At long last, the YouTube app on iOS is getting picture-in-picture support, allowing users to continue watching videos in a small pop-up window while scrolling on their iPhones and iPads.
In a statement to Gizmodo and other outlets on Friday, a YouTube spokesperson said the feature is currently rolling out worldwide to YouTube Premium subscribers first. A larger launch for all iOS users in the U.S. is apparently in the works, but YouTube did not provide a timeline for when free users can expect to access the feature.
Apple brought picture-in-picture video support to iPads with iOS 9 and iPhones with iOS 14, though actually getting it to work with the YouTube app has been another story. Some users have found creative workarounds via the YouTube website on Safari or iOS Shortcuts. However, updates on YouTube’s end rendered some of these shortcuts obsolete unless you pay for its $12-per-month Premium service.
With official support coming to iOS, hopefully these headaches will be a thing of the past, and iOS users will soon be able to enjoy the same feature that Android users have been able to for years.
Now, I don’t have a dog in the whole Android vs. iOS fight; growing up, my family bought gadgets based on whichever brand had the better sale, and I’ve struggled to shake that curmudgeonly penny-pinching even now with access to Real Adult money. That indifference hasn’t stopped Apple fanboys from talking my ear off, though, especially after I finally got my first smartphone: a Nexus 6, a model that was already a year old by the time I saved up enough to snag one in 2015 (Yes, I know, I was super late to the game). But hey, even that old thing had picture-in-picture support.
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Update: 6/18/2021, 8:04 p.m.: Added statement from YouTube.
Material You is not quite you just yet, but there’s much more of it in the second beta compared to the first. You won’t get the full array of customization that we’ve seen in renders, but you will get to see the color-stripping part populate across the interface.
To see the Material You theming in action, long-press on the Home screen and select Wallpaper & style. Then, choose a photo from your files or any of the stock options offered by Google. Once you select an image and whether you want it displayed across both the Home and Lock screens, Android will pick a color that matches the background.
The color-matching is very subtle in the current iteration, and it’s not entirely clear how the OS makes its choice. It’s also unclear whether you should choose your icon style and font type before choosing your wallpaper. But you can play around with it to get a glimpse of how Material You will extract color in the final build.
It’s about time Microsoft introduced something new, and we’re pretty sure that what’s on the way is a new version of Windows. Specifically, we expect to see Windows 11, because Windows 10X has all but kicked the bucket before it even had a chance. (RIP.)
We won’t know for sure what Microsoft has in store until the official event kicks off on Thursday, June 24 at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT. But there are screenshots galore of the Windows 11 developer preview build, plus a support bulletin from Microsoft letting us know that Windows 10 will be killed off by 2025. That date will be here before you know it, so it’s time to start considering what updating your PC will look like.
Here’s what we think we know so far.
Here Comes the Sun Valley
Windows 11 is going to be a significant visual update, based on what we’ve seen so far. Originally dubbed Project Sun Valley, rumors have been circulating that the company would push through a new interface this fall. That speculation became even stronger after Microsoft officially killed Windows 10X, which was envisioned as a version of the OS for use on dual-screen touch devices, like the Surface Duo. But the company let us know it was merely shifting directions and that it would fold the development on Windows 10X into the next version of Windows.
We expect a tablet, laptop, and desktop-friendly operating system, based on what’s been shown off so far, with visual elements that lend themselves to a cross-platform experience. A user on the Chinese site Baidu was the first to leak screenshots. Since then, otheroutlets have gone hands-on with the developer preview, showing similar screenshots and features.
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The previously rumored floating Taskbar is alive and well in the preview build. It defaults to the middle of the screen on the first launch, though you can return to the previous default on the bottom left-hand side. You might also start working on your eulogy for Live Tiles. The preview build shows the widget-like feature is gone from the Start menu, replaced instead by a more simplistic launch pad of sorts with pinned apps and recently accessed files.
Windows users with multiple monitors will get some help navigating around. Split and multi-pane views will become easier to place by simply maximizing the app window and selecting which mode to view apps. PCWorld showed off a screenshot of the different layout possibilities. Microsoft is also fixing a bug where apps rearrange themselves on the desktop after you resume sleep.
Microsoft is Setting Up a New Storefront
Alongside Windows 11’s new look, you can bet that Microsoft will announce the long-awaited reconstruction of its wilting app store. The Microsoft Store arrived in Windows 8 in response to Apple and Google’s unified app ecosystems at the time. But as Microsoft’s smartphone initiative tanked, so did development. What exists now is a clunky shell, with apps that can be procured from other trusted sources, leaving many users to wonder why it exists in the first place.
