Tech Talks Digest: November 29 – Discover

It’s time for our fourth and final Tech Talks digest, and we’ve got one last round of sessions and office hours for you to peruse and enjoy. Tech Talks events are running through December 17 — don’t miss your chance to learn more about Object Capture or HealthKit, get your questions answered, and more.

Explore the schedule

You can currently browse and register for all Tech Talks activities taking place through December 17.

Note: To register for sessions or request office hour appointments, you must be a current member of the Apple Developer Program or Apple Developer Enterprise Program.

Get notified about new activities and your appointment requests by opting in to push notifications in the Apple Developer app or signing up for email notifications. To enable push notifications, visit the Account tab in the Apple Developer app. To enable email notifications, sign in to your developer account, open the top-right menu, and click Email Settings.

View upcoming sessions

View upcoming office hours

One last time: Don’t miss a conversation with SwiftUI engineering

The SwiftUI engineering team is hosting one last chat before the end of Tech Talks on December 14: Join members of the team for a full hour of live Q&A, dedicated to answering your queries and questions around all things SwiftUI.

What sorts of questions can the team answer? Well, during November’s chat, we highlighted a SwiftUI debugging tool that helps track down rendering or high cpu usage issues: Check it out yourself by calling Self._printChanges() inside the body of a view to print out the changes that have triggered the view update.

This session will be presented in English live from Cupertino on December 14.

A conversation with SwiftUI Engineering

Don’t miss: Simplify 3D content creation with Object Capture

On December 6, learn how you can best use the Object Capture API to create lifelike 3D models of real-world objects. The team will cover best practices with object selection and image capture to help you create 3D models, and share a peek at several top-notch content creation apps that use Object Capture to bring their assets to life.

This session will be presented in English live from Cupertino and London on December 6 and December 13.

Simplify 3D content creation with Object Capture

Simplify 3D content creation with Object Capture

Don’t forget: Explore the future of Photos access in your app

Discover how PHPicker and the Limited Photos Library can provide your app with secure, private, and modern access to the Photos library. The session explores how you can integrate directly with someone’s image library while ensuring privacy and giving people direct control over which pictures your app can access. Presenters will take you through recent improvements to PHPicker, the simplest and most secure integration for your app, and explore how to use the Limited Photos Library for experiences that need a deeper integration. And lastly, learn best practices for migrating off the deprecated ALAssetsLibrary APIs so that your app can continue to deliver a great, integrated experience with the Photos library.

This session will be presented in English live from London and Cupertino on December 7 and 13.

Explore the future of Photos access in your app

Explore the future of Photos access in your app

Share your thoughts

Thank you for checking out Tech Talks 2021! Whether you attended a session, office hour appointment, or followed along through these digests, we’d love to know what you thought.

Share your feedback on Tech Talks

Users revolt as Microsoft bolts a short-term financing app onto Edge

Users revolt as Microsoft bolts a short-term financing app onto Edge

Getty Images

Microsoft is taking a lot of flak for planning to integrate a short-term financing app into the company’s Edge browser. The app would allow users to make purchases immediately and pay for them at a future date.

In recent years, Edge has built a following of users attracted to the security of the Microsoft browser, in addition to features including immersive reading, collections (which saves webpages or notes to categorized notebooks), vertical tabs, and the ability to take screenshots directly from a webpage.

​​Two weeks ago, Microsoft said it planned to bake an app called Zip directly into Edge. The so-called “buy now, pay later” app, which used to be known as Quadpay, lets shoppers break purchases into equal installment payments so they get their merchandise upfront, rather than having to wait until it’s paid in full. It didn’t take long for the howling and gnashing of teeth to begin.

“This all feels extremely unnecessary for a browsing experience,” one user said. The user continued:

I don’t want it. I don’t even want the shopping and discovery features y’all have pushed out. These kinds of things should be separated into extensions. I am way more interested in a lightning fast browser that uses minimal resources while being secure. Edge on Mac is getting heavier and heavier.

Please stop turning all these things on by default, or at least give us an option for a “Core” experience that is basic browsing features plus the security enhancements. As it stands right now, I spend about 5-6 minutes making sure that all the extra crap is disabled whenever I set up Edge on a new computer or move between channels.

