Gifts, Gadgets & Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Techies

In the 149th episode, David and Donna share holiday gift and stocking stuffer ideas, from the HomePod mini to the original AirPods to the best iPhone screen protector. Stick around for an update on Apple’s new M1 MacBooks and Mac mini, plus a first look at Apple’s new workout video service called Fitness Plus.

Click here to listen and subscribe. If you like what you hear, be sure to leave a review. And remember to tune in every other week to hear our editors share with you the latest Apple news, best apps, iPhone tricks, and coolest accessories.

iPhone Life
Discover your iPhone's hidden features
Get a daily tip (with screenshots and clear instructions) so you can master your iPhone in just one minute a day.

Claim 10% off your subscription to iPhone Life Insider when you visit

This episode was brought to you by CASEBUDi Crossbody Phone Lanyard ($20). Losing your phone is more than just annoying: it can leave your private data in the hands of whoever finds it! Instead of worrying about someone else having access to your location, passwords, and photos, it’s best to find a way to keep your phone close by. CASEBUDi’s adjustable lanyard is an affordable and stylish fix for this issue. The comfortable crossbody strap pairs with a PopSockets PopGrip (not included) on the back of your phone—just slide it on and it locks into place. You can use your phone as you normally would without having to remove the lanyard. If you’re the kind of person who likes to be out and about but doesn’t want to shove your phone into a bag, an accessory like this will free up your hands. It's especially helpful for shopping, sightseeing, or hiking, where you want easy access to your phone without having to hold it the entire time.

Questions of the week:

What are your thoughts on Apple Fitness Plus? Email and let us know.

Articles referred to in this episode:

Gift ideas referred to in this episode:

Apps & media referred to in this episode:


Holiday Music Playlists

Useful links:

Episode 149 transcript:

- Hi and welcome to the iPhone Life Podcast. I'm Donna Cleveland, editor in chief at iPhone Life.

- I'm David Averbach CEO, and publisher.

- And we have a fun episode for you today. We're gonna be going over holiday apps and gear to help you get in the spirit over this holiday season. We're also going to talk about follow up to the M1 Macs, we have the early benchmark tests, and early reviews in which have swayed our what we have to say about those Macs, so stay tuned for that. Also I have just tested out Apple Fitness Plus with my Apple watch this morning. It just released last night. And so I wanna tell you all about that as well. So we have a fun jam packed episode for you. Yeah and it's so-

- Yeah we really do.

- David and I haven't really been on an an episode in a while doing our regular format. So happy to hang out with you David.

- Yeah I missed you. Donna's not in town anymore. So we're, this is our catch-up time.

- It's true, I know.

- It was funny looking back, preparing for this episode we realized pretty much all of our recent episodes have been about announcements. So we haven't really done a lot of just normal episodes. So it's nice to get back on track.

- I know. Having three Fall announcements from Apple has been pretty nuts. Also, we don't have a lot dedicated to this because we we haven't tried them yet, but Apple also just came out with premium headphones with the AirPods Max over your headphones that are $550. It's been a wild, wild Fall into Winter for Apple.

- Apple really went for it, yeah.

- Yeah. All right, before we get into the episode we have a sponsor to tell you about.

- Yeah. So today's sponsor is a sponsor that you're probably familiar with. It's GOBUDi, but they have a new product and I'm really excited to tell you about it. Cause it's a really cool product and it's just in time for the holidays. As always, it's a very affordable, great stocking stuffer. What it is, it's called the CASEBUDi Crossbody Phone Lanyard. And how it works is, it's a accessory that works with a pop socket. So if you have a pop socket it basically is a lanyard that goes across your body as the name would imply, and it clicks in. And so you can just have your phone securely strapped to you, which is really awesome for times when let's say you're on a hike, or you're walking around the house, you don't have pockets, let's say you wear pajamas all day for some reason, and you don't have pockets. It's a really nice way just to keep your phone secure, safe and easily accessible. It's really affordable. It's normally $25, but right now they have it on sale, 'cause they just launched it for $15. We will link to it in the show notes, if you go to

- That is right. And we also have a daily tip, that this is a one that's a special favorite of mine. And that's how to receive mail notifications for important contacts only. For those of you who don't know, we have a daily newsletter where we send you a one minute tip that you can do something cool with every day, a one minute iPhone tip. And you can go to if you would like to sign up for that. Did I say daily tips? It's daily tip. Although probably either one would-

- Yeah, it's singular.

- Okay it's singular. So this tip allows you to only get notified of emails from contacts that are important to you. And if you're anything like me, you get tons of email in your inbox every day, so you don't want to be notified of every single email that comes in. So I think for most people, this is extremely useful. Do you have this set up, David?

- I do have the setup for a few people, yeah. And it is really nice 'cause if you're a longtime listener of the show, you know, I have actually, I will give you a live update right now. I believe it's 181,000 unread emails.

- Just to give everyone listening, some anxiety.

- I get a lot of emails and I can't keep up. So yeah, I do use it and I do really enjoy the feature. But I would place the caveat, use it sparingly, because notifications for emails are, A. they can clog up your notifications, which is even more invasive. And B. if you have too many of them coming in, then it sort of defeats the whole purpose. You want it to be a very select few people that you really wanna make sure you don't miss.

- Yeah, that's a good point. I just set it up for, I went and got tested for COVID a few days ago. And so I set it up for the email address where they were gonna send me my results, 'cause I didn't want, you know, they email you your results. I didn't want that to get lost in a stream of emails, so this is a good example of like a way that you might wanna use it. So here's how you set it up. You open your mail app on your iPhone or your iPad. You go to your mailboxes view, which is what the app opens to. So you should just be there. And there's an inbox in your mailboxes that for VIP, your very important people mailbox. And so you tap on that and you'll have the option to add contacts there if you haven't added any before. And then you go and find a contact from there. You can also just open your phone app and go to contacts or open the contacts app. And when you get to a specific contact, like from the list of options there, add to VIP will be one of them. So those are your ways-

- That's always how I've done it. As I just go to the contact. Like when I have it, it usually what happens to me is an email comes in that I've missed, I'm angry that I missed it, and then I just tap on the name and do add VIP.

