Trending December 2023 # Facebook, Ironically, Does Better Than Apple And Google At Complying With Gdpr Requests # Suggested January 2024 # Top 16 Popular

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GDPR regulations give European citizens a legal right to see all the personal data held on them, among other rights. But a tech writer requesting data from Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google found that the data isn’t as easy to understand as it should be …

The Verge’s Jon Porter conducted the test.

What I found suggested that while you can certainly get the raw data, actually understanding it is another matter, which makes it harder to make informed decisions about your data.

[The law requires that personal data] be provided to the individual in a “concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible form, using clear and plain language” in a “commonly used electronic format.”

But the extent to which companies comply with the ‘intelligible and easily accessible’ part of that varies, with Facebook ironically doing the best job, followed by Amazon, then Apple, and finally Google.

Facebook, wrote Porter, was the gold standard.

Facebook actually had the most comprehensible data of the four services. For starters, every single file Facebook gives you is an HTML file. Each is sorted into its own clearly labeled folder, and an index file gives you an overview of what each document contains. The files themselves are clearly laid out and formatted, and browsing them feels almost like browsing a page on Facebook itself, albeit one that’s stored entirely locally on your computer.

Apple provided a mix of different file formats, and didn’t make it easy to parse.

The majority of the data Apple provided was in file types that were easy to read and understand like CSV, TXT, and JPG, with only a couple of JSON files to confuse things.

But once you get into these files, there’s still a lot of information that’s difficult to understand. A file titled, “Apple ID Account Information” appeared to contain 11 nearly identical records about my Apple account, all created on exactly the same date in 2014, with no explanation as to what they were. Another CSV file with the ambiguous title of “Apps and Service Analytics” appears to contain an entire list of every single one of my App Store searches, but it has so many empty cells that I only noticed it had data in it when I saw its 6.7MB file size.

Amazon was a little better, but Google did very poorly.

All of my location data from Google was contained within a single 61MB JSON file, and opening it with Chrome revealed a bewildering array of fields labeled “timestampMs,” “latitudeE7,” “logitudeE7,” and estimations about whether I was sitting still or in some kind of transport (I assume).

I don’t doubt that this is all the location history information that Google has associated with my account, but without context, this data is meaningless. It’s a series of numbers that I’d have to make a serious effort to even begin to understand and import into another piece of software to properly parse.

Other Google data was equally hard to understand. Indeed, the company recently received the largest GDPR fine to date for lack of transparency.

You can argue that file formats like CSV comply with the letter of the law. They are commonly used, and most consumers have software that will open them – as text files if nothing else. CSV is also a good format if you want to run some kind of analysis on the data.

But the spirit of the law is that ordinary consumers can easily understand how much a company knows about them, and whether they are happy for it to have that data. I can’t help feeling that Facebook’s approach is the right one here. HTML lets consumers easily browse the data in the familiar environment of a web-browser, easily getting a sense of whether or not they are comfortable with what they see.

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Apple Jab At Google Likely At Wwdc

Apple is expected to reveal its homegrown replacement for the Google Maps application, built into iOS 6, as a highlight of the Worldwide Developers Conference opening Monday.

Attendees are also likely to get a peek at that next-generation iOS, which will reportedly launch in the fall for select devices, including a brand new iPhone handset.

Apple’s anticipated break from Google Maps would be yet another sign of the growing battle between Apple and Google for domination in the mobile space.

Since the original iPhone was introduced in 2007, Google Maps has supplied the iPhone’s built-in mapping and location capabilities. But Apple is reportedly looking to control its own mapping functions as location-based services and features become baked into more mobile apps.

Location on the iPhone is big and promises to get bigger as people increasingly consult their smartphones for local restaurant reviews, finding the nearest car mechanic, tourism tips, and movie times.

Map Building

Apple is wary of leaving such a key component for the iPhone in the hands of one of its biggest rivals and is getting ready to dump Google Maps, The Wall Street Journal reports. Over the past three years Apple has purchased three mapping companies: Placebase, Poly9, and C3 Technologies.  Apple in 2010 also revealed in a letter to Congress that it was working on a traffic conditions service for the iPhone — something Google Maps already offers Android users.

