Xiaomi Mi A1 review: Best of both worlds

The Mi A1 is Xiaomi’s best budget phone yet.

Of the hundreds of phones sold in the budget segment every year, a mere handful of devices stand out: the Moto G series, for instance, along with the likes of Xiaomi’s Redmi Note phones, Lenovo’s K series, and Honor’s budget devices.

In 2017, that list is dominated by Xiaomi’s phones. The Redmi Note 4 continues to be one of the best devices in the sub-₹15,000 segment seven months after its launch, and the Redmi 4 and Redmi 4A offer excellent bang for your buck in the sub-₹10,000 tier. Then there’s the Mi Max 2, which for ₹16,999 offers a large 6.44-inch display backed by a gorgeous aluminum unibody design.

Xiaomi’s aggressive positioning in the budget segment allowed the brand to catapult up the rankings, with the manufacturer now the second-largest phone vendor in India. The Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 4 are two of the best-selling phones in the country this year, and with its latest phone, Xiaomi is set to consolidate its position in this category.

The Mi A1 is a great phone in its own right, but Xiaomi’s decision to partner with Google to deliver stock Android makes it a much more compelling option. A small but vocal minority of Xiaomi fans have been clamoring for a device with clean Android for some time now, and with the Mi A1, the brand has delivered just that.

Read on to find out why the Mi A1 is the best budget phone you can currently buy in India.

Xiaomi Mi A1 review

About this review

I (Harish Jonnalagadda) am writing this review after using the Mi A1 for two weeks in Hyderabad, India on Airtel’s 4G network. The phone runs Android 7.1.2 Nougat out of the box along with the August 1, 2017 security patch. The unit was provided to Android Central for review by Xiaomi India.

Xiaomi Mi A1 Specs

Category Spec
Operating System Android 7.1.2 Nougat
Display 5.5-inch IPS LCD 1920 x 1080 (403ppi)
Gorilla Glass, 2.5D curved glass
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
2.0GHz octa-core Cortex A53
14nm FinFET
GPU Adreno 506
RAM 4GB
Storage 64GB
Expandable Yes, up to 128GB
Battery 3080mAh
Charging USB-C
Rear Camera 1 12MP wide-angle (OmniVision OV12A10) f/2.2, 1.25-micron pixels
Dual tone flash, PDAF
4K@30FPS
Rear Camera 2 12MP telephoto (OmniVision OV13880) f/2.6, 1.1-micron pixels
Front Camera 5MP
1080p video
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.2
IR blaster, 3.5mm jack
GPS/AGPS, GLONASS, BeiDou
Audio 3.5mm headphone jack
Dedicated amplifier
Security One-touch fingerprint sensor at the back
SIM Dual SIM slot (hybrid slot)
Dimensions 155.4 x 75.8 x 7.3mm
165g
Colors Black, Gold, Rose Gold

Xiaomi Mi A1 review

Xiaomi Mi A1 Hardware

The Mi A1 is a rebranded variant of the Mi 5X, which sports an all-metal chassis with antenna lines at the top and bottom. There’s a clear difference in the design language between the Redmi series and phones in the Mi lineup, with the latter featuring a more refined aesthetic. As a result, the Mi A1 makes recent devices like the Redmi Note 4 look outdated.

The clean lines combined with the aluminum chassis gives the Mi A1 a premium look, and the build quality is outstanding. The phone comes with a 3.5mm jack, and unlike the Redmi Note 4, there’s a USB-C charging port at the bottom. The power and volume buttons at the back provide a decent amount of tactile feedback, and there’s an IR blaster located up top.

The back of the device is where things get interesting, with the Mi A1 sporting a dual camera setup. The configuration is the same as that of the Mi 6 — a primary sensor augmented by a secondary telephoto lens — but Xiaomi is using different imaging sensors.

The positioning of the dual camera to the top left corner coupled with Xiaomi’s decision to tuck the antenna bands at the top and bottom of the device means the Mi A1 has more than a passing resemblance to the OnePlus 5. There is a Mi logo and Android One signage at the bottom of the phone to inform the world that it isn’t in fact a OnePlus 5, and the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor also makes that abundantly clear.

The Mi A1 is Xiaomi’s best-looking phone in the budget segment thus far.

The fingerprint sensor is conveniently located such that your finger automatically rests on it, and it had no issues authenticating my fingerprints.

Switching over to the front, the first thing you notice is the bezels at the top and bottom, and if you’re picking up the gold color option, you’ll get a white front plate. The side bezels are narrow, which makes it easier to hold the phone, and the back button is in the wrong position for a phone running stock Android.

Xiaomi has a long history of offering decent LCD panels in its phones, and the situation is no different with the Mi A1. The 5.5-inch Full HD screen is one of the best in this segment, with excellent colors and viewing angles. The panel gets sufficiently bright that it isn’t an issue to view the contents on the screen under harsh sunlight.

Coming over to the hardware side of things, the Snapdragon 625 paired with stock Android makes the Mi A1 absolutely fly. You’re not going to notice any slowdowns or lags in everyday usage. It’s astonishing just how fluid the phone is at day-to-day tasks, whether it’s switching between apps, quickly launching the camera, or playing visually intensive games.

Xiaomi Mi A1 review

Battery life

Battery life on the Mi A1 is excellent. I was initially worried that the 3080mAh battery wouldn’t last a day, but I consistently got a day and a half’s worth of usage out of the battery.

Even on days when I was on cellular data throughout, I managed to get up to four hours of screen-on-time and overall battery life exceeding 20 hours. To put that into context, that’s nearly double what I averaged on the Pixel XL in similar conditions.

The one downside is the lack of a fast charging option. The Mi A1 tops out at 5V/2A, and it takes nearly two hours to fully charge the phone.

Xiaomi Mi A1 Nougat

Software

The software is what sets the Mi A1 apart from every other Xiaomi phone in the market today. The Chinese manufacturer teamed up with Google to offer the Mi A1 as a part of the Android One initiative, which means that for the first time, we’re getting to see a Xiaomi phone with stock Android.

Google’s first attempt with Android One failed miserably due to a combination of several factors. The phones were underwhelming and didn’t stand out in the entry-level segment where they were positioned, and Google didn’t do enough to advertize them to the masses. By partnering with Xiaomi, it is addressing those setbacks: the Mi A1 is one of the best-looking phones in the budget segment, and Xiaomi utterly dominates the mind share in markets like India, which ensures the phone gets plenty of visibility.

The software experience on the Mi A1 is on par with the Pixels and Nexus devices.

As for the software experience itself, it is in line with what you’d get on a Pixel or Nexus device. There’s a swipe up gesture to access the app drawer, Google Now occupies the left-most pane, and all interface elements are unchanged from stock Android.

