For some people, there’s so much to do in a day that it’s hard to keep up with everything. By the end of the day, you might not be sure what you even did over the past 12 hours. Or you might not be incredibly busy, but you just don’t remember to stop and think about specific aspects of your life.
If this is the case for you, you might benefit from an app like the ones in this article. There’s an app for nearly everything, and of course there are apps that can track most areas of your daily life.
Why track your day?
You might have realized you want to keep up with what you’re eating, or maybe it dawned on you that you’re not sure when you last spent time with your friends without looking at your phone. Maybe you’ve been forgetting to budget for travel expenses or grocery costs. Whatever it may be, there’s a way to track it.
Tracking certain parts of your day can make it much easier to evaluate what you’ve been doing. It can make it possible to understand certain issues in your life, and it can show you things you’ve been doing well (and things you didn’t know you needed to improve on). If you don’t know what to fix, then you won’t know how to fix it. By tracking how much you exercise, how much time you spend on your tablet, or how big your environmental footprint is, then you’ll have a starting point for change.
What can you track?
Here are just some ways you can track your personal life. There are apps listed for each area. Of course, these are just some of the apps you might want to try. The app store on your phone will likely have even more to choose from. So if one of these doesn’t appeal to you, take a look around to see if there are other options that fit you better.
Track your food
There are many different apps you can use to track your food throughout the day. Most of them will let you set goals (like how many calories you can have, how much sugar you can consume, etc.) You can often set a weight goal, as well, and get food intake suggestions. Here are a few apps to try:
- Your device’s built-in app: Depending on which phone you have, you might already have a food tracker on your device. For instance, there’s Samsung Health, which offers quite a few health tracking features.
- MyFitnessPal (Android & iOS): MyFitnessPal is an app from Under Armour. It lets you track your food intake, find out nutritional facts, add your own recipes, find food from restaurants, scan barcodes to look up products, and more.
- Lose It! (Android & iOS): Lose It! is specifically designed for weight loss, but you can of course just use it to track what you eat. You can use it to set and meet goals. It lets you input and track your eating every day, take part in challenges, plan meals, and more.
Track your exercise
If you’re not sure you’re exercising enough, you can always try keeping track of your fitness regimen. You can log how long you’re exercising, what kinds of exercises you’re doing, and more. Most apps will give you an idea of how many calories you may have burned during the day, as well. Here are a couple apps to check out:
- Your device’s built-in app: Like above, some phones have a built-in health app that offers useful features. Using Samsung Health as an example again, you can choose from different exercises (like push ups and jumping jacks), then log how long you did them.
- JEFIT (Android & iOS): With JEFIT, you can track your training and your progress, as well as set and meet goals. Along with all the instructional features and its social aspect, you can log your workouts in the app.
- HeavySet (iOS): With this app, you can track your weightlifting and other equally intense workouts. It’s specifically designed for logging exercise. It also tells you when you set personal bests and lets you look back on past time periods to see trends.
Track your gas costs
If you commute to work, like to go on road trips, or are just worried about the current cost of gas, then you can try tracking your transportation costs. Gas prices have been soaring, and it could be a good time to figure out just how much you’re spending. You may make decent money at your job, but if you commute to work, your gas costs might make a huge dent. Or you might have gone on a trip but then forgotten to calculate how much you spent fueling up. Here are a couple apps that can help you keep a log of how much you’re spending at the gas pumps.
- Fuelio (Android): With this app, you can track basically everything related to your auto costs. You can track how much you’ve spent filling up your tank, how many miles you’ve put on your car, how much you’ve spent servicing your car, and more.
- Fuel (iOS): Fuel, like Fuelio, lets you log how much you spend at the gas pumps. It also lets you input other car expenses, include more than one car, and look at clear charts showing your spending.
Track daily costs
If you find yourself running low on money before each paycheck, it might be useful to start figuring out where most of your money is going. Using an app, you can track how much you’re spending on your shopping trips, then look for any trends, places you can cut back, or things you can actually spend more on. These are just a couple of your options:
- Wally Lite (iOS): With this app, you can scan receipts, manually input spending, set a budget, and track where you’ve been spending your money.
- Mint: Mint is a popular multi-purpose finance service. It can help you track your bills, set a budget, and get a visual of your spending, along with many other features.