Apple in fall 2011 replaced the iPhone’s Google-made geocoder — a piece of software that turns longitude and latitude into a point on a map — with its own technology, according to the Journal.

Then, in early 2012, the first fruits of Apple’s homegrown map effort turned up in iPhoto for iOS.

What Will Google Do?

As for Google, critics believe the company will suffer if its business relationship with Apple disintegrates. Many Apple watchers believe the iPhone maker is trying to wean its mobile users off other Google services in iOS. Apple’s digital voice assistant, Siri, for example could encourage more people to give up using Google search — the default search engine for the Safari browser on iOS. Siri can supply data from a variety of sources such as Yelp for local information and Wolfram Alpha for facts and figures.

The majority of Google’s mobile traffic comes from the iPhone, the Journal reports. So if fewer iPhone users turn to Google for information, that means the search giant will see less potential ad revenue and user data from mobile users, an ever-expanding user base hungry for online information.

One thing that Apple probably won’t, or at least can’t, replace is the iOS app for Google-owned YouTube. There simply isn’t a credible replacement for the most popular video site on the Web.

Will You Switch?

But will iPhone users accept Apple’s homegrown alternative? Google Maps is very popular thanks to features such as Place Pages with local business information and Street View’s immersive 360-degree photos of locations around the world.

And Google Maps promises to only get better. Google on Wednesday revealed new improvements to Google Maps including 3D flyovers and offline maps access. Google Maps will also be getting more Street View images using a special camera that can be carried by a person on foot, adding to Google’s existing Street View images taken by a fleet of cars and special tricycles.

If Apple does dump Google Maps, the company may also choose not to make a lot of noise about it. Apple may opt instead to discuss potential new features of the iOS Maps app or perhaps a new look, while avoiding issues surrounding its business relationship with Google.

Regardless, many critics and pundits will be waiting to see if Apple on Monday offers a glimpse of what the Maps application will look like in the next version of iOS.

Connect with Ian Paul (@ianpaul) on Twitter and Google+, and with Today@PCWorld on Twitter for the latest tech news and analysis.

How To Unlock Your Mac And Approve Password Authentication Requests With Your Apple Watch

Find out how to enable and use the Auto Unlock feature that automatically unlocks your Mac when wearing your Apple Watch. You can also use your Apple Watch to quickly authenticate and approve requests that would otherwise require you to type your Mac’s password.

With the Auto Unlock Continuity feature, logging into your Mac is as easy as wearing an Apple Watch on your wrist, no password typing required. Auto Unlock uses Bluetooth proximity information to determine when the watch you’re wearing and your Mac are at arm’s length.

Aside from convenience, this feature eliminates the need to type your password manually. This ensures no one can see you entering your Mac password in public places, thus helping you secure your computer.

In this step-by-step tutorial, we will take you through the process of setting up and using Apple Watch Auto Unlock on your Mac.

Supported models

Auto Unlock works on all Apple Watch models running watchOS 3 and later and most 2013 and later Macs running macOS Sierra or later. Note that if you have an Apple Watch Series 3 or newer, then your Mac must be on macOS High Sierra and later.

In order to use Auto Unlock to approve Mac’s password requests, your Apple Watch must be on watchOS 6 or later, and your Mac must be running macOS Catalina or later.


Turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your Mac and Apple Watch.

Make sure your Mac and Apple Watch are signed in using the same Apple ID.

Make sure a passcode is set on your Apple Watch.

Set up Apple Watch Auto Unlock on Mac

Open System Settings on your Mac running macOS Ventura or later.

Turn on the switch next to your Apple Watch’s name.

It may take a few seconds to sync, and then you’re all set!

On macOS Monterey or earlier

Go in the General section and check the box for ‘Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac‘ or ‘Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.’

How to Auto Unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch

Now that you have set up the Auto Unlock feature, it’s time to use it.

