How to Order an Unlocked iPhone XR

The iPhone XR pre-orders started last night, but unlike the XS, there isn’t an option to “Buy without a carrier.” Good news: you can still get your iPhone unlocked. Here’s how.

First Off, What is an “Unlocked” Phone?

This topic can get a little bit complex, so I’m going to hit you with the quick and dirty here: “Unlocked” means that it’s free to use on any carrier you want. So if you’re currently on Verizon and decide to switch to AT&T, you can take your phone with you as long as it’s unlocked.

That’s an overly-simplistic explanation of what an unlocked phone is because with iPhones it can get a bit more complicated than that. But here’s the gist: there are two different types of networks—GSM (AT&T/T-Mobile) and CDMA (Verizon/Sprint)—and not all iPhones are compatible with both types.

  • The Verizon and Sprint versions have both types of chips, so they will work on any carrier.
  • The AT&T and T-Mobile versions only support GSM, so you can’t use them on Sprint or Verizon.

Note: This only applies to non-LTE connections. All iPhones support Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint LTE bands.

This is something you’ll keep in mind when buying your new phone—if you’re on a carrier that isn’t one of the big four, you’ll need to know if it uses CDMA or GSM.

How to Get an Unlocked iPhone XR

If you’ve bought an iPhone in the past (or if you look at the XS page), then you’ve seen the “Buy without a carrier” option, which is surprisingly missing from the XR’s buy page.

Just because there’s no specific “Buy without a carrier” option, however, doesn’t mean you’re stuck with the four options presented during checkout. All these options are unlocked—as long as you pay for them in full. That’s the key: if you finance the phone, it’s locked to the carrier. If you pay in full, it’s yours.

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How to Clear Recently Used Desktop Background Images from Windows 10 Settings

Whenever you set your desktop’s background image, Windows stores a thumbnail of that image in the background history. This is where you will see the last five images that were used as a background, even if you accidentally clicked on the wrong image while browsing. With a few simple Registry edits, you can remove one or all of them and start from a clean state.

Clear Recently Used Background Images by Editing the Registry Manually

If you’ve accidentally added an image as a background and want to get rid of it, you can’t simply right-click the image and delete it. Sure, you could add five more different images, but using this Registry edit is a lot easier to do.

Standard Warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack, and as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. That said, if you’ve never worked with it before, consider reading about how to use the Registry Editor before you get started. And definitely back up the Registry (and your computer!) before making changes.

Open the Registry Editor by hitting Start and typing “regedit.” Press Enter to open the Registry Editor and then give it permission to make changes to your PC.

In the Registry Editor, use the left sidebar to navigate to the following key (or copy and paste it into the Registry Editor address bar):


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Apple Is Still Sending macOS Mojave Upgrade Alerts to Incompatible, Older Macs

Earlier this year we discussed how Apple was promoting new versions of macOS in the App Store on older Macs that were incompatible in the first place. Now with macOS Mojave released, Apple is still doing the same thing, and this time it’s even worse.

On my own 2008 iMac, I received a notification to “Upgrade to macOS Mojave,” complete with a short description of some of the big new features.

After opening up the Mac App Store, I clicked on the “Download” button to begin my upgrade, only to be greeted by an error message saying that “This version of macOS 10.14 cannot be installed on this computer.”

The error message was about as vague as it gets—nothing about my specific model being incompatible with macOS Mojave. Honestly, if I didn’t know that my 2008 iMac was incompatible with Mojave (as is probably the case with many older Mac owners), I would’ve easily taken this as a literal error message and assumed that there was a problem with my Mac.

This is pretty irresponsible of Apple. I understand that they want to promote the latest and greatest software in order to get customers to buy a newer Mac, but nowhere does it tell me specifically that my older Mac is incompatible with Mojave. They need to make that clear at the very least in a situation like this.

PSA: Don’t Buy a Pixel 3 from Best Buy Unless You’re on Verizon

For the third year in a row, Verizon is the “exclusive” launch partner for the Pixel 3 and XL. But this year, they’re handling things differently—out of the box, the Verizon Pixel 3 is SIM-locked to Verizon.

The “Only on Verizon” ad campaign that has backed Google’s Pixel phones since the original has always caused confusion but with the Pixel 3, things are even more convoluted. In the past, you could walk into Best Buy—which has always only sold the Verizon variant of the phone—and walk out with what was essentially an unlocked model (after paying in full).

That means you were able to pop in any SIM you wanted, be it AT&T, Sprint, Cricket, T-Mobile…whatever. It worked like this for the Pixel 1 and 2, so there was no reason to think things would be different for the Pixel 3.

But it is.

For the first time in years, the Pixel 3 is SIM-locked to Verizon, regardless of whether you pay for the phone in full or not. That means out of the box, despite having the ability to support all carriers across the U.S., any Pixel 3 bought from Best Buy or Verizon can only be used on Verizon.

Since the phone is paid in full, you can take it into a Verizon Store and request that they unlock the device. They may or may not do this willingly since you’re not a Verizon customer, so be prepared to potentially get some backlash. Maybe.

