How to Keep Your Twitter Account Secure Without Having to Pay for the Privilege

Twitter in February 2023 announced that text message two-factor authentication (2FA) is set to become a premium feature for Twitter Blue accounts.

Twitter has said that it will soon be removing text message-based 2FA from non-paying accounts and turning it into a feature that will only be available to subscribers of its premium Twitter Blue offering, which costs $8 per month. This means that any users who don’t pay for a Blue subscription and rely on Twitter to send them an SMS text message code to complete the login process will have the feature turned off and removed from their accounts by March 20. Their account password will become the only barrier to access.

Aside from purely financial reasons (presumably it costs Twitter to send you a text), making text-based 2FA a paid-for perk is an odd decision on Twitter’s part.

Twitter has justified the policy change by saying, rightly, that SMS 2FA can be abused by bad actors. And there have indeed been “SIM swap attacks” where hackers convinced cell providers to assign a victim’s phone number to a device they control, and by taking control of a person’s phone number, the hacker can impersonate the victim, as well as receive text message codes to their account. But making SMS 2FA available only to Twitter Blue subscribers simply makes them more susceptible to attacks of this nature.

Twitter says that it is “committed to keeping people safe and secure on Twitter,” and it’s true that SMS 2FA is better than no 2FA at all, but its policy does nothing to encourage users to switch to a more secure form of 2FA – perhaps because doing so means paying Twitter absolutely nothing.

Switching to App-Based 2FA is the Solution.

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How to Set Up a Stronger Passcode on Your iPhone

Your iPhone’s passcode is the first line of defense when it comes to protecting your private data. Here’s how to set up a stronger one than the default six-digit passcode that you’re likely already using.

If someone with malicious intentions finds out the passcode for your ‌iPhone‌, they could end up causing you all sorts of trouble. With passcode access to your ‌iPhone‌’s contents, they could change your Apple ID password, allowing them to disable Find My so that you can no longer locate your device. They could make contactless payments with Apple Pay, and gain access to your iCloud Keychain passwords. They could even wipe your ‌iPhone‌ for resale.

That’s why you should never share your passcode with anyone who isn’t a trusted family member. If something out of the ordinary happens and you need to loan your ‌iPhone‌ to someone who isn’t family, you can at least temporarily change the passcode to something different, then change it back when the phone is back in your hands. (The following steps show you how to do that.)

If you’re worried about strangers seeing you enter your ‌iPhone‌ passcode in public, then the best solution is to use Face ID or Touch ID whenever possible. Your biometric information is stored on your device’s Secure Enclave, which is a lot more secure than your passcode.

If you can’t or don’t want to use ‌Face ID‌ or ‌Touch ID‌ for whatever reason, another option is to set up a stronger passcode. By default, ‌iPhone‌ passcodes are six digits, but Apple includes options to create a four-digit passcode, or a longer numeric or alphanumeric passcode.

The default six-digit passcode is obviously more secure than any four-digit one, while the strongest passcodes use a combination of letters and numbers. Just bear in mind that the longer and more complex the passcode, the harder it will be to memorize and the longer it will take to type in. If you don’t have a great memory for passcodes, it might not be the best idea to make it any longer than six digits. With all that in mind, here’s how it’s done.

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How to Use Your Apple Watch to Split the Bill and Calculate Tips

All Apple Watch models include a stock Calculator app that offers a couple of handy features for working out how much you should tip when eating out and how much each person in a group owes if you’re splitting the bill.

The two functions can be used together, but if it’s just yourself dining out then you can just leave the People field set to 1. The steps below show you how it works.

Note: If you see a standard percentage (%) button where the TIP button should be, you can change the calculator layout to replace it. Simply go to Settings -> Calculator and select Tip Function instead of Per cent.

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How to Lock Chrome Incognito Tabs With Face ID on iPhone and iPad

Looking to keep your mobile browsing in Google Chrome private and secure?

Whatever you think of it, Chrome remains one of the most popular browsers on ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌, which is why Google continues to work on new features to differentiate it from Apple’s Safari. With this in mind, one of the more unique tools in its feature set is the ability to use ‌Face ID‌ and ‌Touch ID‌ with Incognito tabs.

With this feature enabled, you can browse the internet using Incognito tabs and exit the app without closing them, safe in the knowledge that the tabs won’t be visible until authenticated with either ‌Face ID‌ or ‌Touch ID‌, depending on your device. This way, if someone gets hold of your device, they won’t be able to just open Chrome to view your Incognito tabs.

Not only will no-one be able to view your tabs, thanks to Incognito mode, none of your browsing history, cookies and site data, or information entered in forms are saved on your device. This means that your activity doesn’t appear in your Chrome browser history, so no-one will see your activity either.

