Luminar AI for Mac review

Version: Luminar AI for MacDeveloper: Skylum Inc.
Website: https://skylum.com/luminar


 

ABOUT SKYLUM

 

SKYLUM (Macphun,early 2018 they’ll completely switched to SKYLUM) is a San Diego, USA based software company, and famous for its outstanding photo editing software products. Their latest software application Luminar 4, has been upgraded to a new product supporting numerous improvements and the addition of AI Skin Enhancer, AI Portrait Enhancer and their AI Sky Replacement feature. Luminar Neptune 2017 was launched 15th June 2017 and Luminar 2018 launched 16 November 2017, Luminar 3 came to life in 2018. This review will discover and disclose wether the Luminar Ai for Mac upgrade is a true improvement over Luminar 4. Skylum Luminar AI for Mac is for professionals as well as enthousiasts. SKYLUM has a great reputation for their outstanding products and aim to listen to their clients and implement their wishes in new product versions.

 

WHAT’S ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

The term artificial intelligence was formed in 1956, however AI has become immense popular today as nowadays we have increased data volumes, advanced algorithms, and improvements in computing power and storage.

AI works by combining large amounts of data with fast, iterative processing and intelligent algorithms, allowing the software to learn automatically from patterns or features in the data. To make AI work, we need to understand that AI is a mix of seperate tools which in addition can create Artificial Intelligence applications which may be implemented each in its specific field for, face recognition on phones, speech, machine programming,

  • Machine learning to automate analytical model building.
  • Deep Learning for neural networks, using learning techniques of data for speech and data recognition.
  • Computer vision needs pattern recognition and deep learning to learn-recognize what’s in a picture.
  • Natural language processing (NLP) is analysation skills of computers to understand and/or generate human language, and speech.
  • Advanced algorithms are able and needed to identify and predict events.

 

INTERFACE & WHATS NEW

Skylum Luminar AI for Mac, boasts a new full intuitive interface layout where Templates / filters are placed in groups in the right sidebar:

All is absolutely nicely placed on the interface, but compared to Luminar 4 takes just a small learning curve setting used too. The filters-sliders are much better to work with. A full list of possible Templates is present in the interface, there’s really not much left out ! The templates collection can be enough for any user to create their best pictures. Using the Presets (now called Templates) most times need some work from the “Edit” section which shows different categories; Essentials, Creative, Portrait, Professional and Local Masking. When loading a picture for the first time, the AI algorithm suggest a Template to work with. The template you start with, can be edited by choosing ‘edit’ right to the templates name at the bottom right. This action takes you to the former ‘edit tools and categories’, each with their own tools. At first glimpse it looks like Luminar 4, but there are many new AI functions available to use for adjusting your pictures.

Essentials
Composition Ai, Enhance Ai, Structure Ai.
Creative
Sky Ai, Argumented Sky Ai, Atmosphere Ai.
Portrait
Face Ai, Skin Ai, Body Ai.

 

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TEMPLATES in LUMINAR Ai

Achieve amazing results with a new, Templates-based, approach to photo editing. By using AI to understand the strengths and weaknesses of every image, Templates automatically correct common capture problems and apply enhancements which inspire new ideas.

  • Templates were created in collaboration with professional photographers and retouchers to produce high-quality results.
  • Based on in-depth research, Templates were composed to reflect both classic design and modern, popular trends , producing fresh, engaging images with maximum impact.
  • Templates leverage content-aware AI to make preliminary edits based on the unique elements in every image.
  • Once refined, customized Templates can be easily synced across large batches of photos, even images from different sessions, taken in different environments.

The all new Ai (Artificial Intelligence ) menu slider/settings adjustments are located in the editing categories sections. Each having their own specific created algorithm and effect on an image. Starting your new project needs a picture of course, and you can add a folder or single image. After loading the image the Composition Ai setting can automatically adjusts your image to a better composition. This is a debatable subject to be honest and your intentional set composition may be the composition you prefer. Still it (may) helps if the Ai suggestion is a better composition solution. It does work great, no doubt about that.

 

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ESSENTIALS

 

“ESSENTIALS – COMPOSITION Ai”

Achieve great composition from any angle. You’ll always get the perfect frame. CompositionAI blends the golden rules of composition with the expertise of the world’s best photographers.

  • Perfect framing with CompositionAI.
  • Automatically fix alignment for a level photo.
  • Automatically fix perspective to remove unwanted tilt or distortion.
  • AI-powered cropping suggests compositions designed with in collaboration with top photographers.

 

“ESSENTIALS – ACCENT Ai”

Get natural lighting and life-like color for every portrait with a single “magic” slider.

  • AccentAI analyzes the image to identify areas issues with brightness, contrast and color, then balances all of them for the optimal result.
  • Adjust the intensity of the enhancements with a single slider to make the effect very subtle or very dramatic.
  • Enhancements can be synced across a set of images; saving a tremendous amount of time. It accounts for the unique elements within each image to produce the best result.

 

“ESSENTIALS – SKY ENHANCER Ai”

  • Sky EnhancerAI makes seamless adjustments to skies to make them pop without looking unnatural. It produces amazing results while saving you time in the edit.

 

“ESSENTIALS – STRUCTURE Ai”

Bring out details in all the right places. StructureAI recognizes people, water, skies and objects. it adds depth and clarity to a scene by pulling out critical detail just where required.

  • Saves time and produces amazing results in architecture, cityscape, landscape and environmental portraits.
  • Refines textures in the image to add depth or draw the viewer’s eye to the most important elements.

 

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PORTRAIT

 

“PORTRAIT – BODY Ai”

Makes bodies appear lighter or heavier with subtle, realistic adjustments to stunning effect.

  • Automatically detects a body in any lighting and in any position — sitting, lying down or lounging.
  • Effect generated by an algorithm developed through precise study of human anatomy and proportions using a huge dataset of photos of different people and body types.
  • Target proportions are derived from those most desired by clients of professional portrait photographers.
  • Produces an entirely realistic and natural effect; impossible to get an overdone result.

 

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“PORTRAIT – IRIS Ai”

Create expressive, breathtaking eyes, with a natural spark that brings the subject’s face to life.

