TIME Smartphones

President Obama Forgot His BlackBerry Today

U.S. President Barack Obama holds up his BlackBerry device after he returned inside the White House to retrieve it, after boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Nov. 21, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama holds up his BlackBerry device after he returned inside the White House to retrieve it, after boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Nov. 21, 2014. Larry Downing—Reuters

We've all been there, Barack

At one point or another, we’ve all left our phones at home, only to realize it after we’re already in the car, bus, or subway. Well, count one more victim of smartphone amnesia: President Obama.

Obama reportedly left the White House to board Marine One earlier Friday — only to realize once on board that he left his BlackBerry back in his office. He hurried off the presidential chopper, grabbed his phone and headed back outside, waving the device in the air and telling reporters “Didn’t you guys ever forget something?,” Bloomberg reports.

Obama is a longtime BlackBerry user, and government offices in general remain one of the company’s strongest markets.

TIME Smartphones

Here’s What Happens to Your Spine When You’re Constantly Texting

Spine Phone Texting
Kenneth Hansraj

A spinal surgeon explains why your cell phone habits are hurting your neck

Your Candy Crush addiction might be harming your neck more than your productivity, according to new research.

Looking down at your phone can add up to 60 pounds of pressure on your spine, depending on the angle. That’s according to a new study from spinal surgeon Dr. Kenneth Hansraj and published in Surgical Technology International.

People spend two to four hours per day on average with their heads tilted downward in activities like texting and reading, the study said. Over the course of a year, that time adds up to 700 to 1,400 hours of excess stress on the cervical spine, or up to 5,000 hours for high school students. Over time, this causes a hunched-forward position and increases the risk of spinal wear and tear.

It’s “nearly impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues,” Dr. Hansraj wrote in the report. But people can take preventative steps by looking at their phones while maintaining good posture, defined as having one’s ears aligned with their shoulders.

 

TIME Smartphones

People Are Already Talking About the iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7 Rumors
An Apple logo is seen on the back on a smartphone on August 6, 2014 in London, England. Peter Macdiarmid—Getty Images

Here's what's already being speculated about for the next version

The iPhone 6 is only two months old, but iPhone 7 rumors are already getting traction.

Among devoted Apple followers, there’s a general consensus that the iPhone 7—if it’s not released as the iPhone 6S, following previous convention—will feature at least a 4.7-in. screen size, which is the size of Apple’s iPhone 6, according to MacWorld.

There’s also the possibility that several features already available on the Apple Watch may make their way to the next iPhone. These include sapphire glass, a highly durable screen material that was rumored for the iPhone 6, and wireless charging, which is also known as “inductive charging.”

Another rumor is that Apple could introduce “sidewall displays,” which allow the screen to curve onto the phone’s edges. The speculation is supported by Apple’s filing of a patent that describes smartphones with flexible displays that can be bent over the edges.

In accordance with how Apple usually upgrades its iPhones, users can likely expect improved cameras, performance and battery life. It’s also probable the iPhone 7 will arrive next September, the month Apple usually announces its newest iPhone.

Of course, new iPhone rumors don’t come without their fair share of somewhat outlandish features. There’s speculation that the iPhone 7 could have face-scanning technology, and even a rumor that it could have holographic screens.

Prices are rumored to be between $650 and $850 without a contract, which would make it the most expensive iPhone to date, according to Inquisitr.

[Mac World]

TIME Companies

Apple’s iOS 8.1.1 Update Should Make Your iPhone 4S and iPad 2 Useable Again

Apple iOS 8.1.1
The components of a smartphone sold as an Apple Inc. iPhone 4S are arranged around the company's logo for a photograph in Hong Kong, China, on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Upgrade will improve performance of two legacy devices that were slowed down after installing iOS 8.1

Did your iPhone 4S or iPad 2 cease to function normally after you installed iOS 8? Apple is finally out with a fix.

Apple released iOS 8.1.1 on Tuesday, an upgrade promising performance improvements on older iPhone 4S and iPad 2 devices that experienced major slowdowns after installing iOS 8, according to Apple. The new upgrade also includes bug fixes and increased stability alongside the speeding up of the two legacy devices.

iOS 8.1.1 can be downloaded for free through the Software Update section on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

 

 

TIME Smartphones

U.S. Warns Apple Users About iOS ‘Masque Attack’

Security weakness allows a hacker to replace an iOS app with malware

The U.S. government warned Apple gadget owners Thursday to look out for hackers exploiting a newly revealed vulnerability in the mobile operating system iOS.

