Which Apple TV Model Should You Buy?

A man's hand using an Apple TV remote.

Apple TV is the only way to get iTunes content on your TV. It also offers access to all of the popular streaming services. But which model is best for you?

The Apple TV Models

An Apple TV.

You can buy an Apple TV in either HD or 4K, and the 4K is available in two storage capacities. Your choices are:

  • Apple TV HD ($149 at this writing): The cheapest model uses an Apple A8 processor—the same chip in the iPhone SE. It does the job, but future software updates might cause lag and games might not be as responsive as you’d like. It outputs 1080p HD content in Standard Dynamic Range (SDR). Until recently, this was the best available, and it still provides an excellent image on any screen up to around 60 inches.
  • Apple TV 4K 32 GB ($179 at this writing): This model has a more powerful A10X processor from the 10.5-inch iPad Pro. It’s blazing fast, which might make a difference if you plan to use it for gaming. This model supports 4K content in High Dynamic Range (HDR) with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. This is the Apple TV to buy if you want the best video and audio fidelity.
  • Apple TV 4K 64 GB ($199 at this writing): Identical to the 32 GB model, except this one has 64 GB of storage. You can’t manage that storage, though—Apple does. tvOS offloads apps you aren’t using and also dynamically manages cached app and game data, so you never have to worry about free space. This makes it difficult to recommend this model for most people—the 32 GB version should suffice.

What You Get on Each Model

You can access the App Store on every Apple TV model. You can also watch your favorite source of TV shows and movies if it has an app available on Apple TV. And most do, including:

There’s more to the Apple TV than streaming video. You can also download games and play them with a controller. And if you need to check the weather on your Apple TV, there’s an app for that, too. Many iPhone and iPad apps also have Apple TV apps. They all work fine on all Apple TV models.

Display Resolution, Dynamic Range, and Audio Output Options

A media room with a large TV.

Now that you know which Apple TV supports 4K, HD, HDR, and SDR, it’s time to explain what all of that means:

  • 4K and HD relate to the number of pixels, or dots, that make up an image. This is also called “resolution.” 4K TVs have a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, whereas HD TVs only offer 1920 x 1080 pixels. The more pixels, the sharper the image. So, because 4K TVs have more pixels, they look noticeably better, particularly on larger screens.
  • HDR and SDR relate to the number of colors a display can produce, as well as its maximum brightness. TVs capable of HDR can display deeper blacks and brighter whites than those that only offer SDR. Unlike 4K TVs (the quality of which you might not even notice on a smaller screen), HDR is immediately obvious, no matter the screen size.

Both models of Apple TV 4K support both of the following:

  • Dolby Vision is a version of HDR. Unlike standard HDR, it uses frame-by-frame metadata that provides additional information to the TV. Dolby Vision also supports improved brightness when compared to standard HDR.
  • Dolby Atmos is a version of surround sound that doesn’t map sounds to specific speakers. Instead, it maps them to 3D space between those speakers. This allows improved positional audio on setups that support it.

4K Content

4K resolution compared to HD, HD ready, and DVD resolutions.
Digital abstract Art/Shutterstock

It used to be more expensive to buy the best version of a movie. In some cases, that’s still true: 4K Blu-ray movies invariably cost more than their HD counterparts.

But when 4K movies were announced in 2017, Apple confirmed it wouldn’t charge more for them. So, whether you buy the 4K (if it’s available) or HD version of a movie, you pay the same if you buy it from Apple.

The same can’t be said for other services, however. Netflix charges more if you stream 4K content. Pretty much, if you buy a movie in 4K anywhere other than iTunes, you’ll pay a few bucks more.

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The Best Text Editors for iPhone and iPad

Apple Pencil sitting next to an iPad Pro Keyboard.

All text editors might seem the same, but choosing the right one is important. Whether you’re writing a novel or a shopping list, you need the right tool. Here are some of the best text editors for iPhone and iPad.

What to Look for in a Text Editor

Text editors are meant to do just that—edit text. But there are plenty of other features you might look for in a text editor. First, do you want rich or plain text functionality? In rich text editors, you can add—and sometimes lightly edit—images, but in plain text editors, you cannot. However, plain text editors often have more advanced Markdown support and syntax highlighting.

Support for Markdown isn’t a given—especially in rich text editors, like Pages—so keep your eyes peeled if that’s a must-have for you. The most robust plain text editors often support rich previews of your content, if needed.

If you write code, syntax highlighting might be a requirement. Markdown highlighting is also available in some apps.

All of the apps we recommend support syncing of some sort, whether via iCloud or a storage service, like Dropbox. Document organization depends on the sync method. Those that use iCloud, for example, often don’t offer any form of folder or subfolder structure. Pages, again, is a good example here.

You probably already know the features you need, but with so many different text editors to choose from it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Which one is right for you?

The Best for Most People: Pages

A document open in Pages.

You can’t have a list of text editors without including Pages. It’s also different from the other apps on our list because it’s more akin to the old-style, what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) text editors from Mac.

Rich text, images, and support for the Apple Pencil are all present. There’s no Markdown support, though—if you want any kind of syntax highlighting and such, you have to look elsewhere.