  • Automatically finds iris and adds subtle effects with color an catchlights which produce dramatic, yet realistic, eyes.
  • Effect is so realistic effect most won’t realize the photo has been retouched.

 

“PORTRAIT- FACE Ai”

Improve faces naturally: enhance lips and teeth; remove unwanted dark circles and more.

  • Automatically detects the face in the image: eyes, brows, lips, face contour.
  • Allows you to adjust lighting on just the face, creating an effect similar to using a reflector or accent light in studio.
  • Enhance fullness of the brows with just one slider.
  • Adjust lip saturation, redness, lightness. Whiten teeth.
  • Subtle slim the face according inline with natural anatomy.

 

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“PORTRAIT- SKIN Ai”

  • Instantly remove blemishes while preserving pores, texture and hair.
  • Automatically detect and remove shine from the skin.

 

CREATIVE TOOLS

 

“CREATIVE TOOLS ATMOSPHERE Ai”

Add realistic atmospheric effects with 3D depth — fog, mist, haze, steam, drizzle — with AtmosphereAI. Create a magical mood without masks and layers.

  • AtmosphereAI is the first consumer technology that works completely in 3D.
  • It analyses the 2D image to identify elements in the frame and create a depth map which defines their relationships to one another in 3D space.
  • Using this depth map, it seamlessly applies fog and other weather effects which naturally interact with other elements in the frame.

 

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“CREATIVE TOOLS  – SKY Ai”

Easily change the sky in your photo in seconds to create a whole new mood. Works perfectly even with tiny details intersecting your sky.

  • Relight the entire photo so the colors of the original image shift to match the lighting and colors of your new sky.
  • Precisely detect the sky for the whole image: taking into account position and color, even with branches or wires.
  • If the original sky was out of focus, SkyAI allows you to adjust the sharpness of the new sky.

 

“CREATIVE TOOLS – AUGMENTED SKY Ai”

  • Could your image benefit from a more visually interesting sky? If so Augmented SkyAI is the perfect fix. It detects a photo’s sky automatically and adds a chosen element to the sky area.
  • Using content-aware technology, foreground objects are automatically accounted for to make the object blend naturally with the sky. And if you want more control over the placement, you can easily drag the new element around the sky area.

 

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Change your image

 

Changing your image is in the end, what it is all about. Working with your pictures and how easy or difficult is it to master Luminar Ai. Well to be honest we all can work quickly with Luminar Ai in contrast to Photoshop which requires you to spent hours and hors to master the tricks od photo-editing. This Luminar edition feels more polished to earlier versions which also do a great job without real effort. The Ai (artificial intelligence) algorithms do work and can be adjusted to your liking in simple steps. I feel the ‘Ai approach’ is setting the new future of photo-editing all together. We may endup in the future with a truly all automatic transformation process of pictures.

Below I’ve created a simple transformation of an image using new sky and set mountains just to change the scenery of my Caribbean cruise taking it to a Northern Europe cruise with just a few adjustments. Its not sensational but a good idea of the software’s capabilities in 10 minutes fiddling around with Luminar Ai.

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Export functions

Luminar Ai’s export functions offer, download to disc, send by mail or export to Smugmug or 500px which are private paid storage options, to me these options should never be implemented in an export menu as it is the customers decision which storage or cloud is wanted. If it was a Free option I would understand, right now it somehow forces you to choose something.

 

VERDICT

The question to ask ourselves is, if this Luminar Ai for Mac edition is truly setting new standards for photo-editing. The answer is No, as Topaz is also bringing Ai software on the market. But that being said, Luminar Ai is for me the best allround software package for any user interested in photo-editing. It brings real joy with creative Ai-tools simplifying the tasks. Compared to Topaz Studio this Luminar Ai version just sweeps Topaz under the carpet easily. On some individual aspects like Sharpening Ai and Denoise Ai, Topaz is still the best to get, but its not cheap. Luminar Ai proofs great end-results at a great price! If your pockets are not to deep, Luminar Ai is the overall best program to go for and will never disappoint you in anyway. So if you want to experience a fantastic editing tool, Luminar Ai is the one to go for. Don’t just take my word for it, but try it out and experience yourself. Well that’s my opinion anyway.

BUY and use our $10 discount code if you’re interested ✑ MACSOFTREVIEW

Luminar AI for Mac review 10

Yubikey 5 NFC review

YubiKey 5 NFCDeveloper: Yubico  USA
Website: https://www.yubico.comVersion 5NFC

 

ABOUT YUBIKEY

 

Yubico was founded in Sweden 2007 with the mission to make secure login easy and available for everyone. In 2011, Stina, CEO & Founder, and Jakob, CTO, moved to Silicon Valley to make the dream happen. In close collaboration with the leading internet companies and thought leaders we created native support for our security keys in the major online platforms and browsers, enabling a safer internet for billions of people. They now offer a full range of YubiKey 2FA keys.

 

2FA BECOMES A NEEDED SECURITY TOOL

The internet was designed for sharing information, not security. As it has advanced and scaled to be a critical part of our everyday lives—so have the fraudsters. Today, 3.8 billion email accounts, login credentials are being compromised every day. Because of this huge number of global users, data has become more than just numbers and statistics. All data on the internet is in a way a valuable set of information about economic projects, security and private data such as, names, date of birth, social security numbers and your ( faulty assumption ) personal email. Your assumption that your email is a private matter is true, but millions of people are faced with hacked data and subsequently loose their anonymity on the internet and face massive problems. Problems that could lead to personality theft and huge financial problems, as most people don’t use password managers and/or safe places for their precious data.
On top of all this, most people use only ‘one password’ to cover all their logins from email to government or business related access. Security is underestimated by millions, which makes the internet a great place for fraud and hackings. I guess almost everybody’s email address has been compromised in some way ( mine does as well ), as we all have a gmail account, or subscriptions of a newspaper or others. You may sometimes even receive an email from your host warning you about a hack that has taken place and your data, credit card is stolen. Welcome to the club !

Besides using a password manager a 2 Factor Authentication is absolutely needed to keep yourself protected as much as possible. So my first suggestion to everybody is to get yourself Dashlane Premium to store your passwords etc. However just running Dashlane is not enough really as you want to keep any kind of access to just yourselves. This is why YubiKey was invented and now used by companies and private users all over the world.

