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iPhone 8 & 8 Plus

Is 4K HDR worth upgrading for?

Our verdict!

Augmented reality in iOS Why it’s a game changer

Issue 319 November 2017 @macformat

The ultimate buyer’s guide

macOS WATCH Series 3 What it’s like to make calls on

Password problems solved!


Free up space on your iPhone


50 essential tips Get it! Install it! Love it!


All-new Siri tricks revealed!

Photoshop tips & tricks

The best Mac writing tools

Sharpen up your skills

6 Pages alternatives rated







iOpener Game-changing tech from the world of Apple and beyond Holding and using your iPhone can be tricky. Stick it on a wall, so you can go hands-free!

NanoPad Stick your device to almost anything If you’ve ever looked at a wall and thought ‘Hmm, I wish I could stick my iPhone to that’, you’re in luck. NanoPads are, as the name suggests, small pads that you fix to the back of your iPhone or iPad, enabling you to fasten it to any vertical surface securely. It works with glass, wood, metal, tiles and more, so you can fix it to your kitchen wall and have your iPhone display recipes, for example. We’re not sure it’s an essential purchase, for sure, but anything that can hold a large iPad Pro safely to a wall has us impressed. From €14 (about £12 – Early Bird crowdfunding price) INCLUDES NanoPad suction mount WEBSITE WORKS WITH Any iPhone or iPad @macformat



Turn to page 40

While we’ve got reviews of the latest Apple kit in our Choice section – the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, Apple TV 4K and Apple Watch Series 3 – what we’re all about this issue is getting hands-on with the latest update of the Mac’s esteemed operating system, called macOS High Sierra. It’s finally out, and if you’re anything like me you’ve already got it installed. And if you haven’t already taken the plunge, then now is as good a time as any because macOS High Sierra is a completely free update that gives you access to a range of exciting new features. So if you’re still on macOS Sierra, and your Mac is up to it, then I encourage you to upgrade via the Mac App Store. Starting on page 28 this issue, we’re going to delve into all the new features and show you exactly what it can do to make your experience of owning a Mac even better. Of course, we’ve also got all your regular favourites, like Howard’s Genius Tips section on page 66 and Luis’ Love Your Mac on page 72 to enjoy. Next issue, we’ll be taking a look at how to declutter a Mac, so look out for it, on sale 21 November. See you then!

Meet the team

Hoping to trade her specs in for a shiny new pair of iGlasses, Jo is hoping the rumours about Apple VR are going to come true.

Alex Blake Commissioning Editor We’re expecting an upgraded Alex 2.0 next issue after a minor football-related op this month. Heal up fast Alex, and get well soon!

Paul Blachford Art Editor Of all the new Apple kit reviewed this issue, it’s the iPhone 8 Plus that Paul likes the look of the most. Wireless charging combined with a faster processor seals the deal.


Jo Membery Operations Editor


Issue 319 November 2017




Is Apple working on VR iGlasses?



Our top picks of the month for Mac and iOS



Amazing stats from the world of Apple



50 essential tips Get it! Install it! Love it!

A look at Apple’s position in the great AR race




Have your say on all things Apple related



Apple Watch escapes its iPhone shackles!



The team’s views on the latest Apple tech



The ultimate

iPhone buyer’s guide

Apple TV finally comes of age



Immerse yourself in pixels, and more



Apple TV is not just about channel surfing




Issue 319 CONTENTS





Howard Oakley solves Mac and iOS issues



Making good on your mobile gear



New kit and apps – we’ve got all the latest hardware and software reviews – and, of course, all the latest amazing Apple loveliness!





Refreshing the parts other tips can’t reach



Sage advice for the worst Mac maladies


Turn to page 40


Get help with picking your next piece of Apple kit and the best add-ons to go with it


Reality check Augmented reality is getting the tech world excited – how does Apple stack up against its rivals?




Head here if you’ve missed an issue

104 PHOTO STREAM Send us your Apple-related shots



How to use Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop



Find that elusive song with Shazam




LOVE YOUR MAC Luis shares his recipe for a capacitor sandwich…


Using iOS 11’s improved storage options



Kernal changes in macOS High Sierra



Siri in silence? You can type requests instead



Using High Sierra’s new storage format



What’s coming in MF320 on 21 November @macformat


What’s inside 8–10 RUMOUR & NEWS Word on the grapevine about future Apple kit




Our top picks of the month for Mac and iOS APPLE RUMOUR

12 APPLE FACTS The stats behind Apple stores

14–17 INVESTIGATES What augmented reality means for the iPhone

18 LETTERS Have your say

20 OPINION Matt Bolton on Apple Watch’s great iPhone escape

21 SPLIT VIEW How exciting was the last Apple Event?

Contact us Email your queries to Join the conversation at or on Twitter @macformat


Apple sets its sights on VR Is Apple working on its own virtual reality and/or augmented reality headsets? With macOS High Sierra adding support for external GPUs and virtual reality headsets, like Valve’s SteamVR and the HTC Vive VR headset, many are speculating that Apple is in the process of developing its own virtual realty headset. Virtual reality creates a whole world to occupy, in contrast to augmented reality which overlays information on top of the world around us. It’s rumoured that Apple has a team of developers working on the project in secret. The fact that Apple has been hiring more virtual reality engineers and keeps acquiring AR/VR companies is fuelling speculation further. Another popular rumour is that Apple is developing a set of AR glasses that augment the iPhone in a similar way to the Apple Watch, giving you notifications and, again, overlaying information on top of the world around you.


BATTERY Creating a pair of VR glasses that have long enough battery life is perhaps the main technical hurdle to overcome. 2

CAMERA The ‘iGlasses’ could include a camera in the design, but there are privacy issues to contend with.

Jo says…

Both VR and AR mess with my head. I still can’t get over the AR demo of The Machines at the Apple Event!


CarPlay It’s possible that Apple will incorporate augmented reality glasses into its CarPlay heads-up display.


THE POLL WE ASKED… Which iPhone are you going to be purchasing next? Other 22%

iPhone X 55%

2 1 12%

iPhone 8




iPhone 8 Plus

Log on and see next issue’s big question!


AR VS VR Tim Cook sees AR as the future, calling it “bigger than the smartphone”, indicating that Apple VR may take a back seat for a while.


APPLE NEWS ROUNDUP EU TO SUE IRELAND SAYS APPLE TAX BACKLOG NOT RECOVERED The European Commission is taking the Irish government to the European Court of Justice in a bid to recover £11.3 billion in back taxes it says Apple owes. The Commission ruled in August 2016 that Apple had received illegal state aid from the Irish government, but says the government has yet to fully recover the owed taxes or act in a timely fashion.

APPLE EXECS HIT JACKPOT $19 MILLION EACH FOR EIGHT APPLE BIGWIGS Last month we reported that Tim Cook had received a princely $89.2 million in stock options from Apple. Now, eight other Apple execs have received 125,494 shares of stock each, equivalent to $19 million per executive. The lucky execs awarded the shares were Bruce Sewell, Angela Ahrendts, Eddy Cue, Craig Federighi, Jeff Williams, Luca Maestri, Dan Riccio and Phil Schiller.

Private eyes Apple details requests for user data from global governments he number of requests from governments and third parties for Apple users’ information has been published by Apple. The report makes interesting reading for anyone keen to see how Apple shares its users’ details with governments around the world. For instance, in the first half of 2017 the UK government requested an unusually high number of financial identifiers in its requests, totalling 1,387. That’s up from 1,091 in the preceding six months. Apple states that this was mostly related to investigations into credit card fraud and iTunes gift card fraud. Apple also received a high number of


requests relating to emergencies where it is believed that death or serious injury may occur if the data is not divulged. The UK government sent Apple 104 such requests in the first half of 2017 – a huge portion of the 128 such requests sent in the whole of Europe, Africa, India and the Middle East. The requests cover a number of categories, from helping users locate their lost or stolen phones to more serious national security matters. In the US, Apple received between 13,250 and 13,499 national security requests, compared to between 5,750 and 5,999 in the last six months of 2016. National security figures for the UK were not available.

Apple releases source kernels You can now take a (limited) peek inside iOS pple is well known for its habit of secrecy, but in an unusual move the company has made some of its macOS and iOS source kernels available to the public. This is the first time source kernels have been made public for iOS, underscoring the unusual nature of the release. Of course, sensitive proprietary elements such as apps and frameworks have not been included, but anyone interested can still poke around in some of the operating systems’ architecture. In a further twist, the kernels are ARM-compatible, sparking rumours that Apple may be looking to move away from Intel-based processors in its Macs and towards ARM chips. However, the ARM compatibility doesn’t necessarily mean a change is imminent or even planned.



Apple already uses an ARM-based chip (the T1) in the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar, and the company has made its code compatible with alternative architectures in the past – it’s what made the transition to Intel processors in 2006 so smooth in the first place. But with Apple taking on more chip design itself – such as the GPU in the iPhone X and iPhone 8 – time will tell if we’ll see a shift to ARM-based Macs in the future. The iPhone X features an entirely Apple-designed GPU chip.

Apps & games APPLE CORE



Our top picks of what’s worth watching and playing this month

[iO S A PP]

Procreate 4 £9.99

[ MOV I E]

IT £13.99

Create better art from conception to delivery Apple has only recently released iOS 11, but the popular art app Procreate is looking to take advantage of its new features. Procreate 4 is the app’s ‘biggest update ever’, and is powered by an all-new painting engine that makes use of iOS 11’s Metal 2 and Swift 4 to make painting smooth and fast. You can now mix and blend wet paints on the canvas to create interesting new effects,

and make use of any brush to shape the paint’s textures however you like. Brush blend modes have been improved and expanded, and layer masks have been introduced to your workflow. The colour interface has been redesigned, the wide P3 colour gamut is now supported, and sketching with the Apple Pencil has seen improvements. In fact, Procreate 4 introduces hundreds of refinements, making it a must for any artist who works on iOS.

The archetypal clown of your nightmares returns after a long hiatus, set to stalk the town of Derry every 27 years. It fuses a coming-of-age tale with supernatural terror.


THE ADVENTURE ZONE FREE Three brothers and their dad play Dungeons & Dragons and kill unknown numbers of ‘gerblins’. It’s very silly and great fun to hear.




AURORA HDR 2018 £89



Aurora HDR 2017’s developers have ‘listened intently’ to user requests, resulting in a large update to their photo editing app. With new tools and filters, and a massive number of improvements, it’s worth serious consideration if you love HDR photography. Why you need it: Make your photos’ colours truly pop. What’s it best for: Taking the pain out of HDR photo editing.

This expansion for Rome: Total War sets you the task of unifying the Greek city states, defeating the Persian empire and becoming the greatest general of classical antiquity. All in a day’s work, really. Huge battles with thousands of soldiers, all on your iPad. Why you need it: Strategic fun that you can take anywhere. What’s it best for: Crushing empires on the commute.

The first solo album from the divisive former Oasis singer has been hailed as ‘the best post-Oasis album from either Gallagher to date’. It’s just as abrasive as you’d expect, but there’s a softer side too that may surprise, but never fails to impress. Why you need it: Britpop’s bad boy goes it alone. What’s it best for: Stadium anthems and catchy ballads. @macformat


GAME OF THRONES £16.99 Season 7 unfolds as the show’s penultimate chapter. Human battles fade to insignificance in the face of the looming White Walker threat.


The iPhone X is a whopping 5.8 inches across, making it Apple’s largest phone. And you thought the iPhone 8 Plus was big.

The smartphone with the X-Factor. We check out the 10th anniversary stats…


458 iPhone X




30,000 Face ID is clever – very clever. It scans your face and builds a map made up of 30,000 dots to create an accurate, unique picture.


With 458 pixels per inch, the iPhone X’s display has the highest pixel density of any iPhone – perfect for enjoying high resolution photos and videos.



Ever fancied being an emoji? The iPhone X’s Animoji feature scans your face and analyses more than 50 muscle movements to turn your smile into a smiley.




600 billion


The A11 Bionic chip powering the iPhone X is a super sturdy slice of silicon, and can process 600 billion operations per second.

The iPhone X’s Face ID feature lets you log in using your face, and Apple says there’s only a one in a million chance that it can be successfully spoofed. @macformat












And more!


Best Storytelling? Most Wanted? Ultimate Game of the Year? Let us know what you’ve loved from this great year of games and get The Best PC Games Ever digital version for free!



APPLE CORE News feature

For our latest subscription offer see page 40!


Reality check Augmented reality is getting the tech world excited – how does Apple stack up against its rivals? WRITTEN BY ALEX BLAKE pple doesn’t usually spill the beans on its future plans, but there’s one topic that Tim Cook just can’t help gushing about. That topic is augmented reality, also known as AR. It’s “a big idea like the smartphone,” he says. “When I think about the big things, I think about AR,” he muses, somewhat philosophically. And he’s so excited by it that he just wants to “yell out and scream.” Having a CEO so enamoured with AR augurs well for its future on iPhone. But there are plenty of other reasons why Apple’s iOS platform could be the ideal springboard for the tech.


Huge opportunity There’s a huge appetite for AR among consumers. AR game Pokémon Go caused a worldwide sensation when it launched, and has been downloaded over 500 million times since it came out in July 2016. And when Apple launched its ARKit framework for developers, the internet was awash with AR creations. The potential financial rewards of such a popular platform are huge, with some


ARKit comes as part of iOS 11, allowing you to experience AR apps on your iOS device.

analysts stating that AR could generate up to $200 billion in revenues over the next decade. There are savings to be made as well – General Electric’s Jeff Immelt believes that augmented reality could free up $50 billion a year for industrial firms alone through improved productivity. It’s not hard to see why Apple chose to get involved in developing an AR platform. But what is it about Apple products that makes them the best place for it? For one thing, it’s clear that Apple’s latest iPhones – the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X – have been designed to be AR trailblazers. That’s due in no small part to the new A11 Bionic chip inside the phones. The chip’s CPU will deal with world tracking in AR apps, the image signal processor (ISP) will handle lighting estimation, while the on-chip GPU (the first to be designed by Apple) generates digital images. And with its advanced front-facing camera and face-tracking abilities, the iPhone X is set to take that capability further. At the iPhone X launch event, Phil Schiller described it as “the first iPhone really created for augmented reality.” @macformat

Augmented Reality LEGO? Kiss goodbye to the torment of that one lost ‘really important’ piece!

As well as that, for any AR platform to really take off, it has to make it easy for people to try it out. Perhaps the most compelling reason why Apple is so well placed when it comes to AR is because it does exactly that. If you bought an iOS device within the last couple of years, you’ll almost certainly be able to give AR apps a go. That’s because ARKit runs on any iPhone from the SE and 6s up to the iPhone X; it’ll also work on any version of the iPad Pro, as well as the 9.7-inch iPad. There’s no need to buy any extra hardware to get going – it just works.

It takes two to Tango Let’s contrast that to the current situation on Android, where Google’s own AR system, Project Tango, requires phone makers to include specific hardware in their devices in the form of infrared depth perception sensors. Project Tango launched three years ago, but the Android market is so fragmented that it has struggled to really get going. Google has to design something that will work on as many Android devices as possible – an almost impossible task, given the level of variance that can often entail. In fact, there are only two Android phones that currently support Project Tango: the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and the Asus ZenFone AR. Given Project Tango’s struggles, Google is releasing its own answer to ARKit called ARCore, which works with devices’ existing @macformat

Tim Cook on AR One of the industry’s biggest cheerleaders for AR is Apple’s own Tim Cook. Speaking to The Independent in February 2017, he said “Unlike Virtual Reality which closes the world out, AR allows individuals to be present in the world but hopefully allows an improvement on what’s happening presently.” That means not shutting yourself out from the world, which he feels people would get “sick” of. We’ve mentioned that he’s compared AR to the smartphone in terms of importance. Here’s what else he’s said about it:

“This is one of those huge things that we’ll look back at and marvel at the start of it.” Not the words of someone unsure of its potential. Wondering whether the Watch will soon replace your iPhone? Well, Cook doesn’t think so (at least not yet). Augmented reality, he says, will make the iPhone “even more essential than it currently is.” Panic over, then.

Tim Cook is so excited by AR he wants to “yell out and scream” about it.


AR tech can bring literature and more to life: see The Very Hungry Caterpillar gorge right in front of your eyes.

hardware. But even if Google could get all the different Android phone makers to develop a unified piece of AR software that would work on all Android devices, there’s still the issue of wildly varying camera quality across the range of Android phones, plus differing screen resolutions and internal specs – some of which simply wouldn’t be good enough for an immersive, impressive AR offering. Of those numerous drawbacks, the biggest hurdle is camera quality, according to former Samsung engineer and current augmented reality enthusiast Matt Miesnieks. “The reason Android can’t compete with ARKit is that the original equipment manufacturers would need to effectively standardise their camera [systems],” he said. There are no signs of that happening any time soon. Here’s another example from Google: Daydream, the company’s virtual reality (VR) platform. It had a small launch catalogue, and few phones could run it. Now, a year on from launch, it’s been hyped up but hasn’t lived up to expectations. Because Google has little say in the hardware that Daydream will run on, it’s relying on third party vendors to make the platform work. That’s a very risky approach, and very different from that taken by Apple. That’s the closed ecosystem. It’s had its fair share of critics over the years, but AR is one area where it’s beneficial. Being able to control and integrate both hardware and software really gives Apple an advantage over Android. For one thing, ARKit uses iPhones’


existing gyroscopes and cameras, which has allowed Apple to tailor the platform to its own hardware, knowing it’ll work without a hitch.

Closed system benefits

Apple can set the pace of the entire augmented reality industry

For Apple, there’s no need to worry about optimising the ARKit platform for countless different combinations of cameras, hardware setups and versions of the iOS operating system; it only needs to focus on a small range of options. Rather than being forced into a reactive approach à la Google – surveying the Android landscape and stoically trying to make its platform work with as many devices as it can – Apple can be proactive, actively designing both its devices and iOS to be completely compatible with ARKit. Google is having to play catch up, whereas Apple can set the pace of the entire industry. The certainty provided by Apple’s closed ecosystem also benefits those on the other side of the fence – the developers. AR app developers know that not only do they not need to worry about coding their products for supplementary hardware, but they can code for the iPhones that people already have in their pockets and their apps will still work. For Argentinian studio Dift Collective, it was a no-brainer. The developers looked at releasing apps for Project Tango, but haven’t done so – but they’ve made several apps for ARKit. According to Charly De Venezia, Dift Collective’s head of operations, “For us the main step forward is the distribution,” @macformat

News feature APPLE CORE

What’s Google up to? Of all the companies working hard on augmented reality, Google has been more prolific than most. You’ve probably heard of Google Glass, one of its previous efforts. This involved a pair of AR-enabled glasses that were designed to overlay information on top of your everyday vision as you walked around. They’ve not been short of controversy, though, with many people questioning the privacy implications of a device that can film people without their permission, or even their knowledge. Glass has also been

It won’t fully release until the winter criticised for its apparent safety so we’ll have to withhold judgement issues, such as distracting motorists until then, but it could teach us while they are driving. new things about what’s capable Glass has since been put on the with AR – provided more Android backburner and refocused on the manufacturers get on board enterprise market, but Google hasn’t than did with Project Tango. given up on AR. After a stumbling Just like Apple, Google has start with Project Tango, Google tremendous financial resources seems to have adopted Apple’s with which to develop its AR efforts. approach of creating an augmented No doubt we’ll be seeing plenty reality framework that relies on a of new work from Google as the phone’s existing hardware. ARCore industry hots up. is the result of that rethink, and is reportedly an impressive piece There were privacy issues with Google Glass, and Google has since rethought its approach to AR. of software.

something that, with its closed, integrated approach, Apple excels at. Given the sheer breadth of Android devices out there, “it would require a huge effort to take [our app] to Android and make it market-ready,” he says. Even if only half of the iOS userbase gets iOS 11 (thus giving them access to ARKit), that’s still around 500 million devices that ARKit developers can potentially reach. And we know that the uptake of new versions of iOS is generally a lot higher than that – Apple estimates that 89% of all iOS devices have been updated to iOS 10, for example. Conversely, only around 15% of Android devices are on the latest Nougat version of the operating system.

Taking the lead Apple has a sizeable lead ahead of its rivals when it comes to providing a compelling AR platform. Part of that stems from its decision to utilise the hardware that its users already have, rather than requiring them to purchase a new phone in order to use it – that’s a hurdle that, not unreasonably, has been too high for most Android manufacturers. Whether Google can catch up when it releases ARCore in the winter will be an interesting development to follow. The firm says it’s aiming to get ARCore in the hands of up to 100 million Android users, and is now working with manufacturers like @macformat

Google is aiming to get ARCore in the hands of up to 100 million Android users

Asus and LG to make that happen. But doing that will be far from easy, given the aforementioned wild variance in the hardware capabilities of Android phones. Google promised similarly lofty targets for Daydream, and they have yet to be met. Johny Srouji, Senior Vice President of Hardware Technologies at Apple, says that the company plans out its internal chips three years in advance. That means that Apple was working on the A11 Bionic chip (and thus, by extension, an AR-capable iPhone) when it started shipping the iPhone 6. That ability to create long-term plans and spend those three years perfecting the integration of hardware and software is a vital asset to Apple, and something that its rivals can’t hope to match. Here’s one final benefit for ARKit: many people will buy an iPhone whether or not they care about AR, therefore almost accidentally entering the AR world. They don’t have to expend energy on it (like buying a separate headset or new phone); it’s just there on the phone, waiting to be discovered. It’s a much lower barrier to entry for users, which can only work in ARKit’s favour.


CONTACTS Get in touch

Contact us

Have your say on all things Apple!

Email your queries and your questions to

LETTER OF THE MONTH! Give a mouse a tail F14






















The Apple Magic Keyboard is great. It works beautifully. Previously, the only issues with wireless keyboard were: a) The batteries ran out quickly. b) You could not start up into recovery mode, etc, as they would require a full boot before the Bluetooth was active.

The latest keyboard, however is fantastic. Plug a Lightning cable in the back and the keyboard charges up – and also becomes a wired keyboard – thus rectifying both the issues above. Full marks to Apple for a great piece of design! So, what happened when Apple started the design process on the mouse? Who on earth decided the best place to put the charging cable was on the bottom? My mouse ran out of power today. Instead of simply plugging in a Lightning cable and continuing to work, I have to down tools for half an hour while the mouse recharges. Why not simply have the charging port at the rear, and you can plug in and continue to work while the battery is replenished. It almost feels as if the design team was so pleased with themselves having designed the keyboard, that they all went on holiday and left the intern to design the mouse. Well, now you are all back at work, can we please have a (removable) tail on our mouse? B Y J A S O N VA U G H A N


Win a PlugBug World The author of our Letter of the Month receives a prize! Email us to be in with a chance of winning a PlugBug World from Twelve South, an iPad/iPhone charger and MacBook adaptor. Find out more at

GRAHAM SAYS… The Apple Magic Mouse 2 continues Apple’s long and often calamitous adventures in mouse design. We also think that not being able to charge it while you’re using it is a major design flaw, but it will last for several days on a single charge. The solution we’ve gone for in the office is to always have a few wired mice on hand for these situations, but it’s hardly ideal. We’re keeping our fingers (and tails) crossed for a better design from the Apple Magic Mouse 3.