There’s a Better Way: Just Buy from the Google Store

If you’re a fan of taking the path of least resistance (which, let’s be real here—when it comes to buying a phone, you should be) then there’s a better option than dealing with Best Buy and Verizon: buy directly from Google. It won’t cost you any more than the Verizon variant, and it’s unlocked out of the box. You can even finance it if you want to.

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How to install the PulseEffects audio Equalizer on Linux

PulseEffects is an advanced equalizer program for the Pulse Audio sound system on Linux. It has lots of features, like an audio Input Limiter, a real-time audio compressor, reverberator and even automatic volume control! In this guide, we’ll demostrate how to install the PulseEffects audio Equalizer on Linux. In addition to covering the installation process, we will also go over how to configure and use PulseEffects for your audio equalizer needs!

Ubuntu installation instructions

PulseEffects is available for Ubuntu via a PPA. The trouble is, the PPA has yet to add support for Ubuntu 18.04, and Ubuntu 18.10. As a result, those that want to use this software need to download the old 16.04 package.

Usually, downloading an old package and installing it on a modern version of Ubuntu presents significant problems, such as unmet dependencies and uninstallable programs. With PulseEffects, this isn’t the case, and the 16.04 version installs just fine. To get it, open up a terminal and use the wget downloading tool.

wget -O pulse-effects-64bit.deb

Or, for the 32-bit version of PulseEffects, do:

wget -O pulse-effects-32-bit.deb

Once the wget downloading tool finishes getting the PulseEffects DEB package, install it to Ubuntu with the dpkg and apt commands.

sudo dpkg -i pulse-effects-64bit.deb
sudo apt install -f


sudo dpkg -i pulse-effects-32-bit.deb
sudo apt install -f

Debian installation instructions

Debian Linux doesn’t have a DEB package available for PulseEffects, so users looking to install it will need to download and use the Ubuntu version.

Note: consider using the Flatpak version as an alternative, if the Ubuntu version of this software does not work.

To get PulseEffects installed on Debian, you must first download the package with wget.

wget -O pulse-effects-64bit.deb

Alternatively, grab the 32-bit version of the program with this command.

wget -O pulse-effects-32-bit.deb

Run the dpkg command and install PulseEffects to the system.

sudo dpkg -i pulse-effects-64bit.deb


sudo dpkg -i pulse-effects-32-bit.deb

Finally, install the PulseEffects dependencies to finish up the installation.

sudo apt-get install -f

Arch Linux installation instructions

Arch Linux is one of the few Linux operating systems that carry the PulseEffects audio Equalizer in their official software repositories. It’s in the “Community” software repository. Install it by opening up a terminal and following the steps below!

Step 1: Open up the Pacman.conf file with the Nano text editor.

sudo nano /etc/pacman.conf

Step 2: Scroll through Pacman.conf, locate “Community” and remove all instances of # from in front of it.

Step 3: Save the edits to the Pacman configuration file with the Ctrl + O button. Then, exit with Ctrl + X.

Step 4: Re-sync Arch Linux to the official servers.

sudo pacman -Syyuu

Step 5: Install PulseEffects on Arch Linux.

sudo pacman -S pulseeffects

Fedora installation instructions

Fedora users can easily install the PulseEffects audio Equalizer by enabling the RPM Sphere repository. To enable the RPM Sphere repository, launch a terminal and create a new repo configuration file. Then open up the configuration file in the Nano text editor.

sudo touch /etc/dnf.repos.d/rpm-sphere.repo
sudo nano /etc/dnf.repos.d/rpm-sphere.repo

Paste the code below into Nano:

name=RPM Sphere

Finally, install PulseEffects to Fedora with the DNF package manager.

sudo dnf install pulseffects -y

Flatpak installation instructions

PulseEffects has a Flatpak version. Installing it requires the Flatpak runtime. Don’t have the Flatpak runtime set up on your Linux machine? Follow our guide and learn how to get it up and running!

When you’ve got the Flatpak runtime working, getting the PulseEffects app working through it is a breeze. To install it, simply enter these two commands in a terminal below.

Note: do not use sudo. Flatpak will prompt for a user password during installation.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub

flatpak install flathub com.github.wwmm.pulseeffects -y

Using PulseEffects audio equalizer

PulseEffects has a lot of advanced options. We won’t be covering them in this tutorial, as the average user doesn’t need to worry about them, and they won’t help you make your music sound that much better (unless you know what you’re doing.)

To enable equalization for a program on your Linux desktop, open up PulseEffects and look for the “Applications” section.

Note: on the Ubuntu and Debian version, there is no “Applications” section. Programs are shown on the opening page instead.

Look through PulseEffects and locate the program you’d like to use with the equalizer. Then, click the slider to the “ON” position.

Once PulseEffects has access to the program’s audio stream, locate the “Equalizer” section and select it. Then find the Equalizer slider button and set it to “ON.”

With the equalizer feature in PulseEffects enabled, it’s time to apply some audio effects to the equalizer. Find the “preset” button and select it to open the preset menu.

In the Equalizer preset menu, scroll through and click on an audio effect to instantly apply it to the system.

Read How to install the PulseEffects audio Equalizer on Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter