The Apple Pips

Inside All Apple Products

Author: imore (Page 2 of 1319)

Best USB-C Hubs for MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro (Late 2016 and newer) sports at least two, and up to four Thunderbolt 3 ports, but that's all. What to do if you need other ports? Get a hub!

If you made the jump to the 2016 or newer MacBook Pro, you might be wishing for some of those missing port options (especially USB-A). If you're in need of something more powerful than just a way to connect your iPhone to your Mac — if you want to connect two Thunderbolt supported display screens to your MacBook Pro, for example — here's a list of the tip-top hubs (or docks, if you prefer).

If you're just looking for a USB-A, HDMI, or Lightning adapter, check out our list of best adapters.

Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Dock

I've been using Elgato's updated Thunderbolt 3 Dock since it first came out and it's been absolutely fantastic when I need a variety of ports to connect to my 13-inch MacBook Pro. It's got two USB-C ports that transfer data up to 40GB per second, three USB-A 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a DisplayPort port. It charges your MacBook Pro with up to 85 watts and is capable of charging multiple devices, even when not connected to a computer, at up to 15 watts.

It also has a 3.5mm microphone and 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can connect your podcasting gear, right to your MacBook Pro.

The DisplayPort supports a single 5K display up to 60 Hz, or you can connect two 4K displays (one via DisplayPort and one via USB-C) up to 60 Hz.

At about $300, Elgato's powerful USB-C hub is a solid investment if you use multiple displays, need ultra-fast data transfer, and like the idea of charging your devices without having to connect anything to your computer.

See at Amazon

CalDigit TS3

CalDigit's TS3 is a powerful Thunderbolt 3 dock that has everything you could ever want in a MacBook Pro hub, and then some. It features three USB-A ports, two USB-C ports a DisplayPort port, and an HDMI port. It has super fast charging with 2.1A for juicing up your iPhone and iPad at the same time. It also works with Apple's SuperDrive.

The thing that makes CalDigit's TS3 stand out is that two of those USB ports are eSATA ports, which can be used to connect external hard drives, storage boxes, and more.

The Wirecutter considers it the number one choice for Thunderbolt 3 docks.

CalDigit's TS3 is the best Thunderbolt 3 dock for most people because it has a similar set of ports as the competition, but it's the most compact model available—meaning it takes up less room on your desk, especially if you stand it on its end.

Oh yeah, did I mention it can be set up on its side, so you can tuck it in with your sci-fi books on the shelf if you want to keep it out of sight?

The TS3 will cost you about $300, with a slight increase in price if you want a longer cable. If you need an eSATA port (or two), this is currently the only Thunderbolt 3 supported hub with any.

See at B&H

Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD

Belkin is a tried-and-true Apple accessory maker. iMore's Rene Ritchie recently described the company as being what Apple would be if it were an accessory maker. The Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD fits that to a T. It features two Thunderbolt 3 ports with up to 40GB per second of speed, two USB-A 3.0 ports, a DisplayPort port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It is capable of up to 85 watts of power so you can juice up your 15-inch MacBook Pro and 15 watts of device charging for your iPhone and iPad. The DisplayPort port and USB-C port make it possible to connect two 4K displays for a yowza of an experience.

It's the smallest on this list and technically could stand upright, though the tiny size might make it topple over when you plug in all those peripherals. It comes with a 3.3-foot cable and costs about $340.

See at Amazon

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock

This bad boy sports 13, count 'em, 13 ports, including the coveted SD card reader, which most Thunderbolt 3 docks do not have. It has five USB-A 3.1 ports, an Optical audio out port, a FireWire 800 port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a mini DisplayPort port. It also has a 3.5mm jack for headphones or a microphone.

With the FireWire 800, you can hook up your ancient, but still useful, devices. Thanks to the mini DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 ports, you can also hook up one 5K display or two 4K displays.

If you're still kicking around a FireWire-connected Mac, miss having an SD card reader, and still find yourself using five USB-A accessories at the same time, you need OWC's Thunderbolt 3 dock at $300.

