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MacLife January 2021

Mac|Life is the leading independent magazine devoted to all things Apple. For over five years, Mac|Life has helped both new and veteran users get more out of their iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more, with coverage that cuts through today's glut of apps and accessories to find what matters most. With a bright, clean design and casual tone, Mac|Life offers an easy and enjoyable way to keep up with the latest Apple trends and topics.

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United States
Future Publishing Ltd
12 Issues

in this issue

5 min
what else is new in ipados 14?

Many of iPadOS 14’s default apps now have sidebars that visibly organize your content. Like the earlier introduction of the Files app, this acknowledges a need resisted in early versions of iOS for fear of complicating things. The Files app itself showcases new desktop–style pull–down menus, reminiscent of macOS Big Sur. These complement the now ubiquitous options menus, which pop down from an icon showing three dots in a circle. More thought has also gone into the pickers that pop up to let you set a calendar date or select a photo from outside the Photos app. INTERACTION PLAN iPadOS 13 had already brought the ability to control a cursor with a connected mouse or the Magic Keyboard’s trackpad, which is compromised only by a scarcity of full support in third–party apps. We…

5 min
scribble, notes, and messages

Scribble is a new core ability of iPadOS. Almost anywhere you’d expect to enter text with the keyboard, you can now write with your Apple Pencil, and your scrawl is recognized as characters. This also works with direct Pencil alternatives like the Logitech Crayon, but may not with other third–party styluses. The Notes app goes further, storing your handwriting both graphically and as text. Scribble analyzes how you make strokes, not just the end result. This helps to make it surprisingly accurate, even with cursive (joined–up) writing. Forming letters idiosyncratically can trip it up, though: if you draw a clear A, but from right to left, it won’t be recognized. So far, Scribble only works for English and Simplified Chinese, and trying to write in another language exposes how heavily it’s relying…

5 min
ipad air (2020)

From $599 From Apple, apple.com Features 10.9–inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone, A14 Bionic chip, 64GB or 256GB storage, Wi–Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi–Fi + Cellular connectivity option Ever since it made its debut in 2013, the iPad Air has been in Apple’s tablet sweet spot, delivering both great performance and features while remaining affordable. The 2020 model on test here is no different. And yet it’s dramatically different — in every way. For one thing, there’s its design. Now more akin to the all–screen iPad Pro, the 2020 iPad Air boasts a 10.9–inch edge–to–edge display (up from last year’s 10.2–inch) and has been given a radical new case design with flat edges just like the iPhone 12. That all–screen design also means Apple has ditched the Home button, shifting its Touch ID…

1 min
best smart padlocks

1 Igloohome Smart Padlock $109.98 igloohome.co Igloohome’s excellent padlock allows you to send people one–time passcodes from afar and unlock via Bluetooth. It’s fully weatherproof, too. 2 Master Lock Bluetooth Smart Padlock $149.01 masterlock.com With a strong boron shackle, this lock isn’t easily forced open. But its unlock method (which involves inputting codes videogame–style on a pad) is easily bypassed. 3 Master Lock Heavy Duty Biometric Padlock $164.20 masterlock.com Unlockable with a fingerprint, you can store up to 10 individual fingerprints. It also includes the same four–way keypad as Master Lock’s Bluetooth lock.…

1 min

$1.99 From Crescent Moon Games, crescentmoongames.com Made for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch Needs iOS 9.0 or later Text–based adventures may feel like a relic of the past, but Ord brings a fresh take to the classic dungeon–crawler. This is a game dominated by words and the choices you make based on how you interpret them. Choose a story and you’re presented with three words: the top one is a prompt, the other two are your options. You come across “Road,” for example. Do you pick “Examine” or “Hitchhike”? You rarely know the consequences beforehand, but your choices affect how the story plays out, and each adventure has many branches leading to dozens of endings. Occasionally the pattern is broken and only one option is offered, compelling you down a single path. Are you ever really in…

3 min
6 apps to delight book lovers

Winter usually means more nights at home, and that’s truer than ever this year. Still, for bookworms at least that means even more time for settling down with a good book. Here, we’ve chosen some apps to help you get the most out of your literary habits, from finding new books to discussing them with a like–minded community. You’ll notice that we haven’t chosen Apple Books or Amazon Kindle here — it seems like a waste of space since these are already the go–to ebook store/reading apps. We’re looking at the less well-known options, giving book lovers new options and ideas for how to engage with one of the oldest and most comforting pastimes. AUDIBLE: AUDIOBOOKS & PODCASTS $14.95/month Made for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch Okay, this might not be that less well–known, but if…