iPhone bug frustrates users typing ‘i’

iPhone? More like A?phone.

Some Apple users have discovered a bug that automatically corrects the lower-case letter “i” to “A” and a question mark symbol.

The issue appears to impact iPhone users on its most recent mobile software, iOS 11.1. The new software launched last Tuesday and features hundreds of new emoji.

Not surprisingly, the bug is frustrating many Apple users.

“WHY does my #iphone keep changing the letter “i” to I ?! HELP,” tweeted one user.

“I had to turn off my auto correct which is super annoying,” wrote another iPhone user on Apple’s discussion forum.

Although Apple hasn’t officially updated the software to correct the issue, it suggested on its website a way for users to fix it themselves. Users can access the Keyboard settings and add a text replacement.

“For Phrase, type an upper-case ‘I,'” Apple explains. “For Shortcut, type a lower-case ‘i.'”

Related: iPhone X review: The future takes getting used to

Apple said in its support post the error will be fixed in a future software update.

The highly anticipated iPhone X hit stores worldwide on Friday. The device, which starts at $999, touts facial recognition technology, an edge-to-edge screen and a powerful camera.

But some users reportedly had trouble activating their new devices due to issues with mobile carriers’ activation servers.

It’s not uncommon for new software to have bugs. A previous version of iOS 11 contained an issue with the calculator app and miscalculated the result of 1+2+3.

Apple has not responded to a request for comment.

Equifax is dealing with yet another security issue

Equifax has taken down a webpage after a visitor reported being targeted with malicious advertising.

Security analyst Randy Abrams first discovered the malicious pop-up message when he visited the Equifax website to confirm personal data, he told CNN Tech. What he found instead was yet another security issue for the credit agency.

A malicious pop-up asked Abrams to download something claiming to be Adobe Flash. But as Ars Technica initially reported, security companies consider the file adware.

Equifax says its systems were not compromised and the issue did not affect the consumer online dispute portal.

“The issue involves a third-party vendor that Equifax uses to collect website performance data, and that vendor’s code running on an Equifax website was serving malicious content,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “Since we learned of the issue, the vendor’s code was removed from the webpage and we have taken the webpage offline to conduct further analysis.”

It’s the latest security issue for the credit agency after hackers stole data on more than 145 million people through an unpatched hole in the company’s software. Equifax announced the massive security breach last month. Federal and state agencies are now probing the hack.

The adware appeared on a part of the Equifax website where people can learn how to get a free or discounted credit report. As of Thursday afternoon, that website is no longer available.

“The website is currently down for maintenance,” a note on the page says. “We are working diligently to better serve you, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We appreciate your patience during this time and ask that you check back with us soon.”

Abrams said he was able to duplicate the pop-up four or five times.

Experts initially suggested the security issue may be a result of a third-party analytics or advertising company used by Equifax displaying the adware. Many websites use analytics companies to track people who visit their sites.

Consumers should never click on pop-ups that unexpectedly ask you to download software. This type of adware could hijack your browser, serve up fraudulent search results, and lead to more pop-up ads.

Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for Puerto Rico VR stunt

From Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park on Monday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s cartoon avatar announced an effort to help Puerto Rico. And on Tuesday, he apologized for what some considered a tone deaf way to deliver a message of humanitarian aid.

Through his avatar, Zuckerberg said the company is using artificial intelligence to build population maps as part of an effort with the Red Cross. He said it’s possible to look at satellite imagery of an area to understand where people live and how infrastructure is working within those communities.

The announcement itself was not unusual — Facebook has already donated money and resources to help with connectivity and humanitarian efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. But some people criticized the way Zuckerberg used the virtual reality app, called Facebook Spaces, to deliver the message.

“My goal here was to show how VR can raise awareness and help us see what’s happening in different parts of the world,” Zuckerberg said in a comment on his Facebook page on Tuesday. “I also wanted to share the news of our partnership with the Red Cross to help with the recovery. Reading some of the comments, I realize this wasn’t clear, and I’m sorry to anyone this offended.”

Spaces is a social app for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset that is designed to help you feel immersed in different scenarios. Facebook launched the app in April.

Zuckerberg and Facebook’s head of social VR, Rachel Franklin, virtually “teleported” to Puerto Rico by using a 360 video shot by NPR.

“We’re on a bridge here, it’s flooded, and you can get a sense of some of the damage here that the hurricanes have done,” Zuckerberg said as flood waters in Puerto Rico ran past behind the cartoon duo. “One of the things that’s magical about virtual reality is you can get the feeling that you’re really in a place.”

After announcing the new Red Cross and Puerto Rico initiative, Zuckerberg transported back to California — to last year’s Oculus Connect, the event for developers of Oculus games and apps.