Another reviewer wrote:

You’re starting to overdo these third-party integrations and services. This is just sleazy, Edge is on the verge of feeling dirty to use. Edge is not just any random browser, it’s the (increasingly hard to change) default of the most important desktop OS in the world. That comes not just with benefits but with responsibilities towards your users as well. This isn’t the way. Don’t ruin a great browser by taking these unnecessary cash grabs too far. Stop it before Edge becomes known for being adware trash.


In fairness to Microsoft, the company says it “does not collect a fee for connecting users to loan providers,” so there’s presumably no basis for claims of the move being a cash grab.

Besides, Edge isn’t the only browser that comes with questionable bloatware. Brave, arguably one of the most privacy-preserving browsers out there, now welds its own cryptocurrency wallet to its wares (ostensibly to counter fake wallet extensions) and also provides native support for sending and receiving NFTs, connecting and interacting with distributed apps known as DApps, and buying and sending cryptocurrency.

Zip doesn’t operate on a typical short-term financing revenue model. There are no interest rates. Instead, as long as payments are made on time, the company charges $1 for each installment made, so in most cases, that would be $4. That’s not a bad price for purchases of $1,000—the Zip maximum—or even $100. But for a purchase of $35—the Zip minimum—the fee amounts to an interest rate of more than 11 percent.

While most of the critics excoriating Microsoft have focused on the feature’s money-grubbing appearance, the bigger issue is user and merchant control. Adding this feature increases the browser’s attack surface—meaning there are more potentially vulnerable lines of code for hackers to exploit.

What’s more, the company has not yet explained if integrating this app into Edge gives more visibility into users’ browsing habits. Microsoft is also automatically opting merchants in, and it requires those who don’t want to participate to retroactively opt out.

Forcing all Edge users to have this app running on their devices is heavy-handed. Zip has existed as a standalone app for years, and there’s no reason for that opt-in arrangement to end. In case this wasn’t already known to Microsoft, it should be plainly obvious now.

How to answer calls to your iPhone on macOS Monterey and iPadOS 15

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

Thanks to Apple’s Continuity, users can easily make and receive cellular phone calls on Mac, iPad, and iPod touch. Here’s how to do it.

There are plenty of reasons that you’d want to use your iPad or Mac for a cellular call — though most likely, it’s because that is the device closest to you when you receive a call. Fortunately, Apple allows you to make and receive cellular calls with your Mac, iPad, and even your iPod touch, should you be so inclined.

It takes a couple of minutes to set everything up, so we suggest gathering all your devices, including your iPhone, together before you start.

Important factors to double check before you begin:

  • Each device must have Wi-Fi turned on
  • Each device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network
  • Each device is signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID
  • Each device is signed into FaceTime with the same Apple ID

If these criteria are met, then you can follow the steps below to enable calls on your Mac, iPad, or iPod touch.

The absolute first step in the process is to enable the feature on your iPhone, allowing your other devices to receive calls.

How to enable cellular calls on your other devices

  1. On your iPhone, Open Settings
  2. Tap Phone
  3. Tap Calls on Other Devices
  4. Toggle on Allow Calls on Other Devices
  5. Toggle on each device you would like to receive calls on

Now you can enable receiving calls on your iPad and iPod touch…

How to enable cellular calls on your iPad and iPod Touch

  1. On your iPad or iPod Touch, open Settings
  2. Tap FaceTime
  3. Tap Calls rom iPhone
  4. Toggle on Calls from iPhone

How to enable cellular calls on your Mac

  1. On your Mac, open the FaceTime app
  2. In your Mac’s top menu bar, click FaceTime
  3. Click Preferences
  4. Check the box that reads Calls from iPhone

You can disable cellular calls on your iPad or iPod Touch by following the steps below.

How to disable cellular calls on your iPad and iPod Touch

  1. On your iPad or iPod Touch, open Settings
  2. Tap FaceTime
  3. Tap Calls rom iPhone
  4. Toggle off Calls from iPhone

You can disable cellular calls on your Mac by following these steps.