The so-called “Masque Attack” was disclosed earlier this week by the network security firm FireEye and allows a hacker to replace an iOS app with malware, according to an alert posted on the website of the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security.

MORE: How to Avoid the ‘Biggest’ iPhone Malware App Attack Yet

“This technique takes advantage of a security weakness that allows an untrusted app—with the same “bundle identifier” as that of a legitimate app—to replace the legitimate app on an affected device, while keeping all of the user’s data,” the warning states. “This vulnerability exists because iOS does not enforce matching certificates for apps with the same bundle identifier.”

The agency warns iOS users not to install apps from sources other than Apple’s official app store or their own organizations, among other precautions.

TIME Smartphones

Review: Lollipop Makes Your Android Phone Way More Beautiful

Google Nexus 6 Google

Android is getting a massive visual overhaul

This review originally appeared on Trusted Reviews

Android 5.0 Lollipop is the latest version of the Google mobile OS. It takes over from Android 4.4 KitKat and is likely to be the last major revision we see of the system until well into 2015.

Lollipop is the future, in other words, but is it really worth getting worked-up about? We’ve been using Android 5.0 with the Nexus 9, one of the devices launched alongside the software. Here’s what we think.

Android 5.0 Lollipop: Material Interface

Having used Android 5.0 Lollipop for a while now, we think perhaps the most significant change for now is the way the software looks. Not every change made offers a dramatic shift in the way Android feels, but the interface design does.

Google calls it Material, and aside from freshening-up the look, it’s meant to add “responsive, natural motion, realistic lighting and shadows.”

First, let’s take a look at the new design. Here are your home screens:

 

Android Lollipop Home Screens Trusted Reviews

You’ll notice everything is looking familiar, but a little different. Google has redesigned the soft keys — which now have a PlayStation-like flavor— and the Google app icons are different now.

It’s innocuous stuff, but tells you a lot about the aesthetic direction in which the system is heading. Android 5.0 Lollipop is all about friendly curves and shapes that have no intrinsic or obvious relationship with technology. They’re a circle, a square and a triangle: you don’t get much more basic than that.

Android Lollipop Soft Keys Trusted Reviews

We assume the idea is that they’re friendly compared with the rather more complicated soft keys of Android 4.4 KitKat. Despite their simplicity, the functions of two are pretty obvious even to relative technophobes.

The triangle already forms an arrow sign, and the circle is just like the Home button on an iPhone. When in doubt, copy Apple. The one on the right is called Overview these days, but it has much the same function as before: it brings up the multi-tasking menu.

The movement of the homescreens has changed. The animations are a bit less severe, with greater variance in their speeds and a greater sense of inertia. Android 5.0 Lollipop is all about shaving off that geeky exterior Android is still seen as having in some quarters.

You’re also likely to see a whole lot of the two headline backgrounds of Android 5.0. These are designed to look as though they’re made from real materials with clever use of textures. Once again, it’s a step away from the sharp technical refinement that has been more a clearer visual feature in previous Android UI elements. These backgrounds are still precise and geometric, but the textures are intended to ground them in the “real.”

It’s not so much “less geek, more chic,” but “less geek, more family-friendly.” Its no wonder Google has opted for this style, with tablets like the Tesco Hudl 2 plugging away at family buyers hard.

Is the new look good? Yes, it’s great. We already liked the Google Now interface used in some Android 4.4 phones, though, including the Nexus 5 and Moto G 2014.

The use of the real-time shadows/lighting promised on Google’s website is pretty subtle too. Those expecting jaw-dropping visual flashiness may be disappointed by this lack of bravado. Where you see the these live shadows most obviously is in the multi-tasking menu, which, as usual, is accessed using the right (square) soft key. Multi-tasking has gone 3D, folks, and each pane casts its own shadows. These are “design” shadows rather than realistic ones, mind you, and again are pretty diffuse. We like the look…

For the full Android 5.0 Lollipop Review, visited Trusted Reviews.

See more from Trusted Reviews:

Google Nexus 6 Hands-On

Google Nexus 9 Review

iPad Air 2 review

TIME Smartphones

Hands-On With Google’s New, Insanely Huge Nexus 6 Smartphone

Google Nexus 6 Google

Bigger might not mean better

This hands-on originally appeared on Trusted Reviews.

In recent years, Google’s Nexus smartphone line has become synonymous with high-end functionality and great value for money. The Nexus 6, however, is something of a curve ball, and a massive one at that.

