Cash App Pay integrates with Google Play to offer ‘next gen consumers more choice’

Cash App Pay has integrated with Google Play to give consumers another option when buying stuff online. This will be especially useful for Android users, as Google Play is baked right into the OS. Cash App says this partnership will give “next gen consumers more choice” and the company specifically called out the gaming space.

Cash App users will be able to pull money from a pre-existing balance or via a linked debit card to pay for stuff on Google Play. Cash App currently has four million monthly active users and the company claims to have added one million new users each quarter for the last year. That’s a lot of new people flowing into Google’s ecosystem.

To use Cash App on an Android device, just select the payment method when checking out on Google Play. Obviously, new users should download the app and make an account before all of that.

The Cash App integration, however, extends beyond Europe and Google already allows PayPal as an option in most countries. Also, Android developers who distribute apps on the Google Play store Google’s parent company Alphabet is considered a gatekeeper under the DMA and one of the mandates of the legislation is that these organizations must allow for alternative payment methods. 

The Cash App integration, however, extends beyond Europe and Google already allowed PayPal as an option in most countries. Also, Android developers who distribute apps on the Google Play store can already use an array of third-party payment systems in Europe, to comply with the DMA. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

iOS 18 preview: Waiting on Apple Intelligence for the true upgrade

iOS 18 has landed in public beta and Apple is offering up more control, yet again, of the layout of your iPhone. However, Apple Intelligence, the most exciting upgrade, is conspicuously (but unsurprisingly) absent.

The update also improves several native apps, such as Photos, Messages (RCS! Gasp!) and Notes, although Apple Intelligence will add even more features and tricks. While we all wait for the ability to generate our own emojis, there is still plenty to explore. It’s just a little drier than what Apple teased at WWDC.

You can access the iOS preview by enrolling on Apple’s website, which will nudge the beta to your iPhone’s Software Update section. As always, remember to back up your iPhone first and ensure it’s compatible. (iOS 18 works on 2018’s iPhone XS and XR and newer phones.)

Beyond app folders and widgets, iOS 18 adds further functional and aesthetic customization. Alongside a new Dark look, you can tint all of them in a color of your choosing. Unlike previous dark modes on iOS, this time it also ‘dims’ individual app icons to keep it consistent with the darker theme. You can also have iOS choose the color for you, basing its recommendation on your iPhone’s wallpaper. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is very similar to Material You, which Google introduced to Android in 2021.

You can also increase the size of the app icons ever so slightly, without reducing the number you can pack into a single pane. Doing so does strip away the text labels, so you better be sure you know, without words, which app icon is which. And, in a thrilling move for tens of pedants everywhere, you can move your icons outside a left-aligned, top-to-bottom snap grid. Do you want the Safari icon floating in the bottom right corner, all alone? You can do that now.

iOS 18 also brings two new ways to secure your apps. You can assign an app as locked or hidden. Locking an app will require FaceID access, useful perhaps for Photos or a plethora of other apps if you often share your phone with children. Doing sp will also mean information from there won’t appear or bubble around other parts of iOS, like searches and notifications. You can also choose to hide the app, which nudges it into a dedicated folder, locked away behind FaceID.

Apple has also refreshed its control panel and dropdown menu for settings. Similar to when iOS introduced widgets a few years ago, there is now a dedicated control gallery to add smart home shortcuts, launch timers and more.

This had the potential to clutter up the control panel, but Apple has divided this into four different tabs. While you can tap on the little icons to the side to leap to a specific section, you can also access all of them in a single continuous scroll. Your most used features can live at the top, and other sections pull together your smart home controls, entertainment playback and connectivity. Have you lost your hotspot shortcut? It’s here. All the controls are also resizeable to prioritize the most crucial ones.

Finally, you can now customize the iOS lock screen controls, too. If you never use the flashlight, you can swap it out for something more practical, like a timer, or even act as a shortcut to Shazam in a pinch.

iOS 18 preview
Photo by Mat Smith/Engadget

RCS (Rich Communication Services) has landed on the iPhone, or at least on those running iOS 18. It pulls together advanced text features, like support for richer images, larger file attachments, voice notes, group chat, read receipts and more. But you got all those through iMessage on iOS, making RCS sound a little uneventful.

