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Monday, November 12, 2018

Apple announces iPhone X Display Module Replacement Program for phones with touch problems By Roman Loyola

Apple on Friday announced a new repair program for owners of the iPhone X. The iPhone X Display Module Replacement Program provides a fix for those having problems with the touchscreen.

According to Apple’s support document, the issue at hand is whether the iPhone X does not respond to touch, intermittently stops responding to touch, or the screen reacts without being touched. If your iPhone X is experiencing these issues, you may be able to have it fixed for free.

The fix involves replacing the display module and the service must be done by an Apple authorized service provider or at the Apple store.

If you paid for a prior fix for this problem, Apple says you may be eligible for a refund for the service.

Get more details about the iPhone X Display Module Replacement Program.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Bait and fix: Apple is basically forcing you to get AppleCare for your new MacBook Pro By Michael Simon

The new MacBook Pros aren’t cheap. The least expensive 13-inch model costs $1,800 and goes all the way up to $6,700 for the maxed-out 15-inch model with a 2.9GHz Intel Core i9 processor. And now there’s a hidden catch that might make them way more expensive.

Along with the high price tag and any dongles you may need to purchase to get your old USB-A devices up and running, you might be in for a rude awakening if you try to fix your new MacBook Pro.
As reported by Motherboard, Apple has introduced new software locks with its new laptops that “will render the computer ‘inoperative’ unless a proprietary Apple ‘system configuration’ software is run after parts of the system are replaced.”
The new policy, which is also being implemented on the $5,000 iMac Pro, only refer to major repairs, but it’s pretty much covers everything you’d need to get fixed: the display, logic board, top case (which includes the keyboard and trackpad), and Touch ID sensor. Once the locks kick in, the computer “will only begin functioning again after Apple or a member of one of Apple’s Authorized Service Provider repair program runs diagnostic software called Apple Service Toolkit 2.”

Why this matters: Apple hasn’t exactly been up-front about this new policy, and some purchasers may be in for a surprise when they try to fix their MacBook after their limited one-year warranty runs out. Apple has long been making its products unrepairable by soldering RAM and gluing screens, but this is different. Apple should be telling people at the point of sale that they will need to take their MacBook to an authorized repair shop if it breaks and giving them an option to buy Apple Care. AppleCare isn’t cheap, but it’s still better than paying for a new screen or motherboard.

This probably isn’t the last we’ll hear of this issue. Not only will it likely extend to the new Macs Apple is likely to release later this month, it’s also at the heart of a new Right to Repair bill currently being pushed in 19 states, including Apple’s home state of California. Motherboard reports that Apple is fighting the legislation, which will come as no surprise to anyone who has tried to repair an Apple product recently.

AppleCare or broke

The issue is with the T2 chip. It’s a separate chip responsible for things like the FaceTime camera and the Touch Bar, but it also validates the entire boot process when the power comes on, an extra security step to that verifies everything is trusted. If it’s not—in the case of a repair, for instance—your Mac won’t start. So you’ll need to take it to an Apple Store, where you will most certainly be charged, possibly for a whole new repair if the original one doesn’t meet Apple’s standards.

That means the days of getting a pentalobe screwdriver and trying to save your MacBook at home are over. And it also puts a severe dent in the third-party repair shops that aren’t authorized by Apple. You know, the ones you go to get a reasonable price on your MacBook repair. So Apple’s leaving us with two options:
  • Keep your fingers crossed that nothing goes wrong with your expensive new MacBook Pro for three-plus years.
  • Spend $269 (13-inch) or $379 (15-inch) on AppleCare+ for Mac and get two additional years of hardware repairs.
AppleCare will ensure that when something goes wrong with your new MacBook withing the first three years, you can bring it to the Apple Store and they’ll fix it properly and for free. And it applies to accidental damage too, though you’ll have to pay a deductible of $99 for “screen damage or external enclosure damage, “or $299 for “other damage.”

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Otherwise, you might fix your Mac but still find out that it’s an expensive paperweight.

What's the difference between your modem and router? By Shannon Drake

Whether you're calling your internet provider for help or talking to your kid, getting technical support can be frustrating. Between all the abbreviations (LTE! Mbps!) and the secret code language for all the computer stuff, you just want a translator to explain why the Wi-Fi is down. Sometimes even two little grey boxes that look the same do completely different things.

What's a modem? What's a router? Why does it matter when the Wi-Fi keeps going down?

Don't get your Ethernet cables in a tangle! America's digital goddess is here to help with some simple explanations for all that frustrating language.

