Category: google

How to Reverse Image Search with Google on iPhone

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Want to perform a reverse image search with Google from iPhone using Safari or Chrome? If you’ve ever wanted to get information regarding an image, or verify the authenticity of a picture you found on the internet, we wouldn’t be surprised if you tried reverse image searching it on Google.

This excellent tool has been available to users for years now and is widely used on desktop browsers like Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. By visiting Google Images, anyone could perform a reverse image search from their computer or tablet within a matter of…

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How to Install iCloud as a Progressive Web App on Android

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Apple’s has redesigned the mobile version of iCloud, and if you live in a divided house—Android and iOS/iPadOS devices living in perfect harmony—you should check out the new website, especially if you’re on an Android smartphone or tablet. In fact, you might even go so far as to install it on your device as a…

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How to Set Up Your iPhone as a Security Key for Google's 2FA

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iOS: If you’re a good Google user, you’re probably used to receiving all sorts of prompts on your device whenever you sign into your account (or in the not-so-great instance when someone else is trying to sign in as you). Android users have been able to use their devices as security keys for some time now, and iPhone…

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How to Stream Apple Music to Your Chromecast From Android

Here’s an exciting development that most folks (myself included) probably never thought would happen: You can now stream Apple Music directly to Google Chromecast from an Android device.

If that sounds too easy, don’t worry; there’s a caveat. Right now, this feature is only present in the latest Apple Music beta, so those who use the regular version of the app will need to make a few changes before you can cast your music:

  1. Opt in to the Apple Music Android app’s beta program via the Google Play Store.
  2. Once you’ve joined, you’ll need to wait for the app to update to the beta version. This might be automatic; this might also be delayed. If you haven’t seen an update go through on Google Play Store, consider resetting your device, checking again, and waiting patiently otherwise.

Once your app is updated to the beta version, you should now be able to stream your Apple Music to a Chromecast.

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse ((Apple Music Android App)
  1. To cast Apple Music to a Chromecast, you must be within range of a Chromecast or Chromecast-equipped device. In the Apple Music app, tap the Cast icon (it looks like a short rectangle with a WiFi signal in the lower left corner).
  2. Select the Chromecast device you wish to use, and the music should start playing on the connected device after a few moments.
  3. You can continue to use your phone and control playback within the Apple Music app as normal, even while casting.

This is a great update for those of us who split the great smartphone divide. It’s still important to remember that beta software can be inconsistent. If you notice any crashes, bugs, or compatibility issues, you can use the same beta program link above to revert back to the app’s regular version.

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LifeHacker

How to Set a Sleep Timer in Your Podcast App

Falling asleep to podcasts has become the geeky equivalent of a glass of warm milk before bed. It’s so popular, in fact, that there’s an entire podcasting genre dedicated to dry topics and gentle conversations to help lull you to sleep. It’s also a terrible catch-22: put on your favorite podcast before bed, and you might have to go find the last spot you remember hearing once you wake up. If you’re not careful, you might even sleep through an entire playlist of backlogged shows.

Luckily, many podcast apps now include sleep timer features that will automatically pause the episode so you don’t miss out on the latest alien abduction theories or damning true-crime evidence while you’re off in dreamland.

We’ll show you how to set sleep timers in popular apps like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pocketcasts, and Spotify, but it’s worth noting that these aren’t the only podcasting apps that include sleep timer support. Similar features usually hide somewhere on a podcast app’s “now playing” and playback menus, or in the app’s settings. Regardless of which app you use, know that you’ll need to enable the sleep timer whenever you’re listening before bedtime (or a quick nap).

Apple Podcasts (iOS)

  1. Open Apple Podcasts.
  2. Tap the “Now Playing” bar at the bottom of the app to expand it.
  3. Scroll down and tap “Sleep Timer.”
  4. Select your desired timer length. The timer can be set for any five-minute interval between 5 and 60 minutes, or for when the current episode ends.
  5. Once you’ve started the timer, the player will now display a countdown clock showing the remaining time before the episode is paused. The timer will only countdown while the podcast is playing—manually pause the podcast, and the timer will also pause.

