How to Zip and Unzip Files With Gzip on Linux

There are many file compression utilities, but the one you’re guaranteed to find on every Linux distribution is gzip. If you only learn to use one compression tool, it should be gzip .

Algorithms and Trees

The gzip data compression tool was written in the early 1990s, and it’s still found in every Linux distribution. There are other compression tools available, but no matter which Linux computer you find yourself needing to work on, you’ll find gzip on it. So if you know how to use gzip, you’re good to go without the need to install anything.

gzip is an implementation of the DEFLATE algorithm which was invented—and patented—by Phil Katz of PKZIP fame. The DEFLATE algorithm improved on earlier compression algorithms which all operated on variations of a theme. The data to be compressed is scanned, and unique strings are identified and added to a binary tree.

The unique strings are allocated a unique ID token by virtue of their position in the tree. The tokens are used to replace the strings in the data and, because the tokens are smaller than the data they replaced, the file is compressed. Substituting the tokens for the original strings re-inflates the data back to its uncompressed state.

The DEFLATE algorithm added the twist that the most frequently encountered strings were allocated the smallest tokens and the least frequently encountered strings were allocated larger ones. The DEFLATE algorithm also incorporated ideas from two earlier compression methods, Huffman coding and LZ77 compression.

At the time of writing, the DEFLATE algorithm is nearly three decades old. Three decades ago data storage costs were high and transmission speeds were slow. Data compression was vitally important.

4 Ways to Free Up Disk Space on Linux

Data storage is much cheaper today, and transmission speeds are orders of magnitude faster. But we have so much more data to store, and the world over people are accessing cloud storage and streaming services. Data compression is still vitally important, even if all you’re doing is shrinking something that you need to upload or transmit, or you’re trying to claw back some space on a local hard drive.

The gzip Command

The bigger a file is, the better the compression can be. This is because of two reasons. One is there will be many repeated, identical sequences of bytes throughout a large file. The second reason is the list of strings and tokens needs to be stored in the compressed file so that decompression can take place. With a very small file that overhead can wipe out the benefits of the compression. But even with a fairly small file, there’s likely to be some reduction in size.

Compressing a File

To compress a file, all you need to do is pass the name of the file to the gzip command. We’ll check the original size of the file, compress it, and then check the size of the compressed file.

ls -lh calc-sheet.ods
gzip calc-sheet.ods
ls -lh cal-*

Compressing a spreadsheet

The original file, a spreadsheet called “calc-sheet.ods” is 11 KB,  and the compressed file—also known as an archive file—is 9.3 KB. Note that the name of the archive file is the name of the original file with “.gz” appended to it.

The first use of the ls command targets a specific file, the spreadsheet. The second use of ls looks for all files beginning with “calc-” but it only finds the compressed file. That’s because, by default, gzip creates the archive file and deletes the original file.

That’s not an issue. If you need the original file you can retrieve it from the archive file. But if you prefer to retain the original file, you can use the -k (keep) option.

gzip -k calc-sheet.ods
ls -lh calc-sheet.*

Compressing a file and retaining the original file

This time the original ODS file is retained.

Decompressing a File

To decompress a GZ archive file, use the -d (decompress) option. This will extract the compressed file from the archive and decompress it so that it is indistinguishable from the original file.

ls calc-sheet.*
gzip -d calc-sheet.ods.gz
ls calc-sheet.*

Decompressing a file with gzip

This time, we can see that gzip has deleted the archive file after extracting the original file. To retain the archive file, we need to use the -k (keep) option again, as well as the -d (decompress) option.

ls calc-sheet.*
gzip -d calc-sheet.ods.gz
ls calc-sheet.*

Decompressing a file and retaining the archive file

This time, gzip doesn’t delete the archive file.

Decompressing and Overwriting

If you try to extract a file in a directory where the original file—or a different file with the same—exists,  gzip  will prompt you to choose to abandon the extraction or to overwrite the existing file.

gzip -d text-file.txt.gz

Overwrite prompt from gzip when the file in the archive already file exists in the directory

If you know in advance that you’re happy to have the file in the directory overwritten by the file from the archive, use the -f (force) option.

gzip -df text-file.txt.gz

Forcing overwriting of an existing file

The file is overwritten and you’re silently returned to the command line.

