I shattered my iPhone screen

I go for a 2-mile walk with my dog Charlotte every morning. I always record my walks with my Apple Watch and listen to a podcast in Overcast. A few days ago I was walking up the driveway with my phone in my hand queueing up a podcast to listen to and while doing that Charlotte decided to lunge after a rabbit and knocked my phone out of my hand. Our driveway is gravel and the phone landed screen down. Shattered!

I love my iPhone 7 Plus but it’s getting old and I was looking forward to getting a new iPhone 12 when they’re out this fall. I initially thought about a screen repair but decided against it. Instead, I purchased and new Product Red iPhone 11 with 64gb memory. I also got the Apple 11 Clear Case and Belkin InvisiGlass Ultra Screen Protector. I’m happy with my purchase but was really hoping to hold out for the iPhone 12. I’ll get over it.

I like most everything about the iPhone 11. Face ID is wonderful and swipe in place of a Home button is the coolest. The keyboard on the 11 is a bit smaller than I’m used to on the 7 Plus but I wasn’t going to spend another $300 to get the iPhone 11 Pro ($699 vs $999) to have a minimally bigger keyboard.

GoodLinks for read-it-later

I have been trying a new read-it-later and bookmark manager app GoodLinks by Ngoc Luu the developer of 1Writer.

In my opinion, GoodLinks is one of the best read-it-later apps out there. The reading experience is excellent. Articles and reading position sync between devices via iCloud. And best of all it’s a one time purchase for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Since it’s a relatively new app it’s missing a few features. One big one for me is that there is no way to import saved bookmarks from other apps. I would like to use GoodLinks as my bookmark manager as well as read-it-later but until import is available that will have to wait. I have too many bookmarks in Raindrop.io to move individually. I’m sure this feature will be added soon.

As a side note, GoodLinks for the Mac requires Catalina.

If you would like to learn more about GoodLinks check out this MacStories review by John Voorhees: GoodLinks Review: A Flexible Read-it-Later Link Manager Packed with Automation Options – MacStories

FoodNoms food tracking app

As you will recall I had gained a couple of pounds over the winter and wanted to lose them. Once I had done that I wanted to maintain a specific weight. For me, the easiest way to do this has always been tracking calories. Calories in and calories out.

What I’ve found after doing this for a couple of months is that counting calories makes me make better food choices so that I stay within my Recommended Daily Intake (RDI). Based on my age, weight, height, and activity level my RDI is approximately 2000 calories per day to maintain my current weight. Prior to counting, I was eating between 1000 and 1500 calories more than my recommended daily requirement.

With all that said, I’m trying a new food tracking app FoodNoms that Casey Liss mentioned in Episode 385 of Accidental Tech Podcast. It’s taking a few days to get used to it because it works differently than the app that I’m used to using. But, the more I use it the more I’m liking it and I think I’ll be sticking with it. By the way, the app walks you through the calculation to determine your RDI.

If you’re interested in getting a handle on your weight you should give the app a try. There’s a free version of the app which is what I using. There’s also FoodNoms Plus which is a subscription. I think most people could probably get along with just the free version.

John Voorhees did a nice review of the app over on MacStories. Go check it out FoodNoms: A Privacy-Focused Food Tracker with Innovative New Ways to Log Meals – MacStories.

No charging brick? You’ve got to be kidding!

There’s a rumor going around that Apple won’t be including a charging brick with the new iPhone 12. That means when I buy a new iPhone I’m going to have to buy a charger as an add-on purchase to be able to use it. I don’t know about you but this is just wrong and it feels like Apple nickel-and-diming us to improve their margins. The thought of this just pisses me off. Apple this is stupid!

You have to ask yourself why would Apple do this? M.G. Siegler wrote about this subject over on his blog 500ish.com.

