Archive for William Antonelli

The latest macOS version is Monterey – here’s how to check if you have it and how to upgrade

Apple MacBook event 2020
Apple releases a new version of macOS every year.
  • The latest macOS version is macOS Monterey, which released in October 2021.
  • You can check what version of macOS you have by opening the "About This Mac" menu.
  • If you don't have the latest version of macOS, you can update your Mac from this menu too.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

It's been nearly 40 years since Apple released the first version of Mac OS, the operating system inside all of their computers. Nowadays, Mac OS is known as "macOS," and each version is named after a location in California.

The latest version as of this writing is macOS Monterey, released in October 2021. A new major macOS version debuts every year, and every almost every update comes with big changes.

Unless you're a programmer or tech journalist, you probably don't need to know the name of every Mac operating system ever. You just need to know what the latest is, how to check which macOS version you currently have, and how to update it if you need to.

How to check if you have the latest macOS version

To check what version of macOS you have:

1. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen, then select About This Mac.

how to check macos version 1
From the menu bar, click "About This Mac."

2. A new window will appear. It should open to the Overview tab by default, but if it doesn't, click Overview at the top of the window.

On this page, you'll be able to see what macOS version your computer is running, right down to the build number (something like 10.14.6).

how to check macos version 2
Your current macOS version will appear at the top of the window.

Underneath the OS name, you'll find a collection of basic information about your computer, including its serial number, processor, and model name. If you click System Report… at the bottom of the window, you'll be able to explore even more information about your device.

How to update macOS to get the latest version

If you think your Mac is outdated, try to update it.

1. Again, open the About This Mac screen from the Apple logo in the top-left corner. And again, go to the Overview page.

2. At the bottom of the window, next to the System Report option, click on Software Update…

3. Your Mac will connect to the internet to check if there's a more current version of macOS for you to install. If there is, it'll prompt you to install the update. If you have the most current version, it'll let you know that, and you can close both windows without worry.

how to check macos version 3
Your Mac might take a few moments to find the new update.

Steven John contributed to a previous version of this article.

4 ways to take a screenshot on a Mac computer5 things you should know when buying a refurbished or used MacHow to mirror your iPhone screen to a Mac computer with QuickTime or AirPlayHow to force quit on a Mac to close unresponsive apps
Read the original article on Business Insider

How to redeem an Amazon gift card with the app or website

woman shopping online using laptop
You can use Amazon gift cards to buy anything on Amazon.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
  • To redeem an Amazon gift card, head to your account's "Gift Card Balance" page.
  • If you have the code, you can also redeem your Amazon gift card while checking out.
  • The Gift Card Balance page also lets you set up an automatic reload schedule, so you'll always have a gift card.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

You can buy nearly any item on Earth from Amazon. The only obstacles in your way are space - Where will you fit your 15th flatscreen TV? - and money. But if you've received an Amazon gift card for your birthday, money doesn't have to be an issue.

You can redeem Amazon gift cards you've received using the website or app. And once you've redeemed a gift card, you can keep track of how much money is left on it.

How to redeem an Amazon gift card via the app

These steps work for both the iPhone and Android apps.

1. Open the Amazon app and tap the three stacked lines in the bottom-right corner, and then tap Account.

A menu in the iPhone Amazon app. The "Account" option is highlighted.
Open your Account options.

2. Scroll down to the Payments section and select Manage gift card balance.

A menu in the Amazon app that lets you see your account preferences and options. "Manage gift card balance" is highlighted.
Head to your "Manage gift card balance" menu.

3. You'll be brought to the page where you can redeem a gift card or add balance to an existing one. Tap Redeem another gift card to activate your gift card by entering its code or scanning it.

Two screenshots showing how to redeem a gift card in the Amazon app.
You can type in your gift card's code, or scan it.

Alternatively, you can redeem a new gift card straight from the checkout page. In the Payment information section, just type or scan your gift card number.

The Amazon app's checkouts page, with the section that lets you scan a gift card highlighted.
Your gift card will replace whatever payment method you've selected.

How to redeem an Amazon gift card via the website

The process is pretty similar if you go through Amazon's website.

1. Head to Amazon and log in, then hover your mouse over the Account & Lists option in the top-right.

2. In the menu that appears, click Gift Card Balance.

The Account and Lists menu on Amazon's website, with the "Gift Card Balance" option highlighted.
Head to your "Gift Card Balance" menu.

3. You'll see your current gift card balance and transaction history. To redeem a new gift card, click Redeem a Gift Card and enter its code.

The Gift Card Balance page on the Amazon website.
Redeem a new card or add money to an old one.