The phone runs Android 7.1.2 Nougat out of the box, and has the August 1, 2017 security patch. You get all the features built into Nougat, including split-screen multitasking, in-line notification replies, app shortcuts, granular controls for Do Not Disturb, and more. Then there’s the ability to pull down the notification shade by swiping down on the fingerprint sensor, à la Pixel. There’s also a gesture to quickly launch the camera by double pressing the power button.

Overall, it’s a refreshing change to use a Xiaomi phone with stock Android. MIUI certainly has a lot to offer, but purists looking for an uncluttered experience finally have a device they can call their own.

Xiaomi Mi A1 review

Software updates

The only unknown when it comes to the software side of things is the update situation. Previous Android One devices have received updates directly from Google, but that will not be the case with the Mi A1. As the phone features a dual camera setup, Xiaomi has bundled its own Mi camera app instead of Google Camera. Xiaomi also pre-installed the Mi Remote app, which lets you use the IR blaster to control your TV, air con, or set-top box.

As a result of these additions, Xiaomi will be in charge of software updates for the Mi A1. The brand is committing to quick updates, and Google has stated that the phone will receive Oreo before the end of the year. Furthermore, the Mi A1 will be one of the first devices to pick up the Android P update next year.

Xiaomi Mi A1 review

Camera

The Mi A1 has two 12MP cameras at the back: the first is a wide-angle lens with 1.25-micron pixels and f/2.2, and the latter is a telephoto f/2.6 lens with 1.1-micron pixels that offers 2x optical zoom. The tagline for the Mi A1 is, “Flagship dual camera,” with Xiaomi alluding to the fact that the phone has the same camera configuration as the Mi 6.

Although Xiaomi is using different imaging sensors, the image quality you get with the Mi A1 is on par with that of the Mi 6, at least in daylight conditions.

Xiaomi Mi 6 cameraXiaomi Mi A1 camera

Mi 6 on the left, Mi A1 to the right.

Xiaomi Mi 6 cameraXiaomi Mi A1 camera

Xiaomi Mi 6 cameraXiaomi Mi A1 camera

Xiaomi Mi 6 cameraXiaomi Mi A1 camera

The Mi A1 managed to hold its own next to the Mi 6, and the phone outdid its costlier sibling in a few scenarios. That said, the Mi 6 is currently on a beta MIUI build whereas the Mi A1 is running a stable version of Android 7.1.2 Nougat.

The camera app itself should be immediately familiar if you’ve used a Xiaomi phone in the past. You get toggles for filters and easy access to various shooting modes, which include panorama, tilt shift, a square mode for Instagram, and others. There’s also a toggle for enabling the watermark, with resulting images featuring a “Shot on Mi A1” watermark in the bottom left corner.

Other options include the ability to switch between the primary imaging sensor and the telephoto lens via the 2x button, toggles for HDR, flash, portrait mode, switching between photo and video modes and the front and rear cameras. And yes, it still tries to guess your gender and age when you’re taking selfies.

Portrait Mode works in a similar fashion to what we’ve seen on the Mi 6, with the camera blurring out the background to put the subject in focus. The mode needs plenty of lighting to work, and while the camera does a decent job in terms of blurring the background, it has a tough time delineating the edges.

Photos shot in daylight have plenty of detail, but those taken in low-light conditions tend to be very noisy. The 5MP front shooter is similarly decent for taking selfies. The camera on the Mi A1 isn’t groundbreaking, but it is plenty capable considering the price point the device is targeting.

Xiaomi Mi A1 review

Xiaomi Mi A1 Bottom line

Xiaomi seems particularly intent on building out market share, and to that effect the brand has priced the Mi A1 very aggressively. The ₹14,999 price is astounding when you consider what’s on offer with the device: sleek design, great display, clean software experience, dual cameras, and all-day battery life.

The software experience in particular is the standout feature of the Mi A1. One of the main reasons for Motorola’s success in this segment was because of its reliance on an uncluttered user interface, and by teaming up with Google, Xiaomi is able to offer a similar experience to its customers.

Should you buy it? Without a doubt

The Mi A1 is the most uncompromising phone in the budget segment today. We’ve seen some great devices debuting in the market this year, notably the Redmi Note 4 and the Moto G5 Plus, and as an overall package, the Mi A1 handily beats both devices. For ₹14,999 you’ll be hard-pressed to find a phone that offers quite as much for your money.

Xiaomi is once again leveraging its flash sales model for the Mi A1, which means that you won’t be able to go to Mi.com and purchase the device whenever you want. The sale kicks off every Tuesday at 12 p.m., but if you don’t want to wait, you always have the option of going to a Mi Home store and purchasing the device. Xiaomi is also making the phone available at over 600 partner stores.

It isn’t the easiest process to get a hold of the Mi A1, but the device itself is well worth it.

Features, specs, FAQ, tips, and tricks

Apple TV has grown up a lot since its iTV days. It’s not just for iTunes rentals anymore—Apple TV handles just about anything we watch, from House of Cards to Game of Thrones and Major League Baseball games, and now that includes 4K content.

Since Apple opened up its tiny streaming box to developers, it’s gone from fun to indispensable. With an extensive library of apps, Siri support, and a drop-dead simple interface, Apple TV is one of the underrated players in Apple’s lineup. Just like all those years ago, it’s still the device that “completes the story” of Apple’s entertainment ecosystem, and even without some of the bells and whistles of its competitors, Apple TV is still one of the best streaming boxes you can buy—from SD to HD to brilliant 4K.

And we’ve got everything you need to know about it, including any questions you have about the new 4K model. Whether you’re buying your first one or just want to learn a few more tricks, make sure to bookmark our guide to Apple TV and tvOS as we keep it updated with all the latest news, features, tricks, and tips.

Apple TV 4K Specs

Size and weight

Height: 1.4 inches
Width: 3.9 inches
Depth: 3.9 inches
Weight: 15 ounces

Capacity

32GB or 64GB

Chip

A10X Fusion chip with 64-bit architecture

apple tv 4k portsApple

The Apple TV 4k brings HDMI 2a and gigabit ethernet.

Ports/Connectivity

HDMI 2.0a
802.11ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO, simultaneous dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Gigabit ethernet
Bluetooth 5.0
IR receiver

Video Formats

  • H.264/HEVC SDR video up to 2160p, 60 fps, Main/Main 10 profile
  • HEVC Dolby Vision (Profile 5)/HDR10 (Main 10 profile) up to 2160p
  • H.264 Baseline Profile level 3.0 or lower with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
  • MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 fps, Simple profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

In the box

Apple TV
Siri Remote
Power cord
Lightning to USB Cable

Pricing

32GB: $179
64GB: $199

Apple TV (4th generation) specs

Size and weight

Height: 1.4 inches
Width: 3.9 inches
Depth: 3.9 inches
Weight: 15 ounces

Capacity

32GB

Chip

Apple A8 chip with 64-bit architecture

apple tv portsApple

You’ll need to bring your own HDMI cable to hook up Apple TV to your TV set.

