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Windows 11 features, pricing and everything you need to know
Update: Microsoft's big 'Build' developers conference is taking place on May 23, and we could be seeing some information about the next big update to Windows 11. If you'd like to watch the event, you can do that right here – we'll update this page if anything major gets revealed, so stay tuned…
Windows 11 is out and available as a free upgrade for those still on Windows 10. But, before you go grabbing that download, find out all the important information about this brand-new OS. We’ve covered all the important questions, such as the operating system’s best features, how to download it, and its price.
If you want to make the leap already, here’s how to download and install Windows 11 on your PC or Windows laptop. Since it's passed its first birthday recently, there are some kinks that still need working out, so take a look at how to fix common Windows 11 problems if you come across any issues.
Make sure to also take a look at our Windows 11 review, where we cover all the improvements the new OS has made, from offering an updated, attractive design, to new ways to grab apps as well as better security features.
While there is still some room for improvement, Windows 11 is turning out to be a very promising update. And, if you’re currently using Windows 10, it’s free to upgrade to 11, as long as your computer meets certain strict minimum system requirements required for the sake of the operating system’s security.
Just bear in mind that there's still some confusion as to what these system requirements are due to a component called TPM (Trusted Platform Module). Right now, it looks like Microsoft isn't going to budge on its requirement that your device is equipped with a TPM 2.0 in order to run a fully supported version of the new OS.
With an October event announcing new Surface tablets and the arrival of Apple Music heading to Windows in 2023, it's a good time to upgrade your tablet,
Now that Windows 11's 2022 update has been released, let’s take a look at what the operating system has to offer, from its updated features to the benefits it has for users over Windows 10.
Windows 11: Cut to the chase
- What is it? Windows 11 is the successor to Windows 10
- When did it come out? October 5
- How much does it cost? Free (if you already have Windows 10)
Windows 11 release date
Microsoft launched Windows 11 on October 5 as a free upgrade, though some people were able to install it a day early on October 4.
Microsoft will be rolling out the update to eligible devices over the coming months, with users being notified when the update is available for them.
However, you can also download Windows 11 right now from the Windows 11 download page.
Many laptop and PC makers have also confirmed that many of their new products will come with Windows 11 preinstalled. This includes Microsoft's new Surface Pro 8, Surface Go 3 and Surface Laptop Studio devices, which were launched to coincide with Windows 11's release date.
As perfect as 11.11 *would* be, we just couldn’t wait any longer to make #Windows11 available. Get it October 5th, and read all about it now.August 31, 2021
There is also going to be a yearly update of the new operating system, similar to Apple's efforts with macOS.
While Microsoft released a tool that allowed you to see if your desktop PC or laptop will be able to run Windows 11, it was confirmed to be buggy, giving erroneous results for machines that would have no problem in running the update.
However, another tool has been released which gives you much clearer detail for how eligible for PC is.
Windows 11 system requirements
There's been a lot of discussion as to which devices are eligible for Windows 11. Regardless of the TPM requirement, others are simply wondering if they need to look to upgrade their PC or laptop soon.
Microsoft has published the requirements for the update which you view below:
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with at least two cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or SoC
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 64GB
- System Firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- TPM: Trusted Platform Module 2.0
- Graphics Card: DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
- Display: 720p, 8-bit per color channel, at least 9-inch diagonal
- Internet Connection and Microsoft Account: Windows 11 Home requires an active internet connection and a Microsoft Account to complete initial, first-use setup of the operating system, or when switching a device out of Windows 11 Home in S-mode.
How to download Windows 11
We have a handy guide on how to download Windows 11, which gives you all the information you need now that the final version has been released.
It's a relatively simple process, as long as your PC meets Windows 11's minimum system requirements.
There's also an option to downgrade to Windows 10 if you are experiencing issues with Windows 11. This is available in the current Insider builds, but you can only do it within 10 days of upgrading your machine, otherwise a clean install has to be done in order to go to Windows 10.
How to download Windows 11 ISO for a clean install
If you'd like to perform a fresh install of Windows 11, rather than upgrading from Windows 10 (or earlier), then you'll need to download the Windows 11 ISO file.
Doing a clean install takes a bit more time, and you'll need to reinstall all of your apps and restore your files if you've backed them up (which you should do before you start), but there are many benefits of doing a clean install of Windows 11.
For a start, you'll get a much better performing PC, and if you were encountering any issues with Windows 10, a clean install can help fix some of these. Over the years your PC's hard drive may become filled with unwanted apps and files, so a clean install can get rid of all of that.
If that's the way you want to install the operating system, then check out our guide on how to download the Windows 11 ISO for more advice.
How to upgrade to Windows 11 without TPM 2.0
Some people have found that they are unable to install Windows 11 due to the requirement for PCs to have TPM 2.0 support.
This is a relatively little known security feature, but it's caused some people a fair bit of frustration as they've found they've been unable to install Windows 11.
We do have a guide to enable TPM 2.0 if needed, but you may be out of luck if your PC doesn't support it.
However, there is a way to upgrade to Windows 11 without TPM 2.0, but this should only be done by people who are really desperate to run Windows 11 despite not meeting the system requirements.
How to downgrade from Windows 11 to Windows 10
There may be an occasion however, where you may need to revert back to Windows 10. This could be due to an app not being compatible as yet, or Windows 11 doesn't take kindly to a component in your PC.
Fortunately we have a guide ready that can take you through this, step by step.
Windows 11 price
Windows 11 is a free update for existing Windows users – you'll need to be online to download, install and activate Home versions, and you'll need to have a Microsoft account when installing it on or upgrading your PC or tablet.
Windows 11 will also come pre-installed for free on new PCs and laptops as well, though you should check before you buy to make sure. In some cases, new laptops and PCs may still be sold with Windows 10, and you'll have to upgrade for free yourself.
Windows 11 product keys for fresh installs will likely go on sale in 2022, but we don't know how much it'll cost.
It could cost as much as Windows 10 licences originally sold for: Windows 10 Home cost £119.99/$ 139 and Windows 10 Pro sold for £219.99/$ 199.99, so we could see similar prices for Windows 11.
So far Microsoft has released the hardware requirements for Windows 11, but there's confusion over TPM (Trusted Platform Module) and whether the company are pushing hard over the minimum threshold for which devices are eligible to be updated to the new version.
While we've got a handy explainer for you that goes into TPM, hardware vendors can still offer new machines with Windows 11 that won't need this requirement, albeit with good reason to.
Should you upgrade to Windows 11?
Now that Windows 11 is out, and it's a free upgrade, many people will be keen to download it and try it out. But should you upgrade to Windows 11?
In our opinion, for many people it'll be worth not upgrading to Windows 11 just yet. This is because it's still early days, and there are several problems that need fixing first. For example, some people are reporting that Windows 11 is slowing down their internet connections.
Microsoft is aware of most of these issues and is working on fixes. That means by holding off from installing Windows 11 for a while, you'll give Microsoft a chance to release updates to fix those problems. Then, when you do finally install Windows 11 in a few week's or month's time, things should run much smoother.
We also spoke to several industry experts, and they all agree that people – and businesses – shouldn't rush to install Windows 11 just yet.
