Five Useful Mac Apps Worth Checking Out – May 2018

Apps designed for the Mac often don't receive as much attention as apps for iOS devices, so we've launched a monthly series that highlights useful, interesting Mac apps that are worth checking out.

This month's app selection, outlined in the video and the post below, includes apps for managing and backing up your iPhone, transferring music between services, watching Netflix, keeping track of quick notes, and more. Many of the apps we've included this month were chosen by our forum members.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.


  • Stamp (Free) - Stamp is an app that lets you transfer playlists and music tracks from one streaming service to another. So if you're an Apple Music user and want to switch to Spotify, Stamp is the app to use. Stamp is free, but if you want to make unlimited song and playlist transfers, you'll need to shell out $9.99.


  • iMazing ($40) - iMazing is an iTunes alternative that's designed to allow you to manage the content on your iOS device. It lets you transfer files, photos, books, apps, and music to and from your iOS device or a new device, plus you can use it to create backups of all your content, archiving data like messages, contacts, books, and more.


  • Power Menu ($9.99) - Power Menu is a Finder extension that's customizable and able to add various actions to the right click menu and toolbar within Finder. Using Power Menu, you can create shortcuts for moving and copying files, creating new documents, editing with specific apps, sending via email, and more.


  • Thought Train (Free) - Thought Train is a simple free (pay-what-you-want) app that's meant to replace sticky notes. Thought Train lives in your Mac's menu bar and lets you enter quick reminders of things that you need to get done or thoughts you want to keep track of. Your entries can be set to scroll across the menu bar.


  • Friendly for Netflix (Free) - Friendly for Netflix is a free app that's designed to provide you with an alternative to the web browser for watching Netflix TV shows and movies on your Mac. It features trailers so you can preview shows, picture-in-picture functionality for watching a show while using another app, and Rotten Tomatoes ratings for every movie.


Do you have favorite must-have Mac apps that we haven't highlighted yet? Let us know what they are in the comments and we might feature them in a future video. Many of this month's picks came from our forum members.

For more of our Mac app picks, make sure to check out our lists from February, March, and April.


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Belkin’s New Wireless Charging Stand and Wireless Charging Pad Are Now Available

Belkin at CES debuted new wireless charging accessories, including the Belkin Boost Up Bold Wireless Charging Pad and the Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Stand, both of which are now available for purchase.

The Belkin Boost Up Bold Wireless Charging Pad is similar to the existing Belkin Boost Up Charging Pad, but it comes in a variety of colors that include pink, navy, black, and white.


It offers up to 10W output for fast charging on all Qi-enabled devices, and it supports the 7.5W charging necessary for fast wireless charging on the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.

The Belkin Boost Up Wireless Charging Stand features the same circular design and the same colors as the Bold, but it features a frame that holds the iPhone in an upright position allowing the iPhone to be charged in landscape or portrait mode without the need for it to be flat on a table.


Like the Charging Pad, the Charging Stand supports the faster 7.5W wireless charging specification for the iPhone.

Belkin's Bold Wireless Charging Pad is priced at $60, while the Wireless Charging Stand is priced at $70. Both can be purchased today from the Belkin website or from Amazon.com (Pad) (Stand).

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Belkin and may receive a small commission when you purchase a Belkin product.

Tag: Belkin

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Apple Releases First Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 to Public Beta Testers

Apple today released the first beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 update to public beta testers, one day after releasing the 10.13.6 update for developers. macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 comes as macOS High Sierra 10.13.5 remains in beta testing.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will be able to download the new macOS High Sierra beta through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.


Those who want to be a part of Apple's beta testing program can sign up to participate through the beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas.

No notable features or changes were discovered in the first beta of macOS 10.13.6 provided to developers, suggesting the new software focuses on bug fixes and other under-the-hood updates.

macOS 10.13.6 is likely to be one of the last updates to macOS High Sierra, as Apple is transitioning to macOS 10.14. macOS 10.14 will be unveiled next week at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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Apple Releases First Beta of tvOS 11.4.1 to Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.4.1 update to its public beta testing group, one day after seeding iOS 11.4.1 to developers and a few days after releasing tvOS 11.4.