 

YUBIKEY FEATURES

Ultra Secure
Zero recorded account takeovers in 11 years. The physical key requires a human touch and cannot be remotely hacked.
Quick & Reliable
One-tap login, nothing to download, no batteries, crush and water resistant. Manufactured in Sweden and California.
One Key for many
One key to access hundreds of top sites. No user and security information is shared between the services,
protecting your privacy.

 

WHY IS YOUR DATA VALUABLE

1. Hackers can sell your data to other criminals

  • One way hackers profit from stolen data is selling it in masses to other criminals on the dark web. 

2. Stolen personal information is fuel for identity theft

  • Identity theft is a crime in which the victim’s personal information is used to gain benefits at the victim’s expense. Many online services require users to fill in personal details such as full name, home address and credit card number. Criminals steal this data from online accounts to commit identity theft.

3. Login details are needed for account takeover

  • Criminals use stolen login credentials to break into accounts with payment details, such as shopping accounts. This is called account takeover, and it often leads to identity theft. If the hacker changes your password, you will also lose access to your account. Account takeover can be costly if the hijacked account includes payment details.

4. Stolen data is used to target phishing attacks and extortion

  • With stolen personal information criminals can target victims with phishing attacks. In phishing scams victims are lured into giving information like credit card details willingly to criminals by masking the scam as something legit. 

5. Stolen personal information can be used to harm companies

  • In addition to the personal problems stolen data can cause, it can also damage companies. With stolen data criminals can target company personnel to give sensitive information or to trick them to make payments. Such phishing attacks targeted against a specific individual are called spear-phishing. Criminals can also try to gain access to company networks to spy on them and infect them with malware.

 

DATA HACKING IMPACT 2020

To give you an impression, about the impact of Data Hacking by criminals just read the statement below:

  • Cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion by 2021.
  • By 2021, a business will fall victim to ransomware every 11 seconds.
  • The cost of a data breach will reach $150 million by 2020.
  • In 2023 alone, cybercriminals will steal 33 billion records.
  • Americans lose $15 billion annually due to identity theft.
  • 1 in 36 mobile phones had high-risk apps in 2018.
  • It takes 196 days on average to identify a data breach.

 

HACKING STATISTICS 2020

Let’s check the latest statistics and see the numbers involved.

1. Hacking accounts for over half of all recent data breaches.  In a 2020 report that analyzed nearly 4,000 confirmed breaches, it was found that:

  • over half of them (52%) were a result of hacking
  • hacking statistics gathered in the report show that the second biggest risk was phishing, which accounted for nearly 33% of all data breaches
  • Malware is also a major culprit, responsible for 28% of the data breaches

    The report also found that 70% of the breaches were financially motivated and, rather worryingly, 43% of the breaches involved exploiting vulnerabilities in web applications. This is more than double the numbers from 2019.

2. There is an average of 38.4 passwords in use for every human worldwide. (Source: SC Magazine) 

  • It is estimated that there are more than 300 billion passwords in use today or nearly an average of 38.4 passwords per individual. Among the Fortune 500 companies, the average employee is expected to manage double the world’s average at 90 business and personal accounts – that’s certainly a lot of passwords to remember!

3. In the last three years, the number of phishing websites has increased by over 130.5%(Source: Google Transparency Report)  

  • Since 2017, the cyberworld has witnessed a worryingly rapid rise in phishing websites. As per cybercrime statistics from Google, the number of phishing websites grew from approximately 584,000 in that year to more than 1.35 million this year, representing an increase of over 130.5%.
  • At the same time, the number of malware sites has taken a nosedive. In 2017, the estimated figure was 516,000. Today, the number is less than 53,300 websites.

4. 99.9% of accounts get hacked because of this one single reason(Source: Windows Central) 

  • In January of this year, roughly 1.2 million Microsoft accounts were compromised. According to the company, 99.9% of them had one big thing in common when it came to vulnerability – they all did not make use of multi-factor authentication.

According to hacking statistics, the most commonly used method for hacking accounts is password spraying. This involves taking easy-to-guess passwords and going through a list of usernames until the right combination gives access to an account.

 

HOW DOES TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION WORK

YubiKey 5 NFC, stops account takeovers, and offers password-less and modern multifactor authentication. You should get the world’s leading security key for superior security, user experience and return on investment. YubiKey’s, primary role is as a second factor of authentication. In practice, Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) needs you to do a second thing after entering your password to prove it’s you / ownership. Authentication factors, listed in approximate order of adoption for computing, include the following:

 

  1. knowledge factor is something the user knows, such as a password, a PIN (personal identification number) or some other type of shared secret.
  2. possession factor is something the user has, such as an ID card, a security token, a cellphone, a mobile device or a smartphone app, to approve authentication requests.
  3. An inherence factor, more commonly called a biometric factor, is something inherent in the user’s physical self. These may be personal attributes mapped from physical characteristics, such as fingerprints authenticated through a fingerprint reader. Other commonly used inherence factors include facial and voice recognition. They also include behavioral biometrics, such as keystroke dynamics, gait or speech patterns.

(source: https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/two-factor-authentication)

 

ALTERNATIVES

Though this review primarily focuses at hardware 2FA, there also are many other ways/tools to add a second factor validation. Many sites will send you codes via SMS to verify your identity. Apps such as Duo (Free at Apple.com) and Authy rely on push notifications which are (in theory) harder to intercept than SMS messages. I also use DUO as a 2FA solution for some accounts, as you will need to ability from the host to actually add and integrate your YubiKey ( or other) in their system. This however is not yet adapted by all internet parties, which leaves you to stick to a 2FA software tool. Again, use this if possible, as it still makes things much more difficult for an hacker or data breach.

Whether you go with a hardware or software solution or a mix of both, do add 2FA wherever and whenever you can. When Google deployed 2FA keys internally, it saw successful account takeovers drop to zero. This proofs the significant contribution of Yubikey ( or Google’s Titan ).

