Stop worrying about your iPhone battery health

Stop worrying about your iPhone battery health

What you need to know about iPhone batteries

Your iPhone uses a lithium-ion battery that degrades over time, but there is little reason to worry about battery health in a new device. Here’s what you need to know about your iPhone’s battery.

Batteries are not mysterious black boxes that power your iPhone, in fact, they are quite simple products compared to the advanced silicon they are powering. The physical nature of batteries mean that they will ultimately wear out and become less useful over time, but device owners don’t need to worry.

Understanding a little bit of the science behind batteries can go a long way in intelligently managing your device’s lifespan. Controversies surrounding iPhone relating to planned obsolescence and expected upgrade cycles can easily be dismissed as hyperbole with a little bit of knowledge.

Lithium-ion battery basics

A battery consists of an anode (+) and cathode (-) separated by a generally flammable electrolyte. When a device draws power from the battery, charged lithium ions move from the anode to the cathode through the electrolyte, releasing electrons.

These freed electrons power the device and return to the cathode, creating a complete electrical circuit. The opposite occurs when charging the device — electrons are passed into the anode and move to the cathode.

Without getting too technical, these two chemical reactions are imperfect and introduce heat loss and wear to the battery. The lithium material slowly depletes, oxidization reduces usable surface area, and filaments grow from battery plates. All this leads to cell degradation and eventual battery exhaustion.

Thin phones mean smaller batteries, which become exhausted sooner

Thin phones mean smaller batteries, which become exhausted sooner

There is nothing a user can do to stop this process utterly. Take using fuel in a car, for example, it eventually runs out. However, exhausting a lithium battery takes a great deal of time and can be mitigated somewhat by user and software behaviors.

So, when a new iPhone has a 100% battery rating, it has all of the rated milliamp-hours of power available when fully charged. It also means the battery can provide enough power to the CPU at peak current draw without issue.

Apple says its batteries are designed to retain up to 80% of their original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles. A charge cycle is defined by a complete drain of the battery to zero, followed by a complete charge to 100%.

Top: fast charging cycle explained. Bottom: Charge cycle explained. Image credit: Apple

Top: fast charging cycle explained. Bottom: Charge cycle explained. Image credit: Apple

This expected battery life can vary from user to user. The average user is expected to keep their battery health north of 80% for the first two years with regular use. Hitting 80% within a year is cause for concern, and Apple will replace your battery for free with AppleCare or for a fee without.

Others who use their iPhone constantly and charge their device from near dead to 100% multiple times a day will see their battery degrade faster. Looking at your Screen Time will reveal if you’re unconsciously overusing your device — maybe it’s time to put down your iPhone if TikTok shows multiple hours of use in a short time.

Of course, iPhones are bought to be used. But, like anything, moderation is important, especially if you’re worried about something as physical as battery chemistry.

Ultimately, once the battery degrades below 80% of its original capacity, protections within the operating system will engage to ensure the device doesn’t shut down inadvertently. This throttling can be avoided by having the battery replaced at an Authorized Apple Service Provider.

After the iPhone throttles the processor for the first time to prevent a shutdown, a new toggle will appear in battery settings. This gives users the ability to turn off the throttling feature and allows the processor to draw full current.

However, the device will shut off as soon as the current draw exceeds what the battery can provide. It is highly unadvisable to turn off the throttling feature and can lead to battery damage.

Degraded batteries

Before iOS 10.2.1 in 2017, the iPhone didn’t do much to account for aging batteries in its software. However, a perfect storm of circumstances set Apple up for user complaints about inadvertent shutdowns in older devices.

Recent devices had more powerful processors, thinner designs, and brighter displays. These factors led to smaller batteries with lower capacities that died faster. A smaller battery also meant a lower peak voltage, which meant aging batteries would dip below peak rated voltages sooner.

Those factors were coupled with more people buying iPhones than ever, then keeping them for longer than expected, which led to more reports of batteries becoming exhausted. Note that the “Plus” models and iPads were not encountering shutdown issues thanks to their larger battery capacities.

Lithium-ion can't provide peak voltage at lower charges, which gets worse with age

Lithium-ion can’t provide peak voltage at lower charges, which gets worse with age

Intermittent shutdowns were reported by owners of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone SE. Users complained that the device would show battery levels of 30% or more then suddenly shut off as if the battery died.

This occurred because these devices’ batteries had been exhausted to the point that they could no longer provide peak power during peak CPU draw. Since there were no other protections in place, the iPhone would sense the CPU power draw exceeding the available current and just shut down to protect the battery.

The iOS 10.2.1 and subsequent updates created safeguards that throttle the CPU based on the device’s remaining battery health. Fresh batteries above 80% health will never encounter this CPU throttling feature.

Apple hadn’t considered its need until widespread reports of shutdowns began.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone SE suffered from inadvertent shutdowns thanks to aging batteries

The iPhone 6 and iPhone SE suffered from inadvertent shutdowns thanks to aging batteries

Apple never announced the battery safeguards publicly, instead, it included a footnote in the software update and left it at that. Users later began noticing their devices slow down, blaming it on planned obsolescence and other conspiracies until Apple made a statement.

Lawsuits began and Apple made a public apology about the feature, stating it was always meant to make devices last longer, not force users to upgrade early. New iPhones starting with the iPhone X had much larger batteries too, which means it takes much longer for the battery to degrade past peak current draw.

The CPU throttling feature protects batteries from current overdraw, which can lead to a thermal event or even fire. It is not a feature designed to frustrate users into upgrading their phones, despite what some YouTubers might tell you.

Managing your battery health doesn’t need to be a full-time job

There are a lot of discussions around battery preservation and how users should charge their devices. Some say to avoid wireless charging of any kind for the best possible battery health, but that isn’t the whole story.

An abundance of wireless chargers leave our iPhone topped off constantly, and that's ok

An abundance of wireless chargers leave our iPhone topped off constantly, and that’s ok

Battery chemistry is affected by heat, charging speed, and the environment. In an ideal world, the longest battery shelf-life a person could achieve would be found if the room temperature was permanently 65 degrees, the iPhone only charged via a wire from about 20% to about 80% at about 10W, and the processor never got hot during use.

