Apple is finding more ways to keep you glued to the iPhone with iOS 15

Apple iPhone12Pro iOS15 wallet ID 060721
Apple’s iOS 15 update brings new features like digital IDs to Apple Wallet.

  • Apple is turning the iPhone into a replacement for our keys, wallet, and state IDs with iOS 15.
  • The move has the potential to make our iPhones feel more essential than ever.
  • It’s another way to dissuade iPhone owners from switching to Android.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The iPhone’s appeal is about much more than just the iPhone. It’s about the Apple Watch, AirPods, the Apple Card, Apple Fitness+, and the many other Apple products you probably use as an iPhone owner.

Apple is building on that idea with its next major iPhone update, called iOS 15, which introduces new features that let you replace critical items like keys and ID cards with your iPhone. Other major additions include updates to Apple’s core apps that help them better compete with third-party software like Zoom, and tighter integrations between Apple’s services.

Apple announced its new iPhone operating system at its Worldwide Developer Conference alongside software upgrades to other important products like the iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac computers.

The conference is always a critical moment for Apple, during which it showcases innovative new features for all of its major products. But it’s especially important this year as the company seeks to entice developers amid its high-profile legal battle with “Fortnite” maker Epic Games, which has accused Apple of monopolistic practices over the way it manages the App Store.

Now, with iOS 15, Apple is launching new capabilities that could make the iPhone an even more integral part of everyday life. One new feature, for example, represents a major step forward in Apple’s effort to turn the iPhone into a replacement for the most essential items in our purses and pockets: our keys, ID cards, and wallets.

Later this year, iPhone owners in the United States will be able to add their driver’s license or state identification cards to Apple Wallet, the company said during the event. Apple also announced that your iPhone will be able to serve as a digital key for your home, hotel room, and office when used with compatible third-party systems. This comes after Apple previously announced efforts to turn your iPhone into a digital car key.

Apple’s ambitions to enable your iPhone to serve as a digital wallet have been clear for some time. Apple CEO Tim Cook even said as much in 2014 when unveiling Apply Pay, and the company launched its own iPhone-based credit card called the Apple Card in 2019. But the new features in iOS 15 make that vision more fully realized.

If these digital key and ID card systems are widely embraced, it could make switching to Android much less compelling – or nearly impossible – for iPhone users. When I reviewed the Apple Card in 2019, one of my biggest takeaways was that it made the iPhone feel even more essential to my daily life since I found myself using Apple Pay much more often. Apple Pay had existed for years, but using it only became a daily habit when I started using the Apple Card.

Making the switch to Android would also be more cumbersome since it would mean canceling one of my credit cards. This push to move the rest of our wallet over to the iPhone seems like it has the potential to have a similar impact.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course. Why would anyone want to carry around a phone, a wallet, and a key ring when all you really need is your iPhone? Still, it raises the question as to whether the convenience of lightening our pockets is worth becoming so reliant on a single device, especially at a time when lawmakers are questioning the influence and reach of companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

Apple’s new Wallet features are just a few of the many changes coming to Apple’s core products later this year. Another major focus of iOS 15 is the way Apple’s various products and services work together – a key advantage that Apple’s ecosystem has had for years.

A new feature called “Shared With You,” for example, surfaces content that friends and family members have shared with you in Apple’s Messages app in other corresponding apps like Music, Photos, Apple News, and Safari.

Apple is also giving you less of a reason to turn to third-party video chatting apps like Zoom thanks to its new FaceTime update, which brings the ability to watch movies and listen to music together via FaceTime and create links for FaceTime calls that can be shared and accessed, even on non-Apple devices, through a web browser.

At the same time, Apple has made it easier to use third-party apps with its products and services in recent years. In 2020, for example, it made it possible for iPhone users to change certain app defaults to third-party apps for the first time. And with iOS 15, it’s letting HomeKit accessory makers add Siri to their products for the first time.

Still, the overall message is clear: Apple’s iPhone ecosystem may be more open than ever, but it’s only going to get more difficult to leave it.

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The best screen protectors of 2021 for the top phones and tablets

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The best screen protectors
  • Screen protectors are the easiest way to protect a device from scratches, bumps, and other injuries.
  • The best screen protectors are, per the Moh scale of mineral hardness, nearly as hard as diamond.
  • Many are also designed to resist smudging, fingerprints, and other blemishes.

The screen is one of a smartphone or tablet’s most important aspects. That’s why it’s so important to protect it from scratches, dents, and other damage that can make using a device almost impossible. (Or at least unpleasant.) Some cases protect the display, but not all of them do, and not everyone wants to use a case. A screen protector can offer a middle ground by protecting the display without changing the look and feel of a device too much in the process.

Many quality screen protectors offer 9H hardness, which means they’re more durable than most glass, as well as some form of impact protection. The former defends against scratches; the latter helps absorb some of the force of an unexpected collision with another solid object. Modern screen protectors have also made it easier than ever to enjoy that protection without having to worry about dust, fingerprints, or air bubbles getting trapped underneath them.

Screen protectors aren’t one-size-fits-all, however. They have to be made specifically for the device they’re supposed to be paired with. Otherwise they would be frustrating to install, uncomfortable to use, and worse at protecting the underlying display. Here we’ve collected some of the best screen protectors for the iPhone 12 series, the Samsung Galaxy S21 line, the latest iPads, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 line, and the most recent Amazon Kindle Fire tablets.

Table of Contents: Static

The best screen protector for the iPhone 12 series

Spigen EZ FIT Screen Protector for iPhone 12

The Spigen EZ FIT Screen Protector offers easy-to-install protection for the iPhone 12 line.

The best screen protector for the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max is the Spigen EZ FIT screen protector. This tempered glass screen protector ships with the titular EZ FIT alignment kit that, according to Spigen, offers “quick and fail-proof installation” on any supported device. All you have to do is remove a protective film, align a tray with your phone, and press firmly on the screen protector housed within that tray. Then your device should be ready to go.

Spigen says the EZ FIT Screen Protector boasts 9H hardness that should be able to withstand practically any kind of scratch your device would encounter during everyday use. It also features oleophobic coating that should prevent undue smudging, fingerprints, and other blemishes that could distract from whatever’s happening on-screen, and its rounded edges should make it just as comfortable to use your phone for extended lengths of time as it was before the screen protector was applied.

Just be warned: The EZ FIT Screen Protector features a cutout designed to accommodate the notch on every iPhone 12’s display. That notch houses a speaker used during phone calls as well as the TrueDepth Camera that enables Face ID, portrait mode photos, and other features that justify the controversial design introduced with the iPhone X. Spigen probably didn’t want to risk interfering with Face ID by covering the notch, so that part of the display remains exposed to the outside world.

That aside, the EZ FIT Screen Protector is said to be a durable, easy-to-install way to protect the latest-and-greatest iPhone from accidental damage. Spigen also offers two screen protectors in each box, an added bonus.

EZ FIT Screen Protector (iPhone 12) (small)EZ FIT Screen Protector (iPhone 12 Mini) (small)EZ FIT Screen Protector (iPhone 12 Pro Max) (small)
The best screen protector for the Samsung Galaxy S21 series

Zagg   InvisibleShield GlassFusion+ D3O for Samsung Galaxy S21

The Zagg InvisibleShield GlassFusion+ D3O was specifically designed to protect the Samsung Galaxy S21 without obscuring its display or the fingerprint scanner underneath it.

Pros: Advanced impact protection, compatible with the in-display fingerprint scanner, antimicrobial treatment

Cons: Pricier than other screen protectors, only includes a single unit

Zagg offers a variety of screen protectors for the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra that debuted in January. The best for most people is the InvisibleShield GlassFusion+ D3O screen protector because it offers advanced impact protection and an antimicrobial treatment without the potentially contentious blue light filter found in the pricier VisionGuard+ model.

Many of this screen protector’s defining features are included in its name. The GlassFusion+ refers to a hybrid polymer that “provides powerful, flexible protection with a glass-like feel,” Zagg says. D3O is an impact additive used alongside GlassFusion+ to offer up to 20% better impact protection than the company’s previous screen protectors. And of course the InvisibleShield refers to Zagg’s promise that using these products will protect your phone’s display without obscuring it.

