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Mobile

AT&T Price Hikes Coming Soon

“If you have your cell phone service with AT&T, beware and be wary,” warns money expert Clark Howard. If you are on an older AT&T plan, know that the company is likely going to raise your monthly rates within the next few weeks.

In this article, I’ll share what we know so far about the upcoming AT&T price hikes. I’ll also share alternative phone plans to consider that may be cheaper once your current rate rises.

AT&T Customers May See Price Increases Up to 15%

If you have a standard AT&T cell phone plan, be prepared for a higher monthly payment. For most people, the price increase will start in June. While not every AT&T customer is going to see the new higher rates, many will.

“In an unprecedented move, AT&T is busting the rate plans of people who have been with AT&T for a long time and pushing through increases from somewhat marginal to around 15% in your monthly cell phone bill.”

The price increase seems to be geared toward longtime AT&T customers who have been grandfathered into old plans. The higher prices will not only bring in more revenue for AT&T but may encourage customers to upgrade to one of AT&T’s newer unlimited plans. These plans start at $50 per month for one line.

What’s unprecedented about the price hike is that historically, cell phone carriers leave you alone once you’re on a rate plan. Whatever you signed up for, you keep that price moving forward. But Clark says that there’s nothing in AT&T’s terms of service that prevents the company from breaking that tradition. So now, AT&T is pushing through these increases that range from modest to very large.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to predict how many customers will be affected by the price increase or to know if you’ll be one of them. However, if you have an older AT&T plan, you’ll likely see a higher cell phone bill beginning over the next few weeks.

Cheaper Plans on AT&T’s Network

While you may not be able to prevent the price increase on your current plan, you can always consider a more affordable phone plan. In fact, Clark says this is a great time to make the switch.

“This is a time you should re-shop your cell phone service before the AT&T price increases go in. You don’t want to be someone who just says, ‘OK, come take more money from me.’ Do not! You may find out that there are much better, cheaper plans available elsewhere or even from AT&T. This is the time that you shop as a free agent.”

If you really like AT&T’s service, there may be a new plan available that works better for you. AT&T recently unveiled the Value Plus Plan (eligible for one line only) that costs $50 per month with unlimited talk, text and data. You can check out the details here and see details on AT&T’s other unlimited postpaid plans.

AT&T also offers prepaid plans beginning as low as $25 per month. The least expensive plan includes 8GB of data each month but requires you to pay for 12 months in advance ($300 upfront). You can also pay three months in advance and get the same plan for $33 per month. You can also get 5GB of data per month for $30 with AT&T Prepaid, 15GB for $40 or unlimited for $50.

If you’re ready to really save on your monthly phone bill but like the coverage you’re getting now, consider switching to one of AT&T’s MVNOs. An MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) is a low-cost service provider that operates on the same towers as one of the big three networks.

Here are a few of the best, most affordable MVNOs that provide access to AT&T’s network:

Boost Mobile offers prepaid plans that work with AT&T’s network beginning at $100 annually. That works out to just $8.33 per month! Of course, you can expect limited data with cheaper phone plans. This plan includes unlimited talk, text and 1GB of 5G/4G LTE data per month.

If you’re shopping for a family plan, Cricket Wireless offers one of the most affordable options: $25 monthly per line for four lines. This plan includes unlimited talk, text and high-speed data, but speeds will slow during network congestion.

you can check out our full list of the best AT&T MVNOs here. If you’re ready to leave the network altogether, check out this guide to see our top picks from all three of the major cell phone service providers.

Final Thoughts

Even if you’re happy with your current AT&T plan, now is the time to make sure you’re still getting the best deal. If you’ve been on the same plan for a long time, it’s easy to become a creature of habit and don’t think about switching. In fact, this is what AT&T is relying on with the upcoming price hikes.

“AT&T wants to run your bill way up figuring you’ll just say ‘OK’ and pay more money. Do not! This is when you go shop your service and see what else is out in the marketplace.”

If AT&T offers the best service in your area, consider the AT&T Value Plus plan or a prepaid plan directly from the carrier. For even more savings, look into a few phone plans from MVNOs that operate on AT&T’s network.

At Clark.com, we have a variety of resources dedicated to helping you find the best, most affordable cell phone plan.

Here are a few quick links to help you get started as you comparison shop and decide whether or not to make the switch:

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Mobile

Are LiveIn and Locket Widget safe for kids and teens?

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After downloading the photo-sharing app Locket Widget, 23-year-old Amalu Susan Santhosh and her high-school-aged cousins ​​have all but abandoned their group text.

Locket lets them view photos from one another right on their iPhone home screens without opening an app or typing a message.

“We might be too busy to text each other, but we wanted something where we could share everyday moments,” the Durham, NC-based student said. Another plus: She never gets friend requests from strangers demanding nudes like she does on Snapchat, Santhosh added.

As Snapchat and Instagram draw criticism for safety and mental health concerns, some young people are opting for a different way to keep in touch. Photo “widgets” LiveIn and Locket are grabbing attention for their fuss-free photo sharing — just snap a photo and it pops up in a tiny window on your friend’s home screen. LiveIn was the No. 1 free social networking app in the Apple App Store as of Sunday. The original blockbuster app in this category, Locket Widget — which started as a way for one boyfriend-girlfriend pair to keep in touch before going viral on TikTok and soaring to the top of app charts in January — hovered at No. 8.

LiveIn combines the low-stakes feel of a friends-only messaging app like Snapchat with a global feed similar to the Instagram explore tab, while Locket limits each user’s friends to 10 people and has no public feed. We examined these apps and found privacy problems, as well as some safety risks for parents to keep in mind.

A teen girl sexually exploited on Snapchat takes on American tech

Are LiveIn and Locket private?