How to disable cellular calls on your Mac

  1. On your Mac, open the FaceTime app
  2. In your Mac’s top menu bar, click FaceTime
  3. Click Preferences
  4. Uncheck the box that reads Calls from iPhone

Global Application Security Market to Generate a Revenue of $9779.8 million by 2027, Growing at a CAGR of 16.1% from 2020 to 2027 – Current and Forecast [264 pages] Report by Research Dive

The global application security market is predicted to witness an impressive growth by 2027, owing to the increase in the number of cyber-attacks across the globe. The mobile type sub-segment is expected to be most profitable. The North American region is expected to dominate the global market in the analysis period.

New York, USA, Nov. 30, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — According to the report published by Research Dive, the global application security market is expected to garner a revenue of $9779.8 million by 2027, growing exponentially at a CAGR of 16.1% during the forecast period. The inclusive report provides a brief overview of the current scenario of the market including significant aspects of the market such as growth factors, challenges, restraints and various opportunities during the forecast period. The report also provides all the market figures making it easier and helpful for the new participants to understand the market.

Download Free Sample Report of the Global Application Security Market:

Dynamics of the Application Security Market

Drivers: Increase in the number of cyber attacks like hacking, phishing attacks, ransomware, and others are expected to drive the growth of the market during the forecast period. In addition, application security solutions are capable of determining and targeting application susceptibilities in multiple phases of development cycle. These factors are further expected to bolster the growth of the application security market during the forecast period.

Restraints: Extortionate application security services is expected to hinder the growth of the market during the forecast period.

Opportunities: Rising adoption of machine learning and artificial intelligence for web and mobile applications is expected to create immense opportunities for the growth of the market during the forecast period.

COVID-19 Impact on the Application Security Market

The outbreak of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the global application security market, owing to the prevalence of lockdowns in various countries across the globe. People across the globe are increasingly relying on networking to stay in contact with each other. In addition, employees and healthcare workers were required to stay connected with their clients and patients respectively, via chats, emails, and calls. Thus, the pandemic has had a positive impact on the growth of the market.

Check out How COVID-19 impacts the Global Application Security Market:

Segments of the Application Security Market

The report has divided the application security market into various segments based on type, component type, deployment type, organization size, vertical type and region.

Check out all Information and communication technology & media Industry Reports:

Type: Mobile Type Sub-segment to be Most Profitable

The mobile type sub-segment is expected to generate a revenue of $ 5,367.6 million during the forecast period. Mobile application security aids in protecting vital data from unauthorized tethering, geo-location data leakage, unauthorized password and pin cracking, and others. This factor is expected to drive the growth of the sub-segment during the forecast period.

Component Type: Software Sub-segment to be Most Beneficial

The software sub-segment is expected to generate a revenue of $5,664.2 million during the forecast period. Increasing security breaches in social media platforms will lead to the large-scale deployment of application security solutions that will protect mobile and web applications. This factor is expected bolster the growth of the application security market during the forecast period.

Access Varied Market Reports Bearing Extensive Analysis of the Market Situation, Updated With The Impact of COVID-19:

Deployment Type: On-Premise Sub-segment to Generate Maximum Revenue

The on-premise sub-segment is expected to generate a revenue of $5,367.3 million during the forecast period. Its extensive adoption among organizations that demand complete control of data, systems, applications and platforms are expected to stimulate the growth of the sub-segment during the forecast period.

Organizations Size: Large Enterprise Sub-segment to be Most Lucrative

The large enterprise sub-segment is expected to generate a revenue of $5,377.8 million during the forecast period. Increasing attention towards advanced application security platforms among large enterprises that provide integrity, confidentiality, authorization and tractability of data is expected to drive the growth of the application security market sub-segment during the forecast period.

Vertical Type: BFSI Sub-segment to be Most Remunerative

The BFSI sub-segment is expected to generate a revenue of $2019.3 million during the forecast period. Application security under this segment effectively determines hidden defects and bugs that might lead to a breach in confidential data. This factor is expected to bolster the growth of the application security market sub-segment during the forecast period.

Region: North America Region Expected to Dominate the Market

The North America region is expected to generate a revenue of $2976.0 million during the forecast period. Increasing penetration of cloud-based networking and mobile devices in this region is expected to stimulate the growth of the market. In addition, rising adoption of IOT devices and stringent regulations imposed by the government for the security of business processes are further expected to bolster the growth of the regional application security market during the forecast period.