Ports/Connectivity

HDMI 1.4
802.11ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO
10/100BASE-T ethernet
USB‑C
Bluetooth 4.0
IR receiver

Video Formats

  • H.264 video up to 1080p, 60 frames per second, High or Main Profile level 4.2 or lower
  • H.264 Baseline Profile level 3.0 or lower with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
  • MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats

In the box

Apple TV
Siri Remote
Power cord
Lightning to USB Cable

Pricing

32GB: $149
64GB: $199

Apple TV (4th generation) review

Apple last updated Apple TV in 2015, and at the time, we had this to say: “AirPlay is an extremely convenient way to mirror your Mac or iOS device’s screen to your television, and Apple TV is of course the only set-top box that can play content rented or purchased from the iTunes Store.” Read our full review.

Apple TV FAQ

Can I watch 4k content?

The newly released Apple TV 4K streams 4K content, provided you have a TV that supports it. 

What about HDR and Dolby Vision?

Yes and yes. But again, you’ll need a new Apple TV 4K and TV that supports it.

What do I need to get started?

Pretty much all you need to buy is an HDMI cable. Any one will do, so stay away from high-priced cables.

apple tv siri remoteSusie Ochs/IDG

Your Siri remote has a Lightning charging port, but don’t worry, you won’t need to use it very often.

How do I get 4K content?

If you have a Netflix subscription, you can can upgrade to the premium plan for $12 a month to be able to stream 4K content. Many Netflix original shows are offered in 4K, including Jessica Jones, Stranger Things, and The Crown, as well as many movies. You can also find 4K titles on Hulu and Amazon Prime (once it’s available).

YouTube too?

YouTube’s 4K content isn’t supported on Apple TV yet. The culprit is Google’s VP9 codec, which isn’t supported. Apple hasn’t offered a time frame for when it will be added.

What about iTunes?

Yes, Apple is selling 4K movies and TV shows through the iTunes Store. And they won’t cost you any more. Apple had priced 4K movies the same as HD ones, and what’s more, all previously purchased movies will be automatically upgraded to 4K for free.

Can I download 4K content?

Nope. 4K content can only be streamed.

Why aren’t my Marvel and Star Wars movies streaming in 4K?

Disney has signed on to stream 4K content in iTunes yet, so you’ll have to wait to watch Spider-Man Homecoming in 2160p.

Does Apple TV 4K support Dolby Atmos surround sound?

Not yet. Out of the box, Apple TV 4K supports the same Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound as the non-4K Apple TV, but Apple says Dolby Atmos is coming in a future tvOS update.

Does Apple TV 4K have any other new features?

You can also stream live sports and news from the ESPN, CNN and NBA apps, among others. Most services require a cable or a standalone subscription, but if you have one, you’ll only need to ask Siri to watch the Warriors game or put on CNN to see what’s happening live. Plus, there will be a dedicated tab in the TV app with live scores.

Why does the Siri Remote have a Lightning port?

apple tv siri remoteApple

The only change on the new Siri remote is a white circle around the Menu button.

The Lightning port on the Siri Remote is for charging. Depending on how often you use it, you shouldn’t have to plug it in more often than once every few months. To check the battery level, head over to Remotes and Devices inside the Settings app, select Bluetooth, and you’ll see a battery indicator next to Remote.

Is the Siri remote different on Apple TV 4K?

Technically no. But there is a visual change from prior models that aims to prevent people from trying to use it upside down: The menu button has a white circle around it. The new style remote also comes with the non-4K Apple TV.

tvOS FAQ

How do I know if I’m running the latest version?

You can check for software updates by heading to the Settings app and opening the System tab. Select Software Updates and scroll up to Update Software. If an update is available, you will be prompted to download and install it. You can also choose to turn on automatic updates.

What’s new in tvOS 11?

tvOS 11 doesn’t bring any cool features like iOS 11 or macOS High Sierra, but there are a couple new things to try out. Among the usual performance enhancements, tvOS 11 features home screen sync (for keeping multiple Apple TVs on the same page), automatic dark and light mode switching, support for AirPods, and AirPlay 2.

How can I test out beta versions?

For the first time, Apple has included tvOS in the Beta Software Program, so you can download the latest version of tvOS 11 on your Apple TV right now. To get it, you’ll first need to sign up for the beta program at Apple.com if you haven’t already as part of the iOS or macOS betas. Then, head over to the Settings app on your Apple TV and find System. Open it, select Software Updates, and click Get Public Beta Updates to turn on over-the-air downloads. Select the Agree button and then scroll up to Update Software. Finally, click Download and Install, and wait for your Apple TV to restart.

How is AirPlay 2 different from Airplay?

The original AirPlay was essentially an easy way to get content from you iOS devices to your TV screen. With version 2, AirPlay has expanded its capabilities. You can now stream audio to multiple sources, meaning your Apple TV will act as a hub that lets you send music all throughout your house, not just your main home theater system. Additionally, your Apple TV can double as a AirPlay “speaker,” so you can send audio from your Mac or iOS device to your surround sound system with just a tap.

apple tv app storeIDG

It’s easy to download and install apps on Apple TV.

How do I download apps?

Just like on Macs and iOS devices, Apple TV has a dedicated store for downloading and installing apps. Select the App Store icon on your home screen, and you can navigate and search for apps like you do on your other devices. And they’ll all be designed to look their best on the big screen.

Is Amazon Prime Video available?

Not yet, but soon. Amazon has been one of the few holdouts on tvOS, but Tim Cook announced at WWDC that the video service would finally be coming to Apple TV. No timeframe was given, but presumably it will be available around the time tvOS 11 lands in the fall.

What’s Single sign-on?

With Single sign-on on Apple TV, you won’t have to repeatedly enter the username and password for your cable provider every time you want to watch an app that requires it. The list of providers it works with is lengthy, but missing most of the major players:

  • Blue Ridge
  • Cable ONE
  • CenturyLink Prism
  • Comporium
  • DIRECTV
  • Dish
  • Fidelity Communications
  • Grande Communications
  • GVTC
  • GTA
  • Hawaiian Telcom
  • Hotwire
  • Liberty Cablevision of PR
  • MCTV
  • MetroCast
  • Northland Communications
  • Service Electric
  • Service Electric Cablevision
  • Shentel
  • Sling TV
  • Vast Broadband
  • Vyve Broadband
  • Wave
  • WOW!