LiveIn and Locket are designed for sharing “moments,” or photos, with individual friends or small groups. But LiveIn also comes with drawing and typing options, as well as a global feed and a comment function, which add a social media element. If teens share photos to the global feed, anyone can see them and send them friend requests. Sharing to friends or followers only is safer, but there’s currently no setting for parents to limit that sharing. Teens can also scroll LiveIn’s global feed whenever.

I saw a few sexually suggestive posts when I scrolled, but nothing explicit. I also saw some posts that appeared to be from people younger than 12. A LiveIn spokesperson said the app “puts great effort” into moderating the feed.

“We have age-friendly community guidelines in place, and users can report photos that they think violate community guidelines. More importantly, we have a moderation team that works 24/7 everyday to review every photo that is sent public to minimize any risk of inappropriate content,” a spokesperson said in an email.

Users on LiveIn can search through usernames and send friend requests to people they don’t know. Talk with your teen about how to respond if they receive requests from strangers.

Co-founder Johnny Lin at privacy app Lockdown said he observed data from LiveIn flowing to third parties, including Facebook and Google. Locket shares data with third parties including Google and Snap, according to Lin’s analysis. Neither LiveIn nor Locket discloses in their privacy policies that they share data with outside companies, which could be a violation of the California Consumer Privacy Act if the apps have more than 50,000 users in the state.

After The Washington Post presented Lin’s findings to LiveIn, he repeated his claim that he doesn’t share data.

LiveIn also didn’t disclose in its Apple App Store “privacy nutrition label” that it collects “user content” in the form of photos. An Apple spokesman said LiveIn was in violation of Apple’s guidelines but declined to elaborate. The Apple spokesman said Apple was working with the developers on their compliance, and LiveIn’s App Store listing now reflects that it collects user content and can track people.

The apps’ privacy policies don’t appear to have been updated. As of Sunday, both apps were live in the Apple App Store.

When you share on LiveIn, the parent company and its affiliates get a “worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferrable license to host, store, cache, use, display, reproduce, modify, adapt, edit, publish, analyze, transmit , and distribute that content,” according to its terms of service. Similarly, Locket’s parent company and its affiliates can “copy, display, upload, perform, distribute, store, modify, and otherwise use your user content in connection with the operation of the service in any form, medium or technology now known or later developed .” Terms of use for other social platforms use similar language.

Both apps ask to access your contacts and camera, though on LiveIn, I was able to invite friends without syncing my contacts. Contact-sharing has a history of privacy problems, and many apps aren’t clear on what use they make of your address book.

LiveIn and Locket are listed for ages 12 and older on the Apple App Store. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re appropriate for middle-schoolers and younger teens, said Chris McKenna, founder of the digital safety organization Protect Young Eyes. He recommends waiting until high school — junior high is complicated enough without giving kids access to a constant stream of images from other people’s lives, he said.

McKenna recommends that before allowing kids to download any new app, parents use it themselves for seven full days to get a sense of any safety concerns.

“Read the privacy policy. Use it for seven straight days like they would, and then ask yourself, ‘Is my son or daughter, with their maturity, ready?’ Because parents and guardians are in the best position to know their child,” he said.

Should parents be worried?

Like any app in which teens share photos, LiveIn and Locket come with risks.

Perhaps the biggest is the potential for cyberbullying, said Titania Jordan, chief marketing officer for the parental control app Bark. Because photos pop up automatically on the home screen widget, kids could be surprised by images they don’t want to see or embarrassed by images that show up while someone is looking over their shoulder. Receiving unsolicited nude images is already a huge problem for teenagers, Jordan said, and this method of photo sharing could appeal to jokesters, bullies and abusers alike.

Locket only allows for 10 friends at a time. Anyone who lived through the Myspace era remembers the hurt feelings that come when apps push us to rank our friends.

Overall, parents should pay just as much attention to photo widgets as they do social media apps, Jordan noted, because anywhere teens spend time online, predators will go, too.

For teens, navigating the mental health pitfalls of Instagram is part of everyday life

How you set up the widgets

Despite the privacy issues, if you still want to download LiveIn or Locket on an iPhone, hold your finger down somewhere on the home screen until your apps and folders start jiggling. Then, tap the plus sign in the upper left corner. Search or scroll to find the app’s logo and name, then select “add widget.”

On an Android phone, touch and hold an empty space on the home screen, then select “widgets.” Swipe through your options until you see the app’s logo and name, then hold down the widget and drag it into an empty place.

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Mobile

How to use AirPlay to stream from your iPhone to your TV

Media surrounds us everywhere: photos, videos, music, you name it. Nowadays, where almost everyone owns a smartphone, people are constantly creating and sharing media of different kinds, from a work presentation, to dance videos to share among friends to videos of the kids to share with the grandparents. A lot of us like to connect our devices at home and being able to stream your videos or view your pictures on your TV is just another part of that.

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AirPlay from Apple allows iPhone users to mirror their screen on the TV or a speaker, so they can play their videos and music, or view pictures. We’ll specifically focus on how to AirPlay to a TV and the different ways to do that.

Not all televisions are compatible with AirPlay 2, so if you’re in the market for a TV and screen mirroring your iPhone is important to you, you might want to check the specifications when choosing a television to ensure it says Works with Apple AirPlay. If your TV is not compatible but you have a Roku or Apple TV 4K, you can still use AirPlay to mirror your iPhone screen. A Fire TV Stick is not compatible and will require a third party app, like AirScreen or Apowermirror.

If you want to AirPlay to your TV, make sure your iPhone and either your television, Roku or Apple TV 4K are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. If you have a Roku that you’re using to connect, ensure it has the latest updates by going to Settings > System > System Update > Check Now.

Swipe down on your iPhone screen to access the Control Center and tap on Screen Mirroring.

Control Center with Screen Mirroring

Swipe down from the right top half of your screen to access the Control Center

This will bring up the available devices either nearby or on your network that you can share your screen with, tap on your preference. In this case, I selected my LG television.

AirPlay available devices

Select the device you want to use for AirPlay

Your phone screen should now be visible on your TV, and you can use your phone to find the media you want to display.

