How to recover deleted text messages on iPhone

Lost or deleted some important messages from your iPhone? Don’t worry, there are three ways to recover deleted texts from an iPhone: using iCloud, using iTunes, and using a third-party app. We’ll guide you step-by-step through each method in an effort to restore your iPhone messages.

As a good housekeeper you’ve deleted all your old text messages, and then realised that you do – in fact – need some or all of your old messages. Well fear not. You can recover deleted text messages from your iPhone.

Indeed, it’s possible you can do so without having recourse to anything more difficult than restoring from backup – we recommend iTunes. And at worst you may be able to get those messages back using a third-party app.

If you’ve got the the opposite problem, we’ve also got a guide on how to delete all messages on an iPhone. And, just in case you didn’t know, you can send group texts from Android and iPhone.

iCloud

iTunes

3rd-party app


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Apple HomePod pre-orders open today: here's what you need to know

The wait is nearly over. The Apple HomePod will be available to pre-order online from January 26 for those keen to get their hands on the smart speaker in the US, UK and Australia. Apple fans in France and Germany will have to wait until Spring 2017. 

According to Apple, the Siri-powered smart speaker will be delivered on February 9, which is also when it’s expected to go on sale in Apple brick-and-mortar shops in the US, UK and Australia too. 

But as you might expect, many are predicting they could sell out fast. That means if you want to be one of the first to bark commands at Siri from your sofa, you’ll need to pre-order one as soon as possible.

How can you get an Apple HomePod?

Pre-orders are available on Apple.com, as well as on the Apple Store app on iOS devices in the US, UK and Australia. 

At the time of publishing however, it seems that Apple is yet to press go on the option to pre-order. Apple pre-orders usually begin at midnight Pacific Time, but although there’s a holding page on the website and on the Apple Store app dedicated to the HomePod, there’s no vital ‘pre-order’ button. We’ll keep you updated. 

The Apple HomePod will cost $349 in the US, £319 in the UK and $499 in Australia.

What is the Apple HomePod?

For those who haven’t been following the news and announcements around the Apple HomePod, it’s a smart speaker powered by Siri. In many ways it’s a response to the huge popularity of similar standalone speakers, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home

Because Apple is pretty late to the smart speaker party, it’s not clear yet what kind of demand the HomePod will have. Many users interested in voice-powered smart speakers will have probably already got their hands on one of HomePod’s competitors. But given that it’s part of the super popular Apple ecosystem and puts Siri to good work, it’s also likely to entice Apple fans in a heartbeat. 

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Amnesia Collection is now free on PC and contains some of the scariest games ever made

Fancy a free trip into possibly the scariest PC game of all time? Well, Amnesia: The Dark Descent is exactly that from our point of view, and right now, the Amnesia Collection is free on the Humble Store today and tomorrow.

The collection, which comprises of two games – Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs – would normally set you back £27 (or $35), but costs absolutely nothing until tomorrow at 6pm GMT (1pm ET in the US).

The Amnesia Collection can be played on Windows, Mac and Linux PCs, and is delivered via a Steam key. Note that you can’t get either game separately for free, you’ll need to pick up the bundled collection.

Descent into madness

As mentioned, there’s something special about the Dark Descent in particular for us. We vividly recall playing this back in the day, and it’s really quite freaky how much it gets your adrenaline pumping.

Put it this way, we hate to think what it would be like if it was ported over for a VR headset

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, that game’s sequel, is no slouch on the scare front either, though it shoots more for ‘disturbing’ and ‘freaky’ territory rather than the path of outright terror trodden by its predecessor.

Both games are compelling efforts, though, and anyone with even a remote interest in the survival horror genre shouldn’t miss the chance to pick these up for free.

Via PC Gamer

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iPhone SE 2 Release Date & Specification Rumours

The iPhone SE went on sale on 31 March 2016, and since the iPhone 7’s launch in 2016 it has been the only 4in iPhone you can buy new direct from Apple. It’s also the cheapest iPhone you can buy from Apple. We’re hoping to see an update in March 2018, though the new iPhone SE 2 might not be quite what consumers wanting a small and cheap iPhone had in mind.