Your home network

Before we talk about modems, we need to talk about networks. People used to just have a single family computer in the living room for internet access. That may still be the case, but everything wants out on the web these days. Everyone may have laptops and tablets, then smartphones all need an internet connection, even the TV needs a way to talk to the cable company if you want to watch your shows. You might even have a smart speaker like Alexa or Google Home that helps make life easier. Whether you know it or not, you have a network.

The network of networks

If your home network wants to connect to all the other networks out there -- be it your best friend across the country or your streaming provider so you can watch movies -- they all have to be speaking the same language, and those requests and information all have to get from place to place. The internet is just a network of networks talking to each other.

What does a modem do?

Your modem is the pathway for all your devices to speak with networks across the world. When you tell Netflix you want to start a movie, or your toddler wants to see the next YouTube video, that device sends out a request.

"Modem" means "modulator-demodulator." It sounds pretty Star Trek, but what it does isn't so space age. A modem takes that request to play a movie or watch a video and translates it into signals that can travel across the wires that connect your house to your internet provider, and from there into the wider world.

Once the answers or information comes back to your house -- "Okay, here’s the movie!" -- something has to translate it from signals that can cross a wire back into that romantic comedy you're finally getting to watch.

So what about routers?

However, the journey doesn't end there. Once the data arrives and your modem decodes it, it has to get where it's going. There are usually many different streams with lots of different information, so you want to watch Mamma Mia, but your son is trying to do homework and your daughter is playing Fortnite. If his Social Studies pops up where your Abba songs should be, things are going to get tense. That's where routers come in.

A router sends the incoming data where it needs to go and keeps track of which stream of data goes where. It's the traffic cop that keeps everyone from finding out about your secret love of musicals or keeps everyone from being subjected to a long lecture on the War of 1812.

Routers also handle a lot of the work of managing your home network. They do things like run the Wi-Fi connections, use a firewall to keep out hackers, and manage the quality of service, so your movie stays in high definition even when someone else is downloading more homework.

Many internet providers nowadays use a box that combines both functions. The wire from your wall might go to a combination modem and router, which decodes the traffic and sends it where it needs to go without you having to lift a finger. Sometimes, technology is amazing. At least until the Wi-Fi goes down.

Best routers to fix your Wi-Fi using the new mesh networks

Oh, the frustrating challenges of an inconsistent Wi-Fi connection. There are plenty of reasons your Wi-Fi keeps dropping at your home or office - signal congestion, physical location, firmware issues, hardware limitations or maybe your space is just too big for your router coverage. If the latter is the case, you can try setting up network extenders to cover dead spot rooms. Although cheap, the downside with network extenders is that they are slower than your main Wi-Fi connection. Tap or click here to learn more.

Apple iPhone 8 Logic Board Replacement Program FAQ: Everything you need to know By Michael Simon

While the rest of the internet was busy dissecting the iPhone event invitation and digesting the unprecedented leaked official renders, Apple quietly launched a new repair program for the soon-to-be-outdated iPhone 8. Apple has apparently determined that “a very small percentage of iPhone 8 devices contain logic boards with a manufacturing defect.” Here’s everything you need to know about getting your phone fixed:

What exactly is the problem?

Apple says affected devices may experience unexpected restarts, a frozen screen, or won’t turn on at all. It sounds a lot like the battery issue that affects older iPhone models.

Which iPhones does the program cover?

Apple says only iPhone 8 devices are included in the replacement program. It does not extend to the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

I bought my phone on launch day last year. Is it covered?

Yes, Apple says all phones manufactured between September 2017 and March 2018 are eligible for replacement.

I don’t live in the U.S. Am I still covered?

Yes. Apple says the affected models were sold in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Macau, New Zealand, and the U.S.

How do I know if my phone is affected?

If you’ve been experiencing any of the issues above, then you probably have one of the bad logic boards. To be sure, you can enter your serial number on this page to see if your phone is eligible for a repair. You'll need your serial number, which you can find by going to the Settings app, tapping General and then About.

My phone is eligible. What do I do?

You have one of three options:

My phone isn’t eligible but I’ve been having issues. What do I do?

Hurry up and get to an Apple Store before your warranty expires. The iPhone 8 launched on September 22, 2017, so all phones are still covered under the Apple’s warranty, whether or not an extended AppleCare+ warranty was purchased.
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Will the repair cost me anything?

No, Apple will repair eligible devices free of charge.

I’m on the iPhone Upgrade Program. Should I just wait for the new phones?

If you’re able to deal with the problem for a couple weeks and were planning on upgrading anyway, then sure. Once the new phones go on sale, you’ll be able to swap your affected iPhone 8 for a new phone just like usual.

Office 2019 Has Arrived. Here’s Why You Probably Won’t Care. by Walter Glenn

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the availability of Office 2019 to volume licensing customers, promising general retail availability in the coming weeks. Unless you’re a business customer looking to upgrade and you’re not ready to move your Office life to the cloud, this probably won’t matter to you.