However, if your friends are divided across Android and iOS, you can start using Messages like other third-party messaging apps. Does it have all the features of WhatsApp? No. Does it do everything you can in iMessage? No.

But it will help. For example, with RCS, you can send messages over Wi-Fi without a phone signal. I’ve had issues before when running late for appointments, trapped on the metro with no signal, unable to text to let the other person know. RCS means those messages will send if you latch on to a passing Wi-Fi network.

There are more advances beyond RCS. You can also schedule text messages, like you might already do on work chat apps and email. If you’re into Apple’s recently introduced message tapbacks (emoji reactions), you can now do so with any emoji, including your own Live Stickers based on your photos and images. For even more expression, iOS 18 also adds italics, bold, underline and strikethrough formatting, and a family of cute word animations that feel like WordArt come to life. It’s silly, it’s frothy, it’s pointless. I love it.

iOS 18 preview
Photo by Mat Smith/Engadget

Apple has hidden away some major changes to how it structures its photos app, reflecting the fact that many of us have had iPhones (and photo libraries) for over a decade and a half. And we’re not going to look at all of those pictures. We’re likely not even going to look at most of them. In iOS 18, Apple has ditched the tabs for “Library,” “For You,” “Albums” and “Search.” Instead of your latest photos, screenshots and videos taking up the majority of the screen, you’ll see some space carved out for your latest content, curated albums, memories and more.

It’s a divisive approach, but I think your reaction will depend on how you interact with your photos. I know where my favorite photos are or how to find them, but other people in my life are often pleasantly surprised when services and devices can auto-curate an album of photos from a day out or a vacation. This redesign seems aimed at them.

And what about Apple Intelligence? Eventually, it will add some additional tricks, like Cleanup, which can help erase any unwanted objects in your photos. It’s a feature that Pixel (and Galaxy) phone users have enjoyed for a while, and still, we await the arrival of Apple Intelligence to be able to test this. For more on what’s coming to your gallery in iOS 18, check out my colleague Cherlynn’s detailed article on what Apple’s done to the Photos app.

If you’re a daily Notes app user (yes, I’m guilty), there are some nice advances in iOS 18, too. You can now transcribe conversations and meetings directly into the app. At the time of my testing, you’ll have to ensure your iPhone is set to US English and US as a region for the transcription icon, shown in the image above, to appear.

We also get Math Notes, which can be accessed through the Notes app and from the calculator. Here, you can write out sums and calculations and your iPhone will solve them. It’ll even remember figures for future calculations. It feels niche, but there’s some definite utility here, perhaps if you’re looking to add up a vacation budget or DIY project.

Notes’ new collapsable subheadings proved more useful for me. I have several lengthy Note files, and now I can organize them better and not have to search for specific words to find what I need.

Apple brings a similar approach to its Reader on Safari, which can add a table of contents and even attempt to summarize an article before you even get your teeth into it. Meandering recipe intros: you may have been put on notice. But I say “may“ because as of this writing, I haven’t been able to test this on any sites I’ve visited.

There’s also a new Passwords app, which, in a lot of ways, is just an easier way to access your iCloud passwords instead of diving into your iPhone’s settings. The app divides your passwords into different categories like accounts, codes, Wi-Fi networks and Passkeys, and, wisely, will support the iCloud for Windows app and a Chrome extension. You can also share password collections with visitors, friends or family.

Apple continues to tentatively develop its smart home features within iOS 18, too. It’s adding express mode to automatically unlock connected doors as you approach — as long as you have your iPhone (or Apple Watch) on you. Meanwhile, Apple has created a guest access tab so you can grant access to parts of your smart home and even schedule the times a garage door, say, stays unlocked, perhaps for a package delivery.

iOS 18 preview
Photo by Mat Smith/Engadget

My early impressions of iOS 18 are more limited than I wanted them to be. Apple Intelligence and most of its exciting features teased at WWDC, are not part of this public beta. Without those, iOS 18 feels more like iOS 17.5. There are more features, but most of them are incremental.