Active screen mirroring

iPhone screen should be mirrored on the TV you selected

If you play your videos, you’ll notice the video and audio will play on the TV only, allowing you to use your phone as a remote to control what you’re watching.

Video playing on TV

Your media will play on the television only

Now, if you have a Roku and can’t find it on your list of available devices to AirPlay, you can go to Settings > Apple AirPlay and HomeKit and ensure AirPlay is on the ON option. You can also select your preference for AirPlay access on this page.

That’s how you AirPlay to a TV from your iPhone. Screen mirroring lets you take advantage of projecting whatever is on your iPhone potentially to a bigger screen to share with others in the room, all enabled from the Control Center, where you can pause, play, rewind or fast forward.

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Shahbaz Gill claims Imran Khan’s mobile phones stolen after recorded video threat

PTI Chairman Imran Khan addressing during South Punjab Workers Convention in Multan, on April 29, 2022 (left) and former special assistant to the prime minister on political communication Dr Shahbaz Gill speaks to journalists in Islamabad, on March 10, 2022. — APP
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addressing during South Punjab Workers Convention in Multan, on April 29, 2022 (left) and former special assistant to the prime minister on political communication Dr Shahbaz Gill speaks to journalists in Islamabad, on March 10, 2022. — APP
  • Shahbaz Gill alleges government with Drew Imran Khan’s security.
  • PTI leader says the government has gone “completely berserk”.
  • “Video statement Khan has recorded cannot be found on his phone.”

ISLAMABAD: Ex-special assistant to the prime minister Shahbaz Gill said Monday that two of PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s mobile phones were stolen amid the Faisalabad jalsa.

The PTI leader, in a tweet, said that after Khan’s threat of releasing a “recorded video” — in which the former prime minister claims that he has mentioned characters behind his ouster — the government had gone berserk.

Gill added that the incident took place as the government had pulled the security detail of the former prime minister.

“You [government] have gone completely berserk. The video statement that Khan has recorded cannot be found on his phone. The mobile phones were stolen after Imran Khan landed at the airport after the jalsa,” he said.

Gill’s statement comes after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed the interior ministry to provide water-tight security to former prime minister Khan at his home in Islamabad and during political rallies.

In this regard, the prime minister held two threat assessment meetings with officials from the interior ministry to finalize the security detail of the former prime minister.

Readmore: The way you’re crying shows establishment has blocked your number, Maryam Nawaz tells Imran Khan

At Khan’s residence in Bani Gala, 94 security officers will be deployed, as per the spokesperson of the interior ministry. Of which, 22 men will be from the Islamabad police and 72 from the Frontier Constabulary.

In addition, 26 officers from the security service and nine military personnel will also be made available. The interior ministry spokesperson added that if there is a specific threat to the former prime minister more security will be made available.

The video and life threat

Khan first made the revelation during his Saturday jalsa in Sialkot, saying that he has recorded a video of the characters behind the “conspiracy” against his government, and if something happens to him, it will be released.

The you prime minister, in his address to the Sialkot jalsasaid a “conspiracy” was being hatched to take his life — and despite knowing about it earlier, he has now enough evidence to confirm it.

The PTI chairman, in light of the alleged plot to kill him, said he has recorded a video and stored it in a “safe place” in which he has mentioned each and every character that was behind the “conspiracy” to oust his government.

During his Sunday’s Faisalabad jalsathe PTI chairman and former prime minister said that if anything happened to him, the Pakistani nation would seek justice on his behalf.

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Mobile

How to pair your AirPods and AirPods Pro with just about any device

airpods-pro-case-open.jpg

Apple’s AirPods pro. All generations of AirPods and the AirPods pro share the same pairing process.

michael griffo

So you’ve got a shiny new pair of AirPods (1st, 2nd, or 3rd gen) or AirPods Pro. Now you’ve got to get them paired with your devices to start listening to your favorite music, movies, and podcasts.

If you’re using an iPhone, a Mac, or an iPad, the process will probably take a grand total of about five seconds. If you’d like to use your AirPods with a non-Apple device instead, the task of pairing them is nearly as uncomplicated.

We’ll show you how to quickly and easily connect your new truly wireless earbuds to all of the Apple devices listed above, as well as to just about any non-Apple device out there. The process is the same for every generation of standard AirPods and AirPods Pro. We’ll walk you through the little differences you’ll need to know to successfully connect them to each device type.

More: Apple AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro

Pairing with Apple devices

pairing-airpods-iphone.png

The first card will appear any time you pair AirPods already associated with an iCloud account other than your own. Once paired, they’ll gain your name, as seen in the subsequent two cards.

michael griffo

iPhone

The iPhone is probably the most common audio output buddy for AirPods. Luckily, it’s also the easiest to connect. Just follow the steps below.

  1. Unlock your iPhone, make sure you’re signed into iCloud, and go to your home screen.

  2. With your new AirPods inside their charging case, bring the case close to your iPhone and open it.

  3. You should see a welcome animation pop up within a few seconds. It will include a “Connect” button similar to the left-most card above.

  4. Tap Connect.

  5. From here on things will vary depending on your model of AirPods. You may be asked if you’d like to enable “Hey Siri” commands and might be offered a trial of Apple Music. All of the subsequent cards that pop up are pretty self-explanatory, and you can choose whatever offers you’d like.

  6. Once you’ve reached the end of the process, you’ll see a card with a “Done” button and you’ll be presented with the right-most card seen above. Your new AirPods are now ready to use.

