How to use Microsoft Family Safety to manage your family members’ app usage, screen time, and more

Microsoft Family 1
You can manage your family’s devices in various ways through Microsoft Family Safety.

  • Microsoft Family Safety is a parental control app that lets you manage your kids’ screen time and app usage, among other features.
  • Family Safety is free but requires everyone to use a Microsoft account, and there are premium features available with a Microsoft 365 subscription.
  • The parental controls work across multiple devices, but browsing can only be filtered using the Edge browser.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Microsoft Family Safety is more or less just what the name implies: It’s Microsoft’s family safety and parental controls app that you can use to manage your kid’s screen time and device usage.

To use the service, you need to install the Microsoft Family Safety app on each mobile device you want to manage, and every family member you want to track needs a Microsoft account.

What to know about Microsoft Family Safety

Once configured, Microsoft Family Safety monitors the screen time and time spent with specific games and apps on phones, tablets, and Xbox. Parents can do more than just monitor usage as well: You can turn on screen time limits and schedules, and filter specific apps and web browsing. The app also tracks locations using mobile device GPS, so you can see where your family members are.

Most of these features are free, though some premium features are only available if you have a subscription to Microsoft 365 Family, most notably location alerts and drive safety features.

How to get started with Microsoft Family Safety

Microsoft Family 2
You must install Microsoft Family Safety across devices and sign in to your Microsoft account to use it.

To use Microsoft Family Safety, you’ll need to install the app on each of your family member’s devices. You can install Microsoft Family Safety for Android or for iOS. Start by installing it on your mobile device as a parent and sign in to your Microsoft account.

Unless you’ve already created a family group, you’ll initially be the only member of your family. Tap “Add a family member” and enter their email address associated with their Microsoft account. If your child doesn’t yet have a Microsoft account, tap “Create a child account” and follow the instructions to create one for them. They will get an invitation to join your family group; if needed, help them accept the invitation and get started with Family Safety.

Microsoft Safety 1
You can add your entire family to your family group and manage how they use their phones, apps, and web browsers.

Be sure to install the Microsoft Family Safety app on each of your kids’ devices, signing them into their own Microsoft accounts.

Using the map and tracking your family’s location

Microsoft Family 3
You can enable Microsoft Family Safety to display the location of your family members.

Microsoft Family Safety displays the location of your family members on a map, as long as you’ve enabled that feature in Settings.

To see the map, start Microsoft Family Safety and tap “Map” at the top of the screen. You should see pins for each family member.

If you want to, you can add saved locations to the map, which Microsoft calls “places.” When someone goes to that location, you’ll see it displayed on the family member’s card on the home page, so you can tell at a glance where they are.

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How to connect two pairs of AirPods to one iPhone, and share music wirelessly with your friends

airpods pro
You can use Bluetooth and AirPlay to connect two AirPod pairs to a single iPhone.

  • You can connect two pairs of AirPods to one iPhone as long as it’s an iPhone 8 or newer, running iOS 13 or newer.
  • One pair of AirPods will connect to the iPhone via Bluetooth, and the other pair connects via AirPlay.
  • AirPods aren’t the only headphones that have this feature – you can also use several kinds of Beats headphones.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Sharing things like music used to be as simple as handing over an earpod and sitting side by side.

But with wireless headphones becoming the norm – and with social distancing measures still in place – it helps to have multiple pairs of headphones.

Related Article Module: What version of iOS do I have? How to find which version your iPhone is running and check if there’s an update available

Luckily, newer iPhones have the ability to stream music and other audio to two pairs of AirPods (or Beats) at once. As long as you have an iPhone 8 or newer, running iOS 13 or newer, you can set this up in moments.

How to connect two pairs of AirPods to one phone

Firstly, make sure you have the right iPhone and the right headphones. Every AirPods model can use the double-streaming feature, as well as:

  • Powerbeats
  • Powerbeats Pro
  • Powerbeats3 Wireless
  • Beats Solo Pro
  • Beats Solo3 Wireless
  • Beats Studio3 Wireless
  • BeatsX
  • Beats Flex

For those who have the compatible devices, here’s how to connect two pairs of AirPods to your phone:

1. Connect your first pair of headphones as usual, by turning on the Bluetooth in your Settings app and then selecting your headphones from the list of devices.