RCS is finally here, adding more functionality to cross-OS text messaging (and possibly worrying the likes of WhatsApp) while elsewhere, Apple focuses on upgrading and enhancing its native apps. The company made some... interesting choices. In iOS 18, even Calculator is getting beefed up, with Math Notes, calculation history, and a new scientific calculator view.

The public beta is relatively stable, so it’s easy to recommend to those looking for early access to the latest iPhone features. However, without Apple Intelligence, drawing more meaningful conclusions on iOS 18 will have to wait.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Microsoft releases iOS and Android apps for Designer, its AI-powered Canva competitor

Microsoft has officially released its Designer platform for AI image generation. After a long preview phase, Designer is now available to most people with a Microsoft account. Designer can be used on the web in more than 80 languages, as a mobile app for iOS and Android, and as a Windows app. You can create a brand new visual from the ground up with AI, or use Designer to edit and tweak a picture you've already made. There are plenty of templates available to guide the creation of common image types, like a greeting card, smartphone wallpaper or a profile avatar. More experienced artists can also build everything from scratch, developing their own templates and using their own art.

While Designer can be used on its own, Microsoft is promoting its integration with the company’s other services. Thanks to the company's Copilot AI chatbot, Designer images can be easily linked up to Microsoft Word and PowerPoint projects. Of course, taking full advantage of that will require a Copilot Pro subscription.

If you've used Canva, then Designer will feel very familiar. The service takes a very similar approach to its user experience and now also has some AI options. According to details from when Microsoft first announced the app back in 2022, Designer is integrated with OpenAI's image generator DALL-E. Copilot already has DALL-E 3 integration, as well as ChatGPT 4 Turbo, so it makes sense that Designer will sync up with those existing services.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Anthropic’s Claude chatbot is now an Android app

Anthropic announced that its Claude chatbot is now available as an Android app. After introducing the platform’s free iOS app in May, Android owners can now also play with the company's AI on their mobile devices. The Android app is free and works with both the Pro and Team plans for paid users. Conversations with Claude can happen across hardware, with both of the mobile apps and the web version connected to each other.

This platform is one of several large-language model AI chatbots currently available to the public. OpenAI and its ChatGPT tool have attracted the lion's share of attention. ChatGPT is already available in both Android and iOS app form, and it underlies many features of the new Apple Intelligence. However, it's possible that Claude may have more powerful skills. According to Anthropic, the Claude 3 version of the platform performed better than both ChatGPT and Google's Gemini on some important benchmarks. The Claude 3 Opus version scored top marks in March and the Sonnet 3.5 version did the same in June. We always need to take that kind of comparison from one of the companies in question with many grains of salt. But even the leaps between the Sonnet and Opus over the course of a few months do appear to be impressive.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

How to install the macOS Sequoia public beta

About a month after Apple announced it at WWDC 2024, macOS Sequoia is available to test-drive as a public beta. Although we don’t recommend installing it on your primary Mac, here’s how to get the 2024 version of macOS up and running ahead of its official rollout in the fall.

First, you’ll need a recent Mac to run the Sequoia public beta. Apple’s software supports the following models:

You’ll notice that list still includes (up to) the last few generations of Intel Macs, so Apple may still be several years away from requiring Apple Silicon for its latest software. However, Apple Intelligence, which isn’t yet included in the beta, will require a Mac with an M-series chip when it’s available.

Overhead view of an open MacBook Pro with an orange external hard drive plugged in (left).

Macs don’t have automatic iCloud system backups like iOS devices, so you’ll want to back up your Mac with Time Machine before installing.

We can’t stress enough how crucial this step is. Some apps and system features you rely on may be buggy or broken in the beta, and downgrading back to macOS Sonoma (the current version) will wipe all your data. A Time Machine backup lets you restore your system to where it was before you began tinkering, so do that before going anywhere near Sequoia.