Compressing Directory Trees

The -r (recursive) option causes gzip to compress the files in an entire directory tree. But the result might not be what you expect.

Here’s the directory tree we’re going to use in this example. The directories each contain a text file.

tree level1

Test directory tree structure

Let’s use gzip on the directory tree and see what happens.

gzip -r level1/
tree level1

Directory structure after running gzip on it

The result is gzip has created an archive file for each text file in the directory structure. It didn’t create an archive of the entire directory tree. In fact, gzip can only put a single file in an archive.

We can create an archive file that contains a directory tree and all of its files, but we need to bring another command into play. The tar program is used to create archives of many files, but it doesn’t have its own compression routines. But by using the appropriate options with tar, we can cause tar to push the archive file through gzip. That way we get a compressed archive file and a multi-file or multi-directory archive.

tar -czvf level1.tar.gz level1

The tar options are:

  • c: Create an archive.
  • z: Push the files through gzip.
  • v: Verbose mode. Print in the terminal window what tar is up to.
  • f level1.tar.gz: Filename to use for the archive file.

Output from tar working its way through the directory tree

This archives the directory tree structure and all files within the directory tree.

Getting Information About Archives

The -l (list) option provides some information about an archive file. It shows you the compressed and uncompressed sizes of the file in the archive, the compression ratio, and the name of the file.

gzip -l leve1.tar.gz
gzip -l text-file.txt.gz

Using the -l list option to see compression statistics for an archive

You can check the integrity of an archive file with the -t (test) option.

gzip -t level1.tar.gz

Testing an archive with the -t option

If all is well, you’re silently returned to the command line. No news is good news.

If the archive is corrupt or not an archive you’re told about it.

gzip -t not-an-archive.gz

Using the -t option to test a file that isn't an archive

Speed Versus Compression

You can choose to prioritize the speed of creation of the archive or the degree of compression. You do this by providing a number as an option, from -1 through top -9. The -1 option gives the fastest speed at the sacrifice of compression and -9 gives the highest compression at the sacrifice of speed.

Unless you provide one of these options, gzip uses -6.

gzip -1 calc-sheet.ods
ls -lh calc-sheet.ods.gz
gzip -9 calc-sheet.ods
ls -lh calc-sheet.ods.gz
gzip -6 calc-sheet.ods
ls -lh calc-sheet.ods.gz

Using gzip with different priorities for speed and compression

With a file as small as this, we didn’t see any significant difference in speed of execution, but there was a small difference in compression.

Interestingly, there is no difference between using level 9 compression and level 6 compression. You can only wring so much compression out of any given file and in this case, that limit was reached with level 6 compression. Cranking it up to 9 brought no further reduction in filesize. With bigger files, the difference between level 6 and level 9 would be more pronounced.

Compressed, Not Protected

Don’t mistake compression for encryption or any form of protection. Compressing a file doesn’t give it any security or enhanced privacy. Anyone with access to your file can use gzip to decompress it.

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What Is Shadowsocks, and How Does It Work?

A wooden figure blocking connections.

If you’re looking to escape internet censorship, one interesting option is something called Shadowsocks. Not only is its name intriguing, it also promises to get you past any blocks safely. Let’s see what this protocol can and cannot do.

What Is Shadowsocks?

Shadowsocks is a connection tool that lets you circumvent censorship. It’s used widely in China by people looking to tunnel under the Great Firewall—the digital barrier that keeps the Chinese internet “safe” from foreign influence—as it’s completely free, though you’ll need some tech know-how to set it up.

In fact, Shadowsocks is so good at getting past China’s blocks that there’s a good case to be made for it over another tool, virtual private networks (VPNs). Not only is using Shadowsocks free, it also hides traffic a little better than VPNs do. However, before we go into any more detail, let’s first go over where Shadowsocks comes from.

Who Developed Shadowsocks?

Shadowsocks was developed by a Chinese programmer only known as “clowwindy,” who put the initial commit (a version of a program or script) on GitHub in 2012. The protocol was a huge success and clowwindy kept working on it for several years, as well as developing a free VPN called ShadowVPN.

