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7 iPhone security apps
Apple says that iOS devices are inherently secure -- that's the stance the company took in its 53-page iOS Security Guide last fall. However, around the same time, opposing points of view were expressed in stories about Xsser Trojans, which can steal data from iOS devices; WireLurker, malware that penetrates iOS security via USB; and forensics experts pulling data off locked iPhones. So Apple's recent decision to pull many antivirus and anti-malware apps from the App Store left some people wondering whether the company was protecting users from misleading apps and junk or leaving devices open to malicious software.
In Apple's favor, its unique hardware, firmware, and software architecture; data encryption; and Touch ID and Find My iPhone features safeguard against most attacks. If you want even more protection and privacy, consider an app monitor, a password manager, a secure folder, and VPN. Here are our favorites:
NowSecure monitors your iOS device for untrusted apps, scores its safety level, and makes security recommendations to ensure your data remains safe.[Read more]
Best indie games from GDC and SXSW 2015
Games don't have to have a Dragon Age- or Call of Duty-sized budget to wow gamers and critics. Outer Wilds and SpeedRunners proved that point again recently at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and South by Southwest (SXSW). Check out the winners from both conferences' indie game awards.
Independent Games Festival at GDC
Outer Wilds, a curious game of space exploration and campfire tunes, took top honors at the 17th annual Independent Games Festival. Outer Wilds won the Excellence in Design award and went on to win the Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Indie Game. The 2014 grand prize winner -- Papers, Please, which puts you in the shoes of an immigration agent in a dystopian world -- later achieved critical acclaim among mainstream media. Check out Outer Wilds and the other IGF winners:(Credit: inkle)
Excellence in Visual Art
Metamorphabet for iOS (Patrick Smith of Vectorpark)
Tetrageddon Games (Nathalie Lawhead)[Read more]
Spring-clean your smartphone
The smartphone is the ultimate decluttering tool -- it's your address book, clock, calendar, camera, and music collection, and it can do a lot of what your computer does. But the more apps you have, the less space and speed your phone has, and the more you're at risk for poor privacy settings or bad apps that compromise your info. Give your device a deep cleaning with the following 11 apps for better performance and privacy.
AVG Cleaner & Battery Booster (Android)
AVG Cleaner & Battery Booster enables you to check, clean, and erase unnecessary files, browsing history, call logs, and space-wasting apps from your Android's internal and SD cards. This will not only boost speed, but also create space for the apps and files you actually need. The battery booster shows which processes are eating up power so you can turn them off for better battery life.
Lookout Security & Antivirus (Android)
Lookout Security & Antivirus boasts constant, over-the-air protection from viruses, malware, adware, and spyware. If you upgrade from free to premium, you get more browsing protection and a privacy adviser to show you how apps are accessing your personal info.
... [Read more]
6 calendar apps that spring ahead
Your phone comes with a calendar app, but does it suit you? Save the day (and the week, month, and year) with a calendar app that will help you spring ahead.
Google Calendar is old hat for Android users, but it was noticeably absent from iOS until this week. Now iPhone users can create calendar events directly from Gmail and get the graphically appealing new Schedule View, and Google Calendar integrates with Exchange and iCloud calendars. Given the app's new features, Android users might decide they don't need an alternative calendar.
Sunrise Calendar just might make you happy to greet the morning. It has a modern, streamlined interface; an easy three-day week view; autocomplete during event creation; and Google, iCloud Calendar, and Facebook integration so you can include guest photos, directions, and weather for upcoming events. How good is the app? Microsoft bought it last month, but it will remain free and available for both mobile and desktop.
Cal (... [Read more]
Security software awards
What's the best antivirus software, and how can you tell? When we review security software at Download.com, we do hands-on testing, looking at everything from user-friendliness to virus eradication, but we also look at test results from independent institutes like AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. These labs do not produce their own antivirus software and perform rigorous, objective tests on security suites from all major manufacturers. Here are the consumer security apps that recently won the labs' seal of approval:
Best protection against malware: Trend Micro Internet Security ($39.95)
Best performance (speed): Kaspersky Internet Security ($79.95)
Best usability: Avira Antivirus Pro ($44.99)
Best Android security app: Qihoo 360 Security (free)
Best cleanup tool: Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool (free)
Best repair tool: ... [Read more]
First look: Vivaldi browser
Vivaldi, a Web browser now in tech preview, caters to power users who expect more from their browsers, letting them interact with content in new and exciting ways. Created by former Opera developers, Vivaldi is built on Chromium, the same platform used for Google Chrome, Comodo Dragon, and, of course, Opera.