To back up with Time Machine, plug an external disk into your Mac, navigate to System Settings > Time Machine, add a backup disk and follow the instructions. It may take at least several hours, depending on how much data you’re using (and whether you’ve backed up recently). But it’s worth it for peace of mind.

If you’ve never registered your Apple account for the Apple Beta Software Program, you’ll need to start by heading to Apple’s website in Safari, signing up, and agreeing to the terms.

Afterward, head to System Settings > General > Software Update, and click “i” next to Beta Updates. In the pop-up window, choose “Off,” which brings up a menu. Choose macOS Sequoia Public Beta. Press “done” in the pop-up window, wait for it to check for updates, and follow the prompts in the Software Update screen to install the pre-release software.

Grid showcasing various features in macOS Sequoia with the software’s logo in the center tile.

macOS Sequoia adds iPhone Mirroring, which lets you view and control your nearby iPhone from your Mac (as long as you’re logged into the same Apple account). This feature seems handy to check or reply to something while leaving your phone in your pocket or on a charger.

Apple Intelligence won’t be available in betas until the fall. But when it arrives, Macs with M-series chips will get system-wide AI writing tools, including rewriting, proofreading and summarizing text. It also includes (opt-in) ChatGPT integration and a new tool called Image Playground that generates AI images in various styles.

Siri in Sequoia also gets an AI-infused upgrade, which could help the feature fulfill its promise as a truly conversational assistant. (You may have noticed it currently falls well short of that.) Other Sequoia features include a new window arrangement tool, a Passwords app (replacing and enhancing the existing iCloud Keychain and Safari password management) and AI-generated summaries in Safari.

The final version of macOS Sequoia will arrive this fall, either around the same time or soon after Apple launches iOS 18 and new iPhones.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

How to install the iOS 18 public beta

Now that it’s available, you can test-drive Apple’s iOS 18 public beta before the software’s official arrival this fall. Here’s everything you need to know about setting up the iOS 18 (along with iPadOS 18 and watchOS 11) beta.

First, remember that, as its “beta” name implies, this is pre-release software that will likely reveal itself as such in ways that frustrate and annoy you. Some third-party apps may be broken (banking apps especially), and plenty of Apple’s features may be inconsistent or buggy until the company irons out the kinks in future updates. 

We don’t recommend installing it on any device you use as your main one—or at least not if you aren’t willing to accept some risks and compromises.

You’ll need a recent iPhone to try the public beta. For iOS 18, that means the following models:

  • iPhone 15

  • iPhone 15 Plus

  • iPhone 15 Pro

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max

  • iPhone 14

  • iPhone 14 Plus

  • iPhone 14 Pro

  • iPhone 14 Pro Max

  • iPhone 13

  • iPhone 13 mini

  • iPhone 13 Pro

  • iPhone 13 Pro Max

  • iPhone 12

  • iPhone 12 mini

  • iPhone 12 Pro

  • iPhone 12 Pro Max

  • iPhone 11

  • iPhone 11 Pro

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max

  • iPhone XS

  • iPhone XS Max

  • iPhone XR

  • iPhone SE (2nd generation or later)

If you own anything before that, you’re out of luck. But considering this year’s software covers models stretching as far back as 2018, you’d need a pretty dated phone not to have the option.

Installing the beta is much easier than it used to be. First, if you’ve never installed an iOS public beta before, you’ll need to visit the Apple Beta Software Program website and enroll your Apple account.

After that, navigate to Settings > General > Software Update on your iPhone. Choose the option for “iOS 18 public beta.” Then, return to the Software Update screen, and you should see the option to install the beta software.

Here are the supported models for the iPadOS 18 beta:

  • iPad Pro (M4)

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)

  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later)

  • iPad Air (M2)

  • iPad Air (3rd generation and later)

  • iPad (7th generation and later)

  • iPad mini (5th generation and later)

If you haven’t already signed up for it above, you’ll need to visit the Apple Beta Software Program website and enroll your Apple account. (If you’ve ever signed up for a public beta, you can likely skip that step.)

