The Best Accessories for Your Apple TV

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The Apple TV is a great way of getting big screen entertainment onto your television, and with more streaming services popping up daily, it gets better and better. However, it could always be complemented by some awesome accessories. But which?

Even though the Apple TV stands well on its own two feet, sometimes adding just the right mix of accessories can give it that little bit extra. Apple doesn’t give you much in the box—just the Apple TV, a power cable, the Siri Remote, and a Lightning cable—so you’ll need to pick up an HDMI cable of your own at the very least.

While you’re shopping for something that really should be in the box already, why not treat your Apple TV to a couple more new friends, too? Not all of these accessories are as vital as the aforementioned HDMI cable, but we do think that each and every one of them will enhance your Apple TV-watching experience.

Best HDMI Cable: Atevon High Speed HDMI Cable ($12)

Atevon High Speed HDMI Cable
Atevon

Apple’s decision not to ship the Apple TV with its own HDMI cable seems like a silly cost-saving measure, but fortunately, good HDMI cables are inexpensive. If you want the best picture and sound from your Apple TV, you owe it to yourself to choose a cable that meets the standards required.

The Atevon High Speed HDMI Cable does that, thanks to its 18Gbps throughput and HDMI 2.0 compliance. It’s good for 4K HDR and 60Hz, and it’s HDCP 2.2 capable so you won’t experience any copy protection issues, either. Support for Audio Return (ARC) and 4:4:4 chroma rounds out the features. And it’s not particularly costly for a lengthy 6ft cable, either.

Best Remote Sleeve: Elago Intelli Case (From $6)

Elago Intelli Case
Elago

The Siri Remote is fine but it’s so slender and easy to lose. The solution? Put it in a case that makes the remote much more ergonomic and easier to hold—a case like the Elago Intelli Case.

The Intelli Case is available in a handful of colors, but no matter which color you go for you’ll get a case that makes it easier to hold your Siri Remote and, gloriously, make it less likely to disappear down the back of a sofa cushion.

For an added bonus, the case also has a built-in magnet, so you can attach it to any metal object around the home. You need never lose your Siri Remote again.

Best MFi Game Controller: SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Gaming Controller ($50)

SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Gaming Controller
SteelSeries

Apple keeps trying to turn the Apple TV into a game console, with limited success. That’s a shame because there are some great games in the App Store that are perfect for couch play. You’ll need an MFi controller if you want to enjoy them to their fullest, and the SteelSeries Nimbus is the pick of the bunch.

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The Best Portable SSDs

External hard drive attached to a silver laptop on a desk
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Falling prices have moved solid state drives from a premium upgrade you’d save for the boot drive on your main computer to something inexpensive enough that you can throw a portable SSD into your laptop bag and go. Here are our top picks.

As with most things, there are many, many different options to consider when picking up an SSD, or Solid State Drive. The key factor for you may be price, or perhaps it’s sheer amounts of storage. For others, speed could be of the essence. If you’re using your drive out in the field—or literally in a field—you’re going to need something a little more rugged, too.

The chances are that a combination of all of these things are what you consider when making your purchase, but no matter what your focus is there will be an SSD for you. Here are our picks of the best all-round SSD, the fastest, and also the most rugged—so nobody is left out.

Best Overall SSD: Samsung T5 (From $95)

Samsung T5
Samsung

Samsung has established itself as one of the biggest players in the portable SSD market, and with good reason. The Samsung T3 was a super popular SSD, and its replacement comes in the form of the Samsung T5.

With the T5, Samsung has another hit on its hands thanks to its combination of super-fast speeds and reasonable pricing. Thanks to the USB 3.1 connection you can expect real-world speeds of up to 540MB/s thanks to the use of USB 3.1 connectivity via either USB-C or USB-A ports (the drive has a USB-C port, but includes cables for both USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A). On top of all that it’s quite compact.

Storage options range from 250GB all the way up to 2TB.

Fastest SSD: Samsung X5 (From $248)

Samsung X5
Samsung

If money is no object, then the Samsung X5 is where you should be putting yours. The use of the blazing fast Samsung 970 Evo NVMe SSD inside this thing should tell you that it’s going to be quick, and it really us. But it’s not cheap, and it’s slightly larger than the T5.

So how fast is the X5? In a word, very. Connected over Thunderbolt 3, it boasts speeds of up to 2.8GB/s, which is ming-bogglingly quick. You might not get those speeds in the real world, but even if you get anywhere resolving them, you’re going to be very happy indeed.