2. Either open the app you want to play audio from and select the AirPlay icon, or lock your phone and then select the AirPlay icon in the control center.

spotify airplay
In Spotify, you can find the AirPlay option in the same menu you can use to switch listening devices.

3. Underneath the already connected headphones, select “Share audio.”

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The AirPlay menu lets you pick which device you want to route audio through.

From here, the method changes depending on the kind of headphones you have:

  • AirPods or AirPods Pro: With the AirPods inside of their case, open the AirPods case and hold it close to the iPhone.
  • AirPods Max: Simply hold the headphones next to your iPhone.
  • Beats: Put the headphones in pairing mode, according to the directions provided by the manufacturer, and then hold them up to your iPhone.
beats pairing
Most Beats models require you to press and hold the power button to pair.

Finally, when you see your (or your friends’) other headphones appear on the screen, tap to select them and then select “Share Audio” again.

You can control the volume, play, pause, and stop from the lock screen’s control center. You’ll see separate options to control the volume for the headphones using the sliders next to the name of the headphones.

iphone airpods share audio
You’ll be able to see, control, and disconnect each pair of headphones individually.

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What is Calm? How to use the meditation and mental fitness app featuring celebrity ‘sleep stories’

A woman using a meditation app
The Calm app features meditations, masterclasses, sleep stories, and more.

  • Calm is a mental fitness app featuring stories, meditations, and music to help users sleep better, lessen anxiety, and become more mindful.
  • Calm offers premium memberships worth $14.99 per month or $69.99 per year or a free version with limited options.
  • The Calm app is popular among mental fitness advocates and for its celebrity sleep stories featuring the voices of Harry Styles, Kate Winslet, and Idris Elba.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Mental health is essential, and one of the best ways to practice self-care is to take a few moments to yourself for a day. Meditation practice is a good way to do that, with many benefits, including decreased stress and negative emotions, increasing self-awareness, and general feelings of relaxation.

For those looking for guidance on beginning a meditation practice, the Calm app can help. Downloaded more than 100 million times since it was released back in 2012, it’s available on iOS and Android as well as on the web.

Calm can be a positive part of your self-care practice, whether you’ve never tried meditation before or you’re a seasoned pro.

What is Calm?

Calm is a meditation and mental fitness app that features a variety of media designed to help users relax, sleep, or become more mindful.

Calm 3
You can find sleep stories narrated by your favorite celebrities on the Calm app.

One of Calm’s biggest draws for many is their collaborations with popular celebrities featured on the app as the readers of Sleep Stories. This tool is meant to help listeners have a more restful night through a growing library of famous narrators including LeBron James, Scottie Pippen, Matthew McConaughey, Laura Dern, Lucy Liu, and Kelly Rowland. Calm also features relaxing remixes of songs and albums by stars, including Ellie Goulding, Moby, and John Legend.

Calm 2
The Calm app lets you select a sleep remix of top songs from your favorite musicians.

In addition to bedtime stories and relaxing music options, Calm offers mood tracking, breathing exercises, guided and unguided meditations, customizable audio and video content, masterclasses held by leading experts in the field, and regularly updated content. That includes Daily Calms to help users maximize the effectiveness of their practice. There’s even a Calm Body section that features small movement and stretching segments to help your physical health and mental health.

Calm 1
The Calm app has a whole library of offerings geared towards children.

Calms users with children can also use the dedicated offerings for kids – from Sleep Stories of classics like “Peter Pan” and “The Velveteen Rabbit” to meditations with popular children’s characters like Thomas the Tank Engine.

Calm Free versus Calm Premium

Illutration of the Calm App
Calm features “sleep stories” recited by celebrities.