Sources have previously suggested that there will be no iPhone SE 2, especially after Apple upgraded the storage on its original SE in 2017. But a report from Tekz24 suggests a new model is in the works after all, while Economic Daily News suggests it will be here in early 2018. 

We’re now hearing talk that it will feature an iPhone X-like design, though it could see a size increase. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities says the iPhone X SE will feature Face ID and the famous ‘notch’ screen design, but its panel will be a 6.1in LCD rather than OLED panel. Apple is also expected to cut down costs by dropping 3D Touch, swapping in a single-lens rear camera, and using an aluminium frame. 

Wistron, an India-based company that manufactures the original SE, is said to be onboard again for the SE 2. The firm is allegedly growing its production base in Bangalore in preparation.

Tekz24 reports that hardware will be similar to that of the iPhone 7, which means we could see an A10 chip, 2GB of RAM, 32GB/128GB of storage, plus 12Mp/5Mp cameras and a 1,700mAh battery. A more recent rumour suggests that battery will be able to charge wirelessly thanks to Qi tech and a rear glass panel.

Also see: iPhone SE review.

When is the iPhone SE 2 release date?

The iPhone SE 2 is expected to launch at Apple’s Spring Event, during the first quarter of 2018. We’d expect to see this take place in March.

How much will the iPhone SE 2 cost?

Kuo says the iPhone X SE will be sold between $649 and $749, which may translate to £649 to £749 in the UK.

Read next: Best new phones coming in 2018

Follow Marie Black on Twitter.


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Blade Shadow, a cloud-based gaming PC, wants to be the last computer you’ll ever need

French start-up Blade has launched its cloud-based gaming PC, called Shadow, in the UK. Rather than having to buy new components and upgrade your gaming PC every couple of years, you instead pay a subscription to access a powerful PC via the internet and stream your games and programs.

According to Blade, Shadow offers the experience of a £1,500 computer, with a dedicated graphics card equivalent to the powerful GTX 1080, 12GB of RAM, 256GB storage and eight threads from an Intel Xeon processor.

Subscribers to Shadow will be able to access this computing power on any desktop PC, laptop, Mac, tablet, smartphone or smart TV thanks to dedicated apps.

A screenshot of the Shadow app

Blade will also be providing a small form factor PC to run the Shadow app on, which will include ports for connecting peripherals, and will feature an AMD chip for localised computing.

What’s the cost?

To get access to this £1,500 equivalent PC, you’ll need to pay a subscription. If you commit to a one-year subscription it will cost £26.95 a month. A three-year subscription is £32.95 a month, or if you want a rolling subscription with no commitment, it will cost £39.95.

The Shadow box, the small form factor PC, will be sold for £109.95, or you can rent it for £7.95. We’ve been impressed with cloud streaming services such as Nvidia’s GeForce Now, which allows you to access powerful technology via the internet – as long as your internet connection is fast and reliable.

If Blade’s servers for Shadow hold up, then this could be a great way to play the latest games at the highest quality settings without having to build or buy an expensive gaming PC – especially useful now that graphics card prices have skyrocketed thanks to the cryptocurrency mining craze.

We look forward to giving the Shadow service a try soon, to see how it competes, but it seems to have been pretty successful in France, where it has already been launched and has now gained over 15,000 users. It was also announced at CES 2018 that Shadow will also be made available in the US, with additional markets to be announced in the coming months.

  • Want a laptop to stream Shadow to? Here’s our pick of the best laptops

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Intel Announces 'In-Silicon' Fixes For Meltdown And Spectre Coming This Year, 10nm Update

Intel reported its fourth-quarter financials today in what was probably one of the company’s most anticipated briefings in recent history. Intel’s financial performance has always been solid, often led by stellar +60% margins, but this briefing was somewhat different as some predict that the shadow of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities threaten to blot out some of Intel’s black ink. That surely didn’t happen, though, as Intel posted record results yet again. Its stock is up 3.89% after hours, but we did learn some new information about the company’s plans to address the vulnerabilities.