Key Players of the Application Security Market

1. IBM
2. Cisco Systems
3. Data Theorem
4. Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development LP
5. WhiteHat Security, Inc.
6. NowSecure
7. Acunetix
9. Zimperium
10. Kryptowire

These players are working on developing strategies such as product development, merger and acquisition, partnerships and collaborations to sustain the market growth.

For instance, in March 2021, Wipro, an Indian multinational corporation that provides information technology, consulting and business process services, acquired Ampion, an Australia-based provider of cybersecurity, DevOps and engineering services in order to maximize Wipro’s presence in the application security market.

The report also summarizes many important aspects including financial performance of the key players, SWOT analysis, product portfolio, and latest strategic developments. Click Here to Get Absolute Top Companies Development Strategies Summary Report


Cloud Applications Market

Remote Access Software Market

Managed Services Market

CONTACT: Mr. Abhishek Paliwal Research Dive 30 Wall St. 8th Floor, New York NY 10005 (P) +91-(788)-802-9103 (India) Toll Free: 1-888-961-4454 E-mail: [email protected] Website: Blog: LinkedIn: Twitter: Facebook:

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Balance and Pokémon UNITE top Google Play’s ‘Best of 2021’ Awards – TechCrunch

Google today announced the winners of its “Best of 2021” app awards, which highlight both the company’s and users’ picks for the best apps and games from the past year. This year, Google is expanding its awards lineup to include apps and games on tablets, Wear OS and Google TV, it says. Its U.S. winners included meditation app Balance as its app of the year and top game Pokémon UNITE. Meanwhile, Paramount+ and Garena Free Fire MAX won the user’s choice awards.

In 2020, the award winners had reflected a world undergoing a pandemic, where stressed users had turned to apps and soothing games to relax — like top sleep app Loóna, which was last year’s “Best App,” or escapist games like winner Genshin Impact.

With the early days of the pandemic now behind us, some of this year’s award winners are apps that now focus on personal growth and creativity, instead of just relaxing or escaping. This, too, seems to reflect where we are as a society. Over this past year, we saw the “great resignation” where U.S. employees voluntarily quit their unfulfilling, underpaid jobs in search of something better, and the creator economy began to boom as people pursued their passions.

In addition to Best of 2021 app Balance, which offers personalized meditation, other personal development-styled winners include Moonly, an app for “harmonizing your life” with the lunar calendar; a “comedic relaxation” app, Laughscape; a hypnotherapy app for women, Clementine; better sleep app Sleep Cycle; mentorship community Mentor Spaces; habit tracker and planner Rabit; and an app for navigating grief from loss, Empathy.

Other winners showcased how we adapted to pandemic life, as with audio chatroom Clubhouse, tools for reducing screen time, like Speechify, or those for reconnecting with nature, like Blossom.

In addition to winner Balance, the full lineup of app winners includes the following:

Best Apps for Good 

Best Everyday Essentials 

Best for Fun 

Best Hidden Gems

Best for Personal Growth 

Best for Tablets  

Best for Wear 

Popular on Google TV

The year’s best games were led by top game Pokémon UNITE, which focused on cross-platform gaming.

“Pokémon Unite is Pokémon’s first strategic team battle game, co-developed by The Pokémon Company and TiMi Studio Group. We tried to distill the best parts of the MOBA genre to create a new kind of game, but I must admit that I was unsure if it would be well received by players around the world,” noted Masaaki Hoshino, Producer, Pokémon UNITE, in a statement. T”his award shows that our game has been positively received by fans and the media, and while this is a great relief, at the same time it reaffirms our determination to continue doing our best to make Pokémon UNITE an even more exciting experience that meets our players’ expectations,” he added.

The larger lineup also included indie experiences like the introspective Bird Alone, which challenges you to become friends with the “loneliest bird in the world.” Annapurna Interactive’s Donut County won for its physics-based puzzle game, among others.

The full list of game winners included:

Best Competitive 

Best Game Changers

Best Indies 

Best Pick Up & Play

Best for Tablets

Each country will have its own list of winning apps and games which can be found in the new Best of 2021 section of the Play Store. The above are Google Play’s U.S. winners.

