About the Author

Benjamin Mayo


Follow Benjamin on Twitter to keep up with his latest projects. Benjamin blogs about Apple news and rumors, and posts insightful product and app reviews. Read his work on 9to5Mac and his personal blog.

Benjamin Mayo also creates apps for iOS as a professional indie developer and contractor; more details here. Email to discuss making your iOS project a reality.

Benjamin Mayo's Favorite Gear


iPhone time limit: How to set a time limit for a specific app on iOS 12

Screen Time in iOS 12 offers a lot of different options for reining back how much you, or your kids, use your iPhone and iPad. You can track your activity, and also set time limits for apps and categories of apps to ensure you get some downtime. Here’s how to set an iPhone time limit for a specific app that you just can’t put down.

October 12

When Apple announced the iPhone XS and iPhone XR last month, it began selling a range of cases for the XS, including its usual Apple-branded silicone and leather cases. However, it did not appear to talk about any official accessories for iPhone XR.

It turns out — it did. At the bottom of some press releases in certain countries, like Canada, the original iPhone XR press release mentions that Apple will release a clear case for the iPhone XR. This line is only present on certain country’s Apple Newsroom portals. It does not appear on the US site, which is why it has gone mostly unnoticed until now. A tipster has provided a photo of what Apple’s first-ever clear case looks like …

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Apple has been firing on all cylinders recently with its CPU chip design; Apple’s A12 chip continued this trend and allows for the iPhone XS to easily outstrip the competition on speed tests and benchmarks. Of course, whilst Apple designs these chips in-house it does not manufacture them. That responsibility lies on TSMC’s shoulders. TSMC has been the exclusive manufacturer for Apple’s chips since the A10 chip in 2016.

According to Digitimes, that trend is set to continue with the next generation of processors which will power the fall 2019 iPhones. Apple has publicly praised TSMC for being able to mass produce to high quality, and be agile to new technology. At the A12 debut last month, Apple boasted how it was able to be the first company to ship phones with chips fabricated at a 7nm process — in large parts thanks to TSMC’s competency.

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October 11

Mixpanel reported that Apple had crossed the magic 50% milestone for iOS 12 at the weekend, and now Apple has released its first usage numbers which are based off visits to the App Store.

Apple says 50% of all devices are running iOS 12, and 53% of devices introduced within the last four years. This four-year time span metric is new, and it means that it only counts devices launched since September 2014 (iPhone 6 and later).

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Apple and Genius today announced a partnership which sees Genius apps gain a new inline Apple Music player, and Apple gets a new data source for its lyrics database. Apple has offered lyrics as part of its Apple Music subscription service since iOS 10.

This announcement means Apple will now gather lyrics data from another source, expanding the quantity and accuracy of lyrics available on songs in the Apple Music library …

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Ming-Chi Kuo has today released a report that is good news for Apple. The first week of October is a national holiday in China. Kuo is reporting that most domestic phone manufacturers saw sales fall year-over-year during Golden Week. Kuo blamed insufficient innovation, and believes that some proportion of consumers are leaning on older iPhone models or awaiting the upcoming iPhone XR launch on October 26.

Kuo says that he estimates iPhone XR replacement demand in China to be higher than last year’s cycle with the iPhone 8.

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October 10

Dialog has been part of the Apple supply chain for some time, but has faced financial uncertainty amidst rumors Apple is developing its own power management chips. In an interesting turn of events this morning, Apple and Dialog announced a new business agreement where Apple will license power management technology from Dialog, in exchange for an upfront $300 million payment and another $300 million in purchase agreements over the next three years.

In addition to transferring technical assets, the company announced Apple is hiring the ~300 staff who currently work at Dialog on Apple-related projects. This deal dramatically helps ramp up Apple’s custom chip efforts in areas like power management and charging.

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October 9

The Information is reporting today on Apple’s five-year struggle to tackle iPhone repair fraud. The scheme centres around crime gangs who were buying or stealing iPhones, removing valuable parts like CPUs and screens, and then claiming their devices were broken at Apple Stores and getting the Genius to replace them under warranty. The parts were then sold on.

At its peak, Apple was seeing 60% of warranty repairs in China and Hong Kong as being fraudulent, literally costing Apple billions of dollars per year. Apple first started taking the problem seriously in 2013, and the report goes on to detail the cat and mouse game that then ensued between the criminals and Apple as the company tried to tackle iPhone repair fraud …

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October 8

Facebook has entered the smart speaker market, attempting to battle Amazon Echo and Google Home. The Facebook Portal is more tablet than speaker, with both models featuring large touchscreens. The natural comparison is the Echo Show, and Facebook is undercutting slightly on the price. The entry-level Facebook Portal will sell for $199, launching in November. The Portal+ is in the Apple HomePod price range, priced at $349.

