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macOS Catalina introduces new features and functionality for the Mac. Among them is Screen Time, the tool that enables users to see what apps and services they’re spending time using. Screen Time follows the convention of features that make their debut on iOS later migrating to the Mac. Unfortunately, Screen Time’s Mac implementation leaves something to be desired.
Screen Time’s intent is to make you more aware of where you’re spending your time – reading news, surfing the web, using social media apps, playing games. Just as important, Screen Time can provide essential details for parents concerned about their kids’ device usage. The app also provides parents with lock-out and limitings features to help reign in their kids’ use.Not the Screen Time we need
For the past year, Screen Time has been the exclusive purview of the iPhone and iPad, but that changed with October’s release of Catalina, which brings Screen Time to the Mac. But Author, podcaster, and tech columnist Kirk McElhearn recently uncovered some troubling news about Catalina’s implementation of Screen Time. Kirk noted that the Catalina version of the app simply displays how long apps are open, rather than how long they’re being used.
So if I keep Safari open on my Mac all the time, it reports that duration – even if Safari is in the background while I’m doing other things, like writing this editorial. Like Kirk, I keep many apps open when I’m not using them – at the moment I have 11 apps open on my Mac. I quickly command-tab between them to get my work done. Knowing how long each has been open is not useful data to me – I want to know how long I’ve been actively using each one, and I’d prefer to know how I’m using it.
These are details that I can actually find and drill down into using third-party tracking activities. Such tools have been indispensable to me over the years as a freelancer, in order to effectively bill my clients for my time. But these apps cost money, and they’re from third party makers, which means their use is niche, at best.
There are other problems, too – the way the Mac version of Screen Time accounts for notifications, the way it accounts for “Pickups,” for example – the number of times you wake your Mac from sleep – all add up to one thing. It’s painfully obvious that Catalina’s implementation of Screen Time is little more than a rushed conversion of the iOS tool, with little, if any, thought about how different the Mac usage experience is, or what meaningful and useful data Mac users might need.
For years, we’ve been hearing dire warnings from prognosticators who are concerned about the “iOSification” of the Macintosh. Apple’s pushed back on this hysteria by saying that it fully recognizes Macs and Mac users are different than iOS and iOS users, and they consider the Mac and iOS devices to be distinct user experiences.Setting the stage for the future
Yet blurring the lines between Mac and iOS is fine for Apple, and for Mac users, at least when it makes sense to do so – hence Apple’s Handoff technology. I love being able to take a photo on my iPhone from my Mac, for example, or open Safari on my Mac and go straight to the web page open on my phone. Draft an email on my phone then finish it off on my Mac? Perfect. When it works. Sometimes it doesn’t, even years after some of this tech debuted on the Mac.
We don’t need to fear these integrations when they happen, but we do need to be vigilant and stay wary when Apple gives the Mac short shrift, as I think it’s readily apparent they did with some aspects of Catalina. I’ll even give Apple the benefit of the doubt – for now – that Screen Time is a work in progress, rushed to market. It’s patently obvious that Apple stretched itself way too thin this year – there are way too many warts apparent in iOS and macOS, way too many growing pains that we as Apple device owners shouldn’t have to put up with.
Catalina is, without a doubt in my mind, one of the most divisive Mac system upgrades I can remember. Apple’s really upset a lot of long-standing developers for migrating to a radically more restrictive security model with this release; one that’s making it difficult if not impossible for some third-party app makers to update their software to work. And while Catalina’s 64-bit-only architecture shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s been getting dialog boxes warning them of needing to upgrade apps, that has predictably created a lot of user friction. It’s also generated a fair amount of head-scratching from Windows users who don’t understand why Apple has such a hard time managing this compared to Microsoft.
