Monitor family and friends and with Google's Trusted Contacts

Monitor family and friends and with Google's Trusted Contacts

Google's new Trusted Contacts app for Android lets you check on family and friends to see if they are safe and OK.

To get started, launch what Google calls its "personal safety app" and add the people you want to stay in close contact with.

The person being tracked needs to have the Android app installed, but trusted contacts can check on the person and view their location via a Web browser. Contacts can also request to see someone's location... Read More »

Topics: Android Software

Tags: security

Facebook Messenger goes retro with Instant Games

Facebook Messenger goes retro with Instant Games

Facebook just introduced Instant Games to Facebook Messenger, so now you can play a variety of games inside conversations on newer Android and iOS devices. In addition to current games, you'll find retro arcade favorites like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Galaga, Track & Field 100M, Arkanoid, and Bust-a-Move Blitz. While the games look a lot like they did decades ago, you now control the gameplay with swipes and taps.

What makes the games instant? They're built... Read More »

Topics: Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Messaging , Facebook , games , game

Block Apple Calendar spam on iOS and MacOS

Block Apple Calendar spam on iOS and MacOS

Have you been seeing unsolicited offers in your Apple Calendar? iOS or MacOS users have recently found their Calendar infested by fraudulent invitations -- the problem exploded over Black Friday weekend. Spammers exploited a loophole in Apple's iCloud's default settings, which allowed senders to bypass email and push calendar alerts directly to Apple iOS and MacOS users' Calendar app.

The trouble is that unlike spam email, you can't just delete or block these invites; your only options are Accept, Decline,... Read More »

Topics: Mac Software , iOS Software

Black Friday deal apps

Black Friday deal apps

On Black Friday, thousands of consumers rise early and rush to stores to get the best deals before they're gone. The rest of us would prefer to spend our post-Thanksgiving on the couch, nursing our Tryptophan hangovers and enjoying some Netflix. But staying in doesn't have to mean missing out on savings: Many of your favorite retailers offer app-only deals and alerts, plus the ability to create wish lists. Whether you prefer to shop at home or at the... Read More »

Topics: Android Software , iOS Software

Google's PhotoScan helps scan your old photos

Google's PhotoScan helps scan your old photos

Google wants to help get the old photos stuck on your fridge onto your phone, where you can save, edit, and share them.

PhotoScan, Google's new photo tool for Android and iOS, turns your phone into a handheld scanner, capturing a digital image of a photo print.

Position your phone over a photo and tap PhotoScan's capture button. The app does its best to identify the four corners of the image, and then you follow an arrow to navigate your... Read More »

Topics: Android Software , iOS Software , Digital Photo Tools

Tags: Android , iOS , photos , Android apps , Google Android

Secure messaging apps

Secure messaging apps

Messaging apps: We're using them more often, to perform a broadening variety of tasks -- sharing photos and documents, ordering food, making payments, summoning chatbots for help. For many users, messaging is already preferable to email and phone calls. But the more you do with your messaging apps, and the more personal information you entrust to them, the more protection they should offer.

The truth is, not all messengers are secure messaging apps. They differ greatly in their privacy... Read More »

Topics: Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Security Center , security and antivirus center , security , howto-security

Download's holiday tech gifts

Download's holiday tech gifts

For the techie friends on your holiday shopping list, you can drive to the grocery store and grab gift cards. But without much more effort, you can find a present they'll really use -- and something that says you put more than 60 panicked seconds into the selection.

Music and video

A subscription to a music or video service is the gift that keeps giving. And you can send one without leaving your house.

An Amazon Prime subscription gives your giftee... Read More »

Topics: Streaming Audio Software , Video Software , Windows Software , Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software , Android

Tags: Media

Download.com 20th anniverary: software's long strange trip

Download.com 20th anniverary: software's long strange trip

Twenty years ago, when Download.com first launched, my computing life was very local. All my software was on my hard disk, often installed from floppy disks. Floppy disks also allowed me to share files with others. If it was a big file, say, a couple of megabytes, I used a Zip disk. When my computer behaved strangely, I sought troubleshooting help in a thousand-page print book. If I visited the World Wide Web, it was usually to kill time,... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Download.com 20th anniversary: A tech timeline

Download.com 20th anniversary: A tech timeline

As any observant lawyer or police officer will tell you, an eyewitness can get a surprising number of details wrong, even if they're giving a statement soon after the incident in question. After digging forensically through 20 years of press releases, product launches, and newspaper headlines to find the narratives that are still important today, we are able to paint a picture that reinforces some notions but undermines others.

Perhaps the most interesting trend of all is the degree to which... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , iOS Software , Android

Download.com 20th anniversary: 20 of our most popular apps

Download.com 20th anniversary: 20 of our most popular apps

Twenty years ago, when Download.com launched, software was often expensive, stationary, and complicated to use. Today, many popular apps are affordable (and often free), move with you, and are so intuitive that you don't need a manual (do those even exist anymore?) or FAQ to use them. In honor of Download.com's 20th birthday, we salute 20 of our most popular apps, then and now.