On the surface, Vivaldi looks similar to other browsers, but a plethora of tools lie beneath that unassuming interface. Here are our six favorites.
Customize your start page with Speed Dial, a popular feature started by Opera and the star attraction in Vivaldi. This iteration is incorporated into your bookmarks, where you manage it the same way you would sort Favorites. Speed Dial links are fully customizable and can be sorted into folders, allowing you to create separate workspaces for any occasion.
Do you regularly have 20-plus browser tabs open? Vivaldi lets you stack tabs to organize your workspace -- just drag one tab on top of another. For example, you might want to stack similar pages to make them easier to locate. Hover your cursor over this stack, and you'll get a preview of each tab in that group.
Page Actions... [Read more]
Fitness apps to motivate your workouts
How is your workout working out? Lots of apps provide routines and fitness tracking, but those are no use if you're not motivated to get off the couch and keep going. We've run through fitness apps and have picked seven that will get you into the gym or out for a long jog or a bike ride, because there's nothing like music, scenery, and friendly competition to energize you.
Music is a great booster during a high-intensity cardio session. RockMyRun has thousands of music mixes, 45 minutes or less, to match your energy and tempo and keep you excited about your workout. With the Rockstar membership upgrade, you get longer mixes and no ads.
If you feel like you're just walking in circles, get on Virtual Walk Treadmill or GPS. This app lets you experience the Appalachian Trail, a New York cultural tour, the National Mall in Washington, the Boston Marathon, or Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. The high-quality pictures make you feel like a national traveler, and you'll learn about land... [Read more]
7 apps for 7 daters
Meeting people is easy, but meeting the right person is challenging. If you're finding too many Ms. or Mr. Wrongs, then you probably just haven't met the right app yet. We've screened dating apps and have picked our top 7, paired with personality profiles, so you can find your app match.
If you're looking for a lasting relationship, then Match.com is for you. Why else would you pay for a plan that runs from $21.99 to $129.99? This beautifully designed app features robust profiles, and if you pay extra in app for Top Spot, you rise to the top of the list to get noticed faster.
Using a trademark algorithm, OKCupid Dating targets appropriate matches based on criteria that are most important to you. The app also offers a lot of options, such as browsing nearby matches and the swiping Quickmatch feature that Tinder popularized. Most importantly, OKCupid profiles tell you more about your prospective mate, so you can s... [Read more]
10 apps to make taxes less taxing
We all dread tax time: hunting for receipts and statements, figuring out which forms we need, decrypting IRS instructions, and carving out time to go through it all. In tax preparation as in health matters, prevention is the best medicine, so we've compiled 10 apps to give you a jump-start on filing, helping you track finances year-round and get maximum refunds for minimum effort.
Get a head start on tax planning with TaxCaster, an Intuit app that helps you adjust your paycheck withholdings, so you either get your money back throughout the year or one big payout after filing. TaxCaster also approximates your refund -- if that isn't incentive to get your taxes done early, then we don't know what is.
Beautifully designed Scanbot enables you to turn space-wasting documents, such as invoices and receipts, into high-quality JPEGs and PDFs. You can email this data, upload it to the cloud, or print it if necessary. You can even scan your tax documents as backup be... [Read more]
6 apps for your repetitive tasks
Every February, Punxsatawney Phil forecasts whether spring is coming (this week's verdict: more winter). But for most of us, Groundhog Day is about the movie, with Bill Murray's weatherman suffering the same day over and over again -- 12,403 times by one super-fan's estimate -- because we can relate to the frustration of doing the same things day after day. We have yet to see an app that will free you from a time loop, but these six picks will relieve the tedium of repetitive tasks. And if you can't get "I Got You Babe" out of your head, displace that earworm with Unhearit.
GoTasks is a task manager for iPhone and iPad that enables you to add, edit, rearrange, and check off your most repetitive tasks -- online and offline. Manage tasks and sync them with Google apps for backup and use across devices.
Plenty of apps help you calendar appointments, but Radar helps you manage tasks you do on a regular basis, such as talking to your brother once a week or cleaning your apartment every two weeks. Tasks are sorted by timeliness, and you can swipe aside c... [Read more]