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How to Adjust the Screen Brightness on Your iPhone or iPad

Your iPhone or iPad is pretty good at automatically adjusting its screen brightness according to your surroundings. Sometimes, though, you might want to do this manually. Here’s how to adjust the screen brightness on your iPhone or iPad.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Khamosh Pathak

NJ Supreme Court rules you don’t have a constitutional right not to unlock your phone


Even though the United States Constitution gives citizens the right not to incriminate themselves, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that police can force you to unlock your iPhone.

From Ars Technica:

On Monday, the New Jersey Supreme Court rejected that Fifth Amendment claim. The Fifth Amendment only protects defendants against self-incriminating testimony, not the production of incriminating documents. While “testimony” usually refers to speech, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, a defendant can reveal information by his or her actions. For example, if the government doesn’t already know who owns a phone, then forcing a defendant to unlock it amounts to forced testimony that the defendant is the owner.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Mark Frauenfelder

Twitter now lets everyone limit replies to their tweets


Twitter may describe itself as the town square, but that doesn’t mean you have to talk to everyone walking past your seat at the cafe. Today, to increase the amount of “meaningful conversations” that take place on Twitter, and to help people weed out abuse and spam in their replies, the company announced that it is rolling out a new feature where users can limit who replies to their Tweets.

After a brief run in beta, the feature is rolling out globally starting today to users of the iOS and Android apps, as well as, Suzanne Xie noted in a blog post announcing the feature. TweetDeck is not yet supported, Twitter tells me.

A small globe icon will start to appear at the bottom of your tweet, and if you do nothing, everyone will still be able to reply — this is the default option. Or, you can tap it and limit replies just to those who follow you; or just to those who you tag in the tweet itself.

And, if you pick the third of these and tag no one, it’s also a way to broadcast a tweet or a thread of tweets with no replies at all. (This all applies to “open” accounts; those that have locked who can view their tweets are limited by default; and it doesn’t seem to replace the option to hide replies, which Twitter launched last year. We asked and Twitter declined to make any update or statement on the “hide replies” functionality.)

Those who can’t reply will get a greyed-out icon, but they can still view, retweet, retweet with comment and “like” the tweets.

The basic idea behind limiting replies is more control. Specifically, setting parameters around those who can reply can help the original poster curtail abusive or trolling replies, or to limit replies to keep the conversation on track. Both can be especially critical in a number of use cases common on Twitter. Those tweeting about a sensitive issue or a political topic are classic scenarios that bring out trolls. And those trying to broadcast a conversation with a specific group (or indeed in a monologue) with the intention of making that conversation publicly viewable can now do it without interruption.

“Sometimes people are more comfortable talking about what’s happening when they can choose who can reply,” Xie wrote. “We’ve seen people use these settings to have conversations that weren’t really possible before. Starting today, everyone will be able to use these settings so unwanted replies don’t get in the way of meaningful conversations.”

Xie said that beta test feedback has been positive. Those using the feature said they felt more comfortable and protected from spam and abuse, and the feature is getting used: It found that those who have submitted abuse reports and had access to the new limit reply tool were three times more likely to use the settings.

It seems that limiting replies is more of a complement to, not a replacement for, muting and blocking: 60% of those using the limit replies feature weren’t already muting and blocking other users. Xie doesn’t mention how it is used alongside another spam-controlling feature Twitter launched last year, hiding replies.

People who are limited from replying directly can still retweet with a comment, and thus still inject whatever they want to say. But Xie noted that “these settings prevented an average of three potentially abusive replies while only adding one potentially abusive retweet with comment,” adding that there was no uptick in unwanted direct messages, either.

The feature getting announced today has been a while in the making, both from a product and even longer from an idealogical point of view.

The concept for limiting replies was first announced back at January at CES, when Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s VP of Product said that the primary motivation [for the feature] was control. “We want to build on the theme of authors getting more control and we’ve thought … that there are many analogs of how people have communications in life,” he said at the time.

The feature then formally started to roll out in a limited test in May, and the version that is getting turned on today looks just like that. (In fact, the screen shots are exactly the same, except with a more recent date on the tweets.)

But the bigger thinking behind the new feature stretches back earlier than this year.

Twitter has long (as in years now) been working on creating better ways to channel its open-ended social platform to keep it from getting exploited and abused.

The issue stems from the platform’s basic DNA: Twitter was built around the idea of anyone being able to reply to anyone else, regardless of whether two users follow each other, or whether someone wants to hear a certain response. The issue, some argue, is that Twitter has dragged its feet because the open-ended aspect is actually in Twitter’s best business interest, since it encourages more engagement and use. (For a recent example of that argument pertaining specifically to cancel culture conversations, see here.)