This fantastical scenario is impractical, if not impossible, for many reasons. Besides that, the theoretical gains in battery health would never equate to the work involved in maximizing battery life.

Temperatures over 95 degrees Fahrenheit can cause accelerated degradation of your battery, so keep the device out of direct sunlight and hot areas when possible. This is easier said than done when we’ve just experienced the hottest July in human history.

So, Apple has implemented several tools, invisible to the user, to make sure battery health is extended for as long as is practical. For example, A dedicated power management processor ensures power draw is controlled for optimum charging rates at any given moment.

The iPhone will also learn your charging habits and adjust how the device is charged based on that. So, it may fast charge to 80% once plugged in, but it will then keep the battery at a trickle charge until it is closer to your daily wake-up time before taking the battery to 100%.

These built-in systems aid in keeping the iPhone battery safe and can operate much more efficiently than human intervention. So, users need only decide how to charge their iPhone and when, then leave the rest to the power management software.

Choosing how to charge: wired versus wireless

Your iPhone can charge via a Lightning cable, a MagSafe puck, and a Qi wireless charging pad. These three methods each have advantages and disadvantages.

Wired charging of an iPhone

Wired charging is the fastest and most efficient way to get power into your devices. The iPhone 13, for example, caps out at around 22 watts, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max can even sustain charging at around 27 watts for half an hour.

The iPhone begins “fast charging” when using an adapter of 18W or greater that supports Power Delivery. This feature can let any iPhone 8 or newer reach 50% capacity in about 30 minutes. The iPhone 12 and newer need a charging adapter of 20W or greater for fast charging.

This 65W adapter can fast charge two connected iPhones thanks to its high wattage

This 65W adapter can fast charge two connected iPhones thanks to its high wattage

Wired connections are the most efficient because electrical conductors are physically touching. Power is transferred across the wire, through conductive surfaces, at the highest efficiency with minimal heat loss.

However, faster charging means more heat, more heat loss, and less efficiency overall. Users who rely heavily on fast charging will degrade their battery faster.

Wall chargers are getting higher wattages for less money, especially since the introduction of GaN. So, there’s a very good chance that iPhones are being connected to fast chargers more regularly.

The iPhone does manage the charging rate even when connected to a fast charger, so it isn’t as if the battery is being slammed at full power at all times. However, fast charging is a tool, so use it only as necessary. We’ll get into charging best practices later.

Convenience will always sacrifice some aspect, and in this case, faster charging means wearing out electrodes at a quicker rate. The convenience factor also applies to wireless charging.

Wireless Qi and MagSafe charging of an iPhone

Wireless charging is a highly convenient form of charging that allows users to place their iPhones on a surface to begin charging. MagSafe takes this a step further by securing the iPhone to a magnet and increasing the speed and efficiency of the charge.

Wireless charging uses coils separated by a small air gap to transfer power from one set of coils to the other. Efficiency and speed are improved the closer the coils are to each other, which is why MagSafe’s magnetic alignment makes things much more efficient.

MagSafe is a more efficient form of wireless charging

MagSafe is a more efficient form of wireless charging

The iPhone will charge at up to 7.5W on a wireless charging pad, while MagSafe enables up to 15W. The standard Qi wireless charging is not only slower, but it is much less efficient and can heat up the iPhone more than MagSafe in some instances.

The air gap between coils, no matter how small, creates significant efficiency problems. As electricity passes through the charging coils, it generates a magnetic field, which interacts with the coils in the iPhone to provide a charge to the battery. This magnetic field is inherent inefficiency since much of the field is lost to empty air.

Coiled wire packed close together with electricity running through it gets really hot, so wireless charging pads tend to be warm surfaces. The coils in the iPhone heat up as well during power transfer, introducing yet another heat source. Overall, wireless charging is a very warm process that can affect battery chemistry long term.

Qi chargers exacerbate these issues due to poor alignment and a manufacturer’s tendency to use cheaper parts. Just because the iPhone begins charging once laid on a Qi charger doesn’t mean the coils are perfectly aligned, which increases energy heat loss, and reduces charging speed. More heat, means a battery that degrades more quickly as we’ve already discussed.

MagSafe is a more efficient form of wireless charging

MagSafe is a more efficient form of wireless charging

MagSafe helps alleviate some of these problems by having a higher standard for materials, as well as having magnetic alignment. Some chargers take advantage of the MagSafe magnets while offering only Qi 7.5W charging speeds, which is a decent medium. However, customers should seek out true 15W MagSafe chargers when possible to ensure the best charging experience and efficiency.

Note that MagSafe chargers are still admittedly not very efficient and to achieve a 15W wireless charge, users have to have 20W power adapters with power delivery. Power adapters without appropriate specs would only charge the iPhone at 7.5W.

The iPhone will adjust charging speeds to manage heat or even stop wireless charging if it gets too hot at 80%. Using wireless charging in cool environments ensures the best performance.

Charging best practices

The most important rule of charging your iPhone is planning ahead. Have chargers where you need them, know what they are rated for, and know when best to use them. This level of understanding shouldn’t require much time or effort beyond the initial setup.

Your battery will chemically deplete over time, and there’s no avoiding it. On average, iPhone users can expect to see battery health drop by about 10% per year, depending on the factors discussed above.

What is adjustable is the rate of battery damage. The best way to do this while exerting the least effort, is to trust the battery management software and use some basic best practices.

For example, don’t keep your iPhone in direct sunlight or don’t have the heat full blast when using a car vent mount. Never leave your iPhone in a vehicle in the summer, and definitely keep it off of hot surfaces.

Keep your iPhone battery from dying completely, but try to avoid unnecessary charging too. If you’re going to leave for a few hours, plugging in your iPhone to a fast charger is a great way to top off the battery while getting ready.

Battery health degrades over time no matter how you manage charging

Battery health degrades over time no matter how you manage charging

Overnight charging is perfectly safe, too, since the iPhone will manage the charging rate based on your usual sleep schedule. A wired charger with less than 18W by the bedside will ensure the best battery health, but MagSafe or Qi charging overnight isn’t overly detrimental either.

If you’re really worried about battery health, prioritize wired slow charging first, then fast charging, then MagSafe, and maybe avoid or minimize Qi charging. Of course, all available charging methods are safe, they may just lead to needing a new battery a month or two ahead of the expected two-year window.