Track environmental impact
There are many things we do every day that can be wasteful or otherwise bad for the environment. With an app, we can remind ourselves to make environmentally-conscious decisions. We can also see a visual representation of the environmentally sound things we did that day, as well as learn about other little things we could be doing better. Here are a couple apps that can help:
- JouleBug (Android & iOS): With JouleBug, you’re inspired to take note of what you do every day to try to be a little more green. The app offers suggestions on how to be more environmentally friendly, then gives you points and achievements when you actually do Earth-friendly things. Your points are a great indication of how environmentally sound you’re being each week.
- Oroeco (Android & iOS): Oroeco is an app that encourages you to be environmentally friendly and then rewards you when you make an effort to do so. You can earn rewards when you do green things, and you’re given suggestions for ways to be kinder to the environment.
Track your mood
Keeping up with how you feel throughout a day can be difficult. You might not even know when you’re in a bad mood or if you’re experiencing mood swings. Keeping an eye on your mood can give you an indication of what the underlying causes might be (whether it’s something as basic as stress or something more serious). The following apps can help you track your mood throughout each day:
- Realife Change (iOS): This app is a motivational app that offers a “virtual coach.” You can track your moods and various different emotions and thoughts throughout your day, then receive advice based on what you logged. You can also track your moods using hashtags.
- iMoodJournal (Android & iOS): iMoodJournal lets you log your moods throughout the day (including hashtags), then look back at charts showing your trends. You can even include extras (like photos), and you can track other things, like energy level and stress.
Track screen time
If you’re like most people with access to tech, you probably spend a lot of your day looking at a screen. Phones, computers, tablets, TVs—there are screens everywhere. Some screen time is unavoidable, and realistically, it would be difficult to cut it out completely. But it is possible to learn how much time you’re really spending on it and then set goals to cut back. These are just two of the apps that you can try:
- Moment (iOS): Moment is an app for iOS users who want to know how much time they’re spending on their iOS devices. It tracks screen time automatically. You can then see how much you’ve used all your devices (and you can include your family’s devices, too) and set daily limits.
- AntiSocial (Android): This app runs in the background of your device and then provides reports on how much screen time you’ve used. You can use it to set limits and block access to certain apps, as well.
Welcome back to another installment of Tech Spotlight! Each week, I’m talking about cool and useful tech you should know about. This week, I’m putting a lifestyle tracker, soundbar, and wireless charger in the spotlight. Check them out, then make your purchases on Amazon!
This device is a visually pleasing and useful fitness tracker you wear on your wrist or ankle. Moov Now can help keep up with running, cycling, gym workouts, boxing, swimming—any exercise you might do.
With Moov Now, you get audio coaching as you make your way through your workout. It provides motivation and tells you the progress you’re making in real-time. It monitors activity and sleep, and it keeps track of a variety of types of exercises. It can go everywhere with you—it’s light, waterproof, and can last 6 months on its battery.
Your workouts are broken down with different statistics and pieces of information. Runners, cyclists, and swimmers can check out analytics from their workouts and learn how to improve. When running and walking, you can learn about your pace, technique, and more. When swimming, you can find out more about your lap times and turns. You can also follow along with boxing and body weight training tutorials.
There are many different fitness trackers on the market, but Moov Now looks great (especially with its various different colors), does a wide variety of things, and is incredibly affordable (at a little more than $50). Check it out on Amazon and purchase it for your exercise needs!
Anker’s PowerPort wireless charger is a great choice for charging your iPhone, Galaxy, or other smartphone without plugging it in with a cord. The PowerPort Wireless 5 Pad is designed to make charging easier while maintaining safety.
This wireless charger works on a variety of phones. It’s primarily targeted at newer iPhones—like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X—but it works on other devices, like newer Galaxy models, Google Nexus 6, and others. When compared with standard chargers, this wireless charger can make charging a little bit quicker. It doesn’t compromise its safety standards when charging, either. It’s designed to meet safety standards, and it has temperature control that keeps it from overheating.
Anker’s wireless charger is also particularly nice because you can charge your phone without taking your phone case off. Unless you use a very thick (or metal) case, the charger will work fine. With some wireless chargers, you have to go through the sometimes tedious task of removing your case every time you want to charge, so this feature can save some time and hassle.
Having to plug and unplug your phone from a charging cord can be annoying. With a wireless charger, it becomes completely unnecessary. Take a closer look at Anker’s wireless charger and add it to your cart!