Calm currently offers a free version and Calm Premium, a subscription-based model that costs $14.99 per month or $69.99 per year. In addition, the app offers a 7-day free trial of their Premium service for users to try before they commit.

The free version may be good for casual users, as it offers several useful features without cost, including:

  • Timed meditations
  • Day 1 of all multi-day meditation programs
  • A sleep story called “Blue Gold”
  • Access to Calm’s Breathe Bubble breathing exercise
  • Several free scenes and nature sounds
Calm 4
Calm Premium unlocks a series of Masterclasses on varying topics.

Calm Premium includes everything the free version does but also unlocks the rest of Calm’s content. That includes more than 120 Sleep Stories, hundreds of meditations focusing on everything from anxiety to relationships, specially curated music, masterclasses, and more.

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How to use Google Take Me Home to get hands-free directions on your iPhone and Android

Google Pixel assistant
You can get directions home from Google with just a few words.

  • “Hey Google, take me home” is a voice command you can use to immediately get directions home from Google Assistant.
  • Google Take Me Home is available on iPhone and Android in the Google Maps and the Google Assistant apps.
  • iOS users will need to install the Google Assistant app to use this feature.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

“Hey Google, take me home” is a voice command for Google Assistant that opens the Google Maps app and starts a route to your home address.

It’s most seamlessly used on Android devices, which already use Google Assistant as its default virtual assistant. However Apple users can also install the Google Assistant app and use it separately or in tandem with Siri.

How the “Hey Google, take me home” feature works

This voice command is carried out by Google Assistant and can be used once you set – or edit – a Google Maps home address. Once it’s all set up, you can open either Google Assistant or Google Maps to use the command.

For Android users, all you need to do is set that home address and then say “Hey Google, take me home” or or “Ok Google, take me home.” Google Assistant will open Google Maps and find the fastest route home.

For Apple users, you’ll need to install and set up Google Assistant, then set your home address on Google Maps.

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Facebook stock jumped more than 4% after Mark Zuckerberg said Apple’s privacy update will help the social media giant

Mark Zuckerberg
  • Facebook stock climbed 4.1%, closing at $290.11 on Friday, after Mark Zuckerberg’s comments on Clubhouse.
  • “I’m confident that we’re gonna be able to manage through that situation,” Zuckerberg said on Thursday.
  • The Apple iOS 14 software update allows users to opt-out from being tracked.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook stock climbed 4.1% on Friday after CEO Mark Zuckerberg changed his tune on Apple’s imminent privacy update.

The social media company had been fighting with Apple over the changes for months, but Zuckerberg reversed course this week and said he actually thinks the new policies will help the social media giant. Shares rose following the comments, closing at $290.11 on Friday.

“I think the reality is that I’m confident that we’re gonna be able to manage through that situation, Zuckerberg said in a discussion Thursday on Clubhouse. “And we’ll be in a good position. I think it’s possible that we may even be in a stronger position.”

The Apple iOS 14 software update will require app developers including Facebook to request permission from users before tracking them through Apple’s Identified for Advertisers (IDFA).

“Apple’s changes encourage more businesses to conduct commerce on our platforms, by making it harder for them to basically use their data in order to find the customers that would want to use their products outside of our platforms,” Zuckerberg said during the Clubhouse talk.

Facebook has been pushing back against the Apple iOS update since August. The company said in a blog post that the changes will impact its Audience Network by limiting its ability to deliver targeted advertising, which will slash its revenue on iOS up to 50%.

“This is not a change we want to make, but unfortunately Apple’s updates to iOS 14 have forced this decision. We know this may severely impact publishers’ ability to monetize through Audience Network on iOS 14, and, despite our best efforts, may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14 in the future,” the blog post said in August.

During the Clubhouse discussion, Zuckerberg said that these changes will affect small businesses and developers. “I just think it’s one of the reasons why Facebook has been a bit outspoken on this is, there are certain principles that we care about and empowering individuals is one of them,” he added.