Make no mistake – Apple is playing the long game here, and Catalina is essential to pave the way for what’s to come on the Mac for the next decade, if not longer. Every time one of these tectonic shifts happens, there is discomfort from developers and users alike. You just have to think back to Apple’s shift from Motorola 68K to PowerPC, and from PowerPC to Intel, to see examples. Each time this happened, some users and some developers were left behind because they lacked the resources or the patience to make the move with Apple. I have no doubt Apple is developing ARM-based Macs to succeed the Intel-based Macs we use today, and some of the changes Apple has made in Catalina herald what’s to come.
But it’s essential that Apple makes sure that all of its platforms provide a superlative user experience. And when we suffer cracks in the wall, like a Mac implementation of Screen Time that feels much more “me too” than best of class, it shows Apple needs to reassess its priorities.
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There was an uncomfortable calculation to make in the early days of subscription music services. Why pay a monthly fee for your music when you could just pay once and own it? Beats Music leveraged handpicked playlists designed for finding new music and rediscovering favorites. That became the differentiating factor for Apple when it absorbed Beats in 2014 to create Apple Music.
Now Apple has a number of algorithm-generated playlists similar to Spotify with New Music, Friends, Get Up!, and other mixes. These are fantastic for finding old favorites and new tracks from artists you enjoy, yet it’s a new mix on an original idea that has me pumped for Apple Music these days.
Last August, Apple Music dropped the Beats moniker from its Beats 1 streaming radio station, replacing it with Apple Music 1 while introducing Apple Music Country and Apple Music Hits stations.
I grew up in the TRL era of MTV and love everything from the greater blink-182 universe (Boxcar Racer/+44/Angels & Airwaves/Simple Creatures), so the Mark Hoppus hosted show called After School Radio on Apple Music Hits was made for me. Listening to the show live at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesdays has since become a highlight of my week, and the songs from it regularly lead me to discover artists, albums, and entire discographies.
I already subscribe to Apple Music (now through the Apple One bundle with iCloud and TV+), and the integration with Radio is pretty good. I can stream the show in the car with CarPlay, on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV with the Music app, or even with just my Apple Watch with the Radio app. Apple Music Radio is also available on the web.
I regularly find myself saving songs to my library directly from the Now Playing screen during the show. If I like the artist or song enough, I’ll go back and play through the full album or add more music from the artist to my library. It’s made the Recently Added section in my Music app the most active it’s ever been, frankly.
This show in particular also has a great format that includes weekly artist interviews and a regular panel of hosts who share music industry insight. It plays like a music podcast with relevant songs interlaced with the interview and conversation. If Apple Music and Apple Podcasts offered the tools, I would love to re-create my own version of a show like it with friends and songs on the service.
All three Apple Music Radio stations are free to stream live from the Music or Radio app, and Apple Music members can listen on-demand after the broadcast as well.
Now that I’m routinely interacting with Apple Music Radio, I’m also reminded of all the feature requests we had when it was Beats 1 all those years ago. Push notifications for shows, offline playback for episodes, and an easy way to follow favorite shows would be great features for members.
Listening live is easy once you learn the schedule, but listening on-demand requires digging through the Music app. I used the share sheet to grab the URL that redirects to the section of the Music app for my convenience and sanity. 🥸
This weekly two-hour radio show totally changed how engaged I am with Apple Music all these years later. There’s no question that the value of Apple Music for me is in removing friction in finding new music and playing it from anywhere. Here’s to hoping After School Radio has a long home on Apple Music.
Updated on April 12 with new start time at 2 p.m. changing to 7 p.m. ET starting April 13.
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If you are sharing your PC with other people like friends or family members or if you are managing multiple PCs, then you might have faced situations where you want to communicate some sort of message even before a user has been logged in. There may be several reasons for this like to display a legal notice, tell users of their default folder on the network drive, tell users that the PC is being monitored, etc. Even if you are a single user, displaying custom messages like contact info can be quite helpful, especially for laptop users. No matter what the reason is, here is how you can display custom messages when a user tries to log into his/her PC.Display Custom Message on the Windows Login Screen
To display a custom message on the Windows login screen, you can either use the Windows Registry or the Local Security Policy. I will show you both ways. You can follow the one that you are most comfortable with. Do note that Local Security Policy is not available in Windows Home versions.1. Displaying a custom message via Windows Registry
To display a custom message on the Windows login screen using the Registry, press “Win + R,” type regedit and press the Enter button.
