About the Author

9to5Mac

@benlovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer who started his career on PC World and has written for dozens of computer and technology magazines, as well as numerous national newspapers, business and in-flight magazines. He has also written two novels.

He thinks wires are evil and had a custom desk made to hide them, known as the OC Desk for obvious reasons.

He considers 1000 miles a good distance for a cycle ride, and Chernobyl a suitable tourist destination. What can we say, he’s that kind of chap.

He speaks fluent English but only broken American, so please forgive any Anglicised spelling in his posts.

9to5Mac's Favorite Gear

December 13

California considering text message tax – but iMessages would be exempt

California is considering introducing a tax on text messages. The reason? Because nobody makes phone calls any more …

December 12

Irvine, California, has the best broadband in the US; Buffalo, New York, the worst

Analysis of more than 115M Internet speed tests reveals that Irvine, California, has the best broadband in the country, with an average download speed of 124Mbps and an upload speed of 52Mbps …

December 10

Some apps pass personally identifiable location data to as many as 40 companies

A lengthy NY Times feature provides some stark illustrations of the extent to which potentially-identifiable location data is being captured, shared and retained by both iOS and Android apps, threatening user privacy.

The paper was able to identify specific individuals from some location patterns, and found that one iOS app was passing exact location data to a total of 40 different companies …

November 30

Instagram Close Friends feature provides official alternative to ‘Finstagrams’

Instagram Close Friends is a new feature that allows users to share their more personal Stories with just a select few friends. The feature has been in testing for almost 18 months, and is rolling out to everyone worldwide today on iOS and Android.

The company appears to be responding to the ‘Finstagram’ trend among teenage users …

November 27

Google is facing legal action in Europe as well as the US for allegedly tracking the locations of phones without the full consent of their owners …

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November 21

You can now say ‘Hey Siri, Ok Google’ to use Google Assistant on the iPhone …

An update to the Google Assistant iOS app means that you can now issue ‘Ok Google’ commands on your iPhone – albeit having to invoke Siri first …

November 20

A new Google data center will be built in Denmark at a cost of almost $700M. The company first said that it wanted to have the option of doing so exactly a year ago.

Google got as far as purchasing land right next door to one of Apple’s two data centers in the country. Although this one is in a different location, Google likely chose Denmark for the same three reasons …

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

November 16

FCC allows iPhones and other devices to receive European GPS data for the first time

A new FCC order will allow US smartphones to receive European GPS data for the first time …

November 12

Jack Dorsey says Twitter is trying to figure out how to edit a tweet

The Google search ‘How to edit a tweet’ currently results in 321 million different ways of telling you that you can’t. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that he recognizes people want the ability to fix typos, but allowing edits is complicated …

November 2

PSA: Check your browser extensions as private Facebook messages exposed

Rogue browser extensions appear to be responsible for Russian hackers obtaining private messages from as many as 120 million Facebook accounts …

October 25

US Spotify Premium subscriptions continue to grow, now at 38% of users

Spotify Premium subscriptions are continuing to grow, according to the latest data from CIRP. The company says that 38% of US Spotify subscribers now have a premium account, up from 36% in the previous quarter …

Twitter revenue up, users down, as it sold more ads and detected more bots

Twitter revenue for Q3 was higher than expected, at $758M versus $702.6M in the previous quarter. Year-on-year revenue was up 29% thanks to an identical jump in ad sales …

October 24

Voter registration tool in Snapchat helped 400,000+ people get their vote

Snap says that the Snapchat app has helped 418,000 people register to vote in the upcoming midterms. Snap added a voter registration tool to the app last month …

October 18

WhatsApp may get less annoying, half its users don’t know who owns it

If you belong to a number of WhatsApp groups, it can be irritating to get alerts from them during times when you only want personal messages. That’s a problem WhatsApp appears to be looking to solve …

The Android Spotify app has been updated to make it quicker and easier to play music you love.

First up is streamlined navigation, with three clear tabs.

Subscribers can get great recommendations on Home, discover something new with Search, and access favorite songs, artists, playlists, and podcasts in Your Library

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October 17

Facebook Portal privacy walkback: company admits will collect data for ad-serving

When Facebook entered the smart speaker business last week, it was keen to stress that it understood potential concerns about the privacy of Facebook Portal and Portal+ devices.

The company said then that four forms of protection were employed …

New Pokémon added to Pokémon GO – but you may need to hop a plane to catch some

New Pokémon are starting to appear in Pokémon GO, imported from the Diamond, Pearl and Platinum games, but you may have to travel to find some of them …

October 12

Facebook takes down fake accounts with millions of followers in run-up to US midterms

Facebook says it has taken down hundreds of fake accounts with millions of followers in the run-up to the US midterm elections …

October 11

You can now compose a tweet comprising 140 emoji – but please don’t

Using emoji in your tweets could use up a lot of your 280 characters – up to 14 characters each for some of them. But Twitter has now announced a change ensuring that all emoji are equal under the law, using two characters each …

October 10

PSA: WhatsApp security flaw could be triggered simply by answering a call – fix available

A WhatsApp security vulnerability could allow attackers to crash the Android app as soon as you answer a call, and could potentially be used to hack your smartphone …

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