Google Podcasts (Android)

  1. Open the app.
  2. Load up an episode, or tap the playback bar at the bottom of the screen to expand it.
  3. Tap the crescent moon-shaped icon.
  4. Use the slider to set the timer delay (each pip on the slider equals 5 minutes), or tap “end of episode” to automatically pause playback when the episode completes.
  5. Tap “Start” to begin the timer.

Pocket Casts (Android, iOS)

  1. Launch the Pocket Casts app.
  2. Begin playing a podcast, or tap the small art thumbnail to open the playback menu.
  3. Tap the “zzz” icon.
  4. Select from one of the predefined timer settings, or tap the “+” and “-” buttons at the bottom of the menu to customize the timer delay.
  5. Once set, the “zzz” icon will pulsate to indicate the timer is running. Note that the countdown will continue whether the podcast is playing or paused, but it can be edited with extra time, changed to “end of current episode,” or canceled altogether by tapping the “zzz” icon to open the settings.

Spotify (Android)

Spotify’s sleep timer settings work for both podcasts and music, but only on Android (as of when we published this article).

  1. Open Spotify.
  2. Tap on the “More” icon at the top right of the “Now Playing” screen.
  3. Tap “Sleep Timer.”
  4. Set the timer length (between 5 and 60 minutes, or end of current episode/track).
  5. You can also open the Sleep Timer menu while the countdown is running to manually pause it.

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LifeHacker

How to Back up Your Personal Data on iOS and Android

Phones break or get lost all the time, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose your personal data when and if that happens. In the video above, I go over the basics of backing up your Apple and Android devices.

Quick Fix is a new video series where I tackle your most commonly asked tech questions in 90 seconds or less. If you have a question you want me to answer, leave a comment below or email me.

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LifeHacker

How To Prevent and Respond to a SIM Swap Scam

SIM swap attacks are “off the hook right now,” as described in a November 2018 article from security maven Brian Krebs. While most of you probably have never, and won’t ever, encounter one, it’s good to be prepared should this irritating hack happen to you.

What is SIM swapping?

SIM swapping involves a hacker duping your cell provider into thinking you’re activating your SIM card on another device in their possession. In other words, they’re stealing your phone number and associating it with their SIM card.

If successful, this attack will deactivate your device, and their device will now be the destination for all texts, phone calls, data, and accounts tied to your phone number and SIM card. With that information, the attacker could easily gain access to your app accounts, personal data, and financial information. They could even lock you out of your services for good.

Think of how many apps and accounts use your phone number to verify your identity—and not even when you go to log in with your username and password, which an attacker won’t know, but the very recovery mechanisms you would use to reset this key information. All the account security in the world won’t do much good if an attacker can pretend they’re you just by taking over your phone number.

What a SIM swap scam looks like

Photo: Pexels

A person doesn’t need physical access to your phone to perform a SIM swap—they can do it all remotely, regardless of your device’s make and model, or your service provider. They just need to have enough information to convince a customer support agent that they are you. You may not see a SIM swap scam headed your way until it’s too late.

The easiest way to tell you’ve been targeted by a SIM Swap is when you see strange behavior from your phone, like an inability to send or receive texts and calls despite not having service shut off; receiving notifications from your provider that your phone number or SIM card has been activated elsewhere; or being unable to login into any of your important accounts. Consider this recent example from ZDNet’s Matthew Miller:

“At 11:30 pm on Monday, 10 June, my oldest daughter shook my shoulder to wake me up from a deep sleep. She said that it appeared my Twitter account had been hacked. It turns out that things were much worse than that.