How to run Windows 11 in macOS Monterey
You may want to have the best of both worlds sometime, especially if your day job involves running both operating systems.
Thankfully we've put together a guide to show you how to do exactly that.
Windows 11 features
There are improvements across the board in Windows 11, with Microsoft promising that updates will be 40% smaller, and touting Windows 11 as “the most secure release yet”.
The taskbar is optimized for touch as well as mouse peripherals, and is now renamed the dock.
New multitasking features are also on offer thanks to a feature called Snap Layouts, which enables you to arrange multiple windows across the screen, not just side by side, but in columns, sections and more.
Windows 11 checker
There's now a much-improved health check app found in Settings, where Windows 11 will recommend you to turn down the brightness for example, change the power saving mode of the battery and much more.
Another feature is Snap Groups, where you can go back to previously snapped windows from the dock, so for example you can go to your email app, Edge browser windows or anything else without having to snap them back to the previous view again.
There's also improved multi-monitor support, so when you reconnect an external monitor, Windows 11 remembers the previous positions of the windows that were on that monitor.
There's even an estimated installation time for Windows Update, so you can see whether you need to hold off from updating your PC until later in the day.
Teams is also integrated to the dock, so you can easily join in with meetings and family calls. This looks like the first inkling of Skype disappearing from Windows, especially with the Skype sounds being heard in the demo when a call was incoming.
The Microsoft Store is finally seeing a redesign, with better-curated content, and a better options for managing your purchased shows, such as mirroring them to your television. Apps such as Disney+, Adobe Creative Cloud, Pinterest and more are already in this redesigned store for Windows 11, ready to go.
WPA, EWP and Win32 apps are now all in the Microsoft Store, ready to go. If a developer has a commerce engine, they can keep 100% of the revenue brought from the Microsoft Store.
Android apps are also ready for Windows 11, discoverable from the Microsoft Store, via the Amazon App Store, so you can download TikTok and more, ready to use on your PC or tablet.
We suspect that the reason why Amazon are allowing their version of the store instead of Google, may be to do with the .APK filename being replaced from August.
The new store opens up possibilities for other applications to arrive in Windows 11, even Apple's iMessage, which could follow iTunes and Safari.
Windows 11 Home vs Windows 11 Pro
Depending on what you currently use your system for, you may need to consider if you will be upgrading to standard Home version of Windows 11, or if you need to bump up to Windows 11 Pro, Microsoft's enterprise version of the operating system. Regardless of what your preference may be, both have the same minimum system requirements so you'll need to meet those standards regardless of what version you side with.
There are numerous benefits to Windows 11 Pro, though mostly security related to protect businesses and organizations to keep data safe, with features like Windows Information Protection (abbreviated to WIP).
Another difference you'll see between Windows 11 Home and Pro is when you’re setting it up for the first time, as with the Home version you'll need to set it up with an internet connection and a Microsoft account.
Windows 11 doesn't have either of these restrictions, which may tempt some non-enterprise users into buying the Pro version of the operating system to avoid using a Microsoft account. Windows 11 Home PCs also can’t be joined to Active Directory, which are often used on business devices to control access to certain applications and resources.
You can find a full list of the differences between Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro over on the official Microsoft comparison page.
A new look for Windows 11
Fluent Design is the new name for the look of Windows 11. Across the board everything looks more modern and fresh, with rounded windows and apps such as Snipping Tool seeing huge improvements in years.
One of the biggest changes users will notice is that the Start menu has been moved to the center of the screen – and it's now “cloud powered”, so it dynamically changes depending on the time of day, and the content you're working with.
If you're using the Insider Build, there's already ways of customizing the taskbar and the start menu, including moving the icons back to the left.
Light Mode and Dark Mode are here too, with a unified design across the operating system, with colorful wallpapers to choose from as well.
Windows Widgets are back in Windows 11, accessible via the dock, with Microsoft touting AI-powered dynamic features that enable widgets, as with the Start menu, to change depending on the apps you're using and the time of day. On the touchscreen, you can slide from the left on the desktop to have widgets appear.
There are plenty to choose from, such as the weather, Bing maps, news, and more.
These will be available for third-parties as well, so you may see as many widgets available to pick as there are on Apple's iOS and iPadOS operating systems.
Many apps are being redesigned for Windows 11, such as the Photos, Snipping Tool and Paint apps, bringing them in line with the Fluent Design language.
Gaming on Windows 11
Gaming will be a much bigger focus in Windows 11, with the sluggish and frustrating-to-use Windows 10 Xbox app replaced by a new Game Pass app that enables you to buy, manage and remove games, making it easier for you to access and download games, from Doom Eternal to – soon – Halo Infinite.
HDR will also be supported on compatible machines, offering improved lighting and contrast for gaming and viewing media. Direct Storage is also here, with the main game assets able to be downloaded and installed, enabling you to play your games even faster than before.
Improved Wi-Fi in Windows 11
It looks like Windows 11 could come with a decent upgrade to your device's Wi-Fi capabilities, as Qualcomm announced it has worked with Microsoft, along with other laptop makers and even Valve, to bring Wi-Fi Dual Station with Qualcomm 4-stream DBS technology to compatible machines.
We explain more about how this will boost Wi-Fi in Windows 11, but it looks like it will be particularly useful for gamers, as it will use multiple Wi-Fi bands at once to help reduce latency. This could be a killer feature for Windows 11.
Windows 11 Touch improvements
Tablet mode has been one of Windows' weaker points ever since Windows 8, and the new tablet features that Microsoft showed off for Windows 11 could be key to the operating system's fortunes, especially with future Surface products in the pipeline from Microsoft – to have a new, numbered operating system for its upcoming tablets could be a big selling point for new users.
At the event, Microsoft touted bigger touch targets and easier ways to move windows around, and better rotate optimizations, for example in how windows are rearranged, so you don't lose track of the applications you were using.
Gestures used with the trackpad of the Surface models are also coming to the touchscreen, bringing in some familiarity here. Haptics is also coming to Windows 11 when you use a stylus for better feedback when drawing or sketching.
The touch keyboard has also been redesigned, with a smaller keyboard just for your thumb, and emojis ready to be used. Microsoft says dictation will also be improved, alongside voice commands, with 'delete that' options and more.
Add a personalized touch to Windows 11
Microsoft has certainly given Windows 11 a more modern look than what we saw in Windows 10, but there's always the risk that it might not be to your taste. No need to worry though, as it takes very little time and effort – and, pleasingly, no money! – to inject some personality into Windows 11, customizing the look of the operating system in various ways to make it your own.
Perhaps the easiest way to completely change the look of Windows 11 is to apply a new theme, and there are a good handful of options already available for you to try out, but if the ones that come with the OS don't suit you, you can download more from the Microsoft Store.
There are also familiar customizations such as setting a personal desktop background as either a static image or a slideshow, and you can tweak system color options – including dark mode. You can even make adjustments to the taskbar if you like, so your finalized Windows 11 doesn't need to look anything like the out-of-box version of the OS.
Are there issues with Windows 11?
No new operating system will have a completely flawless launch, so despite being in beta through the Windows Insider Program, a few issues have already popped up. Thankfully the ones discovered so far are nothing serious and some of them are only appearing for a few users so if you wanted to start downloading the OS on launch day, don't let this stop you.