The Apple Magic Mouse 2 has what some consider a fundamental design flaw.

going” quote used by Tim Cook to Walter Gretzky, whereas it was his son Wayne, the all-time greatest ice hockey player who actually used those words! BY ROGER HOBSON

GRAHAM SAYS… After strenuous fact checking using Google, it appears the situation is best described as ‘complicated’, Roger! While Wayne (the famous ice hockey player) famously said it, he was quoting his old man, Walter. All my research did throw up one funny fact though – Wayne was hired by Blackberry to launch its new Passport phone in 2014, but misquoted it as “go to where the puck is”, before correcting himself. Sadly, for the fate of the company, it seems he was actually being quite accurate.

iTUNES WITHOUT APPS Our household has four iOS devices. That means everything has to be downloaded four times. How can Apple possibly think that is a good idea? I can only hope that either Apple or someone else is urgently writing an app for the Mac and PC which will do for apps what iTunes used to do. BY T IRISH

SKATE TO WHERE THE PUCK IS GOING Just sat down with my newly-received Autumn issue (#318) of your excellent magazine. However, I think you’ve mistakenly attributed the “skate to where the puck is


GRAHAM SAYS… The background to this letter is that Apple has recently issued an update to iTunes which has removed the ability to access the App Store and backup apps from iOS devices. It does mean you’ll @macformat

Get in touch CONTACTS

THE SWEET SPOT While we’re all thinking about the new iPhones, Apple Watch Series 3 and the Apple TV 4K as routes to reduce our bank balances – quite significantly in the case of the iPhone X – I’d like to step back to the previous Apple event and the new iMac and iMac Pro in particular. My current Late 2009 iMac has served me well, but it’s time to upgrade and I need a Mac that offers fast video file conversion and editing. And there’s the dilemma. Highend iMac or low-end iMac Pro, on the basis that a fully loaded iMac Pro is likely to be eye-wateringly expensive. So here’s the question: Where do you think the ‘sweet spot’ lies? What’s the best trade-off between model, price and performance? I think this would warrant a feature. Great magazine guys! BY GEORGE JESSEN

GRAHAM SAYS… The iMac Pro is scheduled to be available in December. While the base model has been announced at $4,999, there have been no announcements about the pricing of customisation options, although some have estimated that a maxed-out iMac Pro could cost over a whopping $17K! Upgrade options are likely to include an 18-core processor, 128GB ECC memory and 4TB SSD drives. As you point out though, once you start speccing up a high-end iMac, you do get very close to £5,000, so you’re right that there will be a dilemma there for people that can afford a Mac of that calibre.

High-end iMac or base model iMac Pro? If you can splash the cash, it’s a tricky choice.

now have to install apps on your iOS device, which is going to be a bit more work for some, if they have multiple devices. However, people have been complaining for ages now that iTunes has become a bloated mess, trying to do too many things at once. So, we’re generally in favour of Apple slimming down iTunes’ functionality a little bit.

MISSING ISSUE As my post is unreliable and I like to browse an actual paper magazine, I collect my copy of MacFormat each month from WHSmith; availability used to be in the first days of each month but this has gradually gone back into the last days of the previous month. So, having got the August (#315) and September (#316) issues, this week I bought what I thought would be October (#317) – but on the cover there’s no Issue 317 and no October. Instead, it reads: ‘Issue 318 Autumn 2017’. What’s happened to October (#317)? BY COLIN STEVENS

GRAHAM SAYS… Sadly you’ve missed an issue, Colin. The October issue (#317) featured our ‘Get to grips with iCloud’ article. See p76 of this issue to order a copy. It might also be a good time to chat to your postie and consider a subscription to MacFormat. That way, you’ll save money and never have to worry about missing an issue again! See p40. @macformat



MATT BOLTON… HAS A WATCH THAT’S A PHONE, A PHONE THAT’S A COMPUTER, AND A DICTIONARY THAT’S USELESS Since the release of the new Apple Watch, I’ve become freshly obsessed with the idea of the Watch as the new iPhone. I mentioned the idea of the phone becoming the modern laptop and the Watch becoming the modern phone briefly in my column last month, but since then I’ve also become a semantic bore about it; I came to realise that to kids today, ‘phone’ means small computer, and so there’s a non-zero chance that even if the laptop form-factor stays around for the next 15 years, current under-fives will wind up calling any portable computer a ‘phone’. I’m fine with that – who among us hasn’t referred to buying ‘a hi-fi’ or something that equally mangles an originally meaningful term – though I admit that using a print column to insist on how totally fine I am is a bit suspect. In fact, I think a potential change in the meaning of ‘watch’ from timepiece to a mini-computer makes even more sense when you think about it from a practical point of view. What does a watch do? Tell the time. Okay, but why do you need to tell the time? So you know what you should be doing or where you’re supposed to be. The point of a Watch is to aid that. It’s why we added mechanical complications like the date to watch faces. So adding a cloud-connected to-do list or full calendar is actually a totally logical next step for fulfilling the original purpose of a watch. Of course, the Apple Watch does more than that, and one of the reasons I see it as the new phone is the way it mirrors what made the iPhone such a success: bringing together a bunch of disparate functions and making them easier to use. Some of this is replacing a whole product, which in the iPhone’s case was cameras, music players and, yes, dedicated phones. And some of this is pulling tasks away from bigger and clunkier devices, like taking email from laptops. In the Watch’s case, it replaces whole products such as a pedometer, heart-rate monitor, and, yes, watch. And it pulls in tasks from bigger and clunkier devices, like… making phone calls or sending messages. Does the Watch really make these things easier to do? Yes, if you embrace voice control. Motorola DynaTAC: back in the day when It seems embarrassing and you could call a phone a phone (albeit a giant one). And use the antenna to prod ostentatious to do right now, anyone who disagreed with you. but so did using an all-

Voice control is ostentatious now, but touchscreens were too, once


It took a while for most people to use the iPhone to its full potential. It’ll take time for the Watch too, but it’s getting there.

touchscreen phone back in 2007. We forget, but in the early days typing out an email on your ‘giant’ 3.5-inch iPhone made you the equivalent of an ’80s-movie stockbroker yelling into their Motorola DynaTAC. A few days ago, I saw a woman on a train quietly using Siri to dictate a series of messages. It wasn’t intrusive to me, or embarrassing to her. By now, people get what you’re doing, and in a few years, it’ll seem normal. And then the Watch will have come of age, because just like it became silly to get your laptop out to email when you had your phone, it’ll be silly to get your phone out to send a message.

ABOUT MATT BOLTON Matt is the editor of Future’s flagship technology magazine T3 and has been charting changes at Apple since his student days. He’s sceptical of tech industry hyperbole, but still gets warm and fuzzy on hearing “one more thing”. @macformat


APPLE GREAT IN QUOTES N EW XM A S The MacFormat team debates the hot Apple PHIL SCHILLER DEAL issues of the day, using their iPhones of course!


Turn to page 40

Jo says…

“We didn’t just study portrait photography. We went all the way back to paint.”


Having felt a little ‘meh’ after the last few Apple Events, I felt that September’s Keynote actually delivered on the excitement factor.

Marketing chief explains how iPhone’s Portrait Lighting was developed

Alex says…

CRAIG FEDERIGHI It was great! From the mystery of the MIA iPhone 9 to Craig Federighi’s Face ID ‘Fail ID’ – talk about entertaining!

“We do not gather customer data when you enrol in Face ID, it stays on your device.”

Actually, I was talking more about all the GOOD stuff! The Apple Watch Series 3?

Face ID doesn’t send any of your data to Apple, says Federighi

True. We all knew the Watch had to move forward and to free itself from its iPhone shackles, but I don’t think I expected to see that just yet. Plus Siri and Apple Music support – now that is awesome!


Er, I seem to remember something about phones too…

“Steve just saw so much more opportunity for what this device could be.”

Yes! Talk about want, want, want! I love the look of the new iPhones. And the tech too – the A11 Bionic chip, wireless charging, 256GB capacity, 4K video at 60fps?!

Jobs felt phones weren’t reaching their potential, says former Apple exec

And that Super Retina HD display on the iPhone X. And Face ID! And that edge-to-edge screen estate. Thing of absolute beauty. Great design, great product. Whopping great price tag… But then you do get Animoji poo, too!


“I see a little silhouette of a man…” tap to edit

‘Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?’ @macformat


“There has to be much more engagement between the artists and the audience.” Apple Music still has much to improve, former Beats mogul believes



What’s inside 23-27 THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT… … And very detailed. The future’s 4K TV





The smart home is here – live the Apple dream today!

How to make the most of the latest Apple TV

27 FIVE OF THE BEST Connected kit that’ll work brilliantly with Apple’s new TV box

It’s taken a while for the Apple TV to embrace 4K video, but this new(ish) tech will have an effect right across the modern smart home he iPhone X may have grabbed all the headlines recently, but here at Apple Home it’s the new 4K update for the Apple TV that has us rubbing our hands with glee. It’s been a long time coming – and, to be honest, Apple has some catching up to do – but now that it’s here the prospect of 4K films and TV shows from Netflix and the iTunes Store has us eagerly eyeing up shiny new 4K televisions. But new technology can bring new problems and, as well as buying a new TV, you may find that other areas of your Apple Home need a bit of an upgrade too. You’ll need some seriously high-speed broadband to stream 4K video, and maybe a new router too, so here’s our guide to getting ready for the arrival of your new ‘4K Home’.


Contact us Email your queries and your questions to Keep up to date by following us on Twitter @macformat Join the conversation at macformat Get the latest subscription offers at



What is Dolby Vision? We’ve had HDR on the iPhone for a while, but the Apple TV 4K also supports two additional options, called HDR10 and Dolby Vision. In fact, HDR10 is merely an updated version of HDR that is already widely used. Dolby Vision is a more specialised version of HDR, designed for films on Blu-ray disks and streaming services such as Netflix.

When can I watch 4K films on iTunes? Right now! 4K films and TV programmes arrived on the iTunes Store alongside the launch of the Apple TV 4K itself. The focus is on new releases like Wonder Woman and Spiderman: Homecoming, but older titles will also be upgraded to 4K versions in coming months.


The Apple TV finally gets 4K – but there’s a lot more to 4K than just pretty pictures e’ve had a long wait for 4K support on the Apple TV. You’ve been able to shoot your own 4K video on an iPhone for a couple of years now, while the 5K iMacs have provided editing capabilities since 2014, and Netflix launched 4K streaming with House Of Cards in the same year. But there are reasons why Apple has held back with 4K support on the Apple TV until now. Apart from anything else, there aren’t many people who actually own 4K television sets, and it’s only recently that 4K sales have started to


represent a sizeable chunk of the TV market. And while online services such as Netflix are already providing 4K video streaming there aren’t many people – especially here in the UK – with home broadband fast enough to handle it.

TV Times People don’t upgrade their televisions every year in the same way that they do with smartphones, so we’re not going to suggest that your life is incomplete without a new 4K telly-box in your front room. But you can now buy 4K televisions for less than the cost of an iPhone, with @macformat


Explained HDR A television with 4K resolution provides very sharp, detailed images. However, we’d recommend that any new TV you buy should also support HDR – high dynamic range. Already available with the iPhone’s camera, HDR enhances the contrast of the video image, providing greater brightness and richer colours.

The little box that’s big on power. Inside the new Apple TV you’ll find an A10X Fusion chip, making it a great upgrade for gamers, too. @macformat

big-name manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and Toshiba offering new sets for well under £500. The cheapest we’ve seen so far is Toshiba’s 43-inch U6763 for £379 from Tesco Direct, but we’d recommend spending a little more to get a set that supports ‘HDR’ – high dynamic range (see above) – for the best picture quality, such as Samsung’s 40-inch, tongue-twisting UE40MU6400U for about £500. As far as content goes, Netflix has already updated its Apple TV app to support 4K

streaming, and you can subscribe to its 4K service for just £9.99 a month (compared to £7.49 for a standard HD subscription). Amazon’s Prime Video service is coming too – although that may be a few months away yet. Apple is also tempting existing Apple TV owners to buy the new model by offering to upgrade their existing HD purchases from the iTunes Store to 4K versions for no extra charge as soon as they become available. And, of course, you can shoot your own home videos in 4K using an iPhone 6s or later, so it’s about


Pretty as a picture. 4K support for the Apple TV has been a long time coming but with the right gogglebox, you can now be in sofa slouching heaven.

What about high-res audio? The fourth-generation Apple TV introduced in 2015 dropped the optical audio output connector that had been available in previous models, relying purely on HDMI for sending sound to your TV. To keep the audiophiles happy, Apple kept the old third-generation model on sale with optical audio for a while, but that has now been discontinued, with the fourth-generation model sticking around as the low-cost option for plain old HD televisions.

What about games? Playing 4K video requires a lot more power than conventional HD video, so the new Apple TV uses the same A10X chip as the iPad Pro. Apple claims that this chip provides four times greater graphics performance than previous models, so it should allow the Apple TV 4K to play some great games as well.

time that you can see them in their highdefinition glory via the Apple TV. The bad news is that you might need to upgrade your broadband in order to stream 4K video. Netflix recommends a broadband speed of 25Mbps for 4K – compared to 5Mbps for standard HD – and that’s well above the UK average of around 16.5Mbps. You might need a new router too – most current 802.11ac routers can handle those sorts of speeds but could still struggle if you’ve got multiple devices connected to the internet at the same time. If you’re streaming 4K video to your Apple TV, Spotify to your iPad, and the kids are playing Minecraft on a games console then you might need a newer ‘Wave 2’ router that provides features such as ‘MU-MIMO’ (multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output) which can help to stream data to multiple devices more efficiently. There’s plenty of choice here, although this might depend on who supplies your broadband at home. If you’re a BT customer then you can upgrade to its latest Smart Hub router for just £70 – or get it for free if you upgrade your broadband HomeKit support means that you can adjust your heating by talking to Siri on the Apple TV.


to BT’s high-speed Infinity service (which you’ll probably need as well). If not, then the latest Wave 2 routers tend to start at around £130, or £150 for a router that also includes a modem for internet access, such as TP-Link’s Archer VR2600.

Hey Siri! As well as supporting 4K video, the new Apple TV will also support both HomeKit – as the last fourth generation model did – and the updated AirPlay 2, which is due as part of iOS 11. The HomeKit support means you’ll be able to talk to Siri on the Apple TV and use it to control other HomeKit devices, such as Philips Hue lights, or the Netatmo Starck thermostat for your central heating. AirPlay 2 opens up a whole new kettle of smart home fish, as it will allow the Apple TV – as well as Macs and iOS devices – to control multiple speakers in different rooms. The obvious starting point here is Apple’s new HomePod speaker, but other companies will be able to build AirPlay 2 into their own speakers as well, allowing you to create your own customised multi-room speaker system using many different types of speaker. That’s something we’ll come back to once the HomePod arrives this Christmas, but in the meantime the new Apple TV opens up all sorts of possibilities for home entertainment and home automation. It’s the first must-have upgrade that Apple’s little ‘hobby’ device has had for several years and might even be the one that convinces you to go out and buy a new 4K television this Christmas (along with the HomePod, of course). @macformat

2,073,600 Conventional HD video has a resolution of 1920x1080 – or just over 2 million pixels.

8,294,400 The resolution of 4K video steps up to 3840x2160 – four times greater than HD (1920x1080).

38% The estimated increase in sales of 4K televisions this year – accounting for a third of all worldwide sales. (Digital TV Europe)


Want to dim the lights for a movie? Just talk to Apple TV (as long as you’ve got smart lighting set up, of course…)

The projected value of the 4K TV market in the US by 2025. (Digital TV Europe)

FIVE OF THE BEST Make the most of the Apple TV 4K with this great kit

Apple HomePod £349 (TBC)

Netflix £8.99/month

Philips Hue From £80

It’s not here yet, but the new HomePod speaker shares the Apple TV’s support for both HomeKit and AirPlay 2, so they’ll make a great combination for handling music and video, as well as controlling lights and other smart devices.

Netflix started 4K streaming back in 2014 with House Of Cards, and its current range of 4K films and TV programmes is perfect for the new Apple TV. It’s good value too, as the 4K subscription only costs £8.99 per month.

Apple is going gung-ho on home automation at the moment. Philips pretty much owns the smart lighting market with its Hue range, and the new Apple TV will let you fire up a 4K film and just say “Siri, turn down the lights…” @macformat

Samsung UE40MU6400U £500

TP-Link Archer VR2600 £150

You’re going to need fast broadband and a fast router to handle 4K video streaming and downloads, and the VR2600 is one of the more affordable ‘Wave 2’ routers around at the moment. It also includes a modem for Internet access.

Samsung makes some pretty smart 4K TVs (it tends to use the term ‘Ultra HD’ – UHD). This 40-inch model is affordable, but also includes HDR for enhanced brightness and colour.


macOS 50 essential tips Get it! Install it! t 28 | MACFORMAT | NOVEMBER 2017

it! @macformat

Craig Grannell delves into High Sierra, revealing all the great new features that will improve your Mac experience here are two sides to macOS High Sierra. Apple first talks about new technologies at the very heart of the system. These are designed to make your Mac more capable and reliable. They lay foundations for the future, and offer great potential – in some cases enabling entirely new apps to be created by brilliant developers – while making present tasks faster. The other side to High Sierra is all about Apple refining existing features and apps. In some cases, these are small tweaks – the ability to pin a note in the Notes app, the means to compose Mail in Split View when in fullscreen, and the odd addition to a System Preferences pane. Doubtless, though, that even such relatively small changes can make a big difference to people who use these applications and settings every day. And there are plenty of bigger changes. Safari now enables you to customise websites on an individual basis, rather than you adjusting the likes of Reader and page zoom levels as you browse. And the update to Photos makes it almost feel like a new app, due to a revamped interface, and a superb update to its editing tools. If you’ve ever wanted to do more with Live Photos, or get more precision control over colour within your snaps, now you can. Over the following pages, we highlight all the great things that we’ve discovered in macOS High Sierra, and a smattering of features you may not know existed. Dig in, and they should make you a master of your Mac. @macformat


macOS High Sierra 50 essential tips

Browse your collection, edit Live Photos, and delve into new adjustment features 2

5 1 6 3


Explained... The Photos interface 1

The new sidebar

The sidebar in macOS Sierra was optional (View > Show Sidebar), but now it’s persistent. If you always want it in fullscreen, too, turn on View > Always Show Toolbar and Sidebar in fullscreen. 2

Your library

Key custom albums that were previously scattered around the sidebar are now housed under Library. Here,

you find the likes of Memories and Favourites, along with the Recently Deleted album. 3 Revamped imports

Click on Imports for a chronological feed of photos and images you’ve added to Photos. Note these are grouped by import and not date, and so the likes of Photo Stream entries show up individually.



New media types

Under Albums in the sidebar you’ll find a Media Types folder, which provides fast access to specific types of images, such as screenshots, selfies, and the new long exposure option (from Live Photos edits). 5

Quicker editing

In macOS Sierra, you could rotate or favourite a selection of snaps using menu options, but now there

are bespoke buttons in the toolbar for doing so. The selection number’s much clearer, too. 6

Filter options

Enter a library category, and you’ll see a Showing filter menu. This defaults to All Photos. Click it to limit the view to only specific image types, or images that match user-defined keywords. @macformat

50 essential tips macOS High Sierra

It’s all in the edit

1 Silence Live Photos

Double-click a Live Photo and click Edit to access the editing view. Here, you can use the two buttons at the bottom left of the window to, respectively, turn off the Live Photo (circular icon), or just mute its audio (speaker icon).

2 Trim Live Photos

Below your Live Photo, you’ll see a filmstrip common to video editing apps. Drag the drag handles to trim the Live Photo’s video component. You can also click a frame and then click Make Key Photo to change what’s shown when the image is still.

3 Bounce and loop

A standard Live Photo defaults to the Live option in the menu to the right of the trim controls. But you can switch the animation type to Loop (endlessly repeats) or Bounce (animates back and forth). Use Long Exposure to fake a long exposure shot.

adjustments faster 4 Make

In macOS Sierra, editing in Photos was stripped back. On clicking Adjust, only a few options were shown; you had to manually add more. In macOS High Sierra, this has changed. Adjust is a scrolling pane of collapsible sections, all of which are immediately available – and this is far more usable.

5 Explore filters Curves is new to Photos and is a welcome editing tool, allowing for automatic and manual changes.

In all honesty, Photos isn’t necessarily the best place to go if you’re looking for the world’s most amazing filters, but they’ve at least been shaken up a bit in macOS High Sierra. Chrome, Process, Transfer and Instant have all gone, replaced by filters badged Vivid and Dramatic, both of which have Cool and Warm variants.

6 Work with curves

The Curves tool is new to Photos. Click Auto and Photos will automatically improve your image. You can manually drag points, and add new ones by clicking on the curve. Try fashioning a subtle S-curve to make your colours really pop.

Use other apps One of the big changes to Photos is the way in which it interacts with other apps. Although Photos now has improved editing tools, they still fall short of what you get in the likes of Photoshop or Pixelmator. But now you can use the Image > Edit With menu (also available in the contextual menu) to send your image to a third-party editor. In theory, changes made should be saved in your Photos library. Edits can also be reverted by going into the editing view and clicking Revert to Original. However, do test on copies of precious photos (Image > Duplicate, or ç+D on a selected image), just in case.

How to: Use Selective Colour in Photos

1 Adjust a colour channel 2 Amend the range Open a photo with greenery and a sky in the Photos edit view. Scroll down to Selective Colour. Select the green colour channel, and drag Hue all the way to the left. Notice how this shifts the greens towards red, making for an autumnal look. @macformat

Use the Range slider to adjust the range of colours over which your adjustment is applied. Nudge it left to soften the effect, or right to increase it. Experiment with Saturation to amend the intensity of the colour selection.

3 Use a custom hue

If you want to alter a specific colour, select it with the eyedropper tool, and then adjust settings accordingly. Click on the sky and maximise Hue for a freaky alien purple sky. (Perhaps be subtler on your own pics!)


macOS High Sierra 50 essential tips

Make every website work in the way you want it – eradicate auto-play videos, tracking, and more

2 1


4 5


Explained... Browse round these improvements 1

Website settings

On visiting a website, go to Safari > Settings for This Website. A pop-up will appear under the address bar, giving you a number of settings you can tweak specifically for that particular website. 2

Reader view

Reader view strips all the cruft from the websites you visit, leaving only the text and images on the page.

Previously, it had to be manually triggered each time you needed to use it. Now, you can have it automatically activate on compatible web pages. 3

Page Zoom

Safari’s always enabled you to zoom the content of the current tab, but now you can set a zoom level on a per-site basis – ideal if you find a favourite site has text that’s a bit too small to read.




By default, Safari will stop all media on a web page that’s got sound. You can override this setting by allowing autoplay. Alternatively, go further and stop all distracting autoplaying content. 5


Some sites require permissions to your Mac’s camera, microphone, or location. In each case, you can use the relevant menu to

decide whether you’re happy to give such permissions (Allow) or not (Deny). 6


Safari’s Preferences have been updated to cope with these new settings. In place of the Notifications tab is the Websites one, with configuration sections for everything mentioned in the other steps. @macformat

50 essential tips macOS High Sierra

Bend Safari to your liking

1 Turn stuff on

3 Edit website settings



Safari minimises URLs and doesn’t preview where links go. Change this by View > Show Status Bar (to display link targets on hover) and ‘Show full website address’ in the Advanced preferences (so you get more than a domain in the address bar).

Tame notifications

Websites increasingly ask to bug you with push notifications. Generally, avoid allowing them to do so. If one is continually flinging notifications your way, you can disable them in the Notifications category within Safari’s website preferences.

In the Websites section of Safari’s preferences, select one of the categories from the sidebar. You’ll see settings for currently open websites and also closed but configured ones. These can be adjusted using the menus, without visiting the sites in question.

Set global defaults

At the bottom of the Websites tab (excepting the Notifications category) is a menu labelled ‘When visiting other websites’. Use this to set a default for websites you’ve not manually configured – for example, to have Reader activate by default on all sites, unless otherwise stated.

5 Prevent tracking

In the Privacy section of Safari’s preferences is the new ‘Prevent cross-site tracking’ setting. On by default, it stops advertisers following you around the internet. So no more shop adverts appearing everywhere after you briefly check out something of interest.

‘Prevent cross-site tracking’ is on by default and prevents ‘tailored’ shop adverts appearing.

6 Use extensions

but it’s worth investigating the Extensions tab in Safari’s preferences. From here, you can add useful functionality to Safari, such as web clippers, alternate search engines, security add-ons, and more.