Zagg also includes an installation kit that’s supposed to make it easy to apply the InvisibleShield GlassFusion+ D3O to the latest Samsung Galaxy S21 series. Unfortunately the product is more expensive than other screen protectors—it costs over three times as much as our pick for the iPhone 12 series—and Zagg only includes one unit in each package. That shouldn’t be a problem for most people, but it does mean the company offers less bang for your buck than some of its competitors.

InvisibleShield GlassFusion+ D3O (Samsung Galaxy S21) (small)InvisibleShield GlassFusion+ D3O (Samsung Galaxy S21+) (small)InvisibleShield GlassFusion+ D3O (Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra) (small)
The best screen protector for the iPad series

JETech Screen Protector for iPad

The JETech Screen Protector‘s rounded edges and thin design make it comfortable to use while still providing excellent protection for an array of iPad models.

Pros: Offers high scratch resistance, easy to install, affordable

Cons: It can be hard to find the right version, some packages only include a single unit

Apple offers a wide variety of iPads with various screen sizes. The best screen protector available for most of the iPad line is the JETech Screen Protector for iPad, which is available in sizes designed for the iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Air as well as the 11-inch and 12.9-inch versions of the iPad Pro. Just make sure you know what generation iPad you have before you start looking for a screen protector—Apple changed the size of the display as it released new versions of some of the models. There is some amount of backwards compatibility, luckily, but it’s not as straightforward as buying a screen protector for a new phone.

All that aside, the JETech Screen Protector for iPad is made from tempered glass that’s rated to withstand scratches up to 9H hardness despite being just 0.3mm thick. Versions designed for Face ID-compatible iPads include a cutout for the notch, just like most iPhone 12 screen protectors, while versions designed for Touch ID-compatible iPads have a smaller cutout at the top for the front-facing camera as well as a hole on the bottom for the Home button. (Which houses the fingerprint scanner.) JETech also says the screen protector shouldn’t interfere with your ability to use the Apple Pencil on iPad models that support it.

Unfortunately installing the JETech Screen Protector for iPad isn’t quite as straightforward as installing a screen protector on a smartphone. The company says its screen protectors still offer a “bubble-free and easy install,” but the process is more involved than you might think, because the iPad’s larger size makes creating an alignment tray more difficult. JETech instead relies on a number of guide stickers that you can use to help line up the screen protector with your screen during the installation process. This shouldn’t be too difficult, but it’s also more complicated and error-prone than installing a screen protector on a phone.

That frustration should prove worth it, however, because protecting an iPad’s display is arguably more important than defending the screen on a phone. Many people buy a new phone every couple of years, but an iPad is a larger investment that’s expected to have a longer life cycle than that. The JETech Screen Protector for iPad should make it easier to protect that investment and enjoy that extended lifecycle by keeping that massive (in comparison to a phone) display safe from most hazards. That promise should make the minor annoyances of finding the right version and properly installing it worth the effort in the long term.

Screen Protector (10.2-inch iPad) (small)Screen Protector (iPad Mini) (small)Screen Protector (iPad Air/11-inch Pro) (small)Screen Protector (12.9-inch iPad Pro) (small)
The best screen protector for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 series

Supershieldz Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

The Supershieldz Tempered Glass Screen Protector offers excellent scratch resistance, features oleophobic coating, and uses 2.5D rounded edges to make using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 or S7 Plus as comfy as ever.

Pros: Scratch, smudging, and fingerprint-resistant surface, 99.9% clarity, rounded edges

Cons: Only includes a single unit

It’s considerably easier to find the right screen protector for the latest Samsung tablets. The company introduced two models, the Galaxy Tab S7 and the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, in September 2020. SuperShieldz was quick to release a screen protector for each model with the aptly named Supershieldz Designed for Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 lineup.

These tempered glass screen protectors offer 9H hardness as well as a hydro- and oleophobic coating that should allow them to defend against most scratches, repel sweat, and resist fingerprints. SuperShieldz says they also feature “2.5D rounded edge glass” that’s supposed to make using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 or Galaxy Tab S7 Plus as comfortable as possible, a thin design that shouldn’t interfere with the touchscreen, and “99.99% HD clarity” that barely obscures the display underneath.

Unfortunately the same caveats regarding installation that we mentioned with the iPad pick apply to the SuperShieldz offering. The company promises there will be “zero bubbles” underneath the screen protector, but there’s little guidance during the installation process. Fortunately the company also says the screen protector won’t leave behind any residue when it’s removed, and both versions are cheaper than their competition, so a little bit of trial-and-error shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

Tempered Glass Screen Protector (Galaxy Tab S7) (small)Tempered Glass Screen Protector (Galaxy Tab S7 Plus) (small)
The best screen protector for the latest Amazon tablet series

Sparin Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Amazon Kindle Fire tablets

The Sparin Tempered Glass Screen Protector is an easily installed first line of defense between the latest Kindle Fire tablets that should be able to withstand plenty of abuse from enthusiastic play.

Pros: Promised easy installation, high scratch resistance

Cons: No hydro- or oleo-phobic coating, finding the right version can be difficult

Amazon might be the only company that makes finding a worthwhile screen protector for its tablets harder than Apple does. The company offers numerous iterations on similar designs—there are three versions each of the Kindle Fire HD 7, 8, and 10 as well as a special Kindle Fire HD 10 Productivity model—and the latest releases are often slightly different from their predecessors. There isn’t a one-brand-fits-all solution here, but the best option for most people is going to be the Sparin Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Amazon Kindle Fire tablets because it comes in a variety of versions that each support numerous tablets. (As well as an easy-to-read guide on their Amazon store page indicating their compatibility with specific models.)

Sparin’s offerings are all made from 9H-rated tempered glass in widths between 0.3 and 0.33mm, which means they shouldn’t interfere with any of the Kindle Fire tablets’ touchscreens while they protect them from most scratches. The company also promises “99% high definition clarity and light transmittance” to “keep original and stunning viewing quality and experience,” and just like SuperShieldz, it says the screen protector’s “2.5D rounded edges” should afford maximum comfort during normal use.

Similar promises are made about a smooth, “hassle-free, and bubble-free” installation process afforded by the screen protector’s “anti-air adhesive.” Luckily the Sparin Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Amazon Kindle Fire is also affordable—it’s priced in line with the JETech and SuperShieldz screen protectors we recommended for the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 lineups—and ships with multiple screen protectors in case something terrible happens during installation.

It’s a shame that finding a screen protector for the latest versions of the Kindle Fire tablets is so difficult, but the note about needing to defend tablet displays even more than phone screens feels particularly relevant here. Many people buy these devices for their children (which is why Amazon makes versions specifically designed for kids) and it’s no secret that kids can play rough with their favorite toys. If you’re looking for a screen protector to defend a Kindle Fire tablet from even the mightiest of temper tantrums, then, your best bet is probably going to be starting your search with the Sparin lineup.

Tempered Glass Screen Protector (Fire 7/Fire 7 Kids Edition) (small)Tempered Glass Screen Protector (Fire HD 8) (small)Tempered Glass Screen Protector (Fire HD 10) (small)

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Teens would rather break their bones than lose their phones

Following is a transcript of the video.

Adam Alter: “Nomophobia” is a new word that’s being coined to describe no mobile phobia, and it’s the idea that a lot of us, in thinking about not having our phones, experience something like a phobia, and this is supposed to describe hundreds of millions of people today, and I’m sure that number is growing at the moment. What that means is that when you think about, for example, your phone falling out of your pocket, tumbling to the ground, and shattering into a million pieces, you should experience anxiety symptoms, and it’s especially true among young people.

I ran a study at one point where I asked young people, a whole lot of teenagers, a very simple question. I said to them: “Imagine you have this very unpleasant choice. So, you can either watch your phone tumble to the ground and shatter into a million pieces or you can have a small bone in your hand broken.” Now, that seems to people of a certain age and older like a fairly straightforward question with a straightforward answer. It seems ridiculous. Of course you choose to save the integrity of your hand and let your phone break. You can always replace a phone, but for young people this is actually a very difficult question. In my experience, about 40% to 50% of them will say, “Ultimately, I think it probably makes more sense to have a bone in my hand broken than it does to have my phone broken.”

