Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.



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Type an em-dash on an iPhone

Typography and punctuation geeks rejoice! It's easy to type an em-dash on the iPhone's or iPod touch's virtual keyboard. To do so, tap the .?123 key to switch to the numeric keypad. Then touch and hold on the Hyphen key to reveal a pop-up strip showing an em-dash. Slide to the em-dash and release your finger.

Note that this basic trick works with many other keys on the virtual keyboard.

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How Long Do Hard Drives Last?

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Just how long will your hard drive last? Cloud backup service Backblaze, which relies upon consumer-grade hard drives, performed a study of 25,000 hard drives over four years. The good news is that 74 percent of the drives survived four years. The drives had a 5.1 percent annual failure rate in the first 1.5 years, which dropped to 1.4 percent in the next 1.5 years, then spiked to 11.8 percent after that. Backblaze expects that over half the drives will last six years. Regardless, all drives die eventually, so backups are still a must.favicon follow link

Check out the Take Control ebooks that expand on the topic in this article:

Joe Kissell provides the advice you need to create a Mac backup strategy that protects your data and enables quick recovery. He compares backup software, services, and media to help you make the best choices. You'll learn to set up, test, and maintain backups, plus how to restore files after a calamity! Don't miss our new Joe of Tech comic!