None of those points are false, but let’s be honest here, that’s not why Apple is doing this. Here’s the breakdown in terms of order of importance as I see it:

1) Margins. The next iPhone’s margins are going to be under assault due to the ‘5G’ components, amongst other new technology. And COVID has altered the supply chain immensely. The charger may not seem like a huge margin savings, but it adds up in aggregate. Also, there’s up-sell opportunities galore with the new faster charging bricks — or, even better, Apple’s inevitably still-forthcoming wireless charging solution.

2) Shipping. You know what else adds up in aggregate? Shipping these units from China. If Apple can make these boxes more svelte, they’ll pack more in. This helps the environment, in a way, but it helps the bottom line even more.

3) Transitions. The next iPhone — the one after this one — is already rumored to forgo wired charging entirely. If that’s the case, it may make some sense to move people beyond the notion of including a wired charger in the iPhone box now. Force more customers to get ready for the wireless charging revolution.

4) Environment. This is on the list. But it’s the last item on the list. Not the first item on the list.

I know that all sounds cynical, but come on, that is clearly what is happening here. It’s not all point number one, but it’s a combination of all four points with the first one being the most important in terms of deciding what to do here. They could have made this change at any point over the past few years with the same rationale. Yet they’re doing it this year.

Again, I’m sitting here shitting on a decision that is a rumor. But the source (which is a second source, no less) would seem to be credible enough that this is likely going to happen. And so maybe there’s still a chance to affect the outcome. Not within the boxes themselves — that ship has undoubtedly already sailed, even if the shipping containers haven’t yet — but perhaps there’s an opportunity to offer a power brick as a free add-on for those who want/need one at the time of an iPhone purchase.

Again this is just stupid to sell a product without being able to fully use it out of the box. And that’s exactly what Apple appears to be doing if the rumor is true.

My thoughts on Apple & Google’s COVID-19 contact tracing

From what I’ve read Apple and Google’s COVID-19 contact tracing seems like a good idea and one that I’ll most likely use. It appears to be the best technological solution to date for governmental authorities to partially lift the lockdown orders that are currently in place. That said I do have privacy concerns.

According to the Verge, this is how we’ll use the tracking tool. “Google and Apple are using Bluetooth LE signals for contact tracing. When two people are near each other, their phones can exchange an anonymous identification key, recording that they’ve had close contact. If one person is later diagnosed with COVID-19, they can share that information through an app. The system will notify other users they’ve been close to, so those people can self-quarantine if necessary. Ideally, this means you won’t have to reveal your name, location, or other personal data.”

Apple and Google stress that “user privacy and security is central to the design”. So here’s the best explanation as to how privacy will be protected that I’ve found.

Ars Technica

But while mobile-based contact tracing may be more effective, it also poses a serious threat to individual privacy, since it opens the door to central databases that track the movements and social interactions of potentially millions, and possibly billions, of people. The platform Apple and Google are developing uses an innovative cryptographic scheme that aims to allow the contact tracing to work as scale without posing a risk to the privacy of those who opt into the system.

Privacy advocates—with at least one notable exception—mostly gave the system a qualified approval, saying that while the scheme removed some of the most immediate threats, it may still be open to abuse.

“To their credit, Apple and Google have announced an approach that appears to mitigate the worst privacy and centralization risks, but there is still room for improvement,” Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote in a statement. “We will remain vigilant moving forward to make sure any contact tracing app remains voluntary and decentralized, and used only for public health purposes and only for the duration of this pandemic.”

Unlike traditional contact tracing, the phone platform doesn’t collect names, locations, or other identifying information. Instead, when two or more users opting into the system come into physical contact, their phones use BLE to swap anonymous identifier beacons. The identifiers—which in technical jargon are known as rolling proximity identifiers—change roughly every 15 minutes to prevent wireless tracking of a device.

As the users move about and come into proximity with others, their phones continue to exchange these anonymous identifiers. Periodically, the users’ devices will also download broadcast beacon identifiers of anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been in the same local region.

In the event someone reports to the system that she has tested positive, her phone will contact a central server and upload identifiers of all the users she has come into contact with over the last 14 days. The server then pushes a notification to the affected users.

An iPad with a mouse and trackpad?

9to5 Mac is reporting that sophisticated mouse cursor support is coming to iOS 14 and that new iPad Smart Keyboard models will have a trackpad.

According to code seen by 9to5Mac, Apple is set to roll out rich system-wide support for mouse cursors with iOS 14. Apple added rudimentary compatibility with external mice in iOS 13 Accessibility settings, but iOS 14 (iPadOS 14) will make it mainstream.

The iOS 14 build also referenced two new Smart Keyboard models in development.

The changes coming to the software will bring most of the cursor features you recognize from a Mac desktop experience to iOS.

I love it and I’m looking forward to it. This seems like something that could get me closer to making an iPad my main computing device.

Raindrop.io for bookmarks

For the last several years I’ve been using Devonthink Pro for bookmarking. With the introduction of Devonthink 3, which is a paid upgrade, I decided to look for a different bookmark app/service. Why? I didn’t want to pay the upgrade price and I wanted a truly cross-platform app. Devonthink is a great app and is a lot more than just for bookmarking but it is first and foremost a Mac app with an iOS app that is limited by comparison.

Enter Raindrop.io. I came across Raindrop.io while reviewing Federico Viticci’s My Must-Have Apps, 2019. He sums up the app quite well:

To sum up: I wanted to find an app/service that would help me save links from the web, organize them with folders or tags using a good-looking UI, and find them again with ease. Raindrop.io, which has been around for several years at this point and is in active development, ticks all these boxes: it’s a web service that comes with a desktop web app, browser extensions, and native mobile apps; links are automatically saved with rich thumbnails and descriptions extracted from the original webpage; you can organize links in collections, tag them, and choose from multiple view and sort options; you can also customize the look of a collection by choosing from thousands of icons. Here’s where it gets better and why Raindrop.io is ideal for my needs: on iOS, links open with Safari View Controller, not a custom web view; and, if you pay for the Pro version, you’ll be able to upload your own images, create nested collections, and rely on the service to find duplicate or broken links for you.

I decided to give the app a try. I’m using the free edition of the app which meets all my needs. So for now, I see no reason to pay for the Pro features. If your looking for a bookmarking app/service give Raindrop.io a try.

The new Fantastical 3 offers a free version

I started using Fantastical in 2014. I have it on my iPhone, iPad, and Mac and in my opinion, it is the best calendar app out there.

With Version 3 Fantastical has gone to a subscription business model. I know, another subscription. But I think Flexibits has handled the transition well. They have taken care of existing users as well as offering a free version. If you have always wanted to try Fantastical now is the time.

Another benefit of a subscription is a free version of Fantastical. That’s right, we now have a free version of Fantastical. It’s basic, but if your needs are simply to look over your schedule, add the occasional event using the famous and magical Fantastical parser, then you will be quite happy.

Now for those of us who have been using Fantastical. Do we have to move to the subscription model? The answer is no.

And what about our existing customers who bought our apps in the past years to get us to this point? Some have called us crazy, but we call it doing the right thing. All of the features from your prior purchase of Fantastical 2 will continue to work with the new Fantastical. That’s right: your new apps will automagically detect your existing purchase and provide a special unlock of the features you already paid for. This means you will continue to get bug fixes and support for some time to come, too.

This means existing users like myself will be able to use the free version but with all the features that we’ve already paid for.

I’m not going to write a review here but if you would like to learn more take a look at the articles listed below.

Fantastical 3 steps out of Apple’s shadow – Six Colors

Fantastical 3 Review: The Best Calendar App Just Got Better

Fantastical Field Guide | MacSparky Field Guides

Holiday Sale: Save 50% on all Enpass password manager plans

This is directed at those of you who are in the market for a password manager. I’ve been using Enpass for several months and am very happy with it.

I’ll mention that Enpass moved to subscription a few weeks ago but they also have a lifetime license and with the sale you, can get a lifetime license for just $24.99.