This soundbar from Samsung is a great way to improve your home audio experience without breaking the bank. With high ratings and a comparatively low price, the Samsung HW-M360 Soundbar is a budget entertainment option.
The HW-M360 offers Dolby Digital sound with 2.1 Channel surround sound audio. It also comes with a wireless subwoofer. Many systems use wired subwoofers—being wireless means you can experience great bass after placing the subwoofer wherever works best for your home.
This soundbar also can connect to your devices and allows for easy control. If you have a Samsung TV, this soundbar can connect to it easily. It has Bluetooth, which offers a couple nice features: you can turn the soundbar on from your smartphone (or other Bluetooth-capable device), and you can stream music from those devices straight to the soundbar. You can also use Samsung’s app to control the soundbar further from a device. You can use the app to turn up the volume, customize your sound settings, and more.
Whether you have a Samsung TV or not, Samsung’s HW-M360 is a reasonably priced and well-reviewed home theater choice. If you’re in the market to improve your audio experience, learn more about the soundbar on Amazon before making your purchase!
Welcome to this week’s Tech Spotlight! As always, I’m sharing three tech-related products with you that are fun, interesting, useful, or all of the above. And as usual, you can find all of these items on Amazon. After you’ve read about my finds, you can head straight over to Amazon to place an order with your Prime shipping. This week I’ve found some highly useful tech accessories, as well as a fun new clock for your smart home!
This keyboard from OMOTON is a highly rated Bluetooth keyboard that works with Bluetooth-capable devices. It’s specifically designed to work best with iPads and iPhones—the keypad has hotkeys that are customized for these devices. However, though the hotkeys aren’t guaranteed to work with other devices, you can still use the keyboard just fine with many other devices.
This keyboard makes the Tech Spotlight because it’s a well-reviewed keyboard with everything that’s necessary for typing on your devices. It doesn’t need a ton of bells and whistles—it just works well. It’s Bluetooth, so there are no cords to worry about. It has the keys and the layout you’re used to, so there’s no need to relearn where all the keys are. And the hotkeys can do things like let you control your device’s music and screen brightness.
The Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard uses two AAA batteries, so you might want to consider buying some rechargeable batteries. However, OMOTON notes the keyboard has a long battery life (as long as half a year) because of features like its automatic sleep mode.
Having a Bluetooth keyboard can make using a tablet or smartphone much more convenient. If you’re looking for one, take a look at the Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard from OMOTON!
The Seneo Fast Wireless Charger is a super quick way to charge your device without having to plug it in. It works best for Samsung Galaxy devices, but it can also charge newer iPhones.
This charger can provide a standard charge for an iPhone, but it is able to fast charge Samsung devices when connected with a fast charge adapter (for instance, the one that came with your Galaxy phone). The charger is plugged into the wall, allowing for wireless charging of the device itself. All you have to do is place your phone or tablet horizontally or vertically on the charger.
The charger is also a stand, so instead of laying your phone flat, you can actually see what’s on your phone easily while it’s charging. It also has a light that changes color as the charger connects to your device and then begins charging.
It is important to note that you do need your own adapter to plug the charger into the wall. You also can’t plug the charger into the USB port of your computer. And Seneo makes a point to note that some phone cases will interfere with charging, so you may need to remove your case before charging. However, your case may be thin enough to avoid needing to do this.
A wireless charger like this one from Seneo is a great way to charge your phone without looking for the cord to plug in, and it even makes it easy to continue using your phone as it charges. Head over to Amazon to learn more and add this Fast Wireless Charger to your cart!
This clock from LaMetric is a unique and fun way to keep up with the time and much more in your smart home. The LaMetric Time Wi-Fi Clock uses an artfully pixelated display to show you many different kinds of information, all depending on what you enable.
The clock works on its own, but it’s programmed using the accompanying app on a smartphone. This clock can be programmed to do much more than just tell the time. It can display a large number of other things from the thousands of choices. It can show the weather forecast, email notifications, calendar events, and information from smart devices (like your smart bulb or smart plug). It even connects with Alexa.
The different clock faces include fun pixel art, so each feature you connect adds a little flair to the clock. It also has a speaker, so you can do things like set internet radio stations to play when you wake up. And you can come up with your own clock faces by using LaMetric Developer for customization.
This clock is a cool addition to a smart home. If you want to connect your smart devices to one aesthetically pleasing clock, take a look at the LaMetric Time Wi-Fi Clock!