The company will also change some of its app submission policies, which leads us to believe it’s been working on how to entice developers behind the scenes. Developers will be allowed to submit unpackaged Win32 apps to the store and host updates on their preferred content delivery network (CDN). They can also use a third-party commerce platform within the apps. The move will help simplify the submission process to the Windows app store, giving us, the users, more incentive to head in there and grab an app.
A New Font for Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office is available on platforms outside of Windows, but the two still go hand-in-hand—sort of like a sibling and a cousin born months apart. Since Windows 11 is getting a new look, so might Office, which we can safely assume is why we’re voting for a new default font to replace Calibri. If you’re interested in the outcome, you can vote, too. The result won’t be finalized until 2022, though if you’re a Microsoft 365 subscriber and are curious about what the selection looks like, you can already try them out.
AirPods Will Finally Work on Windows
Moving on from aesthetic changes to more practical ones: If you’re an iPhone or iPad user with AirPods that won’t play nice with your Windows machines, there is hope on the horizon. Microsoft is expected to use the event to announce support for the Advanced Audio Codec (AAC) over Bluetooth. Currently, Windows only supports SBC and AptX over Bluetooth. But Apple’s headphones use AAC as its default compression codec.
To that end, we’re also hoping to see Microsoft make changes to its audio selection menu. Its current iteration is messy and convoluted to use and shows the same audio device listed with its varying compatible codecs.
I’m a Gamer. What About Me?
Gaming is another significant part of Microsoft’s MO—a sort of “yin” to the “yang” of its business- and enterprise-friendly ethos. The preview build already shows Xbox Game Pass games fully embedded into Windows 11, along with social-sharing links and an external link to the Xbox Store. The Xbox Game Bar and Windows Game Mode appear untouched, but Microsoft could be working on something for the fall release that it will tease at the event. And once the new Microsoft Store is live, it’ll be interesting to see how the Steam library and other parts of your PC gaming life integrate into the new interface.
There is no information yet about potential gaming performance increases. The focus seems to be on a unified experience for PC gamers, which Microsoft has struggled with over the years despite its reign as the gamer’s desktop platform.
Microsoft already held its annual Build developers conference, so we’re not going to get all the in-depth details on the changes to Windows 11 at the event on June 24. We’re likely to get more of a top-down, macro view of what’s next for Windows users. The interface overhaul will likely be the main focus, and we’ll learn more about Microsoft’s philosophy behind how it designed the OS.
The core Windows experience you already know and sometimes painstakingly use daily for work should remain relatively untouched. Windows Insiders will likely be the first to play with the new preview of the operating system before the rest of us will get a chance to go hands-on with it. Hopefully, Microsoft leaves us with enough to feel satiated until it’s time to upgrade—and lets us know how much it will cost.
We’re just one week away from finding out what Microsoft has in store for the next version of Windows, but developer build leaks indicate Windows 11 is getting a dramatic visual overhaul.
A set of screenshots published to Chinese social media platform Baidu reveal a softer, minimalist-looking Windows. The Start menu remains, but is now centered with the rest of the taskbar instead of off to the left. The overall aesthetic is very similar to the now-canceled Windows 10X, which Microsoft intended for dual-screen devices. I can’t help but notice some similarities to macOS and all its iterations. There are also some elements of Chrome OS in the way apps are placed in the Taskbar. It’s not surprising, considering Chrome OS is intended for two-in-one touch-capable devices, just like Windows 10 and 11.
The Start menu in Windows 11 has been significantly pared down and stripped of all dynamic graphical elements, like those currently in Windows 10. There are no more Live Tiles, but there are still pinnable apps and quick access buttons for shutting down and restarting the device. Additional screenshots from the developers build have surfaced today, and XDA’s look at Windows 11 show the Start menu in dark mode populated with icons and shortcuts, which appears more pleasing than what we can see from the Baidu leaks. It also gives us a better indication that what’s coming next week is a pretty big change.
The rest of XDA’s screenshots show similar menu structures to what Windows 10 has now. The Taskbar appears centered by default, as there’s a screenshot showing you can go into the settings panel to place it back on the left, where it’s been since Windows 95. Curiously, there’s also a widgets feature. XDA’s screenshots indicate the ability to pin updating sports and news tickers to the desktop, plus a weather forecast. This feature might replace Live Tiles since they were intended to be Microsoft’s version of widgets.