A special deal for the Holidays: 50% off on all Enpass plans

Enpass will be on sale with a discount of 50% on all app stores – while you can get a lifetime license for only $24.99, you can also get an Enpass Premium subscription starting for as low as $0.49 per month. And, of course, the full-featured desktop versions of Enpass – macOS, Windows, Linux – are completely free.

Note that this is a limited time offer, starting from December 24, 2019 and valid till January 2, 2020. So, don’t wait and unlock the full version of Enpass at this special discounted price. Spread the word to help your friends and family members get started with safe and secure password management.

My 2020 Must-Have Mac, iPhone, and iPad Apps

Each year towards the end of December I summarize in a post, on this site, the Mac, iPhone, and iPad apps that I will be using for the next year. This is always one of my most popular posts.

This year instead of a separate article for Mac apps and another for iPhone and iPad apps I’m putting them all in one article. I indicate in parenthesis under the app title where I’m using the app Mac, iPhone or iPad.

During 2019 I tried a lot of different apps. Some I liked and switched to and others I tried, didn’t like and stayed with what I’d been using. I hope you’ll discover a new app or two that will improve your workflow or make you more productive.

My setup:

  • MacBook Pro (early–2015 13”)
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPad 5th Generation
  • Apple Watch 44 mm Series 4

Here’s my software and what I use it for:

Safari
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Safari is my browser of choice. It just works best on macOS. I use Firefox when a site doesn’t play nice with it.

Enpass
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Gotta have a password manager.

Fastmail
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
I’ve been using Fastmail for email for over 5 years. A few weeks ago I also started using it for calendar, and contacts. On my iPhone and iPad, I use the Fastmail app. Unfortunately, Fastmail doesn’t have a Mac app but with Unite I turned the Fastmail web client into a native Mac app. I’ve written about Fastmail here.

Fantastical 2
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Fantastical is my calendar app. It integrates perfectly with my Fastmail calendar appointments and events.

Things 3
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
I use Things 3 for task management. I love the simplicity of how it works. I wrote about it here.

Due
(iPhone and iPad)
Due is where I keep all my reminders.

Drafts 5
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
I’ve been using Drafts for several years. It’s my multi-purpose writing and note-taking app. I often use it as the first stop for most everything I write and then use Drafts actions to send what I’ve written anywhere I want to. I’ve written about how I use Drafts here.

Bear
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
I’ve been a Bear pro user since the inception of the app. It’s where I keep all my notes and lists. For now, it’s also where I’m doing my writing. And for plain text I use iA Writer on my Mac and 1Writer on my iPhone and iPad.

Marked 2
(Mac)
Marked is the markdown previewer app I use side by side with my writing app.

Grammarly
(Mac and iPad)
I use Grammarly for proofreading my stories for grammar and punctuation.

Yoink
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Yoink speeds and up my workflow by simplifying drag and drop. I’ve written about Yoink here.

Copied
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Copied is my cross-platform clipboard history manager. I’ve written about it here.

Reeder
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Reeder is what I use for my Feedly RSS feeds.

Pocket
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
I’m now using Pocket instead of Instapaper for reading later. I wrote about why I switched here.

Tweetbot
(iPhone and iPad)
Tweetbot is for Twitter.

Day One Journal
(iPhone and iPad)
Day One is where I keep a lifelog.

Alfred
(Mac)
Alfred is Spotlight on steroids. I’d be lost without it. I’ve written about it here.

Keyboard Maestro
(Mac)
Keyboard Maestro is another app that I couldn’t live without it. I use Keyboard Maestro keyboard shortcuts to launch apps, open files and folders and automating actions. It has a learning curve but once you start to get the hang of it you can do some amazing things. I’ve written about Keyboard Maestro here.

Dropbox
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Dropbox is where I keep files that I want to have available on all my devices. It’s also where syncing happens for apps like Alfred, Keyboard Maestro, and Due.

PDFpen and Hazel are key apps for my paperless workflow. I’ve written about my paperless workflow here.

