All posts in “iPhone”

Why I deleted the Instagram app — and you should think about it too

Instagram has never been my favorite app, perhaps because I love reading words more than staring at photos. But beyond that core element, it’s continued to be the bane of my existence — at least while writing about the tech industry, chatting with friends, and watching the world around me strain to be more “Instagrammable.” 

I understand some people — maybe a decent amount of Instagram’s 500 million daily users — are inspired by the photos they see in their feeds. For my colleague Miriam Kramer, her highly curated Instagram account is a much-preferred distraction to the Facebook app. For one of my best friends Lizza Monet Morales, Instagram is part of her career as an actress, TV host, and social media personality. 

For me, Instagram is a place of fakeness, humblebrags, and harassment, and I don’t want to be a part of it anymore. That’s why when I got an iPhone X for Christmas and started fresh by not restoring from backup, I didn’t bother downloading Instagram. 

For some, Instagram is a creative outlet, a place where they find happiness spending hours searching for “Instagrammable” moments, taking the perfect shot, choosing the right filter, thinking up a caption with the appropriate hashtags, and waiting to post at the exact right moment. And then, sometimes they delete it if they don’t get enough “likes,” and okay, that’s their choice. For others, Instagram is just a mindless and relaxing way to start or end their day or to take a break. 

For me, it’s a place where I’ve showed off some happy moments of my life, and I don’t really know why. I mean they’re nice memories. It’s like a scrapbook, but why does my scrapbook need to be public? Why does each picture in my scrapbook need a number of likes and the potential for comments? 

Let’s take a brief look at my Instagram: 1) Margaritas 2) White House press briefing room 3) Puppy at startup event [and evidence of me wearing the same dress too close together] 4) Me on the beach with an ex 5) A video of Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s F8 conference 6) Badge from F8 

Select photos from my Instagram account.

Select photos from my Instagram account.

Image: @kerrymflynn

Okay, so maybe I just suck at Instagram. I’m not one to look for the perfect shot or “Instagrammable” moment. When I do, it’s a tongue-in-cheek move. But what I can tell from myself is that I really don’t need Instagram. These shots would be better kept in my Camera Roll, or if I wanted the world to see them I go to Facebook or go to Flickr or something. I don’t need a public-facing scrapbook of my life, and I want you to ask yourself if you need one too. 

Of course, Instagram is not all about you and your feed. It’s where you can keep up with friends or obsessions you have. For me, that’s the dogs of Instagram, but I don’t think I need to have them accessible on my phone at all times. When it comes to friends, I know a lot of mine have moved from sharing Snapchat Stories to Instagram Stories. But I don’t feel like I need to see whatever they’re boasting about via one photo or video.

Instagram Stories isn’t fun, at least not for me. I tried Instagram Stories back in November after a 14-month-long protest. Before I posted my first Instagram Story, I spent an hour with Kay Hsu, the global Instagram lead at the Facebook Creative Shop, at one of Facebook’s offices in New York. She took me through what Facebook calls “Stories School,” a training session the company regularly hosts for marketers. 

“Okay, this is going to be really hard, but it’s worth it,” Hsu told me as she explained how to make text have a rainbow gradient. 

I found myself saying, “Whoa” and “Cool,” as Hsu walked me through a bunch of the features I may not have discovered as quickly on my own. I experienced the instant gratification, via “likes” and DMs, you get from posting your first Instagram Story. But high engagement comes at a cost. I was quickly reminded my Instagram audience includes young family members. 

Yeah, Instagram Stories had a few unique functionalities that I loved using, but what frustrated me the most about Instagram Stories was the pressure I felt with every post. I had myself thinking intently about everything I shared or considered sharing. I was curating posts based on what I deemed “Instagrammable”: order Starbucks, attend a work event at Facebook NY, drink champagne, twirl in a sparkly skirt. Very, uh, basic activities. 

All that and there’s just the sour taste that Instagram leaves in my mouth. I personally love using Snapchat, and all of Facebook’s copycat moves annoy me. “How do they sleep at night?” Snap CEO Evan Spiegel’s wife Miranda Kerr asked, referring to Instagram employees, and I agree as I watch Instagram transform into a Snapchat wannabe. 

I’m also over the fake followers and bot networks. The black market of Instagram verification where people pay THOUSANDS of dollars to get a blue check from Instagram employees, as I exposed in August, is ridiculous and the fact that Instagram refused to address it on the record with me is BS. 

I’m sick of the Instagram algorithm, and the fact that they don’t seem to care so many people would rather have it return to chronological order. 

The bra and fitspo ads that invaded my feed, as well as the feed of wonderful human Lauren Hallden, are ridiculous and unnecessary to have in my life. 

And I never want to see a comment like this on one of my photos again. 

Image: screenshot from @kerrymflynn feed

So, I’m done. What about you? 

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This new chat app only works when your phone’s battery is under 5%

Image: screenshot: die with me

Die With Me is not your typical messaging app. 

You can only use it when your phone has less than 5 percent battery life. And it only lets you chat up random strangers whose phones are also dying.

And you thought there would never be a Great App Idea ever again. Ha!

First, this is not an April Fool’s joke. It’s a real app for iOS and Android.

Now that you know Jimmy Kimmel’s not punking us all, you probably want to know why. Why would you want to waste the last of your phone’s precious battery life talking to random strangers?

Die With Me was created to “do something positive with low battery,” app creator Dries Depoorter told Motherboard

The app was originally designed as a dating app (because of course it was) to connect people with low battery and basically push them to meet up and chat IRL because of the limited time they’d have to text.