- Right, so that's an easy to do it. So that's like phase one of this tip is selecting who are your very important contacts. Once you have those contacts set up, you then wanna make sure you have the notifications coming in for those VIP contacts. So back in the mail app from your mailboxes view, which is like the main view, you'll tap the little info icon next to VIP. And I think this trips people up sometimes 'cause you don't just tap the VIP and go back in the list. You tap the little info icon, and from there at the bottom there'll be a button that says VIP alerts. And you'll tap that. It'll take you to your notification settings for those contacts. And from there, you can make sure that you have your badges turned on for that. And so that way you'll actually see it pop up on your phone. You also can tailor your privacy there. I like to keep previews of my mail turned off, that way it's not popping up on your screen with the actual content of the message in there, it'll just show you who the sender is. And that is how you do this. So if you go to you can sign up and I highly recommend you do that, because you'll get tips like this every day. And they're extremely useful. I also wanted to tell you about our Insider program. We have a premium subscription,, that's how you sign up for our free newsletter. But if you really wanna get the most out of your iPhone and you love your Apple devices, and want to make sure that you're taking advantage of all the features that they have, you'll wanna sign up for iPhone Life Insider. We have video guides that walk you through everything you need to know about your device, whether it's your iPhone, iPad, or Apple watch. We have classes, that's a new feature we've come out with where quarterly we hold live online classes where you have instructors who will lead you through any topic that we choose. And you can come on live and ask your questions to us. So it's very interactive. We make sure nobody gets left behind or confused. And you also get a ton of other features with Insider. You get a premium version of this podcast with no ads and extra content. You get a digital subscription to iPhone Life Magazine, and plus full access to our archive, and video versions of our daily tips. So there's a lot there. And if you're listening to this podcast, you get a discount. So go to for I believe 10% off. Right David?

- I believe it is 10% yes. And a couple of things real quick. Number one, we are working on a AirPods guide, which I'm excited about 'cause a lot of you either have AirPods, as you can see Don and I both have our AirPods in, we use them to record the podcast, and or you're gonna get them for the holidays. And so it's a really great guide coming out soon. So if you're interested, make sure you subscribe. Also, we just started doing, in addition to classes, we started doing live monthly workshops. What's the term we're using? I can't never remember.

- Yeah workshops.

- So you get to hang out with Don and I monthly now.

- Yeah we choose topics based on what Insiders have been expressing to us that they wanna know about. And with these workshops, you can come on and ask us questions about that topic, and we will go in depth on it with you. So, yeah, there's a lot. There's a lot in Insider. It's a great deal. So discount is where you can go to sign up.

- All right, should we talk about the M1?

- Yeah, did you, we had a couple of comments from listeners.

- Oh yeah sorry. Didn't mean to get ahead of us.

- Yeah, we haven't read any out, I don't think in a couple episodes so we can pick a couple. Thanks everyone who wrote into us over the last few episodes. One was about our coverage of the MacBook Pro. And we just wanted to say, we recorded our podcast about the MacBook Pro, the new MacBooks and MacMini right after the announcement. So nobody had had any hands-on reviews yet. And there was a lot of reason to be concerned about the M1s and maybe to be a little cautious about buying. We are gonna get into a lot of the positive reviews that have come since then, and we'll be modifying our recommendations. But we still stand by the fact that it was probably good to wait and see what the early reviews were. So Greg wrote in and he said, "I was contemplating giving my 2019 MacBook Pro to my son for school, and buying a new MacBook pro with the M1 chip until I listened to your latest podcast. The CTO guest and your follow-up swayed my opinion. And I'm so thankful for your efforts and information, keep up the great work. Best regards Greg F." Thanks for writing in Greg. I hope you're listening today too. 'Cause we're going to tell you about some of the positive reviews of the Mac book and we'll see whether or not that sways your purchase decision. Jim also wrote into us. "Hi Donna, happy Thanksgiving. I love iPhone Life Magazine."

- What about me?

- Oh sorry, David.

- I celebrate Thanksgiving.

- Yeah, I dunno, I guess I'm just special.

- Yeah, it's true.

- "I hope you can convince me that I made the decision correctly in purchasing the iPhone 12 Pro. I had an iPhone XR for two years. I debated which I phone 12 I should get, I considered the pro max, but realized that once the pandemic's over and we're out and about again, it would probably be too big for my pocket. I got my wife, the regular 12, and I got the pro. I am a little disappointed. I like the fact that the iPhone 12 was a little lighter. I would have bumped up the 12 to 128 gigabytes if I decided to get that. So I figured that for $140 difference, I might as well get the pro. I've noticed the screen brightness isn't great, so I've been trying to adjust that, and my phone does get hot at times during the day. I put my own screen protector on, which was kind of interesting because I've never done it." And I, and he bought an ultra thin case. And he asked me do you put a case on your pro? What about a screen protector? Please convince me that I made the right decision. Other than the camera, I'm hoping there's a few other features I will really enjoy. Best, Jim. So yeah that's-

- A lot to cover there.

- There's a lot to cover there. I mean, the first thing is, I do think that the 12 pro is a great device but it does depend on what device you're upgrading from on whether or not you can really make a case for whether or not it was worth it. You know, like if you have an older device and you you get the 12 pro then you're getting sort of a few features that you haven't been able to have for a while. You're getting a way better camera with more lenses. You're getting a faster processor, and better quality display and all that. Now with the XR, I never had the XR I had the iPhone 10, but I still think it is a pretty significant upgrade. Like your display quality is gonna be better. I was surprised that Jim said that his screen is like not as bright. Because to me, when I upgraded to have the OLED display I found a huge improvement in that, and that alone was almost worth the update.

- So I have a couple thoughts. First of all, Jim, I believe you made the right choice. That's the choice I would've made. In terms of the brightness, I'm wondering iPhones now have auto adjusting brightness. I love that feature 'cause if you walk from a low light situation to a bright situation, let's say you're in your house, then you walk outside, it'll adjust for you, and there's less eye strain. But it sounds like what might be happening is your personal preference for screen brightness is different than what Apple's is. So you may actually wanna go into your settings and turn off the auto adjust feature, and then you can kind of have it bright. Because my feeling is it's the problem is not that the older display is not capable of brightness. I think it just your preference is different than what Apple thinks it is. Second of all, I'm looking here at the weight, and you are right. And I actually hadn't realized it that the weight of the iPhone 12 pro is 6.6 ounces, whereas the iPhone 12 is 5.78 ounces. So it is different. That being said, it's less than an ounce difference. So I feel like there might be some subjectivity to it, maybe some buyer's remorse there, cause I doubt that you're holding them and really feeling that the heaviness that much. I think it's a pretty marginal difference. I do personally, as Donna was saying, I think that over time you'll have to email us back again and tell us what you think over time. 'Cause I think over time, I have found that I appreciate the upgraded features more and more, such as the screen. It's one of those things that when you first get it, it looks nice you're like, whatever, but over the course of the lifetime of the phone, every time you go to read it's just a little bit clear, a little bit less eyestrain, text looks crisper and that matters. And I think that, especially once the pandemic is over and you're taking a lot of photos of presumably your friends, your family, you're gonna really enjoy having that nicer camera 'cause it is a dramatically nicer camera. That's my 2 cents.

