The iPhone 14 repairability is ‘incredible’ and may be better iPhone 14 Pro

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When Apple originally showed us the iPhone 14, it explained that the new heat management system would make it easier to remove the back glass without replacing more of the chassis. Now a teardown of the device from self-repair experts at iFixit has shown this to be true and demonstrates just how much easier this makes repairing the phone. 

With older iPhone designs, including the new Apple iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, replacing the back glass required more expertise than even some phone repair experts could provide. As iFixit says, the “easiest” method involves a laser cutter and scraping away glass shards with razor blades. The site says self-repair on the back glass is “not really a viable process for DIYers.”

On the iPhone 14, on the other hand, the back glass is secured with two screws, a connector, and some adhesive. That’s it. The front screen is attached in the same way, with only two screws. iFixit describes this level of simplicity and access as “incredible,” and photos of how easy it looks to remove and repair would lead us to agree. 

It should be noted that Samsung’s Android phones are similarly difficult to repair, like the iPhone 14 Pro, and require extensive tools and knowledge. We had some experience with Samsung’s self-repair kit, provided to us by iFixit, and the process was difficult and imperfect but left us with a phone that looks pretty good and works as well as expected. 

 Analysis: Good design has many benefits

Apple offers a self-repair program for its newer iPhone models, and we assume this will include the iPhone 14. While this new design seems like it would be much easier to repair, hopefully that will also make repair jobs much cheaper, especially for folks who do not opt into Apple’s warranty program or a similar phone insurance program. Repairing an iPhone currently costs hundreds of dollars if you're not covered by warranty or insurance. 

It is interesting that Apple promoted this as heat management and made little mention of the fact that this could make self-repair easier. Apple has seemed to open support routes for home repair enthusiasts but is understandably equivocal about self-repair. 

While there are many reasons why design improvements can benefit both user performance and repairability, it’s understandable that Apple does not want to broadcast this feature to owners, especially those who opted for the lowest price point, at the risk of confounding buyers who went for the much more expensive models.

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Huawei just beat the iPhone 14 to a key new feature

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Just a week ago we were reporting on how the iPhone 14 might be the first smartphone to offer satellite communication, but as it turns out it won’t – because Huawei just got there first with the Huawei Mate 50 and Mate 50 Pro.

These two newly announced smartphones both allow for texts to be sent via China’s global BeiDou satellite network. It’s a feature designed for emergencies, so you can get in touch with emergency services or loved ones when mobile networks are down, as they might be at times when they’re most needed – such as in war zones or natural disasters.

So it’s a niche feature – and one you’ll hopefully never need to use – but it could also be a life-saving one. Huawei’s implementation of it sounds very limited, with just text messages supported by the sounds of things – so you can’t make calls, and seemingly you can only send texts, not receive them, using this system. But still, it’s the first to offer this, and that counts for something.

It will likely soon have some serious competition though, since the iPhone 14 line is expected to land today (September 7) and will reportedly offer a similar system. In fact, Apple’s approach might allow for calls as well, so it could immediately one-up Huawei’s. Not to mention the fact that the iPhone 14 and its siblings will actually be available in the US, while the Huawei Mate 50 line won’t be.

But with T-Mobile partnering with Starlink for a similar service in the near future, and other companies likely also now considering satellite communication services, we might not be far off this becoming a mainstream feature, available on a wide range of smartphones, and that can only be a good thing.


A close up of the cameras on a Huawei Mate 50

(Image credit: Huawei)

Analysis: what else the Huawei Mate 50 offers

While its satellite communication feature is perhaps the most eye-catching of the Huawei Mate 50’s specs, this phone – and even more so the Huawei Mate 50 Pro – isn’t lacking for tech.

The Mate 50 Pro has a 6.74-inch 1212 x 2616 OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, water resistance, and a 4,700mAh battery with 66W charging.

It also has a triple-lens camera, with a 50MP main sensor, a 13MP ultra-wide, and a 64MP telephoto, offering up to 200x digital zoom. Interestingly, the main lens also has an adjustable aperture, which can range from f/1.4 to f/4.0. Adjustable apertures are a very rare sight on phones, and never that variable.

The standard Huawei Mate 50 is a step down in some ways. It has the same chipset, RAM amount, and main and ultra-wide cameras, but the telephoto snapper is 12MP, and the phone has a 6.7-inch 1224 x 2700 90Hz display, and a smaller 4,460mAh battery with 66W charging.

As noted above these phones won’t be landing in the US, but it’s possible they’ll be sold in the UK and Australia. Note, however, that neither model offers 5G, so they’re probably unlikely to make our list of the best phones.

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Another iPhone 14 leak shows purple reigns this year

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 We already suspected that the new Apple iPhone 14 might launch in a purple hue, thanks to earlier leaks. Now a leak on the Chinese site Weibo pictures what seems to be the upcoming iPhone 14 Pro in an all-new purple that hints at deeper attention to material design.

iPhone 14 Pro in multiple colors including new purple

(Image credit: Sleepy Afternoon)

The new tidbit from leaker Sleepy Afternoon shows five colors of what might be the Apple iPhone 14 Pro, including silver, graphite, and gold versions that would be familiar in today’s stores. There is also a darker blue color, as well as the increasingly ubiquitous purple. A second view shows only the first three colors with another shot of the purple model.

iPhone 14 Pro in multiple colors including new purple

(Image credit: Sleepy Afternoon)

In the subsequent images, the purple looks first dark and saturated, then lighter and more metallic. Phone manufacturers will use layers of materials on the back of a phone to create this shimmering effect that appears to change as it reflects light differently. Current iPhones use similar materials, depending on the model and color. You can see the difference between the layering effects in our hands-on with the green Apple iPhone 13 this year.

Analysis: One more purple makes a trend

While flagship phones are generally launched in up to three or more color options, one of those is usually a dark grey or black, one a light silver or white, and then there is the fun color. This year’s fun color seems to be purple, based on these iPhone rumors and the delightful bora purple shade that Samsung chose for its entire flagship lineup, including the Galaxy Z Fold 4

In the past, the color has been rose gold, but it seems that lighter-yellow champagne gold tones have won out against rosier hues. It may not be a coincidence that the Pantone color of the year for 2022 is a periwinkle purple called “Very Peri.” Apple rarely finds itself in a fast follower position behind Samsung, but when the folding-phone maker is right, it’s best to follow the market. 

It will be interesting to see how long the purple phase lasts. The new Pantone color of the year is announced in December, and the next Samsung flagship phones will launch in early Spring or late February if history is a guide. 

Today’s Galaxy S22 Ultra comes in a gorgeous new burgundy color, as well as a light blue. There is also a green to match Apple’s iPhone 13. The expensive Ultra end of the Galaxy S lineup does not offer a bora purple option to match Samsung’s newest phones, but it would not be hard for Samsung to add the color at any point.

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Surprise Android phone update brings Android 13 feature early

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One of the big selling points of Android 13 is that it'll bring a new look to Google Pay, essentially rebranding it to Google Wallet as a place you can store all your payment information and also cards, passes, tickets and more (Google Pay does have these features but it's not laid out well for most of them).

Despite the fact that Android 13 is meant to come at the end of the year, Google has jumped the gun, and is now rolling out Google Wallet to loads of Android phones already.

According to a report by 9to5Google, Android users are starting to notice that when they upgrade their Google Pay app, it's actually becoming Google Wallet already. No use waiting for the end of the year, then!

The update roll-out will take a few days, so if you don't see it now, just have patience. Our app hasn't been updated yet, so you're not alone.

This isn't the case in the US or Singapore, where Wallet isn't replacing Pay (instead they'll sit alongside each other), but in other places like the UK, Australia and Canada, expect to see Google Pay turn into Wallet before too long.

Even though Wallet is rolling out over the coming days, some of its big new features – like the ability to store driving licenses or hotel keys – are expected to only arrive at some point in 2023.


Analysis: a quieter Android 13 launch

Now that Android 13's key feature has landed early, there's not really that much to look forward to for the update.

Google Wallet was our most anticipated change (even though it's a medium upgrade at best), as Fast Pair for quicker Bluetooth pairing, Earthquake alert improvements and tweaks to Material You are all incredibly minor.

It's not a huge surprise that Android 13 is a small upgrade over Android 12, since that was quite a big change, but it does mean that we're not exactly beside ourselves with anticipation for October when Android 13 should start to roll out.

It's really starting to sound like iOS 16 will be the more interesting update this year.

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Surprise Android phone update brings Android 13 feature early

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One of the big selling points of Android 13 is that it'll bring a new look to Google Pay, essentially rebranding it to Google Wallet as a place you can store all your payment information and also cards, passes, tickets and more (Google Pay does have these features but it's not laid out well for most of them).

Despite the fact that Android 13 is meant to come at the end of the year, Google has jumped the gun, and is now rolling out Google Wallet to loads of Android phones already.

According to a report by 9to5Google, Android users are starting to notice that when they upgrade their Google Pay app, it's actually becoming Google Wallet already. No use waiting for the end of the year, then!

The update roll-out will take a few days, so if you don't see it now, just have patience. Our app hasn't been updated yet, so you're not alone.

This isn't the case in the US or Singapore, where Wallet isn't replacing Pay (instead they'll sit alongside each other), but in other places like the UK, Australia and Canada, expect to see Google Pay turn into Wallet before too long.

Even though Wallet is rolling out over the coming days, some of its big new features – like the ability to store driving licenses or hotel keys – are expected to only arrive at some point in 2023.


Analysis: a quieter Android 13 launch

Now that Android 13's key feature has landed early, there's not really that much to look forward to for the update.

Google Wallet was our most anticipated change (even though it's a medium upgrade at best), as Fast Pair for quicker Bluetooth pairing, Earthquake alert improvements and tweaks to Material You are all incredibly minor.

It's not a huge surprise that Android 13 is a small upgrade over Android 12, since that was quite a big change, but it does mean that we're not exactly beside ourselves with anticipation for October when Android 13 should start to roll out.

