Microsoft might be spooked by Windows 10 user numbers – but will make upgrading to Windows 11 easier be the answer?

If you’re a Windows 10 user, you may have been prompted to download Windows 11 22H2 to upgrade to Windows 11. You would then need to fully reboot your system to download the newer Windows 11 23H2. Thankfully, it seems like Microsoft has cut down this tedious process and will now let you upgrade straight to Windows 11 23H2 from Windows 10.  

As spotted by Mayank Parmar of Windows Latest, a new server-side change allows people to more easily upgrade their operating system, and noted that over the past few weeks, some PCs have started offering ‘Windows 11 23H2’ rather than the older 22H2 update. 

The old system of updating didn’t really make a lot of sense – why would you download an update just to reboot and download yet another one to get to Windows 11?

I’m glad that the process has become a bit more streamlined, and it seems like the option will be offered to more and more people in the coming weeks. If you are yet to update to Windows 10, I’d recommend holding off until you’re prompted to jump straight to Windows 11 23H2 – if only to save yourself the headache of a lengthy double-update.

Make it worth it, Microsoft 

If you’re planning to hold onto Windows 10 as long as possible, you’ve got about two years of Windows 10 support before Microsoft will start really pushing for you to upgrade (though the in-OS nagging has already begun). Windows 10 losing support won’t mean the end of the operating system entirely – you’ll still be able to use it as you normally would once the deadline for support has passed. 

However, you’ll no longer receive security updates, bug fixes, or any new features for Windows 10. That leaves you vulnerable to cyber-attacks and annoying system glitches, so you’ll have to weigh up whether staying with Windows 10 is worth it. Microsoft has made it quite clear in recent months: get on board with Windows 11 or get left behind.

Windows 11 is not without its flaws; the most recent update to the system has been riddled with bugs for a while, with a fix only recently being dropped for struggling users. In my view, if Microsoft is so keen to get users to upgrade, it ought to be 100% certain the alternative it’s offering is worth the changeover – and many users clearly don’t think that’s the case. It may be that the only real solution may be to just put everything into Windows 12 and make an operating system that everyone can finally get behind.

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Are you a Reddit user? Google’s about to feed all your posts to a hungry AI, and there’s nothing you can do about it

Google and Reddit have announced a huge content licensing deal, reportedly worth a whopping $ 60 million – but Reddit users are pissed.

Why, you might ask? Well, the deal involves Google using content posted by users on Reddit to train its AI models, chiefly its newly launched Google Gemini AI suite. It makes sense; Reddit contains a wealth of information and users typically talk colloquially, which Google is probably hoping will make for a more intelligent and more conversational AI service. However, this also essentially means that anything you post on Reddit now becomes fuel for the AI engine, something many users are taking umbrage at.

While the very first thing that came to mind was MIT’s insane Reddit-trained ‘psychopath AI’ from years ago, it’s fair to say that AI model training has come a long way since then – so hooking it up to Reddit hopefully won’t turn Gemini into a raving lunatic.

The deal, announced yesterday by Reddit in a blog post, will have other benefits as well: since many people specifically append ‘reddit’ to their search queries when looking for the answer to a question, Google aims to make getting to the relevant content on Reddit easier. Reddit plans to use Google’s Vertex AI to improve its own internal site search functionality, too, so Reddit users will enjoy a boost to the user experience – rather than getting absolutely nothing in return for their training data. 

Do Redditors deserve a cut of that $ 60 million?

A lot of Reddit users have been complaining about the deal in various threads on the site, for a wide variety of reasons. Some users have privacy worries, some voiced concerns about the quality of output from an AI trained on Reddit content (which, let’s be honest, can get pretty toxic), and others simply don’t want their posts ‘stolen’ to train an AI.

Unfortunately for any unhappy Redditors, the site’s Terms of Service do mean that Reddit can (within reason) do whatever it wants with your posts and comments. Calling the content ‘stolen’ is inaccurate: if you’re a Reddit user, you’re the product, and Reddit is the one selling. 

Personally, I’m glad to see a company actually getting paid for providing AI training data, unlike the legal grey-area dodginess of previous chatbots and AI art tools that were trained on data scraped from the internet for free without user consent. By agreeing to the Reddit TOS, you’re essentially consenting to your data being used for this.