For most people, it is simply best to keep your iPhone charged and not worry too much about battery health. If you intend on keeping the device or passing it on to someone so it is in use for over two years, expect to get a battery replacement for $99.

There’s no fighting chemistry and physics.

How to get started with OBS Studio in macOS | AppleInsider

How to get started with OBS Studio in macOS | AppleInsider

OBS is a great tool for streaming.

If you want to stream online via Twitch or another video platform, OBS Studio is the tool to use. Here’s how to get started using it on macOS.

At one point in time, everyone wanted to be a YouTuber, but with the emergence of streaming, some now want to succeed at live broadcasting. In some cases, people want to succeed at both.

The reasons why streaming’s so popular are numerous, such as providing viewers with immediate responses to feedback, as well as the excitement of working live without the safety of pre-recorded and highly edited content.

It’s like live television, but at a smaller scale and under your terms.

Live streaming has two mainstream applications, covering lifestreaming and game streams, though it also has other uses. For example, it can be used for education and marketing purposes.

Getting started with streaming isn’t that much different from hosting a Zoom call. With a tool like OBS, you can also elevate the stream beyond a picture of you in front of a plain wall, speaking to the camera.

You could also make the stream more television-like.

The key tool to it all is OBS, and this is what you need to know to get started with it.

What is OBS?

To use its full name, Open Broadcaster Software is a free open-source app that you can use to stream from your desktop to various online streaming services. It’s referred to as both OBS and OBS Studio, with the latter being the name of the downloadable tool.

Compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux distributions, OBS can cast video and audio you feed into it to external streaming platforms, like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook.

Streamers rely on tools like OBS for broadcasts.

Streamers rely on tools like OBS for broadcasts.

These feeds can take many forms, such as live video from cameras and webcams, screen capture of your desktop or apps running on it, and audio from a microphone or other audio sources.

Much like the broadcast gallery of live television, OBS can combine those feeds together in a way you select, producing an outbound video feed that is then streamed out to viewers.

With sufficient video streams and extra graphical elements, you can create your own newsdesk with a chyron (lower-third graphics), and even a picture-in-picture effect. This latter element is used by streamers so that they can show their face in the corner of the screen, reacting to gameplay.

Indeed, you can even set OBS to record the video locally instead of streaming it, enabling users to create fast YouTube videos, for example.

There are other tools that can do the same task out there, but OBS is free, fully featured, and with some deft Google-fu, has ample documented support out there.

Hardware considerations

As mentioned earlier, you probably have almost all of the things you need in terms of devices and peripherals to put on a decent OBS stream, especially if you have dealt with work-from-home video meetings during the pandemic.

Aside from a Mac, you will just need a microphone and a camera to get started with streaming via OBS. That camera could be the built-in webcam of a MacBook Pro or a third-party webcam, though you can use some higher quality cameras over USB.

There’s also the possibility of using a dedicated camera input like the Elgato Cam Link if USB connectivity isn’t possible.

Elgato is a well-known producer of video capture devices.

Elgato is a well-known producer of video capture devices.

If you’re streaming gameplay from consoles or need to use other video sources, you could introduce a video capture device to the setup, such as the Elgato Game Capture series of devices. Though billed as console-friendly video capture options, many can also be used to pull video from other sources as well.

While it’s not hardware you connect to your Mac, you should also consider adding lights. Making sure you’re well-illuminated will help separate you from your background and make you look good on camera.

As for the Mac itself, you don’t need the most powerful model available, but the performance certainly helps.

In September, OBS Studio was updated to include Apple Silicon support, but you can still use the Intel-based version as well on older Mac models. Indeed, the requirements for OBS Studio’s version 28.1.2 release only asks that you have a Mac that supports macOS 10.15, which is a fairly low bar.

Installing OBS

The first thing to do is to download and install OBS Studio, which is available from the OBS Project website.

From the download page, click the Apple logo, then download the installer for the Intel or Apple Silicon version, depending on your Mac.

The installer for OBS on macOS

The installer for OBS on macOS

Open the downloaded DMG file, and in the window, drag and drop OBS into the Applications folder.

Once installed, it can be opened from the Launchpad, as well as from within the Applications folder itself.

Interface and automatic configuration

On opening OBS Studio, you’ll be greeted by an interface with many different docks to use. Each of these can be moved around by dragging the title bar to a different section of the window.

The main OBS interface

The main OBS interface

The main docks to be aware of are:

  • Main Window – Shows what the video output is for the stream and is also used to position and resize graphical elements.
  • Sources – Lists all of the graphical elements of a selected scene. This includes video feeds, graphics, screen capture sources, and other elements.
  • Scenes – Lists all configured scenes and allows you to quickly switch between them.
  • Scene Transitions – Used to set the switching between scenes to use fades and effects.
  • Audio Mixer – This lists all of the audio sources, their volumes, and controls to mute or adjust the volume of each.
  • Controls – These start and stop streams and recordings, turns the Virtual Camera on and off, enters and leaves Studio Mode, opens up the Settings menus, and quits the program.

However, before playing around with these elements, you should go through the Auto-Configuration Wizard. This will show the first time you run OBS, but you can also do it again by selecting Tools in the menu, followed by Auto-Configuration Wizard.

The wizard will automatically perform some tests on the Mac and your connection and will ask questions such as the resolution of the stream and desired framerate for streaming.

It will also allow you to enter the details for a streaming account to use with OBS, which you should set up at this point. Select one of the services, such as YouTube or Twitch, the click Connect Account to go through that service’s authentication and configuration.

The Auto-Configuration Wizard in OBS will get you started.

The Auto-Configuration Wizard in OBS will get you started.

Once you are set up with a service, the wizard will then perform a bandwidth test to work out how far it can push your Internet connection for the stream itself. It’ll also work out the performance of your Mac at the same time to work out the optimal settings.

After the tests have completed, it will display estimated settings that you can tweak under the Settings menu later. Click Apply Settings to set them as default.

Scenes and Sources

The way OBS works is based on users setting up several scenes and switching between them. This is considered the easiest for a solo streamer to work with since they can quickly change scenes while they are performing other tasks, such as gaming.