Scanner Pro
(iPhone and iPad)
Scanner Pro is also part of my paperless workflow. I use it to scan paper documents into PDFs with OCR that look clean and professional.

App Cleaner
(Mac)
AppCleaner is my app uninstaller. I use it because it deletes all the junk that gets left behind when you just drag the app icon to the trash.

Moom
(Mac)
I use Moom for window management on my Mac.

Witch
(Mac)
Witch is my Mac app switcher.

PopClip
(Mac)
I use PopClip to manage what I do with selected text. I’ve written about PopClip here.

Bartender 3
(Mac)
Bartender is the app I use to organize my menu bar. I’ve written about it here.

ScreenFloat
(Mac)
ScreenFloat is my app for taking screenshots and storing them.

TunnelBear VPN
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
TunnelBear is my VPN for security on public WiFi and web browsing privacy.

PCalc
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
PCalc is my stock calculator replacement. I use it for its additional features and customization.

Apple Activity app
I use the Activity app with my Apple Watch to track all my daily activities.

Transition to subscription done right – Enpass password manager

I started moving to Enpass when 1Password 6 stopped working with Safari 13 on Mac.

Here’s why. To continue using 1Password with Safari 13 on Mac I would need to purchase a 1Password 7 subscription or a new 1Password 7 standalone license. Which by the way, in my opinion, is just wrong! Users of 1Password 6 should have been offered a free upgrade to a 1Password 7 standalone license and not forced to buy it. It’s not the user’s fault that 1Password 6 stopped working with Safari 13. That said, I’m not going to purchase a subscription or a standalone license.

I’m using the Pro version of Enpass on iOS and the free version on my MacBook Pro. Since purchasing Enpass it has moved to a subscription. I have to congratulate Enpass on the way they have handled the transition for existing users.

How will our subscription model affect existing users? | Enpass

We’ve worked out the transition in such a way that all our current Enpass Pro users will have access to the full version of the app on all platforms without paying anything extra.

Everything you need to know about subscription on Enpass | Enpass

As we shared in our blog post last week, existing Enpass Pro users will not have to pay anything extra as we make this transition. All our current Pro users will have access to the full version of the app on all platforms without paying anything extra. They will continue to receive future app updates and new Pro features that we’ll release over time – for lifetime, on all supported platforms.

My choice for a Safari 13 content blocker on Mac

With Safari 13 my favorite Mac ad and tracker blocker uBlock Origin, along with a few other extensions, no longer work. Because of this, I have switched to Firefox as my main browser. That said there will still be times when I will want to use Safari and will want an ad and tracker blocker.

I tried Ghostery Lite but I had two issues with it. It doesn’t block YouTube ads and I didn’t like the way it handles space left behind by blocked ads.

For now, I’ve settled on Wipr. Wipr blocks all ads, trackers, cryptocurrency miners, EU cookie and GDPR notices, and other annoyances. I also switched to Wipr for Safari on my iPhone and iPad in place of BlockBear. BlockerBear was working fine but for consistency, I switched to Wipr.

Fastmail now lets you snooze emails

Those of you that follow my blog will remember that I replaced Gmail with Fastmail several years ago and have never looked back. Up to now, I have been using Fastmail IMAP in Apple Mail on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Now I’m using the official Fastmail app on my iPhone and iPad and Fastmail’s webmail on my MacBook Pro so that I can take advantage of snoozing emails. So far I’m very happy with the Fastmail apps.

As a quick side note, I used Unite 2 to create a native Fastmail Mac app. This works out really well since Fastmail doesn’t offer an app for Mac.

If you would like to try Fastmail use this link to get a 30 day free trial and a 10% discount for the first year.

Drafts 5 special subscription offer

I’m going to do a 1 year subscription to Drafts 5. Under normal circumstances, I would continue using the free version because that’s all I need. But today the developer posted a tweet with a special offer that I’m interested in.