You can also redeem an Amazon gift card right from the checkout page. Under Add a gift card or promotion code or voucher, type your gift card number and then click Apply.

The checkout page on Amazon's website, with the section to add a gift card highlighted.
Your gift card balance will appear in the summary on the right.

Christine Kopaczewski contributed to a previous version of this article.

How to check your Amazon gift card balance, and reload your cardHow to write and edit Amazon reviews, and find or delete your reviewsHow to edit and delete your Amazon browsing history, and turn off trackingHow to log out of the Amazon app or website on any device
Read the original article on Business Insider

How to update your Amazon Firestick

An Amazon Fire TV Stick.
You should your Firestick updated, just like any other device.
  • You can update your Amazon Firestick through the Settings menu.
  • Your Firestick should be checking for updates every day, but the Settings menu lets you update it manually.
  • Keeping your Firestick updated is important for keeping your data secure and receiving new features.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick (also known as the Firestick) lets users to watch their favorite content on apps like Netflix and HBO Max, as well as shop on Amazon. But like any internet-connected device released nowadays, the Firestick requires regular updates to run properly and unlock new features.

By default, your Firestick should check for updates automatically every day. But if you want to check for updates yourself, you just need to open the Settings menu.

How to update your Amazon Fire Stick

1. Turn on your Firestick and get to the home screen, then select the Settings option - depending on your Firestick, it might just look like a gear icon.

2. In Settings, scroll and click on the My Fire TV tab. On some Firesticks, you might see Device or System instead.

The Settings menu on an Amazon Firestick, with the My Fire TV option highlighted.
Head to My Fire TV.

3. In the menu that opens, click About and then scroll down to Check for Updates. You'll see a note on the right side of the page telling you what version of the OS your Firestick is running, and the last time it checked for an update.

4. Click Check for Updates to see if your device is up to date. If an Install Update option appears, it means that there's an update available for you. If it just says Your Fire TV is up to date, you're running the latest software.

The "Check for Updates" screen on an Amazon Firestick.
Your Firestick should be checking for updates every day.

5. If the Install Update option appears, select it. Your Firestick should turn off, and then turn back on a few minutes later with the update installed.

Taylor Lyles contributed to a previous version of this article.

How to reset your Amazon Firestick to factory settings and fix nearly any bugHow to pair an Amazon Fire Stick remote with your Fire Stick, and add up to 7 remotes to your systemHow to restart your Amazon Fire Stick in 3 different waysHow to use Amazon Watch Party to stream Prime Video movies and shows remotely with friends and family
Read the original article on Business Insider

Instagram post sizes: The exact ratios for posting perfect photos and videos on Instagram

instagram search
Almost every type of Instagram post has a different size and aspect ratio.
  • The size of your Instagram post will vary depending on how you upload the photo or video.
  • A standard Instagram post should be shaped like a perfect 1:1 square, but Stories are shaped like a phone screen.
  • You can edit the size of your photos in Instagram, or through your phone's Photos app.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

Instagram is very particular when it comes to the size of your photos. It's not like Facebook, where you can upload any sort of picture and then just tap to enlarge it - if a photo you post on Instagram gets cropped weirdly, whole chunks of it will get deleted.

But while this does mean that you have to be precise when editing your photos for Instagram, it also means that it's easy to predict what your photos will look like once uploaded.

Every kind of Instagram post has an exact aspect ratio that works best for it. Here's a full guide to Instagram's post size requirements, and how to edit your photos to match them.

What size should your Instagram posts be?

There are a few different places to post pictures on Instagram, and each takes a different size of photo.

But when we talk about size, how many pixels they have is less important than their aspect ratio. An aspect ratio is a number that compares how wide a picture is to how tall it is.

For example, a square is in a 1:1 aspect ratio because it's exactly as wide as it is tall. Most TVs, meanwhile, are 16:9 - almost twice as wide as they are tall.

Here are the most important ratios on Instagram.

Regular Instagram posts

By default, standard Instagram posts are perfectly square - they're in a 1:1 aspect ratio. If you're looking for a specific resolution, shoot for 1080 x 1080 pixels (px).

If the picture you're uploading isn't a square, you can tap a button to zoom out. A landscape (horizontal) photo should be in a 1.91:1 ratio, and a portrait (vertical) photo should be a 4:5 ratio. Their resolutions should be 1080 x 608 px and 1080 x 1350 px, respectively.

Videos work the same way as photos, and use the same ratios.

Three rectangles in different sizes, representing how posts can look on Instagram.
To post a landscape or portrait photo, you might need to cut off part of the image.

Instagram Story posts

Unlike regular posts, Instagram Stories can take up your entire vertical phone screen. This means that they should be a 9:16 ratio, or 1080 x 1920 px.