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Lastly, we need to talk about Windows 11’s new default wallpapers, available in both light and dark mode versions. It’s a bit more avant-garde than what one would typically expect from enterprise-minded Microsoft. Frankly, it looks like a loofah from afar, which I’m taking to indicate is Microsoft’s way of expressing the fluidity of its new operating system.
Microsoft said that instead of bringing Windows 10X to market, it would leverage “learnings” from its journey and integrate it into other parts of Windows. If you’ve looked at past images of the killed OS released by Microsoft and compare them to what we’re seeing now, it’s clear Microsoft is making an OS that works on different form factors. Why else would it simplify the GUI to be a little less “graphic” and much more “interface”?
But nothing’s official until Microsoft lays it out for us at its June 24 event. We’ll be covering it here at Gizmodo, so stay tuned.
We still don’t know what’s next for Windows, though we will almost certainly find out at Microsoft’s event on June 24. Both Nvidia and Microsoft are urging users to upgrade to the latest, lest they get left behind in unsupported software land.
Microsoft announced the retirement date for Windows 10, making us all the more curious about what’s next for the most widely used operating system. Microsoft will cease support for Windows 10 on Oct. 14, 2025, so you’ll have about four years to upgrade.
Microsoft announced the change by updating its support page, which was spotted by Thurrot. Windows 10 Home and Pro, the two variations bundled on machines, were released in July 2015. The retirement date falls a few months after the 10th anniversary.
Nvidia announced in a support bulletin that it is dropping support for its Game Ready Driver on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 machines beginning October 2021. As a result, the last official update for those operating systems will arrive on Aug. 31, 2021.
The company said it’s shifting focus to supporting Windows 10 and later versions of Windows. Drivers for those older versions of Windows will continue to receive critical security updates through September 2024.
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There are still an estimated 15% of Windows users on Windows 7 and about 5% on Windows 8 and 8.1. Originally surfaced by Bleeping Computer, Steam’s latest Hardware & Software Survey shows a smaller percentage of PC gamers on older versions of Windows, which bodes well for the coming transition, at least in the gaming realm. You’ll have three years to update your operating system before your Nvidia graphics card is rendered unsupported.
All this leads us to ponder: What is coming at the end of the month? Will it be an entirely new version of Windows, or simply the aesthetic makeover that’s been rumored thus far? Will Windows 11 be an overhaul built for the next generation of screens and devices? We don’t have much longer before we find out. In the meantime, if you’re still using Windows 7, well—it’s time.
As we wait to hear more about the next big update for Windows, Microsoft just teased the upcoming launch event with a medley of various startup sounds. The melodies for Windows 95, Windows XP, and Windows 7 have all been slowed down and linked together to form an 11-minute “slo-fi” experience. It’s a tad jarring to listen to at times—depending on how kindly you take to high-pitched sounds—but the scenery in the video is mainly of the hills and skies that Microsoft has used previously as inspiration for each respective operating system’s default wallpaper.
The YouTube reel of startup sounds is undoubtedly a tribute to the many years we’ve spent with Windows. It’s also a teaser for the upcoming Microsoft event on June 24, which kicks off at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT.
Curiously, Microsoft seems to have chosen startup sounds related to the versions of Windows that had the more significant interface overhauls. With the rumors circulating that the next expected version of Windows will be getting the Sun Valley overhaul, it seems that’s what Microsoft is angling for here.
Sun Valley is the codename of the aesthetic changes coming to Windows, though it’s unclear if the rollout will be primarily through the launch of Windows 11. Windows 10 users will get some of the updates, as well, with some already seeing the changes in the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21343.
Last month, Microsoft announced its plans to bail on the development of Windows 10X, a dual-screen-friendly operating system it had announced back in fall 2019. According to a Windows insider, part of the reason is that Windows 10X didn’t seem to resonate with user needs, so Microsoft shifted the focus to developing the Sun Valley visual refresh.
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From what we’ve seen so far, everything is getting a new look, from rounded corners on the main graphic user interface to the little bits that make up the system, like the Microsoft Store, the settings panel, and even system icons. The changes will apply to other aspects of Microsoft’s ecosystem, too, as there’s even a new default font for Word in the making. It’s not just visual changes coming, either. The next Windows update will include new features, like support for the Advanced Audio Codec (AAC), which has rendered some headphones and earbuds useless on Windows 10 for many years.