After rolling out of bed, I picked up my Apple iPhone XS and saw a text message that read, “T-Mobile alert: The SIM card for xxx-xxx-xxxx has been changed. If this change is not authorized, call 611.” Well, seeing as how T-Mobile took away my cell service, I could not call 611 for help so that is a worthless message.”

Preventing a SIM swap attack

It’s a lot easier to set up defenses against a SIM swap attack right now than it is to deal with the fallout from one—one is a minor annoyance, the other will consume your week (or more).

Beware of phishing scams

The first step in an SIM swap attack is usually (but not always) phishing. Sketchy emails with malicious links, bogus login screens, fake address bars—there are many forms phishing scams can take, but they’re easy to spot if you know what to look out for. Don’t click links, download programs, or sign in to websites you don’t recognize. If an attacker gets enough key data about you from these attacks, they’ll have what they need to try a SIM swap.

Reduce excessive personal data online

Whether in addition to phishing or in place of it, the other early part of an SIM swap involves social engineering—basically collecting as much data about you as possible so the hacker can reliably pass for you over the phone or in an email.

To prevent this, keep your phone number, date of birth, mailing address, and all other compromising information off as many of your accounts as possible, and don’t share this information publicly if you can avoid it. Some of this data is necessary for certain services, but you don’t need for any of to be searchable on social media. You should cancel and delete any accounts you no longer use as an added precaution.

Protect your accounts

Many digital accounts have settings that can help you take back your accounts if they’re ever stolen—but they need to be properly set up before the account is stolen in order to be of any help. These can include:

  • Creating a PIN number that is required for logins and password changes. This is especially important to set up with your cellular carrier, as it’s a great defense against SIM hijacking.
  • A suitable two-factor security method that relies on a physical device, like Google Authenticator or Authy, rather than SMS-based verification for logins. You can also spring for a hardware token to protect your accounts if you want to get really fancy.
  • Strong answers security recovery questions that aren’t tied to your personal information.
  • Unlinking your smartphone phone number from your accounts, where possible. (You could always use a free Google Voice number if you’re required to have one for your sensitive accounts.)
  • Using long, randomized, and unique passwords for each account.
  • Use an encrypted password manager.
  • Don’t use your favorite services (Google, Facebook, et cetera) to sign in to other services; all an attacker needs is to break into one to have access to a lot more of your digital life.

You should also make note of important account-related information that could be used to identify you as the rightful account holder, such as:

  • The month and year you created the account
  • Previous screen names on the account
  • Physical addresses associated with the account
  • Credit card numbers that have been used with the accounts or bank statements that can confirm you were the one who made purchases
  • Content created by the accounts, such as character names, if the account is for an online video game

Similarly, keeping a list of all your critical accounts will make reacting to a SIM swaps or similar ID theft easier, as you’ll be able to securely comb through each account and change passwords, email addresses, et cetera. Have all this information stored securely—perhaps even as a physical printout of a text file—rather than saving it on a service associated with a digital entity (that could be broken into).

Decentralize your online footprint

Consider using encrypted, open-source apps and services instead of just the apps from Google, Apple, Microsoft, to keep important data spread out, with the most sensitive data stored in places with the highest security. This applies to email, messaging apps, bank apps, etc. Google Drive and iCloud are great, but if everything funnels into a single drive—including personal financial information et cetera—you’re screwed.

Also, you should keep certain data out of the cloud entirely. Don’t throw your tax returns into your Google Drive, because if someone were to gain access, they’d suddenly have a ton of critical information about you (and plenty of information they could use to pretend they are you). And please, no matter what, don’t keep a list of your common passwords, backup sign-in keys, your password manager’s “account recovery” PDF in a simple cloud storage account.