And you can understand why that is, apart from the fact that it is expensive to have a phone repaired and there’s some time where you’re without your phone. That is their portal to a social world that is very important to them. Being without that social world for a while is probably not as detrimental in some respects as being without a particular bone in your hand. Most of the time, you can get by and you can see this in the way they ask follow-up questions. So, a lot of these teens will say to me things like, “Is it my left hand or my right hand?” and the most important question, “Once I break that bone in my hand, can I still use my phone? Is it a bone that I need to be able to scroll on the phone, because if it is, then that’s no deal, but if it’s not a bone that I need to use my screen at least I can continue to use my phone during the time I’m healing.” If people are willing to endure physical harm to keep their phones that obviously suggests that this is a major issue.

The definition that I like for behavioral addiction that makes the most sense to me is an experience that we return to compulsively over and over again because it feels good in a short run but in the long run, it ultimately undermines our well-being in some respect. So, it can be someone who notices that over time their social relationships are degrading because they don’t have a consistent, face-to-face contact with people and that’s especially problematic for kids who need time in that real face-to-face social world because that’s where they develop all the competencies of being a social creature. The way to work out what other people are thinking, to share your feelings in a way that you want them to be shared for other people to understand you for you to make just the right facial expressions at just the right times. Those seem like obvious and easy-to-do things for most adults but for kids it’s very difficult to do that. They take time to hone those skills and so you need face-to-face time to do that and if you don’t have that, if you’re spending all your time on screens because it’s really fun to crush one more candy on Candy Crush or do whatever it is that you might be doing, you’re not developing those long-term competencies and therefore your long-term well-being is degraded.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2018.

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Apple’s iPhone 12 Mini is a compact phone without compromise – unless you’re looking for extra-long battery life

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Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

iPhone 12 Mini Back
The iPhone 12 Mini in green

  • Apple’s $700 iPhone 12 Mini comes with all of the same features as its bigger sibling.
  • Like the iPhone 12, it also comes in a new purple color option.
  • Its impressive camera also makes it stand out from Apple’s other tiny phone, the iPhone SE.
  • But that smaller size also means it offers shorter battery life than the iPhone 12.

Your phone is probably your lifeline to just about everything – the news, your job, friends and family, and entertainment – so it makes sense that the screens on our mobile devices have only gotten larger.

But, that increase in size also means our phones have become more cumbersome than ever, in some cases making it difficult to fit them in a tight pocket or use them with one hand.

Apple is looking to change that with the introduction of its $700 iPhone 12 Mini, a smaller-sized version of the iPhone 12 that comes with a 5.4-inch screen compared to the iPhone 12’s 6.1-inch display.

Despite having a larger screen than previous iPhones like the 4.7-inch iPhone SE and iPhone 8, the iPhone 12 Mini is actually more compact in size since it sheds the chunky borders and home button found on those devices.

The iPhone 12 Mini is otherwise identical to the iPhone 12, from its new design to its A14 Bionic processor, support for 5G, and improved cameras. That’s important because the available options for those who prefer smaller and more pocketable smartphones has significantly dwindled in recent years.

The reason behind this shift is simple: larger-sized smartphones have become much more popular over the last several years. For example, the market share for devices with screens measuring between 5.5 inches and 6.2 inches in size grew from 21% in 2015 to 44% in 2018, according to NPD Group. During that same period, the amount of smartphone owners using a device with a screen size smaller than 4.7 inches shrunk from 37% to 15%.

The iPhone 12 Mini is the first iPhone in years that feels like it’s designed to be held all day. But, you’ll have to be alright with compromising on battery life compared to the larger iPhone 12. And, the iPhone 12 Mini is launching at a time when it’s shining attribute – it’s pocket and purse-friendly size – is less relevant as people are spending most of their days at home.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini specifications

Apple iPhone 12 Mini Specifications
Display 5.4 inches Super Retina XDR OLED with 2,340 x 1,080 resolution
Processor Apple A14 Bionic
Cameras 12-megapixel dual lens camera with wide-angle and ultra-wide angle lenses
Selfie Camera 12-megapixel
Estimated Battery Life Up to 15 hours
Storage 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB
Memory 4GB RAM
Biometric Authentication Face ID
Network Support 5G (sub-6GHz and mmWave)
Durability IP68 (depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes); Display with ceramic shield coating for 4X drop resistance

Design and display

iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 screen
The iPhone 12 Mini (left) and iPhone 12 (right)

After years of using big-screened phones, I’ve come to appreciate holding a phone that fits comfortably in one hand again.

With its 5.4-inch display, the iPhone 12 Mini falls squarely in between last year’s 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro and the 4.7-inch $400 iPhone SE in terms of size.

It’s the right middle ground for those who don’t want to compromise on modern features like a borderless screen, a dual camera, and Face ID, but also miss the portability of Apple’s older (and smaller) phones. It makes the $400 iPhone SE, which Apple launched earlier this year in April, feel antiquated by comparison – although that’s to be expected given the $300 price difference.

Typing and scrolling on the iPhone 12 Mini feels manageable with one hand yet spacious enough when operating it with two. It’s a bit larger than the iPhone SE in terms of screen size, and the difference is noticeable. For example, I was able to see several more lines of text on the iPhone 12 Mini compared to the iPhone SE when reading news articles.

The iPhone 12 Mini isn’t just the smallest version of the iPhone 12. It’s the tiniest iPhone that Apple sells, period. Not only is it smaller than the 4.7-inch iPhone SE, but it’s shorter, narrower, lighter, and thinner than the older iPhone 11 and iPhone XR too.

Under normal circumstances, the iPhone 12 Mini‘s compact design would be a godsend during my morning commute. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve struggled to use a larger-sized device like the iPhone 11 with one hand as I’m gripping the subway pole with the other.

iPhone 12 Mini and SE
The iPhone 12 Mini (left) and iPhone SE (right)

Size isn’t the only major physical change coming to the iPhone 12 Mini. Like its larger siblings, the iPhone 12 Mini has an all-new look that includes flat metal edges and new color options that give the iPhone 12 a fresh and distinguished look.

The downside? Apple’s iPhone 12 family – including the Mini – lack fingerprint sensors, meaning you’ll probably be typing in your passcode a lot whenever you leave the house these days.

Apple also brought the Super Retina XDR display, which was previously only found on its high-end smartphones, down to its less expensive new iPhones this year as well. That means the iPhone 12 Mini, like its bigger counterpart, offers better contrast and richer black tones compared to the iPhone 11. It also comes in a wide range of colors just like the iPhone 12, including a new purple finish. That new color option is available for preorder starting April 23 and goes on sale on April 30.

Unfortunately, however, theiPhone 12 Mini and the rest of Apple’s iPhones are missing an always-on display, meaning they can’t show information like the time, date, and battery level even when the screen is idle. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s a helpful feature I’ve come to appreciate on Android devices.

Cameras

iPhone 12 Mini Camera
The iPhone 12 Mini’s dual camera

The iPhone 12 Mini comes with the same improved camera system as the iPhone 12, which means its better at capturing photos in the dark compared to the iPhone 11 since it has a wider aperture.

Night mode also works on all of the iPhone’s cameras on the iPhone 12: the wide camera, the ultra-wide-angle camera, and the selfie camera.You’ll also get other new features like the ability to record Dolby Vision video and take time lapse videos in Night Mode.

Compared to Android rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and Google Pixel 5, I found that the iPhone 12 in some cases took photos that were more colorful and lively, but didn’t perform as well in other situations, such as when taking selfies in low-light scenarios. Check out our original review of the iPhone 12 to learn more about how the iPhone 12’s camera compares to those of the Google Pixel 5 and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

If you’re upgrading from an older, smaller-sized iPhone like the iPhone 8 or iPhone 7, you’ll notice a substantial difference in camera quality with the iPhone 12 Mini.

Those aging 4.7-inch phones lack newer photography features Night Mode and portrait mode, and only have a single lens camera. Because they only have one lens, they offer less flexibility with fewer shooting modes compared to the iPhone 12.

General image quality has also improved since the iPhone 12 Mini supports the latest version of Apple’s high dynamic range tech and Deep Fusion, the latter of which processes photos at the pixel level to optimize for texture, detail, and noise.

Trying to decide between theiPhone 12 Mini and Apple’s other recently-launched smaller-sized phone, the iPhone SE? Consider that the iPhone 12 Mini’s higher price tag means it has a lot more to offer when it comes to camera technology.