See at Amazon

Lenovo USB-C Hub

If you're looking at this list and choking on your LaCroix at the hefty price tags you're seeing on these USB-C hubs, it's probably because you don't need the powerful extras that come with the professional-grade docks mentioned here. If you're just looking for something to expand your port options for connection and charging, Lenovo makes a fantastic low-cost hub (about $65). This is not a Thunderbolt 3 supported hub, but it will connect and work with your 2016 or later MacBook Pro, just in a slightly limited capacity. You can charge your devices with the USB-A 3.0 ports, connect storage cards with the SD and microSD card slots, and hook up your 4K television with the HDMI port. It's not going to give you super fast data transfer, and it's not going to charge your MacBook Pro while you work, but it is going to connect things you need so you can expand your accessory options.

If you don't need to connect two 4K displays, don't need 40GB per second of data transfer, and don't want something that will fast-charge your 15-inch MacBook Pro while you work, the Lenovo USB-C hub is more up your alley. It's much less expensive and works great for simple connections.

See at Amazon

Any others?

Thunderbolt 3 is fairly new, and that means third-party accessory makers are still working on their products. Do you have a favorite Thunderbolt 3 supported USB-C hub? Let us know in the comments and we'll check them out.

Apple Watch Series 3 Space Gray Ceramic Edition Review

With Series 3, Apple has brought a brand new finish to its Ceramic Edition — Space Gray.

Last year, Apple Watch transitioned its Edition line from 18K yellow and rose gold to white ceramic. That took it from tens of thousands of dollars down to $1,299 for 38mm and $1,349 for 42mm. Still more than an iPhone X but much, much less than most ceramic watches.

Even though mechanical and computational watches have completely different value propositions, it does keep Apple Watch Edition at the very top end of Apple's offerings. In essence, it's for people who want an Apple Watch but also want it in ceramic.

And this year, with Apple Watch Series 3, it's also for people who want it in space gray ceramic.

I had the Apple Watch Edition Series 2 in white ceramic and adored it. Now I have Apple Watch Edition Series 3 in the new space gray ceramic, and I've been wearing it since it launched and pairing it with as many bands as I could get my hands on.

Here's how it's been working — and looking.

See at Best Buy

Apple Watch Series 3 Edition Box

Apple has cut down on the packaging used for Watch, including ditching the inner plastic box for stainless steel models. Not so with Edition. All the bells, whistles, and the inner plastic box are still in place. That includes the watch itself, the gray sport band, the magnetic charger, the AC adapter, and the charging dock.

Swipe to unbox. ⌚️▶️ #applewatch #edition #series3

A post shared by Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie) on

I love that Apple includes the charging dock. You're paying a premium for the Edition and including it makes you feel like you're getting a premium experience for your money.

There have been rumors of an iPhone Edition for some time and it's hard not to imagine what such a product, including a charging dock and perhaps AirPods, would be like.

Probably very much like this.

Apple Watch Series 3 Edition Casing

Apple Watch Edition Series 3 is almost identical in size and shape to Apple Watch Edition Series 2. The only difference, like with the other Apple Watch Series 3 lines, is an imperceptible increase in the depth of the sensor array at the bottom, roughly equivalent to the thickness of 2 sheets of paper. Given that Series 3 contains a more powerful processor, optional LTE networking, and maintains the same battery life, that's damn near miraculous.

Nothing has changed as far as the ceramics itself. Apple still uses a high-strength zirconia powder combined with alumina to produce the original white and now the new space gray colors. It's compression molded and sintered with pressure and heat to turn the powder into a solid without liquefying it. That solid is then polished with a diamond "slurry" that makes it smooth and shiny. And it still takes days to make each ceramic case.

The space gray ceramic looks different than both the space gray aluminum and the space black stainless steel. It's not as dark as the space black and it's not as metallic as the aluminum. It's got a tone and a sheen all its own. The only way I can describe it is "stealth".

