WIREDs Most Popular Stories of the Year

Never let it be said WIRED readers don’t have eclectic taste. Your favorite stories ran the gamut, from an amazing yarn about how and why WhatsApp brought encryption to one billion people to the definitive review of the Google Pixel. And a whole lot of you were absolutely riveted by Dropbox’s exodus from Amazon’s cloud.

Before shutting out the lights and locking up for the holidays, we ran the numbers to determine the stories you, our beloved readers, liked most. Here they are, ranked in descending order. You might have missed some of them, so take a moment to pour yourself something nice and catch up.

And thank you for reading. We couldn’t do this without you.

01

Forget Apple vs. the FBI: WhatsApp Just Turned on Encryption for A Billion People

While most of the country was following Apple’s battlewith the FBI over a federal order to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone, the biggest messaging service in the world quietly brought end-to-end encryption to every one of its1 billion users. In “Forget Apple vs. the FBI: WhatsApp Just Turned on Encryption for A Billion People,” Cade Metz explains how the company did it, what it means for security and privacy, and how it made the Apple-FBI fight suddenly look very small.
 
WhatsApp’s move recast thedebate over privacy and security, and made the

Credit: Michael Friberg for WIRED

While most of the country was following Apple’s battlewith the FBI over a federal order to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone, the biggest messaging service in the world quietly brought end-to-end encryption to every one of its1 billion users. In “Forget Apple vs. the FBI: WhatsApp Just Turned on Encryption for A Billion People,” Cade Metz explains how the company did it, what it means for security and privacy, and how it made the Apple-FBI fight suddenly look very small.
 
WhatsApp’s move recast thedebate over privacy and security, and made the

02

Don’t Set Your Phone Back to 1970, No Matter What

In February, iPhone users discovered what they thought was a cool Easter egg in iOS, one that would place a retro Apple logo from 1970 on the home screen. Never mind that Apple was founded in 1976. “Don’t Set Your Phone Back to 1970, No Matter What” by Brian Barrett tells youwhy you absolutely, positively do not want to do this.
 

Credit: Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

In February, iPhone users discovered what they thought was a cool Easter egg in iOS, one that would place a retro Apple logo from 1970 on the home screen. Never mind that Apple was founded in 1976. “Don’t Set Your Phone Back to 1970, No Matter What” by Brian Barrett tells youwhy you absolutely, positively do not want to do this.
 

03

DNA Got a Kid Kicked Out of School—And It’ll Happen Again

When a school in Palo Alto, California, expelled a sixth grader because DNA tests showed he carries the genetic markers for cystic fibrosis, his parents sued, alleging genetic discrimination. That’s right. Genetic discrimination. As Sarah Zhang explainsin “DNA Got a Kid Kicked Out of School—And It’ll Happen Again,” the rise of cheap DNA tests means discrimination, and lawsuits, will become more common.
 
 
has the genetic markers for cystic fibrosis—but not the disease, from A sixth grader got kicked out of school for his DNA. Not for stealing a child’s crayons, his scientific identity got him out of his Palo Alto middle school. Genetic discrimination looks like it could be taking shape in the near future.

Credit: Then One/WIRED

When a school in Palo Alto, California, expelled a sixth grader because DNA tests showed he carries the genetic markers for cystic fibrosis, his parents sued, alleging genetic discrimination. That’s right. Genetic discrimination. As Sarah Zhang explainsin “DNA Got a Kid Kicked Out of School—And It’ll Happen Again,” the rise of cheap DNA tests means discrimination, and lawsuits, will become more common.
 
 
has the genetic markers for cystic fibrosis—but not the disease, from A sixth grader got kicked out of school for his DNA. Not for stealing a child’s crayons, his scientific identity got him out of his Palo Alto middle school. Genetic discrimination looks like it could be taking shape in the near future.

04

Google Pixel Is the Best Phone on the Planet

Until now, the best answer to the question “What phone should I get” almost always was “An iPhone.” Not anymore. David Pierce makes a convincing case that Google Pixel Is the Best Phone on the Planet.

Credit: Kelsey McClellan for WIRED

Until now, the best answer to the question “What phone should I get” almost always was “An iPhone.” Not anymore. David Pierce makes a convincing case that Google Pixel Is the Best Phone on the Planet.

05

The Epic Story of Dropbox’s Exodus from the Amazon Cloud Empire

The odds are you use Dropbox. Some 500 million people do. And the odds are you give it absolutely no thought. It just works. But the service is built atop a vast infrastructure, one that until recently lived on Amazon’s servers. Earlier this year, Dropbox completed a massive migration to a system it designs and runs, a Herculean engineering challengethat Cade Metz recounts inThe Epic Story of Dropbox’s Exodus from the Amazon Cloud Empire.