The biggest problem on Microsoft’s status page for Windows 11 listing known issues is compatibility problems with Intel Killer network drivers which is causing websites and video streams to be slow and sluggish. A memory leak issue has also been reported on Reddit, with at least some folks are finding that when they close an instance of File Explorer, it isn’t releasing the RAM it used.
We have a run-through of most of the currently known issues with Windows 11 and we will be keeping this up to date as more reports come in with any new Windows 11 problems and how you can fix them, but nothing system-breaking has appeared so far.
What devices are shipping with Windows 11?
If you tuned into Microsoft's Surface event on September 22 then you might already have seen that Windows 11 will be pre-installed onto the Surface Pro 8, Surface Go 3, and the Surface Laptop Studio. This isn't surprising as all these products have been released on the same date that Windows 11 became available for public download so Microsoft will want to push its latest operating system.
If the Microsoft Surface family of products isn't your style though, other brands like Dell, Asus and HP have all released pages online that specify what devices are Windows 11 ready. Note that many won't come with the new operating system installed, but as they all meet the minimum system requirements, you can simply buy the laptop or 2-in-1 as normal and then update it yourself.
Microsoft claims Windows 11 is a “new era for the PC”
It's worth remembering that Windows 11 is the first major upgrade to the software platform since the launch of Windows 10 back in July 2015, and so marks a crucial point for Microsoft.
Heralding its new offering as “an exciting milestone in the history of Windows“, Panos Panay, Microsoft's Chief Product Officer for Windows and Devices noted that, “a new era for the PC begins today”.
In a company blog post, Panay added that “there's never been a better time to buy a PC”, and that, “whether it’s to work, create, connect, learn or play, the PC will continue to play a relevant and lasting role in our lives. No other ecosystem has the breadth and scale that the Windows ecosystem does to meet the needs of people whether they’re creators, developers, students and educators, business and gamers at every price point and in every form factor.”
Should you install Windows 11?
As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. While it may be tempting to give Windows 11 a try straight away, we recommend holding on a few days, or even weeks, before you grab the new operating system.
Why? After all, our Windows 11 review is pretty glowing, and it brings plenty of new features that many people will be keen to try out.
However, every major operating system launch comes with its fair share of issues, as we've mentioned above, so getting the very best experience might require letting other people do the early testing for you. Microsoft will be working hard to identify and fix problems as they occur, which is why it’s a good idea to hold fire for a few days or weeks. Let other people encounter those problems first, then in a few weeks, download Windows 11 safe in the knowledge that most problems will be fixed.
This is especially important if you were planning to install it onto a PC that you use daily, such as for work or study. If it’s working fine with Windows 10, it’s best to hold off for the moment. Otherwise, you may find that Windows 11 has messed a few things up, and you’re stuck with a PC that’s not working correctly.
How to spot fake Windows 11 downloads
Windows 11 is out now, and it's relatively easy to download and install it, but this does mean that you should be vigilant about where you download Windows 11 from, as there are fake downloads out there that could catch you out.
To make sure you're only installing the official release, only download Windows 11 from Microsoft itself.
You should also check out our guide on how to spot fake Windows 11 downloads for more information on keeping yourself protected.
Issues with Cloud Gaming on Windows 11
Cloud gaming platform Shadow has told its users that they shouldn’t try to install the Windows 11 upgrade for Windows 10 just yet – advice that could be well heeded by all PC gamers, who should at least have caution at the forefront of their minds.
With Windows 11 being previously available to the public as a beta via the Windows Insider Program, It's possible that bugs have been detected as Shadow asserts that it isn’t ready for cloud PC installations in an email to subscribers.
The email states: “Today, Microsoft will officially launch Windows 11. Its release will be gradual, with potential bugs and issues early on. With this in mind, we will monitor the initial performances of Windows 11 before taking any action.
“This will allow us to guarantee strong performances and an overall high quality of service when we do make the eventual transition to Windows 11. Please do not update your Shadow to Windows 11 until further notice.”
The email concludes by letting subscribers know that they’ll be told when Windows 11 is ready to go on their cloud PC installation, and in the meantime, the Shadow team will continue to run tests on the OS to ensure suitability and that the service is “fully optimized” for Windows 11.
This is only a single provider, but if you use Cloud Gaming services then you may need to ask around for other experiences using Windows 11 before you give it a try yourself.
How to manage notifications in Windows 11
You almost certainly have a selection of apps installed on your computer, and many of these use notifications to let you know about things. A news app can alert you to the latest headlines, an email app will let you know when you have new mail, and your chat app will inform you of new messages that need your attention.
Thankfully, you can set all this up in Windows 11 with relative ease, or turn them off completely if you don't like the interruption. If you're happy with the current Windows 10 experience (in which notifications are displayed in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, just above the clock in the Taskbar) then great news – you won't have to do any configuration as this is the default for Microsoft's latest OS.
Fort everything else though, there are plenty of ways for you to adjust your notifications in Windows 11 to best suit your needs.
How to manage power options in Windows 11
Microsoft has always given Windows users a good deal of control over how their computer uses power, and this is something that continues with Windows 11.
While managing power consumption may be something that you most readily associate with laptops and a desire to maximize battery life, power options can also play an important role for desktop users.
Desktop user may not have to worry about how long a battery is going to last, but Windows 11's power option remains important. Thankfully, Windows 11 has made it easier than ever to keep track of power consumption, Sleep Mode and detecting what apps are draining your device's battery life.
How to us Focus Assist in Windows 11
Do you ever get distracted when you should be doing something important? Your computer is supposed to be a tool to help you get things done. This might mean getting on with work, playing games, watching movies, writing emails, or just browsing the web, but there are all manner of distractions that can pull you away from what you're trying to do.
If you're sick of being pestered by notifications when you're trying to do something else, you could benefit from Windows 11's Focus assist feature. This is a simple but powerful function of Windows 11 that enables you to configure rules that determine when notifications about new emails, messages and so on are muted.
There are many customization options that let you do things like set a schedule, create priority lists and you can even optimize for different monitors if you use multiple displays.
How to use virtual desktops in Windows 11
Windows 11 offers excellent support for virtual desktops, which allow you to use several desktops, and switch between them easily. This allows you to keep organised by having separate desktops for work and pleasure, for example.
It's a great way to have some of the productivity benefits of multiple monitors, but with a single screen, so check out our guide on how to use virtual desktops in Windows 11 for an in-depth look into this feature.
- Find out where to buy Windows 10
iOS 16.5: new features, supported iPhones and all you need to know
Apple unveiled iOS 16 – the latest operating system for iPhone and the successor to iOS 15 – at WWDC 2022 in June last year, but the update didn't actually arrive until September 12, where it coincided with the release of the iPhone 14 line.
Now out in the wild as iOS 16.5 in 2023 – having been through five subsequent updates since its September debut – the software release brings improvements to many apps, with lock screen widgets, better privacy features, improved phone calls and new fonts, colors and emojis chief among the newly arrived features.
