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How to Split Restaurant Checks with Apple Pay Cash

Angie Schiltz

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You’re out to lunch with tech-savvy friends, one of whom picks up the check and says, “Just send me your share via Apple Pay Cash.” Say what?

 

Apple Pay Cash is Apple’s new person-to-person payment service, designed to make it easy for individuals to send and receive money. It’s perfect for repaying a friend who buys concert tickets or a relative who picks up some groceries for you. Or rather, it’s perfect if your friends and relatives use iPhones with iOS 11.2 or later—for green-bubble Android acquaintances, you can instead rely on cross-platform services like Venmo, Circle, and Square Cash. Here’s how to start using Apple Pay Cash.

 

First, if you haven’t yet enabled Apple Pay, go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay > Add Credit or Debit Card, and follow the prompts to add at least a debit card. You’ll also need two-factor authentication turned on in Settings > Your Name > Password & Security—regardless of Apple Pay, two-factor authentication is essential for security. With Apple Pay enabled, tap Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay > Apple Pay Cash and run through the setup process. You might also be asked to verify your identity after setup—it’s necessary to send or receive more than $500 in total.

 

When you’re done, you’ll end up with a new Apple Pay Cash card in the Wallet app. It’s a virtual card that stores money you receive and works like any other debit card for payments. If it doesn’t have enough money on it to cover a payment, you can choose any other debit or credit card you’ve added to Apple Pay. You can also add money to it or withdraw money to a linked bank account. You’ll want to use a debit card when adding money or paying beyond your balance with Apple Pay Cash, since then there is no transaction fee. A credit card incurs a 3% fee.

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To send or request money via Apple Pay Cash, you use its Messages app, which is installed automatically. While in an iMessage thread (blue bubbles) with the person with whom you want to exchange money, make sure the app drawer is showing (tap the app button if necessary) and then tap the Apple Pay button in the drawer.

A panel appears with a dollar amount, + and – buttons, and buttons for Request and Pay. Use the + and – buttons to set the amount, or tap the dollar amount to show a keypad where you can enter an exact amount, with cents if necessary. Then tap Request or Pay to insert the transaction into the message. It won’t be sent until you tap the black send button, so if you change your mind, you can tap the little x to delete. Lastly, you’ll be prompted to verify the transaction in the usual Apple Pay fashion, which means authenticating with Face ID on the iPhone X or Touch ID on all other iPhones.

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You can even use Siri to initiate transfers—“Send my mother $15.” or “Ask my sister for $4.99.” And if you have an Apple Watch with watchOS 4.2 or later, you can also send money from the Messages app, or send or request money via Siri. On the watch, double-press the side button to confirm the transaction.

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Frankly, the only downside to Apple Pay Cash is that it works only within the Apple world. But as long as you want to exchange money with Apple-using friends and relatives, it’s fast, easy, reliable, and one less reason to visit the ATM.

Apple Lowers Battery-Replacement Pricing for iPhone 6 and Later

Angie Schiltz

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Did you hear about the battery-related controversy swirling around Apple at the end of 2017? There has been much hue and cry about how, starting with iOS 10.2.1, iOS has been slowing down iPhones with old, weak batteries to avoid unexpected shutdowns. In response, Apple posted A Message to Our Customers about iPhone Batteries and Performance to explain what was going on. Apple announced that it would reduce the price of out-of-warranty battery replacements for the iPhone 6 and later from $79 to $29 through December 2018. The company also said that an upcoming iOS update would give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone battery. The practical upshot of this is that if you have an iPhone 6 or later that suffers from short battery life or unexpected shutdowns, make sure to take advantage of the $29 replacement price this year.

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What You Need to Know about Face ID on the iPhone X

Angie Schiltz

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Apple’s new iPhone X does away with the Home button, which has been a fixture since the original iPhone and has long served as the Touch ID sensor. To replace Touch ID, Apple developed a new facial recognition technology called Face ID. With Face ID, the iPhone X scans your face to authenticate you instead of using your fingerprint. It is truly amazing technology, but we’ve been getting questions that we’d like to answer here. If you have others, get in touch!

How does Face ID work?

Magic. Well, close. As science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Face ID is cutting-edge technology that uses Apple’s TrueDepth camera system to project over 30,000 invisible dots onto your face. Then it illuminates your face with infrared light and takes an infrared image. Finally, it translates that image into facial recognition data that’s encrypted and stored within the iPhone’s Secure Enclave (the data never leaves your iPhone).

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Face ID updates its mathematical representation of your face over time to keep up with how your appearance changes.

How secure is Face ID?

Extremely. Apple claims that Touch ID’s false positive rate—the number of people who would have to try logging in to your iPhone before someone would succeed randomly—is 1 in 50,000. In contrast, Apple says that Face ID’s false positive rate is 1 in 1,000,000. It can’t be fooled by a picture or a simple mask, although a high-enough quality 3D reproduction of your face might get past it, just as a sufficiently good cast of your fingerprint could fool Touch ID.

However, Face ID has trouble distinguishing between identical twins and siblings who have nearly identical features. So if you have an evil twin, stick to a Touch ID-based iPhone or your passcode! The probability of an incorrect match is also higher with children under 13, since their facial features haven’t become sufficiently distinct yet.

By default, Face ID works only when you look at the iPhone X—it can’t be unlocked by your face when you’re sleeping.

How fast is Face ID?

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Not quite as fast as Touch ID in current iPhones, but fast enough that you likely won’t notice. When you pick up your iPhone X so you can look at it, Face ID will, in most cases, have already recognized you. 

This quick recognition is possible in part because the iPhone X can start scanning early, thanks to iOS’s Raise to Wake feature and a new Tap to Wake feature that automatically wakes the iPhone X when you touch the screen.

What if Face ID doesn’t work?

First off, things like wearing a hat, scarf, or glasses won’t confuse Face ID, nor will growing or shaving a beard. Thanks to that infrared camera, it even works in complete darkness. However, Face ID does fail occasionally. One reason for a Face ID failure is holding the iPhone X too close to your face—this is easy to do accidently if you’re nearsighted and not wearing your glasses. (Some sunglasses prevent Face ID from seeing your eyes, but you can work around that problem by disabling Require Attention for Face ID in Settings > Face ID & Passcode.)

To make Face ID retry a facial scan, hold the iPhone X at a normal viewing distance, tilt it away from you, and then tilt it back to your normal viewing position. If that doesn’t work, or if you want to let someone else use your iPhone, enter the passcode. Entering the passcode is always an option.

Alas, unlike Touch ID, which let you enroll up to five fingers (so family members could unlock your iPhone without using the passcode), Face ID lets you have only a single face.

Can I use Face ID for anything besides unlocking?

Yes, Face ID completely replaces Touch ID, so you can use it to authenticate when you’re using Apple Pay, or the App Store or iTunes Store. Plus, apps that previously relied on Touch ID, such as the 1Password or LastPass password managers, will automatically use Face ID instead.

We hope Apple can make the hardware necessary for Face ID cheaply enough to bring it to other devices as well. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could walk up to your Mac and have it automatically unlock because it had recognized your face?