IGTV and Reels video posts

Just like Stories, Instagram Reels and IGTV posts are meant to take up the entire screen. Post them in a 9:16 ratio, or 1080 x 1920 px.

The difference is that IGTV and Reels posts can also show up on your feed or profile. When an IGTV or Reels video appears in your feed, it'll be cropped into a 4:5 ratio - you need to tap it to expand it. And on your profile, it'll show up as a 1:1 square.

When uploading an IGTV video, you'll also be asked for a cover photo. This cover should have a 1:1.55 ratio, or 420 x 654 px.

In all these cases, it means that you should keep the video's most important text or content near the center of the screen so it doesn't get cut off.

Two rectangles, showing the size of Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Reels posts; and IGTV cover photos.
IGTV covers don't have to be in a high resolution.

Your Instagram profile picture

While it's not the same as a public post, your Instagram profile picture needs to fit a certain ratio too.

Like normal posts, you should upload a perfect 1:1 square as your profile picture. But unlike posts, it doesn't need to have a high resolution - you can keep it at 360 x 360 px.

How to resize your photos for Instagram

Most people don't take perfectly square photos (although most high-end phones have a setting for it). This means that if you want to post your photos on Instagram, you should crop them.

There are a few ways to resize your photos to make them fit on Instagram. Of course, there are hundreds of apps that offer exact size templates - for example, you can use a free site like Canva or a premium suite like Adobe Spark.

But Instagram has its own photo editor. When you try to upload a photo to the Instagram app from your phone's camera roll, you can crop it into a square or rectangle right from the selection screen.

And if you want a more private cropping experience, head to your camera roll app directly. Both the iPhone Photos app and Android Google Photos app let you crop your photos into the ratios needed for Instagram posts. You can also freeform crop them to fit the ratios manually.

Showing how to edit a photo in both Instagram and the iPhone's Photos app.
There are a variety of ways to crop or resize a photo.
How to view Instagram Stories anonymously in 3 different waysHow to change the Instagram icon on an iPhone or Android and customize the app's appearance on your home screen8 ways to troubleshoot Instagram if it's not working properlyHow to go live on Instagram and broadcast video in real time to your followers
Read the original article on Business Insider

How to save a route in Google Maps for quick directions

google maps app
Google Maps' "Go" menu lets you find your saved routes.
  • You can save a route in Google Maps with the "Pin" feature.
  • Pinning a route or location lets you quickly find that route or directions to that spot again later.
  • In the Google Maps Android app, you can also save a route to your phone's home screen for instant access.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

If you're like most people, you probably drive on the same roads a lot. Even so, there's a good chance that you still use a GPS like Google Maps to make sure that you're on the right path.

Google Maps can help you find your favorite routes even faster. If you're using the Google Maps smartphone app, you can "pin" a navigation route or location and save it for later. This lets you pull up a public transit route or driving directions with just two taps. It's perfect for routes that you travel down often.

Here's how to save a route in Google Maps and easily find it later.

How to save a route in Google Maps

These steps are the same for both the iPhone and Android Google Maps apps, but are slightly different depending on whether you want to save public transit or driving directions.

If you're taking public transit, you can save the exact route from one spot to another. But if you're driving, you can only save your destination - the starting location will always be your current location by default.

1. Open Google Maps and start getting directions to somewhere.

2. When you're on the screen that lets you choose what mode of transport you're using and which route you want to take, select the route that you want to save.

3. As you're looking at the overview of the entire route, tap the Pin option at the very bottom of the screen.

Showing the "Pin" button in Google Maps when asking for public transit or driving directions.
Once you've picked a route, you can "Pin" it.

Your selected route will be saved. Now, here's how to find it:

1. Open Google Maps again and tap Go at the bottom of the screen.

2. Anything that you've pinned will appear at the top of the Go list. Just tap it to bring up the route preview again.

The "Go" menu in the Google Maps app.
Your pin will be named after whatever the destination was.

If you saved a public transit route, you'll see the exact route preview that you originally pinned. If you saved a driving route, you'll see directions from your current location to the destination you pinned.

Saving a route to your Android's home screen

If you're using an Android smartphone, you've got an extra option: Saving a shortcut for the route to your phone's home screen.

1. Open Google Maps and bring up the route that you want to save.

2. On the same screen where you can pin the route, instead tap the three dots next to the starting location.

3. Select Add route to Home screen and confirm that you want to add the icon.

The "Add route to Home screen" option in the Google Maps Android app.
You'll find the "Add route to Home screen" option by tapping the three dots.

