming months.” Unfortunately, we have no exact dates, and Motorola warned that its current plans could change. “This information communicated is not a commitment or an obligation to deliver any product, product feature, software update or functionality and Motorola Mobility reserves the right to change the content and timing of any product, product feature or software release,” Motorola wrote in a blog post.
Motorola said that the rollout of Android 11 is also influenced by partner support. Hopefully, we’ll see Motorola release Android 11 sooner rather than later. There’s a long list of devices expected to get the update, and we’re hoping Motorola can hit every one on the list.
Motorola released a list devices it plans to update to Android 11.
All of the phones on the list came out in either 2019 or 2020.
After all the disappointment 2020 brought with it, you might have hoped a company like Motorola would have tried to end the year on a high note. But that’s not to be the case. The company shared its Android 11 upgrade plans, and they’re no better than anything Motorola has put together over the past couple of years.
As you can see from the list below, if you own a Motorola phone that came out before 2019, don’t expect the company to push the latest version of Google’s operating system to your device. What’s more, even if you own a Moto phone from 2019 or 2020, you may end up waiting a while to get anything. Motorola says it will begin rolling out Android 11 “starting in the coming months, pending partner support.” In other words, expect a potentially long wait, particularly if you don’t own one of the higher-end devices on the list like the Razr 5G or Edge.
If you happen to own a Motorola One Action you bought in North America, you’re also out of luck. Motorola only plans to update the Latin American and European variants of that phone to Android 11 since it’s included in Google’s Android One program in those places. Even by Motorola’s lacklustre support standards, this is not a great showing for the company.
Thankfully, update lists like the one above may become less common in the future. Google and Qualcomm recently announced a partnership to deliver four years of support to future Snapdragon-equipped devices. That pledge is likely to help low-end and mid-range devices the most.
Apple continues its focus on privacy and security with some new resources on how to protect your devices, accounts, and personal safety. Let’s look at the recommended steps to check who can access your iPhone, other Apple devices, and Apple accounts.
Apple has published a new support guide this week that offers users an in-depth guide at managing their data and information on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac. The new document is entitled “Device and Data Access when Personal Safety is At Risk.”
Apple says that the goal of this new manual is to “help you identify risks, and walk you through the steps to help make the technology you rely on as private and secure as you want it to be.” The company explains that its devices make it easy to connect and share data with other users, friends, and family members, but that there are scenarios where you need to revoke previously-granted access to things like location data, photos, and more.
Apple makes it easy to connect and share your life with the people closest to you. What you share, and whom you share it with, is up to you — including the decision to make changes to better protect your information or personal safety.
If you’d like to revisit what you share with other people, or restore your device’s original settings for any reason, this guide can help you understand what information you are sharing via your Apple devices, and how to make changes to protect your safety. It includes step-by-step instructions on how to remove someone’s access to information you’ve previously granted: from location data on the Find My app, to meetings you’ve scheduled via Calendar.
If you’re concerned that someone is accessing information you did not share from your Apple device, this guide will also help you identify risks, and walk you through the steps to help make the technology you rely on as private and secure as you want it to be.
The document itself is 20 pages long, and it includes in-depth details on things like managing location sharing, using the Find My app, protecting your Apple ID, setting up or managing Family Sharing, and much more.
The company has also published a trio of separate checklists with important tips for managing privacy and sharing with other people:
This is an incredibly important document for Apple to have published. You can find the full PDF right here for easy sharing with friends and family members who might find themselves in search of these tips.
Apple published its new 20-page support guide called “Device and Data Access When Personal Safety is at Risk.” And whether you’ve got some specific personal safety concerns or are just ready for a privacy and security checkup, following along with the steps below is a great idea.
How to check who can access your iPhone, other Apple devices, and Apple accounts
Here’s what Apple recommends:
Check what devices are associated with your Apple ID
On iPhone and iPad, look at the devices that are signed in with your Apple ID by going to Settings > Your Name > Swipe down below Family Sharing
On Mac you can head to System Preferences > Apple ID > Look for your devices on the left
If you don’t have two-factor authentication turned on, that’s a very important piece of securing your devices, accounts, and personal data
Check your apps
Check through all your installed apps looking for anything unexpected
Look for unexpected profiles
On iPhone and iPad, look under Settings > General for a Profiles section. Businesses, schools, and organizations are the most likely to install profiles but you can check to see if your device has one. The Profiles section won’t appear if there a none installed on your device. Profiles give additional access and privileges to Apple devices.
Keep in mind you won’t want/or be able to remove profiles if required by your employer/school/etc.
Going further on who can access your iPhone, iPad, more