Configure Reader The idea behind Safari Reader is to make the internet more readable. The view strips everything from a web page, apart from text and embedded imagery. If you find elements of a site’s design distracting, or the text is hard to read, activate Reader. When the view is running, click AA in the address bar to bring up options. The two buttons at the top adjust the text size, and the four coloured discs enable you to switch themes. There are also eight different fonts to choose from. Be mindful that all choices work throughout Safari – they cannot be set on a per-site basis (unlike merely activating Reader).

This isn’t new to macOS High Sierra,

How to: Use the Develop menu

1 Turn it on

If a site claims you need another browser or device to use it, the Develop menu may enable you to circumvent the roadblock. Activate it in the Advanced section of Safari’s preferences (check ‘Show Develop menu in menu bar’). @macformat

2 Switch browsers

If you’ve installed another browser, it will be listed in Develop > Open Page With, alongside Safari. Select the browser and the current web page will be sent to it. Note that login details won’t go along for the ride.

3 Spoof a browser

Go to Develop > User Agent to have Safari pretend to be another browser. This is useful for when a mobile version of a site will play video, but the desktop version still requires you to install Flash, like you’re living in 2005.


macOS High Sierra 50 essential tips

Manage family accounts, share files using iCloud, and change the macOS High Sierra desktop picture 1

Family members 1

Click in the iCloud pane in System Preferences, and then click Manage Family. In the Family Members tab, you can add other members of your family to a sharing account. Once their details are entered you’ll all be able to share (most) purchased apps, games, books and music. 2

2 3

iCloud storage


In the Apps & Services tab, click on iCloud Storage. Under macOS High Sierra, you can now share a plan with your entire family. This makes the 200GB and 2TB tiers a good bet – one of those should be enough space for everyone’s back-ups and documents. 3

Location sharing

It’s been possible for a long while to share location information with others on iOS, using the likes of Find My Friends. Now on the Mac, click Location Sharing,

and you can decide which family members you’d like to share your location with. 4

Share a file

As of macOS High Sierra, individual files can also be shared via iCloud – and more

than in the old sense of ‘send it to someone’. Control-click and go to Share > Add People and you can invite other people to access – and edit – your document.

How to: Adjust your desktop background

1 Find your desktops

The second you launch macOS High Sierra, you’ll see it has a brand-new desktop background. If you’re not keen, you can change it. In System Preferences, go to Desktop & Screen Saver. You’ll see High Sierra selected.


2 Change the background 3 Drag and drop If you fancy using a background from an older version of macOS or OS X, simply click on it. Alternatively, select from Solid Colours for something plainer, or Photos for a custom image from your own collection.

You can also adjust the desktop background by dragging and dropping an image from Finder to the ‘well’ in the System Preferences pane. Fancy shaking things up more often? Tick the Change picture and Random order boxes. @macformat

50 essential tips macOS High Sierra

Two welcome changes come to Notes: adding tables to documents and pinning favourites 1 2 3


Explained... 1

Notes tables

Click the Table button in the Notes toolbar – or use Format > Table – and a table will be added to your note at the cursor’s current location. You can add multiple tables to a single note – you needn’t stick at one. 2

Table formatting

Tables in Notes start off two cells tall and two cells wide. To change the setup, ≈-click the column or row widget, and use the Add and Delete options accordingly. Note you don’t get headers – just standard cells. @macformat

Perform actions on notes 3

Columns and rows

Columns and rows in Notes can be rearranged. Click inside a cell and then click-drag the relevant column or row widget. Be aware that you can only move columns or rows to a different point within the same table. 4

Copying tables

Copy and paste isn’t entirely intuitive with Notes tables, and results can vary across apps. For best results, click-drag around the table, so it’s highlighted in blue. It’ll then paste cleanly into Mail and text editors.

In Sierra, you could two-finger swipe across a note to show a delete button (and continue dragging to delete the note). In High Sierra, the leftwards swipe still brings up the red delete button, but it’s joined by a grey lock button. Locking a note stops it from being edited. This action previously required a menu action. New to High Sierra is the ability to pin a note to the top of the list. Two-finger swipe across a note to the right – keep going, or click the gold Pin button. Alternatively, use File > Pin Note, or the contextual menu. If you often pin notes, create a keyboard shortcut for Pin Note in the Keyboard pane of System Prefs.


macOS High Sierra 50 essential tips

Don’t miss Mail’s trio of new features in macOS High Sierra – and two old classics that can save you time 4 3

1 2

Explained... Clear comms 1

Split view

In macOS Sierra, Mail in fullscreen mode wouldn’t easily let you compose an email and refer to your inbox. macOS High Sierra instead utilises its own Split View, with a tabbed compose area alongside your existing email. 2

Space saver

This isn’t an improvement you can easily see, but changes to the way macOS deals with files means that your email should now take up less space. If you’ve tons of email and are lacking in storage, this could be a godsend.



Top hits

Search in Mail is now faster, but also – more importantly – a bit smarter. The most relevant messages Mail finds are placed at the top of the list, as Top Hits. And the more you search, the smarter this new system gets. 4

Inbox shortcuts

Just like Safari, Mail has a shortcuts bar (View > Favorites Bar), to which you can drag oftenused mailboxes. Along with affording you fast access through clicking them, they can be opened using ç and number keys.

Create Smart Mailboxes Smart Mailboxes are mailboxes for which you define specific criteria, which are subsequently populated with matching email. Rules can be time-based – you can create a mailbox that houses the email you received over the past week. Or one to include older email that’s languishing in your inbox to be dealt with. Label it something useful like ‘Deal with now’. The VIP folder’s handy for flagging emails from important people, but try combining ‘Sender is VIP’ and ‘Message is unread’ rules. That’ll give you a smart mailbox with emails you haven’t even looked at from senders you consider vital. Stash it in the Favourites Bar. @macformat

50 essential tips macOS High Sierra

Shine a light on searches with Spotlight Save yourself the hassle of rummaging around the web – or your Mac – for vital info and documents 1

Spotlight categories


Search results in Spotlight are a mix of content from the web, and whatever macOS High Sierra finds on your Mac’s drive (and in iCloud Drive). If you don’t find certain categories useful, you can disable them in the Spotlight pane of System Preferences. 2

News sources


It’s not going to replace a newspaper, but Spotlight now includes a news section for articles related to your search term. You get a synopsis for each article, and a link to the original online. It works pretty well for getting the latest on sports teams. 3

Location maps

You can of course fire up Maps (or visit Google Maps in Safari) to find out where a place is. But type a location into Spotlight and it’ll bring up a small map that’ll give you the basics of where that

4 3

place can be found – along with photos and further information. 4

Siri Knowledge

Under the rather vague heading of Siri Knowledge, you’ll find what amounts to

an expanded flash card about a given subject or term. Mostly, imagery, info and stats are pulled from Wikipedia, but you also sometimes get links to other sites and the odd map. And it may dig up something surprisingly useful.

How to: Find more stuff using Spotlight

1 Get flight info

If you punch a flight number into Spotlight, you’ll gain access to one or more matching flights. Select one to see a status panel with map, gate details, arrival and departure times, and even whether bags are ready. @macformat

2 View sports results

Sports fans are increasingly well catered for by Spotlight. Type in a major team, be it for Premier League Football or Major League Baseball, and you’ll see a list of recent results and also an upcoming schedule.

3 Do time-based searches Although still some way from a natural-language search tool, Spotlight can handle time-based searches. Try typing things like ‘apps from this week’ (for recent installs), or ‘documents from July’ and see what you get.


macOS High Sierra 50 essential tips

Lots of other goodies are lurking in macOS High Sierra – but not all of them are visible FaceTime photos There are various hacky workarounds that allow you to save bits of FaceTime conversations to your Mac. Now, though, there’s an official one from Apple. As you’re chatting away to someone, you can click the camera shutter button to capture a special moment and save it as a Live Photo. The other person on the call is immediately notified that a photo was taken, and so this is all very much above board. The animated snap ends up in your Photos library.

AFPS In High Sierra, the Mac follows iOS, tvOS and watchOS devices in transitioning to the Apple File System (APFS). According to Apple, its new file system is designed for flash storage, to be responsive, and to be secure. The second point is evident when performing actions like duplicating a bunch of files, or finding the size of folders. Tasks that may have taken some time to complete on an older version of macOS now often happen almost instantly. That said, you should approach any major change to a file system with caution. At the very least, ensure that you make a fully bootable clone of your Mac (using the likes of SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner) before upgrading, just in case things go wrong. But you were planning on doing that anyway, right? Find out more about AFPS on p54.


If you’re not keen on people being able to take such photos of you, it’s possible to disable this functionality. In FaceTime’s preferences on the Mac, untick ‘Allow Live Photos to be captured during Video calls’. On iOS, the equivalent option is FaceTime Live Photos, which is found in the FaceTime section of the Settings app.

A smarter Siri

respond without speaking, by turning off Voice feedback in the Siri pane of System Preferences.)

Virtual reality We’re not quite in the Matrix just yet, nor hanging around with Johnny Mnemonic, but virtual reality is increasingly worming its way into the world of technology. As far as macOS High Sierra goes, you’re not (yet) going to be creating virtual worlds on a MacBook. But if you’re armed with a suitably powerful supported iMac (which at present means the new iMac with Retina 5K display), you can in macOS High Sierra fashion entire worlds using the likes of SteamVR and the Vive VR, along with Final Cut Pro, Epic Unreal 4 Editor, and

Apple’s rather proud of Siri’s voice revamp in macOS High Sierra. Although the virtual assistant hasn’t quite clambered out of the uncanny valley, Siri now sounds more natural and expressive, whether telling you the weather, or complaining that you haven’t actually enabled Siri to use Location Services yet (as happened while writing this very feature – oops). In macOS High Sierra, Siri’s designs on being a personal DJ go up another notch. Already, you could ask Siri to “play some music” or start playing something by a specific artist. But now Siri can respond to moods and make recommendations – at least if you’re a subscriber to Apple Music. (If not, Siri curtly notes “I can’t play music for a particular mood”.) Siri has one other trick in macOS High Sierra: if you nip into the Accessibility pane of System Preferences and select Siri (under Interaction), you can tick ‘Enable Type to Siri’. Although primarily intended for people who cannot speak to Siri, it’s a handy feature if you need to ask Siri something, are armed with headphones, and are in a place where you should really be silent. (Alternatively, if you want total silence in both You’ll need an umbrella… again. Ask Siri about the weather and she’ll confirm it’s raining… again. directions, you can also have Siri @macformat

50 essential tips macOS High Sierra

Down to the metal

Apps like Pixelmator Pro will take digital painting to another level, thanks to Metal 2. Unity Editor. If that feels a bit much like hard work, just sit back in actual reality and let someone else bring lovely new apps to you when they’re ready.

For a list of devices that are supported by Continuity, visit the following Apple support document:

Copy and paste

64-bit apps

You may be familiar with Universal Clipboard. This feature, which is part of Continuity, works with any Mac that has Bluetooth LE (and also a range of iOS devices). Both Macs need to be signed into the same iCloud account and have Handoff enabled in System Preferences. Then, as long as the Macs are connected to Wi-Fi and have Bluetooth active, you can copy and paste text, images and videos between the two. In macOS High Sierra, this is taken up another notch, in you being able to copy and paste files. To do so, use ç+C to copy on one Mac and ç+V to paste on the other. This is less hassle than messing about with AirDrop or file sharing. That said, if even this seems a bit like hard work, you can always share your Desktop and Documents folders via iCloud to efficiently move files between Macs.

If you spend a lot of time using an iPhone or iPad, and you happen to have a large collection of apps and games, chances are iOS 11 thinned your collection somewhat. This was down to Apple ending support for 32-bit apps – something that’s long been on the cards. Unfortunately, though, it’s simply not viable for every developer to update their apps, and so we’ve had to say goodbye to thousands of them. It looks like ‘appageddon’ is going to come ‘back to the Mac’ at some point. There were rumours macOS High Sierra would start warning users about 32-bit apps, but that’s not happened at the time of writing. Apple did announce at WWDC 2017, though, that all apps and games submitted to the Mac App Store would have to be 64-bit as of January 2018. Updates must be compliant by July. @macformat

Apple calls Metal 2 a ‘graphics game changer’. The original Metal was designed to unleash the power of your Mac’s graphics processing unit (GPU), potentially making apps significantly more powerful. But Metal 2 further ups the ante. According to Apple, Metal 2 will make it possible for apps on macOS High Sierra to offer a superior visual experience, but also add capabilities such as machine learning, virtual reality, and external GPUs for people working with high-end creative apps. One app that looks like it’ll fully harness this new power is popular image editor Pixelmator. It’s set to go ‘pro’ this autumn, with a revamped single-window interface, and a vastly enhanced Metal 2 powered painting engine. See for more information on what looks set to be a cracking new app.

If you use 32-bit apps, it’s time to bug a developer. If you’re not sure, go to About This Mac under the Apple menu, click System Report, and select Applications from the sidebar. Click the 64-bit column header however many times it takes to get apps marked No at the top, make some notes, and get cracking writing some polite emails.


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What’s inside 44-46 RECOMPOSE IN PHOTOSHOP Rework shots with Content-Aware Fill





Your in-depth guide to getting more from your Apple kit

Like a song? Then you need to Shazam it!



Get to grips with iOS 11’s new storage management facilities

Understand iOS gestures A tap is a brief contact of (usually) one finger on your device’s screen.

Swipe means move one or more fingers across an item or the screen, then let go.

Pinch means move two fingers together or apart, usually to zoom in or out.

To drag is to move a finger across the screen to scroll or pan around content.

A flick is like swiping, but it’s quicker, and is often used to scroll content more quickly.

Touch and hold means lightly rest your finger on an item and wait for a reaction.

Master Mac keyboard shortcuts When you see a shortcut like ç+å+C, hold all but the last key, then press that one.

≈ means the Control key, labelled ctrl, and shown as ^ in shortcuts in the menu bar.

ç is the Command key, which is also labelled cmd.

ß is the Shift key, which is typically just labelled shift.

å means the Option key, labelled alt or opt.

∫ means the Delete key, which deletes to the left of the

insertion point. Press ƒ+∫ to delete to the right. † is the Tab key, which shifts the focus between some controls in windows and web forms. Turn on Full Keyboard Access in System Preferences to jump between all controls.


APPLE SKILLS Mac software

Recompose shots in Photoshop




Use Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop to rework your images 1

IT WILL TAKE 30 minutes YOU WILL LEARN What Content-Aware Fill is and how best to use it YOU’LL NEED A picture that you want to recompose, Photoshop CC

It used to be that cropping an image only went one way – smaller. Cropping in on an image usually means making the subject of your shot bigger, and discarding pixels around the edge of the frame. This is a useful skill – not only does it mean you can draw attention to your subject, which is particularly helpful if your subject is small, but you can also reposition the subject of your shot in the frame if it’s strangely placed to begin with. With Photoshop CC, cropping doesn’t necessarily mean zooming into your image. Take rotating a shot, for instance. Ordinarily, rotating an image creates white space at the corners of your shot; Photoshop automatically constrains – ie, makes smaller – your image to avoid this white space showing up in your final image. Content-Aware cropping fills these white spaces with automatically generated new pixels, based on patterns and colours nearby. Dave Stevenson

Blank bits A blank area shows up as grey/white checkerboard. This will print as white, and needs to be dealt with.


Aspect ratio You can keep the original aspect ratio, but others are available – Instagram is square, for instance.

HOW TO Give your image more space

1 Find an image that works

Not all images are great candidates for Content-Aware cropping. Lots of really fine detail, or faces, at the edge of the frame can cause problems. Landscapes like this, with lots of areas of sky, are likely to work better. If only it were straight…


2 Set up the crop tool

Press C to start the crop tool, and note the new options immediately above your image. The first thing to check is that the first drop-down box, which lets you choose the aspect ratio of your shot, is set to Original Ratio. @macformat

Content-Aware Fill APPLE SKILLS


Straighten up


The straighten tool is a boon for landscape photographers, and makes fixing sloping horizons virtually instant.

Genius tip!


Check it The allimportant Content-Aware checkbox. Leave a tick here and Photoshop will work its magic.

When cropping, consider cycling through Photoshop’s compositions guides (select the Crop tool and press O) to get compositional ideas.



Overlays This overlay is known as the golden ratio, but there are others. The grid is useful for straightening images.

3Use the straightener

Photoshop’s Straighten tool allows you to draw a line along the horizon and straighten the image to it automatically. Hold ç, then click and drag across the horizon of your image and, when you let go, your image will straighten up. @macformat

Unlike many of the changes you can make in Photoshop, the crop tool is destructive – once you’ve saved your image it is permanently altered. So it’s worth working on safe copies of your original file.

4 Where the magic happens

With your image straight, you’ll notice you now have grey and white checkerboard at the corners. Ordinarily, you would simply delete these, along with a bit of the image itself. Instead, make sure Content-Aware is checked, and hit ®.


APPLE SKILLS Mac software

HOW TO Give your image more space

5 Get closer

6 Outline the pattern

7 Content-Aware Fill

8 Fill again

9 Beyond boundaries

10 More space

For images you’re using online, this all you have to do. For print images it’s worth being a little more detail oriented. Look at the fine details in your shot, and keep an eye out for repeating patterns generated by the Content-Aware crop process.

Press ß+%, or go to Edit > Fill… and you’ll see the Content-Aware Fill dialogue. Make sure the drop-down box at the top says Content-Aware and tap ®. You’ll then find that the pattern disappears.

Content-Aware cropping allows you to give your subjects more space. Here, for example, we’d like our volcano to be a bit smaller in the frame, so we can run text around it. Press C, then drag the box beyond the boundaries of the original shot.


This repeating pattern is subtle, but will stand out once printed. It’s an easy fix, though – hit L to select the Lasso tool, then draw loosely around the pattern you’d like to fix. An accurate outline, in this case, is unimportant.

If you’re still left with a repeating pattern, try the ContentAware fill process again. The result will change each time, so just stop when you’ve got a less obvious result. Press ç+D to deselect the area of your image you changed.

Hit ®, and with you will see the new, recomposed image. Here, we have much more negative space and, thanks to a bit of that Content-Aware filling, an instant re-working – and improvement – of the original. @macformat

Song recognition APPLE SKILLS

Catch that catchy tune Make sure you can always find that elusive song with Shazam IT WILL TAKE 5 minutes YOU WILL LEARN How to find songs with Shazam, then play them on Apple music YOU’LL NEED OS X 10.10 or later

Have you ever turned on the television or radio, heard a catchy tune but have no idea of the song title or artist? In that case, it’s time to start ‘Shazaming’. The immensely popular iPhone app, which has now come to macOS listens in the background via your microphone and identifies music tracks using a Shazam’s own online database. Once a song has been identified, the app will display a pop-up detailing the title and artists.

Shazam also adds each track to a virtual playlist, where you can view information and song lyrics on the developer’s website. If you have an Apple Music subscription, you can also choose to play the song itself via iTunes. The recognition time varies depending on sound quality but in our tests Shazam was able to identify popular artists within seconds. Despite the fact that Shazam is always listening, it’s not an Orwellian surveillance tool – you can disable recording at any time. Nate Drake

HOW TO Find, view and play songs >

1 Configure Shazam

On first run, Shazam displays a pop-up stating it’s ‘now finding the music around you’. Click the OK button to dismiss this. Click Launch Shazam on Startup to run it each time you log in. @macformat

2 Test Music Identification 3 View Shazam Playlist Click the Shazam icon at the top right. Select the blue rocker switch at any time to toggle listening. Connect your microphone and play a song. A pop-up will appear once it’s identified.

Click on the Shazam icon again to view identified songs. ≈-click on any of these. Choose View on to view song info and lyrics. Click Listen on Apple Music to play in iTunes.



Manage your iOS device’s storage Learn to use iOS 11’s improved automatic and manual storage management IT WILL TAKE 15 minutes YOU WILL LEARN How to make use of automatic or manual offloading of apps to reclaim an app’s storage space YOU’LL NEED iOS 11

You can allow iOS to automatically offload apps, or do it manually instead

iOS 11 includes a storage management improvement that offloads unused apps, and there are two ways to use it. Offloading an app removes it from your device, but leaves behind data associated with it. If you want to use that app again in future, you just tap its icon on the Home screen to reinstall it and carry on as normal. Meanwhile, you have space for whatever task is at hand. The most convenient way to use this capability is to allow iOS to automatically work out which apps to offload, based on analysis of your past usage. By leaving it to iOS to decide what gets offloaded, you run the risk of finding an app you need is no longer installed when your internet connection is infeasibly slow or unavailable to redownload it. So, you also have the option of manually offloading apps. Either way, this feature should make dealing with dwindling free space much less hassle than it used to be. Alan Stonebridge

HOW TO Manage your storage

Genius tip! If you want to manage your iCloud storage in iOS 11, open Settings and tap your name/ Apple ID at the top of the first page, then iCloud, followed by Manage Storage.

1 Find the right settings

Go to Settings > General and tap either iPhone Storage or iPad Storage a little way down the page. Give the next page a while to populate; depending on your device’s capacity and contents, it can take a while to complete.


2 An overview of usage

At the top you’ll see a colour-coded chart that provides an at-a-glance summary of the types of things that are taking up space, such as apps and media. This helps you work out where you might save space. @macformat

Manage storage APPLE SKILLS

CONTINUED… Manage your storage Genius tip!

3 Recommendations

Before you dive in to delete anything, check whether there’s a Recommendations section just below the chart. What appears there, if anything, depends on your current choices elsewhere in Settings.

4 Accept a change

A short description is given of what each item will change about your device’s behaviour. You may want to look up additional details at Tap Enable at the top right of a suggestion to act on it.

Deleting an app from its summary page in Settings > General > iPhone/iPad Storage is equivalent to holding a finger on its Home screen icon till it jiggles, then tapping the X at its top left corner. This removes all traces of the app from your phone, but it doesn’t remove its docs or data from iCloud.

iOS’s space-saving recommendations adjust items found elsewhere in Settings, saving you digging around. The one to offload unused apps turns on a switch in Settings > iTunes & App Store, for example.

5 Offload unused apps

6 Manually manage apps

7 Offload a single app

8 Restoring an app

This recommendation shows how much space you’ll save by accepting it. If your device later needs room to do something, it’ll remove apps you’re unlikely to use to accommodate it, but retain their data on your device.

Tap an app in the list and its summary gives you a choice of offloading it, to free up the amount listed next to App Size, or deleting all traces of the app and its data from your device – see the tip to the right, though. @macformat

You needn’t entrust iOS with decisions about which apps are offloaded; lower down the page, each installed app is listed with the space it and its data collectively take up, and, new in iOS 11, the date you last used it.

When an app is offloaded, its icon stays on the Home screen and shows up in search results. You can tap it in these places, or tap Reinstall App in its storage management summary, to redownload and continue using it.


What’s inside


51 SORTING KERNEL EXTENSIONS How to deal with ‘System Extension Blocked’ messages





We focus on getting more from macOS High Sierra

Interact with Siri using typed commands

54-55 OUR GUIDE TO APFS How to use High Sierra’s new storage format


macOS High Sierra requirements You need MacBook or iMac going back to 2009, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini’s from 2010.

Genius tip! Live Photo loops Live Photos are great fun, and High Sierra allows you to create a repeating loop of a Live Photo, so that it continues to play like an animated GIF. You’ll find lots of other effects and new tools in Photos too, like easier colour adjustments and new filters.

You need to be running Mac OS X 10.8 or later.

You need 5GB of available storage.

for advice on using Time Machine.

Back up your Mac before upgrading; go to support.

Go to the Mac App Store and download the free macOS High Sierra upgrade.

The benefits of running macOS High Sierra macOS High Sierra is the most up to date version of the Mac’s operating system.

APFS, a new file system that makes a Mac sporting a flash drive even faster.

You can install macOS High Sierra through the App Store on your Mac.

HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), also known as H.265 is supported by macOS High Sierra.