HexGaming Ultimate Controller review: competition grade for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS

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The HexGaming Ultimate Controller lives up to its name with a fully-customizable design, swappable joysticks, and programmable paddle buttons. It also happens to be compatible with Apple’s well-connected ecosystem.

An upgraded PS5 controller

If the HexGaming controller looks familiar, it may be because it’s not a wholly unique creation. The company starts with a legitimate Sony PlayStation 5 DualSense controller and then modifies it from there.

Playing Call of Duty with the HexGaming controller

Playing Call of Duty with the HexGaming controller

So from a high level, the great experience that you when have gaming with a DualSense controller, you’ll also have with the HexGaming Ultimate.

Sony’s controllers also have the benefit of being fully MFi certified to work with Apple devices. You can use the HexGaming Ultimate Controller with your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV.

HexGaming controller works with the Mac

HexGaming controller works with the Mac

We’ve gone in-depth on pairing the DualSense controller with your Apple gear, but the process itself is straightforward to pull off.

To pair your controller

  1. On your iPhone or iPad running iOS 14.5 or iPadOS 14.5 or later, open Settings
  2. Tap on Bluetooth
  3. On the DualSense controller, hold the center PS button as well as the top-left share button until the controller flashes
  4. Tap the controller that appears on the last at the bottom

HexGaming modifies a standard PS5 DualSense controller by creating a custom color scheme, adding swappable joysticks, and installing programmable paddle buttons to make this your go-to controller. Be it for relaxing with Call of Duty or competing in a high-stakes tournament.

Create your own

Customization is a substantial part of the HexGaming Ultimate Controller. It touches every aspect of the experience, from choosing the design you like to the grip texture (or lack thereof), to the comfort, to what actions buttons trigger.

Customizing out controller

Customize your controller

When designing the controller, you have seemingly endless options to choose from, as each piece of plastic on the controller can be modified. That includes the touchpad, the directional pad, the round buttons, the triggers, the top plate, the joysticks, the joystick collars, and more.

With each change from the stock configuration, your price is adjusted as well. When going the build-your-own route, you can easily jump the price substantially or show restraint and keep the price reasonable.

As an example, changing the D-pad color from black to silver will tack $2.99 onto your total. But do the same with the options/share buttons, front plate, touchpad, and you’re already up to $24.

The more you modify, the higher the price. It does help that a running total on the customization page helps you to understand these additional costs.

Added grip on our HexGaming controller

Added grip on our HexGaming Ultimate Controller

Many customizations are purely cosmetic, but the grip on the controller has further implications for comfort.

On the back of the controller, the default is a plastic grip with a light texture. Among HexGaming’s options are a rubberized grip or a texture black paint.

Game the nights away

Up your game with the HexGaming Ultimate controller

We prefer the rubberized grip, which is what we chose. In our time playing with the controller, it has proved to be very comfortable but also aids in gripping the controller.

Customizable buttons

Even without design customization, the HexGame Ultimate Controller comes with new rear-facing paddle buttons installed. There are four buttons in total, with a customization button in the center.

A total of 15 buttons can be mapped (X, O, Triangle, Square, Up, Down, Left, Right, L1, L2, R1, R2, L3, R3, Touchpad ) to these rear buttons. To program the buttons, you hold the customization button until the LED lights up, then you press each button and hold the button you’d like to map to it.

Once it flashes, the button is saved. Repeat for all four and the LED will turn off.

For many players, remapping buttons can greatly increase your abilities. For example, instead of removing your right thumb from the right joystick to press the triangle button, you can press the back button instead. They’re effortless to press and have a satisfying click.

This feature can be accessed at any time — including while in a game — and is saved to the controller itself, not on any specific system or console.

The only downside is that we found ourselves reprogramming the buttons fairly frequently. It may make more sense to map L3 and R3 to two of the buttons in one game, while in another game, it may not.

It only takes a few moments, but we wish there were a way to jump between gaming profiles that way we could cycle through based on the game.

Use the PS5 DualSense controller with iPad

Use the PS5 DualSense controller with iPad

With these four rear buttons, there is a lot you can do here and we found ourselves relying on them and growing to love them the longer we used them. Rear button attachments have existed for console and PC controllers for a while, but these native ones are great.