The tvOS 11.4.1 public beta can be obtained by going to the Settings app on the Apple TV and navigating to the Software Updates section under "System." "Get Public Beta Updates" will need to be toggled on, and once it is, the Apple TV will download the beta software.


No notable features or changes were discovered in the first developer beta of tvOS 11.4.1, suggesting this is a minor update.

Most tvOS updates have been minor in scale, and Apple does not provide detailed notes outlining what's new, so we may not know just what's included in tvOS 11.4.1 if it's only bug fixes.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Neutral)

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Apple Seeds First Beta of iOS 11.4.1 to Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming iOS 11.4.1 update to its public beta testing group, one day after seeding the beta to developers and just a few days after releasing iOS 11.4, which introduced AirPlay 2 and Messages in Cloud.

Beta testers who are members of Apple's beta testing program will receive the iOS 11.4.1 beta update over-the-air after installing the proper certificate on an iOS device.


Those who want to join the beta testing program can sign up on Apple's beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas. iOS betas are not always stable and should not be installed on a primary device.

There were no notable features discovered in iOS 11.4.1 in the first developer beta, suggesting it focuses on bug fixes and other minor improvements.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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Apple Backs New USB Standard for Using Braille Displays Across Ecosystems

Apple has voiced support for a new Human Interface Device standard that will bring versatile support and overall improve the technology of future USB-connected Braille displays [PDF].


Set forth by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), a non-profit organization for the advancement and adoption of USB technology, the new standard will help make it easier for blind and low-vision users to use Braille displays "across operating systems" and with "different types of hardware." This way, users won't be locked into one ecosystem and can more easily go about reading and interacting with their devices no matter the manufacturer.

Additionally, the standard is set to simplify the development process by removing the need for Braille devices to have custom software and drivers created for a particular operating system or screen reader. According to Apple's director of global accessibility policy and initiatives, Sarah Herrlinger, the company is "proud" to help advance the new USB-IF standard.
“Technology should be accessible to everyone and Apple designs all products with that in mind,” said Sarah Herrlinger, director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives at Apple. “We’re proud to advance this new USB-IF standard because we believe in improving the experience for all people who rely on braille displays to use their Apple products or any other device.”
A few other executives from other companies chimed in on the news as well, including Microsoft accessibility program manager Jeff Petty, who said, "Developing a HID standard for braille displays is one example of how we can work together, across the industry, to advance technology in a way that benefits society and ultimately improve the unemployment rate for people with disabilities."

Helen Keller Services president and CEO Joseph Bruno applauded the USB-IF and its members like Apple, Intel, HP, Microsoft, and others, pointing out that the new standard will greatly reduce the friction that visually impaired, blind, or deaf-blind users can face when navigating between accessible devices. "It allows these individuals to more seamlessly connect to their favorite devices, which is a major step in helping them connect to the world around them."

Since the standard has just been detailed, no physical USB hardware products have yet to be shown off from any company. Currently, Apple has an entire accessibility store on Apple.com so users with disabilities can use devices crafted just for them to create music in GarageBand, navigate a Mac with a custom trackball, and more. There are no Braille-enabled devices sold by Apple yet, however, so the incoming HID standard could mark the first time that such a device is sold on Apple.com and potentially in retail locations.


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Gurman: WWDC 2018 to Have Software Focus, New Macs, iPad Pros, and Larger-Screen Apple Watches Coming Later

Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference commences on Monday with an opening keynote, where the company previews the next major versions of its software platforms, and usually shares some other announcements.


Ahead of the keynote, Bloomberg's well-sourced Mark Gurman has outlined what he expects Apple to discuss on stage:
  • A series of Digital Health tools in the Settings app on iOS 12 that will help users monitor how much time they spend using their devices and individual apps, helping to address concerns about smartphone addiction.
  • ARKit 2, including a new mode that allows for a multiplayer mode in augmented reality games. Another mode is said to allow objects to be dropped into an area and virtually remain in place.
  • Apple could reveal its reported plans to allow iOS apps to run on Macs as early as this year. The wording suggests it's not entirely clear if Apple plans to discuss the project at WWDC or later.
  • Minor new features for snoozing notifications, tracking the stock market, making video calls, and sending Animojis via FaceTime.
Overall, Gurman expects this year's software updates across iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS to be more "muted," with "bigger changes later," as Apple has decided to focus more on the quality and stability improvements this year, according to an internal meeting the company reportedly held earlier this year.