The idea is to set up scenes in advance for specific purposes since you won’t necessarily be able to do so mid-stream. While some purposes are obvious, such as a main view of a screen or feed with you in a smaller picture-in-picture feed, there are others that you can create.

For mainstream streaming, you could add scenes that display a graphic showing you’re about to go live, one showing you’ll be right back, or that the stream has ended. In cases where you’re doing something more practical, such as using an item on a desk, you could add a scene that shows a second camera view to your main webcam, so you can switch between them.

A new blank scene without any sources (left), the list of addable sources (right)

A new blank scene without any sources (left), the list of addable sources (right)

Creating a new scene in OBS is simple, in that you click the plus button in the Scenes dock, then enter a new name for it, then click OK. That creates a blank scene without any sources, and an empty Sources dock.

Click on the plus button in Sources to bring up a list of potential sources you can add. It’s a long list, but the key ones to add are Video Capture Device, Image, and macOS Screen Capture.

Video Capture Device refers to cameras and video capture cards or accessories. Select it, then enter a name for the device, then on the next screen, select the right option from the Device list, then click OK.

The process of adding a video source to a scene in OBS.

The process of adding a video source to a scene in OBS.

Image obviously refers to still images you can add to a scene. After selecting it, enter a name for the graphic and click OK, then on the next screen, click Browse, find the image and click Ok.

The macOS Screen Capture can capture your macOS display or an app within it. Select it, give it a name, and click OK.

In each case, you can right-click the source to make changes to them.

For example, under macOS Screen Capture, you can select to capture the entire display or a window, or an application.

After you have added your sources, you can change the order of the layers by selecting each and then clicking the down and up arrows. While selected, you can also use the red outline surrounding the element on the main display to change its size and position.

There are even more positioning and alignment options available if you right-click the element in the main display, which can help speed up arranging the scene.

Audio on macOS

The Audio Mixer will automatically populate when audio feeds are included as part of the sources.

For example, if you set up a macOS Screen Capture, it can show the audio stemming from the source in the Audio Mixer.

You can manage sounds within the Audio Mixer dock.

You can manage sounds within the Audio Mixer dock.

This is along with the default Mic/Aux source, which is the system-selected default microphone input. If you have a headset or microphone plugged in and set up as the audio input under System Preferences, that’s what will be set up here.

Each audio source can be muted and their volume adjusted on the fly using the sliders. Clicking the dots on the right next to an audio feed will bring up extra options.

The Filters option will allow you to set up various effects to that audio feed, including a compressor, noise suppression, and a noise gate, among other options. These can be enabled and tweaked, depending on how you want that audio source to sound.

Older than macOS Ventura?

If you want to capture audio from your Mac’s desktop in the macOS Screen Capture option, that works fine under macOS Ventura, but for older versions of macOS, it doesn’t work at all.

While this is a fix for older macOS installations, it can also be handy for macOS Ventura users to install as well, if they want more advanced control over the audio picked up from the macOS desktop than the existing catch-all approach.

Transitions and Studio Mode

While you are streaming or recording, you can switch between your different scene configurations by clicking each of them under Scenes. However, if you want to switch in a more professional way, you will have to consider transitions.

There are two ways to do a transition: the Scene Transitions dock and Studio Mode.

Under Scene Transitions, you can select the type of transition, such as a fade, swipe, or stinger, and how long the wipe takes to complete. This directly affects the usual switching method by clicking on scenes, and it will continue to affect switching until you change the transition.

Studio Mode gives more flexibility and control over inter-scene transitions.

Studio Mode gives more flexibility and control over inter-scene transitions.

By clicking Studio Mode in the Controls, the main section showing the video feed splits into three sections:

  • To the left is a Preview, showing the scene you can transition to.
  • In the middle are the transition controls.
  • To the right is the live stream output, named Program.

The idea is that you can change the transition and the contents of the scene before the transition takes place without interfering with the video feed that viewers are currently seeing.

The central transition controls give you a few options you can instantly trigger by clicking the button, each with a drop-down to change for something else.

At the bottom of the controls is a slider, which can allow you to partially or gradually perform a transition, blending the Preview and Program views.

Streaming to the world

Once you are all set up and presentable, you’re practically ready for your maiden stream broadcast. However, even now you have some options.

To commence a stream on the service you had previously configured, click Start Streaming. If you want to record a video using your streaming settings without actually streaming, you can do that too by clicking Start Recording.

This second option is very useful if you want to record a presentation in one go, or with light editing afterward. This can also be used as a quick way to make YouTube videos, such as an explainer on how to do something in an app or an educational presentation.

Use these controls to start streaming, recording, and to launch the OBS Virtual Camera.

Use these controls to start streaming, recording, and to launch the OBS Virtual Camera.

However, the option to Start Virtual Camera can be a handy choice as well. If you’re using Zoom or other video conferencing tools, you could set OBS to stream to a virtual camera, which can be selected as if it’s a camera or video source in the other apps.

This can be a useful option if you want to have a more professional appearance for a presentation within Zoom, for example. Instead of relying on any built-in presentation or screen sharing tools, you can instead have more control over the video call participants can see, and therefore enabling it to be made as perfect as possible.

In all cases, you can cease a stream, end a recording, or close the virtual camera by clicking Stop.

Further thoughts

This guide only scratches the surface of OBS, as there is a lot you can configure, tweak, or change in the tool.

This includes things like changing your streaming platform, tweaking the resolution of the stream, adjusting how much bandwidth it consumes, and so on. All of this is hidden under Settings, which can be well worth an exploration further along your streaming career.

How to use Homebrew on Mac to install third-party tools & apps | AppleInsider

How to use Homebrew on Mac to install third-party tools & apps | AppleInsider

Homebrew is a macOS package manager that lets users install and manage UNIX tools and 3rd party software. Here’s how to get started.

Unlike most UNIX/Linux-based systems, macOS doesn’t provide a standard mechanism for installing 3rd party command-line tools beyond the standard Apple installer. On most UNIX/Linux-based systems, tools are installed by a package manager in which packages can be downloaded, updated, synchronized, and removed. Most of these package managers include automation.

The best solution to this problem on macOS is a 3rd party package manager called Homebrew.