It's also got the red dot on the crown that identifies it as Series 3 with cellular networking. I'm not a huge fan of the dot. I know a lot of higher-end watches have a red-capped crown, including some by Apple designer and Jony Ive collaborator, Marc Newson, but it stands out to me a little too much.

I'm sure some people will appreciate broadcasting that they have a Series 3 to anyone who happens to see it or knows to look, and it's by no means overpowering, I'd simply prefer something that crowns a little more... casually.

As to the cellular connectivity itself, I really dig it. I've left my iPhone at home and gone out for walks around town and extended hikes. I've even gone out for the day a couple times with just my Apple Watch Series 3 and AirPods, and it's been much better than I expected.

It does take a while after you leave iPhone range for cellular to kick in, and you have to leave your iPhone on and connected to maintain SMS relay capability. (That's why sliding your iPhone into Airplane Mode to test Watch connectivity will produce inconsistent results.) But, overall, I haven't had any issues.

Even in the middle of a nature preserve, I was able to take and make calls and respond to messages. Voice quality was as good as my phone, at least according to the people I was talking to. And that's remarkable given how small the mic is and how far away it is when you keep your arms down and don't bring it in Dick Tracey style.

It's even better with AirPods. It's almost like Apple new Series 3 was on the horizon when they released the tiny, sensor-filled, fully wireless headphones. With an Apple Watch Series 3 on your wrist and an AirPod in your ear (I prefer to use one at a time when I'm out and about), you feel like you're living in the future. It's like (audio) augmented reality.

During my tests, messages also came in and went out well. I often send emoji responses, but even using Scribble was great for short replies.

Apple Music support is coming soon, which is great. I prefer to listen to audiobooks and podcasts, though, so I really hope Apple adds support for those as well.

For many reasons, including display size, it's still isn't the same as having your iPhone with you, of course. Critically, there's no way to access the web. But it's not meant to be an iPhone replacement. At least not yet. (The future is always coming but it takes its sweet time arriving.) It's meant to an Apple Watch that lets you leave your iPhone at home when you're out exercising or having fun and don't want your iPhone with you.

Apple Watch Series 3 + watchOS 4

For more on Apple Watch Series 3 and watchOS 4, check out Serenity Caldwell's in-depth reviews:

Apple Watch Series 3 Edition watchOS 4

There's nothing unique to watchOS 4 on the ceramic Apple Watch Edition. Nothing like the custom watch face Hermès enjoys, at least. It would be great if Apple had a set of Edition faces but, for the second year in a row, the only difference on the inside is the material of the outside.

With watchOS 2 and watchOS 3, Apple course-corrected. The company simplified navigation and focus, buried less successful features, and doubled and then tripled down on health and fitness. watchOS 4 continues that focus but it revists some of the navigation. Namely, the digital crown is back.

There are new watch faces, including Disney's Toy Story, a fun kaleidoscope, and explorer, which is only available on cellular models. I like the look of cellular and have been using it a lot. It's like utility, only beefier.

There's also a Siri watch face that tries to predict and show useful information in an easy-to-scroll form. I love the idea but the implementation hasn't clicked for me yet. I don't think I use my Apple Watch in a way that fits with it. My ideal implementation of prescience on Apple Watch would be a standard face where the complications change to fit the needs of the moment.

I'm still wishing for more complications on the photo face as well. Absent custom faces, it's all I really need to get my creativity on.

And there are other things I continue missing as well. That I can't dictate into the Notes app through my Apple Watch yet is frustrating. That I can't stream podcasts or audiobooks, likewise. It's great that Apple Music is coming but music is the type of audio I listen to the least.

Carousel, the honeycomb Home screen of the original watchOS is still here but you can switch it out now for a more verbose list of apps. It lets you quickly scroll through everything on your Apple Watch until you spot what you want.

I still find the idea of apps on Apple Watch almost anachronistic and think the future will be less bundled binaries and more discrete features that pop up when and as needed. Let extensions be extensions, so to speak. Every year we seem to get half a diagonal step closer to that.