More: Don’t buy your AirPods from Apple! These are the best deals for May 2022

one final note: Making sure you are signed into iCloud when the process starts makes it a cinch to connect your AirPods to any Mac, iPad, or other supported Apple device that’s also signed in to the same iCloud account. You’ll likely be presented with a pop-up on each device when logging in or turning them on for the first time after you’ve paired your new AirPods. simply hit Connect on the pop-up and you can use the AirPods to listen to the audio from any compatible Apple device.

airpods-pro-case-back.jpg

That stealthy little circle I’m pointing to is the setup button that puts your AirPods into pairing mode. It’s in a similar place across all AirPod models.

michael griffo

Mac

As mentioned above, if your AirPods were already paired with an iPhone signed into the same iCloud account you use on your Mac, chances are your entire pairing process for your Mac will consist of your clicking that conveniently provided Connect button that pops up.

However, if that doesn’t happen because you don’t use iCloud, you don’t have an iPhone, or your Mac’s the first device you’re pairing your AirPods to, the process is only a little more complicated.

In any of these cases, follow the steps below to manually pair your AirPods with your Mac.

  1. Make sure your AirPods are in their case and open their lid.

  2. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case (seen above) until the status light on the front flashes white.

  3. On your Mac, click on the apple-menuthen System Preferencesand finally Bluetooth. You can also access System Preferences via the gear icon you’ve likely got in your dock.

  4. Your AirPods should appear in the Device list within the Bluetooth menu. If so, just click on them and they’ll connect to your Mac.

  5. Once that’s done, you’ll be presented with a few more choices about enabling “Hey Siri” functionality and certain privacy preferences.

  6. Once you’ve made your decisions for each of these, your AirPods are set up and good to go.

More: Apple AirPods (3rd Generation) review: Improvements in all the right places

ipad-9th-gen-5.jpg

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

iPad

As in the Mac section above, the process should be essentially automatic if you’ve already paired your AirPods with another Apple device on the same iCloud account. However, if you need to do it manually for any of the reasons listed above, follow the steps below on any iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, or iPad Mini.

  1. Make sure your iPad’s Bluetooth is on.

  2. Go to your home screen. Make sure your AirPods are in their case, and open the case.

  3. You should see a pop-up that’s essentially identical to the one shown on iPhone above. simply tap Connect and follow any subsequent prompts, and you’re done.

  4. If this doesn’t work, you can also hold the setup button until the status light flashes white, and then find your AirPods within your iPad’s Bluetooth menu. There you’ll be able to tap them in the list of available devices and manually connect.

More: How to clean and sanitize your AirPods

Microsoft Surface Book

Non-Apple devices

windows 10 pc

The process for connecting to a Windows PC really isn’t all that different than it is for connecting to a mac. Just follow the steps below and you should be up and running in less than a minute.

  1. Click on the magnifying glass icon in your taskbar and type in “Bluetooth.”

  2. Click on the result that says Bluetooth & other device settings.

  3. At the top of the window that opens, click Add Bluetooth or other device.

  4. in the Add a device window that pops up, click Bluetooth at the top.

  5. The PC will begin searching for available devices to pair to. At this point, hold the setup button on your AirPods until the indicator light blinks white.

  6. Your AirPods should pop up within the list of available devices within a few seconds. Simply click on it to begin pairing.

  7. Once the PC finishes pairing, your AirPods should show up under the Audio section of the Bluetooth & other devices windows. Once it’s there with a paired or connected indicator below it, you’re done.

More: Getting AirPods Pro? Here’s why you should get AppleCare+ as well

redmagic-7pro-table.jpg

June Wan/ZDNet

Android smartphones and tablets

The process for an Android smartphone can vary much more than any of these other processes due to the wide variety of Android versions out there across thousands of Android-based devices from hundreds of manufacturers. However, we still can provide more generalized steps below.

  1. Find the Bluetooth menu for your device and look for any menu choice that mentions adding a new device, pairing a new device, or syncing with a new device.

  2. Use that option to put your device into pairing mode.

  3. Press and hold the setup button on your AirPods until the indicator light on the front blinks white.

  4. Look for the AirPods to show up in the list of available devices on your Android device.

  5. Tap the AirPods’ name, or any connect button associated with them.

  6. That should do it. Don’t be surprised if you’re presented with a couple more dialogue boxes to complete. Simply read carefully, and you should be listening to audio in seconds.

More: Apple thinks my own AirPods are stalking me

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Mobile

Is Google Wallet the Same as Google Pay? We’ll Explain

At Google I/O 2022 on Wednesday, the tech giant announced the release of Google Wallet for Android: an online wallet for your payment cards, boarding passes and more. Sound familiar? Well, yes, because Google Wallet has been around for over a decade in various iterations.

Is Google Wallet replacing GooglePay? Will Google Pay still be around? And what’s the difference between them? Here’s everything you need to know about the history of Google Wallet, what that means for your contactless payments and what kind of information, aside from credit cards, you can use in this new edition of Google Wallet.

This isn’t the first time that Google Wallet has been around

Google originally launched Google Wallet back in 2011 as its initial mobile payment service app, allowing Android users to tap their supported phones against readers at select shops to make payments.

This first iteration of Google Wallet was very restrictive. It only worked on the Nexus phone and required users to sign up for a Citi MasterCard account or get a Google Prepaid Card to make payments. It was a pain to use, requiring you to open the app and enter a pin to access your cards. About four years later, Google Wallet was succeeded by Android Pay.

Google Wallet making a payment.

Google Wallet first released back in 2011.

CNET/Marguerite Reardon

Android Pay eventually replaced Google Wallet

Android Pay was released during Google I/O in 2015 as a replacement for Google Wallet. The new service allowed Android users to make contactless payments through their phones, which was exactly what Google Wallet did. So why create Android Pay?

In short: It was easier to use. Unlike Google Wallet, Android Pay didn’t require you to download an additional app because it was built-in, so all you had to do was unlock your phone and place it against a terminal to make a payment.

It also arrived after the 2014 debut of Apple Pay and contactless payments on the iPhone 6, which may have provided even more reason for Google to promote that Android phones already had tap-to-pay capability.

Using Android Pay to make a payment.

Android Pay replaced Google Wallet in 2015.