 

YUBIKEY IN ANY FORMAT

Yubico has always offered several sizes and variations of its security keys to fit just about every need. This is great, because consumers and IT professionals can get exactly what they need at a variety of prices. The downside is that browsing the Yubico store is a frequently overwhelming experience. I’ll do my best to boil down the basics. To check which key would benefit your personal need just follow this link: https://www.yubico.com/nl/quiz/

There are four flavors of YubiKey 5 Series devices, including the $45 YubiKey 5 NFC reviewed here, as well as three other form factors: the $50 YubiKey 5 Nano, the $50 YubiKey 5C, and the $60 YubiKey 5C Nano. The ‘5 NFC’ is the only YubiKey to offer wireless communication, but besides that the only difference among these devices is size, price, and USB connector.

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The two Nano devices are the least intrusive devices in the group and nestle within your USB-A or USB-C slots, easily within reach if you need them often. The YubiKey 5C uses a USB-C connector, is slightly smaller than the 5 NFC, and can hang on your keychain alongside the 5 NFC; it lacks wireless communication. You can, however, connect either the YubiKey 5C or 5C Nano directly to your Android device. The ‘nano-c’ devices are however a pain to extract from your usb-c slot. Well they do stick firmly in my new iMacs. But, they are most robust in use as the larger keys can be damaged by pressing the key each time you need to get access. This is mostly something to keep in mind when you’re using them on a notebook or such where the key is placed downwards. You only need to touch the metal conductor to activate the programmed code.

What sets the YubiKey 5 Series apart from the competition isn’t just the variety of form factors, as each one can function as a Smart Card (PIV), which can generate one-time passwords, support both OATH-TOTP and OATH-HOTP, and can be used for challenge-response authentication. All four devices support three cryptographic algorithms: RSA 4096, ECC p256, and ECC p384. These devices offer many different roles, often at the same time—provided you know what you’re doing as you need to understand what you’re doing when using the makers YubiKey Personalization Tool and/or Yubikey Manager software. These software programs offer a world of security settings which you need to be familiar with before just enter a setting.

Which YubiKey device you purchase will largely depend on what context you plan on using it. The Nano devices are useful if you plan on using them with a trusted computer, and you know you’ll need to access the YubiKey often. The full-size keys are better for hanging on a keyring and keeping close at hand for use.

**I will mention right now before describing how to use and experience its value, that you NEED TO have 2 YubiKey’s in your possession. You absolutely need a ‘Backup Yubikey’ in case you loose one or fails. If you don’t have a backup you will be faced with a real problem entering the site/host/mailbox you’ve secured !!

 

WORKING WITH YUBIKEY 5 NFC

To help you get started, Yubico has created a handy guide for new users. Just pick the YubiKey device you have, and the site displays a list of all the places and contexts you can use your YubiKey. Some of these link directly to a site or service’s onboarding page, while others provide instructions you have to follow yourself. The guide discussed on Yubikey’s website ( https://www.yubico.com/works-with-yubikey/catalog/ ) shows you all services working with YubiKey. All mentioned services provide a ‘How To’ to set the wanted 2FA with your KubiKey, mostly you need to go to the security page in order to set your key. As mentioned earlier you need to have a backup key in case of loss, key fail or whatever issue that makes you need your YubiKey, so if you set one key, do the same again and use the second key for the same account. This backup key needs to be stored in a safe place of course.

When you setup the Yubikey as a U2F security key like in the image below to activate the sign in, just touch or tap the ‘metal’ ( copper insert ) of the key and like magic you’re authorised. I just can’t express it enough times that having this kind of security is a vital step in security of your data. You can also use the key for entering your Mac or PC which makes it an extra safety feature next to the ‘FileVault’ encryption of your Mac SSD or Fusion Drive.

 

 

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The YubiKey 5 Series can authenticate you in a number of ways, not just via U2F. With LastPass or Dashlane, for instance, you enroll the YubiKey to generate one-time passwords (specifically HMAC-based One-time Passwords, but I’ll use OTP for brevity) with a tap. This is different from U2F but it in practice it feels very similar. Log in to LastPass, navigate to the appropriate part of the Settings menu, click on the text field, and tap the YubiKey. A string of letters spews out, and that’s it! Now when you want to log in to LastPass, you’ll be prompted to plug in your YubiKey to have it spit out more OTPs.

Google Authenticator is an well known app you probably are familiar with, which generates six-digit passcodes every 30 seconds. This technology, more generally, is called Time-based One-time Passwords (TOTPs) and it’s one of the most common forms for 2FA used today along with DUO app.

Plug in your YubiKey 5, and launch the Yubico Authenticator application (https://www.yubico.com/products/services-software/download/yubico-authenticator/#download_here ), now navigate to a site that supports Google Authenticator for iPhone or a similar service. To secure a Google Account, for example, click the option to enroll a new phone with the authenticator app. When clicked a QR code usually appears at this point, and a prompt pops-up to scan with the appropriate authenticator app. Another method is to select a menu option in the Yubico Authenticator Desktop app and capture the QR code from your screen. A few more next-clicks, and the app starts providing unique six-digit codes every 30 seconds.

The security level is that the Yubico app (desktop ) cannot generate TOTPs without the presence of your YubiKey 5. The Yubico Authenticator stores data directly on your YubiKey and not on your computer. Pull the Yubikey out, and the Authenticator app can’t make new TOTPs. This basic procedure could add security problems, if someone steals or gets access to your YubiKey used to generate your TOTPs. So you best lock your YubiKey with a password with the Yubico Authenticator App, to even if it were stolen can’t be used for generating TOTPs.

YubiKey 5 Series is able to do much more:
–  use it as a smartcard to log in to my desktop computer.
– use it log in to SSH servers.
– generate a PGP key and then use the YubiKey to sign or authenticate.

 

 

PRO

  • Durable, construction.
  • No batteries or moving parts.
  • NFC capable.
  • Different form-factors.
  • Supports FIDO U2F, FIDO2.
  • Can generate six-digit one-time use passcodes with Yubico Autenticator app.
  • Supports multiple protocols for different security roles.