- And the fact, another thing is I really liked the design of the 12 pro the flat edge design, instead of the rounded, because you really do get like more screen in a smaller device. And I just find myself like even using Apple Fitness Plus, the video workouts on my iPhone, I found like was doable. And like, the more you're able to like have a media device that you can like watch videos on that can fit in your pocket is really great. And so I think that's another thing I really like about it. Also, one thing that Jim didn't mention was 5G. I don't know Jim, where you live but depending on where you are, you're gonna be getting access to 5G networks, and you're gonna be experiencing a lot, like faster download speeds if you're downloading media, just in general faster internet connection. So I think, or, you know, cellular data connection. I think that that's also something that's gonna be getting better over the next year or two. So if I were you, I'd probably hold onto your 12 pro for the next couple of years, and you'll be getting good use out of it because that 5G feature, I'm in an area that has 5G in Florida but it's still just very unpredictable and intermittent. So most of the time I'm not noticing my phone being any faster at all.

- A couple last things here. Number one, I think Jim's buyer remorse is not that he bought a new phone, but that he bought the 12 pro instead of the 12. So just to clarify, 5G is across all of the iPhone 12 line, correct?

- Yes.

- Okay, so any of the new iPhone 12 will have 5G. Second of all, just to answer your other question I always have a case and a screen protector on my phone. The phones have just gotten too expensive, especially the pros where the OLED displays are more expensive to fix if your screen does break, the back is still glass. So I believe right, the back is glass?

- The back is glass, and like the whole ceramic shield thing they have on the display, it's not gonna still, it's not good enough that you can drop your phone and be fine. And it's really expensive. Once you switched to OLED displays, replacing your display is $250. So you don't wanna even mess with that.

- Yeah, and I actually later, I have a screen protector recommendation, but I actually think screen protectors are the one of the more underrated accessories. I think everybody should have them and most people don't. Okay last question and then, cause we actually have a really long podcast today.

- I know.

- When you have 5G how is it Donna? Is it like dramatically better?

- No.

- No.

- My experience has been it'll tell me, like every once in a while I notice that it says 5G in the status bar on my iPhone. I've noticed no difference.

- Oh, that is so depressing.

- I mean, it's like in general... The thing is is that 4G is pretty good. Like, so my phone is fast, but I'm not noticing that much of a difference. And I think what it is, is that right now as they're building out the 5G support with different networks, like, it's just I almost think it like it seems like my phone is almost confused at times. Like, it'll say it'll be like almost slower or something. And I don't know, this is totally anecdotal. I don't know if it's like, my phone is trying to connect to both to different networks and it's not quite, it doesn't seem like it's worked out yet.

- I do think, and I'm a little bit hazy on these details so I'm sorry. But I do think that there is different things that the carriers are calling 5G, and carriers are trying to be aggressive with what they're considering 5G because everybody likes to feel like they have 5G. I think there's ranges. And I think that like the fastest, most official 5G, is really, really fast, but there's some people, like there's some kind of slightly faster networks that they're claiming is 5G and is not quite 5G. The same thing happened with 4G as well, where there was a period of time where they were claiming that like 3G was 4G for some technical reason that just made no sense.

- Yeah. Like one of our writers, Colin Thomas, just wrote a full article on 5G that I was just editing last week. And it was a similar takeaway where it's even places that have the highest speed 5G, like there's low, medium and high band 5G. And most of what they're calling 5G now is low band which isn't gonna be that much faster even though it is faster than 4G. The high band 5G is what you hear people talking about that that's like these amazing blazing fast speeds but that's mainly only available in areas like, sports arenas or things like that where there's no walls or trees or anything obstructing, because high band 5G can't get through, like it can't penetrate walls. And so it's just very rare that you're gonna have that. And it's only within small areas that you will. And I haven't, I guess I have not experienced high band 5G yet. So I still think of like getting a 5G iPhone is still more of an investment in the future. And so I think I'll wanna like hold onto this phone for a couple of years, and I'm sure by next year we'll be having experiencing more of the benefits of 5G.

- Yeah, yeah. Okay I'm glad to verify our subjective experiences with there is like low, medium, best 5G.

- And they're calling it all 5G, yeah.

- Yeah, okay. All right we need to move on. We've got so much to talk about, yeah.

- Yeah, let's move on to news. So let's first talk about Apple released three new Macs. We've got the Mac mini, a 13 inch MacBook Air and a 13 inch MacBook Pro. And they all contain Apple's own chip called the M1. And this is Apple, this is a big change 'cause Apple used to use or in the rest of it's Macs, still uses Intel processors, and now they're building their own processor. So this is like basically a whole new brain for your computer. And so it's a big deal and we were skeptical, or cautious about telling people to go and necessarily buy these new Macs right away when we weren't sure there might be some problems with it early on. So we wanna do a follow up and talk about that.

- And part of why we wanna do a up is we advised people to wait, and now we are seeing the reviews. And as Donna has alluded to, they're pretty good. The reviews so far have actually been much better than I expected, which probably came across when we were talking about it. And so, yeah, the reviews are essentially, the battery life as we expected is excellent. But what we also are learning as we're getting third party benchmark reviews, is that it actually is significantly faster. So the processor is faster. And most importantly 'cause this is something we are really worried about, not only is it faster, but they're largely is compatibility with third-party software. I would imagine there still are a few notable exceptions to that, but Photoshop has released a version that works on the M1 processor, Google Chrome works, also Apple, if you remember has the software called Rosetta Stone 2. Is that what it's called Rosetta Stone?

- There's no Stone. I think you're thinking of the language teaching.

- Well, but no, I'm thinking of the literal Rosetta Stone from Egypt, but yeah. Okay, just Rosetta is the software and what it does is it translates the software from software that only works on Intel processors, it translates it, so it can still run on your M1. And that has gotten good reviews as well, that it works well. And we were unsure that it would.

- Yeah, I know. And it was reassuring enough to me, that I actually am getting the new 13 inch MacBook Air, and so are two other people on our team. So that just shows, our confidence now that we'll be able to do our jobs well on these new devices. So for what that's worth. Yeah to me, what really shifted was knowing that the Rosetta 2 software works, translation software works really well because the last thing I would want was to get a new computer and not be able to run the software that I need to do my job on it. But like, or the early tests have shown that, I think you go through a few second set up process for each app that you open using Rosetta, the first time you use it. And then after that, like it won't run as fast as as apps would that have actually been built for the M1, but that, for the most part you won't really notice any difference, and hopefully over the next year or so more apps will actually build, more developers will actually build versions of their apps for the M1. But in the meantime, it seems like Rosetta 2 is working really well. So that's cool.