Not only is Homebrew easy to use, but it keeps your Mac tools up to date with relatively little hassle. It’s also possible to automate tool installation using scripting, but that’s beyond the scope of this article. For now, we’ll use only the simplest examples and explore more advanced topics at a later date.

What you need to get started with Homebrew on macOS

Setup is easy and requires 4 basic steps.

First, go to the GPGTools site, and download then run the GPGTools installer. Quit the installer when done. This installs the GPG Keychain app which allows you to create SSH keys which will later be used by the Homebrew install script.

GPG is an acronym for GNU Privacy Guard – but don’t worry – it won’t install any VPN or other networking software. GPGTools only installs the GPGTools app and a few incidental UNIX tools it needs. It also installs a System Settings Preference Pane.

Once GPGTools is installed, go to your Applications folder and run the GPG Keychain app. Step through the very simple first prompt – providing a name, email address, password, if you want one (it’s a good idea). This password is used only for the SSH keys the app creates. You won’t need it again unless you access the keys manually in Terminal.

After the GPGTools app generates your keys, it stores them in an invisible folder named “.ssh” in your user folder. The leading “.” makes the folder invisible unless you do something to tell the Finder to show invisible files. In most cases you won’t need to access the keys directly:

Public Key Infrastructure, or PKI allows you to securely exchange information using encrypted signatures instead of passwords.

Note that the file id_rsa in the .ssh folder is your private key. Never give this key out to anyone or allow access to it from your Mac. The other file, is your public key and can be given out or uploaded to public key servers freely. The other files are used by the system to configure SSH.

The GPGTools app will display a window showing your new public key, and that it is valid.

Next, you’ll need to install the 3rd-party Ruby Version Manager – a package manager for the Ruby language. This is needed because most of Homebrew and its install scripts (called Formulae) are written in Ruby. It also installs the verified keys for GPG itself. This is fairly easy. The RVM site lists this step right at the top. Open the Terminal app on your Mac from /Applications/Utilities and copy+paste:

gpg2 ––recv-keys 409B6B1796C275462A1703113804BB82D39DC0E3 7D2BAF1CF37B13E2069D6956105BD0E739499BDB

Press Return to execute the command.

This tells GPG to retrieve the GPG official keys from a verified public key server. You’ll see a few lines of text as the keys download. It should complete fairly quickly:

Note that if you are logged in to your Mac as a non-admin user, you may need to preface each Terminal command with the sudo command. For example:

sudo gpg2 ––recv-keys 409B6B1796C275462A1703113804BB82D39DC0E3 7D2BAF1CF37B13E2069D6956105BD0E739499BDB

sudo, or “super user do” is the UNIX tool to run another command as the “super user”, also sometimes called the root user. The super user has nearly unlimited power to do anything on a UNIX system so use it carefully. You may be prompted for your macOS admin password. If you’re logged in to your Mac as an admin user, you likely won’t need to preface Terminal commands with sudo.

You can use all four arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate backwards or forwards in Terminal.

Next, run the 2nd script line shown on the RVM website in your Terminal app by copy+paste:

\curl -sSL | bash -s stable

This uses the UNIX curl download tool to install the Ruby Version Manager to your Mac. Ignore the warning about the key not being certified. When it finishes, the install script will mention a few advanced UNIX setup items, but you can mostly ignore them unless you plan on using Ruby directly. You can also re-run this same comand in the future to update RVM to the latest version.

In Terminal you can cancel the execution of any running command by pressing the Control-Option-Z keys simultaneously.

You can verify the RVM + Ruby install in Terminal:

Now that that preliminary setup is done, you’re ready to install Homebrew itself. As stated on the homepage, copy and paste the following into Terminal:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

This tells curl to retrieve and execute the Hombrew install script from its GitHub repository online. The first time the script runs you may be asked for your macOS admin system password in Terminal. Enter it and press Return. Follow the rest of the on-screen prompts.

The Homebrew install script will download and install everything Homebrew needs. Follow the on-screen prompts. It may ask for your Mac admin password. It shouldn’t take too long. When it completes, you’ll get a few notes from Homebrew, most of which can safely be ignored.

After Homebrew installs, you’re ready to run your first Homebrew, or simply brew, command in Terminal:

wget is another GNU download tool similar to curl. wget is common on many Linux and UNIX systems.

That’s it. That’s all there is to installing Homebrew and a tool.

Each time you install a Homebrew-hosted tool, you enter “brew install (formula name)” in Terminal, where (formula name) is a Homebrew formula name it recognizes. Each tool gets installed via a Ruby script (the formula) which it knows how to download and run. It also knows how to install any formula dependencies.

You can search for any tool name on Homebrew right at the top of the homepage. Simply type the tool name into the search box and it will show a popup with all matching formulae. Click a formula name to see its page and its brew install command. For example if you wanted to search for the Perl package, go to, and in the search box type “perl”. You should see:

As a side note, most Homebrew packages get installed into the invisible system directory /usr/local, into a subfolder called Cellar. symlinks are created to each tool into a UNIX binary (bin) directory where they can be seen by the system. symlinks are UNIX’s equivalent to macOS desktop aliases.

The Homebrew collective is quite good about adding new tools as they come out, and updating existing formulae. There is also extensive documentation and a forum.

Keeping Homebrew Up To Date

There are a final few commands you should know to automatically update any formulae you have installed, and Homebrew itself. These are:

  • brew help – general help about Homebrew.
  • brew commands – show common Homebrew commands.
  • brew list – shows all installed Homebrew formulae.
  • brew upgrade – checks the Homebrew install script for a new version and installs it if available.
  • brew outdated – Show any formulae that need updating.
  • brew uninstall – remove the indicated formula from your Mac.

And finally, the all-important formulae update command which you will want to run often, if not daily:

brew update – update all outdated formulae on your Mac.

Be aware if you have a lot of formulae installed, brew update can take quite some time, even over fast connections.

Homebrew Casks

In addition to command-line UNIX tools, Homebrew also allows you to install some standard Mac apps via its cask flag, which is very similar to the regular install command. For example, to install Mozilla Firefox simply type:

brew install ––cask firefox

Most cask app installations get installed into the usual Applications folder. It’s also a good way to keep several apps up to date at once by running brew update.