 

CONS

  • Not cheap, but security comes at a price.
  • Requires real effort and learning to fully realise its potential.
  • Limited iOS integration.

https://resources.yubico.com/53ZDUYE6/as/q3uxbe-6n9olc-9ywi4w/YubiKey_5_Series_Product_Brief.pdf

 

VERDICT

The YubiKey 5 Series is are top notch devices providing the best security and a huge number of options. Choosing the key you need is not too difficult when you follow the website’s quiz. We use it, and will keep using it, however using the Yubikey takes a real learning curve. Just using it for Gmail protection
and access to your Mac shouldn’t be e real problem. But YubiKey can so so much more and take security to a new level, a level such good that big commercial companies use it to stop or minimise data breach. Its well build, where the nano versions can be difficult to remove on usb-c slots. To make security really work you need to have a backup key as well, just in case you loose the (pin-locked) Yubikey. This is essential as you’re stuck without a backup. To me I feel so much more assured of my data not floating around for grabs, as all email-addresses are using YubiKey 5 NFC as do some websites providing the use of a 2FA tool like Yubikey. Is it cheap ? No, but how will you feel when your data is breached, hacked by criminals! Its worth every penny to better be safe than sorry.

Yubikey 5 NFC review 15

Yubikey 5 NFC review 16 Rating Macsoftreview

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac review

Version 1.8 (1)Developer iBoysoft
Website https://iboysoft.com/ntfs-for-mac/Buy iBoysoft Buy Now

 

ABOUT IBOYSOFT  (NTFS)

iBoysoft is a software company located in Chengdu, China. iBoysoft committes to research in the field of data security, has developed and released iBoysoft Data Recovery for Mac, iBoysoft Data Recovery for Windows, NTFS Assistant, iBoysoft Drive Manager and iBoysoft File Protector.

 

WHAT IS NTFS

NTFS is an acronym for ‘NT File System’ or ‘New Technology File System’, and refers to a ‘file format system’ used by the operating system in order to identify how files are stored, named and organized on a hard-disk drive (HDD), solid-state drive (SSD), USB memory stick, microSD card and other similar storage devices. There are some other main formats too like: exFat , Fat32 , Apple APFS, Mac OS Extended !  All disc formats are not compatible with Apple or Windows and vice versa! Windows mainly operates with NTFS and Apple uses APFS and Mac OS Extended as their format system.

When was NTFS invented and by who?

NTFS is a file system that was developed by Microsoft. It was first introduced in July 1993, with the release of Windows NT 3.1. Because it was created to work with the Windows NT family of operating systems, Microsoft called it the NT File System, which became NTFS in its abbreviated form. Before NTFS, the Windows operating systems used the FAT32 file system. However, FAT32 had its limitations, such as the fact that it could work only with files smaller than 4GB and partitions with a maximum size of 8TB. Also, it did not offer any data protection in case of a power outage. NTFS was the answer to all these problems and more: it provided better support for metadata, better performance because of its improved data structuring, more reliability and so on.

 

WHY DO WE NEED NTFS DISK MANAGEMENT

To keep it simple, we need a widely adapted compatible format for any (USB or newer) interface to communicate. Any drive, disc, stick or card formatted with NTFS (being a Windows format) will not just fully work with your Mac. Apple’s macOS can read from Windows-formatted NTFS drives, but can‘t write to them out of the box! So NTFS management is needed to solve this Apple problem. Well its not Apple fault, but Apple tends to lean more to Unix than Windows. There is some NTFS Management software available like Paragon NTFS, Tuxera and Stellar to name a few. Which is your best value for money you wonder. Well they are all relative simple software tools and may provide some bonus tools. Pricewise they all cost about the same really, Tuxera being cheapest.

 

SPEED 

So, the all cost about the same, but how do they perform in practice ? Their interface is much different and all we really need is performance, speed.

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac review 17

 

 

We have to say that iBoysoft NTFS for Mac performs great. It is faster than the competitors in read-write speed. Though we didn’t compare Paragon and iBoysoft at the same time, we are confident iBoysoft out performs Paragon at some levels.  In our test run, we copied a large file from our Mac to an external NTFS formatted external drive. The full process only took a few seconds without any errors.

 

Features:

  • Give full read and write access to Windows NTFS-formatted drive on Mac
  • Mount NTFS drives automatically
  • Mount and eject NTFS drives with one click
  • Verify and repair file system errors on NTFS drives
  • Clean up NTFS drives, Reformat HFS, HFS+, FAT32, exFAT to NTFS drives

 

 

Also a Disk Management Tool

 

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac review 18

Microsoft NTFS for Mac by iBoysoft is not only a NTFS driver for Mac, but also a disk management tool. It allows you to

  • View disk information
  • Open drive
  • Mount NTFS drive
  • Unmount NTFS drive
  • Check disk
  • Erase disk
  • Format drive to NTFS file system

 

Mount NTFS volumes in read-write mode automatically

After the software is successfully launched and NTFS volumes are detected, NTFS volumes will be listed in the drop-down menu for your convenience to open it or eject it. Meanwhile, the NTFS volumes has been mounted in read-write mode automatically. It seems that NTFS write support exists natively on Mac. Once the NTFS volumes or disks are opened, you can make changes to the stored files as you want. There will be no bugs or instabilities which could cause damages to your disks while you are writing to the NTFS volumes. The file transferring speed is noticeably fast too.

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac review 19

 

Repair NTFS volumes

If your NTFS disk faces some issues that make it not work properly on Mac, this utility might help you out. After you click on the “Disk Management” in the drop-down interface, you will be led to a window displaying all connected NTFS disks and disks formatted with other file systems. After you select an NTFS disk and click on the “Check disk” button in its Disk Management window, iBoysoft NTFS for Mac can fix some minor file system errors on that NTFS disk and make it work correctly again.

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac review 20

 

Erase data on NTFS volumes

This is another useful feature when you want to erase all data on an NTFS disk and start anew. By simply clicking the “Erase disk” button in its Disk Management window, iBoysoft NTFS for Mac can erase all stored files on the disk and reassign an NTFS file system to the disk. This feature will fix almost all file system problems you might have with the NTFS disk and leave you a blank NTFS disk for new data. With one single click, you can get rid of the data you on longer need and have a fresh start with the NTFS disk. However, if you have important files in the NTFS disk, remember to back up them or recover them first.

