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Game

How To Change Your Default Apps On Android Phones

But what if you don’t have a certain app installed on your phone? For example, if someone sends you a Play Store link for a cool chess game. Tapping on the link takes you to the Play Store listing of an application that supports the Instant App feature. In a nutshell, an Instant App is a condensed web-based version of an app that lets you get a brief taste of it without having to download and install it. Not all Android applications support the Instant App system, and it is up to the developers to offer the convenience. A

For applications that support the Instant app functionality, there’s an option to specify the default link opening behavior — open the Play Store in a link in a browser, or directly launch the Instant app version in the Play Store. To do so, follow the steps below:

1. In the Settings app, head over to the Apps section.

2. Scroll down and open the Default apps section, and then select the Opening links option at the bottom.

3. On the next page, select Instant Apps preferences and then enable the toggle that says Upgrade web links.

4. Once enabled, users will be able to directly access the Instant Play option for eligible apps, as is depicted in the image above.

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Computing

Microsoft Backpedals On Default Browsers in Windows 11

Many people have been complaining about difficulty of changing the default browser in Windows 11, but it seems that Microsoft is finally taking note.

The latest Windows 11 Insider build contains fixes that make it much easier to do with just a single button press.

In its current form, changing your default browser in Windows 11 requires a lot of workarounds. The fix is said to bring it back to what it used to be in Windows 10.

The fix was found by several Windows Insider users in the 22509 build that was released recently. User @WithinRafael on Twitter posted screenshots that show the new functionality, giving a hint as to what will most likely make it into an upcoming Windows update.

In the current Insider preview build, users are able to navigate to the Default Apps section in Windows 11. This allows them to easily change the default browser to their app of choice by simply clicking Set default. Microsoft confirmed this change.

“In the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509 released to the Dev Channel on Wednesday, we streamlined the ability for a Windows Insider to set the default browser to apps that register for HTTP:, HTTPS:, .HTM, and .HTML,” Aaron Woodman, vice president of Windows Marketing, told The Verge.

This means that the new fix doesn’t apply to, among others, .PDF files — those will still have to be adjusted by hand. Otherwise, they will continue to default to Microsoft Edge when opened. This is a much-needed change, and although it may seem obvious, it isn’t how the feature currently works in Windows 11. Right now, users who want to switch away from Edge need to individually change default apps for every file format.

Windows build 22509 has a new browser [Set default] button. 👀 pic.twitter.com/kRDFPKfJMv

— Rafael Rivera (@WithinRafael) December 1, 2021

The Windows 11 user base was not pleased with the way setting the default browser worked in Microsoft’s latest operating system. New apps popped up, such as EdgeDeflector, which made it easier to switch away from Edge. However, Microsoft recently blocked the app, so the new Insider update has come at the perfect time. While there are still some file types left to include in the new patch, it seems that Microsoft has budged and is taking steps in the right direction, and that’s always good to see.

The software giant has been making attempts at improving Microsoft Edge and attracting new users. Just recently, Microsoft added a new game-improving functionality to Edge, along with a new feature that lets users search through multiple tabs at once. While the new Chromium-based Edge fares better than its old version, it’s still nowhere near beating Google Chrome.

Editors’ Choice




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Security

Check your permissions: default settings in Microsoft tool exposes 38 million user records online

Default permissions settings in an app-building tool from Microsoft have been blamed for exposing the data of 38 million people online. Information including names, email addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, and COVID-19 vaccination appointments was inadvertently made publicly accessible by 47 different companies and government entities using Microsoft’s Power Apps platform. There’s no evidence of the data being exploited, though, and the underlying issue has now been fixed by Microsoft.

The problem was originally discovered in May by security research team UpGuard. In a recent blog post from UpGuard and report from Wired, the company explains how organizations using Power Apps created apps with improper data permissions.

“We found one of these [apps] that was misconfigured to expose data and we thought, we’ve never heard of this, is this a one-off thing or is this a systemic issue?” UpGuard’s vice president of cyber research Greg Pollock told Wired. “Because of the way the Power Apps portals product works, it’s very easy to quickly do a survey. And we discovered there are tons of these exposed. It was wild.”

Power Apps allows companies to build simple apps and websites without formal coding experience. Organizations implicated in the breach — including Ford, American Airlines, J.B. Hunt, and state agencies in Maryland, New York City, and Indiana — were using the site to collect data for various purposes, including organizing vaccination efforts. Power Apps offers tools for quickly collating the sort of data needed in these projects, but, by default, leaves this information publicly accessible. This is the exposure UpGuard discovered.

The mechanism of this particular ‘breach’ is interesting, as it blurs the line between what is a software vulnerability and what is merely poor choice in user interface design. UpGuard says Microsoft’s position is that this was not a vulnerability as it was users’ fault for not properly configuring the apps’ permissions. But, arguably, if you are making an app designed to be used by people with little coding experience, then making things as safe as possible by default would seem to be the smart move. As reported by Wired, Microsoft has now changed the default permissions settings responsible for the exposure.