Which Versions?

Once a tool is installed with Homebrew and visible to macOS, you can find out where it lives in the system by using the which command followed by the tool name. In Terminal, for example, type:

This works in general for all UNIX system tools.

If you know the version flag a tool supports you can also get its version in Terminal. Most UNIX tools use either the tool name followed by the -v flag, or the ––version flag. For example:

GNU Wget 1.21.3 built on darwin21.3.0.

Most tools include a paragraph or so of info after the version info.

For specific commands supported by each tool use the UNIX man (or manual) system:

Wget – The non-interactive network downloader.

wget [option]… [URL]…

followed by pages of commands and their options.

Type Control-Z to exit the man system.

So much more to Homebrew

Now that you know how to install, update, and use Homebrew, you can install just about any popular UNIX tool package out there.

In future articles we’ll explore some of Homebrew’s more advanced commands. And, we’ll talk about how to use shell scripting to write a master install & update script to automate entire install sets at once.

How to use Passkeys instead of passwords on iOS 16 | AppleInsider

How to use Passkeys instead of passwords on iOS 16 | AppleInsider

Passkey on an iPhone

Apple’s introduction of Passkeys means you can authenticate with some apps and services using Face ID or Touch ID instead of remembering a password. This is how you get started.

Introduced at WWDC 2022 in June and rolling out as a feature in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura, Passkeys are a way for a user to authenticate themselves with apps and online services. The key is that it does so without requiring the user to enter a password as a form of identification.

Passkeys feed into the often speculated password-less future, where devices and apps can confirm the person’s identity without much in the way of interaction. While users still have to do things to confirm their identity in some way, Passkeys does it in other methods than the usual password.

As well as the lack of password entry, Passkeys offer quite a few benefits, including the use of strong end-to-end encryption and that there isn’t an easily-guessed password to worry about. There are also opportunities to share passkeys using AirDrop, as well as to use them on other linked Apple devices, and even non-Apple hardware.

How do Passkeys work?

A standard created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium, Passkeys are cryptographic keys that are associated with a device to confirm an identity. The Passkey actually consists of a public and private pair, with the former registered with the service itself, and the private one stored securely on your device.

This public-private arrangement has been done before, and is commonly used in cryptographic applications. By exchanging keys, the device and the service or app can confirm the device and its current user match records, and proves their identity.

The device itself has to confirm the user’s identity before the exchange takes place. This is handled by biometrics, which on an iPhone could be Face ID or Touch ID.

Once biometrically confirmed, the device performs its exchange with the relevant service, and access is then granted.

What can I use Passkeys with?

As a relatively new security standard, it can take time for online services to adopt it. With Apple’s pushing of Passkeys, as well as as Google and Microsoft’s adoption of it, more online destinations should employ it for authentication as time marches on.

As you would expect, the list of prominent apps and online services that work with Passkeys is relatively small, but will probably grow quite quickly.

As of November 15, 2022, prominent services that can use Passkeys include:

  • Best Buy
  • Dashlane
  • eBay
  • GoDaddy
  • Google
  • Kayak
  • Nvidia
  • PayPal
  • WordPress.

How to start using Passkeys

There are a few things you need to do to get into a position to use Passkeys. For a start, your hardware should be updated to iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura.

You need to enable iCloud Keychain and Two-Factor Authentication first.

You need to enable iCloud Keychain and Two-Factor Authentication first.

You should make sure that iCloud Keychain is enabled, so they can synchronize with other Apple devices. It’s best to do this beforehand, but you will be asked to enable it when you’re creating a passkey with it disabled.

How to enable iCloud Keychain in iOS 16

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap Passwords and authenticate.
  • Tap Password Options.
  • Turn on AutoFill Passwords.
  • Make sure there are ticks next to both instances of iCloud Passwords & Keychain for the Allow Filling From and Set Up Verification Codes Using sections.

You will also need to enable two-factor authentication for your Apple ID.

How to enable two-factor authentication for an Apple ID

Tap Passwords & Security.

Tap Turn On Two-Factor Authentication and follow the prompts.

At this point, you will be able to set up and manage Passkeys on your device.

The process of setting up a Passkey generally follows the same steps across the industry, with a few small variations on getting started.

How to set up Passkeys for a new account on your iPhone

  • At the login or account creation screen for a supporting app or website in Safari, sign up for a new account, including entering an account name, email address, or whatever is asked.
  • When Passkeys is supported, you will be asked in a pop-up if you want to save a Passkey. Tap continue.
  • If the pop-up doesn’t appear immediately, look for an option to use Passkey or a form of “other” authentication. When the pop-up appears, tap Continue.
This pop-up appears when you can set up a Passkey. A similar one also appears when you can use one to authenticate.

This pop-up appears when you can set up a Passkey. A similar one also appears when you can use one to authenticate.

How to set up Passkeys for an existing account on your iPhone

  • For an account that already exists, log into the account as usual.
  • Open the account management screen for that app or website.
  • Search for a relevant option within the account settings, which can include password or security-related elements. This may be under a Hardware Security Device or Multi-Factor Security section.
  • You will generally see an option to add a Passkey, which will summon the Passkey pop-up.
  • Tap Continue.
You can usually set up Passkeys in the account system for existing accounts.

You can usually set up Passkeys in the account system for existing accounts.

How to log in with Passkeys on an iPhone

  • Open the app’s log-in or sign-in page.
  • If Passkey has been enabled for that service, a pop-up will usually appear, asking if you want to sign in. Tap Continue and complete the authentication prompt.
  • On some websites, you may have to enter an email address or username before seeing the pop-up appear. When it does, click Continue and complete the authentication prompt.

Passkey Management

Once you have started using Passkeys, you can use your iPhone to manage how they are used. For example, you can view all Passkeys on a device, as well as delete them.

You can view and manage Passkeys you've set up in the Settings app.

You can view and manage Passkeys you’ve set up in the Settings app.

To access the list, open Settings then tap Passwords to see the list. Tap each Passkey to see options, such as adding notes to a passkey or to delete it outright.