A person introduces Google Gemini next to text saying it is

Google Gemini could stand to benefit hugely from the training data produced by this content use deal. (Image credit: Google)

Some users are positively incensed by this though, claiming that if they’re the ones making the content, surely they should be entitled to a slice of the AI pie. I’m going to hand out some tough love here: that’s a ridiculous and naive argument. Do these people believe they deserve a cut of ad revenue too, since they made a hit post that drew thousands of people to Reddit? This isn’t the same as AI creators quietly nabbing work from independent artists on Twitter.

At the end of the day, you’re never going to please everyone. If this deal has actual potential to improve not just Google Gemini, but Google Search in general (as well as Reddit’s site search), then the benefits arguably outweigh the costs – although I do think Reddit has a moral obligation to ensure that all of its users are fully informed about the use of their data. 

A few paragraphs in the TOS aren’t enough, guys: you know full well nobody reads those.

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Microsoft is planning to make Copilot launch when Windows 11 starts – and it could spark the next user backlash

It looks like Microsoft is going to make Copilot, its new AI assistant, start up automatically on PCs with ‘wide screens’ running suitable versions of Windows 11. As it happens, most PC screens are wide, so it seems like Microsoft wants to get Copilot in front of as many users as possible. 

This potential development has been discovered in a Windows preview build that’s just been released in the Dev Channel of the Windows Insider Program. The Windows Insider program is Microsoft’s official community of professionals and Windows enthusiasts who can access previews of new Windows features and versions. Windows Copilot’s interface opening automatically when a PC boots up is being trialed as part of preview build 23616, and it’s worth pointing out that this feature is still in the testing stages and may not end up being included in a finalized Windows 11 update that’s rolled out to all users. 

The feature is already being called controversial, which I understand – I get very annoyed when apps and features are sneakily enabled to start up automatically when I turn on my laptop. Also, in a Microsoft Windows Blog post, it does emphasize that users can turn off this feature, which will probably be the case if it makes it into a final Windows update version. Even Windows Insiders who are in the Dev Channel may not see it at the moment, as the rollout of the preview build is ongoing.

Here’s what Microsoft has to say about this Copilot change: 

We are trying out opening Copilot automatically when Windows starts on widescreen devices with some Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel. This can be managed via Settings > Personalization > Copilot. Note that this is rolling out so not all Insiders in the Dev Channel will see this right away.

Screenshot of Windows Copilot in use

(Image credit: Microsoft)

A frosty reception so far

Microsoft didn’t specify which widescreens will qualify for this automatic feature – specifically what aspect ratios will be eligible. Windows Central asks if “widescreen” means common 16:9 and 16:10 screens, or ultrawide monitors with 21:9 ratios.

So far, this is being received as unnecessary and possibly annoying, especially as Copilot currently is pretty limited in what it’s able to do. Windows Central speculates that this update could be laying the groundwork for a more substantial Copilot update, suspected to be in development for the next iteration of Windows (unofficially known as “Windows 12”). 

When Microsoft presented its vision for Copilot, it was presented as an AI assistant that would work across a multitude of apps and could enhance users’ productivity. When it becomes something that’s more familiar (and popular) like Microsoft hopes, maybe there’s a case for Copilot opening up as soon as your PC turns on. 

At present, Copilot isn’t there yet – and this move will probably just end up rubbing users the wrong way, especially if it ends up slowing down the time it takes for their PCs to load Windows 11. 

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9 hidden iOS tricks that every iPhone user should know

Apple’s iOS has come a long way from its iPhoneOS starting point, and all of the best iPhones have built on the operating system’s initial promise. Steve Jobs demonstrated the power of the iPhone in 2007 with a huge on-stage Starbucks order, and the platform has grown year after year with each update adding new features.

Multitasking, the notification and Control Center, and even the App Store, were all added to the iPhone after its first iteration, and that rapid pace of innovation can make it hard to keep up with new features.

With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of useful features you may have missed. Some are accessibility options, some need to be enabled, and others are just waiting to be used. All of them, though, will make your iPhone experience better.

1. Use a cursor to select text

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

Texting is a way of life, but it’s still surprisingly cumbersome even at the best of times. If you’ve ever had an errant word added by autocorrect but not spotted it until you’ve written a few dozen words more, this tip is for you.

Sure, you can hold your finger to the text to jump to it, but this can occasionally lead to highlighting an entire word or sentence. For more granular control, we’d recommend the following:

  • Hold your finger or thumb at the bottom of your screen, underneath the keyboard.
  • This will grey out the keyboard, and turn it into a trackpad until you raise your finger or thumb.

Hey presto, easy text selection!