Now through the end of the day tomorrow, Sept. 18, 2019, all proceeds from new Drafts Pro subscriptions will be donated to support the @_RelayFM St. Jude Fundraiser. Details:. I’ve been thinking about donating but as of yet I haven’t done so. This is a perfect way to do it. I get Drafts Pro for 12 months and the developer is donating the proceeds of my purchase to the RelayFM St. Jude Fundraiser. That sounds like a win-win to me.

Thanks to Greg Pierce for this great offer.

Some thoughts on Apple’s Event – September 10, 2019

This week Apple announced the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, Apple Watch Series 5, and iPad. With all the rumors floating around over the last few months the announcements weren’t surprising.

Here are my thoughts.

iPhone
I’ll be trading in my iPhone 7 Plus for a new iPhone 11. My 7 Plus is starting to show its age and I’m getting bored with it. I plan on getting the 64GB model for $499 after my 7 Plus trade-in. Colors? Now that’s a hard one. I’ll have to see the actual phones to decide on that one.

iPad
I might also consider the new iPad or iPad Air with a larger display, pencil, and keyboard to replace my 5th generation iPad. I’m finding myself using my iPad more these days so it would be nice to upgrade.

Watch
I just bought my series 4 Watch this last April so no new Watch for me this year.

Step count in the Health app not matching the step count in the Activity app

I have a goal of 10,000 steps every day. I’ve been doing this ever since I quit bike racing back in 2011. Before my Apple Watch, I tracked my steps with my Garmin Forerunner 35 and the Garmin Connect iOS app. Now I’m tracking my steps on my Apple Watch and the Activity and Health apps.

One thing that I noticed was that my step count in the Activity app was different than the step count in the Health app. Curious, I set out to see why this was happening. By the way, I noticed that a lot of folks were wondering the same thing.

Here’s how I fixed this issue.

Continue Reading

Day One encryption

I have been using Day One for going on three years now. One concern I’ve had is that journals by default are encrypted but with Day One holding the encryption key. This means that someone at Day One might be able to access my journals. Journals with Standard encryption are also exposed to a data breach or security glitch. This has caused me to limit what I write in them.

Now, after reading Shawn Blanc’s ”Best Journaling App for iPhone, iPad, and Mac” on The Sweet Setup I’ve taken his advice and enabled End-to-end encryption for all my journals.

Shawn Blanc:

End-to-end encryption is not turned on by default for providing the best type of security for your journal entries, as users must maintain their encryption key at all times to unlock journals if necessary. As Day One’s FAQ puts it:

When using end-to-end encryption, it is essential you save your encryption key in a secure location. If you lose your key, you will not be able to decrypt the journal data stored in the Day One Cloud. You’ll need to restore your data from an unencrypted locally-stored backup.

We recommend turning on end-to-end encryption whenever you create a new journal to ensure your data is always kept safe and secure. Save your encryption key in an app like 1Password or a locked note inside Notes.app and never lose the key.

Now no one has access to my journals without the encryption key. I keep it in 1Password.

How I fast charge my iPhone

Here’s a trick I learned a while back.

There are times I want to fast charge my iPhone. By the way, I’m still using my iPhone 7 Plus. The 5W charger that comes with most iPhones is not able to fast charge and it’s also not able to charge other devices like my iPad.

Now, here’s the trick. Most iPads come with a 12W charging block. So to speed up charging on my iPhone I use my iPad charging block. According to Apple charging your iPhone with the iPad charger block won’t harm your iPhone.

Next time you want to speed up the charging time on your iPhone give this a try.

Gmail design update for iOS is rolling out soon in the App Store

I abandon Gmail a few years ago but I’m sure many of you who read my blog are using it. That said, Google has announced that its mobile apps for iOS and Android are being updated to bring them in line with the design changes and new features that are now available on the web. My last experience with Gmail on mobile was disappointing at best so I’m sure this is welcome news for you Gmail folks.