Planned new iOS 12 features that have been shelved until 2019 are said to include a redesigned home screen with more information, an artificial intelligence upgrade to the Photos app, and new file-management tools for iPads.

Unfortunately for those hoping to see Apple refresh its product lineups at WWDC, Gurman suggests that "a suite of new gadgets is unlikely," although a surprise hardware announcement or two cannot be entirely ruled out. Hopefully, an update will also be provided about Apple's AirPower charging mat.

Gurman claims Apple is working on refreshed MacBook, MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, and Apple Watch models, and a new low-cost MacBook, but he doesn't expect any of those devices to be ready until "later this year."Gurman outlined most of these expectations in his previous reporting over the past year.

WWDC's opening keynote begins on Monday at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. MacRumors will be in attendance at the keynote, with live coverage both here on MacRumors.com and through our @MacRumorsLive account on Twitter.

MacRumors will also have pre-event coverage, beginning around 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time, and post-event hands-on coverage if applicable.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2018

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Telegram CEO Says Apple Has Been ‘Preventing’ iOS App Updates Since Russia’s Ban in April

In April, the Russian government banned secure messaging app Telegram and this month asked Apple to remove it from the iOS App Store completely in the country, citing the potential for terrorist communication via the app since Telegram refused to allow Russia to read user messages. As this unfolds, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov posted an update for users early this morning in an effort to explain why some features "don't work correctly under iOS 11.4" (via ArsTechnica).

According to Durov, Apple has been "preventing" the Telegram iOS app from updating on a global scale, dating back to when Russia banned the app in April. Durov says that his company chose to do the "only possible thing" and refused to provide Russia with decryption keys to access user messages, "preserving the right of our users privacy in a troubled country."


He continued by stating, "Unfortunately, Apple didn't side with us." The CEO says Apple's restricting of Telegram dates back to mid-April and while Russia represents a small subset of its user base (7 percent), Apple's actions affect all Telegram users around the world. Because of this, the launch of iOS 11.4 on Tuesday has broken some Telegram features like stickers, and caused the company to miss its deadline for compliance with the GDPR for users in the European Union.
Apple has been preventing Telegram from updating its iOS apps globally ever since the Russian authorities ordered Apple to remove Telegram from the App Store. Russia banned Telegram on its territory in April because we refused to provide decryption keys for all our users’ communications to Russia’s security agencies. We believe we did the only possible thing, preserving the right of our users to privacy in a troubled country.

Unfortunately, Apple didn’t side with us. While Russia makes up only 7% of Telegram’s userbase, Apple is restricting updates for all Telegram users around the world since mid-April. As a result, we’ve also been unable to fully comply with GDPR for our EU-users by the deadline of May 25, 2018. We are continuing our efforts to resolve the situation and will keep you updated.
By missing the deadline, Telegram users in Europe won't have the same level of security and privacy in comparison to compliant apps, and a lack of updates could put the platform at a higher risk of vulnerability. Apple has yet to comment on the issue or explain its stance, but Durov hopes to "resolve the situation" soon as the company continues its efforts to get the iOS app up to date for all users.

This is far from the first time Telegram has been in hot water with both Apple and Russia. Earlier in February, Apple pulled Telegram from the App Store due to reports of "inappropriate content" being hosted on the messaging service, but it made a return a few hours after disappearing, once Telegram put additional protections in place.

For Russia, the government previously threatened a ban on Telegram last summer after repeated efforts to obtain more information about the company were ignored. While seemingly innocuous, Russia's request for a "form with information" on Telegram would effectively add the company to the state regulators' registry, further requiring Telegram to retain users' chats and to share encryption keys with Russian authorities if asked. Similar requests date back to 2014.