1) Make sure you’re wearing your Apple Watch and it’s unlocked. If it isn’t unlocked, you will see a tiny padlock icon on the top of the screen. In this case, press the Digital Crown and enter your watch password to unlock it.

3) Now, for the purpose of this test, walk away from your Mac.

4) Next, walk near your Mac.

5) Hit any key on the keyboard to wake your Mac.

6) The moment your Mac wakes up, you will feel a vibration on your wrist confirming your Mac was auto-unlocked using your Apple Watch. It will say, “Your Mac name: Unlocked by this Apple Watch.”

Important: Auto Unlock just unlocks your Mac. It cannot be used to automatically lock your Mac when you step away.

Tip: Have two or more Macs? You can unlock all of them with the same Apple Watch. I have a MacBook Pro and a Mac mini. I turned on the Auto Unlock feature on both.

Important: Is your Mac asking you to type its password?

Auto Unlock with Apple Watch will not work, and you must enter your Mac’s password in these situations:

You just restarted your Mac.

You shut it down and powered it on.

You logged out of a user account on Mac.

In any of these situations, simply type your Mac’s password once, and then Auto Unlock will start working. This is similar to how Face ID or Touch ID start working only after you have entered your iPhone’s passcode once after restarting it.

How to approve Mac’s password requests with Apple Watch

You may have noticed that your Mac asks you to enter the admin password when you try to change some settings in System Settings or System Preferences. Similarly, when you want to see your iCloud Keychain passwords in Safari, approve app installation, or open a locked note, your Mac asks for your system password.

In most of these situations, you can use your Apple Watch to approve these requests without having to type your Mac’s admin password:

1) Open System Settings on your Mac and go to Lock Screen.

2) Turn on the switch next to Show message when locked.

3) Your Mac will immediately ask you to enter the password. At the same time, you will also feel an alert on your Apple Watch.

4) Instead of typing your Mac’s password manually, just look at your Apple Watch, and double-press the side button to authenticate. The popup on your Mac will vanish as your Apple Watch has successfully approved the request to enter the admin password.

This was just one example. Similarly, you can use Apple Watch to authenticate elsewhere, like accessing Safari passwords, iCloud Keychain in System Settings, etc.

In the screenshots below, you can see different icons on the Mac’s screen, signifying where the authentication request will be approved.

Important: It won’t work everywhere

You can’t approve Mac’s admin password everywhere in System Settings. For example, when you want to add an additional fingerprint to your Mac, and it asks you to enter the password, then you must use Touch ID or type the password.

Similarly, when you try to make changes to sensitive settings like FileVault, you will be asked to type your Mac’s password.

Besides that, I couldn’t unlock locked notes with my Apple Watch, but Apple Support says you should be able to.

Fix Apple Watch Auto Unlock not working on Mac

Follow these solutions if you cannot unlock your Mac or approve password requests with your Apple Watch:

Take your wrist very close to your Mac. And don’t forget to wake your Mac by pressing any key on its keyboard.

Turn off the Auto Unlock feature from System Settings (steps above), restart your Mac, and turn Auto Unlock back on.

Quit and reopen the app (like System Settings, Safari, Notes, etc.) where you’re trying to use the approve with Apple Watch feature.

Shut down your Mac, wait a minute, and then turn it back on.

Update your Apple Watch and your Mac to the latest version of the operating system available.

If your Apple Watch doesn’t show up as a trusted device on the Apple ID webpage, Auto Unlock won’t work. If that’s the case, unpair the watch from your iPhone, then pair it again to resolve this issue.

Wireless connection too weak for Apple Watch to unlock this Mac

Sometimes, you may see a message on your Mac’s Lock Screen that says, “Wireless connection too weak for Apple Watch to unlock this Mac.” In this case, just move your wrist very close to your Mac, and it should work.

You can also press the esc key to turn off the Mac’s screen, and then wake it again by pressing any key. After this, your Mac should unlock automatically with your Apple Watch.

Touch ID vs. Apple Watch Auto Unlock

The Auto Unlock feature is terrific if you have an old Mac without Touch ID. However, if your MacBook has Touch ID or, like me, if you use Apple’s Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, you may find Touch ID to be more reliable and consistent than Apple Watch Auto Unlock.