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Die With Me appears to be pretty barebones in terms of functionality, which makes sense because the last thing you want when your phone’s dying is a million features to choose from.

The app asks for a nickname and displays your phone’s battery percentage next to each message. And you can only send text messages; there’s no option to send photos or videos. 

As your percentage decreases, you’ll hopefully feel the urge to sync up with your new random pal to continue the conversation in person.

It’s a pretty clever idea that toys with our feelings on life’s fleeting moments, but again, would you waste your last battery power on someone you don’t even know and can’t even see a photo of? 

Die With Me sounds like a fun way to potentially meet new people and make real, in-person connections, but it could also be used by creepy predators, too. I mean, not to get dark on this, but whoever you’re talking to will know your phone’s dead. You’re basically telling people you won’t have the ability to call anyone to save you if things go awry.

Be safe out there. Make smart choices.

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South Korea, Italy also calling out Apple for slowing iPhones


Apple continues to get into hot water over a power management feature that throttles performance on older iPhones to avoid unexpected battery shutdowns.

A South Korean consumer group has now filed a complaint, though it’s not clear whether the complaint will trigger a formal investigation (via Reuters).

The group, Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty, had already filed a lawsuit against the company.

This is just the latest in a series of complaints Apple is facing over the issue around the world. Earlier this week a consumer group in China wrote to company with concerns.

While the French government is investigating whether Apple’s actions constitute ‘programmed obsolescence’ (which is illegal in the country).

US senator John Thune has also written to Apple to express concerns and raise questions.

And yesterday Italy’s antitrust body opened a formal investigation into iPhone ‘performance-gate’. Though its probe is wider as it’s also investigating whether Apple rival Samsung has used software updates to slow its phones to drive consumer upgrades — as is alleged.

At the time of writing neither company had responded to a request for comment.

The watchdog suspects Apple and Samsung of orchestrating “a general commercial policy taking advantage of the lack of certain components to curb the performance times of their products and induce consumers to buy new versions”, according to Reuters.

Earlier this week Apple CEO Tim Cook said it’s working on an iOS update that will inform iPhones users if their phone is being performance throttled because of the age of its battery. It will also be giving users the ability to switch off the power management feature if they wish (though Apple does not advise doing so).

It’s not clear when the update will drop for all iPhones users but it’s slated to ship to developers sometime next month.

Take professional-quality iPhone pictures with one of these clip-on lens adaptors

You’ve memorized your favorite Instagram filter (thank you, Perpetua) and found the best spot in your apartment for selfie lighting. Sure, the iPhone X camera is incredible, but if you’re rocking an older model or want to take some specialty shots, a smartphone camera is limited in what it can do.

If you’re tired of taking blurry vacation landscape photos or need a better zoom for your tiny foods Instagram account, you’re in luck. The internet has tons of smartphone camera attachments that let you get those perfect shots every time. Most of them clip right onto the outside of your phone, so you can easily snap it on or off. One downside to this is that the lens may cover up the flash. You can pick up an external light if you’re worried about it. 

Different lenses have different effects, so if you’re looking for something specific you can probably find it. If you’re just excited to experiment with new iPhone toys, check out the bundles at the end.

Macro/Wide Angle Lenses

If you want to get up close and personal with tiny objects, then you might want to invest in a macro lens. It’s basically a magnifying glass for your smartphone camera, letting you zoom in close without losing quality. Most listings on Amazon come with a wide angle lens and a fish eye lens as well, letting you take more comprehensive shots of your surroundings.

Telephoto Lenses

These lenses provide a telescoping effect, letting you take high-quality iPhone photos of far-away subjects. They’re perfect for snapping concert pics that let your Instagram followers actually be able to tell what band you’re seeing. Telephoto lenses are especially sensitive to small movements (like from shaky hands) so most of them come with a stabilizing tripod.

Bundles

If you want all of your photo options available to you, several of the smartphone lens manufacturers on Amazon provide bundles of multiple lenses (and tripods and lights.) You can experiment with the different effects for as long as your phone’s memory will last. 

Tim Cook says users will be able to turn off iPhone slowdown ‘feature’

iPhone 7
iPhone 7

Image: Lili Sams/Mashable

If you’re not happy with Apple’s assessment that iPhones should be slowed down as their batteries degrade, Apple CEO Tim Cook’s got good news for you: You’ll soon be able to turn that functionality off. 

In an interview with ABC News, Cook once again apologized for perhaps not being clear enough about the motivation behind the move, which only became widely known after developer John Poole published a study which showed that the performance of iPhone 6S and 7 degrade over time. 

“We deeply apologize to anybody that thinks we had some other kind of motivation, cause our motivation is always the user,” Cook said. 

For the first time, Cook also promised a software update that will let users monitor their battery performance, and give them the ability to run their iPhone at full speed, battery be damned. 

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“In a developer release that’s gonna happen next month, we’re gonna give people the visibility of the health of the battery, so it’s very, very transparent,” he said. “We will tell somebody, we’ll say we are slightly reducing your performance by a certain amount, in order to not have an unexpected restart, and if you don’t want it, you can turn it off. “

Cook says that this is not recommended, as you never know when the phone is going to restart at just the wrong time — for example, when you’re waiting for an important call. But as the company has learned (or failed to learn) time and time again, users like to have as much control as possible over the devices they own. Judging by the piling lawsuits related to the iPhone slowdown “feature,” many users will welcome the possibility to turn it off.   

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