It's really starting to sound like iOS 16 will be the more interesting update this year.

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Android apps can now potentially lie about the data they collect

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Android apps often collect all sorts of data about you and your device, like name and location, as well as sometimes having access to your photos or messages, among other things. So, it’s vital that you understand what degree of access an app is going to have before downloading it, something that's now been made that much harder to understand.

That’s because Google recently rolled out a new feature called 'Data safety', which requires app developers to disclose the data that their apps collect, whether the data is being shared with third-parties, and the app’s security practices. That sounds like a promising step, and if this was just an addition it would be, but Google is also quietly removing the app permissions list from store listings.

This change wasn’t announced by the company but has been spotted by Mishaal Rahman (senior technical editor at Esper).

That app permissions list was automatically generated by Google, which although accurate, wasn’t always clear about why specific permissions were needed or data was collected.

This new Data safety screen should, in many cases, be a lot clearer, since app developers can explain why they need various kinds of data, but because it’s down to those developers to fill in, there’s also a risk that the information could be incomplete or inaccurate.

Having both the Data safety and permissions screens would be more comprehensive, but could also make for a cluttered and confusing listing, so we can see why Google might choose only to show one; it's just unclear whether this was the right call.

In most cases, this probably won’t be too much of a problem, although unscrupulous app developers will now have more freedom to hide the data collection practices of their apps, which is a definite worry.

Google has warned that if the Data safety screen isn’t complete and accurate then apps could have their updates blocked or even be removed from the Play Store, but it’s not clear how quickly or comprehensively Google will spot and take action against offenders.


Analysis: Google’s not alone in leaving it up to developers

App store revenues 2019

(Image credit: Future)

While this is a troubling move, it’s similar to something Apple is already doing, with its privacy ‘nutrition labels’, which app developers are required to complete. The Washington Post , however, found that these labels too were often inaccurate, so there’s no reason to think Google’s alternative won’t suffer the same fate.

The one advantage Android users have over iOS users in this situation is that they’re not limited to the Google Play Store, and while generally that’s considered the safest place to get apps, Rahman points out that third-party app stores like the Aurora Store still shows the app permissions list – something which it’s able to do because Google still collects this data behind the scenes.

As such, if you’re worried about this change then sourcing an alternative app store offering the insights and assurances you need might be worth looking into. Of course, most Android users probably won’t know this is an option and will take the data shown on the Google Play Store listings at face value – which may no longer be fully accurate and complete, even among the best Android apps.

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EU says Apple must add USB-C charging ports to iPhones from 2024

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The European Union will require all mobile phones, tablets, and other electronic devices to have a USB-C charging port by the end of 2024, meaning Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad will have to ditch the company’s proprietary Lightning port.

European policymakers have been keen for a single standard for more than a decade, citing significant amounts of electronic waste caused by unused chargers and the inconvenience suffered by Android and iPhone users who need different cables for different devices.

It decided to legislate after becoming frustrated at a lack of progress by the industry to find a compromise.

One charger to rule them all

The new rules cover e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers, while laptops will have to be adapted within 40 months of the rules coming into force. Wireless charging is not covered but could be added at a later date.

The new rules will also offer consumers a choice of whether they want a charger when buying a new device. The EU says its new regulations will encourage the re-use of charging equipment, saving consumers €250 million a year, and preventing 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste.

“Today we have made the common charger a reality in Europe,” declared Alex Agius Saliba, European parliament rapporteur on the issue. European consumers were frustrated long with multiple chargers piling up with every new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics.”

The use of USB-C will disproportionately affect Apple, which will either have to create a special edition of its products for Europe, or would be forced to change the design for all markets around the world. Apple has persistently opposed any mandate, arguing that it would lead to a huge amount of electronic waste as consumers dispose of their old Lightning chargers.

Via Reuters

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Next-gen Apple CarPlay wants to take over your car’s entire dashboard

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Apple has just given motorists an exciting early peak at the next-generation of Apple CarPlay – and it takes the car infotainment experience to a new level.

Like Android Auto, CarPlay already makes it easier to access apps like Maps, Phone and Messages via your car's touchscreen dashboard. But the next version will see CarPlay integrate with your car's whole instrument cluster, including the speedometer, temperate controls and more.

This means Apple would effectively create the entire UI for your car, with CarPlay apparently adapting to any kind of in-car screen shape or layout, as well as providing content for multiple screens. 

The most exciting thing for CarPlay fans is the level of customizability in the new software. You'll be able to choose different gauge cluster designs, choose your own widgets and get glanceable info for things like Weather and the Music you're playing.

Image 1 of 3

WWDC 2022

(Image credit: Apple)
Image 2 of 3

WWDC 2022

(Image credit: Apple)
Image 3 of 3

WWDC 2022

(Image credit: Apple)

Naturally, you'll also be able to choose to have Apple Maps show you where to go in the behind-the-wheel screen, although this looked a tad distracting in Apple's early demos of next-gen CarPlay.  

