The 23H2 update is coming, whether you're ready or not, for those holdouts who have yet to upgrade their Windows 11 installation from 22H2 (or indeed 21H2).
Tom’s Hardware noticed that Microsoft updated its Windows 11 23H2 status document to let users know what’s happening, and that eligible Windows 11 devices will be automatically upgraded to version 23H2.
That means you’ll have no choice in the matter, of course. Updating to Windows 11 23H2 is mandatory at this point, with the caveat that this automatic upgrade process may not come to your PC all that soon.
Microsoft uses AI to “safely roll out this new Windows version in phases to deliver a smooth update experience,” and therefore some PC configurations may find it’s still a while before they have 23H2 foisted on them.
Alternatively, you may find the upgrade is piped to your machine imminently. It’s a roll of the hardware (and software) configuration dice, in short.
Analysis: Staying safe
Automatic upgrades being forced on Windows users is nothing new, of course. This happens whenever an update has been around for a good deal of time, and Microsoft feels everyone who is running an older version of Windows 11 (or Windows 10) needs to step up and move away from it (because it’s running out of road for support, or indeed has run out).
Regarding Windows 21H2 users (the original version of the OS), you may be thinking – didn’t they already get forced to upgrade to 22H2? Yes, they did. So why are some folks still on 21H2 then? Well, there may be a small niche of users remaining on 21H2 as anomalies, basically (we spotted a couple on Reddit), and they will be transferred direct to 23H2 instead. (Hopefully, anyway – though it’s possible that not having been offered an upgrade at all so far could be the result of a bug).
Microsoft needs to push upgrades like this for security reasons. If a Windows 11 user remains on an unsupported version, they won’t get monthly security updates, which is bad news of course – their PC could be vulnerable to exploits. Hence the big updates become mandatory eventually.
Windows 11 and Windows 10 users are reportedly experiencing a puzzling situation whereby an unwanted HP app is being installed on their systems without their knowledge.
Windows Latest flagged up this rather peculiar problem that affected the writer’s PC, as well as others according to reports.
The application in question is HP Smart, and we’re told it’s being errantly installed from the Microsoft Store. It’s an app which allows for controlling HP printers or MFDs (multifunction devices that also scan), and it’s being installed on non-HP PCs and also those not connected to an HP printer, which is pretty mystifying.
It isn’t clear why this installation is happening, but there are reports of it occurring on Windows 11 23H2, 22H2, and Windows 10 (on Reddit and elsewhere, as well as from Windows Latest).
Windows Latest has been in touch with Microsoft about the problem, and the software giant said it was aware of these reports, and will be in touch soon to share further details on the matter.
Analysis: Not so smart move
This is an odd one, for sure, but it seems Microsoft has an investigation underway and we’ll get the results of that soon enough. Stay tuned.
If you’re curious about whether you’ve been affected, you can just jump into the Start menu and scroll down to the ‘H’ section of the app list to see if HP Smart is present. If so, the cure is simple enough – just right click on the entry for the app, and select uninstall. (The app may also be present under the ‘recently added’ section at the top of the menu).
Whether the app could end up being installed again after you remove it isn’t made clear. At any rate, we’d imagine Microsoft will have the solution to this one before long.
It should be noted that in the past there’ve been complaints of the HP Smart app being installed on PCs when people have, for example, taken their computer to a friend’s house and gone on a network that has an HP printer. In other words, Windows detects the presence of the HP printer and then automatically grabs the app. So perhaps what’s going on here is a false detection of HP hardware triggering the installation, but we’re just guessing here.
Really, there should never be a case where software is installed without the user’s knowledge, and there should always be a prompt to show what’s about to happen, and to check that it’s okay to go ahead with the installation.
With the popularity of ChatGPT, the amount of Chrome extensions out there is ever-expanding. Some are helpful, though a lot of them… aren’t that great. However, we’ve found a few of the best extensions out there to minimise the search and maximise the ChatGPT experience on Chrome.
You can’t be part of daily internet culture, or at the least be a person with access to the internet, and escape the ChatGPT discourse – whether you want to or not. That, and South Park just covered it, so you know, it’s a pretty big deal right now.
For anyone needing a quick refresher, ChatGPT is the language-based chatbot created by OpenAI that allows you to generate text-based answers to questions about the universe, prompts for poems or brainstorm ideas (and much more). You can use ChatGPT for many things, with the only fundamental limitations being your imagination (and the fact that the responses are text-based, of course).
If you’re using ChatGPT for free or paying for the Plus membership, interacting with the bot is definitely an experience, to say the least. The conversational tone is almost disarming when you’re trying to probe whether or not it’s planning to take over the world or asking it for love life advice.
However, the user interface of ChatGPT is pretty basic compared to its capabilities. While we await further updates and feature expansions, third-party browser extensions are your friend if you want easier, quicker access to ChatGPT and add features to make the most of the AI bot.
ChatGPT for Google
The chrome extension ChatGPT for Google is a must-have if you’re looking to integrate AI more into your daily life and make the most out of that vast fountain of knowledge. The extension will show results from the chatbot alongside standard Google search results, so you can get a quick brief of whatever you’re googling while you scan results for the right page.
