How to protect your Netflix profile with a PIN

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Netflix now lets you protect your profile with a PIN, keeping other people on your account from accessing your home screen and personalized experiences. This new feature was announced as part of the service’s updated parental controls and should prevent young viewers from finding their way into a parent’s profile where mature content is accessible.

But PIN protection can be used even if you don’t have kids and simply want to prevent someone else on your account — friends, family, a significant other, etc. — from messing with your Netflix recommendations and viewing history. Before this new feature was enabled, it was a trivial matter to switch between profiles, so this new extra step should help stop people from “accidentally” watching…

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Google launches free version of Stadia with a two-month Pro trial

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Image: Google

Google is launching the free version of its Stadia game streaming service today. Anyone with a Gmail address can sign up, and Google is even providing a free two-month trial of Stadia Pro as part of the launch. It comes just two months after Google promised a free tier was imminent, and it will mean anyone can get access to nine titles, including GRID, Destiny 2: The Collection, and Thumper, free of charge.

Even existing Stadia Pro customers will get two months of the service for free, as Google is not charging existing subscribers for the next two months. Fourteen countries will be able to access the free trial of Stadia Pro, and users can buy and keep individual games on the service.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales /…

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The Apple Watch Series 5 is cheaper than ever today at Amazon and Best Buy

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

If an Apple Watch Series 5 has been on your tech wishlist, Amazon and Best Buy are offering the best deals yet on both the 40mm and 44mm sizes of Apple’s latest smartwatch. Mind you, these are technically the lowest prices we’ve seen, but it’s only a hair more affordable than the stellar Black Friday deals we saw a few months ago.

For a bit of background, the Series 5 is Apple’s first smartwatch that has an always-on display. It has a similar look to the Series 4, but you’ll no longer need to move your arm toward your face to see the time. What’s even better about the feature is that it isn’t much of a drag on battery life.

The GPS-only version of the 40mm Series 5 Watch is $349 at Amazon and Best Buy. Amazon’s selection is a little on…

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Sony’s new DualSense controller is its most exciting design since the original PlayStation

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Image: Sony

The next-gen console rollouts from Sony and Microsoft this year have been, for lack of a better word, soporific. But after weeks of spec comparisons and hardware boasts, Sony finally gave things a shot in the arm with the reveal of its new DualSense controller. It’s the most interesting announcement surrounding a next-gen console yet, and for Sony, in particular — which has barely updated its controller design in over two decades — the most exciting controller yet.

The DualShock line of controllers has long been one of the constants of the video gaming world. The original PlayStation controller set the standard for modern controller design, and its successors — the 1997 Dual Analog Controllers and the rumble-equipped generations of…

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How to look your best on a video call

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I’ve been on enough video calls this week to know that everyone could use a little help looking their best. From virtual weddings to work meetings, we all suddenly have to be on camera in our homes, and as a Verge video director and host, I’m no stranger to having to be camera-ready at all times and in imperfect spaces.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been optimizing my own video chat setup: from knowing where to sit to get the best light, to choosing the right microphone, to just staying comfortable. Here are my tips and tricks to becoming the video call MVP you were meant to be.

Light your face

It’s best to start with lighting because that will dictate where you are sitting. Open up your shades and let the natural light…

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Samsung is bringing 5G to its midrange phones this year

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Samsung

Samsung is refreshing its Galaxy A-series midrange phones for 2020. The lineup consists of a whopping six phones, all of which are aimed at people who want high-end features without paying an exorbitant amount of money. The most affordable option costs $110, while the highest-end A71 5G tops out at $600, and as you probably guessed from its name, it supports 5G connectivity. There will also be a slightly more affordable $500 model that is 5G-ready. The good news is that the entire lineup ships with Android 10 software with One UI 2.0, and features a 3.5mm headphone jack.

I’m going to dive into each phone’s features below, starting with the two that will release first on April 9th. The rest will release in the summer. However, note that…

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How to throw a party in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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Photo by Jay Peters / The Verge

With much of the world stuck inside due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are turning to Animal Crossing: New Horizons to recapture the feeling of interacting with the outside world by spending time on the game’s virtual islands and their anthropomorphic animal residents. But the game’s easy-to-use multiplayer that lets you host up to seven guests on an island has also become a popular way to throw real-world events like birthday parties and even weddings.