The downside? The new Apple CarPlay isn't ready just yet, with Apple saying that more information will be shared soon ahead of a launch in 2023 — and that “vehicles will start to be announced late next year”.

Analysis: Will car makers be on board?

WWDC 2022

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple says that automakers are “excited” about the new version of CarPlay, but that's unlikely to be a universal reaction given the extent to which it takes over a car's entire UI.

While the next-gen CarPlay looks very polished and pretty, particularly with its customizable colors, it effectively shunts the car manufacturers to one side when it comes to dashboard design.

It also isn't yet clear whether it will work with today's CarPlay-compatible vehicles. Still, we're hopeful that there will be some element of backwards compatibility and that more developers will join the best Apple CarPlay apps.

The number of CarPlay apps currently numbers more in the dozens than hundreds, but hopefully this new version of the software – which first landed over six years ago – might prompt more apps to join the likes of Spotify and WhatsApp in making CarPlay-specific versions.

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Three years after the first 5G phone landed in Europe, 5G still hasn’t proven itself

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It's been three years since the first-ever 5G phone launched in Europe, and the handsets that have followed it have met with a mixed reception; 5G was expected to be a revolution for mobile tech, but several years of Covid and lockdown have thrown a spanner in the works.

On May 1, 2019, the Oppo Reno 5G landed in Switzerland. The country became an early battleground for 5G phone companies, due to it being one of the first to get 5G networks earlier that year. 

Oppo beat out Huawei and Xiaomi, which launched its first 5G phones literally the following day, although the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and a mod for the Moto Z4 won the race to be first in other continents.

The victory was a surprise because, at the time, Oppo wasn't as big a force in Europe as it is now. With the past year bringing the Oppo Find X5 Pro, the OnePlus merger and big-ticket sponsorships such as Wimbledon, it's easy to forget that it was quite fresh-faced back in 2019.

At the big European launch, other 5G phone launches thereafter, and 5G network roll-outs all through 2019, one thing was made clear: 5G is the future. But after having used the next-gen connectivity tech in various phones for three years, I'm not convinced that it is.

Why 5G?

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G (Image credit: TechRadar)

5G has two core selling points: it delivers faster speeds than 4G, and also promises a more reliable connection – all in theory, of course, because these factors will largely depend on your network and location.

However, the benefits of a more stable connection are that you can download apps, movies or music on-the-go, as well as play online mobile games when you're out and about.

Of course, depending on the area you're in, this is all possible on 4G – but there's more. At several 5G network launches, it was pointed out that 4G initially seemed useless, but following several years of its existence, developers were learning how they could best utilize the tech. The result was apps such as Instagram and Uber, which had failed to work well on 3G.

So in 2019, the future looked bright for 5G, and I was looking forward to all the changes that might come to smartphones in the future. But it's the future now, and I'm still waiting.

5G hasn't proven itself

I've been using 5G phones since the tech launched in 2019, testing different functions on different networks in different countries on different mobiles. However, when someone recently asked me if they needed to buy a 5G phone, I had to be honest, giving the answer “no”.

Sure, the novelty of being able to download an episode of a TV show on my way to the Tube was neat, but I never watch TV on the underground, so it was a redundant feature. And sure, making a video call when out and about was quick and easy, but I don't want to inflict my calls on other people; I'd rather save it for when I return home.

Plus, those functions have worked just fine over 4G. In fact, in some places I've tested phones, 4G has been faster than 5G. So far, there aren't any killer apps for 5G, and I'm still waiting for something that you can't do on 4G.

Of course, the pandemic has had a devastating effect on 5G. It was meant to make connecting to the web on-the-move far more convenient; but a couple of years of staying at home have made that far less important.

In addition, user habits have changed; the pivot to working from home and spending more time indoors has seen a resurgence in the use of tablets, and an increase in fitness tech, making 5G a secondary concern for many people.

It's also worth pointing out that 5G modems in phones cause substantial battery drain, and they're also expensive – which bumps up the price of 5G devices.

Hopefully, in the future, apps and software will come along that makes 5G a vital tech – admittedly, I said this in 2019, but three years wasn't enough time. Tech doesn't move as fast as its biggest fan, and companies, want you to believe – and in 2022, buying a 5G phone still isn't a necessity.

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The Nothing Phone’s version of Android is surprisingly good

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If you’re excited for the Nothing Phone (1), we’ve got big news: as promised in the phone’s teaser announcement, you can now download an early version of the device’s software to test and play about with.

Well, when we say ‘you’ we mean specifically people with a Samsung Galaxy S21 or Samsung Galaxy S22 series phone, or the Google Pixel 5 or Pixel 6 – this is just an early beta of the user interface, with only a few features and tools.

We’re expecting the Nothing Phone (1) to land sometime between June and September, but at an event with the silly name of The Truth, Nothing teased the device, and also promised that it’d launch the software soon – well, ‘soon’ is ‘now’ apparently.

What's the Nothing Launcher like?