But still, Auto Unlock is proof of how well various Apple devices work with one another, and you should give it a try. You may just fall in love with the convenience!

On the same note: How to unlock your iPhone with your Apple Watch

The Ultimate Guide To Gdpr & Facebook Messenger Marketing

When you venture into new territory you start by learning the basics. When it comes to Facebook Messenger marketing – it’s all new territory.

Add to that the changes that went into effect in May, care of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

GDPR outlines rules that you follow to ensure you remain compliant or face fines that start at €10 million.

So consider this your go-to guide for Facebook Messenger marketing and GDPR issues.

After we review the rules of the road, we’ll take a little test drive.

I’ll show you how to unlock powerful new marketing achievements with Facebook Messenger marketing while remaining fully GDPR compliant.

The Basics of the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union

Let’s start with a quick review of the basics of the GDPR and the rules for marketing through Facebook Messenger.

This ensures you can stay on the right side of the law and that you don’t violate any Facebook requirements.

There’s a lot of information covering the details of the GDPR, some of it easier to digest than others.

Luckily, the basic concept is fairly simple.

To meet the new standards, your communications must be:




This means you are required to obtain consent to receive messages using an opt-in model.

It also means that you’re agreeing to keep all customer personally identifiable information safe.

And, super important: you have to be able to honor all requests to have customer data removed.

A good Facebook Messenger marketing platform will have all the above functionality built in.

The GDPR applies to every citizen in the EU, regardless of where your business is based.

If you do business in the EU or have personal information about EU citizens, then these rules apply to you.

If a little more background on GDPR would be helpful, check out my top picks for helpful GDPR guidance:

Facebook Messenger Rules for GDPR Compliance

Facebook also sets rules and issues guidelines that apply to Messenger marketing.

So keeping them in mind is crucial if you want to make the most of the platform without getting in trouble with the social media giant.

Here are four Messenger marketing rules you must follow:

1. Get User Opt-In

As Facebook has said, you must give people control over the messages they receive.

It’s easy to create an opt-in chatbot where your contacts confirm what kind of communications they’ll receive.

2. Follow Facebook Messenger’s 24+1 Rule

When Facebook released its API for Messenger, it established some ground rules for businesses to prevent spam on the platform.

One of those rules is called the 24+1 rule.

A business page can send a new contact any number of messages during the first 24-hours of contact. Once that period is over, the page can send one promotional message after that.

3. Utilize Subscription Messaging

When sending automated messages in Facebook Messenger, you specify the purpose of the message, choosing from around 30 different purposes like:

Event reminder.

Appointment update.

Shipping update.

Promotional message.

Non-promotional subscription update.

Catch that non-promotional subscription purpose?

Businesses can apply to the powers of Facebook Messenger for subscription messaging status, and when approved, can send opted-in subscribers updates.

There’s actually a December 31 deadline to apply for subscription messaging status.

4. Always Let Folks Know How to Unsubscribe by Typing ‘Stop’ Any Time

If you use MobileMonkey (disclosure: my employer), you don’t have to stress about managing the unsubscribe process; you get a comprehensive solution right off the shelf.

Otherwise, you’ll need to develop that feature and ensure subscribe requests are managed in a timely fashion.

Demo of a Facebook Messenger & GDPR Compliant Chat Blast

The easiest way to understand the steps you need to take to remain compliant is to see its creation in action.

Let’s look at what building a GDPR and Facebook Messenger compliant chat blast looks like in practice, using the MobileMonkey chat blaster tool.

Step 1: New Contacts Are Made When Someone Messages Your Facebook Business Page

When someone sends your page a message, they become a customer profile.

Facebook’s API provides standard info about all your new Messenger contacts:

First and last name.



Time zone.

When they became a contact.

Because Facebook’s rule is that you can send an automated message to your new contacts, use the opportunity to invite them to get subscription messaging updates.

Step 2: Welcome New Contacts with an Opt-In Invitation

Here’s a quick look at our opt-in process. It’s the same steps as you’d take to create a free Facebook Messenger chatbot with some special notes.