In 2015, however, Clowwindy left a message on a GitHub thread stating that the police had found him and had asked him to stop working on Shadowsocks and, presumably, ShadowVPN. He also was forced to delete the code on GitHub and he had “no choice but to obey.” He added that “I hope one day I’ll live in a country where I have freedom to write any code I like without fearing.”

What Happened to Clowwindy?

After this last message, it has remained quiet surrounding clowwindy. According to this blog post, after clowwindy had an “invitation to tea” (a term with about the same level of threat as the KGB’s infamous “friendly chat”), they briefly surfaced to show they were okay, and then faded away.

Thankfully, though, clowwindy’s work has not been relegated to the dustbin of history. Instead, a team of enthusiasts has carried on their work and kept working on Shadowsocks. At the time of writing in March 2022, it’s a powerful piece of communication technology that has gotten even better at getting past blocks.

How Does Shadowsocks Work?

Shadowsocks is interesting because it’s like a lot of other things, but just different enough that it deserves its own category. Technically, it’s just a proxy: it reroutes an internet connection through a third server, making it appear like you’re in a different location.

In a regular network connection, like the one you’re likely using now, you connect to your internet service provider’s server and then to the website you want to visit. If the authorities want to block a site, the internet service provider (ISP) is usually told to prevent access to its IP address. Using a proxy means you go from the ISP to an unblocked server and then to the site you want.

However, regular proxies are notoriously unsafe: there’s no good way to secure the connection, for one, and generally speaking, most sites can figure out quite easily that you’re using one. Shadowsocks, however, is based on a proxy protocol called SOCKS5 that secures the connection using an AEAD cipher—roughly along the same lines as an SSH tunnel.

Though AEAD ciphers are generally considered not quite as secure as the more common AES encryption (here’s one academic paper if you’d like to know more), they’re a big step up from regular proxies. They generally either use an HTTP-based protocol—pretty much just a rerouted unsecured connection—or an earlier SOCKS version which also isn’t encrypted. Using either one means you’re leaving yourself open to possible spying by, well, almost anybody.

Shadowsocks and VPNs

Reading the above, you may think that Shadowsocks sounds an awful lot like virtual private networks, which also reroute connections, but secure them as well. However, because Shadowsocks’ encryption is a little more lightweight, it doesn’t offer the same security as a VPN does.

However, the lighter encryption does mean that Shadowsocks can fly under the radar better than a VPN can. If they wanted to, an ISP could clearly identify VPN traffic, but a Shadowsocks connection is a lot harder to identify because it looks practically identical to a regular HTTPS connection.

Downsides to Shadowsocks

Because of these reasons, Shadowsocks is a great choice to dodge censorship blocks. However, it’s not perfect and there are some downsides, especially if compared to VPNs or even Tor.

For one, Shadowsocks requires a bit of setup and you need to understand a little how computers and connections work. VPNs generally just need to be installed and you’re good to go; using Shadowsocks means you need to sit down and read through the documentation and set up a server.

Depending on how you set it up, there’s a chance that Shadowsocks might take a good whack out of your internet speed. Any rerouting technology will reduce your speed, but some are worse than others. A good server will reduce the pain, but generally speaking, using Shadowsocks means a much slower connection. Also, unlike VPNs, you can’t use Shadowsocks to change your Netflix region or even to torrent files.

However, you could also argue that none of that matters: Shadowsocks was developed as a way to circumvent the blocks placed on free speech by a despotic regime and to do so for free. At that, it succeeds admirably and we recommend anybody looking to escape internet censorship at least look into it.

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How to Escape Internet Censorship

As you probably know, the internet isn’t free everywhere: in some countries, people are met with blocks when accessing sites the government doesn’t approve of. Thankfully, there are ways around these blocks, and you don’t even have to be particularly tech-savvy to use them.

Warning: We probably don’t need to tell you this, but if you’re in a country that limits freedom of expression enough to restrict the internet, you need to be very careful when circumventing any blocks. There could be electronic countermeasures in place or even physical ones. As has happened in Myanmar and Russia, police could stop you on the street to check your smartphone. Please, be careful and keep safe.