It's not just app selection that benefits from a new, digital crown-friendly vertical scroll either. The fast app switcher has itself been switched from horizontal to vertical. Wherever it makes sense, Apple has transitioned from horizontal swipes to vertical scrolls. It's authentic to the controls and to the concept of Watch. And I love it.

I also love that the new S3 system-in-package, the brains of Apple Watch Series 3, is powerful enough to give Siri not just a voice but much, much better responsiveness. It's great to hear Siri talk on the Watch, at least most of the time. (Once in a while you get such looks from bystanders...). It's even better to hear Siri talk so quickly after you ask something.

There's also enough smarts in the S3 to provide for enough machine learning that the "coaching" system is significantly better. Instead of mindless reminders to stand ten minutes before every hour, you now get told only when you need to be told, and you also get extra encouragement when you need it as well. That includes props for being ahead of the curve on filling your rings, and a gentle, wrist-mounted ass kicking when you're behind. It's so great.

So are the new heart rate features, including and especially the ones designed to detect abnormal spikes. Apple may well have aspirations in health devices and services far beyond what we've seen to date, but the company is delivering real, beneficial, in some cases life-saving technology through Apple Watch. And it's doing it today.

There's so much more to cover, make sure you read Serenity's complete watchOS 4 review.

Apple Watch Series 3 Edition Bands

Watch bands are the fastest way Apple has ever figured out to separate me from money. Every spring and every fall we get new collections with new colors and, once a year, we get new styles as well. I've learned to buy the ones I like on sight, since they often sell out and don't ever come back into stock. That also means some of the bands here are no longer available at retail, though similar colors might be. I'm including a wide assortment, though, so you can get a good idea of how the gray ceramic pairs with different colors and shades.

It's similar to the challenge I had pairing the space black steel Apple Watch. Where white, like stainless steel, can go with almost everything, gray is even fussier than black.

The gray sports band that comes with the space gray ceramic is perfectly serviceable. On some level I get why Apple includes sport bands with the ceramics — they're easy to color match and they're water resistant if you want to go for a swim or surf. But they lack panache, especially compared to the Hermès leather included in the other high-end lines. (Which also, by the way, come with an orange sport band for aquatic use.)

I'd still love a ceramic link bracelet, ideally with a single deployment, but the price point would almost certainly be high enough that it wouldn't come in the box. Maybe some custom Apple leather then, and with matching ceramic lugs.

The gray ceramic looks fine with many of the other sport band colors. My favorite is the (Product) Red, which really sets off the red crown. I prefer the Nike variants, though. The anthracite and bone and other gray-tones all look good. The colors, if you managed to get your hands on them while they were available, really pop.

The Apple Pride woven nylon still looks great with any watch, the gray ceramic Edition included. The red lugs complement the red crown on the cellular models nicely but the colors are so vibrant you barely notice anyway. For a more subdued look, the new pearl color provides for some nice contrast. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, but I suspect the dark olive would also work well.

I've had a lot of fun with the loops. The new sports loop with its velcro-like closure has an almost pajama vibe to it. It's incredibly comfortable and adjustable. The black version looks classy enough, though, that it can go from a day in the gym to a night on the town with no problem at all.

It's a little darker than the ceramic but the variegated flecks in the weave lighten it enough that it really works. Same with the space black Milanese loop. That combo is one of my favorites.

The leather loops are also good, especially because the lugs are unified. There's a new charcoal gray color I haven't had the chance to pick up yet, but the old black and white both work well. (And yeah, the ripped look is still all off-world excellent.)

I have several of the Apple Classic Leather buckles but it's the Hermès leathers that remain my Kryptonite. The cuff remains one of my all-time favorites. I hope it returns to the lineup and in noir or a similarly dark shade next time. Likewise the single deployment. It has all the looks of the single tour but with the safety of a loop.

I like the way the single tour proper colors, including feu and sapphire, look as well. I might be fooling myself, but the stainless steel lug mismatch isn't quite as noticeable on the gray ceramic as it is the white or space black steel. I haven't tried the new burgundy single tour yet, but I don't think it would pop against the gray the way the feu does.