Below, we've rounded up everything you need to know about iOS 16.5, from its compatible iPhones to biggest new features. We've also included a timeline of updates, too, so you can track when particular features became available. For a look into the future, check out our guide to iOS 17, which is expected to be the next major iOS overhaul.
iOS 16.5: Cut to the chase
- What is it? The latest iteration of iOS 16
- When did it come out? May 18, 2023
- How much does it cost? It’s free
- Which phones are supported? iPhone 8 and newer
iOS 16 Latest Updates
May 18, 2023 – Apple releases iOS 16.5 in full, which brings patches for several security issues and updates to apps including Spotlight and CarPlay.
March 29, 2023 – Apple releases the first public beta for iOS 16.5, with minor changes on the cards for apps including Siri and Apple News.
March 27, 2023 – iOS 16.4 is out, bringing clearer phone calls, HomeKit tweaks and push notifications from web apps.
January 23, 2023 – iOS 16.3 is out, with Advanced Data Protection, Security Keys, new wallpapers, and support for the HomePod 2.
December 13, 2022 – iOS 16.2 is out, bringing Freeform and security features.
October 24, 2022 – iOS 16.1 is out, bringing refinements and Live Activities.
September 12, 2022 – iOS 16 is available for anyone with an iPhone 8 and above.
September 7, 2022 – Apple's 'Far Out' event confirmed that iOS 16 arrives on September 12, alongside the iPhone 14 series and more.
July 11, 2022 – The public beta is available to download for anyone with an iPhone 8 and above.
June 14, 2022 – Will lossless audio come to the AirPods Pro 2? The technological groundwork ought to be in iOS 16, and so far, no one has stumbled across any evidence of it.
June 13, 2022 – In an exclusive interview with TechRadar, Apple's Craig Federighi and VP of Design Alan Dye take us inside Apple's remake of the Lock Screen – an “act of love,” Federighi said.
June 11, 2022 – iOS 16 will be a bumper release this time, with many improvements to features across the operating system, on a scale arguably not seen since iOS 8. Here are the 7 best new features in iOS 16.
June 7, 2022 – Support for the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and Joy-Cons have been discovered in the latest iOS 16 developer beta. With a public beta near, you can soon try Nintendo's controllers on your iPhone for yourself.
More of the latest iOS 16 tidbits ▼
June 7: Which phones support iOS 16? TechRadar has a complete list of phones compatible with the new OS.
June 7: iOS 16 will bring fundamental changes to the Messages app. Editing and deleting messages after you sent them is now a thing — meaning autocorrect is now dead.
May 30: As we get nearer to WWDC, rumors suggest iOS 16 will get a few significant new features, including improvements to your iPhone's lock screen. It could be the most radical iPhone update in years.
May 15: It’s increasingly sounding like iOS 16 will include new apps and major changes, with the latest leak pointing to new ways of interacting with widgets, and even some new Apple apps.
iOS 16.5 release date
Apple confirmed iOS 16's September 12 release date at its 'Far Out' event on September 7, 2022, where it also announced the iPhone 14, Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch Ultra and AirPods Pro 2.
iOS 16.5 became available to download on May 18, 2023, following four separate iterative updates to the new OS.
iOS 16 Features
There are all sorts of new and improved features on iOS 16, and we've detailed the key ones below.
Customizable lock screens
With iOS 16, you're able to customize your lock screen by tapping in any area to change the text font and colors.
Complications (which are essentially widgets) can also be enabled here, a feature lifted from the Apple Watch. You're able to add three of these to your lock screen, while the Now Playing screen has been moved towards the bottom for easier access with your thumb.
You're not limited to just one lock screen, either. Similar to creating a watch face on your Apple Watch, you can swipe between different lock screens, so you can have access to different widgets based on your needs.
Apple has introduced new lock screens with each new iterative update to iOS 16, with the latest – iOS 16.5 – bringing Pride-specific wallpapers.
Focus mode also got some updates, many of which tie into the lock screen, as the lock screen that's shown can automatically be switched based on the Focus profile you have.
For example, a 'Meeting' focus profile could make your lock screen change wallpaper and offer a row of widgets showing details of that event.
You can also use 'Focus Filters' to block out tabs in Safari, accounts in Mail, events in Calendar, and more, to help you manage your workflow. We've made a comprehensive guide of how to set up Do Not Disturb and Focus mode to help get you started.
Notifications have also been improved with 'Live Activities', which are essentially pinned widget-like notifications that allow you to check the score of a game, track the progress of a food delivery, and more.
Notifications have a new design, too, aimed at making them visually pop, and they also feature new animations, rolling in from the bottom of the lock screen so they're easy to see at a glance while staying out of the way.
And you can choose to view notifications in an expanded list view, a stacked view, or a hidden view.
Apple has added several new features to Messages. 'Undo send' has arrived for one, allowing you to delete a message for up to 15 minutes after you've sent it – for example, if you realize you've sent it to the wrong person. Similarly, you can also edit messages in the first 15 minutes. Note though that this only works for iPhone to iPhone messages.
SharePlay is also now available on the app, so you can play a movie in Disney Plus for example, and share it with someone via Messages.
Dictation has also been improved, as it now lets users move fluidly between voice and touch inputs, so you can type to add text or move the cursor without having to stop Dictation.
Clearer cellular phone calls
Perhaps the biggest quality-of-life upgrade to come with iOS 16.4 was Voice Isolation for cellular calls, which helps reduce ambient noise during your phone calls.
This feature was already available on apps like WhatsApp or FaceTime, which you've probably noticed tend to sound better than cellular calls. But with iOS 16.4, it finally came to cellular calls – to access it, you'll just need to swipe down the top-right of the screen (to access the Control Center), tapping Mic Mode, then Voice Isolation.
Apple has also confirmed that Voice Isolation is compatible with every iPhone model released alongside or after the iPhone SE (2020), which means most of the best iPhones benefit, too.
Hinted at by Apple in May, 2022, several new accessibility features have since arrived on iOS 16, such as door detection, which helps you locate doors, read signs around them, and get instructions for opening them.
There's also the option to view live captions in a FaceTime call, control your Apple Watch from your iPhone, hang up phone calls with Siri, and more.
Live text has seen improvements as well – you can copy and paste text in video, alongside being able to copy and translate text.
An improved Podcasts app
If you mainly feed your podcast habit in Apple's default Podcasts app rather than third-party ones, you'll see several small improvements to the overall experience in iOS 16.4.
Firstly, it's now easier to find shows that are part of wider channels or networks. When you follow a show that's part of a channel (for example, a network that produces multiple shows, like Bloomberg or the BBC), you're able to see it in a new dedicated Channels section in your podcast Library.
This is handy, given that many podcasts are now part of wider networks that produce several shows around similar themes. When you tap on a channel, you'll see the shows you follow at the top, plus any subscription options that are available for that network.
Wallet has seen privacy improvements, with in-app ID verification being enabled for third-party apps.
Tap to pay on iPhone also arrived with iOS 16, removing the need for any point of sale terminals. Plus, you can view receipts and track orders directly from Wallet.
There's also Apple Pay Later, which splits purchases into four interest-free payments spread over six weeks, and Order Tracking, which lets you see the latest information on your Apple Pay orders.
Apple Books animations
This one's strictly for fans of the Apple Books app, so a little niche. But if that's you, Apple brought back a strangely satisfying animation to the app with iOS 16.4 – the 'curl' page-turn effect.