It’s a phone brimmed with high-end components – a 2.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 805 processor, QHD display – but one which has overlooked mass market appeal in favor of a phablet dwarfing 6-inch form factor. As the phone’s size has gone up, so too has its price. The handset will set you back $649 or $699 depending on your choice of internal storage – 32GB or 64GB.

Nexus 6: Design

There is no getting away from it, the Nexus 6 is huge. At 159.3mm tall, 83mm wide and 10.1mm thick it dwarfs flagship phones such as the Galaxy S5 and LG G3. Although it features an overall footprint not much larger than the iPhone 6 Plus or the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, it doesn’t carry its size as well as either rival.

I found the phone to feel bulky and cumbersome from the start. Its considerable 184g weight is distributed well across the phone’s sizeable form, but unlike some overweight handsets, the Nexus 6 does little to hide its size. It’s wider than the 6 Plus, less graceful than the Note 4 and fatter than both — it’s an awkward, gangly teenager of a handset.

Visually, the Nexus 6 is basically an oversized Moto X. It’s not ugly phone, but it lacks the refined simplicity of the Nexus 5 and certainly can’t match the iPhone 6 Plus or Note 4. The two-tone colour scheme is easy on the eye and the metallic blue edges give the phone an air of elegance, but this is overshadowed by the phone’s cheap-looking – and feeling – plastic back.

Further highlighting the Nexus 6’s awkward design are the phone’s physical buttons – a power key and separate volume rocker. Both feel dwarfed by the handset’s overall size. They are well located in the centre of the phone’s right-hand edge, but are small and fiddly to operate.

Nexus 6: Screen

As with the phone’s overall look and feel, the Nexus 6’s screen fell slightly short of expectation on first use. While the handset’s 5.96-inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel QHD panel is sufficiently sharp and detailed, it lacks the pop and vibrancy of either the Note 4 or 6 Plus.

Unusually for an AMOLED panel, I found the Nexus 6’s colour range to be a little subdued. Hues aren’t exactly muted but neither do they wow. This ran throughout all elements of the Nexus 6 from the new Material OS design to web pages and the image viewer.

Where visuals were slightly off, the screen’s touch capabilities and performance were on point. Screen transitions were smooth, swipe gestures fluid and all multi-finger commands handled with ease. Brightness levels are also hard to fault. The phone’s screen adjusted elegantly to bouts of direct sunlight and periods in a shadowy corner.

We’ll need more time with the Nexus 6 to judge the screen definitively, but it doesn’t wow as much as the raw size and resolution suggest…

For the full Google Nexus 6 Hands-On, please visit TrustedReviews.com.

See more from Trusted Reviews:

iPad Mini 3 review

iPad Air 2 review

Amazon Fire HD 6 review

TIME Opinion

The Secret Language of Girls on Instagram

Close up of teenage girl texting on mobile in bedroom
Getty Images

Girls have quietly repurposed the photo-sharing app into a barometer for popularity, friendship status and self-worth. Here's how they're using it.

Secrecy is hardly new on Planet Girl: as many an eye-rolling boy will tell you, girls excel at eluding the prying questions of grown ups. And who can blame them? From an early age, young women learn that to be a “good girl” they must be nice, avoid conflict and make friends with everyone. It’s an impossible ask (and one I’ve studied for over a decade) – so girls respond by taking their true feelings underground.

Enter the Internet, and Instagram: a platform where emotions can run wild – and where insecurities run wilder. The photo-sharing app is social media’s current queen bee: In a survey released earlier this month, three quarters of teens said they were using Instagram as their go-to app.

Instagram lets users share their photos, and “like” and comment on their friends’. The competition for “likes” encourages creativity in young users, who can use filters and other devices to spruce up their images. And its simplicity – it’s just pictures, right? — comforts parents haunted by the cyberbullying they hear about on Facebook and Twitter.

But Instagram’s simplicity is also deceiving: look more closely, and you find the Rosetta Stone of girl angst: a way for tweens and teens to find out what their peers really think of them (Was that comment about my dress a joke or did she mean it?), who likes you (Why wasn’t I included in that picture?), even how many people like them (if you post and get too few likes, you might feel “Instashame,” as one young woman calls it). They can obsess over their friendships, monitoring social ups and downs in extreme detail. They can strategically post at high traffic hours when they know peers are killing time between homework assignments. “Likes,” after all, feel like a public, tangible, reassuring statement of a girl’s social status.