What is Office 2019?

Office 2019 is the stand-alone, perpetual license version of Office. It’s just like Office was in the days before the subscription-based Office 365 was in play. You make a one time purchase, and you get to keep on using it as long as you want—on one PC or Mac. The consumer version, Office Home & Business 2019, isn’t available yet, but Microsoft has announced the price—$249.

That sounds okay. Why not avoid a subscription fee for Office 365 and buy a perpetual license? Well, there are a few reasons.

Microsoft Is Clearly Downplaying Office 2019

That screenshot above is from Microsoft’s Office 2019 landing page, and it starts right off with equivocating language: “For customers who aren’t ready for the cloud” is partly straight talk and partly subtle dark pattern manipulation. Microsoft clearly designed Office 2019 as a stop gap for companies that aren’t ready to move to a subscription-based model. Fair enough. But it also starts digging at you a little bit and making it clear that you’re missing out if you’re not going with Office 365.

Scroll down a bit past two whole feature points (“create with ease” and “simplify your work”), and you get to this:

Not trying real hard to sell us on the whole Office 2019 deal, are they?

The truth is that back in May, Microsoft decided to freeze the code for Office 365—a continually updated subscription version of Office—and issue that as Office 2019. It doesn’t even have all the features that Office 356 has right now, just a subset of those features.

It’s pretty clear that going forward, Microsoft is considering Office 365 the real version and Office 2019 pretty much an afterthought required for customers that have resisted the subscription model.

Office 365 Still Offers More Features and Is Probably a Better Deal

So let’s talk a bit about Office 365. Yes, it might sound like a pain to pay yet another subscription fee, but believe it or not, it’s a pretty great deal.

Take the Office 365 Home subscription, for example. It runs $99 per year, and this is what you get with it:
  • Six different users can install the full desktop version of Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, and so on) on however many devices they want. The only restriction is that each person can only use Office on one of their devices at a time—not a big deal. They also get access to the mobile and online apps.
  • Each of those six users gets a full terabyte of OneDrive space all to themselves.
Honestly, it’s hard to find that good a deal just on that much storage space, let alone access to the Office apps. We’ve done a full write up of why Office 365 is such a great deal, so we won’t go into full detail here. But do the math. If you’ve got five or six people who need access to Office on some different PCs, you’re looking at over $1,000 for Office 2019 licenses (a bit less if some of them qualify for the education edition). That’s a solid ten years of Office 365 subscription goodness.

RELATED: Why Microsoft’s Office 365 is a Great Deal
Plus, let’s take a look at how Office 365 compares to Office 2019. Office 2019 is a buy it once, and you’re done until you buy another version deal. You’ll get security updates, but no big feature updates. Office 365, on the other hand, gets updated regularly with new features.

Oh, and one other thing. Office 2019 will only run on Windows 10 and on whatever are the three most recent versions of macOS. Yes, the macOS requirement shifts for some reason. According to Microsoft: “When a new version of macOS is released, the Office 2019 for Mac Operating System requirement becomes the then-current three most recent versions: the new version of macOS and the previous versions.” It’s a little strange.

Office 365, on the other hand, currently works with Windows 7, 8, and 10, but also uses that three-version shifting scheme for macOS.

How Does Office 2019 Compare to Office 2016?

Office 2019 does offer some of the new features incorporated into Office 365 since the release of Office 2016. This includes features like the following:
  • Improved inking in all the Office apps
  • A PowerPoint Morph transition that lets you create the appearance of movement between similar slides
  • Some new chart types in Excel
  • A Focus Mode in Word that hides onscreen window elements to help minimize distraction.
  • A Focused Inbox in Outlook that keeps your important messages separate from all the less important ones
  • Some better integration with the newer Microsoft servers and services (like Teams)
There are some more features we didn’t list, but it’s not much, honestly. Businesses might be interested in upgrading, especially if they’re using some of those services and need better integration. But for home and small business users, there’s nothing that compelling there. If you’ve already got Office 2016 and it’s working well for you, there’s not much reason to upgrade.

If you’re sporting an older version like 2013 or 2010, then yes, there’s a lot of interesting stuff in the newer versions. But still, subscribing to Office 365 is probably the better bet. You’ll get better support, more features, and a cheaper price tag in the long run.

How to Find Out if You Were Affected by the Recent Facebook by Hack Lowell Heddings

A few weeks ago, Facebook had to admit that up to 50 million accounts were accessed by hackers, and after an investigation, they’ve created a tool to let you know if you were affected.

