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Game

Razer’s Kishi gamepad for iOS is cheaper than ever right now

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If you’ve been looking for a better way to play games on your phone than relying on touch controls, an external controller is what you need. The is a solid dedicated gamepad option and the iOS version has dropped to an all-time low price on Amazon. It’s , which is $45 off the regular price. The USB-C Android version, meanwhile, .

Buy Razer Kishi (iOS) at Amazon – $55

The controller has a wired connection to your device, meaning that you won’t need to charge it. That will also result in lower latency compared with a gamepad that’s connected via Bluetooth. There is a Lightning port, but that’s only for passthrough charging. You won’t be able to use wired headphones (rival has a 3.5mm headphone jack, however).

Along with and other native iOS games, the Kishi is compatible with cloud gaming services like Google Stadia, GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming. You can also use it to play Xbox or PlayStation consoles using remote play apps.

The controller is compact when not in use, which makes it easy to keep in your bag. To use it, you’ll need to unclip a rear panel. A belt holds the two halves together and it stretches to accommodate various phone sizes. You’ll likely need to remove your phone’s case before using the Kishi, since it needs to be plugged into the Lightning port.

The Kishi does the trick for on-the-go use, though some may find the stubby analog sticks and other design choices a little uncomfortable for long gameplay sessions. The iOS version of the gamepad has been heavily discounted ahead of the Kishi V2, a new version of the controller that’s expected to arrive later this year.

Razer of the Kishi V2 this month. It has a solid sliding bridge rather than the stretchy belt (an idea Razer seems to have cribbed from Backbone), clickier buttons and the option to keep certain cases on while using the device. There’s also a share button that only works with the Razer Nexus app on Android. Players can use that to stream gameplay to the likes of YouTube and Facebook.

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Security

Microsoft Defender launches on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android

Microsoft is launching a new Defender cybersecurity app across Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android today. While the software giant has used the Defender moniker for its antivirus protection for years, this new cross-platform Microsoft Defender app is designed for individuals as more of a simplified dashboard that taps into existing antivirus software or offers additional device protections.

Microsoft Defender will be available for Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers today, and the features will vary by platform. On iOS and iPadOS, for example, there’s no antivirus protection, and the app offers some web phishing protections instead alongside a dashboard that includes alerts for other devices.

Over on Android, Microsoft Defender includes antivirus protection and the ability to scan for malicious apps. The app will also scan links to offer web phishing protection. Microsoft Defender on Windows acts more like a dashboard rather than attempting to replace the built-in Windows Security app. You can view your existing antivirus protection from Norton, McAfee, or other vendors and manage and view security protections across devices.

Microsoft Defender on iOS.
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft Defender also includes security alerts and tips across multiple devices, although the tips are only available on Windows and macOS.

The app feels like it will be superfluous for many, but it will be useful for those wanting to protect family members and multiple devices in a simple dashboard. Microsoft is promising that more features are on the way, too.

“The expansion of our security portfolio with Microsoft Defender for individuals is the natural and exciting progression in our journey as a security company,” says Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice president of Microsoft security. “This is just the start. As we look forward, we will continue to bring more protections together under a single dashboard, including features like identity theft protection and secure online connection.”

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Security

iOS 16 and macOS Ventura include Apple’s new Rapid Security Response

As part of today’s announcements at WWDC 2022, Apple briefly mentioned a new addition to its security tools that will apply to iPhone, iPad, and Mac platforms called Rapid Security Response. It didn’t go into a lot of detail about what Rapid Security Response is, but Apple is promising to have important security updates that get to your devices even faster. Currently, iOS and macOS users get their security updates rolled in with full system patches, usually with .1 or .0.1 version numbers, which can take quite some time for users to download and install.

Now, Apple says its Rapid Security Response updates include important security improvements that “can be applied automatically between standard software updates.” MacRumors reports that for users who’ve installed the iOS 16 developer beta, there’s a new toggle under the Automatic Updates section of settings for “Install System and Data Files” to apply new security configuration and system data files. It says that “some updates may only take effect once you restart your iPhone,” which suggests that some won’t require a reboot.