Admittedly, it can be one of the more empowering feelings you can have on this big internet of ours, to be able to reply to someone on Twitter when you have an opinion on something, or just a question. Never mind that the reply may never come, or come from an army of trolls. And indeed, that open-ended aspect hasn’t always played out as a positive every time.

People, some of whom might be vulnerable or going through difficult situations, can be singled out for negative responses by other users, leading some of them to leave Twitter altogether, sometimes in very high-profile incidents. At a time when social media has become ever more influential and is being criticized by many asking whether it is fair enough, responsible enough and responsive enough in relation to the (incendiary and other) content that bounces around its playing fields, it has been a bad look for Twitter, and it’s been trying for years now to fix it. 

I’m guessing that some will decry the move to limit replies as a curtailing of free speech and free expression, that it might give a stronger voice to those who are actually using Twitter to disseminate abusive information themselves, by potentially limiting how people can respond.

There are a couple of counter arguments, though. One is that people can still see and retweet what someone says, one way of responding. A retweet with comment can still be pretty powerful: Sometimes these tweets can go viral and be seen even more than the original tweets themselves.

Xie noted that people will be able to see when replies have been limited, and that Twitter is working on ways of making that more obvious. That might well include pointing people to further information elsewhere. And the new timeline containing “Retweets with Comments” launched in May gets four times more visits on Tweets using these settings, Xie said.

There have, in fact, been a number of tweaks to reduce the amount of noise on the platform: Last year Twitter turned on the ability to hide replies, and over the years Twitter has improved the process for reporting harassment (including a number of updates and tests around harmful language), blocking people (although it seems this has some people contesting it) and muting people.

And it’s worth pointing out that Twitter has been making a lot of efforts to better detect and help users report original tweets that are abusive, discriminatory, contain fake news and the rest.

That might be the most important point here. This is a net positive for the platform, but still just one step in a long journey to work on improving the climate on Twitter overall.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Ingrid Lunden

No iPad Screen Can Compare to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+


The Galaxy Tab S7 may not have immediately stood out among Samsung’s avalanche of new products announced during last week’s Galaxy Unpacked event, but after getting the chance to actually spend some time with a Galaxy Tab S7+ and use it some more, it’s quickly becoming a contender for Samsung’s most improved new…

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Sam Rutherford

How to Hide Files with Google’s Safe Folder on Android

Smartphones are incredibly personal devices, and they can contain sensitive information. If you’re worried about prying eyes finding something they shouldn’t, you can hide and lock files behind a four-digital pin with Safe Folder in the Files by Google Android app.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Joe Fedewa

Google turns Android phones into an earthquake detection network

ca9bded0-db54-11ea-b2ff-e7bc45ae3204In a natural disaster like an earthquake, even a few seconds’ heads up could save lives. You could use that time to get you and your loved ones somewhere safe and prevent fatalities and injuries. Google is rolling out a feature today that not only gi…

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7 of the Best Third-Party Camera Apps for Android

Phone taking photo of the beach Naruedol Rattanakornkul/

Phone cameras are incredibly impressive nowadays, but there’s always more that could be done to expand their utility—especially on the software side of things. And while the stock camera app on your phone is fine, there are many third-party options out there that can offer much more in the way of tools and features.

Why Use a Third-Party Camera App?

Here are just a few features third-party camera apps can offer that make them worth using:

  • Manual Controls: Most stock camera apps will take care of the ISO, exposure, and focus settings for you. And while they’re pretty great at it usually, sometimes you want full control of these settings when taking photos.
  • In-Depth Settings: Some stock camera apps can be fairly limited when it comes to settings, but third-party apps can offer much more extensive options. Whether you want to change the file location and format of your images, image quality, or even adjust parts of the UI, a powerful camera app will allow you to tweak all of these to your liking.
  • Live Filters: Applying filters to photos is nothing new, but what if you could see how the photo would turn out with a certain filter before actually taking it? That’s where live filters can come in handy, as they allow you to make sure that everything looks just right before you take the photo.

Photo-editing apps are also worth a quick mention, as there are a few that offer basic camera modes (such as Adobe Lightroom). We’re focusing on apps that offer more robust camera features in this list, but regardless, a good photo-editing app is an important tool for any mobile photographer to have.

One more note specifically for Pixel users: Only certain third-party apps make use of your phone’s “Visual Core”—the chip inside the Pixel line of phones that makes pictures look so good. That’s not to say photos will look bad without this functionality, but rather that they won’t look nearly as fantastic as you’re used to.