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Security

Google is about to turn on two-factor authentication by default for millions of users

In May, Google announced plans to enable two-factor authentication (or two-step verification as it’s referring to the setup) by default to enable more security for many accounts. Now it’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and Google is once again reminding us of that plan, saying in a blog post that it will enable two-factor for 150 million more accounts by the end of this year.

In 2018, Google said that only 10 percent of its active accounts were using two-factor authentication. It has been pushing, prodding, and encouraging people to enable the setting ever since. Another prong of the effort will require more than 2 million YouTube creators to turn on two-factor authentication to protect their channels from takeover. Google says it has partnered with organizations to give away more than 10,000 hardware security keys every year. Its push for two-factor has made the technology readily available on your phone whether you use Android or iPhone.

A tool that also helps users keep their accounts secure is using a password manager, and Google now says that it checks over a billion passwords a day via its built-in manager for Chrome, Android, and the Google app. The password manager is also available on iOS, where Chrome can autofill logins for other apps. Google says that soon it will help you generate passwords for other apps, making things even more straightforward. Also coming soon is the ability to see all of your saved passwords directly from the Google app menu.

Last but not least, Google is highlighting its Inactive Account Manager. This is a set of decisions to make about what happens to your account if you decide to stop using it or are no longer around and able to make those decisions.

Google Inactive Account Manager

Google Inactive Account Manager
Image: Google

Google added the feature in 2013 so that you can set a timeout period for your account between three and 18 months of disuse before the Inactive Account Manager protocols take effect. Just in case you only switched accounts or forgot about your login, Google will send an email a month before the limit is up. At that point, you can choose to have your information deleted or have it forwarded to whatever trusted contacts you want to have handling things on your behalf. Google’s blog post notes that an inactive account led to the massive Colonial Pipeline attack earlier this year, and just for security’s sake, you probably don’t want your digital life simply hanging around unused for whatever hackers are bored in the future.



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Categories
Game

Fortnite 17.2 update adds new default setting, hints at event

This week the folks at Epic updated Fornite to version 17.20, complete with Preferred Item Slots. If you’re looking to use Preferred Item Slots, open settings, tap the Game tab, and bang! There it is. It is recommended that you take a peek at this feature before you drop in to your next game as it is ON BY DEFAULT.

For more information on this system, drop in to our recent peek at item slots for Fortnite. This might change the way you play the game. Not much else changed in this newest update in the LIVE game, but several bits leaked in a big way. For example the Grab-Itron weapon. This weapon works like a UFO Traction Beam, allowing you to pull in objects, pick them up, and toss them.

As shown above in a demo by Makks, the versatility of the Grab-Itron weapon is impressive. The size of the object grabbed and thrown and the material with which the object is made affect the damage dealt by the toss!

Now, if only the weapon would allow the user to collect more stuff and roll all of said stuff into a ball. Imagine a Fortnite where we’re living like Katamari Damacy, picking up items and making larger and larger balls, smashing everything that gets in the way of said balls. Wouldn’t that be neat? Or would that be a different game entirely? In any case, the Grab-Itron is in game files now, and will likely be launched in Fortnite in the imminent future.

There’ll also be a new in-game event in Fortnite, coming (hopefully) pretty soon. As harvested by iFireMonkey, new “Special Event Countdown” imagery appeared in the game’s most recent update files. You’ll see one of those new graphics in the hero image in the article you’re reading now! Cross your fingers for an event that’s both wild and exciting!



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Categories
Computing

Microsoft Edge Version 92 to Stop Autoplay Videos By Default

Ever go to a webpage in Microsoft Edge only to have a video start playing in the background without your permission? Microsoft has heard those pains, and starting in Edge version 92, will change a settings toggle by default so that by default, you’ll no longer be annoyed.

The news is highlighted in the Microsoft 365 roadmap, as pointed out by TechRadar. In that road map, Microsoft mentions that Edge version 92 will help you keep your focus online by changing the default for auto-playing media to “Limit” from “Allow.” The page also mentions that the feature is rolling out now, so if you’re in the Beta or Dev and Canary beta channels and beta testing preview versions of the browser, you might already be seeing this change applied.

Although this setting will change by default in Edge version 92, you can still change the toggle on other versions of the browser (including the current version 91) manually right now. Just search for Media on Edge’s settings page, and then clicking the Media autoplay button at the bottom of the page. There will then be a drop-down box for Limit.

Google Chrome has had this setting option since 2018.  As Microsoft Edge is based on the same code as Google Chrome, it’s no surprise to see this setting option land in version 92.

This is just one of many features that have rolled out to Microsoft Edge since its initial release in early 2020. Microsoft has also added other features such as a new Kids Mode, vertical tabs, Collections, and even Windows 11 design elements. Even the performance has improved, with Microsoft introducing features like Sleeping Tabs, and Startup boost, designed to help the browser run faster and more efficiently — but also save memory.

And it’s all working in Microsoft’s favor. The old version of Microsoft Edge struggled with performance, was linked to Windows 10 featured updates, and had fallen behind with features when compared to Google Chrome. The new version of Microsoft Edge, however, has pushed forward, surpassing Firefox as the second most popular web browser in the world. It’s now on the same release cycle as Chrome and always seeing big improvements.

