Microsoft has finally fixed a cool Windows 11 Spotify feature – so what took so long?

Microsoft has just fixed one of Windows 11’s neatest features – one that Chief Product Officer Panos Panay called a ‘game-changer’ when it was first introduced back in 2021.

The pre-loaded Clock application in Windows 11 has long included a feature that allows you to link up your Spotify account and set it to play specific productivity-focused playlists while you’re employing the nifty Focus Assist feature.

However, as previously noted by Neowin, the functionality had been broken for months (since at least February 2023, potentially longer), and despite Spotify trying to rectify the issue, it turned out to be an expired certificate on Microsoft’s end breaking the feature. Users attempting to link their Spotify account to Windows Clock would be met with a blank screen and an endless “Connecting to a service” message.

Thankfully, it looks like the problem is now resolved – in part, it seems, due to Neowin’s diligent reporting. When Spotify confirmed that the bug was Microsoft’s fault, Neowin reached out to the Windows creator to report the issue. Lo and behold, a few weeks later, the problem has been fixed; you can now hook up your Spotify account to the Clock app with no difficulties.

Microsoft, please love all your children equally

However, it looks like the problem is still lingering in Windows 10 – when I tried to connect my Clock app to Spotify on my personal desktop PC (after checking for system updates), I got the same empty white window.

Microsoft has been getting more and more aggressive in its efforts to push users to upgrade to Windows 11, but this feels like a spectacular low point. If the problem is something as simple as an expired certificate for Spotify’s API access, why not fix it for both Windows 10 and 11?

Look, I don’t hate Windows 11 (although Microsoft’s recent boo-boo over ads in the Weather app did make me chuckle). I use it on my work laptop and it’s fine – in fact, it’s steadily improving, gradually adding great features and gathering pace among users. It’s been on the rise for a while in terms of adoption – a quick look at the OS section of the Steam Hardware and Software Survey shows that Windows 11 is now eating into its predecessor’s share of the PC gaming space with impressive speed.

But as my colleague Darren recently said, Microsoft should be using the carrot, not the stick, to boost Windows 11 adoption. I love Windows 10 – why don’t you, Microsoft? It’s one of the best operating systems ever made, and I don’t want to feel forced to abandon it because you’re not willing to fix simple bugs that can be fixed in its successor.

It’s also frankly not a good look that it took more than three months – and a direct complaint from a tech news site – to fix such a simple problem. Come on, Microsoft. Oh, and you can stop with all the Bing AI nonsense. If I wanted an AI on my desktop, I’d just use ChatGPT.

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Universal Control finally arrives on macOS Monterey after a long delay

Since being announced at WWDC 2021 alongside Apple’s software updates, users have been waiting for Universal Control to arrive on Mac and iPad, and it’s finally arrived.

Available to try out on the beta versions of iPadOS 15.4 and macOS 12.3, the feature allows you to control a mouse on both a Mac and iPad at the same time. In this mode, you can drag and drop files between devices without having to send files or use a cloud service to do this.

Universal Control was set to arrive in October with the launch of iPadOS 15 and macOS 12 Monterey, but it saw delays, most likely to how the complications could be with sharing files between two different devices.

But so far in testing, it works great, and for anyone with both devices, makes it much easier to manage your content side by side.

Analysis: it works, and it’s fantastic

Setting up the feature is an easy process, by going to System Preferences > Display on your Mac, and check that your iPad is showing.

If it is, you can configure it to make sure if the tablet should be placed to the left or right of the Mac, and that’s it.

Users are already showcasing the feature on Twitter, with the mouse switching over to multiple devices as if they were all connected to one another.

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iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4 don’t just bring Universal Control, as there’s also a keyboard brightness setting for your iPad, making it much easier to manage in Control Center instead. There’s also a FaceID option for masks, giving you the option for your iPhone and iPad to scan your face while wearing a mask, without using an Apple Watch to authenticate as before.

If this was in the era of iOS 9, we’d most likely have seen these features at WWDC with iOS 16, focused as a big tentpole announcement. But in recent years, we’ve seen features arrive across the year, such as trackpad support arriving on iPadOS 13.4 in March 2020.