How to install the Nothing OS

1. Find the Nothing Launcher (beta) on the Google Play Store (or click here). Download it.
2. Go to your phone's settings menu, then apps, then default apps, then default home apps.
3. Pick the Nothing Launcher and it'll automatically install.

There are three key features that the Nothing Launcher brings onto your phone, but we’re going to presume this doesn’t represent the full feature set, because it’s a little limited. They’re built over what looks like stock Android.

Firstly, there are three Nothing-themed widgets: weather and two clocks (digital and analog). The digital clock and weather widget have a spotty retro look, while the analog clock is a little more typical.

Nothing OS on a Google Pixel 6 Pro

(Image credit: TechRadar / Nothing)

Second, there's a new Nothing wallpaper, and it’s… certainly something? We thought our phone had broken when we first saw it, but no, that’s how it’s meant to look. You can change the color of it if you want, but this only changes the text color.

Admittedly those are two rather small features, and the third one is too, but it’s one we actually like. You can choose to enlarge app and folder icons, so instead of taking one space in the home menu grid it’ll take four.

This is quite useful for ease of access – you can easily slam your thumb on one part of the screen and be sure to hit the app. We also see this being really useful for accessibility, for seniors or people with physical disabilities who might struggle to tap really small icons.

We’re fond of this feature, and can already see our everyday phone feeling a little restrictive since it doesn’t have resizable icons.

Given that the app is called the Nothing Launcher (beta), we’re assuming this is the first version of the operating system, and hopefully we’ll see new versions before the Nothing Phone (1) launches with bigger updates. But for a first impression, we’re pleasantly surprised.

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Watch Apple’s Daisy robot take apart an iPhone because it’s cool

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You have no idea how mesmerizing it is to watch a robot disassemble an iPhone.

In honor of Earth Day this Friday, April 22, Apple is opening up its efforts to cut down on e-waste, including using more recyclable materials in new products and packaging and letting a robot breakdown returned and discarded iPhones to recover precious components and safely dispose of hazardous materials.

In a new video from tech YouTuber Sara Deitschy, we finally get a detailed look at how Apple's latest recycling robot, Daisy, breaks down an iPhone. 

See more

Estimates vary on how many iPhones we discard each year, but it's a safe bet that it's in the millions. Apple also received millions of phones that are traded in to upgrade to the new Phone 13. All of this adds up to a potentially huge amount of e-waste and lost materials.

Apple's been working on this sizable environmental problem for years. In 2016, we got our first glimpse of a Daisy's predecessor: Liam. Like Daisy, Liam had a number of stations and 29 robotic arms. However, according to Deitschy's video, Liam wasn't precise enough to, for instance, properly remove all the screws from an iPhone.

In the video, Deitschy drops an old iPhone (it looked like it might've been an iPhone 12) into a tray that fed it to Daisy. The robot retrieved the phone and immediately removed the screen in what looked like a two-step process.

With that separated, it super-cooled the iPhone (white frost appeared on the chassis) which makes the adhesive holding the battery in place brittle enough to break away. The battery then ended up in a bin for retrieval by a human.

Next, Daisy removed all the screws and then the separate components, which all ended up on a conveyor belt where they were retrieved by humans and separated into bins. After that those parts are carted off to places where the recyclable materials and precious metals can be removed and, potentially, end up in new devices.

A good idea, but can it scale?

It's a fascinating, though methodical, process and its efficiency is unclear. You'd clearly need a phalanx of Daisy robots to mass recycle old iPhones. Those details, however, are not in the video. Separately, Apple claims that Daisy can disassemble 1.2 million phones each year and can now take apart 23 separate iPhone models. Another robot, Dave, works on the company's Taptic engines.

With the world producing 20-to-50 million metric tons of e-waste each year, Apple's efforts might be seen as a drop in the bucket, but Daisy is just one part of Apple's eco-friendly efforts. The company plans to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Apple isn't necessarily the only smartphone manufacturer pursuing cutting-edge device recycling techniques. In 2020, Samsung teased its own smartphone recycling robot, but we've heard little about it since.

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OnePlus 10 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: a close-fought flagship face-off

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The OnePlus 10 Pro and the Xiaomi 12 Pro are both available, and they square up pretty well.

If you’re after a classy flagship phone with strong all-round specs and a striking industrial design (plus the odd baffling omission), well, these two phones deliver in spades.

But which of these 8-out-of-10 flagship phones is the better buy for you? We’re going to do our best to provide a definitive answer.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: price and availability

The global model of the OnePlus 10 Pro was announced on March 31, 2022, and it went on sale less than a week later on April 5. The entry-level handset costs $899/£799 for 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. In countries such as the UK, you can bump that up to 12GB of RAM and 256GB for £899 (which would likely work out to around $999).

The Xiaomi 12 Pro goes on sale on April 15, 2022. We’ve been quoted a price of $999 for the entry-level model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage; but it won’t actually be shipping in the US. In the UK, there will be only one model available with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage for £1,049 (around $1,385).

Like for like, then, the OnePlus 10 Pro is the much cheaper phone of the two.