  • How Blocks Work

To block our site, you would somehow need to cut off access from your ISP to our IP address. That’s how Chinese censorship works: It simply blocks traffic to any IP addresses that have been flagged. These flags can be for any number of reasons, some are because sites have content considered subversive by the authorities, while others offer gambling or pornography.

The nature of the block also reveals how we can get around it: if your government (or even just your ISP) is blocking an IP address, all you need to do is to connect to another, non-blocked IP address and have it connect to the blocked IP address for you, forwarding the traffic through the unblocked IP address for any other sites you want to visit. There are several ways to do so, and we’ll go over a few options below.

  • Proxies: Not Recommended

If diverting your connection in the way we described above sounds like something you’ve heard before, you’re probably already familiar with proxies. These little apps—usually simply accessed through a website—will reroute your connection through an IP address so as to make you appear in that location rather than your own.

Proxies are great for passing a regional block on YouTube or something similarly innocuous. However, for something a little more serious like passing a censorship block, using a proxy is a very bad idea indeed. The connection usually isn’t secured in any way and you can very easily be tracked—claims from proxy providers notwithstanding. Whatever you do, don’t use a proxy to get past blocks.

  • Shadowsocks

There is, however, one exception to the “no-proxies” rule, namely a protocol called Shadowsocks. Though it also doesn’t protect the connection the same as other proxies, it’s less easy to detect than one thanks to it disguising itself. Where a regular proxy can easily be detected by most blocks, Shadowsocks is a HTTPS connection, thus tricking the detection system.

Shadowsocks was developed by a Chinese programmer and it’s widely used there to get past the Great Firewall. There’s no question it works. However, if you’re having any trouble with it or you’re worried about active searches for proxy traffic, you may want to escalate your block-busting by using a VPN.

  • Virtual Private Networks

Virtual private networks are powerful, though slightly overhyped security tools that can help you evade censorship blocks and remain safe while doing so—on paper, at least. VPNs not only reroute your connection, they’ll also encrypt it through a so-called VPN tunnel, which prevents anybody from seeing what you’re doing.

We have a full article on how VPNs work if you’re interested.

For most people, most of the time, VPNs are the best way to get around censorship blocks, but they come with some downsides. The biggest is probably that they cost money, even the cheapest ones out there will set you back $5 to $10 per month, which is more than some people can afford.

The other issue is that you can’t always be sure whether the VPN you have is a good one: the marketing madness surrounding them rises in pitch every few months, it seems. We’ve made a selection of the best VPNs that we feel offer the best value; Mullvad is probably the best choice if you need a cost-effective solution that gets past any censorship blocks, while VyprVPN claims to have a special protocol that can go unnoticed by authorities.

  • ExpressVPN
  • SurfShark
  • Windscribe
  • ProtonVPN
Hide.me
  • ExpressVPN
  • Private Internet Access
  • NordVPN
  • CyberGhost
Best VPN for China
  • VyprVPN
  • Mullvad VPN

As we alluded to above, VPNs aren’t bulletproof—for one, police could simply check your phone for VPN software—as well as being possibly too expensive. One method of bypassing censorship that is harder to detect, as well as being free, is to create an SSH tunnel to a trusted server outside of your country and access the internet through that.

The downside is that you need some tech-savviness to set up an SSH tunnel. We have a full guide on how to use SSH tunneling that will get you on your way, though. If you have the equipment and knowledge necessary, this may be the best option yet.

Other Methods

Besides the methods above, there are other ways to get around blocks, but these usually require some more specialized technical knowledge or some extra setup, as is the case with changing your DNS server or using Tor. Decentralized VPNs are another promising technology. However, as these services are still in their infancy, we wouldn’t quite risk using them yet.

How to Browse Anonymously With Tor

However, to repeat our earlier point, there is an inherent risk when getting around government blocks. Torrenters who get caught risk a fine, but some repressive governments may have a much worse penalty for you if you’re caught circumventing censorship. If unsure, it could be better to not take the risk and wait for better days. Whatever you decide, we hope you stay safe and those better days come soon.
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How to Clear Your Browser History on Oculus Quest 2

First, open Oculus Browser on your Quest 1 or 2 headset (these instructions work for both models). You’ll find the browser in your app library.