Now whenever you tap the shortcut on your home screen, you'll be brought to this same route preview.

How to set or change your 'Home' location on Google Maps and get quick directions to your residenceIt can take years for Google Maps to update certain features - here's how they get the data to update Street View, traffic, and moreHow to measure distance in Google Maps on any device to help you create a personal routeHow to use Google Maps as a trip planner and make a full itinerary
Read the original article on Business Insider

Nintendo Switch Online is getting new features and a new price – here’s how it works

Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack poster
You can sign up for a weeklong trial of Nintendo Switch Online.
  • With a Nintendo Switch Online membership you can play online multiplayer games on your Nintendo Switch.
  • A basic Nintendo Switch Online membership is $19.99 for a year, while the "Expansion Pack" plan is $49.99.
  • Nintendo Switch Online also gives you access to dozens of free games, including classics from the Nintendo 64.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

If you want to make the most of your Nintendo Switch experience, then you need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription.

Nintendo Switch Online gives you unlimited access to online multiplayer, which is great for games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and necessary to play online-only games like Among Us.

You can sign up for Nintendo Switch Online using your Switch, or straight from your computer or phone. Here's how much Nintendo Switch Online costs, and some of the exclusive features you'll unlock with your membership.

How much is Nintendo Switch Online?

There are two Nintendo Switch Online membership tiers: The basic subscription and the "Expansion Pack" subscription. The Expansion Pack will launch on October 25th, and has all the same features of the basic plan, along with some extras that we'll explain below.

  • A basic Nintendo Switch Online subscription costs $3.99 a month, $7.99 for three months, or $19.99 for a year.
  • A Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription costs $49.99 for a year - there's no monthly option. This option will become available on October 25th, 2021.
Nintendo Switch Online's two membership tiers.
A basic Switch Online plan is about $20, while an Expansion Pack plan is about $50.

If you're planning on sharing your account, you can also sign up for a Family Membership, which gives up to eight Nintendo Account holders online access for a year. This raises the prices to $34.99 for a basic subscription, and $79.99 for an Expansion Pack subscription. Again, there's no monthly version.

No matter which version you pick, you can try Nintendo Switch Online for free for seven days.

What a Nintendo Switch Online membership offers

Live multiplayer action

A Nintendo Switch Online account lets you play multiplayer games online with gamers from all around the world. This is the service's most important feature, and probably the one that you'll use the most.

Having online multiplayer can massively enhance some games. For example, it unlocks competitive tournaments in Pokémon Sword and Shield, and new game modes in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Some online-only games require Nintendo Switch Online just to play them - this includes megahits like Among Us and Overwatch.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's online multiplayer menu.
You'll need a subscription to play online in games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

New battle royale games

When Nintendo Switch Online first launched, it came with an exclusive game: Tetris 99. This is a battle royale version of Tetris that pits you in a survival contest against 99 other players at once.

Tetris 99
Tetris 99 is exclusive to Nintendo Switch Online.

Since then, they've also released PAC-MAN 99 and Super Mario Bros. 35, two more modernized versions of classic games.

These games are free, but you can only download and play them with a Switch Online membership.

Classic Nintendo games

One of Nintendo Switch Online's most acclaimed features is its library of classic games. A subscription gives you free access to dozens of these games, which were originally released in the late 1980s and 90s but have been remastered specifically for play on the Switch.

A selection of Super Nintendo Entertainment System games available on the Nintendo Switch.
A selection of SNES games available for Switch Online members.

The basic Switch Online plan gives you games from the Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System, like Double Dragon and Mario Kart. The Expansion Pack adds Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis games, like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Ecco the Dolphin.

You can also play most of these games online with people on your Switch friends list, giving you a brand new way to experience the classics.

Backup save data

Switch Online automatically uploads all of your save data to Nintendo's servers. This means that even if your console is lost or damaged, you won't lose your progress. It also lets you move between Switch consoles easily, without worrying about which device you've played on more.

Just remember that if you unsubscribe from the Nintendo Switch Online service, you'll need to resubscribe within 180 days or your cloud saves will be erased.

Expansion Pack members get free DLC for popular games

Users who've signed up for the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack plan also have access to downloadable content for certain games.

As of this writing, Expansion Pack users who play Animal Crossing: New Horizons will receive the Happy Home Paradise DLC for free. This DLC costs $24.99 by itself.

The poster for Animal Crossing: Happy Home Paradise.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons offers a DLC package to Expansion Pack members.

There's a good chance that more games will distribute DLC this way in the future.

Use the Nintendo Switch Online app

Nintendo Switch Online also includes the Nintendo Switch Online app for iPhone and Android, which lets you check your in-game stats and voice chat with other app users.