A OnePlus 10 Pro from the back, lying on its open box

The OnePlus 10 Pro is the cheaper phone (Image credit: Future)

OnePlus 10 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: design

Both phones have successfully taken their respective lines into a new, more premium direction.

With the OnePlus 10 Pro, this entails a new frosted-glass finish to the rear and a distinctively wide and shiny camera module. For the Xiaomi 12 Pro that means its own, slightly more subtle frosted finish and an industrial-looking rectangular camera module.

As always, you get that signature OnePlus 10 Pro alert slider, which remains a favorite. But the Xiaomi 12 Pro has its own functional design quirk in the form of an IR blaster that sits along the top of the phone, which will enable you to use it as a remote control.

A Xiaomi 12 Pro from the back in someone's hand

The Xiaomi 12 Pro has a subtle frosted finish (Image credit: TechRadar)

At 163 x 73.9 x 8.6mm, the OnePlus 10 Pro is a smidgen narrower but also fractionally thicker than the 163.6 x 74.6 x 8.2mm Xiaomi 12 Pro. There’s very little in it, which is also the case when it comes to weight: 201g for the OnePlus versus 204g for the Xiaomi.

Neither phone makes a huge statement in terms of the color options available. The Xiaomi comes in Blue, Gray or Purple, while the OnePlus is available in black or green.

One advantage the OnePlus holds is the inclusion of IP68 certification. Surprisingly given its premium pricing, the Xiaomi has none. It may well be as water- and dust-resistant, but Xiaomi didn’t pay the money to get that officially checked.

Both phones sport aluminum frames and robust Gorilla Glass Victus displays.

A OnePlus 10 Pro from the front, held in someone's hand

You get a 6.7-inch AMOLED screen on the OnePlus 10 Pro (Image credit: Future)

OnePlus 10 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: display

The similarity of their proportions is reflected in the displays of these two phones. The OnePlus 10 Pro has a 6.7-inch AMOLED, while the Xiaomi 12 Pro has a 6.73-inch AMOLED.

Both are capable of WQHD+ resolutions and 120Hz refresh rates, and both are LTPO panels, so they can scale right back to 1Hz when the situation calls for more efficiency.

One advantage for the Xiaomi here is that it can get to an impressive 1500 nits under peak lighting conditions, whereas the OnePlus can “only” extend to 1300 nits.

A Xiaomi 12 Pro from the front in someone's hand

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is marginally larger at 6.73 inches (Image credit: TechRadar)

Conversely, OnePlus claims to have tested its display’s color accuracy at both 100 and 500 nits, ensuring an uncommon level of consistency regardless of brightness.

Basically, these are two brilliant and essentially similar displays that won’t let you down. It’s tough to call a winner, but the Xiaomi display’s greater peak brightness might just swing it.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: cameras

While the OnePlus 10 Pro camera system is very similar to its predecessor, the OnePlus 9 Pro, the Xiaomi 12 Pro has changed things up significantly over the Xiaomi Mi 11.

With the OnePlus 10 Pro you’re looking at the same 48-megapixel wide sensor and 8-megapixel 3.3x telephoto as before, but a new 50-megapixel ultra-wide.

As for the Xiaomi 12 Pro, you’re getting a new and pleasingly rounded triple 50-megapixel setup.

The camera block of a OnePlus 10 Pro

The OnePlus 10 Pro has a triple-lens camera setup (Image credit: Future)

Let’s talk about those main sensors. The OnePlus 10 Pro uses the 1/1.35“ Sony IMX789, while the Xiaomi 12 Pro uses the 1/1.28” Sony IMX707. Xiaomi’s sensor is newer, larger and more advanced.

It’s tough to call, but we’d say that the Xiaomi 12 Pro takes the better shots from its main camera.

Both phones use the same 50-megapixel Samsung JN1 sensor for the ultra-wide, which is technically a step back from the larger sensor found in the OnePlus 9 Pro. OnePlus has enabled its phone to take 150-degree shots, if that’s something you care about (we didn’t).

A Xiaomi 12 Pro's rear cameras

There’s a trio of 50MP sensors on the Xiaomi 12 Pro (Image credit: TechRadar)

OnePlus wins on the zoom front, with a 3.3x zoom lens getting closer to the action than the Xiaomi’s 2x equivalent. Yes, the Xiaomi packs in more pixels, but what’s important here is getting meaningfully closer to the action, to the point where you wouldn’t simply prefer to crop in on the main wide sensor.

It’s quite an even battle on this front. Perhaps the deciding factor will be the color science of the two manufacturers. Xiaomi’s is slightly more natural, while OnePlus has that punchy Hasselblad tuning that makes content look a little more vivid.

We’d give the nod to the Xiaomi on the Night mode front, with crisper, clearer low-light shots.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: specs and performance

It’s been a tight run contest so far, but it’s in the performance category that these two handsets are the closest. That’s because both phones run on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, backed by either 8 or 12GB of RAM.

Not surprisingly, this yields very similar benchmark results, and a similarly fluid experience in the hand. These are two of the fastest (non-Apple) phones on the market.