If your provider is represented, you’ll only need to sign in once and every app that requires a cable log-in will automatically be filled in with the appropriate credentials. If you’re a Comcast, Fios, Cox, or other subscriber not listed, you’ll still be able to store your username and password in Settings, but each app that requires it will still prompt you to sign in individually.

Is there a post-play option like Netflix?

If you’re a Netflix binger, you’re aware of the feature that lets you automatically jump to the next episode when watching a TV series. When the 4th generation of Apple TV released, it originally had a similar autoplay option, but it was removed in tvOS 10. So, if you want to sit on your couch and continuously watch a TV season purchased through iTunes, the only way to do it is to set up a playlist in iTunes and use Home Sharing to stream it.

But post-play is available in the Netflix app, right?

Yup. Select a TV show and it will automatically begin playing the next episode when it finishes.

apple tv tv appIDG

The TV app is like your cable TV guide, only more personal.

What’s the TV app?

The TV app landed late last year as part of the tvOS 10.1 update, and it serves as a sort of smart grid for the things you’re watching (or might want to watch). Inside you’ll find links to your purchases and rentals, things you might like, and whatever you’re in the middle of watching (like the latest episode of Game of Thrones, for example). However, you won’t find any original programming from Netflix represented in the TV app.

On my iPhone, TV replaces Movies and TV Shows. Why are they still on my Apple TV?

On Apple TV, the TV app functions as more of a guide than a streaming platform, so you’ll be shuffled off to the appropriate app when you find something you want to watch.

How can I play games?

To play a game on your Apple TV, you can download one in the tvOS App Store. Most games use the Siri Remote as a controller, but some will require the purchase of a third-party Bluetooth gamepad.

Can I still stream games from my iPhone?

Yes! To turn on AirPlay Mirroring, swipe up from the bottom of the screen on your iOS device to access the Control Center, and tap the AirPlay icon to mirror the content to your screen. Then you can play the game as you normally would, using your iPhone or iPad as a controller.

apple tv siriIDG

Siri’s smarts are on full display with Apple TV.

How do I use Siri?

There’s no wake command for Siri on the Apple TV, so you’ll need to press and hold the microphone button to speak to it. When you’re done, let go of the button and it will (hopefully) carry out your request.

What can Siri do?

Siri on Apple TV isn’t nearly as robust as it is on the iPhone, but it’s still a pretty useful companion. You can find content using a variety of criteria, including movie name, genre, director, or actor, and there are all sorts of things you can ask while something is streaming, such as, “What did she just say,” or “Skip ahead 10 minutes.” Additionally, you can control Apple Music, launch apps, check the weather, or get sports scores, as well as watch live content using Live Tune-in. You can find a comprehensive list of Siri commands here.

What’s Live Tune-in exactly?

Some channels that offer live streams can use Siri to quickly tune in to a broadcast. You can things like, “Watch ESPN live,” or “Show me the Warriors game,” and Siri will automatically switch your Apple TV to the in-progress stream. Supported channels include:

  • ABC News
  • CBS
  • CBS News
  • CNN Go
  • Cooking Channel
  • Disney Channel
  • Disney Jr
  • Disney XD
  • DIY
  • ESPN
  • Food Network
  • FXNOW
  • HGTV
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • Travel Channel

How to Get the Most Out of iOS 11’s New Screenshot Editor

Screenshot: E.Price

With iOS 11, Apple rolled out a new screenshot tool for the iPhone and iPad that allows you to quickly edit your screenshot after you capture it.

Taking a screenshot is done exactly the same way it’s always been done. If for some reason you’ve never tried to do that, you take a screenshot by pressing the Home button and the Sleep/Wake button at the same time.

Now when you capture that screenshot, you’ll see a small thumbnail of your recent capture in the bottom left side of the screen. It will stick around for a few seconds after you capture it (you can dismiss it by swiping it to the left), and then move along. To access the screenshot editor, tap on that thumbnail.

Write on It

Writing on screenshots is probably the thing you’re most likely to do with the editor. Within it, you have a pen tool as well as a pencil and marker. Choose which digital pen you’d like to use by tapping on it. To the right, you’ll see color choices (white, black, blue, green, yellow, red), tap on the color of your choice and then start writing on the image. In the image below I used the pen to draw the circle, a pencil to underline text, and the marker to draw the sun.

Screenshot: E.Price

If you mess something up along the way, tap on the eraser icon to erase that mishap. You can also go back in time and remove your last edit by clicking the back arrow on the top right side of the page on iPhone, or bottom left on the iPad.

If your digital handwriting isn’t so good, you can also add text to images by tapping the plus sign at the bottom right of the page, and then selecting Text.

Crop Away

Cropping within the screenshot editor works exactly the same way it does in other photo editors. To adjust the screenshot’s size, adjust the blue border around your image. You can also pinch-to-zoom to zoom in on a particular part of the screenshot to come in closer to what you want to highlight.

Save Your Signature

Screenshot: E.Price

One thing the screenshot tool can potentially come in handy for is signing documents on the fly. Within it, you can save your signature, so you just have to drag and drop it on whatever forms (or love notes) you need to sign. To get to where you save your signature, tap that plus sign at the bottom right side of the page and then select the Signature section.

Move Drawings Around

You draw a big circle around something, and then realize you actually circled the wrong thing. You can move your digital circle around (or anything else you’ve written) by tapping the digital lesson tool on the page and then tapping what you’d like to move, and then drag in across the screen to its new home.

Use Pre-Set Shapes

Screenshot: E.Price

99% of the time I take a screenshot it’s because I want to point something in particular out to a friend, typically with an arrow. The screenshot tool has a number of shapes pre-set in its menu (a square, a circle, an arrow, and a speech bubble). You can get to them by tapping that plus sign at the bottom right and then tapping on the one you want. Shapes sizes can be adjusted to whatever size you need, and you can drag and drop it to the best placement within your screenshot.

The Doogee S60 is ‘the one who reinvents rugged phone’

There are a few rugged smartphones on the market, like the Galaxy Active series or the LG X Venture. But maybe those aren’t tough enough for you. Do you need a phone that will survive “fields, underwater and other outdoor environments”? What about one that is “manly, strong, and special in market”? If so, the Doogee S60 might be for you.

The S60 (no, not that S60) has a super durable design made of “a special material” and is covered in a gold finish, because who says tough phones have to be ugly? The front has a 5.2″ HD display with Gorilla Glass 5. The S60 is powered by a MediaTek Helio P25, which “features a powerful performance” and is “rarely found in a professional rugged phone.” After all, everyone knows that the Galaxy Active phones would be much better with a MediaTek chip. Doogee does what Samsundon’t.

Doogee really wants you to know this phone is perfect for outdoor use. In fact, the multitude of built-in sensors include a compass, gyroscope, baroreceptor, and coulomb meter. All of these “helps when you are exploring the fields.”