For some reason, this animation – which mimics a page being turned over – was removed in iOS 16 as it first appeared. But if you've missed seeing your digital pages turning in the Books app, you'll be happy to see that effect return when you upgrade to iOS 16.4.
Maps now finally enables you to store recent trips in the app, and you can send them from a Mac or iPad device.
You can also add multiple stops on a route, and while on a journey you can ask Siri to add another destination, hands-free, in case another errand pops up, while 'Look Around', Apple's take on Google Street View, is being opened up to third-party apps.
Plus, you can see transit fares, and – without leaving Maps – you can add transit cards to Wallet, replenish your card, and see low balances.
iOS 16 saw a big push on sports, with Apple News getting a new My Sports section to let you view schedules, standings and scores for your favorite teams.
Live updates for sporting events can also be added to the lock screen, so if you're not able to tune in you'll still be kept up to date with the score.
Apple's Family Sharing feature enables you and your family to share an account, for example to view photos and videos, and so that parents can approve purchases made by minors.
In iOS 16, it's easier for parents to set age-appropriate restrictions on content, and parents or guardians can respond to Screen Time requests in Messages.
A quick start feature for iPad lest you sync settings that you've configured on your iPhone to an iPad simply by moving your phone close to the tablet, and there's also a Family Checklist feature, making it easier for you to be confident that all of the content on an iPhone is secure and child-safe.
The ability to share photos and videos over iCloud was widely requested, and iCloud Shared Photo Library now allows up to six people to share a library. Users can send photos to the Shared Library using a new toggle in the Camera app, and receive intelligent suggestions to share photos that include other users of a shared library.
A new privacy tool called Safety Check has been introduced to help those at risk from violence or harassment by partners.
Users can quickly revoke all access to Messages and other accounts that they’ve granted to a partner, and an emergency reset feature helps users to easily sign out of iCloud on all their other devices, reset privacy permissions, and limit messaging to just the device in their hand. Users can also stop sharing their location with this tool.
It also lets you generally check and manage which people and apps you've given access to your information.
Home App is redesigned
In conjunction with the new Matter smart home standard, the Home app was redesigned to make it easier to manage your smart appliances and rooms.
You're now able to see all your rooms in a single view, alongside categories for lights, climate, security and more. You can tap on a category to see more detailed status information, and view up to four security cameras at once.
You can also add smart home widgets to the lock screen, allowing you to view the status of your home at a glance, and quickly access smart home controls.
You can use your iPhone's TrueDepth Camera to create a personal Spatial Audio profile for your AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, for what Apple calls “an even more precise and immersive listening experience.”
Apple's Fitness app is now available to all iPhone users, even if they don't have an Apple Watch to help them track their fitness. The app will use the motion sensors of your iPhone along with step and distance tracking, and workouts from third-party apps, to help you achieve your daily Move goal and estimate your calorie burn.
People in Montana will soon need a TikTok VPN to keep accessing the app
People living in Montana will soon need to download a VPN service to keep accessing TikTok.
Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed for the proposed ban to become law on Wednesday May 17, with the block due to be officially enforced on January 1, 2024.
The move makes Montana the first US state to ban TikTok, raising concerns over their right to free speech – so we've looked at what's at stake for the future of the Chinese social media giant in the country and how using a TikTok VPN might help.
Montana TikTok ban
Gianforte described Montana's TikTok ban as, “our shared priority to protect Montanans from Chinese Communist Party surveillance,” the BBC reported.
Perhaps the most downloaded app worldwide, TikTok has been facing growing scrutiny in the US and its allied nations recently. Politicians are especially worried about the app's link with Beijing, fearing that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could access US user data and spread nationalist propaganda.
Earlier this month, an ex-employee of TikTok's parent company ByteDance claimed the CCP had “supreme access” to all data as part of a larger wrongful layoff's lawsuit.
In December 2022, it was the news of ByteDance employees spying on some US journalists to raise the alarm. The video-sharing app was then banned on government devices among a long list of democracies, including the US, UK, New Zealand, Canada and some EU countries.
A total block is, however, what the US is striving for with the RESTRICT Act (now passing through the Congress) – exactly what Montana appears to have now finally achieved.
At the same time, experts argue that the US government has so far failed to bring concrete evidence of the alleged wrongdoings. Many commentators also warn of the potential consequences of making TikTok illegal in the US, arguing that the move will restrict Americans' digital rights.
“With this ban, Governor Gianforte and the Montana legislature have trampled on the free speech of hundreds of thousands of Montanans who use the app to express themselves, gather information, and run their small business in the name of anti-Chinese sentiment,” said Keegan Medrano, policy director at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Montana.
“We will never trade our First Amendment rights for cheap political points.”
This law tramples on our free speech rights under the guise of national security and lays the groundwork for excessive government control over the internet.Elected officials do not have the right to selectively censor entire social media apps based on their country of origin.May 17, 2023
The law will prohibit TikTok from operating inside the state borders, while also requiring app stores to prevent people in Montana from downloading the app. Non-compliance punishments could reach up to $ 10,000 of starting fine, in addition to another $ 10,000 for every day the violation continues.
“It would certainly be a costly gamble to keep download options available once the Bill comes into force and app stores would be well advised to comply,” Olexandr Kyrychenko, Partner at London-based law firm IMD Corporate, told TechRadar.
All this might also create even worse security risks for TikTok users in Montana as 2024 starts won't be able to download any new updates and fix potential vulnerabilities.
VPN provider Private Internet Access (PIA) also believes that such a move would set a “worrisome precedent” over the future of digital freedom in the US. “Prohibiting the use of certain technologies or social media sites is a restrictive and likely ineffective way to protect US citizens’ data; who should have the right to choose whether or not they want to use these platforms.”
According to the BBC, TikTok is expected to challenge the new law in court.
In an official statement, the tech firm wrote: “We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana.”
In the meantime, we advise people in Montana to get a secure VPN service before the end of the year. This security software can, in fact, spoofs users' IP address location and make them appear if they're browsing from a completely different country within seconds.
Google Workspace doesn’t really need AI, but you’re getting it anyway
Google has followed the herd and announced a host of new artificial intelligence (AI) expansion for its is coming to its collaboration tool for enterprise.
The tech giant announced the new Google Workspace feature set, which includes the ability to draft new content and refine existing work in Google Docs , and gives Google Slides the opportunity to generate images from text prompts.
However given that Microsoft has had their finger in this pie since March 2023, and has just announced a similar text-to-image tool for PowerPoint, it’s hard for us to get especially excited about any of this – for now.
Google’s collaborative AI
Everyone’s at it, which is good, I suppose – you’re not beholden to one provider if you’re dying to use the latest tech gimmick. I just wish tech companies remembered that they’re supposed to have original ideas.
But in lieu of that, have this – Google Sheets will now – yawn – analyze and provide actionable insights into your data, with automated data classification and the creation of custom plans.
At the center of this is – yep – AI that can understand the context of your data beyond just the content of a cell. A new “help me organize” function will, even though you’re an adult, generate a comprehensive to-do list based on the homework you need your mum’s help with.
Docs won’t just do your work for you (including grammatically correct, “professional-grade” in French, Spanish, Japanese and “more”) – it’ll use its proprietary “smart chip” technology to help personalize it, so now you can, say, entice bright, inspired job applicants into your web until you finally break it to them gently that the machines are running the place.