Unlike the iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 Mini has a dual camera that includes an ultra-wide angle lens for capturing a broader perspective, Night Mode for taking photos in the dark, Deep Fusion, better HDR, and a main camera that’s capable of taking in more light compared to its predecessor.

That might just sound like a lot of photography buzzwords strewn together, but the differences are palpable in the real world. In almost every scenario I tested it in, the iPhone 12 Mini captured photos with considerably richer color than the iPhone SE.

Take a look at the photos below and you’ll notice the red and orange shades in the leaves are much more vibrant in photos taken with the iPhone 12 Mini.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini

iPhone 12 Mini Trees

Apple iPhone SE

iPhone SE Trees

Here you can see the difference between the iPhone 12 Mini’s ultra-wide-angle camera and the iPhone SE’s standard wide camera. You’ll also notice the sky is a deeper hue of blue in the iPhone 12 Mini’s photo, making the iPhone SE look a bit washed out by comparison.

Apple iPhone 12 Mini

iPhone 12 Mini River

Apple iPhone SE

iPhone SE River

5G

iPhone 12 Mini in hand
The iPhone 12 Mini has a 5.4-inch screen.

All of Apple’s new iPhones support 5G, which is great for future-proofing your device but won’t make a noticeable difference right now. That’s because the version of 5G that’s widely available across the country is only marginally faster than 4G LTE.

My iPhone 12 Mini achieved average download speeds of 118.8 megabits per second (Mbps) and average upload speeds of 14.72 Mbps on Verizon’s nationwide 5G network. The results are a bit faster than the speeds I’ve experienced on 4G LTE, but not by a whole lot (91.44 Mbps download and 17.45 Mbps upload on average).

That lines up with my experience when testing the standard iPhone 12’s 5G speeds.

Super-speedy 5G networks do exist, but they’re only available in very small areas, like certain street corners in select cities across the United States. That’s because the spectrum these networks operate on a short range and struggles with penetrating structures like buildings.

All told, don’t upgrade to the newest iPhones just for 5G. But, if you’re already thinking of upgrading for other reasons, buying a new phone with 5G is a good way to ensure your device will feel relevant for years to come when 5G networks improve.

MagSafe accessories and battery life

MagSafe iPhone 12
The iPhone 12 on Apple’s MagSafe charger

The iPhone 12 line is also compatible with Apple’s MagSafe accessories, which magnetically snap to the back of your iPhone. Among the first of these accessories to become available is the MagSafe wireless charger and cases from Apple.

The $39 MagSafe power pad makes resting your iPhone on its charger slightly more convenient since it clings to your phone instantly, eliminating the need to fiddle with plugging in your phone or placing it in the right spot on your wireless charger. You’ll see a graphic showing your iPhone’s battery level once its connected, just as the Apple Watch does when placed on its charger.

MagSafe compatibility alone isn’t a must-have feature that will determine whether you should upgrade, but it’s a nice bonus that brings additional ease of use to the charging experience. I’m looking forward to seeing what third-party accessories do with the technology moving forward.

The iPhone 12 Mini will probably last all day on a single charge, but don’t expect to get nearly as much usage as you’d experience with the standard iPhone 12.

My iPhone 12 Mini’s battery was at 23% after about 9.5 hours of use, which consisted of streaming video for about 45 minutes, streaming music for 40 minutes, and gaming for about 10 minutes. I also took photos sporadically for an hour while at a nearby park and spent the rest of the day reading email, checking social media, and web browsing on the device.

The iPhone 12, by comparison, had 34% of its battery left after about 15 hours of use. But, it’s important to remember that battery life will always vary depending on the settings and apps you use on your device, so your experience may not match mine.

The bottom line

iPhone 12 Mini Screen

The iPhone 12 Mini represents a much-needed return to the smaller-sized smartphone, which has largely disappeared over the last several years. It’s the best choice for iPhone owners that have been holding onto their older device because they’re reluctant to upgrade to today’s large-screened devices.

Apple also sells the cheaper $400 iPhone SE, which has a slightly smaller screen but is generally similar in size. That phone is $300 cheaper but requires you to make some compromises since it’s lacking many modern features that have become staples of today’s phones.

The iPhone 12 Mini is the right option for Apple fans that want to save a little cash – it’s $100 less expensive than the standard iPhone 12 – and prioritize portability over having a bigger screen. But, for those who find themselves watching movies and TV shows or reading books on their iPhones often, you’ll probably want the extra screen space and longer battery life that the standard iPhone 12 offers.

Pros: Compact design makes it easy to use with one hand; Excellent camera; Elegant revamped design compared to last year’s iPhones; Sharp and vibrant OLED display; 5G support will keep the iPhone 12 Mini relevant in the future

Cons: Smaller size means you compromise on battery life; No fingerprint sensor; No always-on display; Nationwide 5G networks aren’t much faster than today’s 4G LTE

Read the original article on Business Insider

The iPhone 12 is a big leap forward for Apple’s smartphone line – for every reason except 5G

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

iPhone 12
Apple’s iPhone 12

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • With a refreshed design and better screen, the iPhone 12 feels like a step forward.
  • 5G is the iPhone 12’s headlining feature, but today’s networks aren’t much faster than 4G LTE.
  • The iPhone 12 also lacks some useful features found on Android devices, like a fingerprint scanner.
  • All told, the iPhone 12 is ideal for those upgrading from an older phone like the iPhone X or earlier.
  • Apple also recently launched the iPhone 12 in a new purple color.

The iPhone 12 certainly feels like the biggest leap that Apple’s smartphone line has taken in years, but not necessarily for the reason the tech giant- or major cell carriers – would have you believe.

Apple framed 5G as being the headlining feature of its new iPhones, with CEO Tim Cook describing it as “the beginning of a new era for iPhone” during the company’s launch event.

But, when it comes to the immediate improvements you should expect when unboxing the iPhone 12, which starts at $800 and officially launches on October 23, don’t expect 5G to be at the top of the list.

While it’s true that major carriers in the United States now have nationwide 5G networks, they don’t offer the blazing fast speeds that one would typically associate with 5G. Those networks are found in small corners of select cities around the US.

Still, the iPhone 12 is a step up in other important ways, like its refreshed design that makes it easier to hold, an improved screen, a high-quality camera that’s better at seeing in the dark, and compatibility with a new accessory line designed to seamlessly snap to the back of your iPhone. Here’s a closer look at whether the iPhone 12 is right for you.

Apple iPhone 12 Specifications

Apple iPhone 12 Specifications
Display 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED of (2,532 x 1,170 resolution)
Processor Apple A14 Bionic
Cameras 12-megapixel dual lens camera with wide-angle and ultra-wide angle lenses
Selfie Camera 12-megapixel
Estimated Battery Life Up to 17 hours
Storage 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB
Memory 4GB RAM
Biometric Authentication Face ID
Network Support 5G (sub-6GHz and mmWave)
Durability IP68 (depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes); Display with ceramic shield coating for 4X drop resistance

Design

iPhone 12 and 12 Pro stacked
Apple’s iPhone 12 (top) and iPhone 12 Pro (bottom)

The most striking change about the iPhone 12 is its updated design. Gone are the rounded metal edges that have been present since 2014 starting with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Apple has instead reverted back to a design that’s reminiscent of the iPhone 5S and earlier – with more than a few modern design flourishes of course.

Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro come with flat edges that are significantly thicker than the curved corners of their predecessors. A thicker look is usually frowned upon when you’re talking about new tech gadgets, but in the iPhone 12’s case it works wonderfully and results in an elegant appearance.

The larger and more defined edges give the phone an aesthetic that’s distinct from both the iPhone 11 and Android rivals, while also making the phone much easier to grip. It also comes in a variety of bright color choices, including a new purple finish that’s available for preorder on April 23 and launches on April 30.

The iPhone 12 is also more compact than the iPhone 11 in every way, despite the fact that it has the same sized screen and more pronounced edges. The iPhone 12 weighs just 164 grams and measures 5.78 inches x 2.82 inches x 0.29 inches, while the iPhone 11 weighs 194 grams and has dimensions of 5.94 inches x 2.98 inches x 0.33 inches.