- So a couple things there, number one with this new information that it is fast, I think I would like to go ahead and revise my buyer recommendation to say, I would certainly we're recommending people buy it because we're buying it for ourselves in the office. I would personally recommend avoiding Intel based Macs right now, because I think that the M1 and Apple's own chips are the future. And so if you're buying an Intel based Mac, then you're sort of dating yourself in terms of the support you're gonna get down the road and Apples they came out with a few Macs, but there's a lot more coming. I think there's a 16 inch MacBook Pro coming, there's rumors of maybe late 2021, early 2022, some more Pro-line like the iMac coming. So unless you really need a computer, and you don't want the 13 inch, 'cause I personally don't like the 13 inch. Like I wouldn't buy a computer right now, personally. But if you really need a computer, obviously I think Intel processors are still fine, but my personal recommendation is to only buy Apple chip Macs 'cause you're kind of future-proofing it then. And computers, you only buy once every five or so years.

- Yeah at the most. So, yeah and I also do prefer the larger displays. 13 inches is a little bit small, but I think that one of the things we didn't really talk about in our previous episode too, that's a huge benefit of these new MacBooks is that, the Mac book air doesn't even come with a fan anymore, because the MLN is able to run so efficiently. Well not only does it greatly improve your battery life, but it also doesn't run hot. And like, I'm sure a lot of you have experienced MacBooks can get really hot. Some of the older ones, like to the point that it's so hot that you can't even really hold or like comfortably sit with it on your lap. And so the fact that the new Macs don't, MacBooks don't have that situation is pretty awesome. The MacBook Air, MacBook Pro does have a fan in it because it's built to have like heavier task loads over a longer period of time, so it will heat up a little bit and need a fan. But I'm really excited about that personally to have the MacBook Air, the super thin device, with a great battery and it doesn't heat up. Like that sounds pretty awesome.

- Yeah, absolutely. But the one funny thing is the thing that we were potentially the most excited about in the original podcast, is actually not getting very good reviews, which is the iPhone and iPad app right Donna?

- Yeah so I know we were like, all these things seem problematic except that it's really cool. You can run iPhone and iPad apps on your Mac. But apparently the user experience is pretty terrible for running iPhone and iPad apps on your Mac. Now, basically with the new M1 Macs when you open the app store, it'll tell you whether apps are built for the Mac or they were built for the iPhone or iPad and you can install them and use them on your Mac. But like basically a lot of app developers haven't spent any time to create a nice user experience for iPhone and iPad apps on the Mac. And there's no way to really know. So like there are a few apps that have thought it through and work well, but the rest of them are pretty terrible. And there's not like there are millions of apps on the app store. So how are you supposed to know which are the good ones and see my end up wasting a lot of time? The other thing that I think The Verge wrote about this, and I really agree with is that, the making app developers go through the process of figuring out how to run apps that are built for touch displays and to have like ways to use it on your Mac, so you have to convert it like, you know what do you do on your keyboard or track pad, instead of tapping your display. Why not instead build Macs that have touchscreens? If they really wanna run iPhone and iPad apps on your Mac, why not do that instead of like, you have to learn these other ways to use the app on your Mac? It seems a little bit like if they're gonna take this step and they're tryna unify the experience that the MacBooks should just have touched.

- I think they will. I think we're entering a new era for Apple where we're gonna start seeing more hybrid type devices like in kind of like we see with Microsoft where you have the, what's it called the Slate? the Microsoft service that it's sort of like a computer and a tablet in one, I think we'll start seeing more devices like that. The answer, funnily enough is Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs had a really, really strong opinion that it was an awkward user experience to have a touch screen on a laptop. And I think the legacy of that, the contradicting of Steve Jobs is something that's really hard for Apple to do and they've held out. But I think they're only gonna hold out for so long.

- I agree because I mean, we have the Apple Pencil and Steve Jobs made fun of styluses, styli, I don't know. So yeah, but I thought like because Apple still does seem to be moving the direction of merging its operating systems more and more. It seems like a matter of time, even though they've held a line on that for a long time.

- I agree. I do wanna just take a minute to address sort of the more meta point of this, cause we did get a few angry emails from people as we were saying, telling everybody to hold off. And then the reviews came in and they're really good. I personally, it's something that I want to start doing more of, just to warn you all, which is, I think that there's time and place to hold off for a little while. Either when Apple releases a new operating system, there's a lot of times where you wanna wait to make sure it's not buggy. If Apple is taking a risk, and you are using the device for critical things in your life, you sometimes wanna let early adopters take that risk first. So that's kind of what our stance is as a company is we sort of have three tiers, either like this is really safe, this is great, go do it. This is not safe, we don't recommend buying it. And we do sometimes recommend against buying products that are Apple products. So we are actually not affiliated with Apple and we do our best to cover these as honest journalists and tell you if you shouldn't buy an Apple product or we don't like it, but there is that middle ground. And so I don't want people to be upset at us when we tell you to hold off and then it turns out to be good because that's part of the process. And so we're trying to kind of help you to make the best decision in that moment. And we will revise it over time. As journalists, there's no winning this because you know, if we tell people, if we always tell people to buy Apple products then we don't have honesty as a source you can trust, but we are of course, catering towards Apple enthusiasts. So if we say don't buy an Apple product, then people who are enthusiastic feel insulted. And if we tell people to hold off and then it turns out to be good, then people get angry. So we can't win this, but all we can do is at least share our thought process with you all.

- Yeah and like David said, it was based off of what we knew at the time 'cause the early benchmarks weren't out yet, since they just been announced. All right. Shall we move on to Apple Fitness Plus?

- Yes.

- So I'll just for those of you listening who don't know about it, or haven't been following Apple that much this Fall, a few months ago Apple announced that it would be coming out with fitness service called Apple Fitness Plus. It costs 999 a month, or you can buy it with an Apple one subscription which gives you a bunch of Apple services for 2995 a month. And basically it's like workout videos, and you can play it on your Apple TV, your iPhone, or your iPad. And it requires that you use it with your Apple Watch. And so how this works is that your Apple Watch will like fitness metrics will show up on the video display and it will motivate you to close your activity rings for the day. And it will also show you like how your heart rate zone compares to other people who've done the workout to motivate you to do more. So it's a pretty cool fitness service. I tried it out this morning and liked it pretty well. But yeah, I guess, first of all, have you David used any of the competing apps out there?

- Yeah. And I'm actually pretty excited about this. I unfortunately didn't have a chance to try it out this morning, but I am very excited about it. Cause I used the Peloton App for a while because I go to the gym, or I did until COVID and they had stationary bikes. So I didn't feel the need to buy myself a full Peloton bike, but I also really enjoy doing spin. And it was a really nice experience. I just prop my phone up in front of the bike, and it would just go take me through a spin class basically. And that's not something that I can really do, I'm not good at like doing that on my own. I'm not like doing hills by myself without somebody guiding me sort of a thing. So I really enjoyed that. I also would sometimes do yoga through it or other types of workouts. And so I'm excited for it because I of course have an Apple Watch, and I do really like the feedback mechanism or the idea of having that feedback mechanism in my workouts where it can kind of guide my workout based on what my heart rate is. So I'm excited about it. What was your experience, Donna?