In terms of storage, both manufacturers offer 128GB and 256GB models, although availability can vary depending on the region in both cases.

There’s very little to talk about on the hardware front, because they really are singing from the same spec sheet, so let’s move on to the real difference here: software.

A game being played on a Xiaomi 12 Pro

The Xiaomi 12 Pro is a powerful phone (Image credit: TechRadar)

Both phones utilise custom UIs layered on top of Android 12. In the OnePlus 10 Pro that means OxygenOS 12, while in the Xiaomi 12 Pro’s case it’s MIUI 13.

This isn’t quite the slam-dunk win for OnePlus that it would have been in previous years. The brand’s assimilation into Oppo and subsequent move to using ColorOS for its underpinnings means that this isn’t quite the interface we used to know and love.

Style-wise it’s the same, though, with the same appealing fonts and icons, as is the uncluttered app provision. It’s on this front that we still prefer the OnePlus 10 Pro’s day-to-day experience.

However, MIUI 13 is much-improved; our reviewer called it “the best version of MIUI we’ve seen to date”. It’s far less glitchy and buggy than before; but it still feels a little bloated, with too many extraneous apps for our liking.

OnePlus 10 Pro vs Xiaomi 12 Pro: battery

Everything so far has been largely on the level, barring a few variations. However, the OnePlus 10 Pro has a much larger battery than the Xiaomi 12 Pro.

We’re talking 5,000mAh for the OnePlus and 4,600mAh for the Xiaomi. Given the similar specs elsewhere, that’s potentially significant.

In practice, both phones will get you through a full day of use with ease. We’d perhaps give the edge to the OnePlus, but it’s marginal.

The bottom edge of a OnePlus 10 Pro

There’s a 5,000mAh battery in the OnePlus 10 Pro (Image credit: Future)

Where the Xiaomi 12 Pro evens things out is with its charging provision. While OnePlus has upped things to an impressive 80W, Xiaomi has gone even further with 120W charging support.

This enables the Xiaomi to get from 0 to 100% within 30 minutes, while the OnePlus 10 Pro will take a little longer to achieve the same. Still, both are appreciably rapid, and both manufacturers bundle their fast chargers in the box.

When it comes to wireless charging, both phones support 50W with the appropriate fast charger. Bravo all round, then.

Takeaway

This is one of the tightest phone face-offs we’ve done in some time. Part of that is because these two phones share so many attributes.

Both have suave new designs with frosted glass and prominent camera modules, with roughly the same proportions and basic shapes. Both have the same internal specs, too.

We’d perhaps give the Xiaomi 12 Pro the nod in the camera stakes, chiefly thanks to its superior main sensor and more natural color science. But even then, the OnePlus hits back with a more intensive (and thus useful) zoom.

The OnePlus 10 Pro has the larger battery, but the Xiaomi 12 Pro charges faster. It’s a blow for blow fight right the way through.

Ultimately, we scored both of these phones the same, so you’re going to be happy with either. It might just come down to the price you’re willing to pay or the software experience, in which case the OnePlus might just get the nod. But we’re tempted to call this one a tie.

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Tim Cook really does not want you to sideload iPhone apps

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has some privacy concerns. In a speech at Tuesday's IAPP Global Privacy Summit, Cook spoke about the importance of privacy, but also delivered a warning regarding ongoing legislation that could regulate the App Store.

Cook kept his speech vague. He never called out any specific pieces of legislation or lawsuit; in fact, he only went into detail when promoting Apple’s privacy efforts. 

However, if you’ve paid attention to what the United States and the European Union have been doing to Big Tech, you’ll understand his posturing.

Sideloading fears

Cook claimed during the speech that efforts to regulate and enforce healthy competition on the Apple App Store will have negative effects on privacy and security. 

“…policymakers are taking steps, in the name of competition, that would force Apple to let apps onto iPhone that circumvent the App Store through a process called sideloading,” said Cook

Apple has a pretty tight grip on what’s allowed on its App Store and has even dealt with lawsuits and kicked certain apps out for breaking its App Store rules.

The European Union recently passed The Digital Markets Act which will force Big Tech to open up their messaging services to work with smaller platforms and points to iMessage as an example. The EU is also pressing for third-party app stores, which is essentially circumventing the App Store and sideloading apps onto the iPhone and iPad.

Cook stated sideloading will have profound consequences.

He claimed that, by sideloading, “data-hungry companies” will be able to skirt hardware security and rules to track people without their consent. It would create vulnerabilities that weren’t there before when Apple had complete control over its online store.

Cook backtracked a little by saying the tech giant does believe in competition and wants to foster that environment, but doesn’t want to undermine user privacy.

Apple’s ongoing security efforts

Cook also pointed out the efforts Apple has made to ensure user privacy. He specifically mentioned that the iPhone automatically encrypts personal data and data stored on the iCloud, which is also end-to-end encrypted. Not even Apple knows what’s in it.

And in 2021, Apple added the ATT (app tracking transparency tool) that forces other apps to ask permission to track user data. Apple is arguably doing more than most tech companies when it comes to user privacy.

