Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

The Back Page: A guide to new Apple software features for your non-tech savvy friends and relatives

Look, not everybody pays as close attention to Apple announcements as we here at Six Colors—your preeminent source for Apple news1—do. That’s understandable: most of the things that Apple showed off at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference Keynote this month won’t materialize until this fall at the very earliest. And even then, more eyes will be on the actual new phones that the company is releasing.

But you know what’s coming: sooner or later, all those software updates are going to make their way onto the devices of your friends and family and you—yes, you—are going to be the one called upon to explain them.

So, in advance of the inevitable tsunami of calls, emails, texts, and FaceTimes, allow for me to provide you with the following invaluable resource: I’ve combed through Apple’s announcements to discover the features that your less tech savvy friends and relatives are definitely going to be asking you about and how you can explain them to the layperson.

Five features to share

Passkeys: When is a password not a password? When it’s a passkey! Stress that the good news is they’ll never need to come up with another password. The bad news is no, they can’t keep using fluffybunny1974 for every single site.

Customizable Lock Screen: Rotating wallpapers featuring all their favorite kids, grandkids, pets? This one’s a real winner for the average user. Just remember that those widgets were originally called “complications” for a reason, so maybe just stick to the photos?

Locked Hidden Photos: Because you never want to see those photos by accident. Ever.

Weather on iPad and Mac: Yes, there’s a Weather app on the iPad or Mac now. No, this doesn’t mean they have to stop watching The Weather Channel and/or texting you about the rainstorm that’s in the forecast ten days from now.

Shared Tab Groups: Instead of relatives sending endless links to Facebook posts about conspiracies or forwarding the latest funny cartoon, tell them that you can now just have a shared group of tabs where they can share with you all that “important” information and you can check in on at any time. (Or, you know, not.)

Five features to keep away from them

Stage Manager: Okay, so there’s windows on the iPad now. But not like those windows that pop up when you swipe up while you’re in an app. Different windows. Okay. You can drag them and arrange them however you want…except only within specified sizes and locations. Also it’s a mode that you have to turn on and off in the Control Center. Yes, that thing you swipe down from one corner of the screen with all the kinda inscrutable icons.

On second thought, maybe have them leave it off.

Continuity Camera: Because what you’ve really but waiting for is the ability to see up your family’s nostrils in the stunning high definition allowed by an iPhone camera.

Freeform: Finally, the ability to take those painful games of Charades that you play with your family on vacation and add in the awkwardness of having thirty people shouting out answers over a FaceTime call.

Redesigned Home app: Let’s be fair: your family doesn’t have any smart home tech, so this app might as well just be a shortcut that links them to pictures of different rooms in their house that you tell them are live security cameras. Oh, they got rid of that blanket a year ago? There’s a lag on the cameras—you just have to wait for them to catch up.

Stocks widgets: Nobody wants to see this information on this Home Screen. Trust me. Never.

  1. But not Apple News. Or even Apple News news. 

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is out now.]

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