That’s not what the app creators intended, of course, but it does make psychological sense: as they become preteens, research shows that girls’ confidence takes a nosedive. Instagram, then, is a new way for girls to chase the feeling of being liked that eludes so many of them. Instagram becomes an popularity meter and teens learn to manipulate the levers of success.

Here are a few of the ways that girls are leveraging Instagram to do much more than just share photos:

To Know What Friends Really Think Of Them

In the spot where adults tag a photo’s location, girls will barter “likes” in exchange for other things peers desperately want: a “TBH” (or “to be honest”). Translation? If you like a girl’s photo, she’ll leave you a TBH comment. For example: “TBH, ILYSM,” meaning, “To be honest I love you so much.” Or, the more ambivalent: “TBH, We don’t hang out that much.

To Measure How Much a Friend Likes You

In this case, a girl may trade a “like” — meaning, a friend will like her photo — in exchange for another tidbit of honesty: a 1-10 rating, of how much she likes you, your best physical feature, and a numerical scale that answers the question of “are we friends?” and many others. Girls hope for a “BMS,” or break my scale, the ultimate show of affection.

As a Public Barometer of Popularity

Instagram lets you tag your friends to announce that you’ve posted a new photo of them. Girls do the app one better: they take photos of scenes where no person is present – say, a sunset — but still tag people they love and add gushing comments. It’s a kind of social media mating call for BFFs. But girls also do it because the number of tags you get is a public sign of your popularity. “How many photos you’re tagged in is important,” says Charlotte, 12. “No one can see the actual number but you can sort of just tell because you keep seeing their name pop up.”

To Show BFF PDA

That broken heart necklace you gave your bestie? It’s gone the way of dial up. Now, girls use Instagram biographies – a few lines at the top of their page — to trumpet their inner circle. It’s a thrill to be featured on the banner that any visitor to the page will see — but not unusual to get deleted after a fight or bad day, in plain, humiliating sight of all your friends.

A Way to Retaliate

Angry at someone? Don’t tag the girl who is obviously in a picture, crop her out of it entirely, refuse to follow back the one who just tried to follow you, or simply post a photo a girl is not in. These are cryptic messages adults miss but which girls hear loud and clear. A girl may post an image of a party a friend wasn’t invited to, an intimate sleepover or night out at a concert. She never even has to mention the absent girl’s name. She knows the other girl saw it. That’s the beauty of Instagram: it’s the homework you know girls always do.

A Personal Branding Machine

Girls face increasing pressure not only to be smart and accomplished, but girly, sexy and social. In a 2011 survey, 74% of teen girls told the Girl Scout Research Institute that girls were living quasi-double lives online, where they intentionally downplayed their intelligence, kindness and good influence – and played up qualities like fun, funny and social. On Instagram, girls can project a persona they may not have time, or permission, to show off in the classroom: popular, social, sexy. Cultivating a certain look is so important that it’s common for girls to stage ‘photo shoots’ with each other as photographers to produce shots that stand out visually. (Plus a joint photo shoot is more evidence of friendship.)

A Place For Elaborate Birthday Collages

Remember coming to school on your big day, excited to see what you’d find plastered to your locker? Now girls can see who’s celebrating them hours before they get off the bus. Birthday collages on Instagram are elaborate public tributes, filled with inside jokes, short videos, and pictures of memories you may not have been a part of. “There is definitely a ‘I love you the most. I’ve loved you the longest edge to these birthday posts,” one parent told me. Collages that document the intensity or length of a relationship are a chance to celebrate a friend – or prove just how close you are to the birthday girl. Although most girls know to expect something from their closest friends, not getting one is seen as a direct diss, a parent told me. And it can be competitive: another parent told me her daughter’s friend stayed up until midnight just so she could be the first to post.

While girls may seem addicted to their online social lives, it’s not all bad — and they still prefer the company of an offline friend to any love they have to click for. (In a survey that would surely surprise some parents, 92% of teen girls said they would give up all of their social media friends if it meant keeping their best friend.) And, of course, likes aren’t everything. As 13 year-old Leah told me, “Just because people don’t write me a paragraph on Instagram doesn’t mean they don’t like me.”

Rachel Simmons is the co-founder of Girls Leadership Institute and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls” and “The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls With Courage and Confidence.” Follow her on Twitter @racheljsimmons.