- So I liked it. I'm also excited about it. In general I am coming from the perspective of not loving home workouts. I really thrive off of the social element of workout classes and sort of that motivation and not having to like, think about it at all. You just show up and the coach helps you. And so I have a little bit more resistance to it in that way, but I do think the fact that it's tied in with the Apple Watch is great. Like it's annoying for people who don't have the Apple watch, for me it's interesting. I was reading online that you have to have the Apple Watch like even on Apple's site it's like Apple watch is required, but for me it was letting me still play workout videos without connecting to the watch. It's just not gonna have that like extra element of showing you your activity. So anyways, I thought I would put that out there. That, from what I can tell you can play the videos, if you wanna pay for Apple Fitness Plus, and like play the videos without wearing your watch, you can do that, it's just gonna be a more limited experience. To me I think what makes this more appealing as a home workout for people who prefer the gym, is that it does it like has an element of a coach there and that it's motivating you to hit your activity goals and to like compete with other people who've taken the class. Cause it shows you like how other, how much of a workout other people are getting. So I think it's cool in that way. The things that I don't like about it, is I didn't try Peloton, but I know that Peloton does have like live classes and you can actually see other people who are watching non-live videos. Like you can see the workout metrics of other people who just happened to be watching that video at the same time. So it gives you more of that, like live class experience which David did you do any of the Pelotons live classes?

- I didn't. In general, I was getting ready to say I didn't care that much, that it didn't have like classes because it's like, the benefit of an app is you don't have to time your schedule around something that's live. And you know, there's COVID of course which means I wasn't gonna attend live classes. But in general if I'm gonna take the time to plan my schedule around a live class, I'm gonna go to a real live class, I'm not gonna like do Peloton.

- Except for COVID though. For COVID it's a little different like having a live class of like a cool instructor, that's something you're excited about and looking forward to might hook you in.

- I'll have to see because I did like definitely part of Peloton's whole thing is like they're instructors and they have people with big personalities. So like singing along to the songs and doing playlists. And you still, you end up with your favorite instructors. So there is some of that, that because they are alive, even though I'm watching the recording later, I'm probably benefiting from, but in general I didn't feel like cared that much about the liveliness of it all. But again I'll have to try it and report back in the next episode.

- Yeah I think overall, this is something I will definitely incorporate into my workout routine. I have an Apple 1 subscription with my family, so it's pretty affordable. And so it's part of the package. So it's sort of like, I might as well use it. I don't know if I didn't have an Apple 1 subscription if I'd wanna pay $10 a month for this, because I know it's not gonna be my sole method of working out. Like I like doing other things too. The things that I think about it, like they do have a lot of variety. You can do workouts that require no gear. You can do cycling or, rowing, or treadmill, or things like that. If you happen to have things like that at your house or using it at the gym, there's a lot of options. I definitely think I did the dance workout this morning and it's like cheesy. And the instructors are so far, I have a couple of instructors I like, it seems like it still has that same Peloton thing where you can find favorite instructors and like filter by that and sort of feel connected that way, which is cool. But I don't know, like there's something, sometimes about Apple's services, similar to their announcement vibes where it feels a little cheesy and like wanna be or something. Like they're really trying to be cool, but like aren't really.

- Apple doesn't pull off cool very well.

- And so it's kind of falls into the category of some of their other Apple services where they're copying another service, but doing it in like a little bit of a, like I don't know, you know? Like, it seems like this is a Peloton wanna be. But the upside is that it really ties into all of Apple's ecosystem, so probably I'll use that instead of Peloton. But like also you can't listen to music with swear words in it. Like it's just interests, like I feel like there's something about it that feels a little like, I don't know.

- Yeah, definitely that does. I mean, Apple in general it's a tricky one when they branch into more artistic areas. Cause the same problem with like the Apple shows is they only wanted to do family friendly shows and you know at some point you're like, yeah but sometimes I wanna watch a non-family friendly thing. How much my main question though is, did you find the synchronization with the Apple watch helpful? Was that like, did that add a layer to your workout that you wouldn't have had otherwise? Cause that's my kind of hope for it. It's sort of the whole like theory orange idea where like you're basing your workout by keeping your heart rate in a certain level. And having that feedback on the screen, in potentially catering the workout to that sort of thing, that all really appealed to me, but did it work in function?

- So I had higher... I thought they were gonna do more with that than they have at least so far. It shows you your rings on the display, so it's like, there's the motivation of being like, I'm closing my rings and it shows you what your heart rate is. It doesn't have anything like heart rate zones. And that's what like Orange Theory does really well, is it has like a section about halfway or three-fourths of the way through the workout where it really pushes you to get into like your highest heart rate zone. And I thought that's what this workout was gonna do, and it doesn't. What it does have, which didn't show up when I did my core and dance workout this morning, but something called the burn bar and it shows you like other people who've taken the class and how you are comparing in terms of how many calories you've burned, compared to what other people are burning, or have burned. So that seems like the closest thing that will be like work harder than you're working-

- Burn more calories what are you doing?

- Yeah, but like one, I didn't no burn bar showed up for me. And the other thing is like, it's still not really doing heart rate zones or letting you compete against yourself. And so I'm hoping that that's something that maybe this is, they just came out with Fitness Plus, they'll probably be developing it more over time, but yeah.

- That makes sense. Okay let's make this our question of the day. Have you tried Fitness Plus? Will you try it? What do you think of it if you did? Or why did you not try it? If, or why are you not interested if you're not? There's a lot of nested questions there, but let us know your thoughts on Fitness Plus. Send us an email at Well, excited how my brain works. My like nested bullet pointed list, that I'm always making in my head.

- You know David you're probably overwhelming people.

- Yeah I'm sorry.

- Yeah I'm really curious to hear what you all think of Fitness Plus. I would say overall, I would give it like a B. And I'll be using it. I'm gonna be... And it's also, I only used it one morning. I'm curious at its ability to keep me hooked in over time. And like, if it will successfully become a part of my workout routine. So I think we should do a follow up in like a month and once you've had time to use it too, and talk more about it.

- Yeah, I agree. And like you said, this is Apple's first foray into it. It's been a day. Like they will presumably add more functionality over time that may improve it.

- Yeah.

- Okay, let's talk holiday theme. Oh man we are... This is a marathon cause we missed you guys. So we just packed this episode.

- I know. It's the last episode before the holidays. So we couldn't leave you guys without some of our holiday app and gear recommendations.

- Yeah, okay.