Next, navigate to Settings > General > Software Update on your iPad. Choose the option for “iPadOS 18 public beta.” Then, return to the Software Update screen, and you should see the option to install the beta software.

Apple Watch beta software carries greater risk. If something isn’t working well and you want to downgrade to watchOS 10, you’re out of luck because you’re stuck there. And if you downgrade its paired iPhone to iOS 17, your Apple Watch won’t work correctly with your phone until it’s back on iOS 18. (However, you can leave your Apple Watch on watchOS 10 when your phone is on iOS 18. That route is much less risky.)

In other words, don’t update to watchOS 11 unless you’re sure you’re comfortable with the risk of being out of a working Apple Watch for months. Even then, think twice.

You’ll need one of the following models to run the watchOS 11 beta:

  • Apple Watch SE (2nd generation)

  • Apple Watch Series 6

  • Apple Watch Series 7

  • Apple Watch Series 8

  • Apple Watch Series 9

  • Apple Watch Ultra

  • Apple Watch Ultra 2

If you’re comfortable with the risks for your Apple Watch and want to install the watchOS 11 beta, you’ll first need to have already updated your paired iPhone to the iOS 18 beta (see above).

After that, make sure your Apple Watch is paired to your iOS 18-running phone and open the Watch app on your iPhone. Then, navigate to General > Software Update, and choose the watchOS 11 public beta. After doing that, the beta software should be available to download.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Apple’s iOS 18, iPadOS 18, macOS Sequoia and watchOS 11 public betas are ready to download

Apple’s first 2024 public betas have arrived. You can now install early builds of iOS 18, iPadOS 18, watchOS 11 and macOS Sequoia to preview Apple’s software updates before their official arrival this fall. You just need to enroll your Apple ID (soon-to-be Apple Account) in the Apple Beta Software Program to join the pre-release fun.

Although it won’t be available in beta until the fall, Apple’s take on generative AI — Apple Intelligence (get it?) — is the common thread in this year’s updates. Intertwined in each platform’s 2024 software, Apple Intelligence is a blend of on-device and cloud processing, and it includes optional ChatGPT integration. It adds a new superpowered Siri, Safari highlights and summaries, writing tools and much more.

As for what you will see in the first public beta, iOS 18 gives you more control over your Home Screen. You can place apps and widgets on any open spot on your screen and even change app icon colors, personalizing your phone with a unified aesthetic. The Control Center also gets a redesign, with easier access to your most used toggles, including new customizations. In addition, Photos gets its biggest overhaul to date, and Messages includes new formatting and effects.

Apple collage showing various features from iPadOS 18

Meanwhile, iPadOS 18 carries over many of those same changes while adding a native Calculator app for the first time and smart handwriting features.

Much more than a port of the iOS version, the Calculator app includes a new Math Notes feature for the Apple Pencil (or keyboard) that can evaluate expressions, assign variables and plot graphs in real-time: Type an equals sign, and Math Notes solves the problem. In parallel, the Smart Script tool in the Notes app can smooth out your sloppy handwriting (while still looking like your penmanship) as you write, and you can turn recordings into searchable live audio transcriptions.

macOS Sequoia adds iPhone Mirroring, letting you view and control your phone’s screen from your Mac. A new Passwords app pulls your stored credentials out of iCloud Keychain and Safari’s settings and into a standalone app. (That S.O.S. call you hear is from 1Password’s developers.) Window Tiling lets you “magnetically” snap windows into various grid patterns, similar to Microsoft’s Snap tiling feature in Windows 11. Finally, new video call features let you replace your background with built-in images or personal photos.

Three Apple Watches with the Vitals app on their screens, showing sleep changes.

watchOS 11 lets you pause your daily Activity Rings when you need a break (like when you’re sick, injured or have other disruptions) without losing your streaks. You can also change your goals based on the day of the week and customize which metric the Fitness app shows. A new Vitals app expands on sleep tracking to show you at a glance whether any of your overnight metrics deviate from your norm. And a training load tool gauges how your workout intensity may affect your body over time.