You’re going to invite people to sign up for updates, giving them options to tap a button for “yes” or “no”.

If the user taps, “Yes, sign me up!” they have opted in, allowing you to send additional content.

Here’s what our Messenger opt-in page looks like in chat:

When you create chat messages in MobileMonkey, it’s similar to crafting an email using MailChimp. You use a visual content builder and add content with widgets.

The available widgets allow you to add different kinds of content with a simple drag-and-drop approach, letting you reorder the content with a drag and swipe.

The widget you use to ask the user a question and supply them buttons for their response is the Quick Question:

Quick Question is my favorite widget because it encourages user interaction – easy responses via the tap of a button.

Take note of the attribute “BLOGSUBSCRIPTION” that saves to contact profiles. We’ll use that attribute to create the custom audience segment.

Step 3: Create a Custom Audience Segment of Subscribers to Send Messages To

Now, it’s time to curate a custom Messenger audience. This creates a contact list of message recipients.

Use the Audience builder to filter the contacts using the custom variable that identifies subscribers who chose to opt-in:

From the audience builder, create a new audience and filter your contacts with the attribute of made in step 2 and the value “yes, sign me up!” that reflects an opt-in subscriber.

Step 4: Use the Chatbot Builder to Create Content to Chat Blast, Including Unsubscribe Language

For the next step, we’re going to send a message to subscribers that adheres to Facebook Messenger subscription messaging and GDPR guidelines.

Use the chatbot builder and, like when you created the opt-in page, create a page using widgets.

Within a text widget, you can personalize your message by addressing your contact by name by inserting the “first name” dynamic attribute:

Be sure to include clear reminders on how the individual can unsubscribe as well:

Check it out here for an example chat blast that’s personalized with the customer name and includes a statement on how to unsubscribe.

How does unsubscribe work in Facebook Messenger?

MobileMonkey handles it for you. Don’t worry about programming anything.

Just let people know that they can type “stop” any time to unsubscribe from messages.

Step 5: Power on the Chat Blaster, Sending the Blast to Your Select Audience

Create a new chat blast from the chat blaster, give it a descriptive name and use the drop-down selectors to choose the audience you’re sending the blast to and the page of content you’re sending.

All your audiences and pages will be available to pick from a simple and searchable drop-down menu.

Here’s an example of what a Messenger chat blast set up looks like:

You need to identify the purpose of the content.

Facebook requires you to provide the purpose so messages can follow rules surrounding promotional and non-promotional messaging.

There are more than 20 available categories, so you would choose the one that best aligns with the message:

Now you can see how straightforward it is to create a chat blast.

It only takes a couple of minutes and zero coding on your part.

The Ultimate Engagement Marketing Channel: Facebook Messenger

When it comes to engagement, Messenger is hard to beat.

Because people message your page first, people are open to receiving follow up content. That’s one reason engagement is so high.

Also, the unsubscribe process is quick and reliable.

When a person gets a spam email, there’s no telling if the sender will honor a removal request.

On Facebook Messenger, all unsubscribes are overseen and managed by the software ensuring your business is compliant.

Keep in mind these simple tips and your messages will pass Facebook Messenger and GDPR muster, too.

More Facebook Marketing Resources:

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, September 2023

Is The Google Pixel 6 Pro Camera Actually Better Than The Pixel 5?

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

With the arrival of the Pixel 6 Pro, and to a lesser extent the regular Pixel 6, Google has (finally) revamped its smartphone camera package. But does the new flagship actually take better-looking pictures than 2023’s Google Pixel 5?

The highly anticipated change between the Pixel 5 and 6 is the introduction of a much larger main image sensor. The long-serving 12.2MP 1/2.55-inch Sony IMX363 featured on multiple generations of Pixel phones makes way for a much larger 1/1.31-inch main sensor that we suspect is the Samsung Iscocell GN1. The Pixel 6 Pro also includes a 4x telephoto camera, giving the phone much greater long-range prowess than its predecessor.