Places like gig economy bandwagoner Lyft, that wrote, or had a computer write, without any sense of irony, that “[Lyft] is excited [!] to test out the new generative Workplace experiences [!!]”.
Google deigns to assure us that it continues to believe in the “ingenuity of real people”, characterizing its AI’s work as “suggestions”. It’s all a bit “Gizmo has gone to live on a farm with her other dog friends” to me, but at least, if you’re an IT admin, you’re being given the policy power to make the hurting stop.
- Here’s our list of the best free office software right now
Apple Music Classical release date, price, and everything you need to know
Apple Music Classical has made its long-awaited debut in the App Store – and for Apple Music subscribers, the app is an exciting new way to explore the world's biggest classical music catalog.
Right now, Apple Music Classical is exclusive to the iPhone, but the company says an Android app is “coming soon”. If you're an Apple Music subscriber ($ 10.99 / £10.99 / AU$ 12.99 a month). you can download the app right now for free from the App Store.
But should you download Apple Music Classical and how good use it? And why on earth has Apple made a separate app, rather than bundling all of this classical goodness into its existing Apple Music app?
We've answered all of these questions and more in this guide to Apple's unique app, which gives Apple Music a unique advantage in its battle with Spotify and the best music streaming services.
Apple Music Classical release date and price
Apple Music Classical is available to download now in any country where Apple Music is available. That includes the USA, UK and Australia, though countries including China, Japan and South Korea currently miss out.
You need an Apple Music subscription to listen to Apple Music Classical and there's currently no separate subscription available. Right now, that costs $ 10.99 / £10.99 / AU$ 12.99 a month.
Considering Apple Music has over 100 million songs and Apple Musical Classical adds another 5 million tracks to that, that's pretty good value – particularly if you have wide-ranging taste from stretches from classical to college rock.
Apple Music Classical: how to download it
There are a few boxes to tick before you can start streaming Apple Music Classical. First, you need an individual, student, or family subscription to Apple Music – unfortunately, the cheaper Apple Voice ($ 4.99 / £4.99 / AU$ 5.99) plan doesn't include the new classical streaming service.
You also may need to update your iPhone's software. While you don't need to be running the absolute latest version of iOS 16, you will need a phone with iOS 15.4 or higher. That means any iPhone from the iPhone 6S onwards, including the iPhone SE.
Got both an Apple Music subscription and a relatively recent iPhone? You can download Apple Music Classical from the App Store right now. Just sign in with the same ID you use for your Apple Music subscription and you're off.
Unfortunately, there is currently no iPad app or Mac app for Apple Music Classical, which is a shame. But Apple has said that an Android app “is coming soon”. We'll update this page as soon as we know more about a date.
Apple Music Classical: what is it?
Apple Music Classical sounds like a straightforward concept – a spin-off from Apple Music where you can stream around five million orchestral tracks by all kinds of composers, from Bach to Mozart. But its surprising depth, which is built on Apple's purchase of the classical music app Primephonic in 2021, makes it suitable for all experience levels and shows why Apple decided to make it separate app.
Apple's calls the service “the world’s largest classical music catalogue” but its real appeal is the power of its search function. Because classical pieces have hundreds of recordings by different orchestras and conductors, traditional streaming apps can be difficult to navigate.
Apple Music Classical promises to be an improvement thanks to the nuance of its Browse section, which lets you search by composer, period, genre, conductor, orchestra, soloist, ensemble, choir, instrument or even the work's opus number or nickname. That makes it easier to surface, for example, that particular movement by Massenet.
The app is also a pretty beginner-friendly introduction to the slightly intimidating world of classical music. Apple's created over 700 playlists along with some handy guides, like The Story of Classical, which combine commentary with works and breakdowns of classical terminology. We'd love Apple to do more of this for all genres of music in its own Music app, but it's definitely a nice feature here.
With some exclusive artwork, including high-resolution portraits of composers from Bach to Vivaldi, Apple Music Classical clearly wants to be as much a digital home for classical music fans (or fledgling fans) as it is a place to stream music. But Apple fortunately hasn't forgotten about sound quality either.
Apple Music Classical: features and design
As you'd hope for an app that's attempting to recreate the sound of a live orchestra at home – even if that isn't really possible – Apple Music Classical does promise impressive sound quality for a streaming service.
The app features lossless audio quality up to 24 bit/192 kHz throughout its catalog, which is a boon considering there's still no sign of equivalents like Spotify HiFi (its lossless, CD-quality offering). The quality you ultimately get, though, will depend on whether or not you're listening with wired or wireless headphones.
Some of the Apple Music Classical catalog is also available in Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos, which gets a bit closer to that 360-degree immersive live experience. You can find these pieces in its 'Now in Spatial Audio' section, which currently contains just over fifty works.
You'll again need headphones or speakers that can handle Spatial Audio to benefit from this. And it's also worth bearing in mind that on Apple's wireless Bluetooth headphones (like the AirPods Max) you'll still only be able to stream Apple Music Classical in lossy quality, as lossless audio isn't currently possible over Bluetooth on Apple headphones.
Got some wired headphones or listening on some speakers? You can turn on lossless audio quality by going into your iPhone Settings menu and finding the Music app. From there, go to Audio Quality and tap 'Lossless Audio' to turn it on. Bear in mind that this will use a lot more data than usual, which means you may also want to turn off Cellular Data for the Music app (which also controls the settings for Apple Music Classical).
The overall design of Apple Music Classical is, as you'd expect, clean and simple, much like the Apple Music app. There's a refreshing lack of clutter compared to other music streaming apps like Spotify and the Browse section is particularly powerful for classical music.
You can add albums or playlists to your Library section by tapping the '+' symbol in the top right of either. But strangely, you can't download these tracks in Apple Music Classical for offline listening – instead, you need to go to the standard Apple Music app, find them there and then download them to your device.
Apple Music Classical: the downsides
Apple Music Classical certainly isn't perfect. For a start, there currently aren't any dedicated apps for iPad, Mac, Apple TV or CarPlay, which is strange. There also isn't an Android app yet, even though one is “coming soon”.
It's possible that this will change in the future, as Apple has stated that the current version of Apple Music Classical is “just the beginning”. But that does make it slightly more limited than it could have been, even if the likes of AirPlay are a workaround for Apple TV owners.
There are a few other limitations, too. There's no 'shuffle' option available for those who want to have more of a radio-style experience like the one offered by the standard Apple Music app. And in general, the design is set up for those who already know what piece of classical music they're looking for.
It also isn't possible to download tracks in Apple Music Classical for offline listening. But while Apple did previously confirm to us that there would be no offline listening option in the app, there is an unexpected workaround – you can find tracks saved to your Apple Music Classical library in the Apple Music app and download them from there. Not ideal, but better than nothing.
Apple Music Classical: early verdict
We're pretty impressed with Apple Music Classical so far. The streaming quality is good (particularly when you use wired headphones) and the catalog has depth and variety. The key benefit, though, is its powerful search function, which makes it far easier to browse classical music than, say, on Spotify.
