5 apps for better Gmail

5 apps for better Gmail

Gmail (iOS, Android) may be a go-to email app on mobile, but I often go begrudgingly. For starters, my Gmail inbox is cluttered with myriad communication threads that are difficult to wade through, especially if they're drawn out with quotations and signatures and have multiple addressees. Sometimes I can't even tell where to respond. Gmail also lacks important features on mobile, such as quick access to contacts, one-swipe message deletion, and an easy unsubscribe or blocking solution. But... Read More »

Topics: iOS Software

Tags: Gmail

​Google Maps go offline

​Google Maps go offline

Google is rolling out an update to Maps that will let you use a map offline and still receive turn-by-turn directions.

The new edition -- available this week for Android and soon for iOS, Google says -- will let you search for and then capture an area to download. Then when you are navigating through the area and lose your connection, you can still get driving instructions and search for destinations on the map. Once you pick up your connection again,... Read More »

Topics: Maps , Android Software , Android

The truth about iPhone optimizers

The truth about iPhone optimizers

If your iPhone runs slowly, is short on space, or regularly runs down its battery, you might search the App Store for "iPhone cleaner" or "iPhone booster" or something similar and find myriad apps that claim to eliminate junk files, retrieve memory, and improve battery life. But do they work as promised? I tested an assortment of iPhone optimization apps rated highly by users and was surprised to find them largely useless. Read on to learn what these apps do... Read More »

Topics: iOS Software

Tags: iPhone , iPhone apps

Windows Insider builds are downloadable again

Windows Insider builds are downloadable again

In the lead-up to Windows 10's release this summer, enterprising techies could download free preview builds of the operating system through Microsoft's Insider program. A new Windows OS for free was a pretty tempting carrot. However, Microsoft understandably shut off this spigot once Windows 10 was released, since it didn't want everyone to keep grabbing the test builds. Now that the dust has settled, Microsoft has turned the spigot back on, with one important change: the device you're installing the... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software

Tags: Windows 10 , beta , operating system

Guided by voices: Siri vs. Google Now vs. Cortana

Guided by voices: Siri vs. Google Now vs. Cortana

Talking digital assistants have long been featured in fiction, from HAL to Samantha, but they've only been available in real life since Apple introduced Siri four years ago. Google Now followed for Android, then Microsoft's Cortana in Windows Phone and, as of this year, Windows 10. (Curiously, Mac OS X does not yet support Siri, but if you install Windows 10 via a virtual machine such as Parallels, Cortana will work on Mac.)

Digital assistants are increasingly integrated... Read More »

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

Tags: iPhone , Android , Windows

Instagram privacy and security

Instagram privacy and security

Using Instagram is easy: snap a photo, add a filter and a comment, tap Share. But Instagram, like every social media app, can expose you in ways you never intended. Follow these five tips to stay safe on Instagram.

Know what info Instagram collects

You know that Instagram has your username, password, and email address, but the app also collects your first and last name, picture, and phone number so that other users can find you. If you would like to... Read More »

Topics: Security , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Security Center , Guides , Instagram

Apple addresses Office 2016 issues with El Capitan update

Apple addresses Office 2016 issues with El Capitan update

Apple yesterday released an update to OS X El Capitan intended to improve compatibility with Office 2016 for Mac.

According to Microsoft, the OS X update does successfully fix its issues with Office 2016. "Apple released an update for OS X 10.11 El Capitan on October 21, 2015," a Microsoft spokesperson told Download.com this morning. "Their update now addresses the boot-related issues experienced by some OS X 10.11 El Capitan customers using Office."

The summer revisions of Office and OS X got... Read More »

Topics: Mac Software

Tags: Apple , Microsoft , productivity , Office , Outlook , Mac OS X

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps

Google Maps (Android, iOS) has been widely regarded as the go-to mapping software. But after a rocky start three years ago, Apple has worked steadily to bring Apple Maps up to speed. Earlier this year at its developer conference, Apple announced that Apple Maps usage on iOS is "3.5 times higher than the next leading mapping app," and iOS 9 has brought an improved version. It seemed like a good time to... Read More »

Topics: Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Apple , Google Maps

Clean out junk files in Windows 7, 8.1, and 10

Clean out junk files in Windows 7, 8.1, and 10

Software has a way of accumulating on your Windows machine, and for the sake of security, system performance, and disk space, it's a good idea to clear out junk files every so often. Sometimes Windows may make you do an in-place upgrade (which happens frequently for members of the Insider program). This means that the operating system is completely re-installed, but you keep your files and installed programs. A side-effect of this process is a lot of leftover files that... Read More »

Topics: Windows Software

Tags: Guides , Windows 10 , Windows 7 , Windows 8 , Files , optimize

Apps that take advantage of Apple's 3D Touch

Apps that take advantage of Apple's 3D Touch

Apple's native apps are making the most of 3D Touch, the multitouch functionality recently introduced to iOS 9 on iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. 3D Touch enables Quick Actions from your home screen, as well as Peeks (previews) and Pops (more immersive experiences) inside apps. These let you perform useful functions in fewer steps, such as adding events to Calendar, searching Photos, and creating an alarm in your Clock app. Third-party apps are also capitalizing on 3D Touch --... Read More »

Topics: iOS Software

Tags: iPhone