For those that had no idea that this happened, essentially hackers abused a security hole in the “View As” feature on your profile that let you check whether your profile had private information visible to other people, friends, or the general public. Ironically this feature, designed to help you protect your privacy, had a huge bug that would actually temporarily log you in as the other user. Hackers then figured out how to harvest tons of information this way.

Facebook has now confirmed that hackers stole access tokens for “only” 30 million people, not 50 million. For 15 million of those people, the hackers were able to get phone number, email address, or both. And for 14 million more people, the hackers were able to get a lot more information, like username, gender, relationship status, religious, birthday, and a ton of other information including things you’ve searched for.
We now know that fewer people were impacted than we originally thought. Of the 50 million people whose access tokens we believed were affected, about 30 million actually had their tokens stolen.
You can check whether you were affected by visiting the update page on Facebook’s Help Center and scrolling down to the bottom, where you’ll see a notice like this, which will indicate whether you were or weren’t hacked. As you can see, my account was not accessed.

So What Does This Mean for Me?

It’s worth noting that details like those accessed by hackers are often used to guess security questions and access other, more useful, accounts. There has been a huge increase in CryptoBlackmail, where hackers steal information about you, and then send you detailed threats to expose private information about you if you don’t pay them.

RELATED: Don’t Fall For the New CryptoBlackmail Scam: Here’s How to Protect Yourself
We know that the Facebook hackers were not able to steal any of your passwords, and they did not use these access tokens to get into any other third-party accounts.

If you were affected, the main thing that you should consider is that information that was accessed about you could be used to answer security questions on other sites to reset your password. You should never use common facts about yourself as the answer to security questions, and if you have, you should change them.

And just like every other day of the week, it’s time to start considering using a password manager if you haven’t already—iOS 12 has fantastic autofill that makes it a no-brainer. And to further protect your accounts, make sure you’re using two-factor authentication everywhere, even if it’s just the SMS variety.

How to Go to Sleep on Time with Bedtime, iPhone’s Sleep Cycle & Alarm Clock App by iPhone Life

The iPhone's Bedtime feature is a sleep app, an alarm clock app, and a sleep tracker app all in one. Best of all, since Apple wants to help us all get a better night’s sleep, Bedtime has been included in the Clock app since iOS 10. Now, don’t panic; Alarm is still very much alive within the Clock app too, but Bedtime has the added benefit of allowing you to see how much sleep you’ll get with the sleep schedule you have, and it will also remind you when it’s time for bed each night. If you’re like me, you want to see “just one more” episode of that show you’re obsessively watching, which means you’re also going to be tired at three in the afternoon tomorrow. Let the Bedtime feature in the Clock app help you set a better schedule. Here’s how to use Bedtime on your iPhone to help you improve your sleep health.
Another benefit of the Bedtime feature in the Clock app (one of my favorites) is that you have different ringtones available for waking you up. The tones found in Bedtime are meant to slowly lull you out of sleep instead of startling you awake. The Health app will also use the information gathered from Bedtime in the Clock app to show your sleep analysis. You can set Bedtime to go off every day or only on specific days. Let’s jump in, and we’ll go over all of your options.

How to Enable Bedtime in the Clock App  

  • Open the Clock app on iPhone.
  • Tap the Bedtime tab at the bottom of the screen.
  • At the top, toggle on Bedtime.
  • From here, you can drag each end of the circle to change your Bedtime and Wake time easily. At the center, it tells you how much sleep you will get if you go to sleep and wake up at the times you’ve set.
  • For example, I’ve set the Bedtime to 10:25 pm and the Wake time to 6:40 am, which means I would get 8 hours and 15 minutes of sleep.


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sleep app
  • Below this circle, you’ll see Sleep Analysis. This lets you look at your week of sleeping at a glance. To see how you’ve slept in the past, tap More history. The Health app will open.

alarm clock app

How to Change Settings: Set Alarm, Cancel Alarm, Change Alarm Clock Sound, Set Bedtime Reminders

This part will teach you how to change what days of the week Bedtime and Wake goes off, when you’re reminded to go to sleep, the Wake Up Sound, and Volume. To access this:
  • Tap Options in the upper left corner of the main screen in Bedtime.
  • The first option you’ll see is Days of the Week. Tap each day of the week to turn Bedtime on or off for that day.

iphone bedtimesleep cycle app
  • Next is Bedtime Reminder. Tap this to change when it will remind you about your Bedtime. It can alert you at Bedtime, or 15, 30, 45 minutes, or 1 hour before.

sleep tracker appbest sleep app
  • Below that is Wake Up Sound. Tap this to change the sound that wakes you up.

sleep cycle alarm clockwake up alarm
  • Go back to Bedtime Options. The last option is Volume. If you’re a heavy sleeper, turn the volume all the way up.
  • Tap Done.

best alarm clock app
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