Metal 2 is a technology built into High Sierra that adds capabilities like virtual reality and external GPU support. Safari and Photos get new features in High Sierra, along with Siri and Mail.

macOS High Sierra uses For a full list of features, go to

50 | MACFORMAT | @macformat

Kernel extensions macOS SKILLS

Sorting kernel extensions Deal with a change to how macOS allows kernel extensions to be installed IT WILL TAKE 10 minutes YOU WILL LEARN What to look out for when something attempts to install a kernel extension on your Mac, and how to respond to it YOU’LL NEED macOS High Sierra

There’s a change to how kernel extensions are handled in macOS High Sierra, for which Apple has published advice for system administrators, yet this change may have a small impact on you even as a regular Mac user. Basically, kernel extensions added to your Mac after you install High Sierra require user approval. After installing High Sierra, we ran into this scenario two times in as many days. The action that’s consequently required on your part is trivial, but we recommend paying closer attention than you might normally do when installing software. For example, we encountered a prompt for action when we installed the Logitech Options software as part of the MX Master 2S mouse reviewed in this issue (see page 86), and with Paragon’s NTFS for Mac software when writing the APFS tutorial on page 56 of this issue too. Each time we were presented with a clear warning in a dialogue, which instructed us to go to System Preferences’ Security & Privacy pane in order to grant permission for part of the software to run.

The person who is taking an action – installing software – that causes a new kernel extension to be added to your Mac does not have to be logged into an administrator account, nor are they prompted for an admin user’s credentials if they allow the extension to run.

Command or support Also note that kernel extensions you installed prior to High Sierra, or which are an update to a previously approved kernel extension, are not impacted by this new behaviour. If you’re comfortable with researching and running commands in Terminal, the spctl command in macOS Recovery enables you to disable User Approved Kernel Extension Loading to prevent risks associated with extensions. However, if you’re getting into that level of technical detail you should read Apple’s support page at, which describes related considerations – notably, that you may want to set a firmware password to prevent casual resetting of the NVRAM, which re-enables the extension approval rights of all users. Alan Stonebridge

HOW TO Approve a kernel extension >

1Warning dialogue

Watch out for a dialogue like the one above when installing software in High Sierra. If you happen to dismiss this dialogue too keenly, chances are you’ll notice quickly as your software, or some of its features, is unlikely to work. @macformat

2Security & Privacy

Go to Ò > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General. Toward the bottom of the window you should see a warning and an Allow button. Only click the button if the prompt was shown due to deliberate action on your part.

3Allow permission

If there are several extensions awaiting authorisation, you’ll see a list of them – this is likely if you’ve restored your Mac from a backup. Check the boxes for items you recognise, then click OK; you may be asked to restart your Mac.


macOS SKILLS High Sierra

Interact with Siri in a new way Too embarrassed to speak to Siri in front of people? Type instead! IT WILL TAKE 10 minutes YOU WILL LEARN How to enable Type to Siri for silent interaction, and fall back on voice control when you prefer it YOU’LL NEED macOS High Sierra

In macOS High Sierra, you can give instructions to Siri without having to talk

When Apple’s personal assistant made its way from iOS to the Mac in macOS Sierra, it lacked a capability that you might think essential if you work in a shared space such as a café, office, or library: the ability to ask questions or give instructions without having to talk. That has been remedied in macOS High Sierra. Consequently, we think you’ll use Siri on your Mac a lot more than before. First, ensure Siri is enabled. Go to  > System Preferences > Siri and ensure Enable Ask Siri is checked; if it wasn’t already, you’ll be asked to confirm the change; click the link to review privacy details, as the feature sends your voice input, location, and some other data to Apple to process your commands. If you’re happy with that, click Enable. Apple says Siri’s voice in High Sierra sounds more natural, using intonation and emphasis for greater expressiveness in

responses, but we’ll leave you to be the judge of that. Additionally, Siri now works with Apple Music, enabling you to request all sorts of things from the service’s huge library of tracks, albums, and curated playlists if you happen to subscribe to the service. Alan Stonebridge

HOW TO Take control of Siri

Genius tip! If you’ve managed to remove Siri’s icon from the Touch Bar, go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard > Customise Control Strip, then drag the icon from your Mac’s main display down to the Touch Bar.

1 Siri from the keyboard

In Siri’s preferences, use the topmost pop-up to set a key combination that will open Siri. The first two suggestions require a slightly unconventional hold of two keys for a moment, or you can choose to quickly press ƒ twice.


2 More conventionally

Or, pick Customise and press a key combo that includes at least one of ≈, å, and ç, optionally ß too, and a letter, number, arrow key, symbol, or ®. If you’ll open Siri from the menu, Dock, or Touch Bar, select Off. @macformat

Type to Siri macOS SKILLS

CONTINUED… Take control of Siri Genius tip!

3 Call upon Siri

4 Siri and headsets

5 Auto-switching mics

6 Type to Siri

Click or press one of Siri’s shortcut icons or keys and a window will slide in at the top right of the desktop to ask what you need. As you speak, a waveform at the bottom of that window will animate in response.

When the mic input is set to Automatic, Siri will switch to your headset/headphones when they’re connected to your Mac, and otherwise default to the mic it thinks is best – typically a Mac’s built-in mic, if there is one.

When using voice input, just say “What can I ask you?” to see categorised examples. When typing, you can enter the same words, of course, or click the question mark just left of where you’d type.

In Siri’s preferences, the mic input item displays the mic Siri is using to listen to you. If you sometimes use headphones or a headset that feature a microphone, click that item and choose Automatic if it isn’t already selected.

Go to System Preferences’ Accessibility pane and select Siri on the left. There’s one item here: Enable Type to Siri. Put a mark next to it. Now when you use a keyboard or icon shortcut to open Siri, it’ll expect you to type.

Genius tip!

7 Make Siri silent

Enabling Type to Siri means you won’t hear its chime when you call upon it for assistance, but you’ll also need to turn off Voice Feedback in Siri’s prefs so others won’t know its response if your Mac isn’t muted. @macformat

8 When you want to speak

When you invoke Siri from a shortcut on your headphones – a double-tap on AirPods, say – Siri assumes you want to speak to it instead. (Note: in High Sierra’s Bluetooth prefs, you can set different actions for each AirPod.)

Siri’s window stays open so you can refer to it. When you’re finished with it, or if you called upon it by accident, you needn’t move the pointer to close it. If you’re interacting with another app, use Siri’s shortcut to give it the focus, then press œ.


macOS SKILLS High Sierra

Find out about APFS Discover how and when to use High Sierra’s new storage format IT WILL TAKE 25 minutes YOU WILL LEARN When to expect a Mac to use APFS, how to use APFS on external drives, and the new file system’s impact on other Apple products and features YOU’LL NEED macOS High Sierra

Normally you don’t have to concern yourself with the file system that’s used to store data on drives, whether internal or external. In fact, the only time you may ever have thought about this in the past is when setting up new storage, such as an external hard drive or a USB flash drive. In the past, the choice was easy: you would use Mac OS Extended (also known as Hierarchical File System Plus, or HFS+) if a drive would only be used with Macs, or FAT or ExFAT if it’ll also be used with a Windows PC. You have a new choice in High Sierra: Apple Filing System (APFS). The reason is Mac OS Extended’s origins lie all the way back in the 80s, when spinning magnetic disks were the norm; Apple says APFS is optimised for solid-state drives, and that this new option provides improved file system fundamentals, strong encryption, snapshots, and other things you don’t really need to think about day-to-day. When you install High Sierra on your Mac’s internal drive, and that drive is made up purely of flash storage, then it’s converted to APFS. You can’t opt out of this. If it’s a hard drive

or Fusion Drive, no conversion takes place; that’s intentional, but worth knowing in case you heard about APFS already and expected a switch.

APFS and External storage Regardless of your Mac’s internal drive, APFS is something to consider when formatting drives you’ll use with other Macs or PCs. To use a drive with a PC, use FAT as its format if the capacity is up to 32GB, or ExFAT if it’s larger than that. To use an SSD or flash drive with a Mac running a system older than High Sierra, avoid APFS; older systems can neither write to nor read from it, so stick with Mac OS Extended. If all your Macs are on High Sierra, APFS is preferable, but consider the chance you’ll use the drive to pass files to someone on an older system. You can erase or convert a hard drive to APFS, but given it’s intended for flash storage and High Sierra doesn’t convert hard drives automatically, sticking with Mac OS Extended is the sensible option. We’ve got a couple of guides here to explain how to work with APFS. Alan Stonebridge

HOW TO Format a drive >

1 The View menu

Disk Utility’s sidebar groups items as internal or external drives, or disk images. In High Sierra it can be set to show just volumes, or all devices with their volumes indented below. Choose View > Show All Devices.


2 APFS eligibility

To use APFS on a drive, it must use a GUID partition map. Select the drive in the sidebar and look next to Partition Map in the summary to the right. If it doesn’t say GUID, first back up the drive’s contents elsewhere.

3 Partition as GUID

Select the drive, click Erase in the toolbar, pick GUID as its scheme, and set its format to APFS or APFS (Encrypted) – the latter asks you to set a password; record it in a secure place. Set a name, then click Erase and wait. @macformat

Apple Filing System macOS SKILLS

CONTINUED… Format a drive >

4 Erase as HFS+

To use the drive on Macs with Sierra or an older system version, you should choose ‘Mac OS Extended (Journaled)’ – note that an encrypted version of this is only offered as an option if the drive is using GUID.

5 In-place encryption

If your drive already has a GUID partition map and is in APFS or Mac OS Extended format, but is not encrypted, you can apply encryption without erasing it. Back up its contents first, though. In Finder, pick Go > Computer.

6 Begin encryption

Hold ≈, click the drive’s icon, and choose Encrypt. Provide a password, then click Encrypt Disk. You can check progress and later decrypt the drive from that menu, too. You can use your Mac while the drive encrypts.

HOW TO Address APFS in other key scenarios >

1 Convert in place

Want to convert an SSD/flash drive to ensure it benefits from APFS? You can do it without erasing it (if its map is GUID), but back up its contents first. Select the volume in Disk Utility and choose Edit > Convert to APFS.

2 AirPort disks

A USB drive connected to an AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule won’t show up in AirPort Utility, and can’t be shared over your network; do not use Disk Utility on your Mac to convert it to APFS – keep it as Mac OS Extended.

3 Time Machine

There are no settings to change to have Time Machine back up a drive that’s APFS-formatted. Backups of your startup disk and other volumes should continue to take place as before, even if they are converted to use APFS.

APFS and Boot Camp Deal with Windows and APFS incompatibility If you download files in macOS that you need to access in Boot Camp, and High Sierra has converted your macOS volume to APFS, you’ll need to rethink how you do this because Windows can’t read APFS, even with Apple’s Boot Camp software installed. You might move files to an external drive that’s in a Windows-readable format (FAT or exFAT, say), switch to downloading in Windows itself if that’s the only place files are needed, or use a product such as Paragon’s NTFS for Mac ($19.95, to write to the Boot Camp partition from within macOS. @macformat


56 | MACFORMAT | NOVEMBER 2017 @macformat

The ultimate

iPhone buyer’s guide Written by Alex Blake >

Looking to upgrade your iPhone? Here are 8 important things to consider before you buy ith new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models becoming available, and the 10th anniversary iPhone X up for grabs as well, Apple clearly wants you to upgrade your phone. But it’s also done a curious thing: it’s still letting you buy a fair amount of older iPhone models, instead of phasing them out. We’d expect the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus to still be on sale on Apple’s website and in Apple Stores, and they are; they were only released last year, of course. But the range of available models goes back further than that. The SE, 6s and 6s Plus are all still there, waiting to be purchased. That’s great if you want to save a bit of cash, but it also

makes for a confusingly large array of phones to choose from. There’s now a multitude of different model numbers, sizes and features to filter through. That’s where MacFormat comes in. Over the next few pages, we’ll take a look at some of the more important factors when it comes to choosing the right phone for you. How much storage space do you need? Do you want a fancy high-tech camera? Do you need Face ID, Portrait Lighting and the other new features in the iPhone X? We’ll take a detailed look at these issues and more in order to help you decide which iPhone is right for you, and which features you can do without.


Comparisons made easy

iPhone X Apple has totally overhauled its phone design with the iPhone X. With an all-glass OLED display, wireless charging, a powerful new chip, facial recognition and much more, it’s a beautiful piece of kit. @macformat

We’ve also included a handy table comparing all the important features from all of the iPhones you can get from Apple right now. And don’t forget to head to the back of the magazine to see all of Apple’s products in our detailed Store Guide. For now though, let’s help you decide on your next iPhone.


Display quality – does it really matter?

Yes is the simple answer, but the good news is that all of Apple’s iPhone displays are great. So what should you look for when choosing which iPhone to buy? The pixels per inch (ppi) number is important to look out for, as it determines how densely

packed in the pixels are on each display. The higher the number, the less likely you are to be able to discern individual pixels on the screen. The iPhone SE has a Retina display resolution of 1136x640 pixels, giving it 326ppi. Next up, the iPhone 6s, 7 and 8 have what Apple dubs a Retina HD display of 1134x750 pixels but,

due to their larger physical size, they still have the same 326ppi. It’s when you get to the larger iPhone models that you’ll start to see a difference in screen quality. All of Apple’s Plus models have a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels (the same as many laptops), with 401ppi. That means that even though they’re larger physically, they

The iPhone X’s Super Retina HD screen resolution and ppi count make it the ultimate iPhone screen 58 | MACFORMAT | NOVEMBER 2017 @macformat

Storage – how much is enough? Thankfully, the days of 16GB iPhones are behind us – Apple held on to that storage option for far too long. These days you get much more generous capacity choices for your iPhone, but you still need to know which is right for you. The iPhone 6s right through to the iPhone 7 Plus (including the SE) let you choose between 32GB and 128GB of storage space. For the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X, those options have been doubled to 64GB and 256GB.

Storage wars

proportionally pack in even more pixels than their smaller iPhone cousins. That gives you a higher quality screen – ideal for viewing gorgeous photos and video clips. Apple had to go all-out with the iPhone X, and its display reflects that. It’s called a Super Retina HD display, with a resolution of 2436x1125 and a truly massive 458ppi. That helps to make it the ultimate iPhone screen. @macformat

The Super Retina HD display of the iPhone X boasts an incredible 458 pixels per inch.

If you’re a light user, don’t store much music or photos on your phone, and make use of cloud storage, 32GB may well be enough. However, we’d recommend getting at least 64GB of storage on your iPhone. That’s because apps and games are getting bigger all the time as they become more complex and graphically impressive. And let’s not forget Apple’s push towards augmented reality – if you want to enjoy AR experiences on your iPhone, you may end up paying the storage space price. As iPhones get more capable of recording high quality videos, the space taken up by your footage will also increase. Consider the iPhone 8: Even a short 4K video clip recorded at 60fps could eat up gigabytes of space, as can a super slow motion clip captured at 240fps. That said, be sensible. Don’t overpay for storage you’re never likely to use. Think about how you use your current phone and how much space you’re using at the moment, and use that as a guideline.


Shoot video, 4K & slow motion Every iPhone model currently on sale allows you to record both 4K and slow motion videos. There are some notable nuances between the models, though, that you should be aware of. The iPhone SE, 6s, 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus all let you record 4K videos at 30fps (frames per second). However, if you want silky smooth 60fps 4K videos, you’ll need to plump for the iPhone 8 or higher.

Slow it down There are similar differences when it comes to slo-mo. The SE, 6s, 6s Plus, 7 and 7 Plus can record 120fps slow motion videos at 1080p resolution, but if you want to slow things down to 240fps, you’ll have to drop the resolution down to 720p. There are no such worries with the 8, 8 Plus and X, which can record 240fps slow motion videos at the full 1080p resolution. There are other things to consider aside from 4K and slow motion capability. From the 7 onwards, the power of the camera’s zoom has been improved to allow for better digital zoom and, in the Plus model, optical zoom for the first time. The rear cameras on the X also feature better video stabilisation, and an improved f/2.4 aperture on the telephoto lens.

Camera – how good does it need to be? Apple likes to say the iPhone is ‘the world’s most popular camera’, and frequently shows off its prowess via the ‘Shot on iPhone’ adverts. There’s no doubting the power of the camera system in Apple’s latest iPhones, but even the older models

are still excellent specimens. The iPhone SE, 6s, 6s Plus, 7 and 8 all come with an impressive 12-megapixel (MP) camera, as well as Apple’s Live Photos feature to turn your pictures into short video clips. The 7 Plus, 8 Plus and X go further by adding a second 12MP camera, leaving them with one

The iPhone X takes Portrait Mode further, letting you dramatically alter the lighting 60 | MACFORMAT | NOVEMBER 2017

With relatively ‘old’ models still available, there’s a lot of iPhone choice.

Phone size – is the Plus too big? iPhone dimensions – measured diagonally across the device – vary massively. The 4-inch iPhone SE is the most compact of the bunch, easily slipping into your hand like the iPhones of old. The iPhone 6s, 7 and 8 are Apple’s medium-sized offerings, all weighing in at 4.7 inches across. If you’re looking for an iPhone that’s a little larger, the 5.5-inch 6s Plus, 7 Plus and 8 Plus should do the trick. And then there’s the new iPhone X, a 5.8-inch behemoth of a phone. The iPhone SE is great if you’re happy to simply text and call people, but if you love watching video clips on your device, then the larger models are perfect for this. The 4.7-inch devices are ideal if you want something in between.

Can you hold it?

telephoto and one wide-angle lens. The 7 Plus, 8 Plus and X get another bonus in the form of Portrait Mode. This adds a depth of field effect to blur the background while keeping the subject in focus. The X takes this approach even further, letting you dramatically alter the lighting in Portrait Mode thanks to its Portrait Lighting feature. All models from the 7 onwards have a 7MP front-facing camera; it’s 1.2MP on the SE. All Plus models (and the iPhone 7, 8 and X) have

optical image stabilisation. That may all sound a little confusing. However, if you love taking pictures but don’t need many fancy features, the smaller iPhones will serve you well. If you want more, consider the 7 Plus or 8 Plus or, if you really want to go to town, the X. And if you’re desperate to turn yourself into an emoji and use Apple’s Animoji feature, you’ll need an iPhone X – it’s a feature that relies on the X’s souped-up frontfacing camera.

There’s also the issue of comfort. The iPhone X may be all-singing, all-dancing, but if it’s too large for you to comfortably grip and use, it’s not for you. Similarly, if you have large hands and struggle to type on small phone displays, the SE probably isn’t your best option. You may want a bigger phone, but if it’s a stretch to hold, you won’t find it comfortable to use.

Face ID vs Touch ID We got our first taste of Touch ID in 2013’s iPhone 5s, giving us a supersecure way to unlock our iPhones. All you need to do is press your finger onto the Home button and it’ll open up your iPhone – simple as that. Apple released a faster second-generation version of Touch ID two years later with the iPhone 6s, and ported the functionality to the MacBook Pro alongside the Touch Bar in 2016. Still, Apple being Apple, it has felt that it could do better than Touch ID. While the feature made it into the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the flagship iPhone X got something new and shiny: Face ID.

Face value Apple claimed during the iPhone X launch event that there was a one in 50,000 chance of Touch ID being tricked by an imposter. Face ID, on the other hand, only has a one in a million chance of being spoofed.

So how exactly does it work? Well, the upgraded front-facing TrueDepth camera scans your face and maps 30,000 tiny dots onto it to create a ‘precise depth map of your face’. Then all you need to do is look at your iPhone and it’ll unlock. It’ll recognise you even if you put on a hat, grow a beard or change your hairstyle. Pretty clever stuff. So, is it worth upgrading just for the Face ID factor? No, we don’t think so. Touch ID is already extremely safe, storing your fingerprint details in a secure enclave on your iPhone, which makes it very difficult for imposters to intercept your data. If you’re already going to get the iPhone X anyway, then you’ll get to enjoy the new Face ID functionality, but don’t make it the sole reason you upgrade.

Fingerprints are so passé now, Face ID is the new way to get in!

62 | MACFORMAT | NOVEMBER 2017 @macformat

iPhone buying guide FEATURE

All the little things

Speed – can you tell the difference? Apple’s iPhones have always been speedy thanks to the company’s tight integration of hardware and software. Rival phone makers may tout impressive-sounding internal specs and enough RAM to fill a desktop computer, but they consistently fail to keep up with iPhones in real-world tests. It’s Apple’s chip that contributes to this. The iPhone SE, 6s and 6s Plus come equipped with the A9 chip, while the 7 and 7 Plus sport the A10 Fusion chip. The iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X were upgraded to the brand-new A11 Bionic chip, so named for its impressive artificial intelligence capabilities.

Chip off the old block When it first introduced the A9 chip, Apple claimed it was 70% faster than its A8 predecessor. Then came the A10 Fusion, which Apple announced was 40% speedier than the A9. Now, the A11 Bionic, says Apple, is 70% faster than the A10 Fusion. The A11 Bionic manages its power cleverly, distributing power between its two performance cores and four efficiency cores depending on what tasks you’re doing. That has an interesting side effect: despite having a more powerful chip than the iPhone 7, the iPhone X’s battery lasts two hours longer thanks to that efficient use of power. Do you need a more powerful chip? The iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X are all capable of doing more powerful things than the iPhone SE, for example, so the A11 Bionic needs to be faster. For what you’ll do with an SE, the A9 will be brilliant. Want to do more with your smartphone? The A11 Bionic will serve you well.

We’ve covered the major bases here, 9:41 but there are a few more things to think about. For example, if you want to enjoy stereo sound from your device, you’ll need an iPhone 7 or later – earlier iPhones lack the feature. Speaking of audio, you’ll need to buy an iPhone 6s or earlier if you want to hook up a pair of your wired earphones without needing an adaptor.

Splash damage The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are also the first models to be water and dust resistant, which is useful if you’re worried damaging your prized new iPhone. And if you’re fed up of cable spaghetti, the iPhone 8, 8 Plus

and X all feature wireless charging (although you’ll need to get a wireless charging pad as well). 3D Touch lets you press a little harder on your iPhone screen to get extra functionality and options, both in apps and the Home screen. It’s only available in the iPhone 6s or later (though not the SE). Let’s not forget battery life. Apple says the SE’s battery lasts for 14 hours of talk time on 3G, as do the 6s, 7 and 8. The iPhone 6s Plus gives you up to 24 hours of 3G talk time; you’ll get around 21 hours on the 7 Plus, 8 Plus and X. In general use, Apple claims the 7 and 7 Plus get up to two hours more juice than the 6s and 6s Plus. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are the same as the 7 and 7 Plus, but the X gets about two hours more battery life.