Given the cost, you might not want to splurge on the 2TB model, but with 1TB and even 500GB options available, there’s room for most budgets.

Best Rugged SSD: SanDisk Extreme (From $65)

SanDisk Extreme
SanDisk

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How to Change Your AirPod’s Ear Detection and Tap Controls

Apple AirPods
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By not including buttons, Apple made the interface for AirPods non-existent. But that’s fine because they’re full of sensors, so they know when they’re in your ears, and when you double-tap them. And you can configure all of those things.

The sensors built into every pair of AirPods allow for some great features. For example, out of the box (and by default), Automatic Ear Detection means that AirPods will start the playback of audio when you put them in your ears. They go one step further by pausing that audio when you take them back out again, and both of those things can be great if you don’t want to fumble around with your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to stop your audio.

While convenient at times, Automatic Ear Detection can get in the way. An example might be if you’re listening to music but want to take one AirPod out to listen to someone, or perhaps catch an announcement on public transport. With Automatic Ear Detection enabled, your audio will pause. If you don’t want that to happen, but instead have the sound continue to play in your other ear, then you need to disable the feature altogether.

There’s more to how your AirPods’ sensors work for you, too. We mentioned earlier that they don’t have any buttons on them, so how do you do something as simple as skipping a track? You double-tap your ear, that’s how. That double-tap can be used for a few different things, like asking Siri for help or pausing your music. Apple sets some of these actions by default, but if you want to make your own choices on what a double-tap should do, you can.

We’ll explain how to do all of that below, but let’s get started with ear detection, first.

How to Disable Automatic Ear Detection

To start, make sure that your AirPods are active on your iPhone or iPad, and then open the Settings app. Next, tap “Bluetooth.”

Open Settings. Tap Bluetooth

Find the entry for your AirPods and tap the “i” icon beside it.

Tap the I icon beside your AIrPods

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How to See All of the Data Instagram Has on You

Instagram icon

Instagram is the place to share your photos, and just like most social networks, it keeps tabs on some weird and wonderful things. Have you ever wondered what kinds of things it tracks? Here’s how to see it all.

Most social networks collect data; it helps them tailor the experience to our needs. Search histories let them offer up posts that we more likely to want to see, and yes, hone ads so that we only see those we’re more likely to interact with. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and what’s most interesting is when we get to see behind the curtain. After all, it’s not often that this kind of data is so readily available.

Instagram makes it possible to see all of the data it has collected on you, and it’s all stored in one single place. Less usefully, you can’t find any of it in the Instagram app itself, and even though you might be forgiven for forgetting Instagram has a web presence, that’s where you need to head to see the data the company has on you.

How to See All of the Data Instagram Has Collected

To start, head to what Instagram calls the Access Tool—Instagram doesn’t make that page easy to find otherwise. You may need to enter your Instagram credentials to continue.

Log in to Instagram

The next page you will see shows all manner of information starting with the date you joined Instagram. Click an entry to see more information about something specific, such as your Instagram search history.

Click an option to see your data

There is a wealth of information here, some of it pretty amazing. For example, have you ever answered a question in an Instagram Story? How about one of those Emoji Sliders? Instagram remembers both of those and will show you when you did it as well as the person whose story you interacted with.

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How to Create an Alias for Your iCloud Email Address

Mail icon header

Using an iCloud email alias is a great way of disguising your real email address. You can use an alias when signing up for newsletters or websites, keeping your real address out of their database. We’re going to show you how.

Handing your real email address over to someone who you might not know or trust to keep it private can lead to spam and general misuse. By creating an alias, you’re adding a buffer between the email sender and your master email address. They never see that master email address; all the messages sent to your alias addresses automatically appear in your normal inbox—the one attached to your real email address—and the sender need never know that address in order to reach you. Think of it as an email firewall, if you will.

The beauty of giving an alias email address out is that if it does become a source of constant spam, you can simply burn it and create another. That’s not so easy if it’s your master email address. Sounds great, right?

It really is, and Apple lets you create a bunch of aliases for your iCloud.com email address.

Creating an iCloud.com Alias

To create an alias, head over to iCloud.com and log in if you haven’t already. Next, click “Mail.”

Click Mail

Next, click the cog icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen before clicking “Preferences.”

Click the cog icon. Click Preferences

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