Credit: Christie Hemm Klok/WIRED

The odds are you use Dropbox. Some 500 million people do. And the odds are you give it absolutely no thought. It just works. But the service is built atop a vast infrastructure, one that until recently lived on Amazon’s servers. Earlier this year, Dropbox completed a massive migration to a system it designs and runs, a Herculean engineering challengethat Cade Metz recounts inThe Epic Story of Dropbox’s Exodus from the Amazon Cloud Empire.

06

Closing Apps to Save Your Battery Only Makes Things Worse

At some point in the not-to-distant past, you’ve looked at all the apps running on your phone and started swiping swiping swiping them closed in a frantic bid to preserve your battery. Admit it. Well, you can stop, because, as David Pierce notes inClosing Apps to Save Your Battery Only Makes Things Worse, you’re wasting your time. Seriously. Just stop.

Credit: WIRED

At some point in the not-to-distant past, you’ve looked at all the apps running on your phone and started swiping swiping swiping them closed in a frantic bid to preserve your battery. Admit it. Well, you can stop, because, as David Pierce notes inClosing Apps to Save Your Battery Only Makes Things Worse, you’re wasting your time. Seriously. Just stop.

07

Meet Tesla’s Model 3, Its Long-Awaited Car for the Masses

The Tesla Model 3 is more than a sleek electric car. It’s the car that will make or break Tesla Motors and Elon Musk’s dream of electrifying transportation. Alex Davies was at Tesla when Musk unveiled that car, and explains just why it is so important in “Meet Tesla’s Model 3, Its Long-Awaited Car for the Masses.”

Credit: Tesla

The Tesla Model 3 is more than a sleek electric car. It’s the car that will make or break Tesla Motors and Elon Musk’s dream of electrifying transportation. Alex Davies was at Tesla when Musk unveiled that car, and explains just why it is so important in “Meet Tesla’s Model 3, Its Long-Awaited Car for the Masses.”

08

Yes, Donald Trump, the FBI Can Vet 650,000 Emails in Three Days

FBI James Comey sparked a firestorm of controversy when he announced on October 28 that the bureau was investigating a new cache of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign. And then he drew heat from the Trump campaign when, eight days later, he said a review of those emails found nothing to warrant prosecution. The Trump campaign questioned the agency’s ability to thoroughly review so many emails. But Andy Greenberg explained that,Yes, Donald Trump, the FBI Can Vet 650,000 Emails in Three Days.”

Credit: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg/Getty Images

FBI James Comey sparked a firestorm of controversy when he announced on October 28 that the bureau was investigating a new cache of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign. And then he drew heat from the Trump campaign when, eight days later, he said a review of those emails found nothing to warrant prosecution. The Trump campaign questioned the agency’s ability to thoroughly review so many emails. But Andy Greenberg explained that,Yes, Donald Trump, the FBI Can Vet 650,000 Emails in Three Days.”

09

The Untold Story of Magic Leap, The World’s Most Secretive Startup

Magic Leap is not the only companydeveloping mixed-reality technology, butit certainly is the most mysterious. Not much is known about it, or the technology it is developing. Yes, an expose by The Information argues that Magic Leap and its founder, Rony Abovitz, have overhyped both its product and its timeline. But “The Untold Story of Magic Leap, The World’s Most Secretive Startup” by Kevin Kelly is a fascinating history of virtual reality and the company that just might make mixed reality a reality.

Credit: Sebastian Kim

Magic Leap is not the only companydeveloping mixed-reality technology, butit certainly is the most mysterious. Not much is known about it, or the technology it is developing. Yes, an expose by The Information argues that Magic Leap and its founder, Rony Abovitz, have overhyped both its product and its timeline. But “The Untold Story of Magic Leap, The World’s Most Secretive Startup” by Kevin Kelly is a fascinating history of virtual reality and the company that just might make mixed reality a reality.

10

Want to Know Julian Assange’s Endgame? He Told You a Decade Ago

Trying to psychoanalyze Julian Assange and discern the motives behind WikiLeaks constant disclosures became a popular pastime during the 2016 presidential campaign. But all you need to do is read“a crappy, annoying manifesto” Assange wrote, because as Andy Greenberg notedin “Want to Know Julian Assange’s Endgame? He Told You a Decade Ago,” there’s really no mystery to it.

Credit: Mark Chew/Fairfax Media/Fairfax Media/Getty Images

Trying to psychoanalyze Julian Assange and discern the motives behind WikiLeaks constant disclosures became a popular pastime during the 2016 presidential campaign. But all you need to do is read“a crappy, annoying manifesto” Assange wrote, because as Andy Greenberg notedin “Want to Know Julian Assange’s Endgame? He Told You a Decade Ago,” there’s really no mystery to it.

Read more: https://www.wired.com/2016/12/wired-most-popular-stories-2016/