There’s no word on whether Microsoft will be launching a full version like Windows 11 or if it will call this update something simple and chic, like “The Sun Valley Update.” Either way, we’ll find out later this month if we’re getting a big Windows overhaul or a design-focused refresh.
Dark Sky, the excellent weather app that Apple bought last March, is doomed—which we already knew. What we didn’t know until now was the possible execution date for the iOS app. In a June 7 update posted to the Dark Sky website, the company announced: “Support for the Dark Sky API service for existing customers will continue until the end of 2022. The iOS app and Dark Sky website will also be available until the end of 2022.”
That last sentence there should stop you from clicking the download button in the App Store—unless you don’t mind buying an app with an apparent expiration date. (We’ve reached out to Apple to clarify whether the iOS app will cease to function after 2022 or simply be unsupported, which is just a slower form of death.)
Anyone could have seen this coming, especially after this week’s WWDC keynote, in which Apple announced a slew of changes coming in iOS 15, including an updated Weather app that incorporates some of the best features from Dark Sky—itself an obvious thing to expect after Apple spent some secret amount of money to buy the whole company and proceeded to shut down the Android version last August.
All of this is why I, a technology journalist who should know all these details off the top of my head, feel like a dumbass. I recently purchased Dark Sky ahead of a camping trip, so I could have the best possible information about the weather before sleeping outdoors for a week in the middle of Pennsylvania. And while the app truly is great—accurate weather, great design and UX—I can’t say I’ve used it enough to justify spending even a measly $4 on it.
The June 7 update isn’t all bad news, however—at least not for developers who use the Dark Sky API, and the users who benefit from it. Dark Sky originally said its API would only remain available until the end of this year. As iOS developer David Smith, one of the first people to spot this week’s update, noted, that extends the Dark Sky API’s life for an additional year.
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Of course, this whole situation is just another reminder that we don’t truly own anything anymore—we’re simply renting the digital goods we pay for until someone somewhere decides to take them away. So, if you recently downloaded Dark Sky, all I can say is, enjoy it while it lasts.
Update 3:40 pm ET, June 10: An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on how, exactly, the death of Dark Sky as a standalone app and website will play out, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Google released the first Android 12 beta at Google I/O back in May, but that version didn’t have all the new updates and features that will be included in the final release later this year. Today Google is releasing the second version of the Android 12 beta, which adds a new Privacy Dashboard, updates to wifi controls, and more.
With privacy and security becoming a higher priority for Google, the company is planning a number of changes in that vein for Android 12, including the new Privacy Dashboard. The goal is to give people a better way of seeing what kind of data their apps are using. So not only will the dashboard show you every app that’s accessed your microphone, camera, or location info in the last 24 hours, people will even be able to request additional details about why a specific app may have tried to view sensitive info.
More privacy-related features include new indicators that will show up in the corner of your device’s display anytime an app is using your microphone or camera, similar to what Apple added in iOS 14. This is designed to make sure people know when an app may be recording the user or their surroundings in real-time, allowing people to change or revoke permissions for a specific app if needed.
And for those times when you want to be super sure your device isn’t recording anything, Google has also added microphone and camera toggles to Android 12’s Quick Settings menu, so you can completely disable either component with a single tap. If you’re worried about random apps potentially spying on stuff in your clipboard, the Android 12 beta also supports a new notification that will alert you anytime an app tries to read data from your clipboard—another privacy feature Apple added in iOS 14.
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Aside from a number of updated dev tools, the last notable new feature that’s been added to the Android 12 beta is a revamped UI for network connections. Going forward, the new Internet Panel will serve as a home to all the different ways you connect to the outside world, allowing you to quickly toggle mobile data on or off, select from available wifi networks, and even help troubleshoot issues in case your connection is acting a bit wonky.
As with the previous versions of the Android 12 beta, you can test it out yourself by downloading an over-the-air update across a range of eligible devices (see the full list of approved devices here) or install it manually if you are so inclined. Just maybe don’t install it on your primary phone or tablet, because even though Google’s public Android betas are typically relatively stable, you don’t want to risk something going awry on your main device.
One of the best things about iOS 14.5 was it introduced the “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature—a clever solution to masks mucking up FaceID in the pandemic. Now as folks begin digging through the iOS 15 developer beta, it looks like Apple’s planning on expanding this feature to Siri.