Apple has hit back at Facebook’s criticism, telling Insider’s Isobel Asher Hamilton it was standing up for its users by creating the new privacy features.

“Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites – and they should have the choice to allow that or not,” an Apple spokesperson said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

What is Bumble Boost? How to use the dating app’s paid features to get more matches

Bumble App on logo backround
A Bumble logo seen displayed on a smartphone.

  • Bumble Boost is a paid subscription offered by Bumble that gives unlimited swiping, swipe undos, and more.
  • If you’re willing to pay more, you can also get Bumble Premium, which gives even more features.
  • Bumble Boost is only available to iOS users worldwide, and Android users in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

A lot has changed since the early days of dating apps. New apps and features have arrived, giving people more options to help find their best match.

One of these apps is Bumble, which has become known in many circles as more of a true dating app – Tinder is often more associated with hookups – in large part because there’s a more even male-to-female ratio among its users, among dozens of other self-identifications.

In fact, Bumble has become so popular that it’s testing out new premium services. Bumble Boost is getting revamped to include even more features, and they’re also adding a higher tier, Bumble Premium.

What to know about Bumble Boost

Bumble Boost is the less expensive of the two paid options – in other words, sort of like halfway between Bumble and Bumble Premium. You don’t get some of the more exclusive features, but you get most of the important ones, and for a lot less.

Bumble Boost varies in cost, depending on how long you sign up for it. You can subscribe on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, in addition to three- and six-month subscriptions. Boost’s cost may change as Bumble continues to test its paid features, but you’re often getting a larger discount for longer subscriptions.

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Valve is fighting to stop Apple from demanding troves of information as part of its fight with ‘Fortnite’ maker Epic Games

Tim Cook Tim Sweeney
Apple CEO Tim Cook (left) and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney.

  • Court documents show Apple is trying to subpoena Valve in its fight with Epic Games.
  • Valve has refused to hand over certain information about its revenues and the games it hosts.
  • Valve claims Apple is asking for too much information, given it is not a mobile platform.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Apple’s fight with Epic Games is apparently dragging other video game companies into its net.

A joint court letter filed on Thursday and spotted by Ars Technica reveals Apple has been trying to subpoena Valve, the company behind the hugely popular online game store Steam, for information.

Apple has been engaged in a legal battle with Epic Games, the studio behind the wildly popular “Fortnite,” since August. The fight centers around Epic Games’ refusal to comply with Apple’s App Store rules on in-app payments in its iOS version of “Fortnite.” 

Apple requires app developers to use its own payment system, which levies an automatic 30% tax on in-app purchases. Epic Games claims this is anti-competitive, and in August decided to implement its own payment system, after which Apple kicked “Fortnite” off the App Store.

Epic Games subsequently sued Apple, and the two companies have been battling it out ever since – with Apple CEO Tim Cook scheduled to give a seven-hour deposition ahead of the case going to court in May. Epic Games has kept up the pressure, this week filing an antitrust complaint with the EU.

Valve is not directly involved in the legal fight between the two companies. Apple said it is asking for documents showing Valve’s yearly sales and revenues as well as information about each app on Steam, including its pricing, as a way of gaining an understanding of the market Epic Games operates in.

Apple complains in its letter that Valve has resisted complying with some of its requests for information, and that when it has handed over information it’s been heavily redacted.

Valve claims Apple is asking for too much information, given Valve is not a concerned party in its fight with Epic Games and it is not a mobile platform. More broadly, Valve is also claiming that because it’s a distributor of PC games, the information it can provide is largely irrelevant to the fight between Apple and Epic Games.

“Valve does not make or sell phones, tablets, or video games for mobile devices, or otherwise compete in the mobile market,” it says in the letter. It added that Apple’s requests would impose an “extraordinary burden” on Valve to collect all the data Apple wants.

“The extensive and highly confidential information Apple demands about a subset of the PC games available on Steam does not show the size or parameters of the relevant market and would be massively burdensome to pull together,” Valve said in its letter.