Messaging

1996: Internet Relay Chat applications were already in existence when ICQ ("I Seek... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

5 horror apps for Halloween

5 horror apps for Halloween

Try as we might, it's impossible to turn away from our darkest fears as Halloween creeps up -- the cold, gloomy nights; the zombies, vampires, and witches appearing at our doorsteps; the visions of masked Michael Myers in our heads. So face your fears dead on with some of the scariest mobile games out there.

Fear of zombies: Walking Dead: The Game (Android, iOS; Metacritic score)

If you suffer from kinemortophobia, or a fear of... Read More »

Topics: Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: apps , games

8 Siri-enabled third-party apps for iOS 10

8 Siri-enabled third-party apps for iOS 10

If you use Siri, then you already know how helpful Apple's personal digital assistant can be for handling directions, relaying movie showtimes, scheduling appointments, playing music, or communicating with your contacts. With iOS 10, Siri goes one step further, integrating with many of your favorite third-party apps. You can now perform even more functions with just the sound of your voice. The number of Siri-aware apps is growing steadily, and here are eight of our favorites so far.

How to... Read More »

Topics: iOS Software

Tags: Apple , iOS

10 iMessage apps for iOS 10

10 iMessage apps for iOS 10

Apple's iMessage overhaul is one of the greatest reasons to upgrade to iOS 10. You get tap-back quick responses, heartbeat messages, invisible ink, message bubbles, screen effects, GIFs, and music. But the real convenience comes from the sizable selection of apps that integrate into iMessage, enabling you to work, play, and chat at the same time. Here are 10 fun and useful iMessage apps for you to try, including new ones and some old favorites redesigned for iMessage.

If you... Read More »

Topics: iOS Software

Tags: Messaging , Apple , App Store

Apps for easy photo sharing

Apps for easy photo sharing

You have so many options for sharing photos with friends and family: social media, cloud services, photo sites, email, messaging apps. But you can make sharing even simpler. Give one these five apps access to your photos, and they'll share with your friends -- with a tap, with a swipe, or automatically.

Moments (iOS, Android)

Facebook's Moments app groups your photos based on who's in them and when and where the photos were shot. Then the app gives... Read More »

Topics: Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: photography , photos , photo , digital photography

Get ready for MacOS Sierra

Get ready for MacOS Sierra

Although Apple works to make its major software updates go without a hitch, things can still go wrong -- as some users reported with iOS 10 last week. Since a big Apple update can take a few hours to install if everything goes right -- and more hours if something goes wrong -- make sure you are prepared. Sierra arrives September 20 as a free download in the Mac App Store, so now's the time to get ready.

Check your... Read More »

Topics: Mac Software

Tags: Apple , Mac OS X

Apple previews fall iPhone and Apple Watch lineup

Apple previews fall iPhone and Apple Watch lineup

This morning Apple held its annual September event in San Francisco, where it unveiled its fall mobile lineup, including iPhones 7 and 7 Plus, Series 2 Apple Watches, and iOS 10 and WatchOS 3 updates.

Gaming and iWork

Apple's event led with work and play in its software updates. Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Super Mario, announced that Mario is finally coming to iOS. The brand-new Super Mario Run will be exclusive to the App Store and available by the holidays, with pricing... Read More »

Topics: Mac Software , iOS Software

Tags: iPhone , Apple

Facebook Messenger unveils Secret Conversations

Facebook Messenger unveils Secret Conversations

Facebook Messenger is gradually introducing end-to-end encryption in the form of Secret Conversations to its roughly 900 million active monthly users. This new security feature relies on a protocol called Signal (already used in the standalone Signal app, Facebook's WhatsApp, and Google's Allo). If you're one of the lucky ones who's received the Secret Conversations update, then your Messenger chats will be private.

You'll know if you have it, thanks to an alert that sits atop Facebook Messenger's home screen. ... Read More »

Topics: Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Messaging , Facebook , Chat

Two-step verification on Windows and Mac

Two-step verification on Windows and Mac

Two-step verification is a way to give your accounts more protection than just a password or PIN. If you use a verification app like Google Authenticator (iOS, Android), you log in to your account (email, bank, Amazon, and so on) with your username and password, and the app sends a temporary code to your phone that's the final key to get into your account. But if you want to generate verification codes on your desktop... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software , Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Security Center , security , Internet security , utilities

TV game guide

TV game guide

You've missed "The Walking Dead" for months now, since season 6 wrapped in April, and you won't find out who met the wrong end of Lucille until October 23. But if you can't wait for fresh blood, there are two official games based on AMC's hit show to tide you over. In fact, you can sate many of your fall TV cravings with these TV show-themed games and apps.

And for the lowdown... Read More »

Topics: Android Software , iOS Software

Watch NFL football online or in app

Watch NFL football online or in app

Like many professional sports leagues, the NFL lets you watch nearly all of its games online or via an app. However, in other leagues you usually need just one app to watch all the games. The NFL wants you download a handful of apps, making you keep track of which app you need for the day's games.

NFL Mobile app for Verizon customers (iOS, Android)

If you are on the Verizon network, you can watch live regular season games, the... Read More »

Topics: Entertainment Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Football