Your joysticks, your preference

In the box with your HexGaming Ultimate Controller, you’ll find two joysticks already attached, as well as a small plastic box with four additional joysticks. Included are two different grip designs and three different heights. There are two short domed joysticks, two short concave versions, and textured joysticks, and then one domed and one concave of the tall joysticks.

Each controller has swappable joysticks

Each controller has swappable joysticks and a carrying case

Each joystick can be pulled free of the controller, and another joystick snapped into place. There’s a proper orientation to the joysticks, so you’ll have to rotate them until they line up correctly.

With multiple joystick styles available, users can choose what works best for them. We decided to go with a short textured joystick for the left but a tall texture controller for the right.

All the various joystick options

All of the various joystick options

The reason why we chose this is that the right joystick is often controlling your POV. This includes when you’re driving, where your in-game camera is being aimed, or just to control where you’re facing. By lengthening the joystick a bit, you have finer control.

Once we added the longer joystick, we were able to increase the sensitivity on it so we could move or aim much quicker, with much greater accuracy. It may seem like a small change, but its effects are real.

Testing out our new controller

Testing out our new controller

The texture also stopped our thumbs from sliding off the sides of the joysticks. If you’ve endlessly run through an open-world game’s landscape and just held the joystick forward, pinned against the back edge, you may have encountered this yourself.

Since the joysticks are so easy to swap, this can be done at almost any time. Plus, the little clear plastic box does help you keep track of them when not in use.

Should you buy the Hex ganging controller?

This controller isn’t for everyone. If you want a reliable gaming controller, there are plenty of MFi controllers or even the stock PS5 DualSense controller to use instead.

But for the niche market of users that want a customizable, pro-level controller, the HexGaming Ultimate Controller has your back.

We love the look of our customized controller that has a vibrant red tone with grey accents and added grip to the bottom. We set up the rear paddles for our most often-played games to help up our scores, and it helped.

It won’t take you from garbage to a pro player, but it can hone your skills even give you that edge you need.

You can, of course, use this controller with your PlayStation 5, but thanks to Apple’s MFi program and Sony’s participation, it makes an outstanding controller for your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac as well.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Where to buy

You can find the base model HexGaming Ultimate Controller on Amazon for $199 as well as multiple pre-designed ones. If you want to design your own, you’ll have to visit the HexGaming website instead.

The price starts at $199 and gets you a DualSense controller with customizable joysticks and programmable rear buttons.

7 Apps to Help You With Money Worries and Financial Stress

Dealing with financial stress can be difficult for many. After all, it can be embarrassing to talk about money or ask for help from others. While it may not seem like it, most people go through periods of financial stress every once in a while.

If you’re going through a stressful financial period, there are some apps that can help you navigate it. Whether you need to budget, improve your credit score, or earn extra cash, these smartphone apps can help.

1. Steady

Steady is an income-earning app that makes money by directing users to free (or free trial) offers and gives you a percentage of its earnings. Essentially, you get paid to sign up for free things.

For example, you can claim $50 when you sign up for a free bank account. Or, $5 when you use a free credit score booster. Steady pays you within the app so you don’t need to go to each provider to collect your earnings. Although sometimes you can get extra earnings from the providers as well.

Steady also has a database of gig-based work, where you can earn additional money that day. You also get a bonus from Steady for signing up. Its database also includes work-from-home jobs, like writing out captions or even being part of an online jury.


Download: Steady for iOS | Android (Free, in-app purchases available)

2. Mint

Mint makes it easy to manage your finances, which can help you get out of a financial hole. Sometimes, budgeting can be too stressful and we can miss important payments. With Mint, you don’t have to worry about that anymore.

The Mint app tracks all your finances and works out your active subscriptions. It also shows you your current net worth based on your assets, so you can see if you’re living above your means.

Mint is full of other great features too, like credit score tracking and tracking your tax refund. You also get personalized insights about your spending habits to see if you’re spending too much in certain categories.

Download: Mint for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)

3. Acorns

If you are having trouble putting money aside for retirement, consider using Acorns. Acorns is an investment service that rounds up all your purchases to the nearest dollar. Then, that money gets deposited into a retirement account.