Editors’ Choice




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Tech News

Google Auto-Delete now default for all new accounts

Google’s Sundar Pichai today suggested that the company “keeps more users safe by blocking malware, phishing attempts, spam messages, and potential cyber attacks than anyone else in the world.” Pichai said that Google is focused on minimization, and that this focus pushes the company to “do more with less data.” The most important point here, for this focus, is “Auto-delete.”

All new Google accounts work with auto-delete by default. This is new. Two years ago at Google I/O 2019, Google introduced auto-delete as a feature that users could turn ON if they wished. With auto-delete, Google activity and history tracking in all Google services and apps could be deleted after a given amount of time.

With Google’s auto-delete feature, all activity data is automatically and continuously deleted. Per Pichai, “we have since made auto-delete the default for all new Google accounts.” Now, after 18 months, all user activity data is automatically deleted from Google accounts.

The auto-delete feature is now active for over 2-billion accounts, according to Pichai at Google I/O 2021. Pichai suggested this week that “all of our products are guided by three important principals.” Those are Secure by default, Private by design, and “You’re in control.” Stay tuned as we learn more about what this means to Google products at Google I/O 2021.

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Tech News

Microsoft teases Word’s next default font — so we got a designer to weigh in

Big, terrifying changes are afoot: there’s going to be a new default font in Microsoft Word. Please, don’t panic. You can riot, sure, but no panicking.

This decision was announced on Microsoft’s blog. In the piece, the company explains that it has commissioned five different fonts that could potentially replace the current default, Calibri.

The piece itself provides a balanced view of all these different options, going into an admirable amount of depth about why they may be suitable to become Microsoft Word’s next default font.

Unfortunately though, we didn’t see this news on the blog. Instead, we saw it on that bastion of rational discussion, Twitter. Have a look:

Is a social network famous for being one of the most toxic environments on the internet the best place to engage in dialogue about a default font? Yes. Definitely. Why bother even asking that?

Anyway, we decided to ask TNW’s VP of Design, Alexander Griffioen, to wade in with his opinions.

But in order to keep the spirit of Microsoft’s social media post alive, we only showed him the image below and asked him to provide only Tweet-length comments. We’re nothing but precise and fair.

Categories
Tech News

Siri won’t set your music default in iOS 14.5 – it’s more complicated than that

Apple is not allowing iPhone users to set their music service of choice, despite suggestions of that from the iOS 14.5 beta, dashing hopes that Spotify, TIDAL, and others might be given equal footing with Apple Music. It wasn’t long after the iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 betas were released in February before people started noticing that Siri was expressing more interest in their music service preferences.

Rather than simply playing a requested track, Siri would instead ask which music service they’d like to use in order to do that. It led to assumptions that – much as Apple already did with browser and email preferences, allowing users to switch the default away from Safari and Apple Mail – iPhones and iPads were getting more friendly for third-party music services.

Adding some mystery, the feature disappeared with the release of beta 2. Apple then restored it in beta 3. However it has also clarified just what is going on in the background, and how it’s not quite what people thought.

The reality, Apple told TechCrunch, is that the situation is more complex than that – and a little less flexible, sadly. Neither iOS nor iPadOS actually have a “default music service” option, the company pointed out. Instead, when Siri asks about music service preferences, it’s all to better educate the assistant itself about which way your allegiances lie.

For instance, if you ask to play music, and then clarify with Siri that you mean through Spotify, the assistant could automatically default to that for future music requests. However if you ask for a podcast, or a streaming radio station, Siri could seek further clarification. That way, the assistant can figure out which platform you prefer for each.

Users can still request a specific service by naming it – “play Dire Straits on Spotify,” for example, or “play acid jazz radio on Pandora” – though that can also shape how Siri responds in future. If you’ve been asking for a different service than the one you earlier said you preferred, Siri might ask for clarification later on, Apple explained.

In the background, APIs for developers integrating with Siri will apparently be able to add further context for the assistant. For example, it could potentially allow a streaming radio service to flag that specific functionality, so that in future Siri can make a more educated choice when it comes to how a request is fulfilled.

If you’re in the habit of using voice primarily for the way you summon music and other audio, the change in iOS 14.5 may in effect be about the equivalent of being able to set a default music service or app in the iPhone’s settings. Links to music are much less common than, say, links to open a new email or webpage, where defaults for those apps make a lot more sense.

Nonetheless, there’s no telling quite how long it will take Siri overall to figure out your preferences, and the nuances of how the assistant will build on that understanding over time could prove confusing if users are asked on multiple occasions what service they’d like to use. Meanwhile, the system could also be removed altogether – as it was in beta 2 – before iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 graduate to public releases later in the year.

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Tech News

Siri will soon allow you to set a default music service on your iPhone

When you ask Siri to play music on your iPhone, by default your phone starts streaming it through Apple Music. However, that is about to change with the upcoming iOS 14.5 update.

As noted by sleuths on Reddit, once you install the update, Siri will ask you for a default music service to choose when you request a song.

Credit: Reddit