Some queries will work better than others with this: you won’t get the latest weather or sports reports, but you can get pretty in-depth answers to questions about human biology, basic cleaning hacks and history facts. Most of your queries will likely be accompanied by a ChatGPT response, but do be prepared for the bot to draw a blank sometimes.
A little box in the corner is integrated alongside the usual search results, and you’ll be able to launch a conversion with ChatGPT right off the page if you want to chat about it or learn more.
Use Voice Commands – Promptheus
Fan of Alexa or Siri? Want to take the conversation into the real world (on your end anyway) and get responses quickly without having to type it all out? Promptheus is for you! This Chrome extension lets you talk directly to ChatGPT using the spacebar on your keyboard so you can skip typing and get answers to all your burning questions by using your voice.
Once you install the extension, open up Chrome, head to ChatGPT and hold the spacebar to start talking. We used it a few times when writing this article, and it does speed up the workflow, since you’re just swapping tabs, asking your question, reading the answer and moving on.
ChatGPT Export and Share
Currently, if you want to get content out of ChatGPT into other places you have to rely on the old faithful cut and paste, but with ChatGPT Export and Share (which works with Chrome, Edge and Firefox) you can streamline the export process in ChatGPT.
It may take a minute to set it up in the browser, but once you’re all done you’ll get new export buttons near the prompt box to make things a whole lot easier when you’re ready to save your content.
You’ll have options to save your conversations as images or PDFs, and you can create shareable links too if you have something special you want to share quickly.
With Merlin you can have ChatGPT at the tips of your fingers and pull it up with no problems. The extension lets you summarize large blocks of text or reply to an email at any time, essentially giving you a little AI assistant at your beck and call!
Once you’ve got the extension installed, select a block of text and then hit Ctrl + M on Windows or Cmd + M on macOS, and then tell Merlin what you want ChatGPT to do. Summarize, reply, write etc. If you’ve got a tricky email you need to respond to, just select the text in the email thread, bring up Merlin and have ChatGPT write a diplomatic response for you.
Since there’s a simple keyboard shortcut to activate the extension, it’s really easy to incorporate Merlin into your daily grind very quickly, though do keep in mind that you’re limited to about 31 requests per day.
We’ve only listed a few extensions in this article so far, but we hope to add more extensions as they crop up and as people come to grips with ChatGPT. We’re only just seeing how ChatGPT fits into our lives as it becomes more mainstream, so there’s no doubt that as the technology cements itself into the day-to-day and more people find interesting ways to utilise ChatGPT we’ll be seeing a lot more useful extensions.
It looks like both Google and Apple saw record-breaking numbers when it came to mobile app installs in 2021.
SensorTower measures the most popular app installs for Google and Apple devices, and in 2021 there was a 20% increase in users purchasing apps.
Many of the most popular apps appear to be social media apps and games, with TikTok, Facebook and Instagram being at the top of the most-installed charts, alongside games such as Honor of Kings and Coin Master.
However, we’re starting to see different ways in which we can access these apps, with Apple M1-powered Macs allowing iOS apps to be used and Chromebooks running Android apps. Windows 11 is also about to be able to download and run Android apps through Amazon.
With mobile apps coming to more operating systems, we may see a big change in SensorTower’s charts in a year’s time of how apps will be downloaded and purchased.
An App Store in more places
These charts give users a good idea of what apps were used across the year. With the global Covid-19 pandemic, people are using devices more in their homes as lockdowns became enforced, which would have influenced the charts from SensorTower in 2021.
But thanks to vaccines, users are going out again, trying different apps for different situations. This could lead to an increase in travel apps, for example, with users looking into what public transport they should use.
The MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) is a recent example that’s powered by Apple’s M1 Pro or M1 Max chips, which let you download previously-purchased iOS apps. This is because the CPU is the same architecture as used in the iPhone and iPad, and this has allowed apps to also run in macOS, as long as the developer has allowed for this.
This means that if you see an app on the iOS App Store, there’s a good chance that you can also use it on your Mac as well as your iPhone or iPad.
This could have a big influence on the charts that SensorTower creates each year. We use our devices in different ways in different places – for instance, an app you download from the iOS App Store may be more suited on your Mac. Games are a good example of this, with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City being available for iPhone and iPad, but can now be downloaded on an M1-powered Mac, so you can carry on your progress during a commute on the train for instance.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is also doing its own take on this, thanks to an agreement with Amazon.
A Windows App Store fusion
Windows 11 was announced in June with a redesigned Microsoft Store, where you can download and install apps, much like you can in Android and iOS. But a surprise arrived in the form of Android apps from the Amazon App Store, which are also coming to the Microsoft Store.
While it’s in testing on the Windows Insider channels, where you can test features under development, it could heavily influence how the Android charts from SensorTower could appear this time next year. Users who have an Android phone could carry on their work or progress in a game on their Windows tablet and PC, as long as the app is available on the Microsoft Store.
We’re in a time where mobile apps are about to expand to other devices in a big way, which could also encourage developers to create apps or update their existing ones to cater for these changes.
Both iOS apps in macOS and Android apps in Windows 11 throw down the gauntlet to see how developers can adapt to these upcoming changes. It’ll also be interesting to see how these new ways of using mobile apps influence next year’s charts.