However, it’s not quite as light as recent phones released by Google and Samsung. The Google Pixel 5 is 151 grams in weight, while Samsung’s Galaxy S20 weighs 163 grams.

The iPhone 12 line also lacks a fingerprint sensor, an incredibly useful authentication method at a time when our faces are partially obstructed by masks each time we leave the house. Android phones from Samsung, Google, and OnePlus all offer fingerprint sensors that are either built into the screen or located elsewhere.

Display

iPhone 12 Screen

Apple used to reserve its Super Retina XDR OLED displays just for its Pro models, but that feature is finally trickling down to the standard iPhone this year. That’s along with other improvements such as a higher resolution and better durability compared to the iPhone 11.

The enhancements are certainly noticeable when looking at the two phones side-by-side. The iPhone 12’s OLED 2,532 x 1,170 resolution screen offered bolder color and contrast compared to the iPhone 11’s LCD 1,792 x 828 resolution display when watching a 4K trailer for the action film “Tenet” on YouTube. This difference is especially apparent during any dark scenes since the iPhone 11’s LCD display doesn’t reach as deep of a black tone as the iPhone 12’s due to its lack of local dimming beneath the screen.

The iPhone 12‘s Super Retina XDR display is about on par with the much pricier Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 3,200 x 1,400 AMOLED screen, although Samsung’s device did display color that was slightly richer and more vibrant.

The other big upgrade coming to the iPhone 12’s screen is its ceramic shield coating, which the company says should make it four times as drop resistant as its predecessors. I wasn’t brave enough to test this with my review unit, but it’s a useful addition that will hopefully better equip the iPhone 12 when it comes to enduring accidental bumps and drops.

The iPhone 12 also manages to have the same-sized screen as the iPhone 11 despite being physically smaller. That’s because Apple slightly decreased the size of the the thin black borders that frame its display.

It’s a welcome improvement compared to the iPhone 11, but it’s not quite as sleek as the display on Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series, which simply has a hole punch-shaped cutout for the cameras rather than a full notch. Apple’s iPhone 12 also still lacks an always-on screen that can show the time and other information even when the display is asleep, a common feature I’ve come to appreciate on Android phones.

Cameras

iPhone 12 Cameras

Among the improvements to come to the iPhone 12’s camera is its ability to take in more light thanks to a wider aperture, resulting in better low-light photos.

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro have an aperture of f/1.6 on their main wide cameras while the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro have an aperture of f/1.8. When discussing aperture, or the opening in which light passes through the camera lens, a lower number is usually better.

The ability to absorb more light has made the iPhone 12’s camera system slightly better at capturing photos in Night Mode compared to its predecessors. Below you’ll notice the iPhone 12’s photo of a Halloween display at night is a little brighter than the image shot on the iPhone 11 Pro.

Apple iPhone 12

iPhone 12  Low Light Outside

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro Low Light outside

The iPhone 12’s Night Mode shots are sometimes better and, in other scenarios, a little worse than those taken by the Galaxy S20 Ultra and Google Pixel 5. In some test shots, the iPhone’s photo has better lighting than Samsung’s phone. It is also a bit crisper than the Pixel 5’s photo.

But, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is able to focus more sharply on the subject – likely because it has a depth sensor in its camera system unlike the standard iPhone 12 (that feature is reserved for the iPhone 12 Pro.)

Take a look at some test shots below. You’ll notice the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s shot is the sharpest, although the iPhone has the boldest color, while the Pixel 5’s is the most blurry.

Apple iPhone 12

iPhone 12 night mode flower

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Galaxy S20 Ultra night mode flower

Google Pixel 5

Pixel 5 flower night mode

But, the most significant update to come to the iPhone 12’s camera is its ability to capture Night Mode photos on all camera lenses: the wide camera, the ultra wide-angle camera, and the selfie camera. This has resulted in noticeably brighter photos taken with the ultra-wide lens and front camera that simply would not have been possible without flash otherwise.

Here’s how a selfie without flash looks on the iPhone 12 with Night Mode compared to the iPhone 11 Pro, which doesn’t have a night mode on its front camera.

Apple iPhone 12

iPhone 12 Night mode selfie

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro selfie dark

Night mode almost makes it look like the photo above, which was taken at about 8 p.m. in the evening, was captured during the day. Still, while the iPhone’s photo is plenty bright, it isn’t nearly as sharp as the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s photo. The Pixel 5’s shot is slightly crisper, too. Samsung’s photo may have been the darkest, but it’s also the most detailed by far.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Galaxy S20 Ultra Night Selfie

Google Pixel 5

Pixel 5 night mode selfie

When it comes to everyday photography in outdoor, well lit circumstances, the iPhone captures bright and vibrant color.

Take a look at the photos below, and you’ll notice that the colors in the subject’s face in the portrait shot look much more lively and realistic. The sand in the photo of ducks by the river also has much more color and contrast, making the images from Google’s phone look a bit dull in comparison.

Apple iPhone 12

iPhone 12 outdoor portrait
iPhone 12 outdoor ducks

Google Pixel 5

Pixel 5 outdoor portrait
Pixel 5 outdoor ducks

I noticed the same pattern when testing the selfie camera during the day as well – the iPhone provides richer color than those from Samsung and Google.

Apple is adding a few new tricks to the iPhone for video enthusiasts as well. Owners of the iPhone 12 will be able to shoot in Dolby Vision HDR up to 30 frames per second, and you can also capture time lapse videos in Night Mode.

5G

t-mobile store 5g network logo
Customers at a T-Mobile store, with 5G signage in February 2020.

Next-generation 5G networks from Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile may be nationwide, but there’s a good chance you’ll be experiencing speeds that aren’t much faster than your current LTE network. At least for now.

Service will always vary depending on a variety of factors such as your location, but in my experience Verizon’s nationwide non-millimeter wave 5G network only performed incrementally faster than its 4G LTE offerings. That falls in line with claims that Verizon has made in the past about its nationwide 5G network.

Using the app Speedtest.net, which evaluates the performance of your internet connection by measuring upload and download speeds, I achieved an average download speed of 109.3 megabits per second (Mbps) and average upload speeds of 34.4 Mbps on the iPhone 12.

My iPhone 11 Pro running on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, by comparison, achieved an average download speed of 106.4 Mbps and average upload speed of 21.4 Mbps during the same test.

Super-fast 5G networks that run on millimeter wave spectrum are only available in very small areas of the country – quite literally specific street corners in a handful of cities. So, don’t expect a major jump in performance because of 5G just yet.

MagSafe accessories and battery life

MagSafe iPhone 12

If you’re anything like me, you’ve placed your iPhone in the wrong spot on its wireless charger at least once or twice, resulting in a drained battery and a missed alarm the next morning. Apple is hoping to circumvent this issue with its MagSafe wireless charger, which as its name implies uses magnets to snap onto the back of the iPhone 12.

The MagSafe charger essentially feels like a bigger Apple Watch charger designed for the iPhone. Simply place the phone against the round charger and it’ll seamlessly snap into place. Like the Apple Watch charger, Apple’s MagSafe wireless charger also makes a sound to confirm that it’s connected and displays a graphic showing your iPhone’s battery level.

But Apple is betting that its MagSafe tech will be useful for much more than adding convenience to wireless charging. The company is also launching a wallet that attaches to the back of your iPhone using MagSafe, and says that third-party accessory makers will be launching new add-ons of their own.

That opens up the door for a whole new crop of add-ons for the iPhone down the line, similar to Motorola’s Moto Mod accessories.

When it comes to battery life, the iPhone 12 can comfortably last a full day and then some. After a little more than 15 hours of use, the iPhone 12 still had 34% of its battery left, suggesting that the iPhone 12 is more than capable of meeting Apple’s 17-hour claims.

Battery life will always vary depending on how you use your phone and the settings that you have enabled. During my time with the iPhone 12, I streamed video for about 45 minutes – while having the brightness set to its maximum for about 15 of those minutes – and used 5G for about an hour and a half. Other than that, I streamed music for about 20 minutes and checked emails, browsed social media, took photos, and made a few brief phone calls.

The bottom line

iPhone 12 and Pro Back

Apple’s iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro introduce many improvements, such as an elegant and comfortable-to-hold design, a sharper OLED display on the standard model, a camera that’s better in low-light conditions, and compatibility with new MagSafe accessories.