The above action will open the Windows Registry. Here, navigate to the following key.
Once you are done with the changes, this is how it will look in your Windows Registry.
From this point oward you will see a message when you try to log in to your Windows machine.2. Using Windows Local Security Policy Editor
If you are using the Pro version of Windows, then you can also use Local Policy Editor to add a custom message to the Windows login screen.
To do that, search for “Administrative tools” in the Start menu and open it.
Here in the Local Security Policy window, navigate to “Local Policies” and then to “Security Policies.”
Your custom message will now be shown on the Windows login screen every time a user tries to log in.
Vamsi is a tech and WordPress geek who enjoys writing how-to guides and messing with his computer and software in general. When not writing for MTE, he writes for he shares tips, tricks, and lifehacks on his own blog Stugon.
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Did you forget the Screen Time passcode for your iPhone, iPad, or Mac? Don’t worry—it’s not hard to reset it. Read on to figure out what you need to do.
A Screen Time passcode is the best way to protect content restrictions and app usage limits when handing over your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to someone else. Unfortunately, it can be pretty easy to forget unless you use something memorable.
Table of Contents
Thankfully, forgetting your Screen Time passcode is nothing to worry about. You don’t have to do a factory reset through an iCloud/iTunes backup or anything complicated to reset it.
So long as you’re the owner of the iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can reset or remove a Screen Time passcode with just your Apple ID—unless you’ve also forgotten that.Reset Screen Time Passcode on Your iPhone
Suppose you forget the Screen Time passcode for your personal iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. In that case, you can reset or remove it immediately after authenticating yourself with your Apple ID or iCloud account credentials. To do that:
app in iOS or iPadOS and tap
Scroll down and tap
Change Screen Time Passcode
Change Screen Time Passcode
Turn Off Screen Time
Enter your Apple ID username, followed by your Apple ID password.
and wait until your iPhone authenticates your Apple ID credentials.
Enter and verify a new Screen Time passcode. If you turn off the Screen Time passcode in
, you don’t have to do anything else.Reset Screen Time Passcode on Your Mac
Like on an iPhone or iPad, you can reset or turn off a forgotten Screen Time passcode on Mac using your Apple ID. To do that:
if you use macOS Ventura or later).
button. If you want to disable the Screen Time passcode, uncheck the
Use Screen Time Passcode
Enter your Apple ID username and password. Then, select
Enter and verify a new Screen Time passcode. If you opt to turn off the Screen Time passcode in
, you don’t have to do anything else.“Forgot Passcode” Option Missing? Update Your iPhone or Mac
If you have trouble finding the “Forgot Passcode?” option, you likely use an older version of iOS, iPadOS, or macOS. Consider updating the system software on your Apple device to iOS 13.4, iPadOS 13.4, macOS Catalina 10.15.4, or later, and repeat the above steps.
Update Mac: Open the System Preferences/System Settings app, select Software Update, and tap Update Now.
Can’t update the system software on your Apple device? Learn how to fix stuck iOS and macOS updates.Reset Screen Time Passcode as a Family Organizer
If you’re a family organizer and have Screen Time set up for a child’s iPhone, iPad, or Mac, the device’s Screen Time settings will not offer a “Forgot Passcode?” option to reset or remove a forgotten passcode. Instead, you must use your own Apple device to reset or remove it.
To do that on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:
app and tap
Scroll down to the
section and tap the child’s name.
Change Screen Time Passcode
Change Screen Time Passcode
again. If you want to disable the Screen Time passcode, tap
Turn Off Screen Time
Authenticate yourself using Face ID, Touch ID, or your iPhone passcode.
Enter a new Screen Time passcode and verify it. If you opt to turn off the Screen Time passcode in
, you won’t have to do anything else.