Certain games, like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, gain new features when connected to the Nintendo Switch Online app too.

Steven John contributed to a previous version of this article.

Yes, the Nintendo Switch has Bluetooth - here's how to connect a headset or new controllerHow to sync Nintendo Switch controllers with your system, so that up to eight people can play at onceHow to add friends in 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' and have them visit your in-game islandHow to add friends in 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' and have them visit your in-game island
Read the original article on Business Insider

How to set or change your ‘Home’ location on Google Maps and get quick directions to your residence

Google Maps
Google Maps treats your home like a major landmark.
  • To set or change your Home location on Google Maps, head to the "Labeled" menu.
  • You can find the Labeled menu in the "Saved" section of the Google Maps mobile app or website.
  • Your Google Maps Home location always appears on the map, and can be a waypoint when asking for directions.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

There are millions of individual businesses, roads, and points of interest available on Google Maps. But with all these spots highlighted on the map, it can be easy to lose track of the most important location: your house.

That's why Google Maps lets you save a Home location to your account. Your Home will always appear on the map, no matter how zoomed out you are. And when you tap the search bar or start looking for directions, Home will always appear as one of the first suggestions.

Here's how to set or change your Home on Google Maps, using the mobile app and website.

How to set or change your Home on Google Maps

In the mobile app

1. In the Google Maps iPhone or Android app, tap Saved at the bottom-center of the screen.

2. In the menu that appears, tap Labeled. A screen will appear with at least two options: Home and Work.

The "Saved" menu in the Google Maps iPhone app.
Head to your "Labeled" menu.

3. Tap Home to set it, or if you've already got a Home location, tap the three dots next to it and then Edit home.

The "Labeled" screen in the Google Maps iPhone app, with the "Edit home" option highlighted.
If you already have a Home set, change it by tapping "Edit home."

4. The search bar will appear. Use it to find a new location, tap Choose on map to drop a pin directly onto the map, or (if available) tap Choose from Contacts to select a location you have saved in your contacts.

A Google Maps search for "555 W John Doe Road."
There are a few ways to pick your new Home location.

On the website

1. Find the location you want to set as your Home address on the map. You can search for it or just click it.

2. In the information panel that opens, scroll down and click Add a label.

A screenshot from the Google Maps website, showing the "Add a label" option when you select a location.
You can set your Home anywhere.

3. A text field will appear. Type Home, and then click Home | Set your home address under the text field.

A Google Maps screenshot where the user is labeling a location as "Home."
Typing "Home" will bring up the option to set it as your Home location.

4. Click Set As Home in the pop-up.

It can take years for Google Maps to update certain features - here's how they get the data to update Street View, traffic, and moreHow to measure distance in Google Maps on any device to help you create a personal routeHow to use Google Maps as a trip planner and make a full itineraryHow to find your current location in Google Maps
Read the original article on Business Insider

It can take years for Google Maps to update certain features – here’s how they get the data to update Street View, traffic, and more

Phone with google maps logo and updating symbols, on traffic/travel related background
Updating Google Maps takes a massive amount of data.
  • Google Maps makes small updates every day, but Street View and other real-life maps might only update every few years.
  • Some Google Maps features, like traffic and directions, can update in real-time.
  • How often Google Maps updates in your city depends on how many people live near you.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

From live traffic reports to high-quality satellite images, Google Maps has dozens of features that change and update regularly.

But updating every map every day would take trillions of dollars by itself - this means that while some users will notice new updates often, other users might have to wait years for new content.

Insider reached out to Google to ask how often they update five major Google Maps features: Street View, satellite images, street names and routes, business names and information, and traffic and road closures.

Here's everything to know about how often Google updates, including what it might mean if you're not seeing updates near you.

How often does Google Maps update?

There's one general rule to Google Maps' updates: Places where more people live get updated more often. In a Maps 101 blog, Google Maps' Technical Program Manager Matt Manolides says that "Overall [their] goal is to keep densely populated places refreshed on a regular basis."

In other words, while New York City might receive updates every week, the deep forests of northern Maine might go years without.

But as we'll go over below, individual users have a surprising amount of influence over the maps in their area.

Street View

Street View - the feature that lets you see actual on-the-ground photos of nearly any location in the US and beyond - is possibly Google Maps' most famous feature. According to Google, it's also one of the most difficult features to keep up-to-date.

In general, Google tries to take new Street View photos in major cities once every year. Less populated areas can probably expect new photos every three years or so - but don't be surprised if it takes even longer.

Although it's not heavily advertised, the Street View team actually keeps a public list of places they plan to visit in dozens of countries across the world. You can find that list in the Where we're headed section of this webpage.