Read more: Everything you need to know about the Pixel 6’s camera upgrades

In addition, the custom Google Tensor SoC houses new machine learning smarts that are closely integrated with the Pixel 6’s imaging pipeline. While Google’s impressive HDR, Night Mode, and ASTROphotography algorithms already run on the Pixel 5’s more mid-range hardware, Google has bigged up the enhanced ML capabilities of its new chip. So it will be interesting to see what differences the new processor makes to image quality. Let’s find out what they are in this Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Pixel 5 camera shootout.

If you want to follow along with our analysis even more, be sure to check out this Google Drive folder filled with full-res snaps. 

If you’re hard-pressed to tell the difference between the pictures below, you’re not alone. A surprising number of shots we’ve taken are virtually indistinguishable from each other, at least at a quick glance.

These two main cameras offer very realistic colors, excellent exposure, and solid white balance. Given the similarities, you really wouldn’t think the Pixel 5’s camera hardware has basically been left unchanged since 2023’s Pixel 2. It just goes to show that Google’s software processing is the overriding factor in the look of Google’s image, more so than any underlying hardware.

There are a few regular differences between the two, however, when it comes to general presentation. Besides the slightly wider field of view from the Pixel 6 Pro, there are also very subtle but consistent differences in color saturation, exposure, and white balance. The Pixel 6 Pro is often a fraction brighter when it comes to exposure, which you can see in the cityscape and pumpkin pictures above.

Don’t forget: All the photography terms you should know about

With a new 50MP main image sensor, you might believe that the Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are capable of capturing much sharper images than the Pixel 5. However, the new handsets pixel bin their images down to 12.5MP and there isn’t an option to shoot at a higher resolution in Google’s default camera app.

Even so, perhaps the larger sensor helps the Pixel 6 capture more light and resolve more detail than the Pixel 5? Let’s take a look at some 100% crops.

That doesn’t appear to be the case in the brightly lit environments above. Although the Pixel 6 Pro appears a tad sharper in terms of post-processing, there’s no additional resolvable detail in the 100% crops above. The Pixel 5 certainly holds up, although small sensors often perform well with plenty of bright outdoor light.

Turning to indoor conditions, the Pixel 5 is a little softer when looking at the fine details on the bar. There’s a small level of noise in the shadows also. The Pixel 6 Pro is definitely the sharper image here, but you really have to pixel peep to notice.

This overcast outdoor picture is more mixed. Again the Pixel 6 Pro looks sharper and has less noise in general, particularly when focusing on the subject tree in the center. However, the newer phone suffers from extra smudging in some of the trees, which you don’t see on the Pixel 5 — see the bushes and trees on the left of the crop. The Pixel 6 Pro is certainly not always better when it comes to capturing detail.

Night mode and HDR improvements

Moving to some more extreme HDR shots, we’re looking for three key things: highlight clipping, shadow detail, and color saturation. Once again, there’s nothing to tell between the phones at a casual glance. Both offer extreme dynamic range free from clipping. Even peering more closely, both are virtually indistinguishable from each other in the shadows, with decent levels of detail resolved, given the circumstances.

The one distinction between the two in HDR environments is that the Google Pixel 6 Pro offers fractionally more vivid colors and a slightly more realistic, less warm white balance. But the difference is marginal at best — the two phones offer the same excellent HDR capabilities despite the different image sensor and processing hardware. Clearly, Google’s best algorithms run just fine on older mid-range hardware.

The extra light has implications for shooting with Night Sight too. The Pixel 6 Pro captures a much more realistic white balance and colors in the shot above. Although Night Sight greatly improves the detail capture on the Pixel 5, you’ll still notice smudging and noise around the edge of the frame, such as on the shelves. The 100% outdoor example below highlights this noise issue perfectly — the Pixel 6 Pro is mostly clean while the Pixel 5 is a bit of a mess on closer inspection.

Google has revamped its ultra-wide snapper for the Pixel 6 series, opting for a lower resolution sensor but with larger pixels and a slightly wider field of view. Just like with the main camera, you’ll find almost identical colors, detail, and white balance from both handsets. However, the move to larger sensor pixels in Google’s latest phone pays dividends for exposure and dynamic range, with the Pixel 6 often handing in brighter pics in trickier lighting conditions.