- So you wanna give yours first David?

- Sure. I have one that is this is a fun one cause it is both a potential gift, but also just a cool use case for the holidays, I was showing off to Donna yesterday. And that is a smart plug. I personally recommend a Belkin Wemo smart plug, it's I think $25. I actually got it for Black Friday for like $15, so it was a really good deal. The main thing I recommend, if you get a smart plug is to get one that is HomeKit compatible. Because then you can sync it with your other devices. You can create automations. And so what I did that was really useful was I plugged it into the lights on my Christmas tree. So now I can have it so that the Christmas tree automatically the lights automatically turn off, at eight o'clock when we go upstairs and stop looking at it and it turns on in the morning. And that's not only useful cause it's fun to make sure that we have the Christmas tree on during the day, it also I'm told, I haven't fact checked this, but I'm told that it's potential fire hazard that trees get dry and the lights, if you just leave on all the time can create a spark that can start a fire. So it's a nice safety thing. Also you can, with the smart plug you can just say, "Hey Siri, turn off my Christmas tree," and it'll just turn off. I showed Donna yesterday and she was irrationally impressed by that.

- There's something very satisfying about it.

- Yeah, it's really cool. I found some other... I actually wanna spend a minute talking about smart plugs cause I think smart plugs, if you do one smart home thing, I think smart plugs are really good entry into smart homes. Basically how they work if you don't know, I probably should have started with this, is it's a plug that can be turned on and off remotely. And so you can use your phone to turn this plug on or off, and you can create rules around it that will turn it on or off. And so it can turn a normal gadget into a smart gadget. So a couple of use cases that I found for it in addition to the one that I just said, the Christmas tree. For some reason, I tend to have these use cases only be in the Winter, but I have one for my humidifier. So I have it in my room that at night, my humidifier automatically kicks in and then in the morning it automatically turns off, so that I don't have those kinds of problems with humidifiers either way where you either forget to turn it off and it's just running all day, and you end up with this like puddle by your, by your humidifier, or you forget to turn it on at night and then you don't get the benefit of a humidifier. So that, having that programmed, I really enjoy. And the last one that I have, is I have a plugged into a few space heaters around my house. So for example, what happens in my house is at seven in the morning, my humidifier in my room turns off, and then the space heater in my bathroom turns on. So I walk in the bathroom and it's a warm bathroom.

- I feel like all of those are awesome use cases. And what is a smart plug like $25 or something?

- Yeah, it's not too expensive. So it makes a great stocking stuffer. Again, that's Belkin Wemo smart plug. And the one caveat I will make, it's this weird thing where not all accessories will work with smart plugs. And weirdly it tends to be the cheaper accessories that work better. The reason is some accessories for example, in the summer, I'll plug it into a fan. If I have a pretty expensive fan that if I turn the fan on, and then I unplugged the fan and plug it back in, the fan is intelligent enough to not automatically be turned on, which is nice if you wanted to use the fan to program it yourself, but completely ruins the functionality of a smart plug. So you do sorta want to test out your accessory that you're buying it for ahead of time, and to test it out you basically turn it on, manually unplug it and plug it back in and see if it'll turn on when you do that. Cause it, otherwise you can't use it with an accessory. But yeah, it's twenty-five bucks. You can get some cheaper ones, I believe. Make sure you get one that's home kit compatible. But that's my like favorite gift/kind of Winter accessory.

- Awesome. All right is it my turn?

- Yeah. Your turn, that was a long one, but my other ones are short I promise.

- Cool. Yeah so I wanted to give you a few gift idea recommendations. I think that the, I'm sure Apple planned it this way, but releasing the Home Pod Mini, right around the holidays, it's priced at a point that it's a great holiday gift for someone. I just thought I would bring mine out and show you for those of you watching the video podcast. I've had my Home Pod Mini for a little over two weeks now, and it is $99. While I don't think that it's a perfect device, like I still think that there are some issues with the Home Pod Mini, I've really been enjoying it overall and think that most people that you know, who like Apple are gonna like having a Home Pod Mini. I have it stationed in my kitchen. I've been using it to like listen to the news, timers, speaker phone, things like that. And it's pretty awesome. Although I was gonna say if you care more about audio quality and want something with like a little more power for the same price you can get the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom which is a little bit bigger than this. And it's a waterproof speaker. It's also portable. Like all smart speakers, you have to have plugged into the wall. So you can't just like grab and go with it. And I think for that same price, you get a lot better sound. So those are sort of like my two mini speaker recommendations, if you're looking for a holiday gift.

- Oh yeah. A couple of thoughts there. Number one, I've been an advocate of the home pod for awhile now, and I am a little bit in the minority. So that's why I keep voicing this because people talk about Alexa as being kind of the, be all and all of smart speakers. And Alexa has been around longer, they have a little bit more advanced technology especially in terms of having third-party apps. But if you are an Apple user, if you have an iPhone the integration with Siri to me is so much better than having an Alexa speaker. So I do really wanna push people towards, I think you'll have a much better experience with a home pod than you will within Alexa smart speaker, because of those integrations. I also have a speaker from UE that I was gonna recommend, which is around it's a little bit more expensive. It's the UE Boom. And it's again, it's a very different use case. It's portable, it's Bluetooth, it's a little bit more expensive than the one Donna was saying. So it's a little bit bigger, has a little bit nicer sound quality, but you pay a little more for it-

- It's around 200, right?

- I don't think so. I think it's like 150, I should've checked that sorry. I'll check it. I'll just do your next one. But yeah, it's a very different use case. So think it through, because one is if you just have this in one room in your house, definitely the home pod mini is the way to go in my opinion. Because you got a smart speaker for the same price and the sound quality is... How is the sound quality on the mini by the way?

- So I was very happy with it to listen just to like easy listening music when I'm cooking dinner or podcasts. It's great for that speakerphone, it works well. Today when I was using Apple Fitness Plus I was playing like my hip hop workout music through it and was so disappointed. Just it's like, for a speaker this size, you can't really expect much. And it sounds great for its size, but you're not gonna get like satisfying base or very low, like also knowing Apple, they weren't gonna let the volume go higher, like too high to the point where it would distort, which I appreciate in a lot of ways, but yeah, it doesn't really get that loud. So I think it's great for, if you're having like a dinner party with a few people or it's just for your own personal listening to have like in your bedroom or the kitchen or something like that then it's actually pretty amazing. But yeah, it's not gonna for like a party or any, if you just you wanna listen to music with bass and actually feel it, like you're not gonna get that from a speaker this size.

- Yeah. Then you gotta go with the Real Deal Home Pod probably.

- Yeah.

- Okay Donna, what are some of your other ones?