Apple argues that Valve should be compelled to offer the information because Samsung complied with similar requests. Valve’s counter-argument is that Samsung is a public company so it is used to keeping records of that kind of information, which could be produced much more quickly and easily.

“Somehow, in a dispute over mobile apps, a maker of PC games that does not compete in the mobile market or sell ‘apps’ is being portrayed as a key figure. It’s not,” Valve says.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to pair an Apple Watch with your iPhone using the Watch app

  • You can pair an Apple Watch with an iPhone using the Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Before you pair your Apple Watch, make sure that the devices are compatible, and that your iPhone is updated to the latest version of iOS.
  • Once you’ve paired your Apple Watch, you’ll be able to use all of its features, including on-wrist phone calls and text messaging.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

So, you’ve taken the plunge and purchased your first Apple Watch.

Now you can track your physical activity, your sleep (using third-party apps), and easily access your phone calls and texts on your wrist all day long.

But first you’ll need to pair your watch with an iPhone. Here’s how to get started on it.

How to pair an Apple Watch with your iPhone

Check your compatibility

First things first – make sure your watch is compatible with your iPhone model. Hopefully you did this before purchasing the Apple Watch, but if you didn’t, don’t open the box until you’ve verified this information.

Here’s a list explaining what Apple Watches work with which iPhones.

Also, make sure your iPhone iOS is up to date. You can check what iOS you are running by going to Settings > General > About and scrolling down to see which “Version” you have.

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Before pairing your Watch, make sure your iPhone is up-to-date.

Pair your Watch and iPhone using the Watch app

Once you’ve verified that your Apple Watch will work with your iPhone, make sure your Bluetooth is on, and that your iPhone is connected to WiFi or a cellular network.

Make sure you have the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, and if not, download it from the Apple Store.

iPhone Apple Watch App
The Watch app comes pre-installed on most iPhones.

Now follow these steps:

1. Turn your Apple Watch on. Press and hold the button on the right side of your Apple Watch until you see the white Apple logo on a black background. It may stay on this screen for a few minutes.

Apple Watch turning on
Hold the circled button to turn your Apple Watch on.

2. Select your language and region.

3. Hold your watch close to your iPhone. Wait for “Use your iPhone to set up this Apple Watch” to appear on your iPhone. Tap the “Continue” button on your iPhone and click “Start Pairing” on the Watch. If you don’t get the message on your phone, open the Apple Watch app and click “Start Pairing.”

iPhone Start Pairing Apple Watch
If your iPhone doesn’t automatically prompt you to begin pairing, you can open the Watch app and begin it manually.

4. An animation will appear on your Apple Watch. Point your iPhone’s camera at the Watch and center the Watch-shaped window over the Watch’s screen. You’ll get an alert saying that the Watch is paired. At this stage, it may ask you to update the Watch OS. Do so.

5. Otherwise, it will display a screen asking whether you’d like to restore your Apple Watch from a backup, or “Set Up as New Apple Watch.” If this is your first time using an Apple Watch you should tap “Set Up as New Apple Watch.” However, if you have a previous backup, you can choose to load it onto your Apple Watch.

iPhone Apple Watch paired
Even if you’ve previously backed up your Watch, you can still set it up as if it were new.

6. Select what wrist you will wear it on, your left or right wrist. If you choose right, you will have to choose which side you would like the Digital Crown (the wheel used to control the Watch) to be on.

Apple Watch wrist preference
Depending on which wrist you wear your Watch on, the screen will be oriented differently.

7. Read the Terms and Conditions, and then tap “Agree” to continue.

8. Sign into your iCloud Account. It may automatically log you in. Otherwise, enter your iCloud information on your phone.

9. You’ll now be able to choose which settings to turn on, and which settings your iPhone will share with your Apple Watch. This includes route tracking, sharing watch analytics with Apple, access to Siri, and access to the “Find My” app. If you don’t have Find My set up on your iPhone, you’ll have to turn on Activation Lock. This locks your Watch to your iCloud Account so it can’t be reset and used by anyone else.