Just be aware that the dates they give are broad estimates - don't expect an exact day and time. And even if Google takes new photos of your town, they might not use them if the old ones are still accurate.

A list of all the places that Google plans to take Street View photos at.
Google gives a general timeframe for when they'll be taking photos.

Satellite images

Although it's not active by default, you can set Google Maps to show you real overhead imagery of any location on Earth.

These pictures are taken by both satellites and airplanes flying overhead, and are then "stitched together" to make maps. This process takes a massive amount of time and work from humans and machines alike.

Like with Street View, Google prioritizes updating "the places that are changing the most," says Manolides. This means that big cities should see updates every year, medium-sized cities every two years, and it could take three years or longer for more obscure areas.

A map of Manhattan, shown in both satellite and non-satellite views.
A map of Manhattan with the satellite layer turned on (right) and off (left).

And of course, Google doesn't update the entire world in one go. They generally release new satellite data every month, adding whichever images they have ready to go.

Occasionally, Google will release new satellite imagery ahead of schedule to mark special occasions. For example, they uploaded new photos of London right at the start of the London 2012 Summer Olympics that showed off the new arenas.

Since the majority of Google's overhead images come from third-party sources - "state agencies, geological survey organizations, and commercial imagery providers," as Google communications director Peter Schottenfels wrote in a recent blog - there's no exact schedule for when the updates go live.

A shot of Google Maps' satellite view, with the credits for who took the satellite photos highlighted.
Like with Street View, you can see which organizations took the pictures by looking at the bottom of the screen.

Street names and routes

Google Maps is built to show you all the streets nearby and give accurate directions from one place to another. But with thousands of cities across the world and even more roads, making sure everything stays up-to-date is a big job.

Google receives data about streets and roads from a variety of sources. These are mostly government agencies like the United States Geological Survey. But they also accept data from local governments, housing developers, and more. When they visit cities to take pictures, the Street View team also makes note of when real life doesn't match what they have on the map.

This means there's not an easy way to predict when streets and roads will be updated. If these third-party agencies are on top of things, new roads and street names should appear quickly. But it's largely up to them to report the changes to Google.

If you find that a street doesn't match what Google Maps is showing - maybe it's got the wrong name, or doesn't have the right shape - you can report it to Google yourself. On the website, you can use the Edit the map feature to report misdrawn, misnamed, or even missing roads. You can also right-click the offending road and select Report a data problem.

A screenshot of Google Maps. The user has right-clicked the map, and the "Report a data issue" option is highlighted.
There are multiple ways to report map issues.

Google will review your submission and compare it to their data. If they find that you're right, they'll change it on Google Maps. They take submissions from anyone, but they prioritize reports from Local Guides.

Business names and information

When you open Google Maps, chances are you'll immediately see the names of dozens of nearby businesses. Select one of them, and you'll probably see what it sells, its hours of operation, and reviews.

Unlike other pieces of data, Google rarely updates this information themselves. Instead, they rely on the businesses to upload their own information. If you're the owner of a new business or location, you should sign up for a Google Business account and give them your information to put on the map.

But like with street names and routes, any user can report an error. When you find a business with the wrong information, click or tap the Suggest an edit button to submit the right info. Google will review it and update the map if you're right.

The Google Maps info page for Madison Square Garden, with the "Suggest an edit" option highl
As long as you're logged into Google, you can submit edits.

Once an error is reported, Google usually corrects it within a week.

Traffic and road closures

When you ask for directions on Google Maps, it should tell you exactly how much traffic you should expect, how busy the place you're going to is, and any routes that are closed along the way.

This all updates in real-time, faster than any other feature. And to do this, Google collects data from a wealth of different sources.

Whenever you have Google Maps (or Waze, another Google navigation app) open, unless you've specifically disabled the feature, you're sending anonymous location data to Google. The more people with Google Maps open in one place, the busier Google knows it is.

This is also how they calculate traffic: If a hundred phones with Google Maps open are traveling 60 miles per hour and then suddenly stop all at once, Google knows there's a traffic jam.

A screenshot from the Google Maps app, with a navigation course plotted out from Manhattan to Coney Island.
Once you start a route, Google Maps will show you which roads have traffic jams, car accidents, and more.

And once enough data is collected, Google can use machine learning to predict patterns. For example, Google doesn't need new data to tell you that the Brooklyn Bridge gets crammed with traffic at rush hour - it's happened thousands of times before, so they can predict it'll happen again.

Users contribute information actively, too. If you've ridden the New York City subway enough, you're probably used to Google Maps asking you how crowded it is - they do this so they can report the info to other users.