James Martin/CNET

And then Google Wallet tried to become PayPal

Although Android Pay did replace Google Wallet for contactless payments, the latter brand continued to exist as a peer-to-peer payments service à la PayPal, Venmo and Cash App. All you needed to do to send money to friends and family was enter a linked email address or phone number.

If you were the one receiving money, you could withdraw the money directly to your bank account, or you could use a Google Wallet Card to make in-store payments or withdraw cash from an ATM. The Google Wallet Card was eventually discontinued; Google Wallet was merged with Android Pay.

Google Wallet + Android Pay = Google Pay

In 2018, Google announced a merger between Google Wallet and Android Pay, creating Google Pay. This service is probably the one you are most familiar with if you regularly use an Android phone for contactless purchases. Google Pay took features from both services: contactless payments in-store and peer-to-peer payments online in a single app.

Google Pay eventually took over as the primary “wallet” for Android users, becoming a hub for flight passes, transit cards, event tickets, gym memberships, gift cards and more. It also replaced Chrome’s autofill feature, allowing Android users to use Google Pay for online purchases.

Google Pay on phone.

Google Wallet and Android Pay eventually became Google Pay.

Taylor Martin/CNET

There was also something called Google Pay Send

Although Google Wallet and Android Pay merged, it took a few months for the peer-to-peer payment features to make their way over to Google Pay, and so Google redesigned Google Wallet into Google Pay Send for sending and receiving payments online.

Google discontinued Google Pay Send in 2020 as the online payment feature was eventually ported over to Google Pay.

Google Pay was then discontinued and redesigned

Google had been testing out a redesigned version of Google Pay in India, known as Google Complexion. This new version of Google Pay offered several new features, such as in-app messaging, personalized offers, transaction history, receipt scanning and much more. It also started charging small percentage fees for debit card transfers.

Eventually this version of Google Pay appeared as a new app in the Google Play Store, while the older version of Google Pay stuck around as well. In April 2021, Google discontinued the old Google Pay version in the US.

And now Google Wallet is back

During Google I/O 2022, Google announced the return of Google Wallet for Android and Wear OS, which much like Google Pay, allows you to store debit and credit cards, flight passes, event tickets, vaccination cards and more recently, digital IDs and driver licenses.

screenshot from Google I/O May 2022 presentation

Google Wallet was announced at Google I/O 2022.

Screenshot/Google

If I’m in the US, which service should I be using?

Google Wallet will completely replace Google Pay, via update, in 39 countries, including Mexico, Japan, Australia, Honk Kong and France.

If you’re in the US or Singapore, Google Wallet will become the primary Android payment service and wallet where you store your hotel keys, driver’s license, boarding passes and more, as well as make contactless payments. Google Pay will stick around, but only as a service to send payments to friends and family.

And lastly, users in India will not receive the Google Wallet update and instead continue to use Google Pay as their everyday digital wallet.

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Mobile

Researchers Find Way to Run Malware on iPhone Even When It’s OFF

malware

A first-of-its-kind security analysis of iOS Find My function has demonstrated a novel attack surface that makes it possible to tamper with the firmware and load malware onto a Bluetooth chip that’s executed while an iPhone is “off.”

The mechanism takes advantage of the fact that wireless chips related to Bluetooth, Near-field communication (NFC), and ultra-wideband (UWB) continue to operate while iOS is shut down when entering a “power reserve” Low Power Mode (LPM) .

While this is done so as to enable features like Find My and facilitate Express Card transactions, all the three wireless chips have direct access to the secure element, academics from the Secure Mobile Networking Lab (SEEMOO) at the Technical University of Darmstadt said in a paper.

“The Bluetooth and UWB chips are hardwired to the Secure Element (SE) in the NFC chip, storing secrets that should be available in LPM,” the researchers said.

“Since LPM support is implemented in hardware, it cannot be removed by changing software components. As a result, on modern iPhones, wireless chips can no longer be trusted to be turned off after shutdown. This poses a new threat model.”

The findings are set to be presented at the ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks (WiSec 2022) this week.

The LPM features, newly introduced last year with iOS 15, make it possible to track lost devices using the Find My network. Current devices with Ultra-wideband support include iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and iPhone 13.

A message displayed when turning off iPhones reads thus: “iPhone remains findable after power off. Find My helps you locate this iPhone when it is lost or stolen, even when it is in power reserve mode or when powered off.”

malware

Calling the current LPM implementation “opaque,” the researchers not only sometimes observed failures when initializing Find My advertisements during power off, effectively contradicting the aforementioned message, they also found that the Bluetooth firmware is neither signed nor encrypted.

By taking advantage of this loophole, an adversary with privileged access can create malware that’s capable of being executed on an iPhone Bluetooth chip even when it’s powered off.

However, for such a firmware compromise to happen, the attacker must be able to communicate to the firmware via the operating system, modify the firmware image, or gain code execution on an LPM-enabled chip over-the-air by exploiting flaws such as BrakTooth.

CyberSecurity

Put differently, the idea is to alter the LPM application thread to embed malware, such as those that could alert the malicious actor of a victim’s Find My Bluetooth broadcasts, enabling the threat actor to keep remote tabs on the target.

“Instead of changing existing functionality, they could also add completely new features,” SEEMOO researchers pointed out, adding they responsibly disclosed all the issues to Apple, but that the tech giant “had no feedback.”

With LPM-related features taking a more stealthier approach to carrying out its intended use cases, SEEMOO called on Apple to include a hardware-based switch to disconnect the battery so as to alleviate any surveillance concerns that could arise out of firmware-level attacks.

“Since LPM support is based on the iPhone’s hardware, it cannot be removed with system updates,” the researchers said. “Thus, it has a long-lasting effect on the overall iOS security model.”

“Design of LPM features seems to be mostly driven by functionality, without considering threats outside of the intended applications. Find My after power off turns shutdown iPhones into tracking devices by design, and the implementation within the Bluetooth firmware is not secured against manipulation.”