Intel reported yet another banner quarter with an 8% increase in quarterly revenue, up to $17.1 billion, with the data center, programmable solutions (FPGA), and IoT groups leading the record revenue (excluding McAfee). Full-year 2017 revenue weighed in at $62.8 billion, a healthy 9% YoY growth rate. Notably, earnings per share were up 37%.

Here Comes The Silicon Patch

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich started the call with a short restatement of the company’s commitment to security, which sounded very similar to his statements in the CES 2018 keynote.

Krzanich later said the company would begin to ship products with “in-silicon” fixes for the vulnerabilities by the end of the year (Q4). He did not quantify the statement further, but logically this means that the company will include these fixes in the 10nm generation of products. Krzanich also later stated that the company expects to continue developing its 14nm products in 2018, so we could see yet another round of 14nm processors (sigh). Of course, one could speculate that these chips might also have in-silicon patches for the vulnerabilities.

Intel’s newer chips (post-Broadwell) support a PCID (Post-Context Identifier) feature that helps reduce the performance impact of the Meltdown patches on newer hardware. Intel’s plans to institute in-silicon fixes could reduce the impact even further, or perhaps remove it entirely. That’s a sorely needed feature for a company that is reeling from the never-ending onslaught of press coverage around the vulnerabilities.

Some analysts are predicting that Intel could experience higher sales as companies refresh their hardware to offset the lost performance from the patches. Considering Intel’s apparently fast cadence of in-silicon fixes, that could hold true. Krzanich also said the company is focused on developing high-quality mitigations for customers, and it has created a website dedicated to helping customers deal with the vulnerabilities. (The link to this website has not been provided. We have requested the link.)

Did Someone Mention 10nm?

Intel also re-stated that it shipped some low-volume 10nm products last year, though again, the company did not provide any specifics about the number of units or the customer. Krzanich stated that the company would continue to ship 10nm processors in the first half of 2017 and then kick into high-volume manufacturing in the second half of the year. Intel noted that the cost impact of the 10nm ramp would increase in the second half of the year. That likely means we will see Icelake processors in that same time frame.

Potential Financial Impact Of Meltdown/Spectre

It’s definitely far too early to see any potential financial impacts from any of the pending lawsuits or the costs associated with the ongoing patch efforts. For instance, during Intel’s Q4 2016 earnings call, we reported that Intel mentioned it had created a then-undefined financial reserve to deal with a large-scale warranty return for higher than expected processor failure rates. We later learned that fund was due to the Atom C2000 failures. Intel did not make any mention of any new funds or reserves to deal with pending re-compensation programs for customers, although it did mention that last year’s fund cost them some profitability (“four points”).

Intel is obviously confident that it will not feel any near- or long-term pressure to its business.In response to a question from an analyst about the potential impact of the vulnerabilities on Intel’s financial forecasts, Krzanich responded:

“From a cost standpoint […] we don’t expect any material impact of this security exploit on our spending or product costs, or any of that, that’s how we bake that in.”

Krzanich expanded and said that the company continually re-evaluates its forecasts, including over the first few weeks of this year, and the forecasts have not changed. 

It Isn’t All Rosy

There were a few hiccups in Intel’s growth story, though. The company’s oft-maligned (yet promising) 3D XPoint DIMMs are delayed for what is conceivably the remainder of the year—the company says they will not have an impact on 2018 revenue. That’s a pretty significant setback for a promising technology that we last heard was coming in the second half of 2018. It’s possible that Intel’s delayed DIMMs are due to challenges with the first-generation media and bringing those to market with the second-generation 3D XPoint is the obvious fix. As such, this continued delay could mean that second-gen 3D XPoint isn’t on schedule.

Intel also announced that its enterprise SSDs with 64-layer NAND were delayed in the fourth quarter, which is another setback. The company did not expand on the topic.

Intel recently announced that it’s parting ways with long-time NAND venture partner Micron, but the two companies will continue to develop NAND products together throughout the end of the year. That means Intel will not realize a significant impact on its 2018 financials because it will begin shouldering the extra NAND R&D load in 2019. Intel also signed a few more long-term NAND supply contracts, which is a new tactic for the company that it first mentioned last quarter. Intel now has guaranteed sales of $2 billion in NAND in 2018.

