Chris Hoffman

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

Apple’s own AirPrint printing is deeply integrated into iPhones and iPads. The “Print” options you see throughout the operating system will only print to AirPrint-enabled printers. You can still print to a Google Cloud Print-enabled printer, but it’ll take a little extra effort.

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Windows 10 includes a mysterious app named “App Connector” that has access to your location, camera, contacts, and calendars. This app was created by Microsoft, but Microsoft hasn’t officially explained what it does.

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Xbox is no longer just a gaming console. It’s an app and set of services integrated into Windows 10. But Xbox still uses whatever old gamertag, or nickname, is associated with your Microsoft account. You may have set this name on an Xbox 360 a decade ago, or may have been provided by Microsoft’s Games for Windows LIVE service.

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Apple’s Mail app doesn’t provide a lot of control over how much storage it uses. it wants to download and store a lot of emails so they can be indexed and searchable with Spotlight. But the Mail app may sometimes use a large amount of space, which is particularly onerous on storage-limited 16GB iPhones.

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Microsoft’s DirectX 12 and Apple’s Metal are next-generation graphics platforms. They provide lower-level access to graphics hardware, allowing game programmers to squeeze more performance out of the hardware. Vulkan is the cross-platform answer to Microsoft and Apple’s technologies.

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If you send and receive a lot of messages, the Messages app can take up a lot of space on your iPhone or iPad. Not only does it store your message history, it keeps photo attachments you’ve received. All this data then takes up iCloud space as part of your backups, too.

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One of the most annoying things about the iPhone and iPad is the inability to hide built-in apps like Tips, Stocks, and News. iOS 10 finally fixed this annoyance, but if you’re stuck on iOS 9 or earlier, you still have a few other workarounds.

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Sony’s PlayStation 4 has a social media-style dashboard. Your friends can view your PlayStation activity along with your real name, and your account may be discoverable to your Facebook friends if you’ve linked your PlayStation 4 with Facebook.

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Google’s Nexus devices are supposed to receive timely updates, but the staggered rollout means it can take weeks for devices to receive over-the-air (OTA) updates. Luckily, there’s a faster (and geekier) way to install the latest version of Android.

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Last month, Linux Mint’s website was hacked, and a modified ISO was put up for download that included a backdoor. While the problem was fixed quickly, it demonstrates the importance of checking Linux ISO files you download before running and installing them. Here’s how.

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Windows has a hidden setting that will enable only government-certified “FIPS-compliant” encryption. It may sound like a way to boost your PC’s security, but it isn’t. You shouldn’t enable this setting unless you work in government or need to test how software will behave on government PCs.

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Sony’s PlayStation 4 offers button remapping for its DualShock 4 controllers. If you don’t like a game’s control scheme, you’re free to switch the buttons around and make it more comfortable. The game doesn’t even need to offer its own button-remapping.

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Windows 10 saves a list of Wi-Fi networks you connect to along with their passphrases and other settings. If you want to set your Wi-Fi network up from scratch–something that’s occasionally necessary to fix connection problems–you’ll need to make Windows “forget” the Wi-Fi network.

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Wi-Fi calling allows your iPhone to place and receive phone calls and text messages over a Wi-Fi network. If you have a weak cellular signal but a solid Wi-Fi signal, your iPhone will automatically switch over and route calls and texts via Wi-Fi.

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Microsoft’s Windows 10 only lets you install apps and games on a limited number of devices. It has even stricter limits for subscription music and videos purchased from the Windows Store. Here’s how to ensure you stay within those limits.

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Windows lets you set each network you connect to as either a “Private” or “Public” network. When you connect to a network the first time, Windows 10 asks if you want your computer to be discoverable or not by other computers.

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Anyone with physical access to your PlayStation 4 can just grab the controller, turn it on, and start playing–at least by default. You can restrict access to your PlayStation 4 so people can’t  play your games, mess with your save files, and make online purchases without your permission.

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Intel’s integrated graphics have improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years, but they still aren’t as speedy as dedicated NVIDIA or AMD graphics hardware.  Here’s how to squeeze some more gaming performance out of your Intel HD Graphics.

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Modern versions of Windows–and other operating systems–can use either the older Master Boot Record (MBR) or newer GUID Partition Table (GPT) for their partition schemes. Here’s how to check which one a disk is using and convert between the two.

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Windows activation is designed to be as foolproof as possible, so Microsoft’s graphical tools keep it simple. If you want to do something more advanced like remove a product key, force an online activation, or extend the activation timer, you’ll need Slmgr.vbs.

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Most Mac applications use the operating system’s spell check feature, and share the same personal dictionary. So if you add a custom word to your dictionary in one application, other Mac apps won’t detect it as a typo in the future. But there’s no obvious way to remove a word from the dictionary if you accidentally add one.

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Many old PC games seem to work fine on Windows 10, but games using Microsoft’s failed Games for Windows LIVE (GFWL) platform are an exception. They’ll give you an error on Windows 10. You can remove GFWL from many games entirely, though, or just troubleshoot it and make it work properly.

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If your Android phone is feeling a little low on battery, you can find out exactly where your battery power is going. Android’s Battery screen shows you what’s used battery power since your last charge, from apps to system services and hardware devices.

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Unlike a faster CPU or graphics card, more memory (aka RAM) won’t always speed up your games. If you already have enough RAM, adding more won’t make a difference. So how much RAM do you need for modern PC gaming, anyway?

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Windows 10 allows you to quickly sign in with a numeric PIN instead of a longer password. if you have a keyboard with a number pad, you can use that number pad to enter the PIN–after you enable Num Lock. Here’s how to enable Num Lock at boot so you don’t have to press the key every time.

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