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Tips and Tricks for an awesome streaming experience

For better or for worse, streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Tidal have taken over the music industry, physical media be damned. Streaming services provide you with a fresh, ever-growing library of music, and algorithms that serve you music based on your preferences. The problem with these streaming services (okay, one problem) is that the algorithms that they so heavily lean on are flawed, and each streaming service is slightly different in terms of UI, suggestions, and data collection. If you’ve just switched over to YouTube Music, we have some tips and tricks on how to maximize your listening experience and fully take advantage of YouTube’s rather impressive suggestion algorithm.

ANDROID POLICE VIDEO OF THE DAY

When you first sign up for YouTube Music, many of the options in settings are disabled by default. You should go into the settings and adjust things like audio quality, equalizer settings, location preferences, and play history options to your liking. Not all the options in the YouTube Music settings page will significantly change your listening experience, so let’s have a look at which you should adjust and why.

Add your favorite artists

YouTube Music is mostly algorithm-based—this means the algorithm will suggest music that it thinks you will like based on the information you give it. YouTube Music asks for details on your favorite artists when you first open the app (much like Spotify), and this information is the first step in letting the algorithm know what type of music you want to hear.


Don’t panic if you didn’t select all your favorites, though—you can return to the Pick some artists you like page by navigating to Settings, scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page, and tapping Improve your recommendations. You can also update your favorite artists as your taste changes, in order to further refine your recommendations.

Upload your own music

YouTube Music has over 50 million songs available, but in the unlikely event that the local indie band from down the road doesn’t have its music on the streaming giant, you can upload it to YouTube Music to listen to and add to playlists along with all the other music on YouTube Music. You can only upload music via the desktop, but it’s definitely a nice feature to have.

The music you upload to YouTube Music is only available to you. If you include any uploaded songs in a playlist and share that playlist with a friend, the songs simply will not be there for your friend. Similarly, the music you upload will not affect the recommendations that YouTube Music feeds you — if it’s not available on YouTube Music, the algorithm doesn’t have enough information to base recommendations on it.

Enable or disable locations in YouTube Music (your choice)

YouTube Music automatically disables location-based recommendations when you first sign up. You can enable location-based recommendations directly through the YouTube Music app (Settings-> Privacy and location -> Pause location-based recommendations for this device — turn this option off to enable location-based recommendations), or by managing the location history of your Google account (which you can also access from the YouTube Music Privacy and location page by selecting location history, choosing your Google account, and enabling or disabling location history on your Google account by selecting turn on, or turn-off). If your local music scene isn’t all that hot, you should probably leave this disabled.

Download music manually or automatically

One of the best perks of having a YouTube Music Premium subscription, or pretty much any other premium music account, is being able to download music and listen to it while you’re not connected. YouTube Music allows you to download any song, album, or playlist by simply long-pressing on what you want to download and selecting Download from the pop-up that appears.

YouTube Music’s smart download feature takes downloads one step further. smart download (when enabled) will intelligently download your favorite songs to your phone’s internal storage or SD card. To enable smart downloadgo to Settings -> Library and downloads, then scroll down to the bottom and enable smart download — once you have enabled the option, you can also adjust exactly how much of your storage to use for the smart download feature.

Optimize YouTube Music audio quality and data usage

Audio quality is subjective—you may like heavy bass, but your friend might prefer clean vocals and a wider sound stage—so it’s worth taking the time to set up your sound profile to your liking. The first audio option you should probably update, unless your internet connection is very slow, is to set the streaming quality on Wi-Fi (Settings -> Audio quality on Wi-Fi) to Always High to make sure the maximum audio fidelity is maintained.

If you struggle with poor internet connectivity or a limited data plan, you can drop the streaming quality down to Normal or Low. You can also enable a few other data saving options on the Settings page — Don’t play music videos will convert music videos to audio-only, Limit mobile data usage reduces data usage when off Wi-Fi, the Low quality option under Audio quality on mobile data will also help reduce consumption of data, and setting Show animated thumbnails to Never will also help reduce network usage.

on the Settings page, you should also navigate to Sound quality and effects -> equalizer and select a preset that sounds good to your ears using the audio device you usually use. You can also enable and tune Dolby Atmos if your device supports it.

How your listening habits affect your YouTube Music experience

If you listen to music a lot, it’s worth adjusting your habits a little in order to maximize the quality of your YouTube Music recommendations — sure, the algorithm is good and will keep improving, but it needs information to learn. There are a few ways you can train the algorithm, and a few settings you can adjust if training isn’t going quite as planned.


Like, dislike, search, and skip songs for better recommendations

If you’re don’t like a song that YouTube Music recommended, you should skip or dislike it. Similarly, you should like songs that you enjoy. It seems trivial, but consider how many times you’ve just sat through an awful song because “It’s just 3 minutes, who cares?” If you don’t tell it, YouTube Music has no way to know you don’t want to hear the songs you don’t like—we’re not quite ready with direct brain-machine interfaces just yet.

Directly searching for songs trains the algorithm and teaches it your preferences as well—if you’re willing to go out of your way to find and listen to a song, you must like it, right? YouTube Music also uses the search and watch history from your Google and YouTube (the video one) data to provide better recommendations. This is not necessarily always useful though, so you can disable the feature by opening the YouTube Music app, navigating to Settings -> Privacy and location, and checking the options Pause watch history, Pause search history, or Pause activity-based recommendations (this last one pauses location, search, and watch-based recommendations). You can also delete search and location history from this page if you want to reset the recommendations to some degree.


While you’re on the Privacy and location page, you can have a look at the Google Play Music history options available there. If you used Google Play Music before Google pulled the plug, you may want to enable the Use Google Play Music history option to import your listening habits from the old app and make your recommendations more accurate.