However, who's to say that Apple can’t roll out new protections while also fostering a more competitive environment in the App Store at the same time? Plus, Apple users aren’t inherently better protected against bad actors.

AirTags, for example, can be used to track people. And this isn’t malware, it’s a design flaw. Granted, Apple knows about this and is working on fixing this flaw through, for now, software notifications.

Cook's concerns may not be completely unwarranted, but there's still no hard proof that giving people the option to sideload, however risky, will be the end of user privacy.

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Next Google Maps update will make traveling to new places way easier

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Your next trip to an unfamiliar destination could be made much smoother thanks to upcoming Google Maps updates.

The app will soon be able to give you more in-depth details about where you’re traveling, both before you set off and while you’re on the move, according to a Google blog post

We’re most excited about Google Maps finally being able to estimate the cost of toll roads you might want to use on your journey. Thanks to the feature you’ll be better able to weigh up the pros and cons of choosing to ‘Avoid Toll Roads’ on your route.

Right now the feature is restricted to around 2,000 toll roads across the US, India, Japan, and Indonesia, but over time new roads and regions will be added. We’ve reached out to Google to find out when countries like the UK and Australia will get this feature.

Another update will add new details to the digital map, including upcoming traffic lights, stop signs, and details about buildings you’re passing, which should help you get a better feel for a location you’re visiting for the first time.

Stop signs and traffic lights in Google Maps

(Image credit: Google )

Improved iOS support coming soon

Last but not least, Google is bringing several improvements to Maps on its Android OS rival in the coming weeks and months.

iPhone users will soon be able to take advantage of new widgets offering quick access to the most important details of your upcoming trip. In addition, if you wear an Apple Watch you’ll be able to start navigation using the Google Maps app without needing to pull your phone out – a new ‘Take me home’ complication will also enable you to quickly open directions home.

Google Maps will also be integrated with Siri, Spotlight, and the Shortcuts apps directly on iOS. Once the update has been rolled out, installed, and set up, you’ll be able to ask Siri for directions using your voice. Google says this feature will start to appear “in the coming months”, with enhanced Siri search functionality being added after the initial rollout. 

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iPhones could get a popular Android phone feature – but not until the iPhone 17

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Apple's smartphones haven't used Touch ID fingerprint scanning since the iPhone X (other than the budget iPhone SE devices), instead using Face ID facial recognition. According to a top Apple analyst, that could change – but not any time soon.

Ming-Chi Kuo, who's a respected source in the Apple news space, has long been suggesting that Apple phones could get in-screen fingerprint scanners, like many Android phones have, and has previously claimed we could see them early as 2023.

But if you're an iPhone fan who's looking forward to this feature, don't get your hopes up for it appearing in the iPhone 14, because it sounds like it could be a long way out.

In a tweet, Kuo has revised his prediction, and now says in-screen fingerprint readers may not show up until 2025 – that's the year we'd expect to see the iPhone 17, unless Apple decides to majorly shake up its naming scheme.

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In-screen fingerprint scanners, which enable you to unlock your phone by placing a thumb or finger on the appropriate part of the display, used to be a feature exclusive to top-end Android phones, but nowadays even some budget mobiles use it.

Apple tends to be late to the party when it comes to adopting new smartphone tech and features – see also 'punch-hole' screen cutouts (rumored for the iPhone 14) and 5G (only introduced with the iPhone 12).

However, it's not certain that the company plans to include an in-screen sensor in future iPhones – and at this point even Apple itself likely doesn't know what its 2025 iPhones will look like – so we should take Kuo's latest prediction with a big pinch of salt.


Analysis: Touch ID vs Face ID

Some people swear by Face ID – Kuo says it's “already a great biometrics solution” in his Tweet – but others find it temperamental.

In-screen Touch ID would be more useful as a means of unlocking iPhones in some respects. One of the benefits is that you don't need to pick up your phone and angle it towards your face every time you want to unlock it – you can leave it laying on a desk if you just want to quickly check a message, for example.

This depends on the way you use your phone though – and face unlock is more useful in some situations, for example if you have wet hands or are wearing gloves, which could mean an in-screen reader can't register your print.

Dropping Face ID would also allow Apple to finally do away with the screen notch, as that big block is needed to house all the sensors its facial recognition tech uses (Face ID uses a range of sensors, where Android phones rely on just the front-facing camera).

There's some debate as to whether fingerprint-based or facial-recognition unlocking is more secure. According to Samsung, fingerprint ID is more secure – the company says that “Even sophisticated facial recognition technologies have a higher FAR [false acceptance rate] than the advanced fingerprint authentication options.”

Samsung offers both facial and fingerprint recognition in its phones. Security firm Kaspersky points out that facial recognition has a few disadvantages, including its wide margin of error, and also the fact that there are security and surveillance issues involved with relying on your camera and having your face scan stored on a phone.

So there pros and cons for both Touch ID and Face ID, but the evidence suggests a move back to Touch ID, especially with a convenient in-screen placement, would be good news for Apple fans.

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