But, if you have a relatively new iPhone, such as a device in the iPhone 11 or iPhone XS generation, you can probably hold off at least another year or so before upgrading your iPhone.

Those with an iPhone X or older will probably appreciate the leaps in power and battery life more than those with an XS or 11. If you’re upgrading from an 11, the biggest benefits you’re getting are the new design, a more vibrant and durable screen, a faster processor, MagSafe compatibility, and night mode on all cameras.

That might sound like a lot. But, unless you’re using an older phone that’s lacking modern features that have become mainstays on the iPhone, such as Face ID or the ultra-wide angle camera, you’re probably not going to notice all that much of a difference in your daily experience.

If one thing is for certain, it’s that you shouldn’t upgrade to the iPhone 12 just for 5G alone. The version of 5G that’s widely available today isn’t much faster than 4G LTE, and the 5G networks that do offer ultra-fast speeds are only available outdoors in small areas of certain cities or in stadiums.

All told, the iPhone 12 is chock full of seemingly separate updates that come together to make for a compelling step forward for the iPhone. The new design alone makes it feel fresher than Apple’s iPhone lineup has in years. The addition of 5G may not matter much today, but it sets up the iPhone 12 to remain relevant for years to come.

Pros: New design looks elegant and makes the iPhone 12 easier to hold; Better low-light camera and night mode on all lenses; OLED display on the standard model looks sharp and crisp; 5G will keep the iPhone 12 relevant for years to come

Cons: Widely deployed 5G networks aren’t much faster than LTE today; No fingerprint sensor; No always-on display; Night mode selfies aren’t very sharp

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The best Google Pixel phone deals happening now include $50 off the Google Pixel 5

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

pixel 5 4
  • Google’s Pixel phones are known for their great cameras and reasonable prices.
  • The lineup consists of the Pixel 5, Pixel 4a 5G, and Pixel 4a.
  • We’ve broken down the best deals available on these phones and the differences between each model.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Phone Average price Number of rear camera lenses Display size CPU/GPU 5G
Google Pixel 5 $699 2 6-inches Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, Adreno 620 Yes
Google Pixel 4a 5G $499 2 6.2-inches Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, Adreno 620 Yes
Google Pixel 4a $349 1 5.8-inches Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G, Adreno 618 No

Google Pixel 5

Pixel 5 (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

The $699 Pixel 5 is Google’s newest and most expensive 5G phone.

We found the camera system to be the real star of the show. We loved the Pixel 5‘s realistic, clear, and detailed images, calling it one of the best cameras in an Android phone.

Unlike its cheaper siblings, the Pixel 5 has a water resistant design, more RAM for better performance, fast wireless charging, and a feature that allows the phone to function as a wireless charger for accessories. We wished the processor was faster for the price, though we didn’t see any lag that that would give us pause.

Ultimately, we found the Google Pixel 5 to be a tad overpriced for a $700 phone, but one that’s a strong choice for those in need of a good Android device with a stellar camera.

Google Pixel 4a 5G

Pixel 4a 5G (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Pixel 4a 5G (medium, Preferred: Verizon)

The Google Pixel 4a with 5G is a great mix of both quality and price. This phone features the same processor and stellar camera system as the Google Pixel 5, but at $200 less than Google’s top offering.

In addition to the differences mentioned above, the Pixel 4a 5G eschews the metal casing of the Pixel 5 in favor of plastic. The 6.2-inch HD display is also slightly larger than Pixel 5’s, yet it only offers a 60Hz refresh rate and is made with Gorilla Glass 3 – an older, less durable version of the ubiquitous smartphone glass.

None of these compromises take away from the phone’s most impressive feature: its camera. We found this camera to take pictures of the same or better quality than those in phones twice as expensive. They are rich, detailed, well-lit, realistic, and offer an amazing value in a phone of this price.

We didn’t notice any real drawbacks to this phone, but keep in mind that this is a mid-range phone. The Pixel 4a with 5G does not have the specs to compete with high end Android devices, but offers a lot for those who want excellent camera quality on a budget.

Google Pixel 4a

Pixel 4a (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

The Google Pixel 4a is the only phone in Google’s lineup that does not offer 5G, which might be a deterrent for some. However, many of the currently available 5G networks in the United States don’t offer speeds that are significantly faster than 4G LTE. That means you don’t necessarily need to upgrade to 5G today if you’d rather opt for a cheaper, non-5G device like the Pixel 4a.

The Pixel 4a has a 5.8-inch HD screen, which is slightly smaller than the other phones in the Pixel lineup. It also has a slightly slower processor, though we found it not to impede daily performance in any meaningful way.

We found the Pixel 4a to far exceed our expectations in terms of camera quality, despite only having one rear lens. We loved the sharp colors, incredible detail, and realistic representation, ultimately finding that it rivaled cameras from phones three times as expensive.

We didn’t love that the phone lacks wireless charging and water resistance, but it’s hard to quibble at this price point. This is a great choice for anyone looking for an inexpensive phone with a truly amazing camera.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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.

What is Microsoft 365? Here’s what you need to know about the subscription service to Word, Excel, and other Microsoft programsWhat is Microsoft Teams? Here’s what you need to know about the workplace communication toolHow to integrate Google Drive with Microsoft Office so you can easily share files and collaborate across platformsWhat is Microsoft Sway? How to use the powerful presentation program, and how it differs from PowerPoint

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple just increased the maximum amount you can get for trading in your old iPhone

iphone cases
Apple

  • Apple updated its trade-in prices for several old models of the iPhone, including the iPhone 11.
  • For an iPhone 11 Pro Max in good condition, a consumer can get $515, up from $500, MacRumors said.
  • Apple released four new versions of its iPhone 12 last October.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple has upped the ante for consumers who trade in their old iPhones for a new one, MacRumors first reported.

The maximum trade-in value for a used iPhone 11 Pro Max in good condition is now $515, according to Apple, an increase of $15, MacRumors said. Meanwhile the iPhone 11 Pro increased just $5 to $465, and the iPhone 11 rose $20 to $380, MacRumors said.

The maximum trade-in value for the iPhone 6s, a more than 5-year-old model, rose $5 to $65.

To trade-in a phone, consumers must answer questions about the model, condition, and storage on the old phone before getting an estimate and receiving an Apple gift card or cash. Apple last updated its trade-in prices in December, MacRumors said.

Apple did not immediately reply for Insider’s request for comment. The full list of maximum trade-in values for old iPhones can be found on the company’s website.

Read more: Apple just launched a new camera feature for the iPhone 12 Pro that could change the way we think about smartphone photography

Apple released four models of its new iPhone 12 last October: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. They range in price from $699 to $1,099, and each supports 5G.

Insider’s Lisa Eadicicco called the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro a “step up from their predecessors” because of the refreshed design and upgraded camera that can see in the dark as well as shoot RAW images.

With the release of the new phones, Apple discontinued four others, including the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, which were released in 2019. It also sent the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which were released alongside the iPhone X in 2017, to the graveyard.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Samsung Galaxy phone deals happening right now include up to $250 off the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

galaxy s20 fe vs s21 screen
  • Samsung offers at least 10 different 5G phone models in the Galaxy lineup.
  • Prices range from $1,799.99 for the newly-discounted Galaxy Z Fold 2, to $500 for the Galaxy A51 5G.
  • Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra is currently up to $250 off.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

To put it bluntly, Samsung makes a lot of phones. They have a 5G phone for just about every budget – from the super premium Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 to the entry level Galaxy A 51 5G.

Luckily, that means there are also plenty of discounts to be had on Samsung devices, including the latest phones in Samsung’s popular Galaxy S21 series. All three Galaxy S21 models are 5G ready, come with the same speedy 5-nanometer processor, and include a multi-lens camera system that’s among the best you can get on a smartphone.

We’ve broken down Samsung’s current 5G phones to show you how they compare with each other and where you can get the best deals.