Welcome to this week’s Tech Spotlight! Each week, I’m sharing some fun and cool tech-related products you can find on Amazon. This week’s Spotlight features a wireless controller, a smartphone camera kit, and a photo printer. Take a look at what I’ve found this week, then go on over to Amazon to add some new tech to your cart!
The Myo Gesture Control Armband is a wireless controller that makes it easy to control your tech. While wearing the armband, you can make gestures and motions to perform certain tasks with your devices. The armband works by reading muscle activity and through the use of downloadable apps in Myo’s store (the Myo Market).
Using this armband, you can control many different things. Its product description mentions its use for gaming, as well as for things like controlling presentation slides and even flying your drone. You can also use the Keyboard Mapper to connect the armband to your keyboard. There are more than a hundred apps in the Myo Market, so there’s quite a bit you can play around with.
The Myo armband is designed to be convenient. It won’t weigh your arm down—it’s light (the description says it’s lighter than most watches). The battery is rechargeable and works throughout the day. And it’s compatible with many devices, including those using Windows 7 and up, as well as many Android, Mac, and iOS devices.
The Myo Gesture Control Armband is a convenient way to control your devices from a distance with just the motion of your arm. Head over to Amazon to find out more about what it can do!
This camera photo kit from ARORY offers a way to take photos from your phone in a new, fun way. Though many phone cameras do offer a lot more customization and options on their own, this telephoto lens kit gives smartphone photographers more choices for their shots.
The telephoto lens kit comes with 10 items designed to make photographing with your smartphone easier and a little more engaging. It does, of course, come with several attachable camera lenses. There’s a telephoto lens that offers 12x optical magnification, meaning photos can be zoomed in 12x further without the photos suffering from a loss of quality. There’s also a macro lens for close-up shots, a wide-angle lens for larger shots, and a fisheye lens for curved shots.
These are not the only items that come with this kit. There’s also a mini tripod with an attachable phone holder, so you can place your phone in the holder and take photos without worrying about a shaky hand or take a photo of yourself that’s not a selfie. To make this even easier, there’s also a Bluetooth remote shutter. Using this small device, you can take photos from a distance without having to touch your phone. There are also clips to hold the different lenses in place, and there’s a cleaning cloth to help keep the lenses clear of any dust or specks.
Many current smartphone cameras offer reasonably high-quality images, and many people rely solely on their phones to take pictures. This kit can improve the smartphone photo-taking experience!
The Prynt Pocket is a small, portable photo printer for use with iPhone. While you’re on the go, you can print previously taken photos or take new ones to print right away. All you have to do is place your iPhone in the printer and you’re on your way to printing photos anywhere.
The Prynt Pocket works with many different iPhones, from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone X. It uses ZINK Sticker Paper, which is an ink-free paper with a sticker backing (so you can also stick your photos anywhere). The photos print within 30 seconds, so there’s not a long wait for your photos. Oh, and if you like your tech to be pretty, there are several colors to choose from—graphite and white both look fairly clean and standard, but there’s also lavender and mint green.
The Prynt app also allows you to do some fun things with your photos. For instance, after you take a photo with the Prynt app, you can also record a short video to go with it. Then when others point their Prynt app at the photo, they can watch the matching video! You can also use the app to tweak your photos with things like filters and text.
If you take many photos with your iPhone (and if you have an iPhone, I’m confident you do), the Prynt Pocket will make a nice new addition to your accessories!
A lot has been going on with Apple over the past week or so. Quite a bit of news has come out about Apple devices, particularly concerning the future release of iOS 11.3 later in Spring. Here are just a few of the things you may have missed recently!
New Animoji will be added
When iOS 11.3 is released, you can expect new Animoji to be released with it! A preview from Apple has announced that four more Animoji will be added, joining the currently available twelve.
As you might know, animoji are the animated emoji that have been available on iOS 11 since late last year. Using animoji, you can make certain characters move based on your own movements and facial expressions. Some of the previously available animoji include a pig, an alien, a panda, and a unicorn.
The new animoji will include two typical animals—a bear and a lion—as well as the fun-sounding skull and dragon.
Apple’s augmented reality has been upgraded
Apple’s preview also discusses their new upgrades to their augmented reality (AR) technology. ARKit 1.5, the newest version of Apple’s AR tech, has been released for developers, and with it comes some cool new updates.