The Portal touts a 10-inch display and the Portal+ has a 15-inch panel — so big. They both feature webcams with video calls using Facebook webcams, and it integrates Amazon Alexa to provide most of its smart speaker features.

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October 7

Update: The date has now rolled over again in Australia and everyone’s watches are working normally again. Nevertheless, expect Apple to release a software fix for this issue so that it doesn’t affect users in other countries, whose DST transitions are just around the corner.

A bug with the complications on the new Infograph faces in Apple Watch Series 4 is causing some very unhappy Watch owners today. Users in Australia have just experienced the daylight saving time change and are finding their Watches are now stuck in reboot loops.

Specifically, it seems the large Activity complication on the Infograph Modular face is not handling the loss of an hour elegantly, and instead causing the entire device to crash and reboot …

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October 6

Apple launched iOS 12 with much fanfare earlier this month but early adoption appeared sluggish. However, in the following weeks, iOS 12 adoption has actually outpaced iOS 11 now, according to data from Mixpanel.

iOS 12 is now installed on more than 50% of active iPhones, iPads and iPod touch devices. It took iOS 11 a month to reach this milestone; iOS 12 has achieved it in under twenty days.

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October 4

Bloomberg has today published a report claiming that companies including Amazon and Apple found Chinese surveillance chips in their server hardware contracted from Super Micro. Bloomberg claims Apple found these chips on its server motherboards in 2015. Apple is strongly refuting this report, sending out press statements to several publications, not just Bloomberg.

In a statement to CNBC, Apple said ‘we are deeply disappointed that in their dealings with us, Bloomberg’s reporters have not been open to the possibility that they or their sources might be wrong or misinformed.’.

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October 2

With iOS 12.1, the phone emoji finally loses the home button to reflect modern iPhone design

The iOS 12.1 update will bring more than 70 new emoji to iPhone and iPad users. Apple has also tweaked some of the existing set, most notably the iPhone device emoji. Despite the iPhone X being around for almost a year, the emoji demonstrated a silver iPhone 6. That has finally changed in the latest beta …

From today, Apple is announcing the first partners for its new contactless ID card features introduced in iOS 12 and watchOS 5. Students at Duke University, University of Alabama and University of Oklahoma, can now add their ID card to the Apple Wallet app on the iPhone and Apple Watch.

By using contactless NFC readers, students can use their digital ID card to access dorms, dining halls, library and the gym. You can also use it to pay for bookstore supplies, laundry usage and restaurant meals.

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October 1

The Everyone Can Create curriculum is now available as a free download in the App Store, after initially being announced at the March education event. The series is made up of four main interactive books, spanning photography, music, video production and drawing. All the activities revolve around creation on the iPad itself.

There is also a teacher guide to aid with learning. Apple pitches these as complete set of digital materials for schools to teach in lessons to kids and are offered for free online.

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Forbes has discovered what is believed to be the first known case of law enforcement using Face ID to gain access to a suspect’s phone data, by requiring the person to present his face to the iPhone X found on his person.

Everything appears to be conducted legitimately, with the FBI using their search warrant as authorization for the Face ID unlock. US law does not give the same protections to a person’s biometrics data in the same way as a PIN code that exists only in a person’s mind. This case will no doubt spur discussion about whether the law should be changed.

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September 29

Update: Readers reporting similar problems on iPads and older iPhones. This gives credence to the idea that it is a software bug with iOS 12.

Update 2: Resolved in iOS 12.1 beta 2

We have received several reports of iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max owners noticing that their phones do not start charging when a Lightning cable is plugged in when the screen is off. Affected users find they have to ensure the screen is on and re-plug in their cables for charging to begin.

This issue has been highlighted in a video by UnboxTherapy (embedded below), who repeats the charging test on 8 different iPhone XS models. The majority of his phones exhibit the problem — the devices do not respond to the cable being plugged in as they should, with most kicking into action once the screen is woken up.

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September 26

Apple is rolling out a new TestFlight feature which enables developers to share a public URL for an app beta. Customers can simply open the link on their iPhone or iPad and automatically enroll into the beta testing group through the TestFlight app.

This feature was announced back at WWDC in June but has only just started showing up for developers inside the App Store Connect interface. Previously to public links, developers had to manually ask people for email addresses and then send out invite in emails to each person individually.

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September 25

In a synthetic test of real world app launch times, the iPhone XS Max beats out the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 by a decent margin. PhoneBuff uses robot arms to reliably open and switch apps as each app completes its loading tasks, so it is more scientific than most of these phone speed tests — at least the human error is eliminated.

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Elgato’s smart hose attachment led the way (reviewed) with sprinkler integration in HomeKit earlier this year. Today, Rachio is announcing the first smart sprinkler controller ($229) with HomeKit integration.

After a simple set up process, users can control their sprinkler through the Home app or using their voice with Siri. You can now ask your iPhone or even your HomePod to turn on your sprinklers.

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