In-Depth Options: Open Camera

Open CameraMark Harman

If you’re looking for a camera app that you can fine-tune to your liking, then Open Camera is the app for you. Not only does it feature full manual controls for exposure and focus, but a wealth of settings ripe for the tweaking. You can toggle certain UI elements (like face tracking); remap the volume buttons to take photos, adjust zoom, and more when the app is open; and easily adjust the file location and format of your photos.

And on top of all of that, Open Camera is open-source, which means it’s completely free and anyone with the technical knowledge can adjust the source code to add more features. HedgeCam 2 is probably the most popular alteration of Open Camera, and it features a slightly different UI and a few new features such as ISO control.


Full Control: ProCam X

ProCam XImagi Mobile

ProCam X prides itself on allowing users to manually adjust every aspect of their photos. Focus, ISO, and exposure settings are all easily accessible on the main camera screen, so you don’t need to dig through menus when taking pictures. You can also easily adjust the file format and image quality settings of photos with the dropdown menus.

ProCam X costs a one-time payment of $4.99. There is also a “Lite” version of the app which is completely free, but it limits your photo resolution to 8 MP, video resolution to 1080p, and video duration to five minutes.


Black and White: Hypocam


Black and white photography is much deeper than it appears, and Hypocam aims to give you all the tools you’ll need to take some fantastic monochromatic images. You can adjust shadows, highlights, and use multiple filters to achieve a specific look, or use a preset to simplify the process. There are a few presets included with the app for free, but if you want more you’ll have to buy the various filter packs available in the app’s store. There are also texture packs available for purchase which can give your photos a unique look.

You can even view photos from other black and white photographers within the app if you’re looking for some inspiration (or just want to look at some cool pictures).

Hypocam is completely free to use, though the filter and texture packs range in price from $0.99 to $2.49.


Vintage Photos: 1998 Cam

1998 CamThe FFFF Studio

If you love the look of vintage photos, then you’ll have a blast experimenting with 1998 Cam. This is a pretty simple app, but it allows you to choose from a wide variety of live filters when taking photos. There are over 100 filters to mess around with here, covering a wide range of vintage styles.

But a lot of those filters will be locked when you download the app, along with the video recording functionality. If you want to unlock everything, you’ll need 1998 Cam Pro in the app for a one-time payment of $2.99.


Live Effects: Pixtica

PixticaPerraco Labs

On the surface, Pixtica seems like a pretty standard camera app. You can adjust the resolution and file format of photos, record videos, and even create GIFs. However, where Pixtica becomes more unique is with its live filters. You can make images and videos look hand-drawn or painted, along with other complete visual overhauls. There are over 70 filters to check out, so you have a lot of options to work with here.

Pixtica is free to use, but you’ll only have a few filters to choose from. If you want all the filters, you’ll need Pixtica Premium, which costs $2.99 a year or a one-time payment of $7.99.


Fun Lenses: Cymera

CymeraSK Communications

Cymera offers plenty of live filters that you can use while taking photos, however, the more unique feature it offers is the various “lenses” you can use. These allow you to take multiple pictures in succession to be auto-formatted into a collage, use effects like a fisheye lens, or something more elaborate like the “Sprocket” lens, which adds a vintage film effect to your photos. Cymera also features a “Beauty Cam” that can soften out blemishes and a photo editor with some color-grading and cropping tools.

Cymera is completely free to use.


Editing Plus Camera: VSCO


To round off this list, we want to bring up VSCO which, despite having a pretty basic camera mode, is great for those looking to deeply edit their photos. In VSCO’s editor, you can manually adjust colors, highlights, contrast, and much more, or just download a “Recipe” made by another user as a preset. You can also use one of the prepackaged filters that cover a wide range of styles and effects.

VSCO is free to download, but if you want access to even more tools (like video editing) and over 200 filters, you’ll want VSCO’s membership, which costs $19.99 a year.


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The Article Was Written/Published By: Eric Schoon

How to Disable Caps Lock on an iPad

Let’s face it: Caps Lock can be annoying. Very few people use the feature, but it’s easy to hit by accident, and SUDDENLY YOU START TYPING LIKE THIS. Luckily, the Caps Lock key is easy to disable on both the iPad’s soft keyboard and an attached hardware keyboard. Here’s how.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Benj Edwards

Android 11 Will Not Display Album Art on Your Lock Screen

Google recently confirmed that Android 11’s lock screen will not display album art when you’re playing music on your device. The feature is one of many changes being made for the new OS, and in this case, that is specifically affecting media playback.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Suzanne Humphries

How to Stop Accidental Screenshots on an iPhone

If tiny images keep appearing in the corner of your iPhone’s screen, or you keep finding strange pics in the Photos library, you’re probably accidentally taking screenshots. To avoid this problem in the future, it’s important to know how screenshots work.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Benj Edwards

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