Now The Other Good News

Intel touted its continuing improvement in the AI field and noted that its Nervana processor ran a neural network within the first two weeks that the company had working silicon. Those products are now shipping. Krzanich also touched on the fact that Stratix 10 is shipping, but later in the call, we learned that the company’s stellar performance in its PSG group (FPGAs) stems from increased end-of-life sales, not Stratix 10.

Intel also continues to profit from its 14nm process as costs drop, and the Xeon Skylake sales ramp is fattening the bottom line.

Intel is in the second year of a three-year effort to transition itself to a data-centric company, which means less focus on its bread-and-butter desktop PC business. Intel said that even though the PC market is down 2%, it’s still a reliable source of profitability (best profit since 2007) that funds investments in the new data-centric growth areas.

Intel also noted that it’s increasing its spend in R&D for GPUs, AI, and Automotive, but it did not quantify the issue further. Notably, the company did not provide any financial information for the newly-formed Core and Visual Computing Group headed by Raja Koduri.

A 14% Tax Rate, But First…

Intel revealed that it will pay a 14% tax rate in 2018 (wow), but that a one-time charge this year resulted in an overall loss for this quarter:

Intel’s fourth-quarter results reflect an income tax expense of $5.4 billion as a result of the U.S. corporate tax reform enacted in December. This includes a one-time, required transition tax on our previously untaxed foreign earnings, which was partially offset by the re-measurement of deferred taxes using the new U.S. statutory tax rate.

Tell Us About AMD

Finally, an analyst asked Krzanich if the company was seeing any pressure from AMD, but, as per Intel’s unspoken policy, Krzanich did not mention AMD by name or respond directly to the question. AMD’s increased pressure on Intel has been a godsend for enthusiasts and normal consumers alike, largely because it has forced Intel to deliver better value. But given Intel’s solid execution, AMD hasn’t hurt the company seriously. Intel’s CCG (Client Computing Group), the CPU-making division for desktop PCs, did fall 2% this quarter. Intel chalked up to the continuing decline in the PC market in general.

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Facebook and Google criticised by George Soros

The billionaire investor George Soros has criticised tech “monopolies” such as Facebook and Google, calling them a threat to democracy.

At his annual dinner at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Soros warned that social media platforms were “obstacles to innovation”.

He raised concerns about their power to shape people’s attentions.

However, he predicted their days were numbered because tax policy and regulation would catch up with them.

Mr Soros also called the Trump administration a “danger to the world”, adding that he believed the president would be gone by 2020 “or sooner”.

‘Lost freedom’

But the outspoken financier reserved his strongest criticism for what he called the “unprecedented and transformative” effects of large internet firms.

“The power to shape people’s attention is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few companies,” Mr Soros told assembled guests.

Referencing Google and Facebook several times during his speech, he said: “It takes a real effort to assert and defend what John Stuart Mill called ‘the freedom of mind’.

“There is a possibility that once lost, people who grow up in the digital age will have difficulty in regaining it.”

He cautioned that this would have “far-reaching political consequences”, and had already played a large role in the election of Donald Trump.

Facebook declined to comment, while Google did not immediately return a request for comment.

The 87-year-old repeatedly praised EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, whom he said would be the social media companies’ “nemesis”.

Ms Vestager has become best known for going after US tech giants, slapping charges on Google, Amazon and Apple.

Mr Soros said the EU, which has no internet giants of its own, was best placed to “protect society against them”, whereas US regulators, he maintained, were too weak.

“Internet monopolies have neither the will nor the inclination to protect society against the consequences of their actions,” he emphasised.

‘Societies in crisis’

The Hungary-born hedge fund manager, who initially became famous for having made $1bn by betting on the devaluation of the pound in 1992, heads several foundations devoted to “defending open societies from their enemies”.

Mr Soros, a Holocaust survivor, opened his speech by disclosing that he found the current moment in history “rather painful”.

“Open societies are in crisis, and various forms of dictatorships and mafia states, exemplified by Putin’s Russia, are on the rise.”

But he predicted that Donald Trump, whom he previously branded a “would-be dictator,” might not last to the end of his term.

“I expect a Democratic landslide in 2018,” Mr Soros asserted.

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