On a Mac, you must:
Select the child’s name from the drop-down menu on the top-left of the window.
. To remove the Screen Time passcode, uncheck the box next to
Turn Off Screen Time Passcode
Authenticate your Mac user account using Touch ID or its password.
Enter and verify a new passcode. If you turn off the Screen Time passcode in
, you won’t have to do anything else.Don’t Freak Out
As you just found out, forgetting a Screen Time passcode on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac is not something to start freaking out about, so don’t let that put you off from unleashing the full potential of the feature.
If you’re still getting into grips with Screen Time, check out our complete guides to Screen Time for iPhone and Mac for all the best ways you can use the feature to monitor apps usage habits, impose restrictions, and use it as an effective parental control tool.
Vizio, best known for manufacturing HDTVs, is a relative newcomer to the PC business. It’s been producing slim, minimalist laptops and all-in-one desktops for about 18 months. The Vizio CT15T-B1 is the latest iteration of the company’s 15.6-inch “Thin + Light” laptop, and its main selling point is a glossy HD touchscreen.
The CT15T-B1, which costs $1470 as of this writing, maintains the signature look of Vizio laptops: It has a smooth, gunmetal-gray metallic cover with neatly beveled edges, a spacious keyboard deck, and an edge-to-edge glass screen. In fact, Vizio hasn’t really updated its design at all from the CT15-A4. Because it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? Minor issues we’ve seen in the past are still here.
Well, what’s on the inside of the CT15T-B1 is a little disappointing, since it was released before the launch of Intel’s fourth-generation Core (aka Haswell) processor. The CT15T-B1 sports a quad-core Intel i7-3635QM processor from the Ivy Bridge line, along with 8GB of DDR3/1600 memory and a 256GB SSD. It doesn’t disappoint when it comes to performance, though: With a Notebook Worldbench 8.1 score of 334, this is one of the speedier laptops we’ve tested. It’s a little more than three times faster than our Core i5–powered reference notebook.Benchmark numbers
If you’re looking for a laptop that will perform various tasks quickly and efficiently, the CT15T-B1 is a good choice. One caveat: This machine doesn’t have a discrete graphics card, so its graphics performance is mediocre at best. In our Bioshock Infinite test (low resolution/low quality settings), it managed just 24.2 frames per second, nowhere near the 79.7 fps of the ultrafast Cyberpower FangBook EVO HX7-200.
Apart from gaming performance, the CT15T-B1 is a good buy with some minor design issues. The main attraction—its touchscreen—looks great. The 15.6-inch IPS (in-plane switching) display has a native resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. Colors are bright and accurate, text is crisp and clear, and the touchscreen is responsive and easy to use with smooth multitouch gestures. It’s not the best touchscreen I’ve tried—I did notice some minor snags and lags during my testing—but it’s pretty high up there.
Multimedia on the CT15T-B1 looks and sounds good, but not great, which is disappointing considering Vizio’s expertise in building HDTVs. Streaming HD video plays smoothly and with minimal artifacting and noise, but audio is another story. The speakers, located above the keyboard, aren’t the worst speakers I’ve heard on a laptop (that distinction belongs to Micro Express’s line of terrible-sounding laptops), but they’re not very good. Sound is fuzzy, a little distorted (even at lower levels), and generally difficult to listen to. These speakers will do in a pinch, but I don’t recommend using them if you don’t have to.The same shortcomings
Since Vizio hasn’t updated its design, minor issues we’ve seen in the past are still here. For example: This laptop has very few ports, even though it’s large and not really an Ultrabook. The left side houses a USB 3.0 port and a combo mic/headphone jack, while the right side houses another USB 3.0 port and an HDMI port. You’ll find no ethernet jack, nor a Kensington lock slot, an eSATA port, or anything cool. I understand that this is a “Thin + Light” laptop (frankly, it’s not all that light—it weighs almost 5 pounds without the power brick), but most of the little 14-inch Ultrabooks I’ve seen have at least three USB ports.