Click "Browser" in your Oculus app library.

In the Oculus Browser window, select the menu button (three dots) in the upper-right corner.

In the Oculus Browser, click the three-dots menu button in the upper-right corner of the window.

In the menu that appears on the side of the window, select “Clear Browsing Data.”

In Oculus Browser, select "Clear Browsing Data."

After that, a small “Clear Data” window will open. If necessary, place a checkmark beside “Browsing History” (and any other items you want to clear), then click the “Clear Data” button.

In Oculus Browser, check "Browsing History" and select "Clear Data."

The Oculus Browser will clear the browsing data you selected. You can repeat this process any time you like. In the future, if you don’t want you clear your browsing data manually after every Oculus Browser session, you can use Private Mode by clicking the browser menu and selecting “Enter Private Mode.” Private Mode will prevent the browser from keeping track of your browsing history.

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How to Change Your PayPal Password

Hand holding up a smartphone with the PayPal app logo on display.
Update Your PayPal Password

If you have not already chosen a new password for your account, consider learning a few tips to come up with a strong password. Then, start the password change process by opening a web browser on your device and launching the PayPal website. Log in to your account with your current password.

Once you’ve logged in, in PayPal’s top-right corner, click the gear icon to open settings.

On the page that opens, in the tab list at the top, click the “Security” tab.

Open the "Security" tab.

In the “Security” tab, click “Password.”

Select "Password" in the "Security" tab.

A “Change Your Password” window will open. In this window, click the “Current Password” field and type your current PayPal password. Then click the “New Password” field and type the new password you want to use with your account. Click the “Confirm New Password” field and re-enter your new password. Then save your changes by clicking “Change Password” at the bottom.

Change the PayPal account password.

And that’s it. Your PayPal account password is now changed. Going forward, you will use this new password to sign in to your account on all your devices.

  • If you also use Discord, you can change your Discord password just as easily.
  • If you’re like most of us, you probably struggle to remember your account passwords. Luckily, you can use a password manager and have it remember and retrieve your passwords for you. Check out our guide to learn more about those tools.
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What Is a Double VPN, and Does It Even Work?

VPN connections symbolized over a world map.

An interesting feature that’s popping up more and more in VPN advertisements is one called double VPN or multi-hop VPN. Once offered by just a handful of VPN  services, it seems other VPNs are now catching up to the marketing potential of these extra-secure connections. Does the reality live up to the expectation, though?

What Is a Double VPN?

A double VPN connection is one where an internet connection is run through two VPN servers operated by the same VPN service, one after the other. It’s a feature offered by a handful of VPNs—including some of our best VPN picks like NordVPN and ProtonVPN—and promises extra security for those who need it.

Note that a double VPN is not the same as running two VPNs at the same time: in that case, you have to configure two different VPN services to play nice together. Double VPN or multi-hop connections have fewer configuration issues as they’re a pre-packaged feature offered by a VPN service. To explain how double VPN works, let’s quickly go over the basics: normally, when you connect to the internet, you connect from your home to your internet service provider’s server and then to the website you want to visit. A VPN changes this and reroutes your connection, so after going to your ISP it goes to a server operated by the VPN before going to the website.

The reason for doing this is twofold: your IP address is changed to that of the VPN, handy for circumventing regional blocks as well as censorship, and the connection between the ISP and the VPN server is encrypted in a so-called tunnel, meaning nobody knows what you’re up to—assuming you’ve used incognito mode to sign out of all your online accounts.

A double VPN adds a second VPN server into the chain, so you go from the ISP server to a VPN server, then another VPN server run by the same company, and then to the website of your choice. This is called a cascade configuration, where one connection “falls” into another one. Essentially, for every new VPN connection, you’re adding a new encryption tunnel.

However, there’s a big downside to using double VPN: your speed is going to take a massive hit. A single connection already hurts your connection speed badly enough, and adding a second hop will reduce it even further. We’ve seen double VPN connections that barely got 10 percent of the original connection’s speed.

  • Which VPNs Offer Double VPN?