Top 10 AI Content Generator & Writer Tools in 2022

Top 10 AI Content Generator & Writer Tools in 2022

Are you looking for a way to create content that is both effective and efficient? If so, then you should consider using an AI content generator. AI content generators are a great way to create content that is both engaging and relevant to your audience. 

There are a number of different AI content generator tools available on the market, and it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. To help you make the best decision, we have compiled a list of the top 10 AI content generator tools that you should use in 2022.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Jasper Ai(Formerly known as Jarvis)

jasper content generator tool

Continue reading “Top 10 AI Content Generator & Writer Tools in 2022”

How to create routes and add stops in Apple Maps | AppleInsider

How to create routes and add stops in Apple Maps | AppleInsider

Being able to map out your entire drive beforehand, with estimated travel times and future course changes, is a powerful addition to an already handy app. Here’s how to create a multi-stop route in the latest version of Apple Maps.

Despite having a few stumbles out of the gate back in 2012, Apple Maps has bounced back and became a powerful tool for navigating and finding your way around.

One feature that users have been begging Apple to bring to Maps for years is multi-stop routes. As of iOS 16, Apple has delivered, and you can now add multiple stops to your route when setting up a trip.

To create a route, you will need any iPhone that’s compatible with iOS 16.

Creating a Route in Apple Maps

The iOS 16 requirement means you’ll need an iPhone SE 2, iPhone 8, or newer. If you have any of those, you get started through these steps:

  • In the Apple Maps app, tap into the Search Maps field
  • Type the name of your location to search Apple Maps. For example, “Disneyland Park”.
  • Once Apple Maps has found your location, tap Directions
  • By default in the Directions popup, My Location is chosen by default. You can tap on My Location to search for a new location.

Adding a Stop in Apple Maps

  • At the bottom of the Directions list, tap on Add Stop.
  • In the Add Stop list, you can either type your destination or select a destination from your Favorites.
  • Maps will add your selected location to the bottom of your Directions list and update your travel time accordingly.
  • When you’ve finished adding stops and are ready to start your trip, tap the green Go button.

Apple Maps will display the time required for each leg of your trip on the map preview, along with the total travel time required at the bottom of the screen. You can add up to 14 stops along your route before starting driving directions.

Adding a stop while driving

While you’re on your route, you may find that you need to make a pit stop. Apple has made it easy to add stops to your route while driving.

  • During your trip, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
  • In the Add Stop menu, you can either tap on the Search Maps field and type your destination or select from a handy list of pre-set destinations like Restaurants, Gas Stations, and more.
  • Once you’ve found the destination you’d like to add, tap the blue Add button on the right side of the menu, and Maps will add that stop to the top of your route.

Your newly added location will move to the top of the list, replacing your previous destination.

Helpful Tips

Multi-stop routes are a great new feature, but like most things Apple, the feature still has a few quirks. One thing to note is that multi-stop routes are currently only available in the Driving Transport Type. Switching to another Transport Type will clear your list.

Also, multi-stop routes cannot be saved or paused. If you tap End Route, your multi-stop route will be cleared, and you’ll need to start the process over again if you’re still traveling.

How to make an external bootable working drive in macOS Ventura | AppleInsider

How to make an external bootable working drive in macOS Ventura | AppleInsider

When something goes wrong with your Mac, it’s a boon to have a separate, external drive that you can work from — but Apple no longer makes that easy. Here’s how to do it.

The short answer to how you make a bootable external working drive is very, very carefully. You’re going to completely wipe that external drive, for one thing, so you really need to be sure that you’ve copied off any important data from it.

It’s also possible that if you make a mistake along the way, it’s conceivable that you could end up wiping your Mac’s internal drive. It’s possibly fortunate, then, that Apple throws many hurdles in the way to stop you making a macOS Ventura external bootable drive.

Or rather, it really wants to stop other people making such a startup drive and plugging it into your Mac. Apple has taken steps to secure your Mac from bad actors, it’s just a shame it means you have to go through two broad steps to make this work.

  1. Allow your Mac to boot from external drives at all
  2. Prepare a bootable external drive

That first part is crucial, and it is crucial that you do it before you have any problems. For if your Mac won’t startup, you cannot get in to enable booting from an external.

So this is something to do now, while your Mac is running fine. And the way you do it depends on whether you have an Intel-based Mac, or an Apple Silicon one.

How to allow external startup drives on Intel Macs

Intel Macs come with a T2 security chip which blocks what might be unauthorized access to your Mac. To allow the use of an external drive on an Intel Mac, you have to:

  1. Restart your Intel Mac
  2. Hold down Command-R the moment you see the Apple logo
  3. When prompted, choose your username from the list shown
  4. Enter your admin password for that user
  5. From the menu bar, choose Utilities, Startup Security Utility
  6. Log in
  7. Click to select Allow booting from external or removable media

How to allow external startup drives on Apple Silicon Macs

It’s the same principle, but telling an Apple Silicon Mac to allow external drives takes a different process.

  1. Shut down the Mac
  2. Press the power button and keep it pressed
  3. Let go when you see one or more drives and an Options section
  4. Select Options and click Continue
  5. When the Mac boots into Recovery Mode, select a Mac user you know the password for
  6. Log in as that user
  7. Ignore all of the options in the pop-up list and instead choose Startup Security Utility from the Utilities menu
  8. Click to select the Mac’s internal drive and then click Unlock
  9. Follow the prompts concerning passwords, and select Security Policy
  10. In the Security Policy window that appears, click to select Reduced Security
  11. Then click OK
  12. Under the Recovery menu, choose Shut Down
Use Disk Utility to format the external drive

How to create an external, bootable work disk with macOS Ventura

First, choose your external drive. It is in your best interest to use the fastest drive you can for this. Make sure you’ve copied off any data from it that you need.

The drive you select can be spinning metal or an SSD, but inexpensive flash drives are a bad idea.

You can make some of them work, but you can’t tell if it will work completely, until you get through the process. USB sticks labeled “portable SSD” or the like are probably fine.

You can’t boot from a RAID array of any sort either.

With a compatible SSD or a hard drive, you need to format it and then to put macOS Ventura on it.