That’s the case on macOS Ventura, where Apple’s breakdown of the new features coming in version 13.0 includes the Rapid Security Response, however on this platform “This isn’t a standard software update. These improvements can be applied automatically between normal updates — without a restart.” The Verge has contacted Apple for more information about the new updates, and with beta testers already running the new software, we should know more about how they work soon.

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AI

Amazon gives Alexa a new iOS widget and the ability to assign reminders

Amazon has updated the Alexa app on iOS so that you can access the voice assistant right from your home screen via a new widget. Everyone can use the assistant to remind specific members of your household to do tasks through a new “assign reminders” skill.

Due to the somewhat restrictive nature of the widgets on iOS, the new Ask Alexa widget isn’t so much Alexa itself as it is a link directly to the iOS app. But if you have the Alexa widget placed on any of your screens and you’ve already given the Alexa app permission to use your iPhone’s mic, you’ll be able to start making requests with a tap.

The Ask Alexa widget in iOS.

And now those requests can get a bit more granular. Amazon’s given Alexa the ability to assign reminders to specific members of your household if they have an Alexa Profile set up on the same Amazon account. So if you say “Alexa, remind Jeff to take the lasagna out of the freezer at 10AM,” Alexa will be able to deliver the reminder to the right person, at the right time, provided they’re logged in to their Alexa app.

You can create an Alexa Profile (up to 10 per Amazon account) each time someone new logs in to the Alexa app for the first time. Amazon says you can assign relationship nicknames to each profile, like mom, dad, daughter, etc. Additional Voice Profiles can also be added in Settings, so Alexa can recognize who’s speaking and making reminders based on their voice.

Alexa picks up new features and skills on a monthly basis, but Amazon also announced plans in June to open up Alexa even further to third-party developers. Among many new APIs, developers will be able to create custom widgets for the Echo Show.

Update August 6th, 7:00PM ET: Added information from Amazon on creating Alexa Profiles.

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Game

‘Pokémon Go’ can now run on iOS at higher frame rates

Niantic has just rolled out updates for the Pokémon Go app, and one of the new features for iOS will let you run the game at higher frame rates. The Verge has discovered a new option that allows you “unlock your device’s native refresh rate for higher FPS.” It’s not explicitly stated in the app’s change log and probably falls under the “various quality-of-life improvements” the developer has listed. Also, the option is off by default, so you’ll have to find it in settings if you want to take advantage of your phone’s capabilities.

As the publication notes, Pokémon Go was previously capped at 30fps on iOS — players have had to employ workarounds to get their games to run at 60fps — but newer phones are capable of more frames per second than that. The iPhone 13 Pro, for instance, has a 120fps screen. The Verge says switching the feature on made a huge difference and made the game a lot more responsive. While Niantic may have been trying to cater to owners of the new iPhone, the option can also be accessed on its predecessors. It just may not work as well on hardware powered by older chips.

You can find the the feature in the game’s advanced settings, which will show “native refresh rate unlocked” when it’s switched on.

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Categories
Game

‘Rocket League Sideswipe’ rolls out globally on iOS and Android

After launching into pre-season earlier this month, the mobile game Rocket League Sideswipe is rolling out to iOS and Android users around the world, 9to5Mac has reported. The side-scrolling car soccer game was unveiled earlier this year as a mobile, 2D version of Rocket League that lets you play solo or team with friends for two vs. two matches.  

Like the original, Sideswipe is all about that car soccer life, but with a 2D side-on instead of a 3D view. It uses touch controls designed to be easy to master, with advanced control mechanics available for better players. Like the original, there’s a ranking system and numerous car customization options. 

As with the pre-season trailer, the official gameplay video brings a similar look and feels as the original but adapted for simpler mobile play. Logging in with an Epic Games account for online matches will let you earn extra XP across both the regular Rocket League game and Sideswipe. The game launched in pre-season in Oceania to shake out any bugs, but it’s now available to everyone for free on the iOS App Store and Google Play

Update 12/1/2021 11:14 AM ET: The article originally stated that Rocket League Sideswipe was free with in-app purchases, but there are no in-app purchases. It has been updated with the correct information.