This year’s Oculus Connect takes place on Wednesday and Thursday in San Jose, California.

Stranded hurricane survivors use Zello app to get help

“Elderly couple trapped on roof at this address.”

“We’re three volunteers looking for anyone with boats that we can jump on and help, over.”

These are just two of the messages that came through the walkie-talkie app Zello in one minute on Monday.

In communities ravaged by Harvey, floodwaters have left people stranded on rooftops, relying on rescue from volunteers and first responders. Smartphones are their lifelines.

On Zello, the volunteer organization Cajun Navy — founded in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina — is mobilizing rescuers through a channel called “Texas search and rescue.”

The push-to-talk app lets users send voice messages to different channels that can be heard from anyone listening to the channel. Stranded victims are uploading messages asking for help, while volunteers are talking to them directly, letting them know when help is on the way.

People can also talk to each other in private chats.

Listen for a few minutes and you can understand how dire the situation is for families trapped in their homes.

The relatively unknown communication app is one tech tool groups of volunteers are using to find people in need of rescue. Neighbors, out-of-state volunteers, and even reporters are rescuing stranded residents in Houston and other areas of Texas to assist overburdened first responders.

Many people are also using social media to ask for assistance, including Twitter and Facebook. While rescuers use this data to help find folks who need help, groups have also developed a grassroots data effort to collect information about victims and to let people know when they’re safe.

The Cajun Navy has created an interactive map called “Hurricane Harvey Rescue.” Those in need of help fill out a Google form and indicate their location. The map populates with the names and locations of people who need rescuing and notes who has been rescued.

Team Rubicon, a nonprofit that brings veterans and first responders to disaster zones, is also using the map to chart out where volunteers are most needed.

The organization, created in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, has a network of over 50,000 volunteers. About 20 volunteers will be on the ground in Texas by the end of the day on Monday.

Team Rubicon’s robust data collection and analysis is a sophisticated way of maintaining communications and organizing people’s information in times of crises.

David Burke, the vice president of programs and field operations at Team Rubicon, said his organization is compiling data from social networks and the crowdsourced map. The team then cross-references public data with the Social Vulnerability Index, a government resource that uses education, income, rental rates, access to healthcare, and other factors to determine the resiliency of an area.

“This morning when we got up, we were looking at about 600 requests for rescue in the area — and right now we just crossed over 1,400,” Burke said.

During rescues, teams use mobile devices to collect data and share it with local jurisdictions.

FEMA has established guidelines for collecting information about people affected by natural disasters, and some of that data is still collected on paper. Team Rubicon uses mobile forms to automatically upload the data to Excel spreadsheets. It can share this data with law enforcement and policymakers to quickly determine where assistance is most required.

A completely tech-oriented operation means data is uploaded automatically; it’s a time saver and more reliable than paper which can become damaged or misplaced.

“Mobile collection is, or can be, immediately uploaded to the cloud and begins to paint the picture necessary to apply resources where they can be most effective,” he said.

On Monday, the group got a call from the Texas Department of Emergency Management to help with the damage assessment information collection for the Victoria, Texas area.

That data will be used to help determine allocation of federal aid.

“We are trying to share that information early, so people aren’t out trying to recollect and reassemble the picture two to three months from now in Houston,” Burke said.

Is that you, Snapchat? Instagram rolls out ephemeral messages

— Instagram is going after Snapchat again, but this time it’s targeting its core concept.

The Facebook-owned app rolled out a series of new features on Monday, including one that lets users send disappearing photos and videos. It also added a livestreaming feature.

Instagram users can now send ephemeral messages to individuals or a group via the app’s camera tool. You’ll need to swipe right on the home screen to access the feature.

The self-destructing messages can only be sent through private messages and live in the user’s Instagram inbox. Circular avatars appear at the top of the inbox to differentiate them from other messages.

Although disappearing messages are immediately removed from the app, the content is visible until the last person has seen it.

The company then stores it for a limited time, so it can be reviewed if there’s a reported violation.

Meanwhile, users can share live video of what’s happening in real-time. Unlike the feature on Facebook, Instagram’s streaming tool is only available to watch while someone is recording. Users record a live video from the in-app camera.

The latest additions follow Instagram’s introduction of Stories, a public collection of photos and videos that disappear after 24-hours. Stories are almost identical to Snapchat’s feature of the same name.

Instagram’s new features cater to teens, a demographic Snapchat has successfully courted and nurtured. The company’s promotional video shows a group of young people using the tools.

Whether or not Instagram can usurp Snapchat depends on whether users and their friends decide to make Instagram the ephemeral app of choice. Instagram has 300 million daily users, while half as many use Snapchat each day.