If you aren’t already rushing to grab your wallet, you should know that Doogee is making a “Game of Throne Edition” of the S60. No, I’m not kidding, and I’m pretty sure HBO doesn’t know about it. You can win one from the contest on Doogee’s website, and each unit has a GoT quote embedded on the back. One of them says “Hordor.”

I highly recommend reading the Engrish mess of a press release below. You can buy the S60 from AliExpress right now for $299-$339.

STOCKHOLM–(BUSINESS WIRE)–What should a rugged phone be? With more and more people getting interested in outdoor exploration and outdoor sports, the needs for a powerful rugged smartphone is increasing. DOOGEE, the professional smartphone manufacturer, has been marching into the promising market and recently, their new rugged phone S60 was unveiled.

Design: manly, strong, special, with IP68
As a rugged phone, Doogee S60 had achieved IP68 protection, and the body is designed with special material and enhanced craftsmanship for drop and shock resistance as well. S60 is covered by a gold finish with black plastic cushion around the corners. Almost the whole back cover is made of aluminum alloy, a highly intensive aerospace grade material which is much stronger than other materials.

In the display aspect, S60 narrow down the bezels and get a unique 5.2” FHD display. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Overall, S60 is manly, strong, and special in market.

Most powerful ever
The rugged phone features a powerful performance with octa-core MTK Helio P25, which we rarely found in a professional rugged phone. And the 6GB of RAM is worth being mentioned, too. It runs on Android 7.0 Nougat out of box, and 64GB/128GB of internal storage.

5580mAh battery is definitely a killing part of S60. The massive battery can sustain for a moderate use of three days in this phone. Moreover, the advanced fast charging technology up to 12V-2A is applied to S60, which gives 30% power in 10 minutes charging. Wireless charging and OTG are supported, making S60 a backup power bank.

S60 is using the Sony® IMX 230 sensor with an incredibly big 1/2.4 inch of CMOS size, a popular camera sensor which were applied in Huawei, Xiaomi flagships. The camera supports PDAF and OIS technology, which are working together to improve focus speed by 100% and create crystal-clear photos.

As a rugged phone, S60 is designed to work in fields, underwater and other outdoor environments. So the GPS and GLONASS navigating system are essential. There are many useful sensors built-in, such as compass, gyroscope, coulomb-meter, baroceptor, which helps when you are exploring the fields. Moreover, NFC is supported, just as a physical PTT (Push to Talk) button and SOS button are put in the side of S60.

DOOGEE S60 has launched in the official page now: http://www.doogee.cc/sale/s60/

11 ways to improve iPhone battery life with iOS 11

ios-11-control-center

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Hooray, a new iOS update is here! Oh no, my old iPhone is ripping through battery life at an alarming rate! 

Updating to a new version of iOS can be a rollercoaster of emotions (and that’s if it updates at all). If your iPhone doesn’t hold a charge like it used to, here are 11 ways you can extend the running time of your iPhone with iOS 11.

1. Check app-by-app battery usage

Your iPhone keeps a list of the most egregious abusers of its battery. Head to Settings > Battery and you’ll see a list of the apps that have used the most power in the last 24 hours and the last seven days. (In the image below, it says the last two days because I’ve only been using iOS 11 that long.)  

Tap the little clock icon along the right edge to see how long each app has run on screen or in the background during your selected time frame. With this knowledge, you can limit using power-hungry apps when you’re running low on juice. And knowing, they say, is half the battle.

ios-battery-usage

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

2. Lower screen brightness

Powering the display is the single biggest drain on your battery. Use the slider in Control Center to reduce your screen’s brightness. 

You can also enable Auto-Brightness, which adjusts the screen level based on ambient light — but I’d only do this if you use your iPhone more at night than during the day or at least more inside than outside during the day. Or live in Seattle or somewhere where it’s seldom sunny (*waves at UK readers*). 

This is because in brightly lit environments, auto-brightness keeps your screen at or near max brightness and drains your battery faster. The auto-brightness setting moved in iOS 11. It’s no longer found under Display & Brightness page in Settings but buried in the Accessibility settings. Here’s the path: Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations.

ios-auto-brightness

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

3. Turn your Flashlight down low

Like the display, the flashlight can be a big battery drain. With iOS 11, there are four brightness levels for the flashlight. If you’re a frequent flashlight user, try out the lowest setting; it’s still plenty bright and can save you some battery. Swipe up for the Control Center and 3D Touch or long-press on the flashlight button and set your brightness preference, which iOS will remember for subsequent flashlight uses.

ios-flashlight

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

4. Use Low Power Mode

Low Power Mode isn’t new but it is super useful. It reduces or disables the following features: email fetch, “Hey Siri,” background app refresh, automatic downloads and some visual effects, plus it sets Auto-Lock to 30 seconds. When your battery hits 20 percent, iOS will offer to turn it on for you, but you can toggle it on by going to Settings > Battery, asking Siri to “turn on Low Power Mode” or adding a button for it to the new Control Center.

ios-low-power-mode

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

5. Don’t push, fetch less

Urgent messages probably arrive by text these days, which means you need emails neither pushed constantly to your phone nor fetched frequently. Check your mail settings to make sure push is turned off and fetch set to Manually, or, if you must, Hourly. You can adjust Push and Fetch settings by following this path: Settings > Accounts & Passwords > Fetch New Data and change it to Manually. This means the Mail app won’t go hunting for new emails unless you launch it and check yourself.

ios-mail-fetch

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

6. Nay Siri

There’s some debate over how much power listening for “Hey Siri” uses. Many people disable it out of privacy concerns because with the setting on, your iPhone is constantly listening for you to utter the magic words for the assistant to spring into action. It must use some, as Lower Power Mode turns it off. 

To turn it off, go to Settings > Siri & Search and toggle off Listen for “Hey Siri.”

ios-hey-siri-setting

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

7. Limit background app refresh and auto downloads

Some apps, if you allow them, refresh their content when you aren’t using them, so that when you return to them you’re served fresh content, saving you from needing to pull down to refresh. Background refresh is certainly convenient, but it’s also a drain on battery life. Head to Settings > General > Background App Refresh and you can turn Background App Refresh off entirely or select which apps you’d like to refresh in the background.