If you want to enjoy stereo sound from your device, you’ll need an iPhone 7 or later NOVEMBER 2017 | MACFORMAT | 63

FEATURE iPhone buyer’s guide

iPhone X

iPhone 8 Plus

iPhone 8

iPhone 7 Plus

Silver/Space Grey

Silver/Space Grey/Gold

Silver/Space Grey/Gold

Jet Black/Black/Silver/ Gold/Rose Gold





Super Retina HD

Retina HD

Retina HD

True Tone

True Tone

True Tone

Retina HD









wide-angle and telephoto cameras, dual optical image stabilisation

wide-angle and telephoto cameras, optical image stabilisation

wide-angle and telephoto cameras, optical image stabilisation

wide-angle and telephoto cameras, optical image stabilisation

Face ID

Touch ID

Touch ID

Touch ID





A11 Bionic

A11 Bionic

A11 Bionic

A10 Fusion

Face ID/ Touch ID


Wireless Charging

No Yes







Splash/ Water/ Dust resistant





Portrait mode





Portrait Lighting






Video recording

4k at 24/30/60fps, 1080p HD at 30/60fps, slo-mo support for 1080p at 120/240fps, optical zoom, digital zoom up to 6x

4k at 24/30/60fps, 1080p HD at 30/60fps, slo-mo support for 1080p at 120/240fps, optical zoom, digital zoom up to 6x

4k at 24/30/60fps, 1080p HD at 30/60fps, slo-mo support for 1080p at 120/240fps, digital zoom up to 3x

4k at 30fps, 1080p HD at 30/60fps, slo-mo support for 1080p at 120fps and 720p at 240fps, optical zoom, digital zoom up to 6x

Front camera

7MP photos, Retina Flash, 1080p HD video recording, Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, Animoji

7MP photos, Retina Flash, 1080p HD video recording

7MP photos, Retina Flash, 1080p HD video recording

7MP photos, Retina Flash, 1080p HD video recording

64 | MACFORMAT | NOVEMBER 2017 @macformat

iPhone buyer’s guide FEATURE

iPhone 7

iPhone 6s Plus

iPhone 6s

iPhone SE

Jet Black/Black/Silver/ Gold/Rose Gold

Space Grey/Silver/ Gold/Rose Gold

Space Grey/Silver/ Gold/Rose Gold

Space Grey/Silver/ Gold/Rose Gold





Retina HD

Retina HD

Retina HD






wide-angle and telephoto cameras, optical image stabilisation

camera, optical image stabilisation

Touch ID

Touch ID

Touch ID

Touch ID





A10 Fusion


























4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30/60fps, slo-mo support for 1080p at 120fps and 720p at 240fps, digital zoom at 3x

4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30/60fps, slo-mo support for 1080p at 120fps and 720p at 240fps, digital zoom at 3x

4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30/60fps, slo-mo support for 1080p at 120fps and 720p at 240fps, digital zoom at 3x

4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30/60fps, slo-mo support for 1080p at 120fps and 720p at 240fps, digital zoom at 3x

7MP photos, Retina Flash, 1080p HD video recording

5MP photos, Retina Flash, 720p HD video recording

5MP photos, Retina Flash, 720p HD video recording

1.2MP photos, Retina Flash, 720p HD video recording @macformat


What’s inside 66 MAC SOFTWARE Protect your Mac from malware and ransomware




67 iOS SOFTWARE Swipe away your touchscreen troubles and love iOS once again

68-69 MAC HARDWARE Thinking inside the box to refresh the parts other tips can’t reach

Are my backups at risk? My Mac backs up to four places: a local Time Machine backup, a NAS, Dropbox, and each month to an external disk. If attacked by ransomware, would those be at risk?


by J O H N V A R C O E

70-71 MAC SOFTWARE Sage advice to help you overcome the worst Mac maladies

Contact us Email your queries and your questions to Keep up to date by following us on Twitter @macformat Join the conversation at macformat Get the latest subscription offers at


Much depends on how well written the ransomware is, and what vulnerabilities it exploits. Ransomware typically starts encrypting local storage. Because macOS has System Integrity Protection (SIP), system files and bundled apps can’t normally be encrypted because of that. It’s thus most likely to start with your Home folder; if that’s large, it could take hours to encrypt completely. SIP only protects startup volume, so


Our resident genius solves your Mac and iOS problems

eventually the ransomware could get to encrypt your backups, when they’re mounted. With multiple backups, that’s unlikely to happen before it announces its presence, or you detect it. When your monthly drive isn’t connected, malware can’t attack it, making it a valuable part of your protection strategy. Although anti-virus products normally incorporate checks and signatures once malware has been identified by researchers, most can’t offer good protection until the malware is known. Generic techniques are the only means of protection from unknown malware: Objective-See’s RansomWhere? from objectivesee_ransomware uses a generic approach and should warn you very early if ransomware starts encrypting your files. Conventional anti-virus products should protect from known ransomware, but you need protection like RansomWhere? to detect suspicious activity.

iOS software GENIUS TIPS

iOS software Swipe away your touchscreen troubles and rekindle your love of Apple’s mobile devices iOS software quick-fire questions What’s the best iPhone protection from mud? > A sealed case cover like the Griffin Survivor Extreme seals controls and ports and provides water resistance. Mud is often quite abrasive, so inspect the case when in use. When soiled, rinse the case clean and use an old soft toothbrush to gently remove debris.

How to extend battery life in patchy coverage? > In areas with patchy coverage, searching for a signal is a substantial drain on your iPhone’s battery. Low Power Mode does little to help, though. The only way to get significantly better battery life is to switch on Airplane mode until you’re back in better reception conditions. @macformat

Handoff won’t connect I’m trying to connect my new iPad and iPhone 7 with my MacBook Air using Handoff, but can’t get any of them to see any other. Each time I try, I get the report that they were unable to connect ’as this device is not supported’. What am I doing wrong?


by J I M E M E R Y

Handoff usually just works, but when it doesn’t, it can be very hard to fix. Basic checks are simple: on your MacBook Air, open About This Mac and click on the System Report button. In System Information, select Bluetooth at the left and check the main pane shows that Handoff is supported.


If Handoff isn’t working check your Mac and iOS devices have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi turned on Check your Mac and iOS devices each have both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi turned on, and are signed into the same Apple ID on the same Wi-Fi network. Enable Handoff in the General pane on your Mac, and on each iOS device in Settings, tapping on General then on Handoff. From there, it’s a case of trying various little magic tricks which may or may not get it working… On each device, sign out of iCloud, and back in again. On your Mac, try trashing the Bluetooth preference file at /Library/ Preferences/, and resetting the SMC and NVRAM. For your Mac

Once you’re happy that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are turned on and you’re signed in with your Apple ID, turning Handoff on is – usually – very simple.

and devices, restarting them or shutting down and starting up again can suddenly allow them to work. If after trying all these you still have no joy at getting Handoff to work, you’d be best making an appointment at your nearest Genius Bar and getting them to try. It’s possible that you have a hardware problem, or perhaps your Wi-Fi router is playing up.


GENIUS TIPS Mac hardware

Mac hardware We help to solve your hardware hassles, from problematic printers to misbehaving mice Peripherals quick-fire questions How do I get my Mac to remember its volume setting? > If it forgets the sound volume setting when starting up, it’s because it isn’t being stored in NVRAM, formerly PRAM. Reset that by starting with the ç, å, P and R keys held until the second startup chime (or more than 20 seconds on a new MacBook Pro), then release them and let it start up normally.

Wiping data from an old Mac Does keeping my hard disk awake help it last? > Yes. Spinning up a hard disk increases its mechanical wear. Hard drives last longer if you set Energy Saver to not put them to sleep, and by leaving your Mac running at all times rather than shutting it down at the end of each day.


How can I wipe all personal files from my old Mac prior to its disposal?

by R O L A N D H A R R I E S

First de-authorise all apps, including Adobe CS/CC products, and iTunes accounts, including opening iTunes and all its content on that Mac. Then make at least two archival copies of anything from that Mac which may be of importance, so that you can retrieve it in the future. Once that’s done, sign out of iCloud on that Mac, and allow that to remove iCloud data from the Mac; that data will still be accessible to other Macs using that iCloud account. Finally sign out of your account in Preferences of the Messages app.



When wiping storage, setting the security options determines how carefully the disk’s contents are overwritten. More security takes longer.

To erase that Mac’s storage, when running Mavericks or later, your Mac must be connected to the internet. Start it up in remote Recovery mode, with ç, å, and R keys held down. Select Disk Utility, then select your startup drive, and click on the Erase tab. Erase free space too, selecting a level between the two extremes of fastest and most secure. Erase your storage and set it in Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format, then quit Disk Utility. If your Mac is being sold or passed on to another user, select Reinstall OS X. When that process reaches the step of inviting you to select your country and region, press ç+Q and shut your Mac down. When any new owner starts it up, it should present them with a Welcome screen just like a new Mac, and all your old data will be gone forever. Additional details are at @macformat

Mac hardware GENIUS TIPS

MacBook Pro can’t stay awake My MacBook Pro enters a wakesleep loop every minute, running until its battery is drained. This resolved with Sierra, but has returned. Energy Saver is set for system sleep after one minute, and the log gives a ’Shutdown Cause’ of -60 each time. How can I fix this?


A cause code of -60 indicates a serious disk error, normally a bad master directory block. Test for hardware faults first by restarting in Diagnostics mode and running its tests, then restart in Recovery mode and run Disk Utility’s First Aid on your startup SSD. If that can’t be repaired, restart in remote latest Recovery mode (ç, å, and R keys held), reformat the SSD, re-install macOS from there, and restore from your backup. If that doesn’t fix it, you’ll need to make an appointment at a Genius Bar.

by G E N A D Y

This is very unusual: these cycles may be the result of a serious disk error. Shutdown Cause codes given in the log following startup, and sometimes when waking, should be 5, indicating the previous shutdown was ’clean’. Negative values imply hardware issues.


> The only iMacs with hardware acceleration for HEVC are 5K 27-inch Late 2015 with Skylake chipsets, and all 2017 models with Kaby Lake. Because this depends on the chipset, there won’t be any way to extend support to earlier models.

> Ensure it’s getting power by using a different socket and mains cable. Reset its SMC by disconnecting all cables, including power, for 15 seconds, then reconnect and wait for five seconds before pressing the Power button. Still no signs of life? It needs repair.

Start up restarts Q

When starting or waking my iMac Mid 2011 running 10.11.6 often spontaneously restarts several times before working, even in Safe mode. I’ve reseated and tested memory. There are crash reports referring to GPU resets. Is the graphics card dying? by K R I S L E E

A @macformat

Can I upgrade my iMac 27-inch Late 2014 for HEVC?

My iMac is lifeless!

A MacBook Pro stuck in a Groundhog Day style wake-sleep loop may need a trip to the Genius Bar.

These restarts are almost certainly caused by repeated kernel panics, most probably reflecting a failing graphics card, but they could result from El Capitan’s fragility. Run Apple Hardware Test (AHT, or Diagnostics on recent models) first. Shut down and disconnect all external devices

Mac hardware quick-fire questions

If you can’t use a wired mouse or trackpad, navigate diagnostic testing using the cursor and ® key of a wired keyboard.

apart from wired keyboard and mouse and any wired Ethernet connection. Start up, and immediately press and hold D until the AHT icon appears. Select language, click the right arrow, begin the test. Initially, run normal rather than extended testing. If you can’t get your mouse to work, use the cursor and ®. Sometimes AHT or Diagnostics don’t detect graphics card faults, which should return an error code starting with VFD, typically VFD006. More extensive hardware diagnostics from your local Genius Bar may be needed. If there’s definitely no hardware fault, browse your logs following starting up. For El Capitan, check out readinglogs. Consider upgrading to macOS Sierra, which is more stable in this respect, and better supported.


GENIUS TIPS Mac software

Mac software Shine a spotlight on sagacious solutions to your most maddening Mac maladies Mac software quick-fire questions How can I run an unsigned app in Sierra? > The simplest way is to select the app in Finder, and use Finder’s Open command to open it. The first time you do this after downloading the app, you’ll have to opt to open the app despite its missing signature, but once it has been run, full Gatekeeper checks are not repeated.

Why the extra passwords? When I start my MacBook Pro up and log in, I’m prompted for my password for two keychains, named Local Items and login. How can I stop this?


by T I M J O N E S

This is because your Mac has two keychains which it needs to open, neither of which uses your current login password. It probably resulted from changing your login password, but that change not being reflected in your keychains. When you enter your login password, it’s used for two functions: to open access as that user, and to open that user’s default keychain, the one named login. If the password used for the login keychain no longer matches that used to log in, when the Mac comes to open the user’s login


keychain, it discovers that the password it has doesn’t match that for that keychain, so prompting you to enter the current password for that keychain. You can fix this using Keychain Access, in the Utilities folder. Start that app, and select your login keychain at the left of the window. In the Edit menu, use the Change Password for Keychain ‘login’… command, and change the password to the same that you use when logging in to your Mac. You may need to open the Local Items keychain and copy and paste items from that into your login keychain so that macOS will never need to open that keychain either. This should ensure that each time you log in, macOS can open the login keychain without any need for the separate alert, and that it can find all the information it needs there.

How much free space do I need for High Sierra? > In addition to that required for a major macOS update, if you start up from an SSD, the installer will need extra free space to convert that to AFPS. That’s not readily predictable, but most who upgrade will find 10GB an absolute minimum, and 50GB more comfortable.

Set the password on your login keychain to that used to log into your Mac, and you shouldn’t have to enter it twice.

70 | MACFORMAT | NOVEMBER 2017 @macformat

Mac software GENIUS TIPS

Ins and outs of quarantine How does macOS Sierra know when an app has been downloaded from the internet, and so run a full security check on it?


by D A N H O P K I N S

When your browser, or most apps capable of downloading apps and installers, save that download, it automatically attaches quarantine information to the file. This is in the form of an extended attribute, or xattr, with the name quarantine, and puts it into quarantine. This is also recorded in the database at ~/Library/ Preferences/ QuarantineEventsV2 When you try to open or run that app,


or any app installed from a quarantined disk image, archive or installer bundle, the Finder notifies Gatekeeper, which performs a full check on its signature(s). This ensures that, if a signature has been revoked, for example, macOS will refuse to run it and compromise security. If the app passes that check, or you opt to run it without a valid signature, a flag in the xattr is changed to indicate that the full check has been performed successfully, and Gatekeeper won’t be asked to check it as thoroughly again. Don’t try to circumvent these checks, by using tools like curl which bypass them, or by tampering with the quarantine xattr: they’re there for your security, to protect you from running malware.

Mac software quick-fire questions How do I fix errors when backing up iCloud Drive? > Work around Time Machine errors like this by adding your iCloud Drive to its exclusion list, via the Options… button in the Time Machine pane.

How do I use an APFS SSD or Flash with Sierra? > If you’ve formatted removable storage using this new file system, you can’t use it with Sierra or earlier: share it from your High Sierra system instead.

When the quarantine xattr is set, opening an app will trigger a full Gatekeeper check of its signature(s), for your security.

Finder Favourites stuck Q When upgrading to a new MacBook Pro, I can’t rearrange the order of items in Finder windows’ Favourites, something which used to work fine. Although I can drag them into the order that I want, they revert to standard when I next start up. Is this a corrupt preference file, and how can I fix it? by D U N C A N B R A C K

These are classic symptoms of a preference file which isn’t saving the changes you made, and the property list in question should be ~/Library/Preferences/ finder.plist, which stores the great

A @macformat

majority of Finder’s settings. The traditional way to fix this would be to move that file to another folder, such as Documents, then to log out and back on again, or restart. The snag with that is that macOS now manages preference Using a proper preference file editor like Prefs Editor is generally much more reliable than merely moving or trashing a preference file.

files in a complex way, and you may find the regenerated preference file doesn’t solve the problem. In that case, use a tool like Prefs Editor or PrefEdit. There may also be more problems with your preference files, such as incorrect permissions settings, which can stop them working normally. Apple has recently started to recommend that they can be addressed by repairing their permissions – not in the old way as before El Capitan, but those of your Home folder. Apple details this in, and I’ve looked at this in repairingpermissions and provided simpler tools to help perform the repair.



What’s inside

Inspiring ideas for revamping old Apple kit

72-75 CAPACITOR SANDWICH Luis sorts a Scooby Snack for Lisa

EDITED BY 75 PLAYING WITH PSU Getting into the power conversion case


Replace blown components hree months ago I tried to revive an old Apple Lisa by bypassing the blown power supply with one from a slightly less old Power Mac G4. That didn’t work because I didn’t have any way of generating the very high voltages needed to drive the cathode ray tube in the display. This was a shame because the main CPU and I/O boards in this Lisa are really in very good condition. Despite being stored in a damp caravan for a couple of decades, they show almost no corrosion. And this got me thinking. Maybe the circuit board inside the power supply is also in great condition – apart from one, easy-to-replace component? Maybe I’ll be able to just crack open the


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protective metal case and find the bit with the charred marks on it? Maybe it will be something generic, like a diode or capacitor and I’ll already have a replacement in my rummage box? Maybe when I solder in the new one everything will magically work again? That’s ‘maybe’ to the power of four, but it’s not like I’ve got any better ideas.

Maybe to the power of four. This could be interesting…

APPLE HISTORY: MAC MINI The original Mac mini was introduced in January 2005. It was intended to woo PC users that might not want to replace their monitor, keyboard or mouse. But it was also Apple’s smallest and cheapest Mac by quite a margin. You could carry it between home and work as easily as an external drive and it was powerful enough to use as a discrete media server in the living room. The neat stackability of the design also made it great as a home NAS server, tucked away in a cupboard. @macformat

Operation Lisa LOVE YOUR MAC

If the cap fits Resurrect an old Lisa’s power supply with fresh capacitors he Lisa power supply comes in a nicely removable unit, which suggests they were intended to be replaced by ordinary users. Actually getting inside the metal PSU case is a bit more work (see this month’s How To guide), but nothing to stymie the determined tinkerer with a decent screwdriver. Inside I was delighted to find the circuit board was exactly as I had predicted: almost entirely pristine except for two large and very obviously blown capacitors. Actually, they weren’t so much blown as exploded! The sides of each one had shattered into resin fragments and to figure out the part codes for the capacitors I had to carefully gather up all the shards and re-assemble them, like the Triforce of

T @macformat

Wisdom. They turned out to be 0.22 and 0.1 microfarad capacitors and, amazingly, the exact same part number is still sold at Unfortunately, you can’t buy them in fewer than packs of five, so it cost me £15 for the two capacitors that I actually need, leaving me with another eight that I’ll probably never use. If anyone else has a Lisa that needs new capacitors, send a stamped addressed envelope to the MacFormat team and I’ll post you my spares.

A Lisa in full working glory. Not the one Luis is working on obviously, but just to fill everyone with a bit of hope…

Electric baguette Capacitors are devices that store electric charge. They are used to smooth out voltage spikes, and as a sort of filter that blocks direct current but lets AC through.


LOVE YOUR MAC Spark sandwiches

Hardware quick-fire questions How do I find replacement parts? Just replacing one 0.22 microfrarad capacitor with another of the same capacitance isn’t enough. Capacitors are also rated according to the maximum current and voltage they can handle, as well as the time it takes them to discharge, once the voltage is removed. The only way to be sure is to find the exact part number written on the side and google that, or search an electronics catalogue such uk. or

What was the capacitor plague? Normal electrolytic capacitors last 6-10 years in normal use, but between 1999 and 2003, some disreputable Taiwanese manufacturers used poor quality electrolyte in capacitors that were used right across the electronics industry, including by Dell, Intel and Apple. These capacitors began failing in 2002 and cost hundreds of millions of dollars in warranty returns for the next five years.

Interestingly, the PSU fuse is intact, so it wasn’t a power surge that killed the capacitors.

I cowered behind my iPad, ready to record any sparks or smoke Physically, each one is a sandwich made from conducting bread, and some sort of non-conducting filling. Intuitively, a vacuum might seem like it would be the perfect insulator but electrons are actually quite good at jumping an empty gap, so capacitors mostly have a dielectric filling. Dielectrics are materials with polar molecules that can wiggle a bit so that their charged ends all line up with any nearby electric field. Electrons building up on the bread of the capacitor sandwich create an electric field that polarises the dielectric filling. This stops the electrons from flowing, and stores electrical energy in the polarisation of the dielectric. But like any sandwich, the filling can eventually go off. Applying a voltage to

It may not look like much, but this is the first sign of life from the Lisa I’m working on.


these stale sandwiches makes them give off hydrogen gas, and since they are tightly wrapped up in a resin or metal container, this makes them explode. It’s something like that, anyway. Anyone with any actual knowledge in the field of electronics (or sandwiches) is invited to write in and enumerate all the flaws in my analogy.

Risk of explosion Desoldering the blown capacitors was surprisingly easy. Most modern day gadgets are assembled using high-temperature solder that you can’t melt with a cheap soldering iron like mine. Instead, you have to melt in some low-temperature solder, to create a solder alloy with a lower melting point. But the capacitors on the Lisa just came straight off. Maybe Apple didn’t start using high temperature solder until the 90s? I swapped in the new ones and braced myself. You see, it was entirely possible that the blown capacitors were a symptom, not a cause, and as soon as I turned on the power, whatever other fault had made the old caps blow, would do the same to these ones. On the one hand, I didn’t want to get too close to this, in case of flying shrapnel. On the other, I needed to make sure I got a photo of the carnage, just in case this was the only thing I had to show for my efforts. So I used a wooden peg to disable the interlock switch, @macformat

Signs of life LOVE YOUR MAC

HOW TO Access the Lisa PSU

1 Remove power supply

Take off the rear panel of the Lisa by undoing the two thumb screws at the top. The PSU is in the metal case on the right side. There’s another thumb screw at the bottom of the PSU attaching it to the chassis. Undo this, then pull firmly to disconnect it from the motherboard socket and the PSU should slide free.

2 Undo AC connector

For a recently-connected Lisa, wait 48 hours to guarantee the large capacitors have discharged before you remove the outer cover. Undo the two screws holding the AC socket to the case. Inside, undo the nut that holds the ground connection to the case. Unplug the Molex connector from the circuit board.

put on my safety glasses and cowered behind my iPad ready to record any sparks or smoke. When I flicked the power switch, there was no hint of drama, which was a bit of an anticlimax, but basically a good sign. I put it all back together and shoved the PSU back into the Lisa. This was when I remembered that I had still not reassembled the motherboard power connector from the last time I tried to get the Lisa working. So I had to dismantle the top and front panels and plunge elbow deep into the dark interior, like a sort of robo-vet. I wiggled the power connector back through the hole in the chassis to the PSU compartment and resoldered the wire for the case interlock switch. (Remember when I cut that, because I was too lazy to dismantle the switch?) After all that nether probing I couldn’t get the back panel for the Lisa back on, because I had pushed the motherboard power connector too far into the PSU compartment and there wasn’t room to slide the PSU all the way in. But it was connected at least, so I left the back panel off for the time being.

Vital signs And so to the actual test. Heart in mouth, I flicked the power switch. Nothing. My heart sank back down out of my mouth and into my stomach. But then I remembered the interlock switch on the PSU. There is a hole in the PSU @macformat

3 Remove circuit board

There are eight Phillips screws holding the board onto the bottom panel of the case; make sure you get them all. You then have to undo the two flathead screws next to the main transformer. These are used to secure the large Schottky barrier diodes that convert the AC supply into a DC voltage.

case that exposes the switch and a little prong on the back panel of the Lisa that is supposed to poke this to enable the power. And I still had the rear case panel off! Excitedly I wedged the interlock switch closed with half a clothes peg, and suddenly there were terrible grinding noises. Success! Rushing round to the front, I saw snow on the screen. It still wasn’t a working Lisa, but it confirmed that I have a working power supply, and that’s a step forward. The grinding noise was coming from the floppy drive, which was hardly surprising considering all the rust and spiders I’d seen in there. I hadn’t bothered to hoover them out yet because I honestly didn’t think I would get to the point where it became an issue. The snow on the screen is probably caused by something else anyway. But it’s digital noise, not just analogue static. So the CRT seems to be working as well. Maybe there is a fault in the firmware or the video RAM. Or maybe the motherboard isn’t fully initialising yet, but this definitely feels like progress. It may take another few transplant operations, but I will get this Lisa to boot yet!

Can you spot the two blown capacitors?

Next Issue! Luis struggles with a Performa 6200. A Mac that wasn’t even very useful in 1995, when it was new!


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iOS 11: 75 tips and tricks Install macOS High Sierra Face to face with the iPhone X! Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple TV 4K

Make iCloud work for you New 5K iMac: Apple’s brightest display Sierra’s hidden features revealed iPhone 8: we look behind the rumours

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76 | MACFORMAT | NOVEMBER 2017 @macformat

What’s inside 78-85 APPLE KIT New Apple stuff! We test the iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple TV 4K




Our authoritative reviews help you make more informed choices

86–88 HARDWARE A mighty mouse, an editing console, a portable SSD, and more…



Over-ear vs on-ear – which headphones work best for you?