ROBERT CARDINVizio carried over most of the design elements from its first Thin + Light notebook.
Other design flaws include the keyboard, which is pretty to look at but offers very light, almost nonexistent feedback. In my tests, I managed a rate of around 85 words per minute, and I typically type 115 wpm. The cover is also hard to open, even with slim fingers and nails, since the indent on the lower half is so shallow.
While it’s disappointing to see that Vizio hasn’t fixed such minor annoyances—fixes that could make a good product great—the CT15T-B1 remains a good laptop if you’re looking for a slim and (relatively) light high-performance machine. It’s speedy, even though it doesn’t have a Haswell processor, and it has a nice, bright touchscreen for all your Windows 8 needs.
With Screen Time for iOS, you can get a better understanding of the amount of time you’re spending each day using apps, visiting websites, and more on your devices. Here’s a look at how to use it and why it could become beneficial in your life.Keep your iPhone usage under control
The Screen Time tool allows you to keep track of the amount of time you spend on your devices each day. You can also use the tool to track your kids’ time online.
To use Screen Time to track and manage your device:
1) Go into the Settings app on your iOS device and tap on the Screen Time option.
On the main Screen Time page, you’ll notice three main sections. In the first, you’ll see a chart showing the amount of time you’ve spent on your device today and how. The second section includes tools you can use to customize and restrict your device usage. The final section is where you will find monitoring tools for your kids’ devices.
Let’s take a look at each of those sections.The Screen Time Chart
The chart on the Screen Time page offers a breakdown of how much time you’ve spent on all of your iOS device where the tool has been activated.
1) Tapping on the chart reveals further usage information, including:
The category of apps you’ve been using on your device the most, such as Gaming, Productivity, or Reading & Reference apps.
The longest amount of time you’ve spent on your device in one sitting.
The apps you’ve used the most by time or category.
The number of times you picked up your device today.
How many notifications you have received and by which apps.
Note: You can view Screen Time data for Today or for the Last 7 Days.
As you can see in the example below, iPhone usage across all devices today totaled one hour and 53 minutes. For the week, Screen Time totaled seven hours, 38 minutes. At the bottom, you can see a breakdown of the time spent by category.
The most used categories apps or websites were Settings, Safari, and the LongScreen app.
Meanwhile, pickups totaled 16 per hour, or 194 during the day, while notifications numbered 752, or around 63 per hour. (Yes, this is a lot of iPhone usage.)Customization and Restrictions
On the next section of the Screen Time page, you’ll see four settings: Downtime, App Limits, Always Allowed, and Content & Privacy Restrictions.Downtime
During Downtime, calls, messages, and other apps you want to allow can still be used. Everything else, including notifications, will be turned off. Ideally, think of your Downtime schedule as the time you plan on being in bed each night.
2) Once you activate Downtime, you’ll be asked to create a Start and End time.
In the example below, the Downtime is between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.App Limits
Next, you’ll see the App Limits page. From here, you can set daily time limits for apps and categories you want to manage. After the limit has been reached, your permission will be required to allow more time.
1) To get started, tap App Limits from the main Screen Time page. Next, select Add Limit.
In the example above, the Entertainment and Social Networking categories are limited to two hours of use per day.Always Allowed
Under Always Allow, you’ll find a list of the apps that you want available even during Downtime. By default, the allowed apps are Phone, Messages, and FaceTime.
In the above example, the apps 1Blocker and Activity were added to Allowed Apps while FaceTime was deleted.Content & Privacy Restrictions
Finally, you’ll see the Content & Privacy area. In this section, you can restrict explicit and mature content in the iTunes and App Stores, Music, and websites.One final note
Obviously, you don’t have to use Screen Time. Nonetheless, it’s an eye-opening experience that might make you think twice before picking up your iPhone yet again today. Seeing your iPhone usage each day might be just enough of a push for you to consider cutting back. And isn’t that’s the point?
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