For example, if you spend $1.55 on a coffee, the Acorns app will round up to $2.00, putting $0.45 into your retirement account.

While it might not seem like much, it does add up over time, giving you a head start when you’re able to save more money for retirement.

Related: Robinhood vs. Stash vs. Acorns: Which Investment App Is Best?

If you want to set up simple recurring investments, Acorns allows you to do that as well.

With Acorns, your money is automatically deposited into portfolios selected by experts. You can also choose to have your funds deposited into an IRA.

Download: Acorns for iOS | Android (Subscription required)

4. Credit Karma

Sometimes getting in better financial shape means improving your credit score. After all, a better credit score means you can get cheaper interest rates on new or existing credit cards. It also means more affordable loans and a cheaper mortgage payment.

The Credit Karma app provides free tools to check your credit score without putting a hard credit check on your account. Some other credit score checkers do this, and this makes checking your credit hurt your credit score even more.

Related: How to Freeze Your Credit and Protect Your Finances from Fraud

That isn’t the case here. Credit Karma also provides financial tips and lets you know if you’ve missed a payment.

For those with large amounts of credit card debt, Credit Karma also offers tips on a consolidation loan. This loan is usually lower interest and consolidates all your debt into one monthly payment.

Download: Credit Karma for iOS | Android (Free)

5. Truebill

Truebill makes it easy to see what active subscriptions you have and cancel subscritpions you no longer use. Truebill also checks to see if there are any subscriptions you forgot about and are still paying for.

Truebill makes it easy to cancel subscriptions or see when a rate goes up.

Truebill also features a bill negotiator, which can help you lower your monthly bills. The great thing about its bill negotiator is that you don’t pay a dime unless the price is successfully reduced. The amount you usually pay is about 40 percent of the amount saved, meaning you get the other 60 percent to yourself.

Download: Truebill for iOS | Android (Free, subscription available)

6. NerdWallet

NerdWallet, another great budgeting app, tracks your spending and gives you insights on how to save money. NerdWallet features credit score checks, financial advice, and financial planning—all for free.

Related: Make a Personal Budget With Microsoft Excel With These Easy Steps

NerdWallet is known for its analysis of credit cards, and the NerdWallet app will let you know your approval odds before you apply for a new card. After all, you can only make so many inquiries on your credit score in a set period. If you make a check and don’t get approved for a card, it means you wasted your application.

Download: NerdWallet for iOS | Android (Free)

7. Earnin

Earnin is a payday advance that lets you get access to your paycheck a few days earlier. If you have a bill that needs to be paid now but your payday is a few days away, consider using Earnin.

Unlike traditional payday loans, Earnin doesn’t charge fees. However, users are asked to tip when they receive their paycheck advance.

While Earnin does prompt for tips, you don’t have to tip anything. Earnin also generates money through affiliate commissions within the app.

Earnin deposits your cash to your checking account and sends you notifications when you have to pay it back. This will usually be on your payday and will be the amount you took out, plus the optional tip that averages about $5.

Be sure to only use Earnin if you have a guaranteed check or direct deposit on the way and only if you’re certain you can pay it all off when you get paid.

Download: Earnin for iOS | Android (Free)

Reduce Your Financial Stress and Live Comfortably

While finances can be stressful at times, there are great apps that can make your financial situation easier. The days of balancing checkbooks by hand are long gone and technology has given us many great tools to understand our finances.

Apps make our lives easier so why wouldn’t we want them to help us manage our finances, too? By understanding our budgets, improving our credit score, and saving for the future, we can feel more comfortable in the present.

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About The Author

Pela Apple Watch band review: A sleek, eco-friendly strap with unique lugs

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content.

Pela’s environmentally responsible Apple Watch bands are a sleek, stylish, and comfortable way to outfit your wrist while also not bringing any undue harm to our planet.

Cases are one of the most environmentally damaging aspects of the smartphone industry. Many users will go through multiple cases during the lifespan of the phone, and while a lot of the phone’s components can be recycled (or handed down), and there are various programs to facilitate this, it’s not quite the same for cases.

For the often-used accessory, many cases end up discarded instead of recycled or disposed of in an ecologically-friendly way.