Comparing models

Phone Average Price Rear Camera Lenses Display Size CPU 5G Battery Size
Galaxy S21 $799.99 3 6.2-inches Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Yes 4000mAh
Galaxy S21 Plus $999.99 3 6.7-inches Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Yes 4000mAh
Galaxy S21 Ultra $1,199.99 4 6.8-inches Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Yes 5000mAh
Galaxy Note 20 $999.99 3 6.7-inch Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus Yes 4300mAh
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra $1,299.99 3 6.9-inch Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus Yes 4500mAh
Galaxy S20 FE $699.99 3 6.5-inch Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Yes 4500mAh
Galaxy Z Fold 2 $1,999.99 4 7.6-inch main, 6.2-inch cover Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus Yes Dual 4500mAh
Galaxy Z Flip 5G $1,199.99 3 6.7-inches open, 1.1-inch cover Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus Yes 3300mAh
Galaxy A 71 5G $599.99 4 6.7-inches Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 Yes 4500mAh
Galaxy A 51 5G $499.99 4 6.5-inches Exynos 9611 Yes 4000mAh

The best Samsung Galaxy deals happening right now:

Samsung Galaxy S21

Galaxy S21 (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Galaxy S21 (medium, Preferred: B&H)Galaxy S21 (medium, Preferred: Verizon)

The Galaxy S21 is the smallest of Samsung’s new flagship phones, with a 6.2-inch 2400 x 1080 resolution display. It also includes 8 gigabytes (GB) of RAM, a 10-megapixel (MP) front camera, and three rear cameras: a 12-MP wide, 12-MP ultra wide, and a 64-MP telephoto lens. It is available with either 128GB or 256GB of storage and starts at $799.99.

We praised the S21 for its attractive, easy-to-hold design, long battery life, and great camera – though we thought the low-light photos could be a bit better. Overall, this is a great phone and a particularly good choice for those who want a new Android phone with the latest capabilities, but do not need a massive screen.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus

Galaxy S21 Plus (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Galaxy S21 Plus (medium, Preferred: Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus has all of the same features of the Galaxy S21, but comes with a bigger 6.7-inch screen. The S21 Plus also comes with either 128GB or 256GB of storage, though its starting price is usually $999.99, making it $200 more expensive than the Galaxy S21.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Galaxy S21 Ultra (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Galaxy S21 Ultra (medium, Preferred: Samsung)

The Galaxy S21 Ultra is the largest and most feature-rich S21 model. It has a 6.8-inch 3200 x 1440 resolution curved display with 12GB or 16GB of RAM, support for Samsung’s S Pen stylus, a 40-MP front camera, and four rear cameras. You have the option of getting it with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage, and it usually starts at $1,199.99.

Like the S21, we found the Galaxy S21 Ultra to have a great screen, a solid build and design, long battery life, and a great camera. However, we found it to feel slightly heavier than the S21 and expensive – especially since it did little to differentiate itself from the middle-of-the-road S21 Plus. The S21 Ultra might be the best fit for camera enthusiasts who feel they are willing to pay a premium for a four camera setup.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

Galaxy Note 20 (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Galaxy Note 20 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The Galaxy Note 20 and the Note 20 Ultra were released in August of 2020 and are the latest in Samsung’s distinctive note-taking devices. Both the Note 20 and The Note 20 Ultra are 5G ready and feature the S-Pen, Samsung’s digital stylus that seamlessly tucks away into the bottom corner of the bezels.

Users can take notes in the Samsung Notes app and watch them sync in real time with Microsoft Outlook and OneNote. Notes can also be exported to Microsoft Word and Powerpoint for smooth integration and productivity.

The base-level Galaxy Note 20 typically retails for $999.99 and is hard to recommend at that price. The 60Hz refresh rate and plastic casing make this a tough sell in the premium market.

However, this is still a solid phone and could be a good pickup at the right price for someone who loves writing notes by hand.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (medium, Preferred: Samsung)Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (medium, Preferred: B&H)Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra offers a more well-rounded experience than its smaller sibling. It has a bigger curved display than the Note 20 and includes a 120Hz refresh rate at 1080p, which drops down to 60Hz at 1440p. It also has more RAM – 12GB – and comes with the option for 512GB storage. The Ultra – which normally starts at $1,299.99 – also has three rear cameras, including a 108MP wide lens.

We found the Ultra to be powerful, with a premium design, a great screen and good battery life. We wished the full 1440p was not limited to a 60Hz refresh rate, while the curved edges of the screen made it difficult to write with the S-Pen. We would not recommend getting this phone at full price, but the Note 20 Ultra has a lot to offer note takers if it can be had for under $1,000.

The Galaxy S20 FE

Galaxy S20 FE (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Galaxy S20 FE (medium, Preferred: B&H)

The Galaxy S20 FE, or Fan Edition, is a pared-down version of last year’s S20 lineup. It was released in October and offers many premium features – such as 5G, a crisp and large screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage – at a non-premium price of $699.99.

It still has three rear cameras, though they are not as powerful as some of the more premium Galaxy models. The back of the phone is plastic instead of metal, but it still feels premium and durable. We found this phone to be a good choice for most people due to its solid design, great battery life, nice screen and fair price.

Galaxy Z Fold 2

Galaxy Z Fold 2 (medium, Preferred: Samsung)Galaxy Z Fold 2 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 is Samsung’s most expensive and ambitious phone to date. Its distinguishing feature is its large, folding display. The main screen is 7.6 inches with 2,208 x 1,768 resolution, while the cover screen is 6.2 inches with 2,260 x 816 resolution.

Samsung recently lowered the price on the Galaxy Z Fold 2 by $200 -from $1999.99 to $1799.99 – but it’s still pricey. Unlike its poorly reviewed predecessor, we found the Galaxy Z Fold 2 to be the most promising foldable device on the market.

We liked its vibrant, tablet-sized screen, its long battery life, and excellent speakers, but found its design to be a little awkward in phone-mode. It also lacked any waterproof rating, which we found disappointing for a phone this expensive. Ultimately, this is a device that is really only for those who are willing to pay a premium to try out the latest in foldable screen technology, but these discounts make it a little more palatable.

Galaxy Z Flip 5G

Galazy Z Flip 5G (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

The Galaxy Z Flip 5G is Samsung’s attempt at modernizing the classic flip phone. The Flip features a 6.9-inch foldable glass display- unlike the plastic display found on the Motorola Razr – as well as three 12MP rear cameras, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus processor. The Flip 5G launched in August at $1,450, but is now only available in a 256GB model that is regularly priced at $1,199.99.

We found the non-5G version of the Galaxy Z Flip to bring something new to the smartphone experience, while also functioning well enough as a standard smartphone. However, we thought the Flip’s cover screen was a little too thin and awkward when it was closed, and wished it was waterproof. The price of Flip makes it, like the Galaxy Fold 2, a niche item for those wanting a new – but not yet perfected – flexible smartphone.

Galaxy A71 5G

Galaxy A71 5G (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

The Galaxy A71 5G was released in June of 2020 as a lower-priced option for those looking to get a 5G phone without all of the more expensive features. It comes with a 6.7-inch 1080p OLED screen, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. It has four rear cameras with a 64MP main lens, a 32MP front camera, and is priced at $599. It has good battery life, but lacks the ability to charge wirelessly. Ultimately, this is a good choice for those looking for a solid, yet basic, 5G phone.

Galaxy A 51 5G

Galaxy A51 5G (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

The Galaxy A 51 5G was released in April of 2020 and is smaller and slightly older than the Galaxy A 71. It is priced at $499.99 and has a 6.5-inch 1080p AMOLED display, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 48MP four-lens rear camera, along with a 32MP front camera.

We found it to have a great screen, decent battery life, and nice cameras, but wondered if the phone compromised a little too much on overall performance. This is a great entry level 5G phone, but one that might feel slow and dated sooner rather than later.

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Did OnePlus over-hype its OnePlus 9 Hasselblad cameras? Our photo tests are underwhelming

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OnePlus 9 Pro thumb
  • OnePlus created a big hype campaign around its partnership with famous camera company Hasselblad.
  • The focus was to bring Hasselblad’s “natural color calibration” to the new OnePlus 9 series’ cameras.
  • Unfortunately, the OnePlus 9 Pro takes less appealing photos than our reference phone, the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

9 Pro (small)

The hype surrounding the new OnePlus 9 lineup has been focused on the company’s partnership with famed camera manufacturer Hasselblad. Using Hasselblad’s expertise, the phones’ new camera systems are meant to improve upon previous OnePlus models.

Specifically for the OnePlus 9, Hasselblad’s involvement centers around “natural color calibration.” Otherwise, everything else, including hardware and software, is either OnePlus or from a third-party, like Sony for the camera sensors.