Previously, ARKit could allow users to place objects on horizontal surfaces (like, say, the floor). With ARKit 1.5, users will be able to also place objects on vertical surfaces (such as walls). This is a huge upgrade, making Apple’s AR experience even more compelling. In addition, users will be able to point their phone at a flat item (like a picture on a wall), and their phone will use AR to display any available facts about the item if it’s recognized by the system. For example, if you were visiting an art gallery, you could perhaps use Apple’s AR to find more information about certain pieces you were looking at.
iPhone slowdown to become optional
You may recall hearing a lot of talk last month about how iPhones were being slowed down. People were reporting that their iPhones seemed to slow down over time. Eventually Apple confirmed the speeds of these iPhones were being throttled, says CNN Money, though it wasn’t for some nefarious reason.
According to an open letter from Apple, iPhones were being slowed in order to prevent phones from being shut off as the phones’ batteries aged. Many people were upset this slowdown hadn’t been properly communicated to them, leading to Apple offering a heavily discounted battery replacement for certain affected customers.
Now Apple is going to make things even more transparent and open by allowing users to decide whether their iPhones are slowed down. In their iOS 11.3 preview, Apple describes their upcoming performance feature settings. These settings will make it possible to see whether your phone is set to slow down (preventing your phone from shutting down unexpectedly as your battery ages). If it is set to be throttled, you’ll be able to switch off this feature.
For more about what Apple is up to, take a look at their Newsroom.
The internet can be a wonderful place, but for people with children, it can also be a cause for concern. It’s pretty common these days for children to have regular access to the internet. Whether it’s a family computer, a parent’s tablet or smartphone, or even the child’s own device, many kids are able to get online every day.
For some, letting children use smartphones, tablets, or computers at all is troubling. At least one study has showed that children getting too much screen time can be bad for their mental health. And of course, some people believe that using the internet and playing video games just isn’t a worthwhile way for a child to spend their time. Some argue that there are better things kids could be doing in their off time.
While these ideas are obviously worth considering, many parents weigh the pros and cons and decide they want their children to have access to the internet through some kind of device. Depending on how old their children are, parents will likely find it extremely difficult to keep kids off the internet anyway. And though there are some serious downsides to consider, there are certainly positives when it comes to letting children have access to apps and certain websites. It’s hard to argue with the idea that there are a lot of different educational apps, games, and websites available for kids. Plus, it seems as though it’s most important to just limit screen time and keep watch on a child’s activity. A little screen time, then, can be fun.
When someone wants to let their child have access to a computer or smart device, there are a lot of things to consider. Specifically, how can adults keep their children as safe as possible, and how can they protect their devices, too? Childproofing can seem complicated, but depending on what you want to do, it might be easier than you think.
Before we get started…
It’s important to note that if you’re looking into childproofing your devices, you should also talk to your kids about how to be safe on the internet. Communication is key when it comes to letting your children use computers and smart devices. If kids don’t know what to watch out for, they could still get themselves into bad situations. And if children know they can talk to an adult about what’s been going on in an app or on a website, it’ll be easier to stop negative experiences before they can escalate. Whatever action you take to childproof a device, make sure you first talk to your kid(s) about why it’s necessary in the first place. The Federal Trade Commission has a page dedicated to talking to your kids about online communication.
Childproofing your computer
There are a number of options for childproofing a computer. Here are a few options you can consider:
Use your computer’s settings
If you have a Windows computer, then there’s a pretty straightforward way to monitor and childproof your child’s time on the device. In your settings, there is an option to set up and customize a child’s account. You can find instructions online about how to set up a restricted account on different Windows versions. For Windows 10, you’ll need to open your settings, go to “Accounts,” select “Family & other users,” and choose “Add a child.” Then you’ll fill in the necessary information to complete a new account.
When you go to manage the child’s settings, you can choose from a number of different options. You can have the child’s activity tracked so it can be sent to you. You can block or allow specific websites, or you can click a button to block websites inappropriate for children, and you can also restrict apps. You can even set certain times that the child is allowed to use the computer. Microsoft’s childproofing option can be extremely helpful.
If you have a Mac, you have just as many options for childproofing. If you go to System Preferences and choose “Parental Controls,” you can create a new account and set it up for a child to use. With Mac’s childproofing, you can restrict or allow certain websites and apps, set up time limits for use, restrict other kinds of content, view a log of visited websites, and even make the desktop easier to use by enabling “Simple Finder.”