How to format an external drive on macOS Ventura

  1. Connect your external drive to your Mac
  2. Open Disk Utility in Applications, Utilities on your Mac
  3. Carefully select the external drive from the list that appears
  4. Click on Erase
  5. Give the drive a name
  6. From the dropdown menus that appear, choose APFS
  7. Click on Erase

This will take a few moments. While that’s happening, get macOS Ventura from the Mac App Store.

Apple doesn’t list it directly, but if you search the Mac App Store for the words “macOS Ventura,” it will be one of the results. Click on View to see more details, then click Get.

If you’re already running Ventura on your Mac then what will happen next is that you are bounced over to System Settings and Software Update. At first, this looks like you’re updating your current Mac, but wait a moment.

After a short while, a popup dialog asks whether you want to download macOS Ventura. Click on Download to say yes.

Once it is downloaded — and it’s just over a 12GB file — then the update will run and prompt you to let it install Ventura. If your external drive is formatted by now, follow the prompts to install Ventura — but be exceptionally careful to make sure you select the external drive.

After several minutes of preparing the external drive, your Mac will ask you to restart it. Even though you are not installing Ventura onto that Mac’s own drive, you still need to let it restart to work through the process.

Get macOS Ventura from the Mac App Store

Get macOS Ventura from the Mac App Store

You now have an external startup disk with macOS Ventura on it

Strictly speaking, you’re done once you’ve let the installer do its work on that external drive. In practice, you’re also going to be prompted through half a dozen or more questions about, for instance, setting up Siri.

You can skip through most of these, even if sometimes it’s as if Apple hides the “not now” button.

What you can find after you go through this the first time is that, yes, you have an external startup disk and you have started from it. But it also then launches the macOS Ventura installer.

If it does, just quit that installer.

Making that external startup disk useful

If you’re using an external start up drive because there’s some problem with your Mac’s own internal one, the odds are that you need to start by copying off any data from that failing drive.

That means that you need an external drive with enough capacity to take all the internal drive’s data. Or at least large enough that you don’t have to copy off data just a few gigabytes at time.

So a fast and a large drive are good to have. But since you will hopefully not need this external startup disk every day, you can settle for the fastest and the largest that budgets allow.

If you are only using this to effect repairs on the internal drive, you could keep a copy of the Install macOS Ventura app on it. Run Disk Utility that from the external drive and you can reformat the internal drive, then reinstall Ventura.

When you need to use it for more than emergencies, though, you do need to prepare more. Logging into iCloud is a must, in that case. Or, maybe you have a set of applications your company uses, in which case keep copies of those on the external drive so that you can install them when you need.

And if it’s not a question of repair, but rather a question of booting from the external drive more often, you need to set it up the same way you would any Mac.

In that case, if you know that’s what the drive is going to be used for, then the best step is to answer all of the Install macOS Ventura app’s questions. Do all of those either through the install process, or later by stepping through System Settings.

Apple has made it so that bad actors can’t easily boot your Mac. You can make it easy so that you are able to boot it, and work from that external startup disk too.

The Continental: From the World of John Wick: release date, trailer, cast, plot, and more

The Continental: From the World of John Wick: release date, trailer, cast, plot, and more


– First episode lands on Peacock on September 22, 2023
– Official trailer is out now
– Prequel series to John Wick film franchise
– First season comprises three 90-minute episodes
– Focuses on young version of Ian McShane’s Winston
– Set in an alternate history 1970s
– Chris Collins acts as showrunner
– Mel Gibson will star as a new character
– Keanu Reeves among show’s executive producers

The Continental hotel will soon re-open its doors to fans of the John Wick movies with a new prequel TV series called The Continental, which is coming to Peacock, NBC Universal’s streaming platform in September, 2023.

The John Wick franchise, which stars beloved actor Keanu Reeves as the iconic assassin thrust out of retirement seeking vengeance, was only meant to be one film. But now the John Wick universe boasts four chapters (read our guide to watch the John Wick movies in order) with more on the way. We can look forward to spin-off movie Ballerina in 2024, which follows the story of ballerina-assassin Rooney (played by Ana de Armas) who hunts those who killed her family. As well as a fifth movie instalment, which has been all but confirmed by Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer.

How to set an animated Memoji on your Lock Screen in macOS Ventura | AppleInsider

How to set an animated Memoji on your Lock Screen in macOS Ventura | AppleInsider

When choosing your profile picture that is displayed on your Mac’s Lock Screen, you can choose to have an animated Memoji as one. Here is how to set it up.

“With Memoji, you can create your very own personalized Animoji,” said Craig Federighi, the senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple, during the WWDC 2018 keynote. “These Animoji can look like you or the real you.”

Here is how to set up an animated Memoji on your Lock Screen and what it does while your computer is locked in macOS Ventura.

How to set up the Memoji

Selecting a Memoji as your profile picture on your Lock Screen is the same as selecting a photo to be one. Here is how to set it up on your Mac.

  1. Go into Settings
  2. Search for Users & Groups
  3. Click on the Profile Picture of the account you want to add the Memoji to
  4. Select the Memoji tab on the left panel of the application
  5. Select the Memoji you want to use
  6. Once you selected it, click on the Pose tab at the top of the screen
  7. Select the pose you want your Memoji to hold when it is not being animated
  8. Once a pose is selected, click on the Style tab at the top of the screen
  9. Select the colored background you want to be displayed behind your Memoji
  10. You can use the slider under the preview of your Memoji (located on the bottom left of the screen) to zoom in or out on the profile picture
  11. Click on Save in the bottom right of the screen when everything is to your liking

When you first turn on your Mac, your Memoji will sit in the pose you set for it. After a second, it will start to move and wait for you to unlock your computer.

If you get your password wrong when typing it in, or use the wrong finger when using Touch ID, your Memoji will become disgruntled or annoyed at your actions.

This does not only work for Memojis, but you can also select an Animoji as well to be your profile picture on your Mac’s Lock Screen. It will display the same animations and emotions as a Memoji would.

Unlock some fun on the Lock Screen

Setting a Memoji as your profile picture on your Mac’s Lock Screen is a fun way to add a little life to even before you unlock your computer.

The Memoji will animate to show emotions and move around the profile picture circle when waiting for you to unlock your device. When you do, it will smile before disappearing.

You can change your Memoji, pose, and background color at any time within your Mac settings.