The Google Maps info page for Rockefeller Center, showing how busy it is.
Most popular spots on Google Maps will have a live chart showing how busy it is.

Local governments generally report long-term road closures to Google themselves. But Google also learns from user reports, either on Google Maps or Waze.

If you're in a high-population area, you should expect Google's real-time traffic stats to be incredibly accurate.

How to draw a route on Google Maps to create custom directions or plan a tripHow to use latitude and longitude in Google Maps to get the coordinates of a specific place or find a locationHow to turn on dark mode in Google Maps on your iPhone or AndroidHow to download maps from Google Maps to get driving directions offline
Read the original article on Business Insider

How to use Google Maps as a trip planner and make a full itinerary

using phone in car
Google Maps has several features that can simplify your trip planning.
  • You can use Google Maps as a trip planner through the "Places" and "My Map" features.
  • Both the Google Maps website and app let you save locations to lists, which you can then get immediate directions to.
  • When getting directions, you can look up reviews and add multiple stops to your route.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

Google Maps has become an essential part of any road trip. After all, it's a GPS, business directory, and reviews platform all-in-one.

But if you spend some time with it, you can integrate Google Maps even more seamlessly into your next vacation. Google Maps has a variety of features you can use to plan your trip and save any interesting spots you find on the way.

Here's how to make Google Maps your trip planner, using the Places feature, My Map, and more.

How to use Google Maps as a trip planner

Use the 'Places' feature to save points of interest

Let's say you're traveling, and happen to stumble upon the cutest coffee shop you've ever seen. You want to visit, but don't have time right now - what's the best way to remember it?

Google Maps' Places feature can help you out. Both the Google Maps website and app let you save any location on the map to a list, which you can then easily find later.

1. Open Google Maps and click, tap, or search for the location that you want to save.

2. Find the Save icon, which has the icon of a bookmark. You'll find it right under the location's name, but you might need to swipe to find it in the mobile app.

A Google Maps screenshot, showing the info page for the Statue of Liberty. The "Save" option is highlighted.
You'll want to tap the "Save" option.

3. Pick where you want to save the location to. You've got three lists to start with - Favorites, Starred places, and Want to go - but you can make a new one by tapping New list.

The "Save to list" screen in the Google Maps app.
Pick which list you want to add the location to, or make a new one.

4. Once you've saved the location, you can find it again by opening the list. In the mobile app, tap Saved at the bottom of the screen; on the website, click the three stacked lines in the top-left and then Your places.

Tap on a location in your list to have the map jump straight to it.

A Google Maps page titled "Want to go."
You can share your list from this page, too.

Look at Google Reviews to find the best shops

Nearly every point of interest on Google Maps has a section for user reviews. Similar to sites like Yelp, these reviews can be a great way to see which stops are must-sees and which you can pass.

To check out reviews:

1. Open Google Maps and find the location that you're interested in.

2. At the top of its information page should be a star rating and a number, showing how many people have left reviews.

The Google Maps info page for Hard Rock Cafe.
Most businesses have a star rating.

3. Scroll down until you hit the Reviews section, and you'll find reviews from other users who've visited the location. They'll include a star rating, a date, and occasionally a picture.

If you're interested in leaving a review of your own, check out our article on how to write Google reviews.

The Google Reviews for Hard Rock Cafe.
You can sort the reviews by rating, date, and more.

Make a custom My Maps page to share your road trip plan

Only available on a computer (there's no app), Google's My Maps program lets you make a custom map or plot out a route with as many waypoints as you like, and then save and share it with others.

1. Head to the My Maps homepage and click Create a New Map.

The Google My Maps page.
Any map you create will appear on this page.

2. You'll be given a world map. In the menu in the top-left, click the Untitled map name to give your map a name.

3. Use the search bar at the top of the page to find any location, then click Add to map to save it. You can add as many points of interest as you like.

The My Maps page on Google, with the Grand Canyon highlighted.
You'll want to search for a location, and then add it to your current layer.

4. You can also save multiple separate lists of locations to the same map; just click Add layer in the top-left menu.

5. To save directions between multiple locations, click the Add directions icon that looks like a curved arrow. It'll add a new layer that you can use to plot a path.

A Google My Maps page.
Turning on the "Add directions" feature lets you see your route on the map.

6. When you're done, click Share or Preview in the top-left window.

Add multiple stops to one trip

Driving from one city to another is simple. But if you want to make stops along the way - lunch, the beach, a mall - things get complicated.

Luckily, you don't need to start a new Google Maps route for every stop. You can create one navigation route that includes every stop from the start, giving you a clear way to see how long it'll all take.