Manage your browser’s settings
You can also set up a browser to be more child-friendly. For instance, Google Chrome allows users to create a supervised profile that blocks websites, lets you see what’s been visited, block new installations, enable SafeSearch, and more. Also, Firefox offers some extensions for parental controls.
However, browser settings can only do so much if your computer isn’t safeguarded as well. Also, changing your browser settings or adding an extension won’t do much at all to stop an older child from figuring out how to sidestep the parental controls. Browser settings should really be considered an additional layer of safety, not the primary source.
Block content through your router
You can use a service to block certain content on any device connected to your internet. One popular service is OpenDNS. They have some free and some paid services. Their free Family Shield service allows you to block adult content on the devices using your internet. Circle is another service that pairs with a router and lets you customize what devices are allowed to access when connected to your internet.
Childproofing your tablet
Tablets are popular devices for children. Here are just some ways you can childproof a tablet:
Create a restricted profile
If you have an Android tablet, you can create a restricted profile specifically for your child to use. In your tablet’s settings, find something similar to “Users” or “Profiles.” Then choose a “Restricted profile” or “child profile.” From there you can create a new profile and manage its settings. For instance, on the Kindle Fire you can enable certain books to be available, let the child use certain apps, and enable a kid-friendly browser. As long as you have a lock set for your own profile (like a PIN), when switching back to your profile you’ll encounter a lock screen.
These settings can change from tablet to tablet, so take a look at your tablet and scroll through the options. Most devices do their best to make restricted profile settings as clear and straightforward as possible.
iPads also offer Restrictions for childproofing. In your iPad’s settings, you can create a passcode for your restricted settings and customize your settings. You can restrict certain apps, music, and websites, and you can disable Siri, location services, volume controls, and more.
Lock the app store
To stop children from downloading certain apps, you can lock up a device’s app store. If your device uses Google Play, you can enable parental controls. You can create a PIN and restrict app, TV, and movie downloads to a certain rating range, restrict “sexually explicit” books for download, and restrict explicit music.
As mentioned before, iPads can also be customized for children. You can restrict app downloads in your iPad’s restrictions.
Use screen pinning or guided access
If you have an Android tablet with a later version of Android installed, you can use screen pinning when you’re letting a child use a shared device. Some tablets won’t have this feature, but some do. To check it out, try going to your Settings and tapping on your Security settings. Look for some mention of screen pinning. Screen pinning will let you open a specific app and pin it to the screen so a child can’t navigate away from it. It can be extremely useful if you want to know exactly which app your child is using at the time.
On an iPad, guided access can do the same thing. In your iPad’s settings, go to “General,” then “Accessibility” and find “Guided Access.” You can turn Guided Access off or on, set up a PIN, and learn how to restrict the device to show a certain app on the screen so a child can’t switch to a different app.
Download additional apps
You can also download some other apps to help you childproof your device. You can download an app like AppLock to restrict access to certain things. You can do the same with McAfee’s Safe Family. You can also download some child-specific versions of popular apps. Specifically, YouTube Kids lets you give a child access to some YouTube content without having to worry about the child wandering off into inappropriate content.
Childproofing your smartphone
Childproofing a smartphone is extremely similar to the techniques listed for tablets. In fact, all of the above is applicable to smartphones except for one key difference: restricted profiles do not seem to be available yet for Android phones.
Other than this, you can follow the same steps for smartphones as you would for tablets. iPads and iPhones have the same parental control features that let you restrict content or use guided access, and Android phones (as long they have a later version of Android installed) can enable screen pinning.
The Amazon app is getting way better for certain Apple users with its new augmented reality shopping tool. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide which items you want to buy on Amazon, especially when it comes to items for the home. With the Amazon app, some shoppers can now actually see what the product will look like in their house.
In an announcement about their upcoming holiday plans, Amazon also explained their new AR view. This cool new AR feature is available for shoppers using the Amazon app on an iPhone 6S or later that has iOS 11 on it. The app uses Apple’s ARKit to let people place certain items on their screen and view it in whatever area the phone is pointed at. Shoppers simply click the camera button and select the AR view to try it out. Amazon’s announcement mentions that there are “thousands” of products to choose from in AR view and that you can check out the items in a 360° view with the new feature.