Right now, when you use Siri to make personal requests, you might be required to authenticate that it’s actually you on your iPhone. Personal requests, according to Apple, are Siri commands that “use info from apps on your iOS or iPadOS device.” That includes private information stored in apps like Messages, Reminders, Contacts, Calendar, and Notes. If you’re unfamiliar with the feature, it’s basically what allows the HomePod or HomePod mini to send texts, make calls, and update you about what’s on your calendar. Enabling it… well, it’s not the most streamlined process. Also, if you want to limit who has access to your Calendar, Notes, Reminders, voicemail, and call history, you need to enable authentication for secure requests.
Now, according to 9to5 Mac, the extra authentication bit won’t be necessary if you have an Apple Watch. In the Face ID and Passcode menu in the settings app, the iOS 15 beta now reads, “Use the secure connection to your Apple Watch for Siri requests or to unlock your iPhone when an obstruction, like a mask, prevents Face ID from recognizing your face. Your watch must be passcode protected, unlocked, and on your wrist close by.”
Of course, setting all this up still won’t be the most elegant process. (Then again, setting up smart homes has never been as easy as setting up other types of devices.) On top of all the steps to enable Personal Requests, you’ll also have to futz with your Apple Watch settings. Specifically, you’ll need to have a passcode on your Apple Watch, it has to be in range, on your wrist, and unlocked. That said, once you get it all done, this seems like a clever way to keep your privacy without needing to manually authenticate every time you make a personal request.
This is the latest in Apple trying to sell the Apple Watch as a “must-have” accessory for its ecosystem. Late last year, the company launched Fitness+. If you look at it cynically, it’s an entire service based on showcasing how the watch’s health and fitness capabilities can work with other Apple gadgets. And while Apple leans heavily on the watch’s health features, it’s also steadily expanded ways to use it as a physical security key. Starting with watchOS 3, Apple enabled the ability to unlock and approve app requests on Macs via the watch. (1Password is just one example.) Then with watchOS 6, Apple gave the watch the ability to display Apple ID verification codes for two-factor authentication. On Monday, Apple also announced that in watchOS 8, the watch will be able to control security feeds and double as an intercom.
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With this in mind, expanding Unlock with Apple Watch to Siri requests is a smart move. Siri is a big reason why, up until now, the HomePod has utterly sucked as a smart home hub. As the most private digital assistant, Siri was nowhere near as good at deciphering voice requests, and adding the extra layer of authentication meant it was easier to just reach for your phone. However, at WWDC, Apple also announced Siri is finally getting some meaningful updates in the smart home. For starters, Siri will now support third-party smart devices, as well as process speech recognition on-device.
So starting in the fall, the Apple Watch will now work as a smart home controller, security key, and fitness and health tracker. Again, this is just another way to reinforce that once you’re in the ecosystem, you stay in it. But on the bright side, at least the company is finally strengthening its smart home offerings.
The iOS (and iPadOS) 14.5 updates brought support for Sony’s PS5 DualSense controllers and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X controllers to the iPhone and iPad, which previously had limited support for a small number of disappointing third-party gamepads. The update also brought support for the dedicated share and create buttons on each of those controllers, which under Apple’s mobile operating systems would capture a gameplay screenshot with a quick press, or start and stop screen recording with a longer press.
It was a useful shortcut for gamers who wanted to record video of a boss battle or pivotal moment in a game without actually having to leave the app or reach for the iOS or iPadOS screen capture controls, but it also meant that if gamers weren’t already recording the action (which could quickly fill up a mobile device’s storage) they’d miss a spontaneous moment or unplanned highlight.
As revealed in a WWDC 2021 session called ‘Tap into virtual and physical game controllers’ led by Nat Brown who’s part of Apple’s Games Technology Engineering team, for iOS and iPadOS 15 the company is introducing a new share gesture called Replay Capture that continually buffers the last 15 seconds of recorded gameplay until the share or create button on a connected controller is long-pressed, which will then dump that footage to the mobile device’s camera roll where it can be easily shared. It allows unexpected moments in a game to be captured, without having to record the entire session.
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In the video, Apple also reveals that under iOS and iPadOS 15, game developers will be able to take advantage of the unique gameplay experience possibilities offered by the PS5 DualSense controllers’ adaptive triggers which allow for adjustable force and tension to simulate the feel of real-world objects, like drawing back a bowstring, which gets harder to do the farther you pull it. To date, Apple’s mobile devices have always been great for casual gaming, but less so for titles with more intense gameplay. As Apple continues to expand its support for excellent third-party controller hardware, these devices could finally be a great option for intense gaming on the go.