How to reset the recommendations in YouTube Music

Sometimes the algorithm just doesn’t want to play ball. If you’ve tried pausing the location-based and activity-based recommendations as well as watch and search history, and you’re still getting bad recommendations, you can clear your YouTube Music recommendations. To clear YouTube Music Recommendations on mobile, tap your profile picture at the top right to summon your account options, navigate to Settings -> Privacy and location and find the Manage watch history, Manage search history, and Manage location history options—each of these will need to be deleted manually, but once you open each of them, you can find the DELETE option and select the period for which you wish to remove your listening history.

Clearing watch, location, and search history will also delete that information from each respective app. YouTube will delete the video history, Google Maps will delete its location history, and Google Search will delete the search history

YouTube Music isn’t the only game in town

Though streaming platforms and their algorithms are supposed to make things easier, and you shouldn’t have to sweat the small stuff, at least now you know how to get into the nitty-gritty of YouTube Music if you need to. If you find that YouTube Music just isn’t for you, maybe you should give one of the other streaming alternatives a try. Apple Music, Qobuz and several other streaming platforms offer high-res audio on your phone with an adapter or DAC.



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Daily deals May 16: Steep discounts on older iPhones, $40 iPhone 13 Silicone Cases, Synology DiskStation 2-bay NAS for $170, more


AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

Monday’s best deals include big price cuts on older iPhone models, a 70-inch TCL 4K HDR Smart TV for $600, a 12TB WD Easystore USB Hard drive for $205, and much more.

every single day, AppleInsider scours online retailers for deals and discounts on Apple products, smartphones, smart TVs, and many other devices and accessories, putting together a daily roundup with the best we uncover. If an item is out of stock, you may be able to order it for delivery at a later date, and still enjoy the savings. Amazon discounts typically last only for a short period of time, so you may want to act quickly if there’s something you want.

Check back daily to see new deal additions, along with deals that are still active and worth your while.

Top deals for May 16


  • Apple iPhone 8 (Scratch and Dent, Refurbished, 64GB): Now $144.99 on woot!.

  • Apple iPhone XR (Scratch and Dent, Refurbished, 64GB): Now $219.99 on woot!.

  • Apple iPhone XS Max (Scratch and Dent, Refurbished,256GB): Now $289.99 on woot!.

  • Vizio V-Series 2.1 Channel Soundbar with 5-inch Wireless Subwoofer (Renewed): Was $158.99, now $99.99 on Amazon.

  • WD Easystore 12TB External USB 3.0 Hard Drive: Was $319.99, now $204.99 on BestBuy.

  • Apple iPhone 13 Silicone Case with MagSafe (includes Spring color collection): Was $49, now $39.99 on Amazon.

  • Synology DiskStation DS220j 2 bay NAS: Was $219.99, now $169.99 on Amazon.

  • SanDisk Ultra 400GB microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card and Adapter: Was $69.99, now $44.99 on Amazon.

  • Logitech MK570 Wireless Wave Keyboard and Mouse Combo: Was $64.99, now $54.99 on Amazon.

  • TCL 70-inch Class 4-Series LED 4K HDR Smart Android TV: Was $599.99, now $549.99 on BestBuy.

Other top offers, still going strong

May 15's deals included the iPad Pro, a 75-inch Toshiba smart TV, and Beats Fit Pro.

May 15’s deals included the iPad Pro, a 75-inch Toshiba smart TV, and Beats Fit Pro.

  • Apple 11-inch iPad Pro (M1 Wi-Fi 256GB Space Gray): Was $899, now $799.99 on Amazon.

  • Beats Fit Pro True Wireless Noise-Canceling In-Ear Headphones (Certified Refurbished): Was $199.99, now $99.99 on Best Buy.

  • Toshiba 75-inch M550 Series LED 4K Smart TV: Was $1,399.99, now $849.99 on Amazon.

  • Akai Professional MPK Mini Play USB MIDI Keyboard Controller: Was $139, now $98 on Amazon.

  • SteelSeries Rival 650 Quantum Wireless Gaming Mouse: Was $119.99, now $71.99 on Amazon.

  • D-Link AX5400 Wi-Fi 6 Router: Was $129.99, now $117 on Amazon.

  • Klipsch The Fives Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers: Was $800, now $462 on Best Buy.

  • Apple iPad 10.2-inch (2021 Wi-Fi 256GB Space Gray: Was $479, now $429 on Amazon.

  • Apple iPad mini (2021 Wi-Fi 64GB Space Gray): Was $499, now $409 on Amazon.

  • JBL Free X True Wireless Earphones: Was $150, now $39.95 on Amazon.

additional bargains

best apple prices

AppleInsider and Apple Authorized Resellers are also running specials on Mac and iPad hardware that will not only deliver the lowest prices on many of the items, but also throw in bonus savings on accessories, software and more. Here are just a few of the deals running this week:

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Best Apple iPhone accessories on Amazon

apple-iphone-accessories.jpg

Getty Images


The best Apple iPhone accessories enhance your iPhone experience. They make your iPhone easier to find, easier to charge and better to listen to. They can add a touch of personal style, too. We’ve found the best Apple iPhone accessories that you can shop right now on Amazon. We’re talking Apple AirTag locators, Apple MagSafe battery packs, Apple AirPods and more. And, yup, we even found some big deals.


Top products in this article:

Apple AirTag locators, $95

Apple MagSafe battery pack, $87 (regularly $99)

Apple AirPods Pro, $175 (regularly $250)


It’s time to start upgrading your iPhone experience with all the best Apple iPhone accessories. We’ve found official Apple accessories and top-rated Apple iPhone accessories on Amazon. You can buy these leather and silicone cases, wireless charging stands (that can charge multiple Apple devices at once), beaded phone straps, PopSocket wallets and clip-on selfie lights right now.

These popular Apple iPhone accessories fit a wide variety of iPhones, including iPhone 13, iPhone 12, iPhone 11 and iPhone 8 models.