It's a shame there aren't more apps available, particularly for iPad and Mac. We hope that changes soon,, as it will for Android fans. And the offline listening setup, which you have to do via the Apple Music app, is a bit convoluted.
But for a first-gen offering, Apple Music Classical is a polished new experience for fans of the genre – and a unique differentiator for Apple Music when compared to the likes of Tidal, Amazon Music, and Spotify.
Need Windows on a really old PC? New Tiny10 has arrived (complete with tighter security)
A new version of a stripped-back Windows 10 installation has been made available, and it might be suitable for those running low-powered PCs who couldn’t otherwise get the OS on their computer.
Apparently this will be the final incarnation of Tiny10, which is being shelved in favor of the recently launched Tiny11, the latter being the same idea – a tiny installation of Windows 11 (hence the name).
If you have a truly old computer, some good news: tiny10 2303 x86 is now available! This new release is mainly aimed at bringing the functionality of tiny10 in line with that of tiny11 in one main area: serviceability. pic.twitter.com/IeAXDGplRDMarch 11, 2023
What these products consist of is a modified Windows ISO with a whole load of bloat removed, keeping just the core essentials of Microsoft’s operating system, with all that streamlining meaning it can run on a lesser spec PC as mentioned. Indeed, Tiny10 has been designed to work on a “truly old computer” according to the developer, officially requiring only 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.
The new version, taking its final bow as the curtain falls on it for good, makes some useful changes to Tiny10.
That includes the introduction of a fully functional Windows Defender (now Microsoft Defender) as built-in protection from malware, saving you from having to go to the trouble of installing a third-party antivirus.
The developer also notes that the component store is back, allowing for updating Tiny10, and the remote desktop is now in the mix with the OS.
Analysis: How low can you go?
If you want to get an idea of how resource-friendly these pared-down Windows installations are, bear in mind that Tiny11 has been run on a Raspberry Pi 4. Granted, performance was very sluggish in many respects, but the OS worked on the compact board of a computer.
As a side note, Tiny11 can be booted on as little as a fifth of a Gigabyte of system memory – although in that case, it’s not remotely usable. But it’s clearly remarkable that the OS can even reach the desktop with such a minuscule amount of RAM available to meet its demands.
Doubtless you get the idea, then, and Tiny10 will surely work on very old PCs that otherwise wouldn’t be up to scratch for running Windows 10. It’ll likely work fine on a rig with only 1GB of memory, perhaps even less.
Just bear in mind that as ever with any kind of modified installation file, you can’t be sure exactly what tinkering has been done, so proceed with a healthy amount of caution with projects like this. That said, the developer seems trustworthy enough, and has had these ISOs out for a couple of years now with no complaints.
Note that you need a valid Windows 10 key to run Tiny10 – it’s still a Windows 10 installation, after all, just a heavily modified one capable of providing new options to very old PCs.
Via Tom’s Hardware
ChatGPT explained: everything you need to know about the AI chatbot
ChatGPT has quickly become one of the most significant tech launches since the original Apple iPhone in 2007. The chatbot is now the fastest-growing consumer app in history, hitting 100 million users in only two months – but it's also a rapidly-changing AI shapeshifter, which can make it confusing and overwhelming.
That's why we've put together this regularly-updated explainer to answer all your burning ChatGPT questions. What exactly can you use it for? What does ChatGPT stand for? And when will it move to the next-gen GPT-4 model? We've answered all of these questions and more below. And no, ChatGPT wasn't willing to comment on all of them either.
In this guide, we'll mainly be covering OpenAI's own ChatGPT model, launched in November 2022. Since then, ChatGPT has sparked an AI arms race, with Microsoft using a form of the chatbot in its new Bing search engine and Microsoft Edge browser. Google has also quickly responded by announcing a chatbot, tentatively described as an “experimental conversational AI service”, called Google Bard.
These will be just the start of the ChatGPT rivals and offshoots, as OpenAI is offering an API (or application programming interface) for developers to build its skills into other programs. In fact, Snapchat has recently announced a chatbot 'called My AI' that runs on the latest version of OpenAI's tech.
For now, though, here are all of the ChatGPT basics explained – along with our thoughts on where the AI chatbot is heading in the near future.
What is ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is an AI chatbot that's built on a family of large language models (LLMs) that are collectively called GPT-3. These models can understand and generate human-like answers to text prompts, because they've been trained on huge amounts of data.
For example, ChatGPT's most recent GPT-3.5 model was trained on 570GB of text data from the internet, which OpenAI says included books, articles, websites, and even social media. Because it's been trained on hundreds of billions of words, ChatGPT can create responses that make it seem like, in its own words, “a friendly and intelligent robot”.
This ability to produce human-like, and frequently accurate, responses to a vast range of questions is why ChatGPT became the fastest-growing app of all time, reaching 100 million users in only two months. The fact that it can also generate essays, articles, and poetry has only added to its appeal (and controversy, in areas like education).
But early users have also revealed some of ChatGPT's limitations. OpenAI says that its responses “may be inaccurate, untruthful, and otherwise misleading at times”. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman also admitted in December 2022 that the AI chatbot is “incredibly limited” and that “it's a mistake to be relying on it for anything important right now”. But the world is currently having a ball exploring ChatGPT and, despite the arrival of a paid ChatGPT Plus version, you can still use it for free.
What does ChatGPT stand for?
ChatGPT stands for “Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer”. Let's take a look at each of those words in turn.
The 'chat' naturally refers to the chatbot front-end that OpenAI has built for its GPT language model. The second and third words show that this model was created using 'generative pre-training', which means it's been trained on huge amounts of text data to predict the next word in a given sequence.
Lastly, there's the 'transformer' architecture, the type of neural network ChatGPT is based on. Interestingly, this transformer architecture was actually developed by Google researchers in 2017 and is particularly well-suited to natural language processing tasks, like answering questions or generating text.
Google was only too keen to point out its role in developing the technology during its announcement of Google Bard. But ChatGPT was the AI chatbot that took the concept mainstream, earning it another multi-billion investment from Microsoft, which said that it was as important as the invention of the PC and the internet.
When was ChatGPT released?
ChatGPT was released as a “research preview” on November 30, 2022. A blog post casually introduced the AI chatbot to the world, with OpenAI stating that “we’ve trained a model called ChatGPT which interacts in a conversational way”.
The interface was, as it is now, a simple text box that allowed users to answer follow-up questions. OpenAI said that the dialogue format, which you can now see in the new Bing search engine, allows ChatGPT to “admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests”.
ChatGPT is based on a language model from the GPT-3.5 series, which OpenAI says finished its training in early 2022. But OpenAI did also previously release earlier GPT models in limited form – its GPT-2 language model, for example, was announced in February 2019, but the company said it wouldn't release the fully-trained model “due to our concerns about malicious applications of the technology”.
OpenAI also released a larger and more capable model, called GPT-3, in June 2020. But it was the full arrival of ChatGPT in November 2022 that saw the technology burst into the mainstream.
How much does ChatGPT cost?
ChatGPT is still available to use for free, but now also has a paid tier. After growing rumors of a ChatGPT Professional tier, OpenAI said in February that it was introducing a “pilot subscription plan” called ChatGPT Plus in the US. A week later, it made the subscription tier available to the rest of the world.
