Apple gives iCloud users 5 GB of free storage, but that fills up fast with iCloud Photo Library, iOS backups, iBooks, and more. Until iOS 11 and macOS 10.13 High Sierra, each person in a family had to buy extra iCloud space separately. Happily, Apple has now made it so everyone in a Family Sharing group can share a single 200 GB ($2.99 per month) or 2 TB ($9.99 per month) plan. The family organizer can start sharing storage in High Sierra or iOS 11 as follows: on the Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud > Manage Family > My Apps & Services > iCloud Storage; in iOS, go to Settings > Your Name > Family Sharing > iCloud Storage. Any other family member can then cancel their paid plan and join the Family Sharing plan using their iCloud Storage screen.
You’ve undoubtedly seen those odd-looking square QR codes on product packaging, a business card, or a flyer. In the past, you needed a special app to scan a QR code to see what Web URL, contact card, Wi-Fi network, or other piece of information it held. In iOS 11, though, you can just point your iPhone or iPad camera at a QR code—no need to take a picture! Then tap the notification that appears at the top of the screen to display whatever data was encoded by the QR code.
An extremely welcome under-the-hood change in iOS 11 and macOS 10.13 High Sierra is that Photos facial recognition syncs across iCloud Photo Library. Previously, people you identified on one of your devices remained unidentified on others. But what if Photos now identifies the same person twice, such that they have two separate entries in the People album? Just drag one entry on top of the other, in either the Mac or iOS version of Photos, and agree that they’re the same person when Photos asks.
Ask Siri to search the Web and you’ll get five results back from Google (not Bing anymore!). Tap one and it opens in Safari. But what if that page doesn’t contain the information you want? How do you get back to Siri’s results? The easy way is to tap the little Siri button that appears in the top-left of the screen. Or activate Siri again, but instead of speaking, swipe down on the screen until “What can I help you with?” disappears and your recent Siri queries appear with your last search results in view.
If the For You section of Apple’s iOS News app overwhelms you with stories that are boring, depressing, or offensive, you can clamp down on it with a new setting in iOS 11. Go to Settings > News and enable Restrict Stories in For You. From then on, most stories in For You will come only from channels you follow. That setting also removes Top Stories, Trending Stories, and Featured Stories, since they rely on publications you may not like. (To follow a publication’s channel, in the News app, tap the publication’s name at the top of a story and then tap its heart icon. Verify your selections in the Following section, accessed by tapping Following at the bottom of the main News screen. Be aware that News may still suggest unwanted topics; you can delete those in Following too.)
When you’re in a huge mall or airport, it’s all too easy to take a wrong turn and get lost. Happily, your iPhone will increasingly be able to help prevent that. Maps in iOS 11 now knows about some indoor places, such as the Philadelphia International Airport and the Westfield San Francisco Centre mall. Zoom in to such a place in Maps, and it shows you a detailed floor plan. In an airport, you can view terminals, boarding gates, security checkpoints, baggage claim carousels, parking garages, and restaurants. For malls, Maps lets you filter the view by store type or to show restroom locations. Notice the icon that lets you switch floors! Apple is adding more airports and malls all the time.
The writing is on the wall: Apple doesn’t want us downloading or managing iOS apps on our Macs anymore. Most of the changes in iTunes 12.7 revolve around features Apple removed, including ringtone management and iTunes U. But the kicker is the removal of the iOS App Store and support for app syncing. This means you won’t be able to click a link on a Web site on your Mac to download an iOS app to iTunes, nor will you be able to use iTunes to choose which apps are on your iOS device. You can’t even customize Home screen layouts from within iTunes. All those tasks must now be done on your iOS device. You can still back up your iOS devices to iTunes—but if you have to restore, your apps will be downloaded from the App Store. Sorry!
We’ve been hearing reports from people whose Macs have been locked remotely via Find My Mac, with the criminals responsible holding access to the Mac hostage until they receive a ransom in Bitcoin. First, if this happens to you, do not pay the ransom! Any Apple Authorized Service Provider or Apple Store can unlock your Mac for you if you bring it in and provide proof of purchase. Second, if you ever used your iCloud password on another site, change it immediately, since if that site was hacked, your iCloud account is now vulnerable. Unfortunately, Apple’s two-factor authentication, which is otherwise great, does not currently protect against this problem! Learn more at TidBITS.