Like refreshing in the background, an app updating itself in the background also uses battery resources. You can disable this feature and update your apps manually via the App Store app. To do so, go to Settings > iTunes & App Store and tap the toggle switch to turn off Updates in the Automatic Downloads section.

background-app-refresh

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

8. Disable some visual effects

The visual effects that Low Power Mode reduces or disables, I believe, are the motion and transparency animation effects that lend a sense of depth as you tilt your phone or open and close apps. First, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion and tap the toggle switch to turn on Reduce Motion. Next, head back to the Accessibility screen, tap the line above Reduce Motion titled Increase Contrast and tap the toggle switch to turn on Reduce Transparency.

reduce-motion

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

9. Tighten up Auto-Lock

If the display is a huge power draw — and it is — then it’s a good idea to shorten the time it stays on when sitting idle. Auto-Lock shuts down your iPhone after it has been inactive for a period of time. You can set it as short as 30 seconds. To set a time period for Auto-Lock, head to Settings > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock.

ios-auto-lock

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

10. See what’s tracking your location

Apps constantly requesting your location naturally consumes battery. Thankfully, iOS 11 gives you more control over how and when apps access your location. No longer can a developer offer only “Always” or “Never” for the tracking options for location services. Now, you’ll be able to choose “While Using the App,” whether the developer likes it or not. Head to Settings > Privacy > Location Services to adjust the settings for all of your apps that use location services.

ios-location-services

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

11. Restrict notifications

Too many notifications are both annoying and a drain on your battery because they can wake up an idle iPhone and turn on the display. Go to Settings > Notifications and choose which apps can push notifications your way. You can also shut off notifications on the lock screen. For Show Previews at the top, select When Unlocked.

ios-notifications

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

iOS 11: Everything you need to know.

iOS 11 is here: How to download and install the new OS.

Huawei Maimang 6 (Mate 10 Lite) is now official with 4 cameras

Earlier this week news of a new Huawei smartphone hit the ground running after leaked images of an alleged Huawei Mate 10 Lite popped up online. Accompanying the leaked photos were some interesting hardware details, most notably the phone’s 4 — count them — 4 cameras.

It sounds excessive, but they’re basically using the same dual camera setup you find on the back of most devices these days, along with a similar setup on the front probably used to achieve a portrait like, shallow depth of field effect. After leaking in photos — and video — that phone is now being made official in China, where it’s launching under the name Huawei Maimang 6.

The Maimang 6 — which will likely launch outside of China as the Mate 10 Lite — comes equipped with dual 16MP/2MP cameras on rear, and a 13MP/2MP on the front of the device. The phone’s display will have an 18:9 aspect ratio and inside there’s 4GB of RAM, a 3,340mAh battery, and it’ll come running Android 7.0 Nougat + EMUI 5.1. Here’s the full spec sheet for those interested:

Huawei Maimang 6 specs

  • 5.9-inch (2160 x 1080 pixels) Full HD+ 2.5D curved glass display
  • Octa-Core Kirin 659 processor (4 xA53 at 2.36GHz + 4 x A53 at 1.7GHz) with MaliT830-MP2 GPU
  • 4GB RAM, 64GB internal memory, expandable memory up to 256GB with microSD
  • Android 7.0 (Nougat) with EMUI 5.1
  • Hybrid Dual SIM (nano+nano/microSD)
  • 16MP rear camera with dual-tone LED flash, secondary 2MP camera
  • 13MP front-facing camera with soft LED flash, secondary 2MP camera
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Dimensions: 156.2 × 75.2 × 7.5mm; Weight: 164g
  • 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS / Glonass, NFC
  • 3340mAh battery (typical) / 3240mAh (minimum) battery

Pre-orders for the Maimang 6 kick off today, with the phone officially launching on September 30th for 2399 yuan (around $365). The Maimang 6 will come in black, gold, and blue color options. Expect the phone to launch globally later this year as the Huawei Mate 10 Lite, alongside the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro.

Weibo | via Fone Arena

This week’s top stories: iPhone 8, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple TV 4K reviews, iOS 11 is here, and more

In this week’s top stories: The iPhone 8, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple TV 4K are now available and we go hands-on with it all, Apple officially release iOS 11, the iPhone X launch looms, and much more. Read on for it all…

Spigen TEKA RA200 Airpods Earhooks Cover

Following Apple’s first event at Steve Jobs Theater last week, it this week released a trio of new products: the iPhone 8, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple TV 4K are now readily available to consumers. We had the opportunity to hands on with all three.

In our iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus review we noted of the similarities and differences compared to the iPhone 7 and asked whether or not it was worth waiting for the iPhone X. Meanwhile, our Apple Watch Series 3 review highlighted the iPhone freedom that LTE connectivity provides, though some app limitations hold it back.

The Apple TV 4K also packs a new, slightly revised Siri Remote alongside performance improvements 4K HDR support, and more.

Elsewhere, a multitude of apps were updated with support for new iOS 11 features such as the Files app, Drag and Drop, and ARKit. Most notably, Ikea released its new augmented reality app, Ikea Place.

The iPhone X launch, however, is still the cloud hanging above all of this week’s releases. The device has reportedly suffered another production delay which could further hinder supply when it’s released next month.

Head below for all of this week’s top stories.

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This week Benjamin and Zac discuss 9to5Mac’s iPhone 8 / 8 Plus and Apple Watch Series 3 reviews, favorite app updates for iOS 11, and best features in iOS 11 / watchOS 4 / tvOS 11.

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2017, what smartphones have you given us so far?

There are 10 sorts of people: those who understand binary and those who don’t.

What do you think?

BlackBerry

After the return of BlackBerry with the Priv, which was launched in 2016, this year we got another taste of what BlackBerry can still do with the BlackBerry KeyOne. It looks like BlackBerry is still holding on to its identity and the productivity that comes with a full physical keyboard. A 4.5-inch display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 microprocessor aren’t the highest level specs you might find in a device focused on the premium business market, but they’re features that add some definite value to the device like reduced consumption and together with a 3505 mAh battery, the KeyOne lasts 9 hours and 25 minutes in the PCMark test from 100% to 20%. With intense daily use, this could mean up to a day and a half without having to plug it in.

AndroidPIT blackberry Keyone 7586
BlackBerry KeyOne with its physical keyboard. / © AndroidPIT

Lowest price: BlackBerry KEYone


Best price

HTC

HTC has been dealing with a pretty rough situation lately, and although it’s been able to overcome it, it has had to completely overhaul its design due to the amount of criticism that befell its devices in 2016. The HTC U Ultra comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, a 5.7-inch display with QHD resolution and an additional 2-inch display for notifications, all powered by a 3000 mAh battery. Keeping in mind that it was launched in January 2017, the older processor model can be forgiven, but the LCD display and 3000 mAh battery may not be enough for this device to keep its head above water. HTC’s smaller flagship of 2017, the HTC U11 was launched in May. Although this device still has the 3000 mAh battery, the display was downsized to 5.5 inches and the second screen was removed, giving it much better battery life. On top of that, it having a Snapdragon 835 chip set makes it a really great device.