As of 2022, double VPN connections were relatively rare until recently, when suddenly more and more VPN services started offering them. A quick look around the internet shows the following VPN services offer some kind of double-hop functionality at time of writing:

  • Hide.me
  • IVPN
  • NordVPN
  • Perfect Privacy
  • ProtonVPN
  • Surfshark
  • VPN.ac
  • Windscribe

Please note that we’ve arranged them alphabetically to avoid turning this into some kind of “best double VPN” popularity contest.

  • Why Use a Double VPN?

The benefits of using a double VPN depend on who you ask. Most VPN providers will tell you that running two tunnels means you’re double secure. For example, Surfshark claims on its website that “if anyone wants to get to you, they have to breach the VPN server you’re connecting to. That’s twice as hard to do with two VPN servers.”

ProtonVPN takes a slightly different tack: in its setup, called Secure Core, one server is in a country like Switzerland or Sweden with strong data protection laws and another somewhere else. “If the other VPN server is somehow compromised,” ProtonVPN promises, “your online traffic and IP address remain safe.”

  • Dubious Claims

According to these claims, double VPNs sound like a clear upgrade for security. Of course, this raises the obvious—if slightly awkward—question of why not every VPN service offers them.

This is because these claims are, at best, an overstatement. For example, Surfshark’s claim that it’s harder to breach two servers than it is one is true—though we’re not sure if it’d be twice as hard. Even if true, to crack the encryption on one server or connection could take a billion years if using a brute force attack, so turning that to two billion seems excessive.

ProtonVPN’s claim seems to make more sense at first. After all, if a server is compromised, your data could be there for all to see. This means going through a second server in a country with more strict privacy laws makes sense.  However, with the right warrant, authorities could still request your data and the company will cooperate.

While ProtonVPN can’t hand over all your information—its own encryption protocols prevent that—some information will still leak out, enough at least that it might not be worth the huge hit to performance your internet connection takes for going through two VPN tunnels.

  • Digging a Deeper Hole

These two aren’t even the most egregious claims: Hide.me goes even a step further: on top of all other benefits, it can even improve your connection speed in certain situations. We wonder which situations these are, as we’ve never in all our days of VPN speed testing seen a VPN improve a network’s speed.

In the same vein, NordVPN backs up its assertion of “complete privacy” when using double VPN with the following statement: “nobody, not even your ISP can see your final destination on the web. They can only know that you are using a VPN service.” As we explain in this article, that’s what a VPN does, period—no matter if you hop once, twice, or eight times. To claim only a double VPN provides this is simply untrue.

While there is certainly a case, albeit a small one, to be made for double VPN connections, most of the claims you’ll see on the websites of VPN services are there to part you from your money. As the struggle for VPN market share heats up, though, we can expect more wild claims like the ones we’ve outlined above; make sure to take them with a grain of salt.

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How to Turn Off Silent Mode on iPhone

To turn off silent mode and bring your iPhone back to ring mode, you can either use your phone’s physical switch or use an option in the Settings app. We’ll show you both ways to disable the silent mode.

The easy way to turn off silent mode is to use the physical Ring/Silent switch. If this switch is broken or is faulty, then use an option in the Settings app to disable silent mode. In case your phone’s physical switch is stuck on silent mode, the Settings option will override that and bring you back to ring mode.

  • Turn Off Silent Mode on iPhone Using the Switch

On the left side of your iPhone, you have a small switch that you can flip to switch between ring and silent mode. If your iPhone is currently in silent mode, then behind this switch, you will see orange color.

iPhone in silent mode.

To disable silent mode and enable ring mode, flip this switch once so that you don’t see the orange color anymore.

Flip the Ring/Silent switch on the iPhone.

Your iPhone is now in ring mode, and you’re all set.’

Take iPhone Off Silent Mode in Settings

If you can’t use the physical switch to deactivate silent mode, then use an option within Settings to go back to ring mode.

  • To do so, first, open the Settings app on your iPhone. In Settings, tap “Accessibility.” If you don’t see this option, tap “General” and then tap “Accessibility.”

Tap "Accessibility" in "General."

Tap “AssistiveTouch.”