Snapchat has a robust suite of features including lenses and stickers that aren’t available on Instagram. Further, Snap Inc. — Snapchat’s parent company — is now moving into hardware with the launch of Spectacles.

The $130 smart sunglasses are popping up in vending machines across the country. The slow roll out of Snap’s first physical product is causing a frenzy. It’s not easy to get your hands on a pair, which are sold in limited supplies.

Instagram’s new features are rolling out globally beginning Monday.

AT&T customers can now send texts via Amazon Echo

— “Alexa, ask AT&T to text Mom.”

Users of Amazon Echo’s smart speaker can now tell its built-in assistant Alexa to handle your text messages. That is, if you’re an AT&T customer.

The mobile carrier launched on Friday a feature that lets you text up to 10 contacts through the Echo. AT&T is the first company to bring texting to Amazon’s platform.

AT&T’s fine print notes the content of the message is determined by Alexa’s interpretation your voice commands — and if you’ve ever accidentally added the wrong thing to your Amazon cart, you know miscommunication happens.

While it’s the first carrier to enable SMS through Alexa, workarounds have previously made texting possible. For example, SMS With Molly allows you to send free messages with Alexa, but they don’t come from the recipient’s phone number and often include typos. Meanwhile, sending texts is possible with automation service IFTTT via a “recipe,” or a string of code that connects Android SMS to Alexa.

Of course, Alexa isn’t the first virtual assistant to send texts via voice command. Apple’s Siri and Google’s voice commands already facilitate messaging requests on smartphones.

There are currently more than 3,000 Alexa skills available, such as ordering an Uber pickup or adjusting the lights with smart bulbs.

Apple will fix iPhone 6 Plus devices with ‘Touch Disease’

— Apple is recognizing that “Touch Disease” is a thing.

The tech company is rolling out a repair program to fix iPhone 6 Plus devices with unresponsive touchscreen features.

The term “Touch Disease” refers to the touchscreen issues that surface after the phone undergoes stress, like being dropped on the floor several times. In many cases, iPhone users have complained the touchscreen will entirely stop working for several months.

In August, repair site iFixit discovered that the issue stemmed from faulty chips inside the devices. When the phone is dropped or bent, the chips become loose. At the time, iFixit called the issue “Touch Disease” — and it was quickly adopted by the internet.

Now, the company is willing to repair affected devices for $149 — as long as your screen isn’t cracked and the phone is in working order.

Apple said on its website it “determined that some iPhone 6 Plus devices may exhibit display flickering or multi-touch issues after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface and then incurring further stress on the device.”

Although some iPhone 6 users have also reported the issue, Apple’s fix only applies to the larger-sized iPhone 6 Plus.

The company added it will reimburse people if they already fixed devices through Apple service providers for more than $149.

Following widespread reports of the problem, “Touch Disease” — on both sizes of the iPhone 6 — has accounted for up to 22% of repairs at Apple Stores, according to tech site Apple Insider.

Apple is facing class action lawsuits in California, Utah, and Canada over “Touch Disease.” The complaints allege Apple knew about the faulty touchscreens and didn’t do anything about it.

These cases are not yet resolved.

Apple’s iOS 10 update is causing major headphones for some users

Apple users who were quick to download its latest iOS 10 software on Tuesday were subject to a major bug that left devices temporarily useless.

Not long after the company rolled out its new mobile operating system, some users complained it “bricked” their iPhones and iPads. Bricking refers to an issue that blocks access to your phone with a black screen.

Users who experienced a failed update were required to plug devices into computers and connect to iTunes to restore the system.

While the iOS issues are, of course, unexpected, it’s always smart to hold off updating new mobile software until Apple works out first iteration kinks. Early adopters tend to find out about software bugs the hard way.

The restoration process should reinstate the device’s most recent backup. If you haven’t updated to iOS 10 and want to do so, be sure to back it up first to prevent data loss. To backup a device via iTunes, connect it via a USB cable to iTunes, tap on the device name and click “Back Up Now.”

“We experienced a brief issue with the software update process, affecting a small number of users during the first hour of availability,” an Apple spokesperson told CNNMoney in an emailed statement. “The problem was quickly resolved and we apologize to those customers. Anyone who was affected should connect to iTunes to complete the update or contact AppleCare for help.”

The company’s Twitter account is also fielding hundreds of complaints addressing the bricking issue.

Although you may want to wait to install iOS 10 for now, the new software has a lot to offer: There’s a greater emphasis on photos and messaging, an improved Maps interface, and it finally allows you to remove default apps like Stocks or Find My Friends.