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HTC U11 with 835. / © AndroidPIT

Lowest price: HTC U11


Best price

Huawei

Five years ago, this Chinese manufacture was completely unknown and now it’s rubbing elbows with the likes of Samsung. In February 2017, it presented the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus. Both are great devices, but we do see a trend that has become custom for brands that have left Asia and moved to the West: they have a line that is similar, not to say a mirror image, to the iPhone. Compared to its predecessors, the small change of only a tenth of an inch doesn’t make a huge difference. It comes with a Kirin 960 chip, a 20 MP camera and a battery that is 200 mAh more powerful than the predecessor (which has, inexplicably, reduced its autonomy on the PCMark test). What’s weird is that its USB Type-C is a camouflaged Micro USB, which means it only supports USB 2.0 and not 3.1, which the standard dictates nowadays.

Huawei also has its Honor range, which launched its Honor 9 phone in mid-2017. Honor is Huawei’s flagship killer. It basically comes with the same specs as its older cousin the P10, and it’s a tough choice between the two.

Lowest price: Honor 9


Best price

LG

In 2017, the LG G6 pleasantly surprised us with a display-surface ratio of almost 85%, and although it stepped away from the modular concept of its predecessor, the new design made us forget all about it. Its main disadvantage is that it comes with the same processor that its rivals were using last year. More recently, LG has also surprised us with the LG V30. It got rid of the second display, which has been its call sign in the past, but it embraces the entire six inches of display to simulate that second screen. It’s also able to shrink the bezel, which allows it to reach dimensions of almost 1 cm less. I think this is a great device, besides the controversy over its f/1.699 aperture, I would have liked a better battery that didn’t lose its autonomy over time.

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LG V30, ear-candy. / © AndroidPIT

Lowest price: LG V30


Best price

OnePlus

There isn’t much to say about the Oneplus 5 that you don’t already know, but it’s by far the biggest flagship killer out there. It comes in two different versions, 8 GB RAM and 128 GB internal memory in its beefier version or 6 GB RAM with 64 GB in its simpler one. Its Snapdragon 835 chip has seen a price increase recently, so it’s had to break away from the direction it was been headed for five years ago, just like Google did after the Nexus 5. There’s no MicroSD slot. It has a FullHD display and connection plug which, just like Huawei, isn’t a real USB Type-C but rather an adapted micro USB with a USB Type-C plug on the other end.

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OnePlus 5 in three colors / © AndroidPIT

Moto by Lenovo

The fireproof Moto from the Moto G to the Moto Z in 2017: better price balance, services, and an affordable Nexus experience. It overcame the hand-off from Google to Lenovo since the latter knew that its success lies in its identity and so, it kept it. It could be said that it is one of the last devices that still has that Google feel about it and it makes it a balanced model, with a clean and fluid interface.

The Moto G5 is the missing link between the medium and premium ranges. It comes with 3 GB of RAM and 32 of storage, which can be increased with a MicroSD. Everything mentioned above plus an aluminum body makes this device better than average.

The only thing really worth mentioning about the Moto Z2 Force is its shatterproof 5.5-inch display. It’s basically an indestructible AMOLED flexible display. Currently, it’s also the only manufacturer to keep its modular design with the different mods on the back. This modularity can be used to increase the battery life, add some speakers or even a gamepad. Both the Moto Mods and the terminal jack the price up. Although it doesn’t quite reach the $700 or so mark in the high/premium range, it’s a competitive market where either you offer something different from the competition and enjoy a warm welcome or you’ll be eaten up along the way.

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Moto Z2 Force with an unbreakable screen. / © AndroidPIT

Lowest price: Moto G5


Best price

Nokia

Nokia returned in full glory in the hands of HMD Global, aside from its nostalgic trip into yesterday with the remastered Nokia 3310, which it presented at the 2017 Mobile World Congress. Hopefully, it can get it out of the jam that Microsoft put it in for trying to launch a mobile OS that never happened. Both Microsoft and Nokia arrived late on the smartphone market. Nokia, because it was hanging onto its famous and, at the time, all-powerful Symbian. Microsoft, because it showed an OS that didn’t work on mobile devices, so it had to shut it down.

This time it looks like it’s stomping around, trying to get its hands on everything. It’s gone for the entry-level range with its Nokia 3 while the Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 are presented as its medium and medium-premium range. Last but not least, it has the incredible Nokia 8. It was unveiled mid-August but hasn’t hit the market yet, but it looks very promising. If Nokia can keep its promises of pure Android updates, it could be stiff competition for Lenovo’s Moto range, and the Nokia 8 would become the true flagship killer of 2017.

AndroidPIT Nokia 8 Colours 1
All the different Nokia 8 variants. / © AndroidPIT

Lowest price: Nokia 8


Best price

Samsung

Samsung presented its Galaxy S8 and S8+ line in March. Although we can say that design is one of the most subjective aspects of any phone, Samsung has definitely broken away from the iPhone line and created its own identity thanks to the display’s edge, which gives it a unique appearance. Both these devices should be carefully considered when talking about the top devices in their respective ranges.

Last week, Samsung presented its highly-anticipated Note 8. Although it doesn’t deceive the biggest fans of the series, It really doesn’t bring much more to the table than its smaller cousin, the Samsung Galaxy S8+. What does set it apart though is its stylus, which adds both personality and productivity to the Note. It also comes with a display that’s a tenth of an inch bigger and 2 GB more of RAM. On the other hand, it has a battery that is 200 mAh less powerful than the S8+ (probably in an attempt to avoid any mishaps like its predecessor) and it’s almost 0.5 mm thicker. Lastly, it comes with the long-awaited Android 7.1.1 operating system, which its predecessors have been dying in anticipation for.

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LG G6, Note 8 and S8. / © AndroidPIT

Lowest price: Samsung Galaxy S8+


Best price

Sony

In February, Sony presented its Xperia XZ Premium, which was the juiced-up brother of the 2016 range-topper, the Xperia XZ. We have to tip our hats to its ultraslow 960fps camera, the only one of its kind on the smartphone market. Sony also increased the battery from 2900 to 3230 mAh – in addition to its 5.46-inch display, its considerable step up from FullHD to QHD won’t make a big difference in battery life. On the other hand, it increased its RAM by 1 GB and updated the SoC to a Snapdragon 835. This phone is putting up a good fight against the competition in 2017. So much so that with the XZ1 device, which was presented recently, its biggest update is that it will be the first device sold running Oreo 8.0. It’s only been seven months since the Premium released in February and not much has changed. Sony, with its “new” device, shows that it won’t break away from its look no matter how much ommibalance has been amortized and now, fans of the series can pay more for fewer specs.