Select "AssistiveTouch."

Turn on the “AssistiveTouch” option.

Enable the "AssistiveTouch" feature.

You’ll now see a gray box on your iPhone’s screen. This box holds an option to enable and disable silent mode on your phone. To reveal that option, tap the box.

In the menu that opens, tap “Device.”

Select "Device" in the menu.

In the “Device” menu, to turn off your iPhone’s silent mode, tap “Unmute.”

Tap "Unmute" in the menu.

And your iPhone is now out of silent mode. You may now close the box and even disable AssistiveTouch if you want.

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How to Set Up Voicemail on iPhone

Setting up voicemail on iPhone is a simple process that takes place in the Phone app. Open Phone and tap the Voicemail tab at the bottom.

Phone app, Voicemail tab

Select “Set Up Now,” create a voicemail password, and choose if you want a Default or Custom greeting. If you pick Custom, you can record your own greeting by simply following the prompts.

  • Listen to Your Voicemail Messages

To access your voicemail and listen to your messages, head to the Voicemail tab in the Phone app. You’ll see a list of messages you’ve received as long as your carrier supports Visual Voicemail.

Select a message and tap the Play button to listen to it. If your wireless carrier also supports the Voicemail Transcription feature, you’ll also see your message transcribed to text. This is handy for a quick view of the message.

Voicemail messages on iPhone

Note: Visit the Apple Support page to see which voicemail features are supported in your region and for your carrier.

  • You’ll see a few other buttons for the voicemail message on the right side. Tap the speaker icon to hear the message in speaker mode, the phone icon to call the number back, or the trash can icon to delete the message.
  • You’ll also notice a share button on the top right you can use to send or share the message using your iPhone Share Sheet options. And finally, you have an info icon (small letter “i”) for details about the call or caller.

Voicemail message actions on iPhone

  • Adjust the Voicemail Notifications

When you have a new voicemail, you’ll see a badge app icon on the Phone app by default. You can change this by going to Settings > Phone > Notifications. This number displays all notifications from the Phone app including missed calls and voicemails.

When you open the Phone app, you’ll see a number on the Voicemail tab for the number of unplayed messages you have.

You can also set up an alert when you receive a new voicemail. Open Settings and select “Sounds & Haptics.” Pick “New Voicemail” under Sounds and Vibration Patterns.

  • Tap “Vibration” at the top to choose a pattern and select one of the Alert Tones or Ringtones at the bottom for the sound. Tap “Back” on the top left to save and exit.

Sounds and Haptics, New Voicemail alert options

  • Change the Voicemail Password

If you want to change the password you set up initially for voicemail, you can do this in the Settings app as well. Select “Phone,” pick “Change Voicemail Password,” enter the new password, and tap “Done.”

Change Voicemail Password on iPhone

  • Record a New Voicemail Greeting

You may also want to change the greeting you recorded for your voicemail. Open the Phone app, select the Voicemail tab, and tap “Greeting” on the top left.

Tap the Play button to hear your current greeting. To record your own, select “Custom,” press “Record” to start, “Stop” to finish, and then “Save” to use the greeting.

Record a new voicemail greeting

As you can see, setting up voicemail on iPhone is easy and worth a few minutes of your time so callers can leave you a message when you’re unavailable to answer. For additional help with calls on your iPhone, learn more about the Silence Unknown Callers feature for reducing spam calls or how to enable full-screen incoming calls.

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How to Leave an iPhone Group Chat on Messages

If you’re stuck in a group chat on an iPhone, it’s possible to leave the group if everyone is using iPhones (or Apple Messages) to communicate.

  • How to Leave a Group Messages Chat on iPhone

First, open the Messages app on your iPhone. To leave a group chat, everyone involved in the conversation thread will need to be using the Messages app an Apple device (which uses Apple’s iMessage network). Also, you can’t leave a group chat with only three people, because it would become a two-person non-group chat, and Apple hasn’t developed a solution to that issue yet.

In Messages, navigate to the list of message threads and tap the group chat you’d like to leave. When you see the conversation listed out, tap the group of avatar icons that represent the people involved in the chat at the top of the screen.