As The Verge mentions, other apps, like IKEA and Target, have previously begun to offer their own augmented reality shopping experiences. Also, as Tech Crunch points out, Amazon dabbled a bit in AR shopping with their (pretty unsuccessful) AR stickers. But Amazon’s new offering is exciting for a number of reasons. For one thing, there are a lot of different items to choose from—it’s not horribly limited. Also, the products look pretty real, as you can see in Amazon’s YouTube video. The video shows items being moved and rotated using one or two fingers, respectively, so it also seems easy to use. There are different categories to scroll through and choose from, as shown in the video, so again, there’s a wide array of choices.
And of course, it’s Amazon. Amazon is a giant in the world of shopping, as we all know, so having this cool new tech just makes them even more enticing. If you’ve got an iPhone 6S or later and have iOS 11 installed, see if AR view in the Amazon app has rolled out to you now.
In case you missed it, the iPhone X has been in the news pretty much every day recently, and so has iOS 11, the new update for the iPhone operating system. iOS 11 has a number of new and updated features, but the one a lot of people are talking about is its easy-to-use screen recording feature. It was possible to record your iPhone’s screen before, but iOS 11 makes it much easier to do—a fact that has had some people excited, but some people pretty worried.
Being able to record the phone screen on an iPhone can come in handy for many different reasons. Some people may want to record themselves going through a process on the phone so they can upload it and teach people how to do something. Others might want to use it for viral video purposes. Or someone might want to record themselves doing something big, like sending an important message and getting a reply, applying for college, or anything that might be a memorable moment. People have had plenty of reasons to record their phone screens in the past, and iOS 11 just makes it much more accessible.
Mixed in with the positive response, though, was a huge concern: what would happen on Snapchat? Rumors began to swirl that the screen recording feature would allow iPhone users to record peoples’ Snaps secretly, bypassing Snapchat’s feature that tells users when their photos have been saved and who saved them. One huge draw for Snapchat is that the photos aren’t permanent, and if someone screenshots something, the original photo-taker can know who saved their photo onto their device. The idea of people being able to save photos and videos without identifying themselves had some people panicked.
It seems there’s good news and bad news. Fortunately, it’s been shown that Snapchat does, in fact, notify users when their direct messages have been recorded with the iPhone’s screen recorder. It doesn’t specify how it was saved, but it does still say that the Snap has been screenshotted. However, MacRumors tested the screen recorder on Snapchat and found that while it does notify for private messages, it doesn’t quite work with Stories, so be aware that you might not know if your Stories are being recorded.
Also important to note is that MacRumors also tested on Instagram Direct—a feature of Instagram that lets users send non-permanent photos—and the screen recorder did not alert the other user that a screenshot had been taken of their content. So while the issue with Snapchat is not much of a concern, be careful with your Instagram Direct messages until more is known about their screenshot alerts.
There’s been a lot of hype about the upcoming new iPhone X, and with all the hype has come plenty of news tidbits. One major piece of information has been the discussion about Apple’s Face ID technology. Face ID will, among other things, allow iPhone users to unlock their phones simply by using their face. Face ID can recognize a face and use it as a security measure, sort of like unlocking with a fingerprint or a PIN. It will also let you do things like make payments by verifying your face. Face ID is implemented using the iPhone X’s TrueDepth Camera. The TrueDepth Camera incorporates a number of technologies in order to “accurately map and recognize a face,” says Apple. While Face ID sounds exciting, another interesting and fun application of the TrueDepth Camera will be the new iPhone’s Animojis. You heard that right—Animojis.
Using the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X, you will be able to send customized and animated emojis to your friends. Right now, of course, texters are usually limited to the typical pre-chosen emojis. These emojis have a limited range of emotions, to some peoples’ frustration. I myself have often found myself irritated when I couldn’t really find the right emoji to accurately express what I was feeling (because of my ability to send texts with unbelievable typos, I really need an emoji to better display my embarrassment). And considering how often people replace full-blown sentences with simple emojis, having more options could be great fun.
Animojis will allow you to use your TrueDepth Camera to choose from a set of different Animoji styles, like perhaps a panda. You will then be able to make different faces—Apple says there are “over 50 different facial muscle movements”—and display that emotion on your chosen style. You will be able to send these Animojis to your friends as short, looping animations. This should let you feel more like you have properly expressed your true emotion, though of course, you’ll probably be doing so as a unicorn or a fox. Still, Animojis should bring some fun to the world of emojis for owners of the iPhone X.