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.
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).
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.
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.
Steven John contributed to a previous version of this article.
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.
2. Scroll down to the Payments section and select Manage gift card balance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Christine Kopaczewski contributed to a previous version of this article.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now whenever you tap the shortcut on your home screen, you'll be brought to this same route preview.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
3. A text field will appear. Type Home, and then click Home | Set your home address under the text field.
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 - 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once an error is reported, Google usually corrects it within a week.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
4. A third waypoint - labeled "B" - will appear. Tap it to choose your second destination, or drag it to reorder the waypoints.
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.
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.
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.
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.