90-93 GROUP TEST Check out our literary masterpiece on the best writing apps for Mac

94-95 MAC SOFTWARE Run Windows on Mac, group apps together, edit images using artificial intelligence

96-97 iOS SOFTWARE Smart weather, clever mail and powerful diagramming…

Manifesto – our ratings explained Our reviews are totally independent; we’re not affiliated with Apple or anyone else, nor are we influenced by advertisers. You can trust us to give an honest assessment of a product’s worth. The prices quoted for products are correct at the time of writing and are


the best we can find from a reputable online dealer, excluding delivery.

Worth considering, though there may be better options



A brilliant thing in all regards, and worth every penny

Fundamentally flawed; look at alternatives as a priority



Strongly recommended; any flaws are only minor concerns

A waste of your money and everyone’s time; do not buy!

The MACFORMAT Awards Awarded to a five-star product we believe is truly exceptional in its category. Given solely at the discretion of the Editor.

Given to a hardware or software product that might not be the very best in its category, but is noted for affordability.

Our group test winner gets this award for being the best of its kind when pitted against other comparable products.


APPLE CHOICE Mac hardware

iPhone 8 Plus Apple’s flagship phone… for now! Reviewed by DAN GRABHAM, GRAHAM BARLOW From £799 FROM Apple, FEATURES 5.5-inch Retina HD display with True Tone, A11 Bionic chip, 12MP camera, wireless charging e’ll start with the elephant in the room – the new iPhone 8 Plus looks a bit dated compared to Android rivals, which is a shame. The large bezels look simply ridiculous up against the Galaxy Note 8 and S8+. There are three colour options; slate grey, silver and gold – although the new gold colour is a bit rosier in appearance than the old gold you can see on the iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone 8 Plus has a brand new chip, the A11 Bionic processor, which moves to six cores rather than the four inside the iPhone 7 Plus’s A10 Fusion. According to our benchmarks this is easily the fastest phone on the market today. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are actually quite a departure for Apple in terms of graphics because they’re the first handsets that use Apple’s own graphics processor instead of Imagination’s PowerVR graphics, which Apple has used over the last decade. These performance improvements show in general use and everything is noticeably punchy, even when adding effects to photos or editing them. Anecdotally, it feels faster than an iPhone 7 Plus on iOS 11, but we weren’t using a box-fresh iPhone 7 Plus. The glass back means we can say hello to Qi-compatible wireless charging. As always Apple isn’t first with this tech, not by a mile, but it will make it mainstream and that’s great for wireless charging in general. Battery life is an interesting aspect, because the battery is actually smaller than last year’s 7 Plus (2,691mAh instead of 2,900mAh), but Apple says that – thanks to improvements in efficiency – it should clock up the same battery life as the iPhone 7 Plus. We found that was about right, too. While intensive use will drain the battery, you can easily get through the day and into the first part of the next. So far we’ve found that we can get it to last 24 hours like the iPhone 7


The iPhone 8 Plus boasts Portrait Mode and the ability to shoot 60fps 4K video.

Graham says… Apart from the glass back, not much has changed with the design of the iPhone 8 Plus, which is a little disappointing, but I love all the upgrades. The new Portrait Lighting feature is really nice, and finally we get wireless charging on an iPhone! It’s about time.


Plus, charging it when we reach the office each day. By that time you are struggling for battery life a bit, but you can get it there. An hour’s intensive use – streaming media or constant emails, social and chat – will drain the battery by 8-10%. There are also many incremental updates like the True Tone display from the iPad Pro, Bluetooth 5.0 and fast charging (if you have a USB-C to Lightning cable). There’s also a new ‘neural engine’. Inside the iPhone X this is used for Face ID, but inside the 8 and 8 Plus it will be used for augmented reality apps. True Tone is really welcome, and you can @macformat

iPhone 8 Plus APPLE CHOICE


NOT SURE WHICH iPHONE TO GO FOR? Check out our ultimate buyer’s guide on p56

iPhone 7 Plus From £669

iPhone X From £999 9

FROM 5.5-inch Retina HD display A10 Fusion chip Touch ID 12MP dual rear cameras, 7MP front camera 32GB and 128GB options

FROM 5.8-inch Super Retina HD display A11 Bionic chip Face ID 12MP dual rear cameras, 7MP front camera 64GB and 256GB options

the larger 256GB model remains (the 256GB iPhone 7 Plus has now been dropped, leaving 128 and 32GB options available). The iPhone X also follows the 64/256GB pattern.

iPhone 8 Plus camera

The A11 Bionic chip makes the iPhone 8 Plus feel particularly zippy when flitting around apps in iOS 11.

see the slight difference between the screens when compared with the 7 Plus. While it will play back Dolby Vision and HDR10 content just like the new Apple TV 4K, the 8 Plus doesn’t have an HDR display unlike many rival handsets, so you won’t see the video in all its glory. While the display is very usable and most people don’t care, the fact is the 8 Plus’ Full HD display resolution now lags far behind rivals. Apple has also beefed up the storage of the standard model from 32 to 64GB, while @macformat

The camera has also received some love too, with a bunch of upgrades including the ability to record gorgeous 60fps 4K video. The results are stunning thanks to a new larger sensor – the core camera specs are the same as last year’s model. White balance has been significantly improved – you can easily see this in more accurate skin tones. Portrait Mode has been taken a stage further with Portrait Lighting, enabling you to apply different lighting effects, such as studio light. Image stabilisation is confined to the wide-angle lens as with the iPhone 7 Plus, but the dual camera on the iPhone X also introduces it to the telephoto lens. A lot of these changes won’t convince iPhone 7 Plus users to upgrade, but anyone with an older handset will be understandably keen to make the leap. It’s a tiny bit of a shame, therefore, that the design of the 8 Plus is quite so similar to its forerunner. It’s also worth noting that the dimensions are ever-so slightly different from the 7 Plus, with a tiny bit of extra thickness and weight.

VERDICT It’s a shame the iPhone 8 Plus looks outdated, otherwise it’s a cracker.

+++++ Unbelievably fast Excellent camera Looking aged No mobile HDR


APPLE CHOICE Mac hardware

iPhone 8 It’s good. Just not exciting Reviewed by SPENCER HART From £699 FROM Apple, FEATURES 4.7-inch Retina HD display with True Tone, A11 Bionic chip, 12MP camera, wireless charging he iPhone 8 is here, and, it’s more or less exactly what you’d expect a new iPhone to be. Apple has improved the camera, tweaked the design, and extended the battery life, as well as introducing useful new features. The iPhone 8 measures 13.8x6.7x0.7cm – fractionally larger than the iPhone 7. The size makes it a easy to hold and use onehanded, which could be the killer reason to buy the iPhone 8 over anything else. The iPhone 8 comes in silver, gold, and black. The gold is much truer to real rose gold than the previous ‘pinkness’. It boasts IP67 water-resistance, so it should survive in one metre of water for up to 30 minutes. The stereo speakers are now louder – a clear improvement, but they still lack bass for true audiophiles. They do, however, create a pleasingly wide soundstage. You don’t get the bezel-less display of the iPhone X and, as the iPhone 8’s design isn’t a massive departure from the iPhone 6 and 7, that does make it feel more dated. The iPhone 8 features a 4.7-inch 1334x750-pixel IPS LCD display which has a pixel density of 326ppi. That’s the same number of pixels as the iPhone 7 (and the three-year-old iPhone 6!). That’s quite surprising, as we were expecting a bump in resolution considering some Androids now pack QHD screens. While the resolution of the iPhone 8 hasn’t been upgraded, what Apple has focused on improving is the brightness and colour representation. Apple has also added True Tone technology. This monitors the ambient light around the handset, and calibrates the screen to perfect it under your current lighting conditions. The aluminium unibody design of previous iPhones has been replaced by a glass back, and this allows for wireless charging. The glass back feels great – it has a grippy coating that makes it feel secure in your


The iPhone 8 includes the wireless charging facility, and we were impressed with the battery life.

Alex says… I’m trying to guesstimate sales of the iPhone 8. The iPhone X will appeal to the ‘must have the latest and greatest’ and the iPhone 8 Plus will attract the ‘would like the latest and greatest’. But I’m not sure where the 8 fits in – the ‘petite hands and more storage than the 7’ crew, maybe.


hands. The camera lens still protrudes from the rear casing and, like the iPhone 7, there’s no headphone port.

Bionic power The iPhone 8 comes packing Apple’s new and speedy A11 Bionic hexa-core (six-core!) processor. It’s the most powerful processor Apple has ever put in an iPhone. Tearing through different apps, playing music, watching video, and checking emails are all uninterrupted by the hardware (as is usual for a new phone). What’s super impressive is how instantly apps are ready when switching between numerous jobs. Where the added processing power will really become apparent is when running the more intensive apps (which use ARKit, for example). Hopefully, it’ll also stay quick for a lot longer as well. Apple has claimed the iPhone 8’s battery life is comparable to the iPhone 7, but we found it exceeded our expectations. We’re not talking two-day battery life, but we found it comfortably lasted a day with mixed usage. And there are two new ways to charge – wirelessly and quickly (and yes, those are mutually exclusive). The new glass-backed design means that you can set the iPhone 8 down on a wireless charging pad and it’ll @macformat

The 4.7-inch Retina HD display in the bezel-heavy design now seems quite dated.

instantly start sucking up juice. It’s the universal Qi standard as well. It’s a nice touch and convenient, but at the moment it’s rather slow. Also onboard the new iPhone 8 is ‘fast charging’, which charges the battery up to 50% in 30 minutes, but you’ll need to buy an additional USB-C to Lightning cable. @macformat

On paper, the iPhone 8’s camera looks unchanged from the iPhone 7. You get the 12MP f/1.8 lens setup as you did previously, but now the sensor is larger and the software is smarter. The result is a big improvement, with the camera now capable of taking some stunning shots with great detail and contrast. It’s a shame you can’t get Apple’s dual camera system on the smaller phone; it means missing out on Portrait mode and optical zoom. The 7MP front facing camera, however, is also excellent, as is the 4K video recording at 60fps. That all means the iPhone 8 is a great smartphone. The battery life is decent, the camera improved, and the addition of wireless charging adds convenience. We like the glass-backed design and, thanks to the small screen, it’s one of the most ergonomic phones we’ve used. There’s one X-shaped problem. The iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus are both overshadowed by their more exciting, more expensive brother, and if you’re looking for the latest, greatest iPhone, you’re going to want the iPhone X. Of course, the iPhone 8 is considerably cheaper than the £999 iPhone X, coming in at £699. And that’s where our problem with the iPhone 8 lies: it’s now the ‘cheap’ iPhone.

VERDICT Great update, with improved battery life and camera. Just difficult to get excited about…

+++ +++ Great camera Decent battery life Large bezels now look dated Fast charging costs extra


APPLE CHOICE Mac hardware

Apple Watch Series 3 The smartest smartwatch just got smarter! Reviewed by DAN GRABHAM From £399 FROM Apple, FEATURES Cellular connectivity, Apple Music (coming soon), W2 wireless chip, dual core S3 chip, water resistant he Apple Watch Series 3 follows last year’s Series 2 by adding cellular connectivity to an already-successful recipe. The Apple Watch is the best smartwatch by a country mile and so it was going to require some effort to improve on the Series 2. There was no visual difference between the first and second versions of Apple Watch, but Apple has decided there needs to be a visual cue to mark out the cellular version of the Series 3 and so it has painted a red dot on the Digital Crown. Non-cellular versions look exactly like their predecessors. You pay a perfectly reasonable £70 premium for cellular connectivity; starting at £399 versus £329, though there are stainless steel and Milanese loop versions that take you up to £599 and £699 respectively, and beyond.


The only visual difference between the cellular and non-cellular versions is a red dot on the Digital Crown.

Phone-free calls

Jo says… Talk about introducing game changers! Being able to make calls from your watch is still a futuristic concept in my mind. Already the smartwatch to go for – certainly for fitness fanatics – the cellular connectivity (and imminent Apple Music) makes the Series 3 a truly desirable bit of kit.

So does the cellular connectivity work well? Yes, but there are a couple of caveats. Siri, messages and calls from the watch work really well (audio quality seems improved) and the calling experience isn’t much different than if you used the watch to call with your iPhone; while you can use the watch itself to call, things are far better when teamed with a pair of AirPods (they sync automatically if everything is connected via a single Apple ID) or another Bluetooth headset you’re using for music. The cellular connectivity kicks in when the watch is no longer connected to your phone – in other words, out of range. Signal strength is shown on Apple Watch Control Centre, which also shows if you’re connected to your phone or a Wi-Fi network. There’s


also a new watch face, Explorer, that shows signal strength in the middle of the dial. The drawback to cellular connectivity is that it is only supported on EE in the UK at present – your iPhone will need to be on EE as both use the same number. It isn’t possible to, say, keep your phone on Three and pay the £5 per month cost to connect the watch to EE. Both your phone and watch share the same number and Apple Watch doesn’t get a SIM of its own. Instead it has an ‘eSIM’ which is automatically activated as part of the setup process in the Apple Watch app. If you’re on @macformat

Apple Watch Series 3 APPLE CHOICE


Garmin vívoactive £189.99

Misfit Vapor £TBC

FROM GPS enabled Multi-sports activity tracking Pairs with smartphone Water resistant to 50m Heart Rate Monitoring extra

FROM GPS connectivity with smartphone Multi-sports activity tracking Pairs with smartphone Water resistant to 50m Heart Rate Monitoring included with watch

Smart coaching, enhancements to the interface and cellular connectivity – Series 3 is an impressive update.

EE and have an iPhone 6 or later, you can sign up for the plan using the Mobile Data option – this then guides you through signing in with your EE login and signing up for the Watch tariff in addition to your existing plan. We’d only recommend the cellular option to those who regularly go out without their phone, and that’s primarily going to be people exercising. After all, you’re paying a £70 @macformat

premium for the watch, plus £60 per year for cellular access. Apple Music streaming will also be a boon (coming shortly). Regular exercisers will also benefit from the addition of ‘smart coaching’ (basically, prompts), the Heart Rate app and an improved Workout app, but those are watchOS 4 features rather than being specific to the Series 3. We found battery life was similar to the Series 2; from a charge in the morning it will last all day and evening (if you’re not using the GPS for exercise). If you are using the GPS for exercise, expect around five hours, although more likely is you’ll use it for an hour with the GPS and then you’ll need to charge it within a few hours. Like its predecessor, the Apple Watch Series 3 is also available in Nike+ and Hermès versions, while the Apple Watch Edition also has a new grey ceramic finish in addition to the existing white version. Apple has, once again, decided to extend the life of the non-waterproof Series 1 as a budget option. If you have an Apple Watch Series 2, we wouldn’t recommend the upgrade. But if you have a Series 1 or no Apple Watch, then we’d recommend the Series 3; just think seriously about whether you need cellular connectivity.

VERDICT Now with cellular, it’s still the smartwatch to beat. And by an even greater margin.

+++ +++ Cellular connectivity Apple Music streaming (coming soon) Fast processing Expensive


APPLE CHOICE Mac hardware

Apple TV 4K Apple’s streaming box gets a 4K boost Reviewed by GARETH BEAVIS From £179 FROM Apple, FEATURES 4K Ultra HD & HDR, Dolby Vision, Siri, A10X Fusion chip, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, 32 or 64GB storage ave you been tempted to invest in a 4K HDR TV recently? If you have, the new Apple TV 4K will be an excellent complementary purchase. This latest model can handle all 4K content, with HDR10 and Dolby Vision supported – and (depending on the TV you’ve connected it to) the pictures look sublime, with everything from the interface to the flyover screensavers upgraded to pack in more pixels. The new box comes in two storage options: 32GB (£179) and 64GB (£199). Apple has recently raised the size limit for apps permitted on the box to 4GB, so if you’re thinking of having this as a micro-console then you might want to scale up to be on the safe side. In the US, coverage of live sports has been enhanced to deliver tailored content – you can now see live scores and be notified of exciting moments in games that the Apple TV thinks you might like. Hopefully, this will make it UK-side in the near future. We found the Apple TV 4K a touch slow when transitioning between apps or calling up different shows, but the interface was snappy when we started to stream. This lag can be irritating, but


Now with 4K Ultra HD and HDR support – and it’ll play nicely with HomeKit devices.

Jo says… I can’t quite believe it’s taken Apple so long to get to this stage with the Apple TV. That said, it’s got enough power to handle 4K very well indeed, and considering the added HomeKit support and beefier storage, I’m impressed that the 4K model has been pitched at a pretty reasonable price point.

The Siri Remote is small and accurate, and the motion control is good for action games.


it was a minor occurrence overall. The Apple TV 4K as a central hub makes a lot of sense. Not only can it control your HomeKit devices, but the ease with which an iPhone or iPad syncs with the Apple TV is impressive. Screen mirroring is instant, and makes it really easy to share content on the big screen.

Design & 4K performance The look of Ultra HD footage is so clear and crisp. 4K HDR is just the tops if you’ve got the right TV to watch it on. The beautiful contrasts and the sheer quality of the colours on display are mind-blowing. The Apple TV 4K is the perfect partner for the latest high-end TVs, with the ability to instantly detect what kind of display is on offer and calibrate the output accordingly. Having Dolby Vision supported alongside HDR10 is a nice move. It’s a shame that Dolby Atmos isn’t supported – it seems pretty likely now, however, that it could be enabled with a codec update in the future. It’s great to be able to search Netflix through the service from the home screen, or use Siri to dive straight in. Siri isn’t able to find 4K HDR movies and shows, just 4K, but it’s still useful. @macformat

Support for Dolby Vision will let you get the most out of premium televisions.

Apple has opened a 4K HDR ‘room’ within its iTunes movies app to make it easier to discover the content – and any titles you’ve previously purchased in Full HD will be automatically upgraded to 4K HDR when available. The 4K HDR range is sparse in the UK for now, but this should improve soon. The Apple TV remote offers a good balance between being lightweight and well made – it’s comfortable to hold, with a tactile, brushed feel and rounded edge. The touchsensitive pad at the top registers the slightest quiver, and clicks to register an input. The remote also boasts Siri control which, for the most part, is brilliant. Downloading apps, restarting a film or just flipping to settings are a simple tap of the Siri button away. That said, Siri isn’t always accurate, particularly when entering passwords. The Apple TV 4K is designed to function as a music player and a basic console too. Apple’s made a big deal about the new games that are coming to the TV box, with the A10 Fusion chip from last year’s iPad offering better graphical performance. The motion control of the Siri Remote means the Apple TV has an instant advantage @macformat

over other streaming sticks and boxes – while fairly rudimentary, the ability to play tennis games or the fun Beat Sports with actual swings of the hand is great. The Apple TV 4K can also function as a HomeKit hub, and that alone is a good reason to have the box. However, all this can be found on the previous Apple TV box, which is still on sale. The functionality is excellent and entertaining, but it can be had for cheaper if you’re not bothered about 4K performance. Certainly, if you don’t have a 4K HDR TV it’s hard to recommend the Apple TV 4K, because it really only adds a bit more grunt and higher-res output capabilities. The speed of the interface is still not perfect but it is better, and the App Store definitely needs more titles, but more are appearing every day now. If you’ve got any inclination to upgrade to a 4K HDR TV, then the Apple TV 4K is the obvious choice. It’s pricey, but it’s slick, works well with an iOS device (or even a pair of AirPods), and the range of content is good (although it could be better). We’d like to see more powerful games on offer, and an easier way to access 4K HDR content from a variety of providers (Amazon, please!).

VERDICT If you’ve got a 4K TV, this complements the Apple ecosystem very nicely.

+++ +++ Dolby Vision support tvOS interface is clean and simple No Amazon Prime Video at launch Few benefits for non-4K TV owners


APPLE CHOICE Mac hardware

Acoustic Energy Aego Sound3ar

The Sound3ar fits nicely into the space behind your keyboard.

High quality audio to suit your iMac £249.99 FROM Acoustic Energy, FEATURES Stereo Mini-jack, Optical, Bluetooth he Aego Sound3ar is styled with the same brushed aluminium look as a Mac, and occupies that ‘dead’ space between an iMac’s screen and its keyboard nicely. It’s angled to direct the sound upwards for optimum clarity. A soundbar’s design is obviously going to create some compromise on acoustic performance, compared to the usual two satellite speaker setup,


VERDICT The Aego is a great solution if you use an iMac, and it sounds exceptionally good.

++ ++++ Superb sound quality HomePod is coming

which helps separate the left and right channels more but, saying that, the Aego presents an absolutely lovely depth of sound for the money. This is largely thanks to the huge 65W RMS subwoofer, which sits on the floor under your desk providing a lovely warm bass to complement the Sound3ar’s high end.

You also get a remote control for those moments when you need to change volume without getting off the sofa. The only thing that holds us back from wholeheartedly recommending the Aego is whether you should wait and put the money towards the super smart Apple HomePod instead. As a speaker setup for iMac though, this has got everything you need. GRAHAM BARLOW

Loupedeck Hands-on photo editing £289 FROM Loupedeck Ltd, NEEDS Adobe Lightroom 6 or later, OS X 10.10 or later ightroom’s Develop module can feel a bit awkward to use. Rows of sliders make for a complicated feel. Even pros find getting a picture right often involves a combination of memorised shortcuts and speedy mouse skills. Loupedeck distills hundreds of shortcuts and sliders into one customisable USB keyboard. Contrast, Clarity, Highlights and more are reduced to satisfying knobs, while rotating and cropping gets its own large control. Colour channels get


VERDICT Well made, good fun, and effective. It costs a pretty penny, though.

+++++ Satisfyingly built The price


Loupedeck takes the heavy lifting out of editing images in Lightroom.

their own wheels, and those sorting images will appreciate the colour and numerical rating buttons. Made a change you don’t like? Click the relevant dial and the effect is reset. Responsive and satisfying to use, it offers a major advantage over using a keyboard and mouse in that you can adjust one element of an image while simultaneously changing

another sympathetically. It makes editing more organic, allowing you to concentrate fully on the changes you’re making to your shots. It’s also enormously good fun. The drawback is the price. If you’ve been using Lightroom for years it’s unlikely Loupedeck will change your life, but for newcomers it could ease the learning curve – and it’s fun. DAVE STEVENSON @macformat

Mac hardware APPLE CHOICE

Drobo 5D3 Flexible storage expansion £681.98 (enclosure only) FROM Drobo, FEATURES 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB-C (5Gbps) ports, mSATA bay robo makes flexible storage arrays that enable you to add more disks to boost capacity. Swap out a failed or low-capacity disk and it adjusts to the change. The 5D3 is equipped with two Thunderbolt 3 ports. Our unit came with five 3.5-inch Toshiba DT Desktop Series disks, from 500GB to 2TB. We got mean average transfer rates of 547.1 and 325.8MB/sec when reading and writing sequentially, and 180.4 and 124.8MB/sec when reading and writing random locations. Good, though


VERDICT Now works over Thunderbolt 3, but getting the best speeds can get costly.

++ ++++ Expansion flexibility Even bare unit’s costly

unspectacular. The peak sequential read speed was 1027.9MB/sec – far below Thunderbolt 3’s potential; using faster hard disks or SSDs is one way to speed up transfers. Another is to add an mSATA SSD to the Drobo Accelerator Bay. Using a 64GB Plextor M6M, it took 7.4 seconds on the first run to transfer a 4GB test file to our MacBook Pro, and just 2.4 once cached. The benefit

The 5D3’s front panel is magnetically attached, and pops off easily for a new disk to be installed.

was slimmer with a 20GB test file, yet still appreciable: 49.9 seconds down to 30.8. Drobo Dashboard and its complementary menu bar utility show array and disk status info with clarity. Despite a Kensington lock slot to secure the 5D3, sadly you can’t lock the bay cover.