Reformat other file systems to NTFS

New Technology File System (NTFS) has quite a few advantages that users have been enjoying for years such as its excellent security and better support for large files and large disk capacity. However, you can’t reformat a disk to NTFS on Mac. The file systems you can choose from in Mac’s Disk Utility only include the formats that are fully compatible with the current macOS. If you prefer to reformat the disks to NTFS, iBoysoft NTFS for Mac provides a simple solution. In its Disk Management window,after selecting a disk with any other file systems (except for APFS) and clicking “Erase to NTFS” button, you will get an NTFS-formatted disk. iBoysoft NTFS warns about incompatible format when changing from APFS to NTFS.

iBoysoft NTFS for Mac review 21

VERDICT

Whenever you need a widely compatible drive suitable for Windows, electronic equipment (Smart TV’s etc.) and Apple products you need a NTFS formatted storage, able to use  its potential. iBoysoft NTFS for Mac really performs well, secure and fast. It’s basic repair function can help you resolve some small disk errors. The interface is clean and simple, providing all information needed. Is it, the best NTFS management tool on today’s market ? Well to be honest you choose Paragon or iBoysoft NTFS for Mac, where iBoysoft like Paragon is equal priced, fast with reliable transfers and a definite secure choice.

 

$ 19.95

$ 19.95

iMyfone D-Back Mac review

 

 

ABOUT IMYFONE
iMyFone Technology company provides data restoration and erasing services/tools to Apple (IOS, MacOS) product users and is located at Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.
The company was founded on Apr 10, 2015. Founder is Dean Huang and the number of employees is about 200 persons. The company is also known as iMyFone, iMyFone Software, iMyfone Technology Co., Ltd.

If you encounter any problems using the product, please contact iMyFone support team for help. https://www.imyfone.com/support/

IMYFONE D-BACK MAC

Though IOS is a fantastic piece of programming and absolutely stable and safe, millions of iPhone and iPad users perform their IOS updates in order to keep up with the latest safety updates and improved features. Sometimes however, things do not work out the way they should and you are faced with an unusable piece of expensive hardware or lost your precious data. Problems may also occur do to incompatibility or bad use of the IOS root settings. Loss of data is a mayor problem when you are unable to recover in any normal way. To help you recover the data on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch which suffers from situations mentioned above, D-Back provides the ultimate way to get back lost photos, contacts, text messages, WhatsApp, iMessage, videos and other important files from your iOS device in minutes. Just choose the recovery mode you feel most comfortable with. Everything else comes easy.

In most cases, a visit to your local iCentre was the final solution to solve your problems. Expensive and you need to wait some time for repair. ‘ Eureka’, iMyFone developed D-Back to tackle almost any software based IOS problem ( see problems faced below ).

 

iMyFone D-Back iMyfone D-Back Mac review 22

  • Quickly recover data directly from iOS device, iTunes/ iCloud Backup, or via smart recovery mode.
  • Selectively recover WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, Kik, Line, photos, videos, messages, contacts, notes, and 18+ other data types.
  • Recover iOS data instantly with only 3 steps.
  • Fix iOS system issues or iOS update errors before iPhone data recovery.

 

USER INTERFACE

The UI of iMyFone D-Back looks clean and minimalistic modern. So, anybody should be able to use this software without any difficulties as it is directing the user exactly to any necessary step(s) to follow. Being a new application the developer should have added the ‘dark mode’ option in their new software application. It could keep Apple addicts from buying this great piece of software just because it lacks ‘dark mode’.

iMyfone D-Back Mac review 23

iMyfone D-Back Mac review 24

 

Fix iOS System
Fix the iOS system when your iPhone is stuck on the white Apple logo, black/white screen, or a disabled device.
Smart Recovery
D-back can recover per your needs more safely and simply. Greater flexibility means a higher chance of recovery.
Preview Before Recovery
Freely preview. With the option of preview, you can recover what matters to you.
Restore from iTunes Backup
It is more powerful than iTunes. It provides flexibility to view, extract, and selectively recover data from iTunes backup.
Recover from iCloud Backup
D-Back cares about your data. It empowers you to recover data selectively from an iCloud Backup to your PC or Mac.
Supports Encrypted Backups
It’s hard to recover data from encrypted backups on iTunes or iCloud backup, but D-Back makes it easy for you.
Recover from iCloud Kit
Got your iOS backed up in iCloud, D-Back has an alternative way to extract files from iCloud. Choose “Recover from iCloud Kit”, to restore data from backup.
Recover from iOS Devices
Loaded with features that are able to perform a deep scan of your device and recover data directly from iOS devices without backup.
Keep Your Data Safe
Help you backup your data in bulk to your computer with one click. You can free up a lot of space on your iPhone and delete unwanted data.
Highest Success Rate
Only a few minutes will be taken to complete the whole process with a high success rate. Our unique built-in algorithm makes the recovery more accurate and intelligent.

 

RECOVER DATA even after FACTORY RESET

The iMyFone D-Back can scan and detect lost data from any type of iOS device. It supports all modern iPhone, iPad, and iPod models. You can scan for recently deleted files as well as the data from a long time ago. Even if you have done a factory reset, D-Back still can detect the deleted data so that you can easily recover them.

 

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SCAN & RECOVERY SPEED
 When it comes down to speed, don’t worry anymore. Its fast with scanning and restoring times, so D-Back will not disappoint you.

PREVIEW & SELECTIVE RESTORE
 D-Back provides a preview for selected specific data you wish to restore. It is a great and useful feature of D-Back.

SUPPORTED RESTORE OPTIONS
 iMyFone D-Back supports restoring Photos, Videos, Music ,iMessages, Whatsapp, Viber, WeChat and iPhone data like messages, call history, safari history, photos, music, videos, voice records, notes, calendars, reminders, etc.

 

So we’ve tried and successfully restored lost data from our iPhone ( or IOS operated system, iPad etc ). Now this is not all what iMyFone’s D-Back offers any buyer as apart from data recovery it will also repair your stuck iPhone and fix the numerous IOS-problems you may face using any IOS machine.