And yes, I've tried the space black steel link bracelet with the gray ceramic. How could I not? It was by far the first and most frequent request. It looks fine. It's a bit of a color and material mismatch, though, which is why I still hope Apple makes a ceramic link bracelet at some point.

Apple Watch Series 3 Edition Conclusion

When Apple Watch first launched it wasn't very independent. It was like a short-range shuttlecraft to starship iPhone. Now, three generations in, it has the LTE equivalent of warp nacelles and can venture ever further on its own. It's not a starship yet, but it's getting closer every year.

Edition has been especially interesting to follow because it started off so atypically. In 18K gold, it was something targeted at stars and jetsetters, grabbing attention from the fashion and watch industry but not the consumer market.

Reinvented, Edition is still a premium product. Beyond premium, perhaps. But back in the realm of affordable luxuriy that Apple targets so well.

The space gray ceramic Edition is a great addition to the line. It's every bit the miracle of materials and manufacturing the white ceramic version is, but far more understated. More stealth.

I personally prefer the white precisely because it is more flashy but you really can't go wrong with either. And, if you're going ceramic, it's terrific to have the choice.

See at Best Buy

How to take a screenshot on your Nintendo Switch

How do I take a screenshot on my Nintendo Switch? Your left Joy-Con has the answer!

You're roaming through the beautiful landscape of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and you come across a breath-taking scene what are you going to do? Take a screenshot of course!

Whether you take screen captures of your progress, cool game visuals, or even just to save an image for later, it's a great way to share some of your favorite in-game memories. I'll show you how to take all the screenshots you want and even how to manage them in your photo album on the Nintendo Switch menu; let's get started!

How to record and edit video gameplay on Nintendo Switch

As of OS version 4.0 on Nintendo Switch, you can also record, edit, and share video gameplay in some games. For now, it's only a few, but Nintendo promises that video gameplay recording will be supported on many more games in the future.

How to record and edit video gameplay on Nintendo Switch

How to take a screenshot on Nintendo Switch with the Joy-Con Controllers

The Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers have a dedicated screenshot button, which makes capturing a screenshot a one step process. The square button is located on the left Joy-Con and it's the closest to the bottom of the controller (see picture below).

Once you have pressed the button, you'll hear a camera shutter sound, and a notification in the top left corner of your screen will say "Capture Taken".

How to take a screenshot on Nintendo Switch with the Pro Controller

If you're a fan of the slightly larger and more conventional Pro Controller, you can still take screenshots by pressing one button. The square button is located just left of center on the Pro Controller right above the directional pad and underneath the "-" button (see picture below).

Just like with the Joy-Con Controllers, you'll hear a camera shutter sound and see the "Capture Taken" notification in the top left corner of the screen.

How to view your screenshots and videos on Nintendo Switch

All of your screenshots, whether they are saved to the system memory or a microSD card can all be found in the Album in the switch menu.

  1. Navigate to the Album button on your Home screen.
  2. Press the A button to open.

Here all your screenshots will be displayed.

How to filter your Album by videos or screenshots only

Now that you have two different types of media in your Album folder, you can filter the types to make it easier to find what you're looking for.

  1. Select the Album button on your Home screen on Nintendo Switch.
  2. Select Filter or press the Y button.
  3. Select which filter you want to use. You can filter media types by the following:
    • Screenshots Only
    • Videos Only
    • System Memory
    • microSD Card
    • Media from a specific game
    • Other (like system screenshots)

If you want to start your search over, you can clear the filter by selecting Clear Filter or pressing the B button.

How to copy a screenshot or video to a microSD card on Nintendo Switch

If you have a screenshot that was saved to your system memory that you would like to copy onto your microSD card, you can do so in the Album menu.

  1. Navigate to the Album button on your Home screen.
  2. Press the A button to open.
  3. Select the screenshot or videoyou want to copy.
  4. Press the A button to get to the Editing and Posting menu.
  5. Select Copy
  6. Select Copy again.
  7. Select OK.