If you want to host your own party, we’ve put together a guide right here. We’ll offer some ideas on what you can do with your visitors to give you some inspiration and walk through some of the mechanics of hosting the party so that it runs smoothly.

Before the party

Mail out…

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This photographer is taking lockdown portraits over FaceTime

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Tim Dunk

Lockdown has disrupted everyone’s lives to varying degrees, and wedding photographers are some of the unluckier ones in terms of the impact on their careers — there aren’t any weddings happening, and even if there were it’d be unwise or impractical to attend. Yorkshire-based photographer Tim Dunk, however, has found a way to keep on taking portraits in self-isolation: FaceTime.

Writing in PetaPixel, Dunk describes the process, which involves making use of the Live Photo button that lets you snap an image during the call. Dunk works with the subjects to find or create good light within their homes, then edits the resulting shots in Lightroom. “The image quality is not going to be great,” he says. “Embrace it!”

Dunk says he’s done more…

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Dell accidentally leaks images of new XPS 15 and 17

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When it comes to Windows laptops, Dell’s XPS 13 is the laptop to beat. But the XPS 15 and XPS 17 are exciting upcoming releases as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see them officially announced in the coming weeks. That’s because — if a new leak from a Reddit user is to be believed — Dell has accidentally leaked an image of the upcoming XPS 15 and XPS 17 on the Precision laptops section of its website.

We expected Dell to refresh the XPS 15 alongside its 13-inch counterpart, but this is also our first look at the larger XPS 17, which we’ve been hearing rumors about for almost a year.

The image appears to have been removed, but thankfully the eagle-eyed u/WesolyKubeczek took a screenshot. Take a look.

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Microsoft’s Xbox Game Bar is getting custom widgets and its own store on Windows

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Microsoft is unveiling some significant changes to its Xbox Game Bar on Windows today, including new custom widgets that any developer can build. We’ve seen Microsoft gradually improve the Game Bar with widgets, but it’s now opening it up fully today with a beta SDK to enable any developer to create custom widgets.

It’s a big move that’s accompanied by a new Xbox Game Bar app store within the overlay, allowing developers to create and list custom widgets for people to find and install. XSplit and Razer are both releasing custom widgets to support Microsoft’s updated Xbox Game Bar. The XSplit integration will include access to Gamecaster tools without having to tab out of apps or games and the ability start or stop streams, chat to…

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Sony reveals new DualSense controller for the PlayStation 5

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Sony still hasn’t shown off what the PlayStation 5 will look like, but it just unveiled the controller for its next-gen console: the DualSense, which marks the biggest departure for Sony’s controller design in its over 25-year history of PlayStation consoles.

The new controller has some big changes on the inside, too: the previously announced haptic feedback (replacing the old rumble technology in previous controllers) and the new “adaptive triggers” that can adjust the resistance of the triggers for different gameplay effects. There’s also an integrated microphone, a first for Sony’s controllers, along with a (long-overdue) USB-C port. And of course, there’s the new two-tone color scheme (similar in style to the PSVR) and an overhauled…

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How to use FaceTime for group calls

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Apple iPad 2018

Image: Apple

If you have an iPhone or MacBook, then you have probably used FaceTime, Apple’s built-in video and voice-calling app. While FaceTime has always been useful for keeping in touch, it’s become even more important for staying connected with friends and family while observing social distancing measures.

You can have up to 32 people on a FaceTime call, so it’s a good video-chatting option if you don’t want to download another app to have a group video call — as long as you and your friends all have Apple devices. You can’t install it on a Windows or Android device, and it’s not available for all countries and carriers. However, you can use it between different devices if one friend is on their MacBook and the rest of your friends are using…

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Serato now has a free edition of its music-making software

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Image: Serato

Popular DJ and music production software company Serato has released an update to its Serato Studio DAW, and it comes with a big change: there’s now a free edition. This free edition is feature-limited, but it does let you make, save, and export tracks.