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The last one from Sony XZ1. / © AndroidPIT

Lowest price: Sony Xperia XZ Premium


Best price

Xiaomi

I’ve been going back and forth as to whether I should include Xiaomi in this article, but honestly, the Xiaomi Mi 6 is a great device. For some unknown reason, it doesn’t want to launch in the West because it has decided not to include the 800 Mhz band for 4G. Could it be that Chinese export companies continue padding their wallets or maybe it’s because modifying it for the Western market and getting all the certificates would increase the price and make it less competitive? I’m not really sure. Whatever the reason, until Xiaomi includes that frequency band, it won’t land on my radar of devices to consider owning.  

AndroidPIT xiaomi mi 6 0251
Xiaomi Mi6. / © AndroidPIT

Does 2017 still have something in store for us with terminals that haven’t been launched yet like the Mate 10 or the Pixel 2, or should we just start thinking about 2018 models already?

What You Need To Know When Switching From Windows To MacOS (Or Vice Versa)

So you’ve decided its time to abandon your lifelong love of Apple machines and make the jump to the Surface Laptop instead; or maybe you’ve realised you just can’t live without a Touchbar-enabled MacBook Pro and are ready to wave goodbye to Windows because of it.

Image: Apple/Microsoft

We now do more of our computing inside a browser — if you’re a heavy Chrome and web app user then you’ll have a very smooth transition. There are, however, still some speed bumps along the way whether you’re going from Microsoft to Apple or back the other way. So if you know the tips below than making the switch will be a lot easier.

Desktop programs

Image: Screenshot

Many of the big name desktop programs out there — those that are left — have both Windows and macOS versions available. Chrome, Firefox, Spotify, Office, iTunes, Photoshop… in all these cases you can simply download the equivalent program (though in the case of iTunes you’ll need to move your media library over too, or at least the parts not stored on Apple’s servers).

The big misses are if you’re going from macOS to Windows, because you won’t get access to any of Apple’s apps bar iTunes: It’s time to say so long to Mail, Maps, Pages, Numbers, Keynote and so on, though you can still access the web versions of these apps up on iCloud. If you have a ton of files stored in Apple’s favoured office formats, you might want to consider converting them before heading over to Windows for good.

Installing and removing programs works pretty differently on the two platforms, but you’ll soon get used to it. On macOS you have the choice of the old-school Applications folder and new-school Launchpad for finding your programs, and applications can be uninstalled simply by dragging them to the Trash. In Windows, you need to make your way to the recently added Apps entry in Settings.

Finder and Windows Explorer

Image: Screenshot

Finder and Windows Explorer do similar jobs but are pretty different beasts, and if you spend a lot of time manipulating files on your OS then getting used to a new way of working is going to take you some time: From the All My Files view that Finder puts you in by default (a big long list of all your files) to the way Windows puts more options instantly available on the ribbon menu, there’s a lot to take in.

Most of the time if you’re missing something from Finder you had in File Explorer, or vice versa, you can find a replacement if you dig deep enough. Windows Explorer displays a folder path by default, for example, which Finder does not, but you can bring one up on screen by opening the View menu and choosing Show Path Bar.

Of course you’ve also got the Dock and the Start menu to deal with too, but these parts of the OSes are relatively similar and easy to understand.

There’s no real quick fix or shortcut for making the transition between these two file managers, it’s just something to be aware of — you’re initially going to need to look up plenty of help online to work out how to do something in one file explorer that always felt like second nature in the other. In general, you’ll be doing more dragging and dropping on a Mac and more hitting keyboard shortcuts and clicking around on Windows.

Keyboard shortcuts and mouse clicks

Image: Apple

For a lot of users the biggest frustration to begin with is going to be relearning all the necessary keyboard shortcuts and mouse click combinations to complete simple tasks like opening new tabs or copying files. For example, right-click is central to a lot of what happens on Windows. It is replaced by a two-finger trackpad click on the laptop version of macOS. Head here for a brief overview of the most commonly used Windows keyboard shortcuts, and here for the same on the Mac.

A lot of the time you’re going to be replacing the Ctrl key with the Cmd key (also known as the Apple key) and vice versa. Yet it’s not always that simple. What’s more, the function keys you may have got used to on Windows for editing filenames, closing applications, and so on, are pretty well hidden over on the Mac and work in different ways too. As you’ll see from a quick glance on the Mac keyboard, the function keys handle shortcuts like media playback and screen brightness by default.

It’s simply a question of retraining your muscle memory to cope with a new way of working, but again be prepared for it to take some time. In fact as long as you’re switching completely from one operating system to another you should be fine, eventually — it’s people who use both setups regularly, like long-suffering tech journos, who will most often get their digits or clicks in a twist.

Your photos and videos

Image: Screenshot

Your personal photos and videos are probably some of the most precious digital possessions you have and you shouldn’t attempt to jump between Microsoft and Apple operating systems without first considering what you’re going to do with all these files, whether it’s uploading them to a cloud service or putting them on an external hard drive (or preferably both for extra safe-keeping).

macOS is very particular about how it handles photos and how it keeps your media library arranged, and you don’t get a simple system of files and folders as you might do elsewhere: In other words, you can’t just copy and paste all your photos and videos over to Windows.

Your best bet is moving to some kind of platform-agnostic service, at least temporarily, and we’ve previously done a full guide to transitioning between Apple Photos and Google Photos — essentially you need the new Backup & Sync tool from Google installed on your Mac.

You don’t have to use Google Photos though: Dropbox is another option, or you could upload all your images and video clips straight to OneDrive on the web to ready for the switch to Windows.

Going in the other direction is a bit more straightforward, because Microsoft’s OS doesn’t take such tight control over your photos and videos, for better or worse — transferring from an external hard drive or cloud service is easy enough, or you could even get iCloud for Windows before you change platforms.

Patience is a virtue

Image: Microsoft

Going through every detail of switching from Windows to macOS or macOS to Windows would take forever, and the process is going to differ for everyone. Broadly speaking though, if you’re wondering how much of a headache the jump is going to be, the answer is not that much.

Thanks to the rise of cloud services and refinements to Windows and macOS, it’s easier now than it’s ever been — just make sure you’re going to be able to move all your key programs and all your key files over.

As we’ve said, the biggest frustrations are going to be with shortcuts and app layouts and adapting to new interfaces and ways of working — it’s a bit like moving to a new apartment where you’ve got all the same stuff, just arranged differently. And where the landlord has a few different ideas about what exactly an apartment should be.

Apply some time and patience and resist the temptation to smash the keyboard as you accidentally launch the app switcher instead of shutting down a window.

Not everyone wants to or has the opportunity to use macOS and Windows together, but again this isn’t difficult to do with the modern versions of these OSes, and can get you the best of both worlds if you’ve got the space and budget for two computers at home.

OK, you’re not going to be able to AirPlay an iTunes movie over to your Windows box very easily, but with tools like Dropbox and Google Chrome around, the multi-platform life isn’t all that much of a challenge any more.