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Categories
Game

‘Alien: Isolation’ is coming to iOS and Android on December 16th

One of the most memorable survival horror games of recent years is coming to smartphones and tablets. Feral Interactive will bring Alien: Isolation to iOS and Android on December 16th.

Feral, which also handled the Nintendo Switch port of the 2014 game, claims it has replicated the “stunning AAA visuals, arresting narrative and terrifying atmosphere of Creative Assembly’s award-winning sci-fi masterpiece” for mobile devices “without compromise.” It added customizable touchscreen controls, though you can connect an external controller. The game, which costs $15, includes all seven DLC packs.

Alien: Isolation is set 15 years after Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi horror film Alien. Players take on the guise of engineer Amanda Ripley, who attempts to get to the bottom of her mother Ellen Ripley’s disappearance. 

Creative Assembly did a great job of replicating the terrifying atmosphere of the original movie. The first-person perspective certainly adds to the feeling of dread as you try to evade a xenomorph. Whether Alien: Isolation feels as immersive on mobile as it does on consoles and PC remains to be seen, though the Switch port was well-received.

Meanwhile, as of Tuesday, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can play another classic survival horror game on their phone. Dead Space is now part of the cloud gaming library, thanks to Microsoft’s partnership with EA Play. Alien: Isolation is also available on Game Pass, albeit only on console and PC, not through the cloud.

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Categories
Game

Twitch now allows recurring subscriptions on iOS

Since 2019, Twitch has offered as a way for iOS users to support their favorite streamers. They offer the same benefits of subscribing on desktop, including access to ad-free viewing and sub-only chat, but they’re a one-time purchase you can redeem when you want. However, Twitch is now doing away with that mechanism in favor of a more straightforward approach.

Once you update to the latest version of the Twitch iOS app, you’ll find the option to purchase recurring subscriptions. It’s a change the company says it’s making based on user feedback. “We learned from the community that non-renewing Sub Tokens on iOS can prevent them from consistently enjoying subscriber benefits and supporting their favorite creators,” the company said in a . With the tweak, you don’t have to worry about losing access to your subscriber benefits or missing a sub streak.

Sub Tokens aren’t disappearing, at least not immediately. Twitch will continue to sell them until December 1st. At that point, you can continue to redeem until January 10th, 2022. After that date, any remaining Sub Tokens you have left on your account will be refunded by Apple. All told, it’s a chance that should make it easier for Twitch users to support their favorite streamers, particularly if they primarily use an iOS device to watch them.

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Categories
Game

Netflix Games portal expands to iOS: How to play on iPhone and iPad

As promised, Netflix has expanded its mobile games to iOS devices, enabling iPhone and iPad owners to play the same handful of titles previously launched on Android devices. The expansion brings the Netflix Games portal to the company’s apps on iPhone and iPad, as well as each standalone game with its own listing in the App Store.

Netflix Games explained

Netflix Games is a relatively new addition to the streaming company’s portfolio. The mobile titles are based on Netflix’s original content, giving the company a new way to engage with customers and, on the flip side, giving fans new opportunities to explore the worlds presented in some movies and TV shows.

Netflix includes the games as part of its streaming plans, meaning players won’t have to pay anything extra for the titles nor will they see advertisements and other annoying monetization schemes. This provides an experience similar to what mobile gamers get from Apple Arcade and Google’s Play Pass subscriptions.

How it works

The Netflix mobile apps on Android and iOS have been updated with a new “Games” section that makes it easy for subscribers to see the entire catalog of available titles. Tapping one of the titles takes the user to their respective platform store (Google Play or App Store) to download the offerings as standalone games.

If your Netflix app doesn’t include a “Games” section in the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, close the app and then update it to the latest version. The new “Games” section should appear in the navigation bar upon relaunching the app post-update.

Alternatively, assuming you already know which titles you want, simply head into the App Store (for iPhone and iPad) or Google Play Store (for Android) and search for the game. Each title is available to manually download from the app stores; the Netflix app portal simply makes it easier to find them without searching.