Samsung T5 500GB A classy-looking portable SSD £190 FROM Samsung, FEATURES USB-C port (USB 3.1 Gen 2), optional AES-256 encryption amsung’s latest portable SSD looks a lot like the T3 that came before it, and comes in black or ‘alluring blue', the latter being quite apt, but it’s a shame there are no rubber feet on one side to help keep it that way. Cables are provided for Macs with USB-C or USB-A ports, and the former enables transfer rates of up to 540MB/ sec, says Samsung. That’s a big improvement over the peak of 437.4MB/sec the T3 managed, but behind our current best drive’s peak


VERDICT Excellent if you want fast file portability for high-end Macs.

++ ++++ Lightweight and neat Not the outright fastest SSD @macformat

of 908MB/sec, that being Freecom’s (also USB 3.1 Gen 2) mSSD MAXX. But that’s more costly, in part as it’s an import item. We tested the 500GB T5 using a 2016 MacBook Pro. In our tests, the fastest transfer rate returned was 527.9MB/sec, when reading a large file sequentially. Though a little short of Samsung’s quoted maximum, it’s not enough to be a concern. Mean average and max ransfer rates are good, too. They’re from 30.9 to 97.7MB/ sec better compared to the T3,

A neat little SSD that handles large transfers impressively quickly.

and skew toward the higher end. That it doesn’t soar as much as a rival and more costly SSD is no concern: the T5 is a marked improvement over its predecessor. The T5 is strong, truly portable and also offers password protection.




Denon AH-C621R

We weren’t too impressed with the quality of the control button.

Simple but effective earbuds £84.99 FROM Denon, FEATURES 6-40,000Hz, three-button remote with mic, carry case, four sets of spare ear tips or a pair of buds to stand out in this price range, they have to balance decent features with solid sound. These earphones are a great exercise in subtlety. They aren’t flashy, but everything has a purpose. On the left earphone cable is the mic, volume and play/ pause controls, which actually feels a bit cheap. The cable is long enough at 1.3m and Denon has added its Radial Cascade Damper system to the cable. This means that you won’t get cable noise.


VERDICT Affordable earphones that reach beyond their price range.

++ ++++ Comfortable to wear Controls too plasticky

The buds can handle frequencies of between 6-40,000Hz. At this price point, that makes the C620s a very enticing in-ear buy. Denon also provides a companion app. Load it up and you can intricately play with the EQ settings. To Be Without You by Ryan Adams was a good test of the buds’ mid range. They managed to separate the acoustic guitar from Adams’ vocals well. The more

bass-laden Soothing by Laura Marling tested the lower range, and the C620 series passed admirably. Unfortunately, where they slipped up was when we tried tracks packed with a bit more punch. Hans Zimmer’s Supermarine is an intense track and that intensity was a little lost. Clarity was there, but it lost the earthy gravitas. Despite that niggle, the buds are a great purchase.


JBL Playlist A Sonos rival with party sound £149.99 FROM JBL, FEATURES 2x 2.25-inch woofers, 2x 15W power rating, Google Cast, Bluetooth ather than a simple Bluetoothequipped, battery powered speaker, the JBL Playlist is mains-powered and equipped with Google Cast. You can still use Bluetooth if you’d prefer, but Google Cast allows the speaker to become part of a multi-room setup. Much like AirPlay, you stream music over Wi-Fi and you can even pair the speaker with others to fill your house with music. A full set of playback controls can be found on the top, while the front of the device is given over to its


VERDICT Impressive smarts, but those looking for refined sound should look elsewhere.

++ ++++

Chunky bass Sound lacks nuance


The Playlist is sadly lacking AirPlay support.

bulbous speaker grill. At the back is a two-pronged power port and 3.5mm jack. Apple’s own music and podcasting apps don’t support the functionality, but numerous others do. Spotify, Tidal, and Deezer are among their number, and Pocketcasts can be used for podcast listening. While the Playlist offers big chunky bass it’s not

matched with much treble and mid-range presence, leading to a speaker more at home with a house party than a dinner party. It might not have the sonic abilities of rival Sonos speakers, but the Playlist is an affordable way into multi-room listening, so long as you use the music apps that can make the most of it.

JON PORTER @macformat

Focal Listen £179 FROM Focal, FEATURES 15Hz-22kHz response, microphone, in-line controls

Design +++++ The Listen headphones are the over-ear variety with a closed back to the headphone cups, which produces great noise isolation. The cable features a microphone and in-line clicker for play/pause and skipping tracks.

Portability +++++ The Listen headphones fold up nicely for carrying in a soft neoprene carry case that protects them from scratches, but it won’t protect them from drops. The headphones are pretty chunky though, which makes them cumbersome.

Sound quality +++++ The Listen headphones have nice clear mids and top end, but don’t offer as much bass as we’d like. Having your ears completely encircled produces a strange sense of isolation, but helps you focus entirely on the music.

Value +++++ For the price, these are great quality headphones. They’re particularly suited to the music lover who really wants to get lost in the experience of listening to their favourite album in a pure, clean audio environment.

If you like to be lost in music, you’ll love the noise-isolated feeling of the Listen headphones. They’re comfortable to wear and sound great.


Over-ear vs on-ear headphones

Moshi Avanti £160 FROM Moshi, FEATURES 15Hz-22kHz response, microphone, in-line controls

Design +++++ The closed-back Avanti headphones sit on the ear, instead of completely covering it. The headband is a simple steel band so they feel really lightweight, and the cable sports a microphone and in-line controls.

++ Portability ++++ The slim headband of the Avanti headphones makes them easy to take off, without feeling like you have to unhook yourself first. They fold up, and a hardback carry case is provided to protect them from being squashed.

Sound quality ++ ++++ The soundstage the Avanti headphones produce is very impressive. The bass in particular feels really lively and the more open sound feels much more like being at a gig, compared to the Listen’s soundproof-room effect.

Value +++++ The Avanti headpones feel like a bit of steal at the price. We prefer the lightweight on-ear design and, while they’re not as immersive as the Listen headphones, they’re perfect for everyday use.

It’s a matter of personal taste, but we prefer the more natural sound of the Avanti’s on-ear design. They make your music sound bright and vibrant.

+++++ VERDICT +++++ @macformat



BEST MAC WRITING TOOLS Whatever you use them for, there’s no shortage of brilliant writing tools for the Mac Reviewed by KENNY HEMPHILL

MAC WRITING TOOLS ON TEST… Bear Pro £13.99/year Byword £5.99 iA Writer £19.99 Scrivener £43.99 Ulysses £35.99/year Microsoft Word £59.99/year*

90 | MACFORMAT | NOVEMBER 2017 @macformat

Writing apps APPLE CHOICE

here are so many writing tools now available on the Mac that you can split them into several different categories and still fill each with several apps. There are tools for taking notes, minimalist apps for helping you focus on just the words on the page, there are some designed to write blog posts and others aimed at novelists, academics, or anyone else who needs to put together long documents. While there are still several apps that work on a document-by-document basis, where each piece of work is self-contained in a single file, there are others that allow you to create and manage projects consisting of as many separate documents as you need. This kind of approach enables you to easily cross-reference your work.


its features may go unused, for those who need to collaborate, tools like the Review toolbar are indispensable. We’ve included Microsoft Word in our review group. Apple’s own writing tool, Pages, is still much more of a page layout and design tool than a pure writing application. It’s a good option for writing letters or creating leaflets or posters, but you wouldn’t necessarily want to use it for writing a novel, thesis or anything else more than a couple of pages long.

The right writer You needn’t use the same writing tool for every task, of course. If you’re writing blog posts, Byword, Ulysses and iA Writer are good options because they allow you to upload them directly to a Wordpress or Medium blog. If you’re writing code, you may be better advised choosing a more specific text editor designed for that purpose such as BBEdit, Coda or TextWrangler. Specialist needs aside, most of us stick with the same tool, however. Here are the pick of the bunch on the Mac.

There are tools for taking notes, tapping out blog posts and then there are others aimed at novelists or academics There’s still room for the traditional word processor, of course. Microsoft’s Word is still one of the most popular apps for writing on the Mac and while for some users many of

Things to consider… Can you sync the software with other versions?

Some apps have both macOS and iOS versions and allow you to synchronise documents and projects between them using Dropbox, iCloud or the developer’s own server. That can be very useful if you regularly swap between devices.


Does it have Markdown support?

If you prefer to use Markdown to format text documents, make sure the tool you choose has good support for it. That support should include the ability to preview Markdown formatting quickly and easily, as you write.


Which file formats can the app export to?

Most apps on test have their own file formats and so, when you save a document, you’ll only be able to open it again in the same @macformat

We looked at the features of each app, taking into account its price and compared them. We also judged how easy each app is to use, particularly for those coming to it for the first time. And we considered any extras that come with the app that we didn’t consider necessarily as core but which definitely come under the category ‘nice to have’. We also evaluated just how easy it is to sync data and collaborate using each app.


A few advanced features to look out for


How we tested

app. It’s important to check, therefore, that the app you choose can export in the format you need.


How do you prefer to work?


Thinking of writing a radio, TV or movie script?

If you prefer white text on a dark background with no distractions on screen, one of the minimalist apps like iA Writer or Byword is a good bet. If you want all the documents in a project in one place, choose Scrivener or Ulysses.

While there are dedicated tools for scripts, you can write them in any writing app. However, Scrivener is particularly helpful for this kind of work because it includes templates for popular script formats, including those used by the BBC.

Final Draftt 10 (£199.99) While Scrivener has script templates and some excellent features for script writing, Final Draft 10 is a pure scripting writing tool and is the one the pros use.

…or lower? Google Doc cs (Free) If you want to write documents that can be easily shared with others for them to edit or add to, Google Docs is excellent. And best of all, it’s free.



Test 1 Features & value

Test 2 Ease of use

What’s included in the price?

How simple is it to get working?

With such a range of prices and features sets, this was tricky. At £43.99, barely more than the price of an annual subscription to Ulysses, Scrivener does almost the same job. Microsoft’s Word is the costliest here, but its collaboration tools – allowing you to track changes and add comments on Mac and PC – are unmatched. Byword is terrific value if what you want is a distraction-free writing tool with Markdown support and the ability to upload directly to Wordpress or Medium. It makes iA Writer, at twice the price, feel expensive. Bear Pro’s feature set, though, is hard to beat for the price. Primarily designed as a tool for taking notes and writing code, its Pro subscription includes syncing with iOS versions. There’s also support for multiple markup languages, including Markdown, a Focus mode and export options that include HTML and PDF.

The goal of any writing tool should be to have you writing text as soon as possible. To that end, Word’s sheer range of formatting options and features can be seen as limiting ease of use. And while both Scrivener and Ulysses are brilliant at what they do, for new users there’s a definite learning curve. Bear Pro’s friendly tutorial notes make getting to grips with its features relatively straightforward, but their existence betrays the need to learn how to use the app. Both iA Writer and Byword, as you would expect from pared-down, distraction-free tools are easy to jump in and use. But Byword has a slight edge, in part because iA Writer has added new features over the years, such as, most recently, the ability to embed images. While those new features are welcome, they make it marginally more difficult to use.



Bear Pro Byword iA Writer

+++++ +++++ +++++

Scrivener Ulysses Word

+++++ +++++ +++++

Bear Pro Byword iA Writer

+++++ +++++ +++++

Scrivener Ulysses Word

+++++ +++++ +++++

Test 3 Extras

Test 4 Continuity

On top of the basics, what’s on offer?

Collaboration and syncing tools

Word’s integration with the rest of the Office suite, and its ability to play nicely with the Windows versions of the application are a boon for many users. And iA Writer’s colour coding of verbs, adverbs, nouns, adjectives and conjunctions, makes them easy to spot and, if necessary, tweak. Byword will publish directly to Medium and Wordpress at no extra cost, which is great for bloggers. And Bear Pro’s support for several markup languages is brilliant for coding. If you write books for distribution on an electronic reader, Ulysses support for ePub export will be very welcome. And if you work with colleagues who use Word, they’ll appreciate your ability to create docx files in Ulysses Scrivener’s templates for scripts, novels, short stories and other formats have the edge here. They’ve helped make Scrivener the writing tool of choice for many novelists and screenwriters.

This is the test where subscription-based apps have an edge over their one-timepurchase competitors. Whereas in Word, Ulysses and Bear Pro, the iOS apps and syncing come as part of the subscription, you’ll have to buy the iOS versions of Scrivener, iA Writer and Byword. An extra fiver for iA Writer and Byword won’t break the bank but Scrivener’s iOS app will set you back £20 – and to sync, you must use Dropbox. There’s no iCloud option. There’s more to working across devices than just iOS syncing, however. And this is where Word wins hands down. Not only can you work with the same document on macOS and iOS, but you can edit it on Windows and on any other platform that has a web browser, thanks to Office 365 web apps. Add to that the excellent collaboration tools we’ve already mentioned, and there is no better tool on test for collaboration than Word.



Bear Pro Byword iA Writer

+++++ +++++ +++++

Scrivener Ulysses Word


+++++ +++++ +++++

Bear Pro Byword iA Writer

+++++ +++++ +++++

Scrivener Ulysses Word

+++++ +++++ +++++ @macformat

Writing apps APPLE CHOICE

THE WINNER Scrivener The winner of our round-up is the writer’s writing tool hoosing a winner in a round-up of such diverse apps is tricky. The best app for you is the one that does the things you need it to do. And if that’s to get out of the way while you put words on the screen, Byword and iA Writer are ideal. If it’s to allow you to create and edit documents you can collaborate on with colleagues, it’s Word. And Bear Pro and Ulysses each have tasks at which they excel. But there’s one app that’s beloved of people who spend their days writing and formatting text. It’s one whose features have been added thoughtfully, based on how


Scrivener’s features have been added thoughtfully, based on how writers work and on why they write

Alex says… Scrivener’s screenplay template makes it a real alternative to dedicated screenwriting apps like Final Draft and Slugline.

writers work and on why they write, with exemplary organisational abilities. Whether it’s the ability to view documents on a corkboard, add keywords and re-arrange them to help visualise a plot, the ease with which documents can be organised and formatted, or even the split-screen view that allows you to see your research notes above or below the text you’re writing, these features matter to writers. For those reasons, as a writer’s writing tool, there’s none better on Mac than Scrivener.

I have a number of friends who’ve made the leap from magazine journalism to novel writing, and the majority see Scrivener as the only real choice for their work. That said, when I’ve had to co-write stuff with other contributors for MacFormat, I’ve found the syncing and collaboration tools of Microsoft Word to be hard to beat, although it’s quite pricey.

How do they compare? >THE SPECS

> Bear Pro

> Byword

> iA Writer

> Scrivener

> Ulysses

> Microsoft Word
































Medium only






















































Note: The final verdict scores reflect the overall opinion of a product and are not necessarily an average of the criteria listed in the table. * As part of Office 365 Personal @macformat


APPLE CHOICE Mac software

Parallels Desktop 13 Run virtual Windows on your Mac £69.99 FROM Parallels International, NEEDS OS X 10.10.5 or later hen it comes to running virtual versions of Windows, Linux and even older iterations of OS X, Parallels Desktop is king. It’s well engineered and blends virtual machines (VMs) into your Mac desktop with features like Coherence, where you can run Windows apps in their own window as if native. Version 13 – like its immediate predecessors – feels more of a point release than a major new version. Its main highlight is support for the MacBook Pro’s Touch


VERDICT Flexible and powerful but there are only incremental updates for existing users.

++ ++++ Touch Bar works well Upgrade (£34.99) hard to justify

Parallels Desktop 13 now offers Touch Bar support.

Bar inside Windows VMs. It’s context-sensitive, supporting major apps as well as replicating shortcut icons on the Windows Taskbar. Parallels can also incorporate Windows features into your Mac desktop; joining Cortana is the People Bar. This allows you to pin favourite contacts to the Windows Taskbar. Picture-in-Picture mode lets you minimise all VM

windows to thumbnail images. These float on top of other windows and update in real time. Aside from a design refresh, there’s also the usual performance tweaks – faster opening of Windows files and better transfer speeds over USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, plus improved rendering of scaled VM windows on Retina displays. NICK PEERS

Switchem Group apps into workspaces £11.99 FROM Fardini Media, NEEDS OS X 10.11 or later esktop window management is something of a holy grail on Mac. While macOS includes Spaces for grouping apps across multiple desktops, the feature lacks granular control and feels limited. Switchem takes a different tack – it lets you set up multiple grouped app workspaces for different tasks and flip between them in an effort to boost your productivity using a mechanism similar to the native App Switcher. Once you’ve organised


VERDICT A neat app for defining multiple workspaces on a single desktop.

++ ++++ Group Switcher No fullscreen/ Spaces support


Quickly flip between workspaces with the Group Switcher.

all your task-related app windows, simply create a New Group, give it a name, and Switchem assigns a number to the workspace, allowing you to switch to it at any time via an å+†+[number] shortcut, bringing all those apps and their original window positions back to the front of the screen. The solution works well

on single desktops, while additional handy shortcuts make opening and closing all apps within a group a cinch. It’s just a shame Switchem doesn’t support fullscreen apps (also designated in macOS as Spaces) across multiple displays, although the developer has promised compatibility in a future update. TIM HARDWICK @macformat

Mac software APPLE CHOICE

Luminar 1.2 Neptune An image editing app that takes presets to the next level Reviewed by IAN EVENDEN £64 FROM Macphun, NEEDS OS X 10.10.5 or later

Accent AI uses artificial intelligence to fix everything it identifies as needing fixing

acphun’s ‘Neptune’ update to its impressive Luminar image editing app brings new tools, new filters and tweaks to the back end for increased performance with large image files. The headline new feature is Accent AI, something that Macphun dubs ‘the future of photo editing’. What is it? It’s a filter in the new Quick & Awesome workspace that claims to analyse your image using artificial intelligence and fix everything it identifies as needing fixing. We assume it’s actually doing this rather than just raising the midtone contrast and sharpness, as the filter acts very quickly even on a low-end Mac. Results are acceptably good – sunny images become sunnier, and any overcooked processing can be toned down by reducing the opacity of the layer every new filter can be placed upon. Elsewhere, there’s support for all other Macphun apps as round-trip plugins, so aficionados of Noiseless Pro can send an image there for cleaning up (Luminar has its own


VERDICT This update makes Luminar an ideal app for making quick and dirty photo edits.

++ ++++ Speedy image analysis and editing New AI filter Big range of presets Can be daunting @macformat

You can add texture to a painting or rendered 3D model using the Thick Texture brushes.

noise reduction routines, of course) and return the edited image to Luminar to continue working on it.

Workspace wonders Luminar relies heavily on presets, but the huge range available, along with the ability to create your own and use the before/after slider to see exactly what’s changed, makes it an intelligent approach to one-shot image editing. There are clone and erase tools too, for scratch and blemish removal. The workspaces, calibrated to support exactly the amount of work you want to put into fixing your images, mean you can walk away happy after just five minutes’ tinkering or half an hour’s, knowing you’ve made genuine improvements. If there’s a downside, it’s that tooltips can take a while to appear, but that’s not an earth-shattering problem. We would also caution that being dropped into the app from a cold start can feel somewhat overwhelming. Macphun has thought of this, however, with handy video tutorials on its website which, along with the user guide, can be accessed from the help menu. While it might take a few moments to get the hang of, Macphun is on to an image editing winner here. As long as you don’t want to get into compositing or special effects, Luminar offers everything you’ll want from a photo editor, and makes its changes quickly and reversibly. The ability to run it as a Photos extension adds to its versatility. And for a price that’s very competitive with Photoshop Elements, Luminar looks like a great choice for anyone who wants to fix their photos easily and effectively.



CARROT Weather Outlook: sunny and snarky £3.99 (optional IAPs) FROM Grailr, NEEDS iOS 10 or later arrying accurate forecasting with a twisted AI, CARROT Weather is an anomaly: a fun weather app. Select a location and you get current conditions, rainfall warnings, hourly and daily outlooks. But it adds a layer of twisted snark. It’ll merrily ‘LOL’ if it’s about to rain, call you a ‘meatbag’, and note that it hopes you get ‘embarrassing tan lines’ when the sun appears. Beyond the oddball commentary, CARROT is a usable, colourful, data-rich app. On iPhone and iPad


VERDICT A smart weather app with character; both entertaining and informative.

++ ++++ Top-notch design Radar maps are unimpressive

CARROT Weather is full of useful data but still adds personality.

alike, the interface makes it easy to glance at an overview or delve into details by tapping on any given hour or day. The Today view widget is impressive, packing plenty of info into a tiny space, and yet it still leaves room for a snide remark. Only when you venture into the radar does the app stumble, its jerky offering looking dated next to the animated maps at the heart of Dark Sky.

Another drawback is that some customisation settings are behind a subscription wall; also, long-time users might dislike this update’s more conventional visuals, which lack the illustrations that once housed outlook details. But really, it feels like the app has grown up – and in a good way. It still has personality, but it’s now more usable and useful.


MailChimp 4 Send newsletters from mobile Free FROM The Rocket Science Group, NEEDS iOS 9.3 or later ailChimp is mighty big in mailing list services. If you have something to say or sell, it’s a great choice. That is, unless you’ve wanted to create email campaigns on iOS. Until now, the MailChimp app has mostly been a place to view details about subscriber activity and sent campaigns. New in MailChimp 4 is the ability to create and edit new campaigns (the industry name for the emails you send). You can add nearly every kind of supported


VERDICT A powerful, popular mailing list service finally and fully arrives on iOS.

++ ++++ Flexible design options Missing some features


Manage mailing lists, monitor stats and create campaigns.

content, reorder your content ‘blocks’, change most formatting details, preview your work, and press the red button to send campaigns. Whether you’re one of those folks for whom an iPad is your primary computer, or you just need to change a few things while on-the-go, the new MailChimp for iOS will be a big help. When compared to MailChimp’s desktop site,

there is a handful of missing features. However, they’re mostly niche or little details – you can’t set a campaign’s URL, the auto-optimising tool for large images isn’t there, some text formatting options aren’t available, and nor is the Code Block. That said, MailChimp 4 is a welcome update. We’re glad to see MailChimp better embrace mobile and the future. DAVID CHARTIER @macformat


OmniGraffle 3 The premier iOS diagramming app just got better Reviewed by TOM GORHAM Free; Standard £48.99, Pro £99.99 FROM The Omni Group, NEEDS iOS 10.3 or later

The unified navigation bar gathers document objects, layers and canvases

estament to OmniGraffle’s versatility is the software's incongruous collection of fans. Website wireframers, illustrators and process flow junkies all praise its unfussy approach to diagram creation. OmniGraffle 3 for iOS remains delightfully straightforward. You drag elements to its canvas from a built-in collection of shapes and objects called stencils. The choice is extended through a link to Omni’s online stencil repository. The obvious change is a fresh, panelled look. A lot of usability is packed into the unified navigation sidebar that gathers document objects, layers and canvases. It makes it easy to select objects based on their properties. Each OmniGraffle shape, line or symbol is endlessly adjustable through the Inspector sidebar; once a pop-up panel, this is now static. Fewer taps are needed to adjust properties, but it feels awkward to see the Inspector button along the document toolbar. Sidebars on iOS devices are inimical to diagramming apps that thrive on space. But OmniGraffle alleviates this through a floating Tool palette that can be minimised with a tap, while tap-and-hold triggers fullscreen mode leaving only the canvas visible.


VERDICT OmniGraffle is powerful and easy to use. The best iOS diagramming app.

++ ++++ Interface upgrades Try-before-you-buy Lacks Bezier tools Missing an outlining feature @macformat

OmniGraffle’s floating toolbar changes orientation when it touches a screen edge.

Canvases, layers and objects appear in a single sidebar: a great navigational aid.

The canvas dimensions themselves are no constraint now. At any time the canvas can be flexibly extended or made infinite, so you’ll never see the canvas edge.