Serato Studio is a digital audio workstation like Ableton or Logic, but it has features that are geared toward DJs and beat-makers. It integrates with Serato’s DJ software so you can quickly make edits or mashups of tracks you already have. It also includes DJ-style channel mixing strips and works with Serato DJ-compatible controllers, so DJs can use them to make music with Serato Studio.

The free edition of Serato Studio has most of the functionality of the full edition, but with…

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Dead Cells is finally making its way to Android on June 3rd

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Image: Motion Twin

The excellent indie roguelike hit Dead Cells is coming to Android on June 3rd, according porting company Playdigious. Original developer Motion Twin first announced an Android version of Dead Cells was being developed back in May 2019, when the French studio gave its iOS version a summer release date. (The iOS version of Dead Cells released in August of last year.)

Now, Android fans just have to wait a little longer to play the ultra-difficult game on mobile. There’s no word yet on price. The iOS version launched at $8.99 and now costs $5.99 starting today. But it looks as if the Android version will indeed cost money, rather than being released for free with ads or some form of in-app purchase to unlock the full game. Playdigious says…

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Netflix will allow parents to remove movies and shows, filter by rating in new update

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Netflix is rolling out a series of new tools that parents can use to filter what content their kids see while using the service, including the ability to remove titles entirely.

The company is expanding parental control options both for the general section and Netflix’s designated kids portal. The biggest addition is the ability to remove an individual TV series or movie by title. Think of it like a search filter. If a movie like The Matrix is listed as inappropriate for a child user, it won’t appear at all on that profile account. Netflix is also making it so that parents can filter out titles based on the rating. If they want to keep everything G-rating friendly, Netflix’s new tool will now make that possible.

Other updates to…

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Facebook launches an app for couples to talk to each other

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First, Facebook launched a dating feature, and now, a small group within the company has launched an app designed for couples. The New Product Experimentation team’s app, called Tuned, encourages couples to create an intimate social network between just each other. From the iOS-only app, they can share their mood, exchange music, and create a digital scrapbook. It’s billed as a “private space” for both people to connect.

The app, as first spotted by The Information, connects to Spotify for music sharing, and a couple can send each other photos, notes, cards, and voice memos. They can also use custom stickers and reactions. It’s free to use and seemingly doesn’t require a Facebook account, although users are subject to Facebook’s data…

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Chrome OS tablet mode gets iPad-style gestures

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Photo by Monica Chin / The Verge

Chrome OS hasn’t always been the best fit for tablets, despite the uptick in 2-in-1 Chrome OS devices out there that can work in tablet-style configurations. But Google’s latest update to its Chromebook operating system is looking to change that with new tablet mode gestures for Chromebooks — ones that look almost identical to those Apple uses on its iPads with iPadOS.

There’s a new gesture to go back to the home screen by swiping up from the bottom of the display, while a smaller swipe will pull up your dock. Swipe up and hold, and you’ll get an app-switcher-style view of your open windows and apps. Swipe back from the left side of the screen to go back to what you were previously doing. The gestures are also extremely similar to the…

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The Office celebrates a work life that doesn’t exist anymore

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The scenes that make The Office special aren’t overly zany but are extremely relatable, like Dwight Schrute making an obnoxious sales call at his desk, while Jim and Pam roll their eyes at their colleague’s behavior. It happens almost every episode: two people, the stand-ins for the audience, acknowledging just how annoying the workplace is.

The Office is a show about the random, boring bits of everyday work life and the comedy that ensues from being surrounded by the same people on a daily basis. Employees sit at their desks, jokes are made, and snacks are munched on. Fifteen years later, it’s still one of the most enduring sitcoms because The Office is an extraordinarily ordinary depiction of modern working life in America — well, it…

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Facebook Gaming launches Tournaments

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Facebook Gaming is launching a feature today meant to bring people together virtually while they can’t be in the same place physically. It’s called Tournaments, and it does exactly what it says on the tin.

Tournaments will let users create and organize virtual tournaments in a variety of formats, from double elimination to round-robin, and it appears to be intended to mitigate some of the strain of social distancing. (Interestingly, Tournaments was originally designed for live gaming events.)

The product is intended for every kind of tourney, from casual to high-level esports play. It’s also built directly into the Facebook Gaming platform itself, which means that creators can host fan tournaments and stream them, too. They can even…

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