Which games are available?

As of the date of this article, Netflix Games is home to a total of five mobile titles:

– Stranger Things 3: The Game (Android | iOS)
– Stranger Things: 1984 (Android | iOS)
– Shooting Hoops (Android | iOS)
– Card Blast (Android | iOS)
– Teeter (Up) (Android | iOS)

Netflix notes that its mobile games default to English if the user doesn’t have a language set in their profile; however, many of the languages supported by Netflix are also supported by its games.

Multiple users can play Netflix Games titles on the same account under their respective profiles. However, Kids Profiles do not include the “Games” category, and, assuming a PIN is set up, Netflix says users will need to enter the code before they can play games on the device.

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Categories
Security

Stop and update your iPhone to iOS 14.8 right now

Apple has released a suite of new updates for iOS, macOS, and watchOS to fix a bug that security researchers at Citizen Lab say was very likely exploited to allow government agencies to install spyware into the phones of journalists, lawyers, and activists. The researchers say the bug allowed for a “zero-click” install (meaning the target didn’t have to do anything to be infected) of the Pegasus spyware, which is reportedly capable of stealing data, passwords, and activating a phone’s microphone or camera. You can read our explainer of Pegusus here for more details.

Given the severity of the exploit, you should update to iOS 14.8, macOS Big Sur 11.6, and watchOS 7.6.2 as soon as you can.

We heard about the exploit in August, when Citizen Lab reported that it had been successfully used against phones running iOS 14.6 (released in May). Citizen Lab also said the vulnerability, which it codenamed “ForcedEntry,” seemed to match the behavior of an exploit Amnesty International wrote about in July. At the time, the security researchers wrote that it was made possible by a bug in Apple’s CoreGraphics system, and happened when the phone tried to use a function related to GIFs, after it received a text message containing a malicious file.

However, even with that info, it could be difficult to pin down exactly what was happening without access to the infected files themselves. According to Citizen Lab, they discovered files while re-analyzing a backup from an activist’s hacked phone. The files appeared to be GIFs sent as SMS attachments, but were actually PSDs and PDFs. (Apple’s update notes say that the issue occurred when processing a maliciously crafted PDF.) Citizen Lab suspected they could’ve been related to Pegasus, so it sent the files to Apple on September 7th. Apple quickly released the software updates patching the bug on September 13th, and thanked Citizen Lab in a statement for “completing the very difficult work of obtaining a sample of this exploit.”

Some of Monday’s updates also fix a second security issue with WebKit for iOS and macOS Big Sur (it isn’t mentioned in the release notes for Catalina). While it’s unclear if it’s related to NSO’s exploits — its discovery is attributed to “an anonymous researcher” instead of Citizen Lab, and it’s in a different part of the system — Apple still says that it “may have been actively exploited.”

Such an urgent security issue explains why we’re seeing a new update to iOS just a day before an Apple event, where it’s expected to announced new phones that will probably never run this version of the OS. Still, there have been rumors about an iOS 14.8 release since early August, but given that Monday’s release seems to only deal with the security issues discovered in September, it’s possible we’ll see at least one more iOS 14 release.

CoreGraphics’ PDF rendering seems to have been problematic recently when it comes to security. iOS 14.7 also included a fix for a seemingly separate issue with the system, which could also lead to arbitrary code execution. WebKit has also recently had a few updates to fix security issues that Apple says “may have been actively exploited.” When news of the CoreGraphics exploit broke in August, Apple told TechCrunch it was working on improving security for iOS 15.

All of this serves as a reminder about how important it is to keep all your devices up-to-date. While you hopefully never find yourself on the bad side of a government using advanced spyware, it’s still a good idea to make sure that your device isn’t vulnerable to widely-reported security exploits. Thankfully, Apple is planning on letting users install security updates for iOS 14 without having to upgrade to iOS 15, which could be useful for any future fixes. For the time being, though, get all your devices updated as soon as you can.

Update September 13th, 7:10PM ET: Added quote from Apple’s statement thanking Citizen Lab.

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