How to respond to a SIM swap attack

If you suspect you’ve fallen victim to a SIM swap or any form of ID theft, work through all of these steps quickly:

  • File identity theft reports with your local police bureau and the FTC.
  • Alert your banks/financial institutions to the potential identity report and request holds be put on your accounts and bank cards, then contact all three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) to request a freeze on your credit and flag potential credit fraud. If you suspect your tax identity or social security numbers are compromised, contact the IRS. You might even want to change your bank account or credit card numbers just in case.
  • Report the identity theft to your cellular service provider. Be aware, however, that unless you can sufficiently prove this has happened and that you are the rightful account holder, they may not be able to do much (since the hacker as your phone number, and all).
  • If you have an offline/analog list of your accounts and their information, change each account’s email address and password (make sure the new email address is not tied to your phone number; a new one works best), and update any other account security measures. The most important places to start are your email address(es) and financial institutions, including PayPal, Venmo, etc, and any accounts tied to your phone number or Google/Apple accounts.
  • Important: If given the option, DO NOT have confirmation codes or reset links sent to your phone number. These will be sent to the hacker, not you.
  • If you cannot log in to an account or reset your password, contact that account’s customer service ASAP and explain the situation. You’ll be asked to prove your identity, so having as much information about the account as possible will help you take back control.

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LifeHacker

How to Outsmart Algorithms and Take Control of Your Information Diet

Photo: Josh Brasted/Getty Images

“Certain algorithms,” says Tim Cook, “pull you toward the things you already know, believe, or like, and they push away everything else. Push back.” In a commencement speech to Tulane University, the Apple CEO tells graduates to take charge of their information diet. And much as we want to sneer at the irony of a phone maker telling us to beware of algorithms, we have to admit that Apple’s Screen Time app is one good tool for improving your tech habits. Here are the best posts we’ve already written on pushing back against the algorithms.

Break out of the echo chamber

News feed algorithms try to show you more of what you already like, which can lead you down a rabbit hole of increasingly radical content, or just block you from any information that might broaden your perspective. This isn’t just about Republican vs. Democrat (vs. leftist revolutionary vs. neoliberal centrist shill), but also about ending up only with the most popular, sensationalist or insipid feel-good stories from garbage sources. Instead of getting your news from a Facebook or Twitter news feed, try less popularity-driven platforms like Feedly.

Educate yourself on which news sources are reliable, fair, and well-researched. Learn the signs of fake news, and how to fact-check. Don’t share news stories that seem suspicious, just because you want to be the first person in your feed to “scoop” something.

YouTube is one of the worst algorithmic offenders, chaining its recommendations until you end up with some middle-aged teenager ranting about how to see through George Soros’s round-earth lies with the help of a brain supplement. Hide the “related videos” section, or weed bad videos out of your viewing history to tell YouTube’s dumbass algorithm that no, you didn’t want to see 100 more videos of CGI Spider-Man murdering Peppa Pig.

Check your phone less

Smartphone notifications were supposed to keep us updated on important things. But app makers easily hijacked these tools to buzz your phone for every like, comment, new friend, new follow, update, challenge, sale, or free gem. The reason there’s no Tamagotchi app is that your phone is already a Tamagotchi, whining for attention and constantly dying.

Turn off notifications, hide or delete distracting apps, and encourage good habits that make your phone more than a time killer.

Block algorithmic cruft

Social sites and media sites (including Lifehacker) are desperate for more of your time, so they (we) throw all kinds of recommendations at you, hoping you’ll click and read more. Sometimes you want those recommendations! It’s nice to discover an old article from a writer you love, or find the related how-to post that actually solves your problem. But sometimes you want to block that all out. Use apps and extensions like Freedom and uBlock Origin to hide “around the web” links, trending topics, and distracting ads. (Remember to whitelist sites that respect your time and your attention, or sites that you want to support financially.)

Stop training the algorithms

If you don’t take drastic measures, you can’t keep all your personal information private. But you can cut down on your information sharing by opting out of certain programs and using high-quality alternatives to default services like Google.

Don’t let the algorithms run your life. Take back your time, your attention, and your thoughts. You’ll find a lot more advice on our tag pages for privacy, security, annoyances, social media, news, advertising, and personal data.

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LifeHacker