An environmentally friendly solution

That’s where Pela started, by making iPhone cases out of a more eco friendly material. Now that trend has caught on, and many phone case manufacturers have done the same.

Checking out the Pela Apple Watch strap

The material Pela uses is called Flaxstic, which is made of a bioplastic elastomer and flax straw. The flax straw has natural shock-absorbing properties and is usually burned because it takes too long to break down in farmer’s fields.

By utilizing this along with bioplastics, Pela is able to make strong cases with a unique look that doesn’t hurt the environment.

When they’ve run their course, the cases are fully compostable and can break down into their natural components. This same material — Flaxstic — is used in the Apple Watch bands as well.

Each band has a vivid color, is very smooth and comfortable to wear, and no two are exactly alike.

Underside of the Pela Apple Watch strap

Underside of the Pela Apple Watch strap

When your band ships from Pela, it arrives without the lugs installed. It’s the same with the metal button that holds it closed.

Pela designed the band so that the metal parts could be easily removed and recycled separately or reused on your new product. The button pops in and out, and we’ll have more on the lugs in just a moment.

There is a small Pela logo on the mold of the band and it has a similar clasp to Apple’s Sport Band. It wraps around your wrist, and the tongue end goes through the other. When you have it at the right tightness, the pin locks it into place so it won’t come free.

We’ve been wearing the band and found the Flaxstic material extremely comfortable for extended wear, and the clasp is flat and doesn’t dig into our wrists.

The band comes in multiple colors, including the Canary Yellow that we picked up alongside Stormy Blue, Clay, black, lavender, Teddy Brown, and Forest Floor. There are two sizes of the band to fit both sizes of Apple’s wrist-worn computer.

Lovely, lovely lugs

We wholeheartedly appreciate the eco-friendly aspect of the Pela watch band, but as true Apple nerds, we were also incredibly impressed by something far more simple — the lugs.

Sure, most people won’t pay them any attention, but Pela did something different and so Apple-esque with these lugs, we felt they should be lauded.

As we mentioned, the lugs don’t come preinstalled on your band, leaving users to install them themselves. Any normal Apple Watch lug will connect in one of two ways.

We see typical watch style spring-loaded pins holding the lugs to the straps. These often require a special tool to pull the pins from the holes on the lugs to free them. Not an easy task.

The other style of lugs are what Apple uses, which employ tiny screws to hold the arms of the lugs to the part that goes in the watch. When you remove the screws, the arm can come free and slide out of the lug.

These are easy enough to remove, but require a tiny screwdriver.

There are other lug styles out there, but those are the most prevalent. Then we have what Pela pulled off.

First remove the Pela band, rotate the arm of the lug, then slide it out of the band.

First remove the Pela band, rotate the arm of the lug, then slide it out of the band.”

Pela’s lugs come in two parts. These cast metal pieces slot together and hold very securely when connected to your watch, but as soon as you remove them, they slide apart and allow the band to come free without any issue.

You can see the process in the photo above, which is quite impressive. Users have no issues installing the lugs, and they can be reused with other bands you may have.

Unfortunately, the lugs only come in polished silver, which means they don’t match all of the various colors of Apple Watch. That said, it blends in well enough with the silver aluminum and both colors of stainless steel.

Should you buy

Frankly, the only reason not to consider the Pela straps is purely your style. The band itself is wonderful with great colors, plenty of comfort, and a secure clasp. On its own merits, this band deserves a spot on your wrist.

The Pela Apple Watch strap

The Pela Apple Watch strap

The environmental aspect is another reason altogether. It ships to you with extremely minimal packaging, is entirely compostable after use, and has no BPAs or plastics in its build.

As a company, Apple has put a lot of effort into making the organization carbon neutral and has reduced plastic use and made the packaging more compact and less wasteful. Many of Apple’s customers feel similarly and plan their own purchases to have like values.

Pela’s doing great things with its products and makes us feel even better about buying its gear.

  • Eco-friendly design made of natural components
  • Entirely compostable
  • Lugs and clasp are easily removed without tools
  • Lugs have unique design to be reused with almost any other band
  • Lovely color choices
  • Minimal packaging
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Affordable
  • Lugs only available in polished silver

Rating: 5 out of 5

Where to buy