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The startup that promised a better version of Android will stop updating its OS on December 31 as part of an ongoing “consolidation.”

If Android had a second name, it had to be CyanogenMod. An aftermarket custom ROM that offered all the good stuff of Android topped with additional features saw some odd organizational shakeup lately, seeing its CEO being ousted and losing its original founder, Steve Kondik, from the team. That shakeup led to all sorts of odd choices, eventually leading up to this day where Cyanogen has announced that it will shut down its services on the 31st of December 2016.

As part of the ongoing consolidation of Cyanogen, all services and Cyanogen-supported nightly builds will be discontinued no later than 12/31/16. The open source project and source code will remain available for anyone who wants to build CyanogenMod personally.

While this is bad news for the community, the good news is that Cyanogen is leaving an open-source initiative behind called Lineage. Using this, developers will be able to pick up the latest CyanogenMod code, and continue developing on a personal level if they so desire. This is the only way the ROM will live on. But do not expect any breakthrough in the time to come.
While Cyanogen and CyanogenMod are both saying goodbye, the spirit of CM will continue to live on in LineageOS. This is just the beginning. A website is being developed, and were sure to hear much more about Lineage in the upcoming days and weeks.


Android, Apps

If there’s a regular bane in Android phone owners’ existence, it’s the never-ending stream of app updates. Even though they’re smaller than full downloads, they still chew up a lot of data — just ask anyone who has sucked down hundreds of megabytes updating a new phone. Google’s engineers have a better solution, though.

They’re introducing a new approach to app updates that promises to radically shrink the size of updates with “file-by-file” patching. The resulting patches tend to be about 65 percent smaller than the app itself, and are sometimes over 90 percent smaller. In the right circumstances, that could make the difference between updating while you’re on cellular versus waiting until you find WiFi.

The technique revolves around spotting changes in the uncompressed files (that is, when they’re not squeezed into a typical app package). Google first decompresses the old and new app versions to determine the changes between files and create a patch. After that, updating is just a matter of unpacking the app on your device, applying changes and compressing it again.

Don’t expect to see this when you tap the “update” button, at least not yet. Google is currently limiting the new patching approach to automatic updates, since it needs extra processing power and might take additional time on older hardware. Your brand new Pixel XL should blaze through it, but someone’s aging Moto G might take longer. Performance will improve over time, however, so you might well see this expand to all updates once baseline performance is high enough.


Apps, iOS

Of the two million apps that currently inhabit the App Store,Apple has singled out 20 that have proven to be the most popular in 2016. The company just published its annual best of the year lists, which include a compilation of the top 10 free and paid apps that dominated the App Store this year.

The most-downloaded free iPhone app in 2016 is Snapchat, which moved up from number five on last year’s list and is replacing Trivia Crack in the number one slot. Facebook Messenger remained the second most-downloaded app, while Pokémon Go was the third, taking Dubsmash’s spot from 2015.

Here are the most downloaded free and paid iPhone apps of 2016.

Top Free iPhone Apps
  1. Snapchat
  2. Messenger
  3. Pokémon GO
  4. Instagram
  5. Facebook
  6. YouTube
  7. Google Maps
  8. Pandora
  9. Netflix
  10. Spotify Music
Top Paid iPhone Apps
  1. Heads Up!
  2. Face Swap Live
  3. Minecraft: Pocket Edition
  4. Facetune
  6. 7 Minute Workout Challenge
  7. Geometry Dash
  8. Plague Inc.
  9. Akinator the Genie
  10. Bloons TD 5

Apps, iOS

The number of people affected by iPhone 6s battery issues is growing to the point that Apple is now looking into a software fix.

Apple admitted on its Chinese support website this week that “customers outside of the affected range” are also experiencing unexpected shutdowns due to a faulty battery on their iPhone 6s. This means that Apple has spotted similar problems with devices that were manufactured outside the original September and October 2015 timeframe.

To address the issue, Apple started offering free replacement batteries to the affected customers. But as the problem continues to appear on more devices, Apple is preparing a diagnostic tool to gather more information and figure out if it can be resolved with a forthcoming iOS update.

Apple’s Chinese website now includes the following information:

“We are including additional diagnostic capability in an iOS software update which will be available next week. This will allow us to gather information over the coming weeks which may potentially help us improve the algorithms used to manage battery performance and shutdown. If such improvements can be made, they will be delivered in future software updates.”

The diagnostic tool will presumably come in the form of iOS 10.2 next week. Apple has said that the issue stems from some batteries being overexposed to “controlled ambient air” during manufacturing.

The impact on you: Apple has instated a battery replacement program for affected iPhone 6s devices. If you are affected by unexpected battery shutdowns, you will need to make an appointment at your local Apple store to verify that your iPhone 6s is eligible for the free battery replacement. An Apple store employee will also check for a broken screen, scratches, or dents that would require additional repairs not covered by the replacement program.


In most cases, the replacement battery will have to be ordered and might take up to seven days to arrive. In the meantime, you’ll be instructed to do an iPhone backup and to turn off Find My iPhone. Once your replacement battery has arrived, you will need to drop-off your iPhone 6s at the Apple store. Then, it will take anywhere from one or two hours for the battery to be replaced.

According to the work authorization receipt, a battery replacement kit is valued at $79, but it is free for customers who qualify for the program. You can check here to see if your iPhone 6s might be eligible for a free battery replacement.

This story, “Apple will release an iOS update to help resolve the growing number of iPhone 6s battery shutdowns” was originally published by Macworld.