  • iPhone stuck at Apple logo during startup,
  • freezing screen problem,
  • restarting loop,
  • iTunes errors,
  • black screen or white screen

 

FORGOT PASSCODE or Touch ID/FACE NOT WORKING

If you forgot your passcode or unable to use face ID or Touch ID, you still have the chance getting access to your device by using this software. iMyFone D-Back has a dedicated option for it. This function will completely erase your iPhone and only then you can attempt to recover the deleted data. Though D-Back has an excellent reputation, you still have no guarantee that it will recover all the deleted data or not. No doubts about this versatile software as it has so many excellent features. Then again, these amazing features and functionalities should work correctly or all will fail.

 

RECOVERY PROCESS

The iMyFone D-Back has performed really well in my test. After installing this software, you are required to install the latest iTunes (not Windows store version),as this is a requirement. Only after connecting your iPhone via a lightning cable, you can open this iPhone data recovery software. You will see a few recovery options like Smart Recovery, Recover from iOS Device, Recover from iTunes backup, Recover from iCloud, Fix iOS System, etc. You can choose whatever you want. But, I would suggest smart recovery. Because It helps you to recover your deleted data in the easiest way.

After clicking on Smart Recovery, you will see some other options to choose how you have lost your data. For example: Lost or Deleted by Accident, Factory Reset, Jailbreak or iOS upgrade, iPhone Lost, Damaged or Broken, Forgotten Passcode, a few more options. You can choose any of these options according to your situation. Now, you will get an option to choose which data type you want to recover. At my first try, I choose ‘Lost and Deleted data by accident’ and then selected all available data types. Software now started scanning my iPhone and presented a full overview of all found files/data which could be recovered just by marking the checkbox.

 

RECOVERY PERFORMANCE

Scanning speed was truly very good. Next, after a successful scan completed the result is shown. Finally I finished recovering some lost data. The recovery speed was very fast and I was surprised to see that it had detected everything I deleted from my iPhone. Probably everything as I didn’t have time to count all files.

Users can either recover everything at once or just preview and restore specific data or an entire data type. I tried to check every detail as much as possible and found the WhatsApp data recovery truly awesome. Besides recovering deleted messages, It also had found the attachments which were some photos that I sent someone a long ago.

 

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SYSTEM REPAIR

Beside the data recovery options, iMyFone D-Back is able to repair a few common iOS errors. Most iPhone/iPad/iPod users are familiar with these errors. This ‘repair feature’ is a very useful addition and bonus indeed. You are able to repair problems like the iPhone stuck at apple logo, white/black screen issue, freezing problem, etc. Else, D-Back also helps to reset your phone if you forgot the passcode or Touch or Face ID is not working. Next steps allow you to recover data. Technically, it allows you to access your data even if you forgot the passcode.

So, the overall performance of iMyFone D-Back is great. In my test, all of the core functions worked correct. The main purpose of this software is to recover deleted or lost data from iPhone/iPad/iPod. In this case, It just does its part very smoothly. Always use the Repair tool first and use the restore/recover functions afterwards. ” And MOST important remark when using computer/phone related equipment…. MAKE REGULAR BACKUPS !!!…… most don’t and get stuck in case of trouble “

 

VERDICT

This review is easy as iMyFone software proofs again and again how well it is designed and functioning. iMyFone D-Back is just another ‘hit’ for them, as this application brings you best of both worlds being, a ‘data recover ‘utility and a ‘ IOS repair’ utility combined in a great toolbox. Apart from missing out on a ‘dark mode’ option, there are no flaws found. It’s accurate, it’s fast and easy to use. Just all good things at hand to make your life a little easier when things go wrong. Pricing is fair and a lifetime subscription sounds better than just one year. Again iMyFone has a great tool in store for us. We got positive results using D-Back, we do however read misfortunes of users not being able to restore. So keep in mind nothing is perfect in life.

Special Offer: 35% OFF
Coupon Code: DBACK35OFF

 

iMyfone D-Back Mac review 25

 

MacCleaner Pro 2 review

Version 2.0.1Developer Nektony
Website https://nektony.com/mac-cleaner-proBuy https://nektony.com/store

 

ABOUT NEKTONY

Nektony is a software development company that is specialized on Mac utilities & iOS productivity apps like MacCleaner Pro 2, App Cleaner Uninstaller and Duplicate File Finder. Its founded in 2011 and located in Odessa, Ukraine.

 

INSTALLATION & WHATS INCLUDED

Installation of MacCleaner Pro 2 is simple, just drag and drop the icon(application) inside the .dmg file to your Applications folder and you’re done. Now enter your serial for the the Pro version and your Swiss Army knife is ready for use.

MacCleaner Pro 2 interface is great and makes any job easy to understand and perform. Most included tools are separate applications which are launched at command. Its worth mentioning, that two included FREE tools ” Funter and Memory Cleaner ” are used by us as a standard feature for our Macs.
Both work great and are useful additions for your daily routines. MacCleaner Pro 2 interface is great and makes any job easy to understand and perform. Most included tools are separate applications which are launched at command. Its worth mentioning, that two included FREE tools ” Funter and Memory Cleaner ” are used by us as a standard feature for our Macs.
Both work great and are useful additions for your daily routines.

MacCleaner Pro 2 review 26

App Cleaner & Uninstaller
Uninstall apps completely.
Manage system extensions.
Funter
Find and show hidden files.
Memory Cleaner
Optimize memory usage.
Duplicate File Finder
Organize & Remove duplicates.
Disk Expert
Analyze disk space usage.
Find the biggest folders.

As mentioned you’ll notice that MacCleaner Pro 2, is not an all in one application rather a container for all standalone applications. Its main advantage over the standalone applications is its pricing and Central-Toolbox look and feel. Choose any of the tools available and you’re presented with a menu to choose any action desired.
It all works wonderfull smooth and best interfaces found on similar applications on the internet. As you probably found surfing the internet, there are lots of applications to choose from as this Swiss Army knife consists of popular tools. So which will be your best buy, and give you most ‘bang’ for your money?
Thats why reading reviews is important or try the free applications and find out yourself if it serves your needs. I feel any of the included tools is at the top of what’s available on the internet, as we’ve reviewed Nektony’s AppCleaner & Uninstaller Pro recently and gave it top marks for its performance.