You'll now have two copies of that particular screenshot or video — one on your system memory and one on your microSD card.

How to copy all screenshots and videos to a microSD card on Nintendo Switch

If you want to transfer all your screenshots from your system memory to your microSD card, you don't have to do it all one at a time! Hallelujah, you can do the all at once in the system settings!

  1. Navigate to the System Settings button on your Home screen.
  2. Press the A button to open.

  3. Select Data Management from the menu.

  4. Select Manage Save Data/Screenshots and Videos.

  5. Select Manage Screenshots and Videos.

  6. Select System Memory.

  7. Select Copy All Screenshots and Videos to microSD Card.

How to delete screenshots and videos on Nintendo Switch

Once you don't need a screenshot or video anymore, you can delete them at any time.

  1. Navigate to the Album button on your Home screen.
  2. Press the A button to open.

  3. Navigate to the screenshot or video you want to delete.

  4. Press the X button.

  5. Select all screenshots and videos you want to delete.

  6. Select Delete.

How to delete all screenshots and videos from the system memory on Nintendo Switch

If you want to delete all your screenshots from your system memory, you don't have to do it all one at a time! Hallelujah, you can do the all at once in the system settings!

  1. Navigate to the System Settings button on your Home screen.
  2. Press the A button to open.

  3. Select Data Management from the menu.

  4. Select Manage Save Data/Screenshots and Videos.

  5. Select Manage Screenshots and Videos.

  6. Select System Memory.

  7. Select Delete All Screenshots and Videos From System Memory.

How to delete all screenshots and videos from a microSD card on Nintendo Switch

If you want to delete all your screenshots and videos from your microSD card, you don't have to do it all one at a time! Hallelujah, you can do the all at once in the system settings!

  1. Navigate to the System Settings button on your Home screen.
  2. Press the A button to open.

  3. Select Data Management from the menu.

  4. Select Manage Save Data/Screenshots and Videos.

  5. Select Manage Screenshots and Videos.

  6. Select MicroSD Card.

  7. Select Delete All Screenshots and Videos From microSd Card.

Need to know anything else about screenshots or videos?

Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions!

Updated October 2017: Updated to reflect video recording and editing steps available in OS version 4.0.

How to save attachments in Mail for iPhone and iPad

You can save your email attachments to iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and more!

You receive an email with a file attached to it, maybe a spreadsheet or presentation, a PDF or plain text. You don't just want to open it in an app, though. You want to save it somewhere you can remember and get to whenever you need to, and from any of your devices. That's where attachment saving comes in. With it, you can save any attachment you receive to any online storage service you use, including iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive. Then, you can access whenever you want, from wherever you want.

How to save email attachments to iCloud on iPhone and iPad

Saving email attachments to iCloud Drive is easy because iCloud built right into iOS.

  1. Launch Mail from your Home screen.
  2. Tap the email that contains the attachment.
  3. Hard press on the attachment to bring up the Share sheet. If you don't have a device with 3D Touch, then long press on the attachment.
  4. Tap the share sheet button on the bottom left of the page. It's a square with an upward arrow.
  5. Tap on Save to Files.

  6. Tap iCloud Drive to save to iCloud Drive or tap On My iPhone to save it directly to your phone.
  7. Tap a folder.
  8. Tap Add on the top right of your screen.

How to save email attachments to Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive or enterprise storage on iPhone or iPad

Thanks to document provider extensions, though, you can also save to Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and other storage services.

To save attachments to you storage provider, you first have to download the host app from the App Store.

Once you've downloaded the app, launch it and log into your account. Then you can start saving away. How you do it can vary by provider, however.

  1. Launch Mail from your Home screen.
  2. Open the email that contains the attachment.
  3. Long press on the attachment to bring up the Share sheet.
  4. Tap on your storage provider, if they have a custom saving extension. For example, tap Save to Dropbox.