Apple Watch shared settings
Your Apple Watch can share a number of settings with your iPhone.

10. At this stage you’ll be asked to create a passcode. You can choose from a 4-digit or 8-digit passcode. Input your passcode twice on your Apple Watch. You can choose to skip this step, but if you want to use Apple Pay on your Apple Watch then you’ll need to have a passcode set up.

The good news? If you have Wrist Detection on, when you’re wearing the watch, you won’t have to enter your passcode to unlock it. A passcode is only required once you take it off your wrist.

Apple Watch passcode with skitch
Clicking “Add a Long Passcode” will allow you to set an 8-digit passcode.

11. The app will walk you through setting up more features, such as Heart Health, Apple Pay, and Emergency SOS.

12. If you have a Cellular Plan, you’ll set this up next.

13. Select which apps to add to your Watch. You can choose to add all the Apple Watch compatible apps that you have currently on your iPhone, or you can skip this step and manually select apps from the Apple Watch App after you’ve completed setup.

Apple Watch available apps
You can install apps onto your Watch at any time, so don’t feel pressured to add them all right away.

14. Wait for your Apple Watch to sync. Depending on how much data you’re transferring this might take some time. Keep the devices close together. Once the sync is complete, you’ll hear a chime.

And that’s it. Enjoy your Apple Watch!

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to use AirPlay on a Roku player to stream content from an Apple device

woman watching tv looking through content on phone
It’s easy to stream music, movies, and shows from your Apple device to your Roku with AirPlay.

  • You can use AirPlay to stream content to your Roku from an Apple device.
  • AirPlay and Roku are compatible on most media apps, like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, Apple Music, and more.
  • Before you use AirPlay, make sure your Apple device and Roku device are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, and check that your Roku TV has AirPlay turned on. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

AirPlay, a useful casting feature on Apple products, allows you to cast media from your Apple device to many different Roku models. That means that you can display videos, photos, and other media on your TV, even if the casting feature isn’t working or isn’t available.

Not every Roku device supports AirPlay. If you want to use it, you’ll need a supported model:

  • Roku TV models Axxxx, Cxxxx, CxxGB, or 7xxxx
  • Streambar model 9102
  • Smart Soundbar models 9100 or 9101
  • Roku Ultra models 4640, 4660, 4662, 4661, 4670, or 4800
  • Roku Premiere models 3820, 4620, or 4630
  • Streaming Stick models 3810 or 3811

Of course, you’ll also need an Apple device that supports AirPlay, which is any iPhone, iPad, or iTouch running iOS 12.3 or later, or any Mac computer running MacOS Mojave 10.14.5 or later.

How to use AirPlay on your Roku

1. Make sure your Apple device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Roku TV.

2. Check that AirPlay is turned on on your Roku device:

  • In the Roku home menu, scroll down to Settings.
  • In the Settings menu, scroll down and select “Apple AirPlay and HomeKit.”
How_to_use_Airplay_on_Roku_ _7
Go to “Apple AirPlay and HomeKit.”

  • Ensure that AirPlay is set to “On.”
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Set AirPlay to “On.”

3. On your Apple device, find the song, video, photo, podcast, or other media you’d like to stream to your TV. 

4. The next step changes depending on what app you’re trying to stream from. Here are some of the most common examples:

On Spotify:

1. Tap the “Devices” button in the bottom left corner of the screen.

How_to_use_Airplay_on_Roku_ _1
On Spotify, tap the “Devices” icon.

2. In the “Listening On” menu, tap “AirPlay or Bluetooth.”

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Tap “Airplay or Bluetooth.”

3. Tap the name of your Roku TV.

How_to_use_Airplay_on_Roku_ _3
Tap the name of your TV.

On the Photos app:

1. Tap the “Share” button in the bottom left corner.

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Tap the “Share” button.

2. Scroll down on the Share menu until you see AirPlay, and tap it.

3. Tap the name of your TV in the pop-up.

How_to_use_Airplay_on_Roku_ _5
Scroll down and tap “AirPlay.”