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Will Your Favorite iPhone Apps Work on iPad?

A person holding an Apple iPad
ALife / Shutterstock

Everyone has their favorite apps. Although many of them will work on iPhones and iPads, they don’t all take advantage of the iPad’s larger screen. We’re going to explain how to tell which apps should work well before you download them.

The Different Types of Apps

The App Store is home to millions of apps, but they aren’t all created equal. To determine whether an iPhone app will work on your iPad, you need to know a little about how apps and the App Store work.

There are four types of apps a developer can build:

  • iPhone-only: These apps are built for the iPhone and cannot work on an iPad at all. The number of apps that fall into this category is small, and they are usually those which require hardware that isn’t present in an iPad.
  • iPhone-specific: These apps are designed to work on an iPhone. They’re built with the iPhone’s screen in mind with interfaces scaled accordingly. They will, however, work in iPhone compatibility mode when installed on an iPad. When running in iPhone compatibility mode, apps appear on an iPad’s screen just as they would on an iPhone. Users can choose to have them appear the same size as the smartphone’s display or scaled up and stretched to fill the tablet’s larger screen.
  • iPad-only: These apps work only on an iPad. Few and far between, these are usually games or drawing apps not suitable for a smaller screen.
  • Universal: These apps are designed to work equally well on iPhone and iPad. When installed on iPhones, the app displays a smartphone-specific interface. When installed on an iPad, the app’s interface changes to one more suited to the larger display and potentially works with accessories like the Apple Pencil. These are the kinds of apps that Apple pushes developers to create.

The Best Apps for iPad Owners

So, will your favorite iPhone app work on your iPad? If it’s universal or iPhone-specific, the answer is yes. Ideally, you’ll want a universal app, especially if you also use an iPhone. You’ll get two apps in one, and both will make the best of the devices they’re installed on. An iPad-only app will definitely suffice if you don’t use an iPhone, though.

The last resort is to use an iPhone-specific app. It’ll run on your iPad in iPhone compatibility mode; it won’t be easy on the eyes, but that’s better than nothing if you’re in a pinch. We’d suggest reaching out to the developer and asking if a universal app is in the works.

iPhone-only apps cannot be installed on iPads at all, so you don’t need to worry about downloading one by accident. They simply don’t appear in the App Store on an iPad.

How to Identify Universal Apps on an iPad

The easiest way to identify a universal app from your iPad is to look at the screenshots in the App Store. If you see iPad screenshots, you’re good—the app is either universal or iPad-only. You won’t be left with a blown-up iPhone interface either way.

Overcast iPad App Store Screenshot

You will also see a list of the officially-supported devices below the screenshots. Universal apps will display iPhone compatibility when the listing is viewed on an iPad.

How to Identify Universal Apps on an iPhone

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The Best Podcast Apps for iPhone and iPad

Overcast playback screen.

Choosing the right podcast app has a big impact on your listening enjoyment. They all play audio, but how they do it and the features they offer are different. Here are some of the best podcast apps for iPhone and iPad.

Why Your Podcast App Matters

As podcasts continue to grow in popularity, what users want from podcast streaming apps (or “podcatchers”) has also grown. Some apps do the bare minimum—they play podcasts. You might be able to speed up playback, but for more advanced controls, you need a more feature-rich podcatcher.

That’s where the more complex apps come in. They bring more interesting interfaces and fuller feature lists, as well as the ability to side-load audio files, share audio clips, skip silence, and more.

The best podcast app for you might be different from what’s best for someone else. And thankfully, there’s enough competition in the podcast-playing space to cater to everyone.

Best of the Best: Overcast

Overcast podcast menu, play screen, and Search menu on a phone.

There are some features all podcast apps have to offer to become popular, like chapter support, and options to change the playback speed. Overcast is a great example of what’s possible when a developer goes the extra mile. It has two standout playback-related features: Voice Boost and Smart Speed.

Voice Boost increases the volume of speech and makes hosts sound clearer and louder without distortion. The volume doesn’t increase for music or jingles, which makes listening to podcasts more pleasant.

As great as Voice Boost is, Smart Speed offers the biggest change. Most apps allow users to listen at 2x, or other speed increments. But Smart Speed removes the silence in podcasts and makes them shorter. So, it reduces your listening time without making anyone sound like a chipmunk. There’s more science to it than that, but once you listen to a podcast with Smart Speed active, it’s difficult to go back.

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How to Create Contact Groups on Your Mac

Apple macOS Contacts App

With contact groups, you’ll never have to manually add the same people to an email over and over. By grouping regularly used contacts, you can save tons of time in the future. Here’s how to do it on a Mac.

Creating a New Contact Group

Open the Contacts app on your Mac. You can find it in your “Applications” folder or search for it with Spotlight.

Make sure to select the account (in the left sidebar) where you want to create the group and then click the “+” button. Next, click the “New Group” button.

click the "+" button. Click the "New Group" button

Type a name for the new group and press the Return key.

Type a name for the new group

Now you can add contacts to your new group.

Adding Contacts to a Group

Find the contact you want to add to a group: Scroll down the list of contacts or use the search bar. Drag the contact to the group where you want to add it.

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