If you’ve never installed an Apple software update with the Apple account you use on your devices, head to the Apple Beta Software Program website to register it. Then, navigate to Settings > General > Software Update on your device, choose the Beta Updates menu, select the Public Beta option and install the update on the Software Update screen.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

YouTube Music’s latest features include ‘hum to search’ and AI-generated conversational radio

YouTube Music is rolling out some fun new features, including the expansion of the “hum to search” tool that has been in beta for Android users since March. The company says this tool allows users to “search the YouTube Music catalog of over 100 million official songs” by using natural sound.

All you have to do is tap “search” and look for the waveform icon. Then it’s up to you. The tool lets people hum the song, sing the song or even play the song on another instrument. The feature is rolling out to YouTube music subscribers on both iOS and Android.

It’s also been working on something called AI-generated conversational radio. This isn’t a platform in which AI DJs take jobs away from Wolfman Jack or whatever. Rather, it’s a tool that lets people use natural conversation to describe the type of radio station they want to listen to. The algorithm will take in that information and create some tailor-made radio. This is sort of like Spotify’s AI DJ from a while back, but the conversational element should make the algorithm zero in on your exact tastes as described.

The bad news? It’s only available to select subscribers at this point, as it's in a testing phase. If successful, it should roll out to more users in the coming months. After all, YouTube first announced the “hum to search” tool in March and its already becoming widely available.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Prime Day 2024: Get the Dyson Airwrap for $125 off

Prime Day deals have brought a number of steep discounts to our favorite gadgets, and one of the best is on the Dyson Airwrap. This exclusive bundle for the hair tool is a whopping $125 off for Amazon Prime Day, bringing it down to $550. This is one of the most popular pieces of beauty tech as of late, so much so that it can be hard to get your hands on it because it frequently goes in and out of stock. Now's a good time to grab it if it's been on your wishlist.

In addition to the Airwrap and its storage case, the bundle includes six attachments: two long barrels, three brushes and the Coanda smoothing dryer, plus a filter cleaning brush, a detangling comb and another storage bag. That's enough to achieve a bunch of different hairstyles with one tool, and you get a couple of ways to store the machine when you're not using it or when you need to travel with it.

For the uninitiated, the Dyson Airwrap gained popularity due to the fact that it doesn't use extreme heat to style hair. It instead uses the Coanda effect, which describes airflow's tendency to follow a curved surface, to wrap, dry and style hair all at once. How you do so specific depends on the attachment you're using, be it a barrel or a brush.

The Airwrap does use heat, to be clear, but Dyson claims the device intelligently monitors heat to keep it at the optimal temperature. It should never go above 302 degrees Fahrenheit, and that should be less damaging for your hair as opposed to using standard hot tools.

If history is any indication, the Airwrap could quickly go out of stock during a sale event like Prime Day. While $550 is still a lot to spend on any gadget, now is a good time to buy this bundle if you've had your eye on the beauty tool for a while.

Your Prime Day Shopping Guide: See all of our Prime Day coverage. Shop the best Prime Day deals on Yahoo Life. Follow Engadget for Prime Day tech deals. Hear from Autoblog’s experts on the best Amazon Prime Day deals for your car, garage, and home, and find Prime Day sales to shop on AOL, handpicked just for you.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

There’s finally a retro PC emulator on the App Store

The retro PC game emulator UTM SE is now available on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and Apple Vision Pro, marking the first time Apple has allowed a PC emulator for iOS onto its marketplace, per The Verge. UTM SE will let you run classic PC games, but you’ll first need to either download a pre-built virtual machine — several of which UTM offers for free on its website — or you can create your own from scratch.

Apple previously rejected UTM SE, but the team behind the app shared on X that it was able to move forward with a “JIT-less build” thanks to the help of another developer, so it could comply with Apple’s restrictions. The developers also said UTM SE would soon hit the alternative app marketplace AltStore PAL as well, which would open it up to users in the EU. “Shoutouts to AltStore team for their help and to Apple for reconsidering their policy,” the UTM team posted.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at