On the Apple Music app:

1. Tap the AirPlay button at the bottom center of the screen (the icon looks like three concentric circles with a triangle underneath).

How_to_use_Airplay_on_Roku_ _6__1_
Tap the AirPlay button at the bottom of the screen.

2. Tap the name of your device.

On Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and other mobile streaming apps:

1. On the mobile app, begin playing the video you want to watch.

2. Tap the AirPlay icon on the top of the video screen (the icon looks like a square with a triangle underneath it).

hulu airplay
Tap the AirPlay icon.

3. In the pop-up, select your Roku device from the list of compatible AirPlay devices.

Unfortunately, you can no longer use AirPlay to stream content from Netflix

Troubleshooting tips

If you’re having trouble and your Roku device isn’t displaying on the AirPlay menu, try these troubleshooting tips:

  • Make sure your Roku device is one of the models listed at the beginning of this article.
  • Make sure your Apple device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your TV.
  • Make sure AirPlay is turned on on your Roku device.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple and Google have reportedly banned a major data broker from collecting location data from users’ phones amid scrutiny over its national security work

tim cook sundar pichai apple google
  • Apple and Google have banned X-Mode, a major data broker, from collecting location from users whose mobile devices run iOS and Android, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
  • The tech giants told developers they must remove X-Mode’s tracking software or risk being cut off from their app stores — and therefore the vast majority of mobile devices globally.
  • The move by Apple and Google follows recent reports by The Wall Street Journal and Vice News about X-Mode’s national security contracts and congressional scrutiny over how government agencies purchase Americans’ location data from private companies.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apple and Google have banned X-Mode Social, a major data broker, from collecting mobile location data from iOS and Android users following criticism of its national security work, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The tech giants are requiring developers to remove X-Mode’s tracking software from their apps or they could get cut off from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store, according to The Journal. Apple has given developers two weeks to comply, the newspaper reported.

In a statement to Business Insider, a Google spokesperson said: “We are sending a 7-day warning to all developers using the X-Mode SDK. Apps that need more time due to the complexity of their implementation can request an extension, which can be up to 30 days (including the initial 7-days). If X-Mode is still present in the app after the timeframe, the app will be removed from Play.”

Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android mobile operating systems power nearly all smartphones worldwide, effectively forcing developers to ditch X-Mode, and the policies mark one of the most direct actions against a specific data broker.

“X-Mode collects similar mobile app data as most location and advertising SDKs in the industry. Apple and Google would be setting the precedent that they can determine private enterprises’ ability to collect and use mobile app data,” an X-Mode spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement.

X-Mode is still trying to get information from Apple and Google on why its tracking software is different than what other location data companies – or even Apple and Google themselves – collect, the spokesperson added.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.

The moves by Apple and Google follow recent reports about how X-Mode sells users’ location data to US defense contractors, and by extension US military, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies – contracts that have drawn scrutiny from lawmakers who argue it undermines Americans’ privacy rights by allowing the government to avoid having to obtain search warrants.

Both Apple and Google disclosed their new policies banning X-Mode to investigators working on behalf of Sen. Ron Wyden, according to The Wall Street Journal. Wyden has been investigating how private companies collect and sell Americans’ mobile location data to the government, often without their knowledge, and has proposed legislation that would ban the practice.

Vice News reported in November that X-Mode collects location data from users via as many as 400 apps, including Muslim prayer and dating apps, weather apps, and fitness trackers, and then sells that data to contractors that work with the US Air Force, US Army, and US Navy. X-Mode CEO Josh Anton told CNN Business in April the company tracks 25 million devices in the US every month.

The Wall Street Journal also reported last month that the US Air Force is indirectly using location data from X-Mode to monitor internet-of-things devices.

Other private data brokers have faced pushback in recent months for similar sales of Americans’ location data to US government agencies and contractors. Lawmakers are investigating Venntel for selling data to the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, who reportedly used the data to surveil illegal immigrants, as well as the IRS for buying data from Venntel.

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