- So yeah, so I think the home pod mini makes a great gift. I just wanted to say, I agree with you, David that for things like now that Apple came out with multi-user support, they have voice recognition on the home pod. So you can send texts and you can make calls, and have it just come connect to your Apple ID and only make calls or send texts from your device. And so that is really great now. And like I have an Amazon Echo and I don't send messages or make calls through it. It's not as easy. And so I think that is really great. What's annoying to me is just that it doesn't let me play music from Spotify. It doesn't give me a variety of different news sources to play news briefs from. It's just like very like Apple, I think needs to build out more support that like I'm used to having with the Amazon Echo. Those are the things that bothered me. And I think they need to have their own Home Pod app.

- Yes I completely agree on everything you said. They need their own Home Pod app, and Apple and Spotify need to be better friends because I wanna listen to my Spotify, I wanna use voice for it. I don't like Apple Music, stop making me try to use Apple Music.

- Exactly. Okay moving right along. I think the AirPods Pro or even the older AirPods, regular AirPods that are, you can start at 159 for regular AirPods also are awesome gifts. Like you don't even need the pro. I have the second generation AirPods and I love them. And I think that like anyone I know who uses them find them to be so great. They're really comfortable. They connect so well to Apple devices. You can use them in a lot of different situations even like working out and running.

- Yeah. Can I just echo that because I think there's this the way Apple's branded it. There's just a sentiment that like the pros are of course, universally better. And it's really a preference thing. I actually personally would never own the pros. And I love my AirPods because for me I find the fit a lot more comfortable with that their are like sealed fit in my ear. And also I want ambient noise when I'm walking around the house or when I'm working out, especially if I'm going for a run, I don't want noise cancellation. If I want noise cancellation, I have larger headphones to use for that. My partner has the pros, she loves them. I actually hate them, because she will use them like around the house and she can't hear us at all. And so I'm always walking in the room, and she'll either like jump cause she's scared or I'm like yelling at her to take off her headphones. So I do think that like, especially now with the price being so affordable for the AirPod, instead of the AirPod pros, it's definitely a gift worth considering.

- Yeah I know the AirPods pro my husband has them. It's funny that both of us fall into this camp. I don't love being totally sealed in, and he's been loving it because I have like video meetings all day at work and he puts his, you know, noise canceling AirPods pro in and doesn't have to hear me. So that's great. I think it's a preference thing like you said, the sound quality is also a little better in the pro, but they're also great in the regular. Few more recommendations for you. I think usually we give you all these recommendations for big family get togethers, and most likely people aren't gonna be doing that in the same way at least with as many people as they usually would because of the pandemic. So I wanted to give people a few other ideas for getting festive. Recently, I tried out Uber Eats to send a friend holiday themed Starbucks drink and pastry to their house. And I just wanted to say like, if you're wanting to like check in on someone who you're not in the same location as them, and you're not able to hang out cause of COVID, it's nice. Like you can send them a little treat using this, Uber Eats. And there are a lot of apps that do delivery like that. But Uber Eats has Starbucks, which that's also kind of like an inexpensive, nice way to do this. And you can just enter in the address of the person you wanna send it to and set the delivery time. And I was like amazed at, just for spending like 15 bucks at how touched my friend was, who I did that for. So I think that's a fun idea. I was thinking about doing that for my grandma over the holidays, 'cause we usually spend Christmas together and aren't because of the pandemic and still let her feel, loved and thought of.

- That's a great idea. It's a great recommendation. They have to live in a medium to large city sadly. But yeah, that's a great idea.

- Yeah.

- I've got a couple here. First of all, I have one more gift recommendation, 'cause I did promise I would recommend a screen protector. The Zagg Visionguard Pro would be the one I, it's the one I'm using. I personally the main thing I recommend is, I like the glass screen protectors. I think that those have a much nicer feel. They're a little bit higher quality. I've had good luck in terms of not having my screen break with them. And they have this one is a higher quality glass, they have a special glasses is pretty, they claim is very unbreakable. I don't know. But the thing there's a couple of other things that make it unique. Number one, it's antimicrobial. They haven't gotten FDA approval for claiming that it's antimicrobial as in it prevents COVID, but it prevents viruses from sticking in your phone. So there's no reason to think it would not be effective for COVID as well. And they have this cool technology that actually blocks blue light from coming through your phone which is blue light is, can be disruptive especially at night to your sleep patterns, it can create eyes strain. It does make it a little bit more of a yellow tone on your phone which some people don't like, but I recommend it. I enjoy it. So that's a great gift, again that is a Zagg Visionguard Pro. And I have a couple other ones that are not gifts. Do you have some gifts you wanna go over, and then I'll get into a few like holiday recommendations.

- The last gift I wanted to bring up was using Shutterfly to create photo books for people out of photos on your phone. I do think like one sad thing about technology is just like, it is really nice to have printed out versions of your photos, of like special moments with your family and friends. And my parents had been using Shutterfly to create these photo books that they'll do every year, especially for my sister's kids, that you know the first year of their life or whatever, and create these photo books for them. And so I wanted to put that out there. It's a little late in the game now, I guess to be creating something like that but you might be able to get it shipped to you in time for the holidays.

- That's a great idea. So I've got a couple of just staying in touch with people, ideas. Number one Disney Plus, the Disney streaming service has this cool functionality where you can do group watching, and I've used this-

- Really?

- Yeah, it's fun. I've used this a couple of times where you basically you can invite people through the app, and you can watch a movie together. And if I pause it, it pauses on yours and it keeps the movie synced. And so you can do that and you can have, what we've done is we've done that Plus had like a FaceTime call going or a Zoom call so that we're just like chatting and watching a movie together. And that's a really nice little way of I don't know, personally, I find the like full family Zoom calls like painful, and I try to avoid them. Not to be mean but they're just hard to keep a conversation going with so many people. And oftentimes you all who are listening are presumably pretty tech savvy or, but oftentimes a lot of people aren't, and so you spend half the call with like either people with small children who don't know how to mute their Zoom call and they're just screaming, so no one else can hear anything or people dropping in and out. So I like finding ways to connect with family that aren't just that. And so this is a nice one is Disney Plus has that service. I think a couple of other streaming services do, but surprisingly few of them have that functionality. The last thing is because you can't all get together, my partner's family is doing a Secret Santa where we're mailing each other gifts, and you can use a service that we usually use in the office for our Secret Santa called Sneaky Santa. It's free, and basically it manages the whole Secret Santa process so that you don't have to have one person who knows everybody, who everybody has, and also so that people can create little profiles. Cause sometimes the secret Santa, you end up with somebody you don't know very well. So you can create like a wishlist on your little profile. It's free, it's easy to use. If you're gonna do Secret Santa, I would definitely recommend it.

- I use that too. Sneaky Santa is the best.

- Yeah. Okay what else, anything else you have?