Read on to shop our selection of the best Apple iPhone accessories that you can buy on Amazon now. And because we just can’t stop looking for great stuff, there’s one iPhone accessory here that’s available via Revolve (and not Amazon).


Apple AirTag locators

appleairtags.jpg

Apple via Amazon


Apple AirTags will help you keep track of important items, such as your Apple iPhone. Stick one to the back of your phone to track its location from your macbook, Apple Watch or other device. A single pack comes with four Apple AirTag locators.

Apple AirTag locators, $95


Apple MagSafe battery pack

battery-pack.jpg

Apple Store via Amazon


This wireless Apple iPhone charger is perfect for people on the go. It’s compatible with all iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models. It attaches to your phone via internal magnets. The Apple MagSafe battery pack automatically charges, so there’s no need to turn it on — or off.

Apple MagSafe battery pack, $87 (regularly $99)


Apple iPhone leather wallet with MagSafe

Apple iPhone Leather Wallet with MagSafe

amazon


All iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models are compatible with this leather wallet from Apple. Less of a case and more of a convenient add-on, the Apple leather wallet has built-in magnets that make it stick like glue to your phone. It comes in five colors.

Apple iPhone leather wallet with MagSafe, $60


Apple AirPods (2nd Generation)

Apple AirPods (2nd Generation)

Manzana


AirPods are an Apple iPhone accessory that can be paired with your iPhone, macbook, Apple Watchtablets, AppleTV and more.

The second-generation Apple AirPods may not be the latest model, but they’re still one of the most sought-after earbud models on the market. They boast more than 24 hours total listening time with the wireless charging case. Retailing for $159 at Apple, they’re on sale right now at Amazon.

Apple AirPods (2nd Generation), $100 (regularly $159)


Apple AirPods Pro: $175

Apple AirPods Pro

Manzana


The Apple AirPods Pro offer a more-compact, better-fitting design than other models. They’re also stuffed — with great features. We’re talking active noise-cancellation technology, hearing health tracking and, yup, great sound quality. They’re even water resistant. But all this quality comes at a steep price — specifically $250. That’s how much the Apple AirPods Pro list for at Apple. Amazon, however, has a really big deal on the Apple AirPods Pro right now.

Apple AirPods Pro, $175 (regularly $249)


3-in-1 magnetic wireless charger stand

iphone-13-charger.jpg

Tikeco via Amazon


This mag-safe charger can charge your iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods all at once. It’s compatible with all models of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12. This charging stand features a built-in powerful magnet ring. The magnet ring suctions firmly to your phone, and automatically aligns the device for the charging area for efficient charging. The top phone charging dock can be adjusted up and down 40 degrees.

Save $8 right now when you apply Amazon’s coupon.

3-in-1 magnetic wireless charger stand, $51 (after coupon)


Wireless charging stand

charging-stand.jpg

Muleug via Amazon


This charging stand can simultaneously charge your Apple iPhone, Apple Watch and Apple AirPods. The charger station features multiple safety functions, including a temperature-control function. This wireless-charging stand has an automatic switch off.

Need to make sure it’s working? The device flashes to show your smartphone is actually charging. It’s compatible with many Apple iPhone iterations, including all models of the iPhone 11, iPhone X and iPhone 8. It’s also compatible with a bunch of Android phones.

On Amazon, you can save 17% off the listed price when you apply the Amazon coupon.

Wireless charging stand, $38 (after coupon)


PopSockets PopWallet+

pop-socket.jpg

Popsockets Store via Amazon


This PopSocket PopWallet holds up to three credit cards, or six business cards, depending on the thickness of the cards. According to the brand, the accessory sticks best to smooth, hard-plastic iPhone cases. It’s available in 14 different colors and patterns.

PopSockets PopWallet+, $25


Beaded phone strap

phone-charm.jpg

Petit Moments via Revolve


Beaded phone straps are all the rage right now. This iPhone accessory is meant to be worn looped around your hand. It features pink stars and smiley faces, as well as beads that look like pearls. Unlike the other iPhone accessories listed here, you can get this cool item from Revolve.

Beaded phone strap, $30


Littil Selfie One rechargeable ring light clip-on

iphone-selfie-light.jpg

Littil Store via Amazon


Take your best selfie, no matter where you are. This clip-on selfie light features three lighting tones, and four brightness levels. The accessory comes with an easily rechargeable internal battery.

Little Selfie One rechargeable ring light clip-on, $40


EyeJust blue light blocking screen protector

blue-light-protector.jpg

EyeJust Store via Amazon


Protect your eyes from harsh blue light with this blue-light blocking screen protector. The tempered-glass screen protector fits every size and model of iPhone. The item comes with a step-by-step guide and tools to help you get a perfect fit.

EyeJust blue light blocking screen protector, $35 and up


Apple leather case with MagSafe

iphone-13-case.jpg

Apple Store via Amazon


The leather on this Apple-brand phone case develops a natural patina over time. It has built-in magnets to align with MagSafe-compatible accessories. The case is wireless-charger compatible, and comes in a variety of colors.

This particular case fits the Apple iPhone 13. Shop our widest selection of Apple iPhone 13 cases here.

Apple iPhone 13 leather case with MagSafe, $59

Amazon has this leather case with MagSafe for multiple iPhone sizes, including the iPhone 12 and iPhone 11.

Apple iPhone 12 leather case with MagSafe, $59

Apple iPhone 11 leather case with MagSafe, $49


Apple iPhone 13 silicone case

silicon-apple-iphone-13-case.jpg

Apple Store via Amazon


This silky, soft-touch silicone case comes in a wide variety of sizes that work with most versions of the Apple iPhone. It comes in a wide variety of colors, too. This case features built-in magnets that align with your iPhone for a perfect fit.

Apple iPhone 13 silicone case, $40 (regularly $49)

Amazon has this silicone case for multiple iPhone sizes, including the iPhone 12 and iPhone 11.

Apple iPhone 12 silicone case, $49

Apple iPhone 11 silicone case, $39


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