On mobile

1. Open the Google Maps app and start navigating to another location.

2. On the screen that lets you pick your starting and ending location, tap the three dot icon.

3. Select Add stop.

The navigation feature in the Google Maps iPhone app.
Your Google Maps trips don't need to go from A to B.

4. A third waypoint - labeled "B" - will appear. Tap it to choose your second destination, or drag it to reorder the waypoints.

Two screenshots from the Google Maps app, showing a navigation route with multiple stops.
Once you've put in all the stops you want, Google Maps will start guiding you towards the first waypoint.

On a computer

1. On the Google Maps app website, find a location and start getting directions to it.

2. Underneath the menu that lets you pick your starting and ending location, click Add destination.

The Google Maps website, with a navigation route selected.
The map will update with each stop you add.

3. A new field will appear. Enter your third waypoint.

4. Once you pick a new waypoint, you'll be able to click Add destination again and pick another one, as well as reorder them.

You can add up to nine destinations on both the website and mobile app.

How to find your current location in Google MapsHow to draw a route on Google Maps to create custom directions or plan a tripHow to turn on dark mode in Google Maps on your iPhone or AndroidHow to download maps from Google Maps to get driving directions offline
Read the original article on Business Insider

How to get a cape in Minecraft, even without mods

The Minecraft character Alex wearing the default Optifine cape.
The most popular way to get a cape in Minecraft is through OptiFine.
  • The only official ways to get a cape in Minecraft are by attending special events or buying skin packs.
  • If you're playing Minecraft: Java Edition, you can also make any cape by downloading mods like OptiFine.
  • Capes you get through mods will only be visible to you and anyone else running the same mod.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

Capes are among the rarest of all items in Minecraft. Depending on which one you have, they can be a sign of how long you've played, which events you've gone to, or just which mods you use.

It's not hard to get a cape in Minecraft. But unless you fall into a very specific category of player, it'll probably involve paying some money.

Here's how to get a cape in Minecraft, using either the official method or mods.

How to get a cape in Minecraft without mods

In Minecraft, capes are usually given out to users who attend certain events or complete specific tasks.

For example:

  • From 2011 to 2016, attending the real-world MINECON event would earn you a special cape. Mojang brought these capes back for MINECON 2019, but only for Bedrock Edition players.
  • Minecraft mapmakers who've had their maps accepted into the Realms Content Creator Program and earned enough points might be awarded a cape.
  • If you bought Minecraft: Java Edition before December 2020, converting your Mojang or legacy account into a Microsoft account gets you the "Migrator" cape.
A selection of capes from Minecraft: Java Edition.
A selection of capes from Minecraft: Java Edition.

Additionally, players who attend the upcoming Minecraft Festival in late 2022 will earn an exclusive cape.

There are a few capes that you can get at any time, but they're exclusive to Bedrock Edition.

  • The Pan Cape is given to players who download the beta versions of Bedrock Edition.
  • There are nearly two dozen unique capes that Bedrock players can get by buying skin packs, like the Adventure Time Mash-up or Star Wars Classic Pack.
A selection of capes from Minecraft: Bedrock Edition.
You can buy capes in Bedrock Edition.

To equip your capes, head to Minecraft's character creation page and change your skin. You'll see all the capes you've unlocked there.

How to get a cape in Minecraft with mods like OptiFine

There are lots of Minecraft mods that can get you a cape. But the best of these mods - although it costs a bit of money - is OptiFine.

If you haven't already heard of it, OptiFine is a massive Minecraft mod that revamps the game's graphics engine and lets you optimize the game for your computer. It's possibly the most popular Minecraft mod of all time, and a necessity for anyone looking to install shader packs.

Along with performance changes, OptiFine also gives you the ability to design and wear custom capes. But unlike the mod's other features, capes are locked at the start.

OptiFine is free to download, but to unlock capes, you have to donate $10 to the OptiFine team. You can donate and choose your cape design from this webpage. You'll have to provide your Minecraft username and email address.

The OptiFine website's donation page.
You can pick what your cape will look like before you buy.

Once your cape is active, you should see it appear on your character the next time you open the game. If it's not, make sure that you have OptiFine installed and capes turned on in-game: Open Options, then Skin Customization, and then make sure Cape is set to ON.

The Minecraft character Alex wearing the default Optifine cape.
The default OptiFine cape has the letters OF on it.

You can change the cape's design at any time (or temporarily deactivate it) by opening Minecraft, selecting Options, Skin Customization, OptiFine Cape, and then Open Cape Editor.

Only the colors can be changed by default, but you can also select the Banner option and then follow the instructions to create a custom cape on this page.

Read the original article on Business Insider