Read next:

TIME Smartphones

Apple Finally Lets You Deregister Phone Numbers From iMessage

Apple's New Big-Screen iPhones Draw Long Lines As Sales Start
Customers compare an Apple Inc. iPhone 6, left, and iPhone 6 plus during the sales launch at an Apple store in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Bloomberg/Getty

SMS messages used to get lost due to a glitch with iMessages

Messaged received: Apple has released a new tool to answer complaints that switching from an iPhone to a different smartphone dooms iMessages sent to them from other iPhone users to an unseen purgatory.

Apple’s new web tool lets ex-iOS users efficiently deregister their phone numbers from Apple’s iMessage system and ensures that future SMS messages get delivered to the new device.

The fix corrects a long-standing problem: If former iPhone users don’t disable iMessage before transferring to a different smartphone, SMS messages sent to them by people still using Apple devices can continue to be sent as iMessages. But, since iMessage is exclusive to Apple platforms, those messages won’t be received on the new smartphone. The bug is the subject of a class action lawsuit in California.

To use the new tool, ex-iOS users just enter their phone numbers into the web browser. Apple then sends a confirmation code by SMS.

TIME legal

Why the Constitution Can Protect Passwords But Not Fingerprint Scans

Password Fingerprints Fifth Amendment
A portable fingerprint scanner is displayed at the Biometrics Conference and Exhibition at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre. Peter Macdiarmid—Getty Images

Fingerprint scans are more secure, except when it comes to the Fifth Amendment

Cellphone fingerprint passcodes weren’t on James Madison’s mind when he authored the Fifth Amendment, a constitutional protection with roots in preventing torture by barring self-incriminating testimonials in court cases.

Yet those tiny skin ridges we all share were at the heart of a Virginia court case last week in which a judge ruled that police, who suspected there was incriminating evidence on a suspect’s smartphone, could legally force the man to unlock his device with its fingerprint scanner. While the Fifth Amendment protects defendants from revealing their numeric passcodes, which would be considered a self-incriminating testimonial, biometrics like fingerprint scans fall outside the law’s scope.

“If you are being forced to divulge something that you know, that’s not okay,” said Marcia Hofmann, an attorney and special counsel to digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation. “If the government is able through other means to collect evidence that just exists, then they certainly can do that without stepping on the toes of the constitutional protection.”

“The important thing is,” Hofmann said, “is it something you know, or something you have?”

The Virginia ruling was perhaps the most clear-cut decision among similar cases whose outcomes have varied significantly by circumstance. In United States v. Fricosu (2012), a court ruled because it was “a foregone conclusion” that the defendant’s password-locked data was incriminating, the Fifth Amendment didn’t apply. In United States v. John Doe (2011), the defendant, who had a hard drive protected by encryption, at first didn’t receive Fifth Amendment protection, but that decision was reversed by an appellate court that ruled that if Doe provided his decryption password, then it would “lead the Government to evidence that would incriminate him.” Last week’s Virginia ruling is a fresh example of what can happen when a 225-year-old law is applied to a field as rapidly changing as digital security.

“I think the courts are struggling with this, because a fingerprint in and of itself is not testimony,” said Hayes Hunt, a criminal defense and government investigations lawyer at Cozen O’Connor. “The concern is, once we put a password on something or on ourselves, we have a certain privacy interest.”

Judges across the country will only have to make more decisions about biometrics, as their use by everyday consumers is on the rise. Today, our data is protected by everything from iris scans at airports to heartbeat measurements and ear-print smartphone locks. “This whole area is in such a state of flux,” said Jody Goodman, a counsel at Crowell & Moring. “It seems like every week there are new things happening.”

Apple in particular is one of the most widely-recognized consumer technology companies that have adopted biometrics, though it wasn’t the first. Its latest flagship iPhones and iPads come with Touch ID, which lets users unlock their devices or make payments by scanning their thumbprints instead of inputting a numeric passcode. But while Apple and other companies with fingerprint scanners on their devices say the feature provides more protection from data theft, the Virginia ruling means that data protected only by an old-school passcode is afforded stronger legal protection under the Fifth Amendment.

The solution for those seeking more legal cover for their data, though, is surprisingly simple. If a defendant’s data is protected by both a thumbprint and a passcode, he or she could invoke the Fifth for the thumbprint, thereby blocking access to the data — at least according to the precedent set by the Virginia case. But for now, iPhones at least lack this option, probably because it’s not being demanded by consumers.

“I think Apple will respond to what the market demands,” said Goodman. “Most people don’t want to be bothered [by additional security]. That’s why the fingerprint technology was created in the first place.”

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