Unfortunately, the Google Pixel 5’s ultra-wide lens suffered from chromatic aberration (purple halos and fringing) and this issue remains present with the Pixel 6. If anything, the additional exposure and saturation make this effect more noticeable on the newer handset. It’s an unfortunate blemish on an otherwise solid camera setup.

The Pixel 6 Pro has superior long-range hardware but the ultra-wide remains a point of weakness.

When it comes to long-range zoom, we’re obviously expecting the Google Pixel 6 Pro to hand in the best pictures, owing to its 4x optical zoom lens. The phone is capable of zooming out to 20x thanks to Google’s Super Res Zoom upscaling, while the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5 cap at 7x using the same tech and lack dedicated telephoto shooters. But just how big is the difference, and does the Pixel 5 hold up at closer zoom levels?

Read more: Camera zoom explained — how optical, digital, and hybrid zoom work

At 3x in our first shot, there’s better exposure and a fraction more detail on the Pixel 6 Pro’s shot, likely owing to the phone’s larger main sensor that’s used here. Even so, it’s quite close and there’s a fair bit of noise in both pictures that betrays the fact they rely on the same upscaling tech here. There’s no competition at 5x in our first sample set — the Pixel 6 Pro’s optical zoom kicks in to provide better colors and vastly greater levels of detail. At 5x, the Pixel 5’s Super Res Zoom is clearly stretched to disguise the sensor’s noise, and the problem looks even worse at 7x, although given the quite flat textures in this scene, the Pixel 5 remains somewhat passable.

The Pixel 5 struggles even more for fine details at longer distances, but results below 5x are passable compared with the Pixel 6 Pro.

This second set of samples overlooking a valley features much more complex tree and grass textures. As a result, the Pixel 5 struggles even more for fine details at longer distances, although it does a good job at balancing the scene’s high dynamic range.

Looking first at our 3x picture, the results are again surprisingly close. Both handsets apply a high level of sharpening to fix up their digital zoom, and while the Pixel 5 is the noise picture, this actually results in a softer image. The Pixel 6 Pro looks a little more smudged until the optical zoom kicks in, which provides vastly more detail, although color-wise, the Pixel 5 holds up very well even in these less ideal lighting conditions. 7x is definitely pushing the Pixel 5 past its limits, however, while the Pixel 6 Pro holds up well out at 10x, albeit with some signs of heavier processing as the camera combats the low lighting.

Selfies and portraits

We’ll round out our comparison with a look at the phone’s portrait mode using both the rear and selfie camera.

Once again, a quick glance at the photos shows very little difference between the two, with colors, exposure, and white balance a virtual match between these handsets.

We can notice some subtle differences in the picture above when cropping in, however. Face textures are a fraction sharper with the Pixel 6 Pro, while the Pixel 5 is a little softer owing to some extra noise. The Pixel 6 Pro’s skin tone is also a little less artificially warm and slightly more accurate for the scene. Google’s improvements are subtle but they are there.

Related: The best selfie camera phones you can buy

Turning to the selfie camera, there’s a similar theme. The general appearance is virtually the same but the Pixel 6 Pro appears marginally sharper and avoids an overly warm facial tone. This difference is even more pronounced in low light, where the Pixel 5’s selfie camera looks a fair bit softer and noisier than the updated sensor in the Pixel 6 Pro.

One final piece of the puzzle is bokeh blur accuracy. Both are generally pretty good but can be tripped up by the odd stray hair and complex background. But we do see a bigger difference in our outdoor selfie, with the Pixel 5 appearing to use straight lines, producing a more “cut out” appearance. The Pixel 6 Pro isn’t dissimilar but seems more capable of picking out the fine edges of the hair, resulting in marginally more accurate object detection. But you have to look closely to notice.

Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Pixel 5 camera shootout: The verdict

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

After a thorough workout, Google’s high-end Pixel 6 Pro comes out ahead as a more flexible shooter than last year’s Pixel 5, particularly when it comes to long-range and low-light photography. However, daylight, ultra-wide, and even portrait pictures are often very hard to tell apart. Despite some quite meaningful hardware differences on paper, the Pixel 5 still provides competitive details, HDR, and portrait pictures.

Does the Google Pixel 6 Pro offer a big enough camera upgrade over the Pixel 5?

4052 votes

This leaves the regular Pixel 6 in a bit of an awkward position. Without the Pro’s 4x optical zoom and the same selfie specs as the Pixel 5, we’re left with a marginally improved ultra-wide field of view and the new main camera as the only upgrades on the table. While the bigger sensor certainly helps take better Night Sight shots, neither is exactly a game-changer over last year’s model.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro certainly offers better low light and long-range flexibility, but that’s it for the obvious differences.

This is, obviously, a testament to how well Google’s photo-enhancing algorithms run on aging hardware, but it’s also a shame for those who had been expecting a bigger jump with the move to new, more competitive camera hardware. Overall, the Pixel 6 Pro certainly offers a worthwhile upgrade for those who love to snap zoom shots and take their camera out at night. But we can’t quite say the same about the regular Pixel 6.

More camera shootouts: Google Pixel 6 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max

A Mixed Experience With Ibeacon At The Apple Store

Following this morning’s report about the deployment of Apple’s iBeacon technology to its 254 US retail stores, I decided to go to my local Apple Store and give it a try for myself. After agreeing to enable in-store notifications within the Apple Store app, I then drove to the Carlsbad Apple Store.

I didn’t expect to be blown away by this new app/store feature, but I did expect it to work and offer a certain level of relevancy. The results were very mixed, to say the least…

As I walked though the door, a notification showed up on the Lock screen. It welcomed me and invited me learn how to make the most of my visit by launching the Apple Store app. Launching the app showed me a splash screen with the EasyPay option front and center. I thought it was a pretty nice touch. I closed the app and continued wandering through the store.

I stayed a few minutes at the iPhone 5s table where I was expecting a notification to tell me more about the device, or at least tell me about my upgrade eligibility, since it’s part of the features touted by the Apple Store app update. Nothing happened.

So I decided to check out the iPhone 5c table. As a side note, I really love those iPhone 5c models. They look good and feel great in your hand. I’d even venture to say the build quality is better than the 5s. Anyways. After a few minutes at the iPhone 5c table, I hadn’t received any notification. I had however received a second welcome notification.

I then made my way to the MacBook Pro section. As I was browsing iDB from a 15-inch MBP with Retina display, an Apple employee approached me and saw I was reading iDB’s post about iBeacon tech being deployed today. The employee mentioned he had heard about it but he didn’t know it was coming out today. I explained him the basics of iBeacon. He seemed impressed, but not so much after all when I told him it had failed to work properly with me so far. As we were talking, I received a third welcome notification, but still nothing about the products I was actually looking at.

I walked to the accessories section of the store, and yes, I received a fourth welcome notification. I guess Apple really wants me to feel welcome. It’s nice but it’s not what I’m looking for. Still no notification about the various cases I’m checking out.

Walking across the store to see other products for sale, I finally get a relevant notification explaining me that I can read product reviews and complete a purchase right from my iPhone. Launching the app takes me to the bar code scanner. I proceeded to scan a couple items. The app was very fast at showing more details about the products. A big colorful button also made it clear I could have purchased the items from the app.

As I was walking out the door, I received a final welcome notification. Not very timely!

From my point of view, this was a very underwhelming experience with more than mixed results. The implementation of this technology is new, which could explain the poor results, but this is certainly not an excuse. Instead of launching this to all its stores at once, it might have been wiser to go through a test period at select stores first.

At the end of the day, this is not a big deal. Sending me notifications when walking around its stores is not something I expect from Apple. However, I have become accustomed to Apple providing a flawless experience in just about every regards. So far, iBeacon hasn’t delivered.

Of course, it must be noted that your experience may vary, but from I gather, iBeacon in Apple Stores hasn’t lived up to its hype quite yet.

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