    1. Tap Save to save the file to the top level.
    2. Or, tap Choose a Different Folder to select a a sub-directory for the file, and then tap Save.

  5. Tap Save Attachment if your storage provider doesn't have their own saving extension. For example, Google Docs.

    1. Tap Locations,
    2. Tap on your storage provider, For example, Google Drive.
    3. Choose your account, if prompted.
    4. Tap on the folder you want to save the file into, if it's not at the top level.
    5. Tap Save Here or whatever language your storage provider uses.

Yeah, it's messier. Dropbox is using a custom extension to provide a faster, better experience, while Google Drive and others are simply letting iOS link in.

Either way, once you get used to how your storage provider works, it's relatively simple and fast to do.

Not sure how to add attachments? Find out here!


Let us know in the comments below!

Updated October 2017: Updated steps and screenshots for iOS 11.

Best third-party music player apps for iPhone

What's the best third-party music player for iPhone? Control your tunes with these gems!

If you yearn for the days when the iOS Music app was just the Music app and not just a vehicle for Apple Music, you're not alone. Sadly, you just can't get that experience anymore with the native app. That being said, all is not lost, since you can still download some awesome third-party apps to control your tuneage.


If you're looking for the classic Music app feel, then Cesium should be your go-to. It's just like you're used to, with a very pleasant interface and everything where you think it should be — it just makes sense.

All the buttons are laid out nicely and the Now Playing screen is elegant. All you have to do is allow the app to access your Music Library and all of your music, including stuff you download from iTunes, is there, just like using the iOS app.

If you want an experience that's as close to the way iOS used to be as possible, then Cesium's your bag, baby.

Listen: The Gesture Music Player

Listen is a cool app. You control your music library with gestures. Two-finger swipes let you control volume and scrub through tracks, while taps and single-finger gestures let you switch tracks, share them with friends, play and pause, and more.

The Now Playing screen is minimalist and gorgeous, and searching through your tunes is well-laid out and simple. If you're a tap-happy individual, then this may not be the app for you, since there's a lot you can do with just a tap and drag, but if you like a smooth interface where all your actions flow, then give Listen a try.

The free version is great, but if you want premium features, like curated radio stations, then you'll have to pay.


Ecoute is perfect if you like more of a bare-bones music experience on your iPhone. If you can't be bothered to share your tunes or connect via social media and all you want to do is listen to your music, then this is the app for you. I mean, you totally can share what you're listening to via Facebook and Twitter, but it's not in your face. It sports a very clean interface and lets you filter your music seven ways, so that you can listen to exactly what you want in the moment. You can even listen exclusively to stuff you've purchased from iTunes.

Ecoute synchronizes your playback numbers and last played dates, so your stats are never skewed and remain the same across devices. You can also view your queue and move songs around and remove them to your liking, even when shuffle is on. It's perfect for picky listeners!


Stezza is for folks who like a simple layout without much fuss. You can customize the background color and some buttons, but that's about it. The home interface is broken up into panes, so you can see what's playing now, play/pause, skip tracks, turn shuffle on and off, and more. You can even AirPlay all of your tunes, including those purchased from iTunes.

You can tweet and share what you're listening to on Instagram and view movies and TV shows as well. If you like a pared-down interface that's simple and obvious, then definitely give Stezza a try. It's all about being quick and easy.


SoundShare is all about community, so if you love your tunes and want to let everyone else know what you love, while also discovering new music, then this one's for you! You have to create a free account, and then you can connect with users from all over the world, finding out their tastes, while sharing your own.

The interface does take some getting used to, but once you have your bearings, it's easy to share your music or check out streaming services, like Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer. You can see and play everything your SoundShare friends listen to, and you can even like and comment on songs. It's basically like Instagram for music. If you hate those people who try and recommend music all the time, then stay away, but if you are one of those people, then rejoice — you have a platform just for you!

SoundShare just got a facelift, and while it's a little broken for now, future updates will likely fix all the bugs.

What's your favorite?

Do you have a favorite third-party music player/manager? Let us know in the comments below!

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