With Universal Control looking likely to arrive for everyone in the next couple of months, it makes us wonder what could be coming to macOS 13. But regardless, we’re seeing bigger features arrive across the year instead, and for users, that’s a big win.

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We may not escape Zoom for a long time yet

The age of Zoom calls could soon be a long way off, according to perhaps unsurprising new predictions from the company itself.

The video conferencing giant, which has been one of the biggest success stories of the pandemic, has said it can play an important role in the post-pandemic world.

This would mainly be through helping facilitate and encourage hybrid working as employees look to split their time between the office and a more comfortable home environment.

Zoom future

“I think there are three big shifts that are happening post-pandemic that businesses are investing in and that’s spurring our growth and relevance,” Zoom's Ricky Kapur, head of the company's Asia Pacific zone, told CNBC in a televised interview.

This boldness follows the company's most recent financial results last month in which it revealed it is still expanding its customer base as hybrid working becomes more popular for businesses around the world.

The company added that it has seen particular success in drawing in larger customers contributing more than $ 100,000 each in trailing twelve months revenue, with Zoom also boasting 512,100 customers with more than 10 employees.

“Employees are demanding flexible work arrangements and the ability to work frictionless, irrespective of where they are,” Kapur added, noting that customers of all sizes are also looking for more customizable and flexible approaches to work.

“Whether it’s a retail experience, the ability to live feed into the store and speak with a live person — see a product, have a real conversation, and then make a purchase decision. Consumers are expecting that from companies,” he said.

Zoom has been working hard to continue the amazing growth it enjoyed during the pandemic as it attempts to keep track with rivals such as Microsoft Teams.

This includes recent updates such as live transcription, which is now available for all free Zoom accounts, after having only previously been offered to paid subscribers. 

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Samsung S10 and S10 Plus deals come with a free smartwatch…but not for long

If you've been casually eyeing up one of Samsung's two top tier Galaxy S series devices – the S10 and S10 Plus – now looks like the perfect time to invest. And when we say now…we mean the next two days.

While that might seem like a pretty quick turnaround on something you're going to own for the next two years, there is good reasoning behind it. Until January 29, Samsung is throwing in a free Galaxy Watch Active with select Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus plans.

That's a pretty great freebie alongside your phone, especially considering we gave it a 4 star review when we tested it. And the equally great news is that prices on both the Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus are looking pretty great right now.

We've picked out a selection of the top Samsung Galaxy S10 deals and its plus sized brother and listed them below. Or if you find that none of the tariffs quite agree with you, consult our guide to the best mobile phone deals to see what else is out there.

  • Don't see anything you like? Check out the competition with our iPhone deals guide


Samsung Galaxy S10 deals + free Galaxy Watch:

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus deals + free Galaxy Watch:

How to claim your free Samsung Galaxy Watch Active:

All you have to do is purchase a Samsung Galaxy S10 or S10 Plus deal before January 29. After that, go to this link and claim your new free watch. It can take up to 45 days for your Samsung Galaxy Watch Active to arrive so don't worry too much if you don't see it straight away.

What other retailers are offering the watch?

Affordable Mobiles
Carphone Warehouse
Currys PC World
EE Mobile
ID Mobile
John Lewis
Mobile Phones Direct

What is the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus like?

Samsung Galaxy S10:

The S10 is an excellent smartphone. Fitting perfectly between Samsung's affordable S10e and its mammoth S10 Plus and Note 10 devices, this phone is the ideal middle ground. You're getting a high-quality screen, in-screen fingerprint scanner and a powerful battery/processor combo.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S10 review here

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus:

Samsung's greatest 2019 handset, the S10 Plus is about as good as phones come right now – it's gone straight to the top of our best smartphone chart. The S10 Plus has a beautiful infinity-O display, in-screen fingerprint scanner, strong battery life and a powerful processor. But obviously with all of these features comes a big price, which is where these affordable offers come into play. 

Read our review on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

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