ChatGPT Plus costs $ 20 p/month (around £17 / AU$ 30) and brings a few benefits over the free tier. It promises to give you full access to ChatGPT even during peak times, which is when you'll otherwise frequently see “ChatGPT is at capacity right now” messages during down times.
OpenAI says the ChatGPT Plus subscribers also get “faster response times”, which means you should get answers around three times quicker than the free version (although this is no slouch). And the final benefit is “priority access to new features and improvements”, like the experimental 'Turbo' mode that boosts response times even further.
It isn't clear how long OpenAI will keep its free ChatGPT tier, but the current signs are promising. The company says “we love our free users and will continue to offer free access to ChatGPT”. Right now, the subscription is apparently helping to support free access to ChatGPT. Whether that's something that continues long-term is another matter.
How does ChatGPT work?
ChatGPT has been created with one main objective – to predict the next word in a sentence, based on what's typically happened in the gigabytes of text data that it's been trained on.
Once you give ChatGPT a question or prompt, it passes through the AI model and the chatbot produces a response based on the information you've given and how that fits into its vast amount of training data. It's during this training that ChatGPT has learned what word, or sequence of words, typically follows the last one in a given context.
For a long deep dive into this process, we recommend setting aside a few hours to read this blog post from Stephen Wolfram (creator of the Wolfram Alpha search engine), which goes under the bonnet of 'large language models' like ChatGPT to take a peek at their inner workings.
But the short answer? ChatGPT works thanks to a combination of deep learning algorithms, a dash of natural language processing, and a generous dollop of generative pre-training, which all combine to help it produce disarmingly human-like responses to text questions. Even if all it's ultimately been trained to do is fill in the next word, based on its experience of being the world's most voracious reader.
What can you use ChatGPT for?
ChatGPT has been trained on a vast amount of text covering a huge range of subjects, so its possibilities are nearly endless. But in its early days, users have discovered several particularly useful ways to use the AI helper.
Broadly speaking, these can be divided into natural language tasks and coding assistance. In our guide to six exciting ways to use ChatGPT, we showed how you can use it for drafting letters, writing poetry, and creating (or adapting) fiction. That said, it does still have its limitations, as we found when ChatGPT showed us just how far it is from writing a blockbuster movie.
That hasn't stopped self-publishing authors from embracing the tech, though. With YouTube and Reddit forums packed with tutorials on how to write a novel using the AI tech, the Amazon Kindle store is already on the cusp of being overrun with ChatGPT-authored books.
Other language-based tasks that ChatGPT enjoys are translations, helping you learn new languages (watch out, Duolingo), generating job descriptions, and creating meal plans. Just tell it the ingredients you have and the number of people you need to serve, and it'll rustle up some impressive ideas.
But ChatGPT is also equally talented at coding and productivity tasks. For the former, its ability to create code from natural speech makes it a powerful ally for both new and experienced coders who either aren't familiar with a particular language or want to troubleshoot existing code. Unfortunately, there is also the potential for it to be misused to create malicious emails and malware.
We're also particularly looking forward to seeing it integrated with some of our favorite cloud software and the best productivity tools. There are several ways that ChatGPT could transform Microsoft Office, and someone has already made a nifty ChatGPT plug-in for Google Slides. Microsoft has also announced that the AI tech will be baked into Skype, where it'll be able to produce meeting summaries or make suggestions based on questions that pop up in your group chat.
Does ChatGPT have an app?
ChatGPT doesn't currently have an official app, but that doesn't mean that you can't use the AI tech on your smartphone. Microsoft released new Bing and Edge apps for Android and iOS that give you access to their new ChatGPT-powered modes – and they even support voice search.
The AI helper has landed on social media, too. Snapchat announced a new ChatGPT sidekick called 'My AI', which is designed to help you with everything from designing dinner recipes to writing haikus. It's based on OpenAI's latest GPT-3.5 model and is an “experimental feature” that's currently restricted to Snapchat Plus subscribers (which costs $ 3.99 / £3.99 / AU$ 5.99 a month).
The arrival of a new ChatGPT API for businesses means we'll soon see an explosion of apps that are built around the AI chatbot. In the pipeline are ChatGPT-powered app features from the likes of Shopify (and its Shop app) and Instacart. The dating app OKCupid has also started dabbling with in-app questions that have been created by OpenAI's chatbot.
What is ChatGPT 4?
OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman has confirmed that it's working on a successor to the GPT-3.5 language model used to create ChatGPT, and according to the New York Times this is GPT-4.
Despite the huge number of rumors swirling around GPT-4, there is very little confirmed information describing its potential powers or release date. Some early rumors suggested GPT-4 might even arrive in the first few months of 2023, but more recent quotes from Sam Altman suggest that could be optimistic.
For example, in an interview with StrictlyVC in February the OpenAI CEO said in response to a question about GPT-4 that “in general we are going to release technology much more slowly than people would like”.
He also added that “people are begging to be disappointed and they will be. The hype is just like… We don’t have an actual AGI and that’s sort of what’s expected of us.” That said, rumors from the likes of the New York Times have suggested that Microsoft's new Bing search engine is actually based on a version of GPT-4.
While GPT-4 is unlikely to bring anything as drastic as graphics or visuals to the text-only chatbot, it is expected to improve on the current ChatGPT's already impressive skills in areas like coding. We'll update this article as soon as we hear any more official news on the next-gen ChatGPT technology.
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Google Chrome 100 update arrives with a new icon – and that’s all we need
Google Chrome has been updated to version 100, bringing with it bug fixes, the removal of lite mode, and most of all, a new icon.
In the 14 years since the web browser was released, Chrome has become an app that many use for anything else other than browsing the web. Partly thanks to the Chrome Web Store, you can play games, complete your school report and watch Moon Knight all without checking a web page.
Google has made a fun look back on 100 web moments since 2008's arrival of Chrome, but while this is a fun read, the more pressing matter is the new icon that version 100 brings.
It made me want to look back on another logo change from Instagram, and how its change in 2013 was so major.
An iconic icon
Logos need to match the style of the time, and one example was when iOS 7 arrived in 2013. The design changed from skeuomorphism, which is a way of reflecting real-world objects, to a flat design that you use today on your Apple device.
This meant that the majority of apps had to change to fit this style, otherwise they would stick out sorely. The most prevalent for me was Instagram, which could have changed its logo from a camera to something that reflected part of the camera in a flat design. But instead, there was a change that set it apart from the other social platform apps at the time.
While the revamped logo reflects a camera, the colors were striking at the time, and still are today. When Instagram was celebrating its birthday in 2020, it added an easter egg to its app to bring back the classic icon.
Very smart Instagram. pic.twitter.com/6Wicd0JUWGOctober 6, 2020
Oddly, the old icon fit in the world of iOS 14, so it was a shame to see it go in quick succession soon after.
But Google's efforts with Chrome's icon have been progressive. From something that looked like an evil Pokéball in 2008, to one that looks pseudo 3D for version 100.
While its other icons have brought controversy, such as using the same color schemes for its other apps in 2021, Chrome has been consistent, almost being the template for these apps.
But as tastes and trends change in technology, we may see a cross between skeuomorphism and flat design converge, with another major icon change by the end of this decade. And for me, I'm all for it.