As of writing, Telegram Messenger for iOS was last updated on March 24, 2018.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Netflix iOS App Gains Unobtrusive Volume Indicator and 10-Second Double Tap Controls for Some Users

Netflix appears to be testing -- or slowly rolling out -- a new user interface control scheme for its iOS app, which enables an unobtrusive volume indicator and lets users jump forwards or backwards in a video with a quick double-tap gesture.

As spotted by Redditor mm2nam, the update brings Netflix's video controls closer to those of YouTube on iOS, which lets users double tap on the right edge of the screen to fast forward 10 seconds and on the left side to rewind 10 seconds. Netflix's implementation includes the double tap gesture, as well as physical buttons on the screen that appear after you tap once on the video to bring up the playback controls.

Image via Redditor mm2nam

Quick time jump controls have become increasingly popular in a variety of apps and in certain products, with Apple itself using a similar feature on its Siri Remote for Apple TV. On fourth and fifth generation devices, users can swipe to the right and click to jump forward 10 seconds and the same to go back 10 seconds, as long as the app supports Apple's native playback controls.

In regards to the volume indicator, Netflix currently has a bit of an unclear method for this piece of UI: some users lack an indicator completely, while others still see Apple's large, semi-translucent square that blocks most of the video every time the volume is toggled. It appears that along with the new 10-second playback gestures, Netflix is also planning to release a unified and unobtrusive volume indicator, which sits at the top of the screen, similar to YouTube and Instagram.

With no further information available regarding the update, it's unclear how widely available it is and if it will be launching for all users soon. Many users on the original Reddit thread commented about not having the update, and no one at MacRumors has yet seen either the double tap gestures or new volume indicator. We've reached out to Netflix for comment and will update the post if we hear back.

Tag: Netflix

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Withings Co-Founder Buys Back Digital Health Company From Nokia, Relaunch Planned This Year

Back in 2016, Nokia acquired health startup Withings in a deal estimated at $192 million, hoping to re-establish its presence in the consumer electronics market. Nokia did this by rebranding Withings' iOS compatible products under its own name, with devices like the Withings Steel Watch and Withings Go fitness trackers becoming the Nokia Steel and Nokia Go.

Unfortunately for the company, the acquisition has largely been seen as a failure, with the digital health division earning just $62.4 million in 2017, part of Nokia's overall $27.9 billion in revenue for the year. Because of this, the company announced earlier in May that it would sell the division back to Withings co-founder, Eric Carreel, and today that deal has officially closed (via TechCrunch).


Financial terms were not given for the sale, but it is said to have included 200 employees rejoining Carreel under the Withings brand. Moving forward, Carreel said that the next steps for the renewed Withings brand will be a "relaunch" of its products focused on preventive health coming by the end of 2018.
“I am delighted to start working again with the brilliant teams that made the brand such a great success” said Carreel in a statement. “We have an exciting challenge ahead of us as we continue to push the boundaries of connected health.”

“We are still only just starting to discover what connected health can really bring to people,” said Carreel in a statement. “From now on we must concentrate our efforts on developing tools capable of advanced measurements and the associated services that can help prevent chronic health conditions. Today’s technologies allow us to imagine solutions that have the potential to benefit the lives of millions of people, and our ambition is to ensure that we, as Withings, lead the way with technological advances and intuitive designs.”
Withings offers connected products like scales, activity tracking smart watches, blood pressure monitors, smart thermometers, sleep trackers, and more, and according to TechCrunch it "sounds like it will keep all of these in place" after the relaunch. The news of the deal closing also brought confirmations of an executive shakeup in Nokia, with president Gregory Lee exiting Nokia and Maria Varsellona stepping up to the duty from a chief legal officer position.

In late 2016 Nokia and Apple entered a series of legal battles that began when Nokia sued Apple for patent infringement in the United States and Germany. As the dispute escalated, Apple decided to remove all Withings products from Apple.com and most Apple retail locations around the world, since the connected health devices were at the time under the Nokia umbrella. Although many of the Nokia-branded products have since returned to Apple.com, Withings should have a much easier time selling its smart scales and more when it returns to its original branding scheme later this year.


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