 

TOOLBOX CONTENT

Check the separate snapshots of all included tools and their action menu listing. Our favourite applications are the AppCleaner & Uninstaller Pro , Duplicate File Finder Pro and the Free included tools Funter and Memory Cleaner which are all our default tools used. The provided Expert Mode for the included tools give you far more control of files you wish to keep or delete. Mind you, be careful as you always should be when you are about to delete files. You need to know your stuff when it comes down to deleting files or objects.

 

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WHY WE NEED A DUPLICATE FILE FINDER

Every music and photography entousiast (and others) will face a lot of duplicate or simular files cluttering their drives, as experimenting and tryouts with images or music is one of my passions. I guess there’s more people like me, spending hours and hours perfecting our favorite photo’s or edited music compilations. People like me get warnings from iCloud, that their storage is full and needs upgrading. All because the latest Catalina version syncs our desktops with iCloud. So in order to avoid iCloud problems, I copy the folders to an external NAS where loads of partitions get stuffed with ‘Folders in Progress’, I call them. In the end, I end up with numerous folders with identical or nearly same files. At times we need to sweep the disks in order to keep things fairly clean, and use the diskspace for new data. Nektony created a nice application Duplicate File Finder Pro ( or Free ). This application helps to remove duplicates in just a few minutes or hours depending on the amount of data to be searched.
Duplicate File Finder scans your Mac hard drive or external drives to find identical files and folders. It searches equal files by type, name, count, and size. You can separately view and delete duplicate photos, videos, music, documents, or all types of duplicates from your Mac. Duplicate File Finder also helps you to detect similar folders, which have both equal and unique files and merge them to free up storage space on your disk. Besides that, Duplicate File Finder detects similar photos in order to ease the selection of the favorite pictures you want to keep on your computer. This application is easy to use and it provides a “how to use” guide for new users. A free version is also available, but I feel the Pro version with its bonus features will not withhold too much, for its pricing.

 

DO WE NEED AN UNINSTALLER

Main question for any software application is , if we really need the application or can we do without ! I guess our readers know all about Mac maintenance and the need for antivirus and some neccesarry utilities like Nektony’s App Cleaner & Uninstaller. Running a Mac like any computer and being glad it is a bit Unix based, our system gets loaded with applications and smaller utilities. Our Mac’s have NO real system maintenance build-in, so we rely on third party software like CleanMyMac which includes an uninstaller function, or this unknown to me piece of software typically designed to just remove installed files and leftovers.

Unlike Windows, where the user should not use their computer as a ‘testing-machine’ if they want to keep using it as a responsive system, our Mac’s are more Unix based and less sesitive to system faillure due to lost files or worse. That said, our Mac’s do like Windows gather a load of system/applications files which at some point become obsolete when it is not longer needed.
Unlike Windows our Mac’s store files only in a few folders and don’t spread files around in your complete system, but still applications create some folder entries like .plist files and launch files etc. In case you wish to delete an older or unused application, it should delete not only the main application but also all related files no matter where they ‘hide’ in your Mac’s system. This is where we need help of utilities like Nektory’s App Cleaner, which keeps track of any file-relation ! Even though some application come with their Uninstall-Tool, some files get leftover and may cause problems at some point.
If you ever tried different Antivirus programs, you may have faced issues the installation program complaining of detecting an earlier version of some antivirus program conflicting the installation. You now need to search (if you know where to look), and delete the conflicting files.

 

SEPERATE TOOLS INTERFACES
Below you’ll see the interfaces of the 3 main Tools included. The Funter and Memory Cleaner are located at your menubar at the top of your Mac’s screen. Funter is able to be part of your Finders interface and therefore accessible from its top menu-bar. Great job, as its not often these days we get anything for Free which also works great.

 

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Both AppCleaner & Uninstaller , Duplicate File Finder applications scored maximum points . Both deserve a place in your private Toolbox, thus making this offered Toolbox a Premium kit at a bargain price. Comparing MacCleaner Pro 2 to CleanMyMac X, I feel this toolbox is much more sophisticated at its main tools and options available . It would become the best selling product if Nektony is able to included a virus protection tool running the same algorithm as Bitdefender. Still this may never be the makers desire, just to please me.

 

VERDICT
Time for our conclusion of this great Toolbox. Nektony’s MacCleaner Pro 2 toolbox is a definite winner in every aspect. It provides best of both worlds having a great interface providing an outstanding action-menu and having the best applications available for its tricks and solutions. Just to be honest I feel this application should be in every Mac users ‘ private Toolbox at default ‘, you just can’t go wrong with MacCleaner Pro 2, period !

 

MacCleaner Pro 2 review 27

$ 44.95

 

iBeesoft Data Recovery Mac review

Version 3.6Developer iBeesoft
Website iBeesoft.comBuy iBeesoft Data Recovery

 

ABOUT iBEESOFT

 

iBeesoft, established in 2015, is a professional Windows data recovery, Mac data recovery, iPhone data recovery, Data Backup and file shredder software provider. First created by two creative and enthusiastic programmers, the team is now composed of a group of highly-skilled young talents who commit themselves to providing better products and service for users.

 

PREFERENCES

 

iBeesoft Data Recovery for Mac has no specific preferences-menu available, but a to recover file-types choice at its main/home page. Just select your choice and press the large not to miss START button and you’re on your way.

 

INTERFACE

 

The main-interface is nicely done, presents choice for file-types to be recovered, but no choice for folders to be scanned. Infact I have not found yet a recovery program taking you straight to just a folder of your choice. Cisdem does a better job in terms of interface ( shown below) as you may want to recover deleted files/folders or from formatted partition/device. iBeesoft also shows the available devices but not as straightforward like Cisdem. iBeesoft Data Recovery is a one-step recovery utility. The second screen with a devices overview is somewhat cluttered and you need to watch carefully if you want to make a selection. Again Cisdem has a more minimalistic approach to provide the same information in an clear interface. Maybe this is personal taste, but the best interface should also work for novice users. This doesn’t mean iBeesoft software is not at Cisdem’s or iBoysoft (simular approach as iBeesoft) level, but I do prefer cleaner interfaces.