Apple

In the overlay that pops up, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and tap “Leave This Conversation.” (In iOS 14 and earlier, tap the “i” info button first, and then tap “Leave This Conversation.”)

Tap "Leave This Conversation."

Confirm by tapping “Leave This Conversation” again. After that, you will no longer see new messages added to that particular group chat, but it will remain on your message threads list (You can delete it by swiping to the left an tapping the trash can icon). Feel free to repeat these steps with any other Messages group chat that doesn’t involve people using SMS.

  • What to Do if “Leave This Conversation” Is Greyed Out

As mentioned above, you can’t leave an iMessage group chat with only three people as of February 2022. That’s because it would become a non-group chat (an ordinary on-on-one chat), and Apple’s iMessage software can’t handle that kind of transition at the moment. That means if you’re doing a group chat with exactly three people using Apple devices, the “Leave This Conversation” will be greyed out in the pop-up chat configuration window.

To leave the chat anyway, tap the group of avatar icons at the top of the chat screen again and add a fourth person to the chat. After that, select “Leave This Conversation” in the same menu, and you’re good to go. Hopefully Apple will fix this issue in a future update.

  • Tips For Dealing with SMS Group Chats

You can’t leave a group chat if anyone in the group is using SMS for texting. This means that if anyone in the group has a non-Apple phone, such as one that runs Android, everyone in the group will be forced to use SMS group texting. SMS is a 30-year-old protocol that doesn’t support leaving a group or member moderation.

Instead, you can mute a group chat in Apple Messages thread list by swiping your finger to the left over it. When you see the icon shaped like a crossed-out bell, tap it, and the bell will no longer be crossed-out. After that, you won’t receive notifications from the group chat, but the thread will still appear on your messages list. We’re hoping that Apple will allow completely blocking an SMS group texting thread some time in the future.

You can also block individuals in the group chat by tapping their avatar icon, then tapping the “Info” button. Scroll down to the bottom of the window and tap “Block This Caller.” From then on, you won’t see messages from that person, but you’ll still see messages from anyone else who isn’t blocked in the group chat.

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How to Delete Downloaded Files on Oculus Go

So you downloaded something really embarrassing on your Oculus Go headset, like a Linux fan club movie. Now you need to clean up your tracks, but where do you go? Here’s how to delete downloaded videos (or other files) on your Oculus Go.

This is a good time to point out that if you’re going to be browsing Linux fan sites on the web using your Oculus headset, you should use the built-in Oculus private browsing mode, or at least clear your browser history when you’re done. Nobody needs to see footage of Linux fans.

It’s also worth noting that even if you are using private browsing mode, if you download media instead of streaming it, you’re going to need to delete the files manually using this technique.

Deleting Downloaded Media on the Oculus Go Headset

First, you’ll want to head into the Gallery, using the menu on the bottom of the home screen. You probably already knew how to get there, but you’re the one reading this, not me, so you get a screenshot.

Once you’re there, hover over the item that you want to delete, and then click on the 3 dot menu to see the Delete option. Click it, and your troubles are over. Unless you have like 942 of these files, in which case it might be easier to delete them from your computer. Keep reading for that.

Deleting Downloaded Oculus Media via Your PC or Mac

It’s a heck of a lot easier to delete a ton of files from your computer, and if you plug your Oculus into your computer, you can delete files much quicker that way as well. So use the included USB cable and plug it right into your PC or Mac. You’ll be prompted on the Oculus with a question on whether you trust your computer, which we’ll assume that you do, so click Accept. It’s your computer, after all.

If you’re using a Mac, you’ll need to download the Android File Transfer tool from the official Android website, install it, and then open it up. You’ll immediately see the embarrassing files, and you can delete them all by selecting and right-clicking or using CMD + Delete. You might want to check Movies as well while you’re at it, depending on what apps you were using.

If you’re using a Windows PC, you’ll find the headset in File Explorer mounted under Computer as VR-Headset. Head into Download, and you can delete files from there. You might want to check Movies as well while you’re at it, depending on what apps you were using.

You can also use the same technique to transfer movies to your Oculus headset that you might want to watch. It’s a heck of a lot easier to download stuff from your PC, after all.

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