Nikolus Ray
Product Manager – Gmail

This update is part of a larger effort to make G Suite look and act like a family of products, designed in the Google Material Theme with ease-of-use in mind. We’ve already updated the web experiences for Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and most recently Google Docs and Sites. In the coming weeks, you’ll see the new mobile design in Gmail on Android and iOS, with more G Suite mobile apps to follow later this year.

Apple products are getting more expensive

I’ve been thinking about Apple’s pricing a lot lately. It’s reached a point where I’m not going to be able to afford to update my Apple hardware as often as I would like.

My Apple devices are getting dated but for now, I won’t be upgrading to any new devices. I’m going to have to use my existing hardware until it becomes unusable. Instead of having an iMac, MacBook, iPad, and iPhone as I do now I’ll be more selective in the future. For example, my iMac is a late 2013 non-retina. It’s getting dated. It’s stuck on Sierra. I love it but when it fails I won’t be replacing it. Instead, I’ll use my 2015 MacBook for all my computing needs. I just can’t justify the cost of owning two macs anymore.

I’ll also be sticking with my iPhone 7 Plus for now. It works great and does everything that I need for it to do. At a $1,000 plus a new iPhone Xs model isn’t in my budget.

I’ve got a feeling I’m not the only one feeling this way. Here’s a Washington Post article that does a nice job of laying Apple’s price hikes and what you should do if the price of Apple loyalty is getting hard for you to swallow.

Geoffrey A. Fowler and Andrew Van Dam, writing for the Washington Post

Apple has never made cheap stuff. But this fall many of its prices increased 20 percent or more. The MacBook Air went from $1,000 to $1,200. A Mac Mini leaped from $500 to $800. It felt as though the value proposition that has made Apple products no-brainers might unravel.

What we learned: Being loyal to Apple is getting expensive. Many Apple product prices are rising faster than inflation — faster, even, than the price of prescription drugs or going to college. Yet when Apple offers cheaper options for its most important product, the iPhone, Americans tend to take the more expensive choice. So while Apple isn’t charging all customers more, it’s definitely extracting more money from frequent upgraders.

What we see is a reflection of a new reality for consumer tech. Most Americans who want a smartphone, tablet or laptop already have one and aren’t interested in changing to a new system. Without big subsidies from phone carriers and as product innovation slows, we also don’t mind holding on to these products for three or more years. Apple, hoping to charge more every time we do buy, is changing how it gets money from us. So we need to change how we think about its value.

But the specs hardly matter. As any member of the Apple tribe will profess, it’s selling far more than sexy hardware. It’s an Apple-only operating system that works with all its other Apple-only stuff, like iMessage and iCloud — a (mostly) happy trap that’s hard to leave. You’re buying access to all those Apple Stores and customer service, not to mention Apple’s aggressive stance on privacy.

The paradox is that many Apple customers think they must have the latest, trained by Apple marketing to future-proof ourselves. So this year, instead of buying a year-old iPhone 8 at a discount or an iPhone XR (a much less expensive compromise to the top iPhone XS), many customers are skipping out on an upgrade altogether.

The question is: How far can Apple’s latest and greatest prices stretch? “Apple is becoming aggressive, perhaps overly so, in pricing the top- of-the-line models of its products,” says Rafi Mohammed, a pricing strategy consultant. And that is “putting its loyal relationship with its core customers at risk.”

In 2014, Americans waited about 24 months to upgrade their phones at national carriers, according to BayStreet. Now we’re waiting almost 36 months. People will ride their iPhone 6S until its wheels come off.

“I could see it going to four years” for phones, says industry analyst Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies.

So what should you do if the price of Apple loyalty is getting hard to swallow?

Instead, you might ask: How many Apple products do you really need?

Beyond that, it’s about recalibrating our upgrade urge. Apple devices really do last a long time, all the more so with the inexpensive battery replacements Apple is offering through the end of the year. If your iPhone breaks, used ones available on eBay can still work great for far less money.

Or: Before buying the new thing following one of Apple’s launch events, wait a month until the buzz settles. If the product doesn’t still seem very revolutionary, it’s a safe bet to save your money by holding on for another year. Or four.