Since there was so much hype surrounding this partnership and the revamped cameras, we’ll be focusing on showing you how photos from the OnePlus 9 Pro look. As a reference tool, we’ve opted to compare it with the iPhone 12 Pro Max – a phone that takes reliably good and “safe” photos that don’t reach into extremes for color, contrast, HDR, and exposure, and that many feel confident with for capturing memories and sharing with friends, family, and social media.

When analyzing the photos taken by the OnePlus 9 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, we’re putting ourselves in the shoes of the most average type of camera user – someone who wants to point, shoot, and share without much editing, if at all.

How do the OnePlus 9 Pro’s photos look?

We found the OnePlus 9 Pro‘s photos to appear pale in color with a heavy lean towards a cooler white balance, at least compared to the iPhone’s photos. One might argue that the paler colors are less processed and more natural, and that the iPhone’s photos have saturated and unnatural colors. While that may be true, we’d argue that the OnePlus 9 Pro’s camera doesn’t produce colors that are as pleasing for the point-and-shoot crowd.

We aren’t saying that the OnePlus 9 Pro, or any phones, should take photos that look exactly like the iPhone’s. But the iPhone’s camera is usually a good point of reference, as it takes photos that are reliably well processed for point-and-shoot users.

It’s also worth mentioning that most people don’t have several high-end phones available for direct side-by-side comparisons. With that in mind, the photos taken by the OnePlus 9 Pro would likely look totally fine on their own. However, the OnePlus 9 Pro underwhelms when its photos are compared to the iPhone’s.

At the end of the day, what really matters is whether you like the photos that the phone’s camera produces – whether you’re happy with the way your memories are captured, and whether you’d feel confident with sharing those photos.

With that in mind, have a look at some of the photos we took with the OnePlus 9 Pro compared with the iPhone 12 Pro Max:

OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus has partnered with Hasselblad for the cameras in the new OnePlus 9 phones. Here’s a photo taken with the new OnePlus 9 Pro.

Here’s an example that exemplifies the paler look on photos taken with the OnePlus 9 Pro compared to our reference phone, the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The paleness is especially noticeable on the sunlit barn and grass. The photo also has a cooler tone.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone 12 Pro Max photo 024

The photo from the iPhone 12 Pro Max features colors that are more saturated, which many will find is a more pleasing look for basic point-and-shoot photo taking, and to keep and share without editing.

OnePlus 9 Pro ultrawide

OnePlus 9 Pro photo 035

The OnePlus 9 Pro‘s ultrawide lens takes photos with a warmer tone than the regular lens, which results in beautifully natural colors, presumably as OnePlus intended with Hasselblad’s natural color calibration. It would be great if OnePlus could apply the ultrawide lens’ calibration to the regular lens.

Additionally, the OnePlus 9 Pro‘s photo is clearer than the iPhone’s. However, that’s only noticeable if you zoom into the photo, or view it in “full size.”

With that said, the OnePlus 9 Pro‘s HDR struggled with revealing the dark side of the barn while keeping the brightness (exposure) down on the sunlit side. The result is overexposure on the sunlit side of the barn, which leads to parts that appear white and void of detail compared to the iPhone’s photo.

iPhone 12 Pro Max ultrawide

iPhone 12 Pro Max photo 025

The iPhone‘s photo is very similar to the OnePlus 9’s overall, except colors are slightly more saturated. The iPhone also handled exposure better than the OnePlus 9 Pro by keeping the dark side of the barn dark, and maintaining brightness and detail on the sunlit side. As a result, the iPhone’s photo can be more desirable, but it’s a nitpick.

OnePlus 9 Pro zoom

OnePlus 9 Pro photo 036

The OnePlus 9 Pro‘s zoom lens carries over the pale colors and blue overtones form the regular lens. The dark side of the barn, especially, is positively blue due to poor white balance compared to the warm wooden black color on the comparative iPhone photo. The sunlit side of the barn and the stone foundation are also robbed of color and are overexposed.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone 12 Pro Max photo 026

The iPhone‘s zoom lens took a photo with more saturated color and a more appropriate, warmer white balance.

OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus 9 Pro photo 013

Even if you’re not comparing phone cameras, the OnePlus 9 Pro‘s photo of these fruits would appear somewhat pale. The fruits don’t look particularly appetizing here, which wasn’t a thought I had when I was looking at them at the time of taking the photo.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone 12 Pro Max photo 003

The iPhone makes these fruits look a lot healthier and appealing, even if the colors are somewhat oversaturated.

OnePlus 9 Pro detail

op9p super zoomed in

The OnePlus 9 Pro gives you the option to take 48-megapixel photos, which doesn’t make much of a difference when viewing a photo normally. However, it’s a huge advantage if you ever want to zoom into a photo and maintain clarity and detail. 

The photo here is significantly zoomed in from the original and it’s much sharper than the iPhone’s photo below.

iPhone 12 Pro Max detail

iphone 12 pro max super zoomed in

There’s no competition here. The iPhone 12 Pro Max‘s 12-megapixel camera simply can’t capture as much detail as the OnePlus 9 Pro’s 48-megapixel camera.

OnePlus 9 Pro skin tone, shade

OnePlus 9 Pro photo 041

Here’s where the OnePlus 9 Pro also excels. I asked a professional photographer who shoots fashion models for a living what he thought of these photos, and he immediately pointed to the OnePlus 9 Pro. It’s important to note that this is the point of view of a professional who often edits his photos. However, I’d still agree with him, as the OnePlus 9 Pro‘s photo is the one I’d pick to keep and share. 

With that said, the t-shirt has some odd artifacts that don’t look natural and result in a grainy look. Notice that details on my head are also very sharp, which is a subjective thing. Personally, I’d rather it didn’t reveal absolutely everything on my face.

iPhone 12 Pro Max skin tone, shade

iphone 12 pro max 041

The iPhone’s photo gave me a sunburned look. While I have been soaking in the early spring sun, I wouldn’t say I spent that long outside. The iPhone’s photo is also less sharp overall, and it smooths out some of the finer details on my face, which I prefer. My t-shirt also looks more natural than it does in the OnePlus 9 Pro’s photo.

OnePlus 9 Pro skin tone, full sun

OnePlus 9 Pro photo 040

My photographer friend said he would also pick this photo over the iPhone’s for its less processed look. With that said, there’s some inconsistent detail between parts of my nose and my cheek. While the color is more natural, I’d still rather share the iPhone’s photo, if I had to. Plus, the OnePlus 9 Pro made my t-shirt look weird.

iPhone 12 Pro Max skin tone, full sun

iphone 12 pro max 040

While my skin tone might be overly processed by the iPhone here, I’d still prefer this one to keep or share, as I look healthier and less pale from the winter’s hibernation. Plus, my t-shirt looks far more natural.

OnePlus 9 Pro low light

OnePlus 9 Pro photo 010

The OnePlus 9 Pro took a nice photo of this coastal scenery, and it’s pretty similar to the iPhone’s shot below. Still, there are some odd, very slight artifacts around the plane vapor trails towards the top center right of the photo that aren’t present on the iPhone’s photo. It’s a nitpick, but it does raise some eyebrows regarding the OnePlus 9 Pro‘s camera quality.

iPhone 12 Pro Max low light

iPhone 12 Pro Max photo

The sky’s color is a little richer on the iPhone’s photo, and you don’t get the strange artifacting on those plane vapor trails towards the top right. Still, the iPhone caught a bit of lens glare, which is a subjective preference.

The bottom line

OnePlus 9 Pro thumb

Based on this direct comparison between the OnePlus 9 Pro and our reference phone, we don’t recommend the OnePlus 9 Pro for simple point-and-shoot photos. If you just want to take photos without worrying about editing them afterwards, there are other phones that take more appealing pictures.  

We’re not saying you should get the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro, either. Rather, we’re simply saying that the OnePlus 9 Pro doesn’t offer pleasing photos compared to the competition. We’ve taken several comparative photos with Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra and Pixel 5, and our findings are the same — the OnePlus 9 Pro’s photos simply don’t look as good.

We haven’t fully tested the OnePlus 9 yet, so we’re refraining from making any judgement on that model here. However, we would expect similar issues, like excessively pale colors and cooler white balance.

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