2. Create text snippets

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

Text snippets are popular for macOS power users, but you can achieve the same result with your iPhone. Better yet, it doesn’t require any third-party software.

Text snippets are ideal shortcuts for copying in certain phrases you’ve pre-registered. If you’re dealing with a client via iMessage, for example, you may want to send a standardized response. With text replacement, you can create a block of text to be posted whenever you type a phrase.

  • Open Settings, then head to General, then Keyboard.
  • Pick Text Replacement and you’ll be able to create new replacements, and the words required to trigger them.

In our example, you can see that typing 'omw' brings up 'On my way!', but there are plenty of places where this would be useful. You can also set emoji to appear when you type, which feels pleasantly nostalgic in a way you just don’t get from the emoji picker.

3. Enable the scientific calculator

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

The iPad may not feature a calculator, but the iPhone does. The trouble is, it can feel a tad limiting outside of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – at least until you find a new perspective.

Turning your iPhone to the side with the calculator app open will enable the scientific calculator. This adds brackets, square roots, cos/sin/tan options, and the ever-handy π command, among plenty of others.

4. Enable an additional ‘button’

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

While intended as an accessibility feature, the iPhone’s ‘back tap’ button is handy for power users looking for additional input for their device.

  • Go to Settings, then Accessibility, then Touch.
  • Select Back Tap and you’ll be presented with plenty of options.

You can use this in a number of ways, such as triggering the App Switcher, snapping a quick screenshot, or opening Spotlight search from anywhere on your device. There are also double and triple tap options, meaning you can set multiple functions for it.

5. Use your camera’s 'Burst Mode'

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

Your iPhone’s camera is plenty powerful enough, but there’s one trick you may have missed: Burst Mode. Burst mode, as the name suggests, takes a series of rapid-fire images in one press which means your iPhone can capture a series of action shots.

It’s ideal for pets and excitable toddlers, letting you go back and look at your pictures after the event and pick out the best ones. It’s easy to access, too. Just slide the Shutter button (the one you use to take photos) to the left when you’re in the Camera app.

You can also head into Settings, then Camera, and toggle Use Volume Up for Burst to allow your volume rocker to trigger Burst mode – just hold it when you’re taking an image.

6. Scan documents using the camera

Your iPhone’s camera can double as a very respectable document scanner, and while Live Text means you can extract text from images, it’s entirely possible to digitize an entire document. Because it’s buried in the Notes app, though, you may not have spotted how to do it.

  • Open Notes, then tap the camera icon, then Scan Documents.
  • Highlight your document and it should automatically save. You can also manually take a scan with the shutter button.

Once the scan is saved, you can sign it, too, or just share it via any email or messaging app. It’s not got the same level of quality as a bespoke scanner, but it’s not far off, and will certainly do in a pinch.

Not convinced? Be sure to check our list of the best document scanning apps.

7. Use your camera flash as a notification

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

One final camera trick, which is a little different. As an accessibility feature, you can trigger your iPhone’s camera flash to go off when you receive a notification, providing a more visual way of knowing someone is calling or messaging.

  • Head into Settings, then Accessibility.
  • In the Audio/Visual section there’s an option for ‘LED Flash for Alerts’.

You can also trigger it to only work when your phone is on silent, which is ideal if you’d prefer your phone not to vibrate on a desk.

8. Master Control Center

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

Introduced as part of iOS 7 all the way back in 2013, Control Center has moved from the bottom of the screen to the top as the years have gone by, and it has a lot more utility than you may be aware of.

While Apple doesn’t offer Force Touch these days, you can long-press on Control Center icons to get additional options.

Through this, you can enable Spatial Audio with compatible earphones, pick a Focus mode, get a better look at what’s playing on your audio app, or even go two layers deep – the quadrant with Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mobile signal can be expanded to allow you to easily select a Wi-Fi access point, for example.

9. Recognize any song with Shazam in the Control Center

iOS tips and tricks

(Image credit: Apple / TechRadar)

Remember Shazam? The music recognition service was purchased by Apple in 2018 and remains a great way to identify whatever song is playing – whether you’re in a store, at a party, or just missed the name on the radio.

While Shazam has an app, you can also add it to your iPhone’s Control Center for easy access.

  • Open Settings, then enter Control Center and tap the Plus button next to Music Recognition to add it.

Now, whenever you hear a great song playing, you can pull down from Control Center and hit the Shazam icon to find out what’s playing. If you’re on Apple Music, it’ll even give you the option to add the track to your library.

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