Standalone features If you’re used to OmniGraffle on the Mac, you’ll enjoy a near-frictionless transition. However, each version of OmniGraffle on iOS gives more reasons to rely on it as a standalone app. This version can import SVG images and Omni has squeezed in a crossplatform JavaScript engine to manipulate documents through scripts. The Pro version – which adds extras such as Microsoft Visio export – includes a scripting console. There are still features we’d like to see – a variation of the macOS version’s outliner, which accelerates layout creation, for example. But the Freehand tool here compensates: draw a shape on the canvas with your finger and OmniGraffle converts it into an object. A word too for Omni’s ‘try before you buy’ approach. You can download the app for free, try it for a limited time and upgrade to the full standard or pro versions via IAPs. If you choose not to upgrade after the 14-day trial, OmniGraffle 3 will switch over to a read-only viewer mode, where you can share or view any documents you created during the trial.







Your complete guide to the best Apple hardware and third-party accessories elcome to MacFormat’s Store Guide, the place to go to find out about all the Apple kit that matters, whether you’re looking for your next iPhone or a powerful new desktop Mac. We’ve highlighted the model of each product that’s ideally suited to your needs, whether you’re a recent convert or a seasoned Apple user.


So be sure to check our handy tables to see which Mac, iPad or iPhone is best for you. We’ve also handpicked the gold standard in audio, storage, cameras, and many other categories, helping you complement your Mac or iOS device with the best accessories. All of these third-party devices have been reviewed in the magazine.


Ever since the famous Bondi Blue iMac debuted in August 1998, Apple’s all-in-one desktop computer has been setting standards in gorgeous design and powerful performance. Apple’s innovation was as clear back then as it is today – the iMac was the first Macintosh to drop the floppy disk in favour of USB, and its colourful aesthetic set it apart as a playful pretender in a world of staid beige boxes. Today, Apple is again pushing boundaries with the iMac, blessing all of its 27-inch models with a massive 5K (5120x2880) resolution and a wide P3 colour gamut. Add in Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs (configurable from 3.4GHz up to 4.2GHz), a fast and capacious Fusion Drive, and powerful AMD Radeon RX graphics processors, and the 27-inch iMac is the desktop system to own. At WWDC in June 2017, Apple refreshed the entire range of iMacs, with discrete GPUs coming to all but the entry-level model, newer Intel CPUs, brighter Retina displays and more Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Choose an iMac

An update in 2014 brought a £100 price drop to the most affordable Mac, but rises in late 2016 added £80 back on. The mini comes with some interesting talking points: the entry-level model has a 1.4GHz dualcore Intel Core i5 CPU and 4GB of memory, making it one of the lowestspec Macs around, with a 500GB hard drive and no display.


Higher-end models come with 1TB of storage included (Fusion Drive and SSD options are available), 8GB of memory, a better graphics processor and either a 2.6GHz or 2.8GHz Intel Core i5 for £679 and £949. Those models can be upgraded to a Core i7, but there aren’t any quad-core options available at the moment. Expect updates in 2017.


From £479


21.5-inch 3.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i5

MEMORY 8GB of 2400MHz DDR4 GRAPHICS AMD Radeon Pro 555 STORAGE 1TB (5,400rpm) hard drive DISPLAY Retina 4K (IPS, P3 gamut) ALSO Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard



Mac mini


27-inch 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i5

MEMORY 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 GRAPHICS AMD Radeon Pro 570 STORAGE 1TB Fusion Drive DISPLAY Retina 5K (IPS, P3 gamut) ALSO Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard




27-inch 4.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

MEMORY 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 GRAPHICS AMD Radeon Pro 580 STORAGE 2TB Fusion Drive DISPLAY Retina 5K (IPS, P3 gamut) ALSO Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard

£2,609 @macformat



Apple tips


MacBook Pro

The baby of Apple’s laptop family, the MacBook was updated at WWDC 2017 to get Intel Kaby Lake processors and faster SSDs. Weighing in at just 0.92kg, it’s Apple’s most lightweight laptop but still packs in a 226ppi pixel density in its 12-inch Retina display. The MacBook is powered by an Intel Core M processor (configurable to Core i5 or i7), which doesn’t require a fan to keep cool, so the MacBook runs silently. It also features a Force Touch trackpad, which can trigger different responses as you apply more pressure. All models of the MacBook come loaded with 8GB of 1866MHz memory, which can be boosted to 16GB, and Intel HD Graphics 615 – an upgrade from the previous HD Graphics 515 – and there are 256GB or 512GB flash storage options. There are four colour options: Silver, Space Grey, Gold, and Rose Gold.

Apple debuted the new MacBook Pro in October 2016 with an OLED strip of app-specific controls called the Touch Bar. The Force Touch trackpad was made larger to give more room for gestures, and the keyboard was also updated to have a second-generation version of the butterfly keys from the 12-inch MacBook. The MacBook Pro range then got a further boost at WWDC 2017, when both the 13-inch and 15-inch models had their processors updated to Intel’s Kaby Lake models. The larger of the two also had its graphics card upgraded to give more powerful Radeon Pro options. You get two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports (depending on the model), which are also compatible with USB-C devices, and through which you can charge the MacBook Pro. The 13-inch and 15-inch sizes remain, although the entry-level 13-inch lacks a Touch Bar.

Choose a MacBook

12-inch 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5



12-inch 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i7

MEMORY 16GB of 1866MHz LPDDR3 GRAPHICS Intel HD Graphics 615 STORAGE 512GB SSD





13-inch 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5

MEMORY 8GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 GPU Intel Iris Plus 640 STORAGE 256GB SSD Touch Bar No





13-inch 3.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i5

MEMORY 8GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 GPU Intel Iris 650 STORAGE 256GB SSD Touch Bar Yes




12-inch 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core m3 @macformat







Choose a MacBook Pro

15-inch 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7

MEMORY 16GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 GPU Radeon Pro 555 STORAGE 256GB SSD Touch Bar Yes


From Stormfront, your local Apple experts

Free up space If you have an iPhone 5s or above, you can upgrade to iOS 11. One of the more useful new features can be found under Settings > General > iPhone Storage. From here you will find storage tips specific to your device. Although this may not be the most exciting of new features, it can help you manage your storage more effectively. If you have an old iPhone full of clutter, or are planning on getting a new iPhone and transferring your old data across, this feature could save you a lot of space. Even better, you can delete recommended files directly from this section. You may see the Review Large Attachments category. This contains photos, videos and attachments which are often stored in messages. If you don’t need some or all of them, tap Edit, mark those you don’t want to keep, and tap the delete icon to free up more space on your device.

Ellie Otley, Darryl Elkins







iPad Pro

Apple always had to do something big for the iPhone’s tenth birthday, and it’s done that with the iPhone X. Sporting a glass back to allow wireless charging and a gorgeous edge-to-edge, OLED, Super Retina display measuring 5.8 inches across, it’s big news all over. Its better cameras don’t just mean great photos – they allow for Face ID, the face-scanning technology that is the latest, safest way to unlock your phone (goodbye Touch ID and Home button). But don’t let the new kid on the block overshadow the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus – they’re great phones in their own right. They get wireless charging too, plus revamped cameras, a new A11 Bionic chip, and new augmented reality tech. All new models come in 64GB and 256GB capacities. The pricing for the iPhone 8 starts at £699, the 8 Plus at £799 and the iPhone X at £999.

Apple shifted the iPad range around in March 2017, replacing the iPad Air 2 with a 9.7-inch model simply called ‘iPad’. The entire Air range has been phased out, but the iPad mini 4 is still available. The 9.7-inch iPad features an A9 CPU and M9 motion coprocessor, and comes in 32GB and 128GB storage flavours. The Retina display has been made brighter compared to the Air 2, but the new iPad is slightly thicker and heavier. It’s also got an 8MP rear camera and a 1.2MP front-facing camera. On the software side, the iPad adds multitasking features, which are a boon for productivity. You can slide a second app over the right side of the one you’re working in, then dismiss it to get back to work. Picture in Picture enables you to watch video in a corner of the screen. There’s also Split View, which lets you work on two apps side by side.

The iPad Pro comes in 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch sizes, packed with either 64GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage. All models are available with the option of mobile network connectivity. The Pro’s A10X chip is the most powerful in any iOS device, and it has an impressive fourspeaker sound system, too. Adding the pressure-sensitive Apple Pencil and 120Hz refresh rate makes it a smooth, accomplished drawing tool.

iPhone SE (4-inch display)

CAPACITY: 128GB PROCESSOR: A9 FACE ID No CAMERA 12MP photos, 4K video recording


iPhone 8 (4.7-inch display)

CAPACITY: 64GB £699 PROCESSOR: A11 Bionic FACE ID No CAMERA 12MP photos (dual-camera), 4K video

iPhone X (5.8-inch display)

CAPACITY: 64GB £999 PROCESSOR: A11 Bionic FACE ID Yes CAMERA 12MP photos (dual-camera), 4K video








7.9-inch iPad mini 4










Choose an iPad


Choose an iPhone

12.9-inch iPad Pro



From £619


Watch From £329 (Series 3) The Watch is Apple’s quiet revolution, and it’s now the number one watch in the world. Series 3 is meant to cement that status quo. To achieve that, Series 3 lets you make and receive calls from your wrist for the first time – the sci-fi dream is now a reality. You can also stream Apple Music to the device, giving you one more reason to leave your phone at home. Performance-wise, the processor has seen a 70% speed boost, and the new W2 wireless chip is far faster and more power efficient. All that, yet the case is still the same slimline size. Apple is introducing new colours and bands, plus a new dark grey colour for the high-end ceramic model. @macformat

Accessories STORE GUIDE

BEST BUYS… Curated picks of third-party kit MONITOR



ViewSonic VP2772

Philips 328P6VJEB

Freecom mSSD MAXX 512GB




If you’re not fussed about 4K but still want exceptional image quality, this IPS display is truly superb. It offers 99% coverage of the Adobe RGB colour space, 10-bit colour and a 2560x1440-pixel resolution. It has HDMI 1.4, DVI and Mini DisplayPort connections, and four USB 3.0 ports for expansion.

We love this display. At 32 inches diagonally it’s big enough to make its 4K resolution worthwhile, and its colour rendering is excellent – 100% of sRGB, 93% of Adobe RGB and 97% of the P3 gamut that Apple’s new MacBook Pro uses. It’s big, bold, beautiful and superb for productivity and colour work alike.

This drive is the fastest portable SSD we’ve ever tested. Freecom claims its write speeds can reach 700MB/sec, but in our tests it blazed past that to reach 713.8MB/ sec write speeds and 907.3MB/sec read speeds, thanks to its USB 3.1 Gen 2 capability. It’s costly, but worth it if you feel the need for speed.




Drobo 5D3

D-Link AC3200 (DIR-890L)

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3




Being a tri-band router, this blows every other router we’ve seen out of the water when it comes to speed. We saw speeds of 600Mbps between two Macs in the same room. Wi-Fi speeds hit up to 3.2Gbps, so its three channels mean it’s no slouch there either. It’s costly, but is a worthy investment if speed is your thing.

The winner of MF317’s head-to-head review introduces a whole new level of connectivity to your Mac. Equipped with two Thunderbolt 3 ports for blazingly fast file transfers, plus many more ports, you won’t be lacking options to hook up your devices. And it can even charge the latest 15-inch MacBook Pro.

With two blazing fast Thunderbolt 3 ports and a 5Gbps USB-C port to boot, the Drobo 5D3 can provide you with rapid file transfers to and from your Mac. You can load it up with up to five HDDs or SSDs of differing capacities, giving you plenty of flexibility for storage options. It’s pricey, but a worthy investment.




Epson Eco-Tank ET-2600

Netatmo Presence

STM Kings




The Eco-Tank ET-2600 has a fairly high cost, but its innovative cartridge-free design will save you a ton of money in the long run. It’s got a scanner and copier, plus Wi-Fi and USB connectivity. Replacement inks are cheap, working out at a mere 0.2p per page for mono text, and just 0.35p per page for colour.

The Netatmo Presence is an impressive outdoor security camera. Set in a sturdy housing, it’s built to defy the elements. It has a builtin floodlight to deter intruders, and a 100° field of view recorded in 1080p. There’s also an SD card included, making it easy to store and access your footage.

Your MacBook needs protection, and the STM Kings backpack is the best way to guarantee that. Winner of this month’s group test, it cleverly suspends your MacBook away from the floor to prevent bumps. With loads of storage, comfortable straps and a snazzy design, it’s a great all-rounder. @macformat


STORE GUIDE Accessories

BEST BUYS… Curated picks of third-party kit DESKTOP SPEAKER



Kef Egg

Libratone Zipp

Pioneer XDP-30R




With rich, warm sound that works with pretty much any genre, the KEF Egg speakers are ideal partners for your Mac. They support high-quality AptX Bluetooth too, making them perfect for wireless playback. Quirky design, solid build quality and support for external subwoofers makes them a great choice.

Want a multiroom audio system in your home? This is your best option, hands down. It cleaned up in MF309’s group test, scoring five stars in every test category. From top-notch sound to tons of great features, the Zipp is a superb choice. It even boasts AirPlay for great integration with Macs and iOS devices.

Love music as much as we do? Then you’ll want to get your mitts on one of these. It plays high-res audio files, and absolutely blows MP3 files out of the water. One listen will change the way you hear your audio tracks and, unlike other high-res audio players, it’s reasonably priced. It really will rock your world.


Pioneer Rayz Plus £138 If you own an iPhone 7, you’ll know the struggle of trying to listen to music and charge your phone at the same time. These in- ear Lightning headphones solve that, thanks to their built-in charging port. They’ve also got great audio quality, excellent noise cancellation and will pause your tunes when removed from your ears.



Apple iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case £79 Despite that sillylooking hump on its back, the official battery case for the iPhone 7 is rather impressive. It’s easy to fit, the buttons feel great, and the soft inner lining protects against scratches. It isn’t the largest capacity case, yet it has more than enough juice for busy days, and the bump is surprisingly comfy.



GoPro Hero5 Black £380 We looked at GoPro’s new flagship action cam this issue, and it coloured us impressed. GoPro has finally improved its cam’s usability, and its a cinch to get starte d with the Hero5 Black. Add in superb 4K video quality plus a great range of shooting options and you’ve got a hugely powerful


Transcend DrivePro 230

Blue Microphones Raspberry

Garmin Vivoactive HR




Dash cams help record what happens when you drive – useful if you’re in an RTC. If you’re in the market for one, this cam is one of the best. Packed with Wi-Fi, GPS logging, Full HD video and a night view as well, you get an awful lot for your money. There’s even a free 16GB memory card included in the box.

Don’t be fooled by this mic’s small form factor; it punches hugely above its weight. Its close-up sound is intimate and bassy, and brings out the best in any voice. No matter whether you’re recording an interview, creating a podcast or just jamming with your band, its clarity and depth makes it easy to recommend.

Packed full of tracking features for a host of sports, and filled with genuinely insightful metrics, this is a fitness smartwatch for nearly any occasion. Its battery will last you days, perfect for the odd weekend hiking trip. With all this, it’s not hard to see why it won MF308’s group test.

102 | MACFORMAT | NOVEMBER 2017 @macformat


BEST BUYS… Curated picks of third-party apps PHOTO EDITOR (MAC)



Affinity Photo

Final Cut Pro X 10.3

RapidWeaver 7




It’s hard not to love Affinity Photo. Whether you’re fancy yourself a seasoned pro or a photo novice, you will find it powerful and easy to use. Its interface has the perfect blend of ease of use and quick access to powerful features, and its useful batch processing is a great addition. An app that packs both power and practicality for less than £50? Sign us up!

Apple’s Final Cut Pro has always been a good option for video editors, but the latest version makes it even better. It introduces ‘roles’, which can be colour-coded to make your timeline’s components easier to navigate, something that’s further boosted by the streamlined interface. It supports the Touch Bar, too, plus wide colour on the new MacBook Pro.

Ever since Apple stopped updating iWeb, Mac users have been searching for the ideal replacement. Well look no further – it’s RapidWeaver. Don’t know code? No worries, RapidWeaver lets you design visually if you want to. You can build any type of page and publish to any type of platform, and extend its functions with thousands of addons.






djay Pro




Different people often need different things from a writing app, but Scrivener handles so many things expertly. The winner of MF319’s group test has templates for scripts, short stories, novels and much more, allowing you to quickly get stuck in. That means it’s great value for money given its unrivalled flexibility. It’s the writer’s writing tool.

Moom is the window manager that should be built into macOS. Hover over any window’s green zoom button and Moom’s controls appear, so you can quickly make it fill a full, half or quarter screen. It also features handy window snapping – just drag a window to the edge of the screen to snap it in place. It’s powerful, but so easy to use.

When it comes to making music on your Mac, djay Pro is our favourite app by far. It comes with everything you need to make amazing professional music, from coloured waveforms to a four-deck view and even true-to-life grooves on the virtual records. It integrates neatly with Spotify, and its MacBook Pro Touch Bar integration is very handy.





Fantastical 2


Free, £10 per month (Premium)

£49 (Mac), £5 (iPhone)


Despite strong competition from the likes of Tidal, Apple Music and Amazon, Spotify is our top musicstreaming choice. It hits all the right notes, from its fair price to its curated playlists. Its library is one of the largest on the market, and its interface is simple and straightforward to use. And, unlike Apple Music and Tidal, it has a free tier as well.

If you find your calendar and reminders are getting out of control, Fantastical is the app for you. It supports natural language entry, so that you can enter events and reminders as you would speak and Fantastical will get to work. It’s got a nifty menu bar window, plus a great interface, clever calendar management and a powerful iOS app to boot.

Feeling inbox anxiety? The solution could be Spark, a free email app for Mac and iOS. It’s centred on a ‘smart inbox’, which prioritises your emails based on importance – no more losing that vital work email among a sea of spam. You can snooze emails and be reminded of them later, and search via natural language too. And to top it all off, it’s free. @macformat


PHOTO STREAM Shot of the month

GET ON INSTAGRAM Share your images with us by using the hashtag #MacFormat and we’ll print the best here in the magazine. While you’re there, follow @MacFormat (Twitter) and @MacFormatUK (Instagram).

Now that’s a lighthouse! Beacon of the beach BY IANCARNEW

Lighthouses are so symbolic as beacons of our rugged coastline, and Ian Carnew has given this Grade II listed one at Burnham-on-Sea the kind of atmospheric photography it deserves. We’re loving the choice of moody mono for the shot, with the different glints of light on the water, the building itself and its visitors. Hmm. Anyone fancy bunking off for a trip to the seaside this afternoon…? Share your pics with us using the hashtag #MacFormat on Instagram. In each issue we’ll pick our favourites to feature on this page.


1 Open an Instagram account. 2 Follow @MacFormatUK (of course). 3 Take a picture of, or with, your Apple kit. 4 Share it on Instagram or Twitter. 5 Use the hashtag #MacFormat. 6 Feel the warm glow of an appreciative Apple community. 7 See if you made it onto the pages of this very magazine! 8 Repeat. @macformat

MacFormat, Future, Quay House, The Ambury Bath, BA1 1UA Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244

Declutter your Mac NEXT ISSUE

To email, enter EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief GRAHAM BARLOW Art Editor PAUL BLACHFORD Operations Editor JO MEMBERY Commissioning Editor ALEX BLAKE CONTRIBUTORS EDITORIAL: Gareth Beavis, Matt Bolton, David Chartier, Nate Drake, Ian Evenden, Tom Gorham, Dan Grabham, Craig Grannell, Tim Hardwick, Spencer Hart, Kenny Hemphill, Cliff Joseph, Howard Oakley, Nick Peers, Dave Stevenson, Alan Stonebridge, Luis Villazon ART: Apple, Future Photo Studio ADVERTISING Commercial Sales Director CLARE DOVE Senior Advertising Manager LARA JAGGON Director of Agency Sales MATT DOWNS Advertising Director JOHN BURKE Head of Strategic Partnerships CLARE JONIK Advertising Manager MICHAEL PYATT Account Sales Manager ANDREW TILBURY INTERNATIONAL LICENSING MacFormat is available for licensing. Contact the international licensing department to discuss partnership opportunities… International Licensing Director MATT ELLIS PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS & BACK ISSUES Web Email Tel 0844 848 2852 CIRCULATION Circulation Director DARREN PEARCE Tel +44 (0)1202 586200 PRINT & PRODUCTION Head of Production UK & US MARK CONSTANCE Production Project Manager CLARE SCOTT Advertising Production Manager JOANNE CROSBY Digital Editions Controller JASON HUDSON Production Manager FRANCES TWENTYMAN MANAGEMENT Finance & Operations Director ANGIE LYONS-REDMAN Creative Director, Magazines AARON ASADI Art & Design Director ROSS ANDREWS Editorial Director PAUL NEWMAN Senior Art Editor JO GULLIVER PRINTED BY William Gibbons, 28 Planetary Rd, Wilenhall, WV13 3XT Tel: 01902 730011 DISTRIBUTED BY Marketforce, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HU Tel: 0203 787 9060


PRINT 13,634 DIGITAL 9,387 Jan–Dec 2016 A member of the Audited Bureau of Circulations

DECLUTTER YOUR MAC!  Get back space  Speed up usage  Be more organised

Face to face with iPhone X Our verdict on Apple’s big leap forward

ALSO INSIDE… Make a virtual machine for free on your Mac Improve your Photoshop skills Optimise your images Discover the hidden features of High Sierra … and more!




* Contents subject to change

All contents © 2017 Future Publishing Limited or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents, subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions. ISSN 0968-3305

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Apple Watch history The evolution of the world’s leading smartwatch


t September’s Apple Event which saw the launch of the iPhone X, Apple CEO Tim Cook described the Apple Watch as “the number one watch in the world” after it overtook Rolex. Apple hasn’t released any sales figures for Apple Watch, but the estimates assume about 33 million units sold since launch, April 2015 and it has a 97% customer Pre-orders for the satisfaction rating. Here’s Apple Watch started the story of Apple Watch. on the 10 April, but the official release date was 24 April.

The Bling Edition The Apple Watch Edition originally came with an 18 carat gold option that retailed for between $10,000 and $17,000, putting Apple into the premium watch market. It caused quite a stir when it was first released but was taken off sale in September 2016, and the Edition name now only refers to a ceramic version of the Apple Watch, which retails for a much more modest £1,299. It appears that Apple’s ambitions to enter the high-end luxury watch market have retreated. How much? The Veblen effect was short-lived. Thankfully.


Introduced as “the next chapter in Apple’s story” by Tim Cook, the Apple Watch wowed the crowd at the iPhone 6 launch event.

September 2015


September 2015

Later in the month, watchOS 2.0 was released bringing more features and functionality, including a Facebook Messenger app and more customisable Apple Watch faces. 2016

Apple launched a new collection in collaboration with Hermès. The Apple Watch Hermès, had a stainless steel body with finely crafted leather bands in distinctive styles from Hermès, including the Single Tour, Double Tour and Cuff models.

September 2017


September 2016

The faster watchOS 3.0 was released at the same time as the Apple Watch Series 2 and featured a new dock and an expanded Control Centre.

Not the iWatch Back in the heady days of 2013, speculation was rife that Apple’s new watch would be called the iWatch, as this name was a better fit with existing product lines, but this plan was scuppered because of trademark conflicts in several territories. While iWatch was a more natural fit for the Apple Watch, trademark conflicts prevented it.

March 2016

At a special Apple Event the price of the Sports models was cut by $50 and new coloured bands were announced.

September 2016

Apple released the Apple Watch Series 2. It featured water resistance to 50 metres, a 2x brighter display, as well as GPS. At the same time Apple also released an updated version of the Series 1, with a faster processor and a lower starting price.

September 2014

The Apple Watch Series 3 and watchOS 4 are released. The big feature is the new LTE cellular option for both voice and data communication without the need for an iPhone. watchOS 4 features an updated Heart Rate app and Workout app.

World’s number one Market domination is becoming a familiar theme for Apple. While the company is notoriously shy about releasing sales figures for Apple Watch, it has confirmed that it is the number one watch in the world, and reliable sources estimate it has probably sold about 33 million units. With the release of the new Apple Watch Series 3 we only expect its market share to grow. Apple Watch has become the world’s number one watch.


NEXT ISSUE ON SALE Tuesday 21 November 2017