- That's pretty much it. I have a few Spotify music playlist for the holidays that I'm gonna include at for you all including Charlie Brown Christmas and Frank Sinatra. I'm more into sort of the Christmas classics. So I was gonna say that. I also think the Winter Fireplace app is a free app that you can put on your Apple TV. If you don't have a real life fireplace, it creates that cozy vibe pretty well I'd say. Like you could even probably you need an Apple TV for it. Like you can put it on your iPhone or iPad but that seems a little silly.

- Yeah definitely, I think it's more effective with an AppleTV I've I always put it on though. It's fun. And it has like, it's in 4k and you can hear the little crackles and you can choose between a few different fire options.

- Yeah. I feel like it actually creates a surprisingly like cozy environment. It seems like it would be cheesy, but it's not really. So I feel like between doing that and like lighting up a Christmas scented candle, like you can create an ambiance in your house without having to deal with the real fire.

- Exactly.

- Yeah that's pretty much it. I think, you know it's gonna be an unusual Christmas or holiday, a lot of people are not celebrating Christmas necessarily but holiday season, less in person celebrating. And so we wanted to give you some creative ideas, hopefully we did to still have it feel festive and fun.

- Yeah and happy holidays, everyone.

- I know happy holidays, David.

- Happy holidays Donna. Gosh, we-

- It's a fun episode.

- Yeah, we got through it. We're an hour in, so thanks everyone who stuck around. Hopefully we, it was a jam packed hour. So hopefully you all got some out of it and have a great holiday. Please make sure to stay in touch with your family who is isolated. And yeah, we have our next episode coming right before the new year. So we've got new year's themed episode coming next.

- And Insiders stick around, I have a little thing that I've discovered that I wanted to-

- Oh yeah. I've got some serious complaining to do, just to warn the Insiders.

- All right. Bye everyone.

- Bye.

- All right Insiders, we have a special complaints and learning segment for you. It's been a while since we've had a special section for you because with our announcement podcasts, we've just done one version. So David has lots of complaining to do for you.

- You know, what's funny as I looked and actually my complaints are for the next episode. I have only a marginal amount of complaining this episode. Just-

- So what's your complaint?

- Okay well it's a complaint and a learning. I think you actually talked about this in a recent episode audio messages that you started doing audio messages is that okay? So I also have sorta gotten into audio messages and I'm really enjoying them overall because they're a nice way, there is a certain intimacy of hearing someone's voice. Also there's something nice about, obviously Don and I like to talk and it's like hard to write it all out, but if you just turn on a microphone in front of me, I'm gonna talk for awhile. So I've been enjoying that. It's kind of a nice way to stay in touch with people that isn't quite, you know, it's asynchronous. So you don't have to like have your schedules lined up to talk on the phone, but it's a little bit more personal than a phone call. Oh sorry, it's a little more personal than text message I mean. But here's my complaint, I find that Apple's functionality with it is like somehow I always end up, accidentally deleting my audio messages before I send them. Have you had this happen to you?

- No.

- It drives me insane. So here's kind of the use case where they end up deleting. If you have your phone on low battery mode. So let's say it's like later in the day and you're trying to send an audio message. Your phone on low battery mode will after 30 seconds will automatically go to sleep. But if you're in the middle of recording an audio message, it will still automatically go to sleep. And then it'll delete the message that you were in the middle of recording, and it drives me insane. So it's an easy solution. You just have to remember to turn off your low battery mode before you start recording an audio message. But it's so crazy to me that they haven't like created a workaround where it won't go to sleep while you're recording an audio message. Also-

- That sucks.

- If you navigate a way it'll disappear. So let's say you record an audio message and then like somebody texts you or you get a phone call that happened to me. I was recording audio message, and then I got a phone call and then it went away. And so there's all these weird situations where it'll just delete the audio message before you send it. And it's really frustrating. So it's a learning that a reminder to people that you can send audio messages, just as a reminder of how to. If you open up the text message app, on the it's right where you tap to text the message on the right side you'll see what looks kind of like an audio recording. And if you just press and hold that it'll start recording and then you can push the arrow to send it. So that is my complaint and my learning.

- There's also in, if you go into settings and messages, you can tweak your settings to keep all of your audio messages if you want. Like under audio messages it has the option expire. And you can like, by default, they'll expire after two minutes and you can't listen to them anymore or you can choose never. And I've just switched it to never cause my nephew has been sending me the cutest audio messages and I wanna hold on to them.

- Yeah that is a... Cause that does frustrate me cause sometimes if somebody sends me an audio message, I'll want to reply, but sometimes I can't reply right away and then it's gone and I can't remember what they said to me, and then I have to respond. So that's a good bonus tip for you all.

- So mine is super simple, but it's nice. Like Apple just, I've been in general, like I wish they would come out with new wallpapers more often, because it's like a fun way to customize your phone. And like in general, I feel like they could do a lot more with that. But they recently like in one of their recent updates, snuck in some new updates that are cool. If you go to settings, wallpaper, choose a new wallpaper and go to stills, if you scroll down they have like a new set of landscape ones that they're cool in that they, at night time, they shift to a nighttime scene. So there's one that looks like they're shot in Arizona, without look kind of like those, you know, like it's from Tucson or something and they have a really cool scene. And then other ones that are more of like an illustration of the ocean or something like that. And they turn into these nighttime scenes and they're just really pretty. And I've been having fun like seeing them like shifts throughout the day. And so yeah, those type of dynamic wallpapers are cool. And I haven't heard anyone else in the office talking about them. And so I thought I would share that. And it's a super easy way to change up the look of your device.

- Yeah. So can you tell me, okay I just found them. So you go to settings, wallpaper and they are under stills.

- Yeah choose new wallpapers.

- Yeah those are fun. Cool.

- Yeah. So that's it, it's easy.

- Alright Insiders, thank you for being Insiders and happy holidays to everybody.

- Yeah happy holidays. We'll be back in a couple of weeks with the new episode for you. For our new year, new you will be the theme.

- New year, new you. I am so excited for a new year.

- Yeah oh my gosh. Let's hope it's better. All right. Bye.

- Bye.

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.

Author Details

Donna Schill's picture

Author Details

Donna Schill

Donna Schill is the Editor in Chief at iPhone Life, where she oversees all multimedia content production for iPhone Life Insider, the premium educational platform for Apple enthusiasts and lifelong learners. After earning her master's degree from the University of Iowa School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Donna joined iPhone Life in 2012, where she has produced dozens of magazine issues, co-hosted hundreds of podcast episodes, and taught over 20 live online courses. When not glued to her iPhone 15 Pro Max, Donna can be found traveling, writing and podcasting (, or hiking the Iowa prairie where she lives with her partner and their German shepherd, Fox.