Note that Incognito tabs are opened separately from regular tabs in Chrome. If you’ve used Safari on ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌, it’s similar to the way Private Browsing works, except in Safari you don’t have the option to lock those tabs behind device authentication.

The following steps show you how to enable biometric authentication for Incognito tabs in Chrome.

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HomePod 16.3 Beta: How to Set Up Temperature and Humidity Automations

In late January, Apple will release a HomePod 16.3 software update that adds humidity and temperature sensing to the second-generation HomePod and all HomePod mini models. This article explains how the features work and what you can do with them.

Apple’s new second-generation HomePod features temperature and humidity sensors that can be used to measure the indoor climate. But that’s not all. The new 16.3 HomePod software, currently in beta, allows you to run automations based on these measurements.

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How to Enable End-to-End Encryption for iCloud Backups

With the release of iOS 16.3 and macOS 13.2, Apple is introducing Advanced Protection for iCloud, which uses end-to-end encryption to provide Apple’s highest level of cloud data security yet.

The new security feature ensures users will have the choice to further protect their important iCloud data, including iCloud Backup, Photos, Notes, and more.

Apple’s use of end-to-end encryption means the vast majority of your most sensitive iCloud data can only be decrypted on your trusted Apple devices where you’re signed in with your Apple ID account, ensuring that the data remains secure even in the case of a data breach in the cloud. In other words, no-one – not even Apple – can access your data except you.

iCloud already protects 14 sensitive data categories using end-to-end encryption by default, including passwords in iCloud Keychain and Health data. For users who enable Advanced Data Protection, the total number of data categories protected using end-to-end encryption rises to 23, including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos.

How to Enable Account Recovery on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Before turning on Advanced Data Protection, you’ll need to set up Account Recovery. This ensures you can recover your data if you forget your password.

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How to Use the Apple Music Sing Karaoke Feature

With the release of iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, and tvOS 16.2, Apple is introducing Apple Music Sing, a new Karaoke experience for ‌Apple Music‌ subscribers that lets users sing along to their favorite songs by adjusting the volume of the vocals in tracks.

Available on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV 4K (2022), ‌Apple Music‌ Sing works with ‌Apple Music‌’s real-time lyrics feature, and gives you control over a song’s vocal levels. This means you can sing along with the original artist vocals or turn the vocals down and take the lead.

When there’s background vocals in a song, the vocal lines sung simultaneously can animate independently from the main vocals to make it easier for you to follow. And if there’s a duet or more singers, multiple vocals show on opposite sides of the screen to make them easier to sing along to. Apple hasn’t stated exactly which songs will get the ‌Apple Music‌ Sing feature, only that it will launch with support for “tens of millions of songs.”

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How to Lock Apps on Your iPhone With a Password

Add an extra layer of security to your favorite iPhone apps by locking them individually. You can even use Face ID or Touch ID for convenience.

You probably already have biometric verification or a passcode set up to lock your iPhone. However, this is only one layer of protection. Once it’s bypassed, anyone can access almost all apps and content on your iPhone.

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How to Enable Lockdown Mode for Heightened Security on iPhone

With the release of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, Apple introduced Lockdown Mode, offering users an “extreme” level of security.

In ‌iOS 16‌ and ‌iPadOS 16‌, Apple brought iPhone and iPad users Lockdown Mode, an optional new security feature that’s designed to protect users who may be at risk of highly targeted cyberattacks from private companies developing state-sponsored spyware.

While the feature is aimed at the very small number of users who could be targets of cyberattacks, such as journalists, activists, and government employees, any user can enable it on their device for what Apple calls an “extreme” level of security.

Lockdown Mode Protections
When enabled, Lockdown Mode strictly limits or disables the functionality of features, apps, and websites. Lockdown Mode protections include the following:

In the Messages app, most message attachment types other than images are blocked, and some features like link previews are unavailable. Incoming FaceTime calls from people you have not previously called are blocked. Incoming invitations for other Apple services from people you have not previously invited are also blocked.

Some complex web technologies and browsing features, including just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compilation, are disabled unless the user excludes a trusted site from Lockdown Mode. This protection applies to Safari and all other web browsers using WebKit across the ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, and Mac.

Shared albums will be removed from the Photos app, and new shared album invitations will be blocked.
When a device is locked, wired connections with other devices/accessories are blocked. Configuration profiles cannot be installed, and the device cannot enroll into mobile device management (MDM), while Lockdown Mode is turned on.

How to Enable Lockdown Mode on iPhone and iPad
Lockdown Mode is turned off by default on ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌, but you can enable it by following these steps.

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