2 iOS Tricks That Will Make You a Pro

You may think you know iOS inside and out, but there are still tricks to be found that will make you a pro. 

Custom Vibrations

Wouldn’t it be useful if you could create custom vibration patterns for a certain contact (calls and text) or for certain alerts so you could identify them without needing to touch your iPhone.

Settings -> Sounds -> 'Sounds and Vibration Patterns' section

Under this section you can enter any of the sections and enter the vibration menu. From there you can select ‘Create New Vibration’ and make vibrations to your hearts content!

Shut off Audio on your Device After a Certain Time

Have you ever been listening to music on your iPhone in bed and fallen asleep only to wake a few hours later with the music still playing? Well there is actually a way to shut off audio after a predetermined period of time not only allowing you to continue with restful sleep but also saving your battery life.

Clock App -> 'When Timer Ends' -> Stop Playing

Do you know any other tricks that others might find useful? How have these tricks worked for you? Post a comment so we know.

How to Preserve iOS 9 Battery Life: Part 1 Background App Refresh

I’ve had my iPhone 6 Plus for about 1.5 years now, initially the battery life was amazing. More recently I’ve noticed that it rapidly drops off, this is in part due to the age of the device but it’s also in part due to several factors that I will cover in a series of posts about preserving iOS 9 battery life. I expect these tips will remain valid even with subsequent iOS versions.

Background App Refresh was a feature introduced in iOS 7 and for the best summary of what it does I refer to an Apple support article:

…Apps can continue to run for a short period of time and are then set to a suspended state so they are not actively in use, open, or taking up system resources. They will instantly launch when you return to them. Certain tasks or services can continue to run in the background. To lessen the effect on battery life, normal app background refreshing is scheduled for efficient times, such as when your device is connected to Wi-Fi, plugged into a power source, or being actively used. When Background App Refresh is on, apps that take advantage of this feature can refresh themselves in the background. For example, an app can check if new content is available and download the updates, or retrieve the updated content in the background when it receives a push notification, so the new content is ready for viewing when you launch the app. Apps can also schedule background refreshing based on your location. If you force an app to quit by dragging it up from the multitasking display, it won’t be able to do its background activities, such as tracking location or responding to VoIP calls, until you relaunch the app. iOS learns patterns based on your use of the device and tries to predict when an app should be updated in the background. It also learns when the device is typically inactive, such as during the night, to reduce update frequency when the device is not in use.

You will read many articles on the internet that tell you disable all Background App Refreshing to save battery life and others that will tell you not to bother at all as it makes no difference. 

Apple Resource’s advice is to go through the list and make a conscious decision as to how much you use each application and how much you’d value it updating whilst in the background. It’s perfectly OK to leave apps that you value and use all the time as active due to the intelligent way Background App Refresh works. What you don’t want is every single app using it if you rarely use them. Although it was first introduced in iOS 7, apps taking advantage of Background App Refresh will have percolated through over time, which is why you may have a shock when you open up the Background App Refresh found at:

Settings -> General -> Background App Refresh 

Leave a comment about how many apps you ended up disabling. As always, follow Apple Resource in Twitter, Facebook or sign up to our monthly newsletter.

How to Clear All Apple Watch Notifications in a Swipe and Two Taps

I consider myself an advanced user of Apple products, but just yesterday I learnt a trick about clearing notifications on my Apple Watch that I never knew. When you see a red dot on the top of your watch face this indicates that you have waiting notifications. Swiping down with your finger you are presented with a list of all your notifications.

What if you don’t want to read them all but want to clear them ready for new notifications, how do you do that? Here’s how:

1. From the watch face swipe down from the top of the watch face showing all of your notifications.
2. Press on the watch screen and an icon will appear on your screen saying ‘Clear All’.
3. Tap ‘Clear All’ and you are all clear of notifications.

Below are photos in the correct order showing you what you will see stepping through the process.

Liked this article? Why not read about why I wouldn’t give up my Apple Watch.

How to Make an Online Backup with iCloud

In the wake of multiple updates from Apple this week, including iOS updates it is a pertinent time to remind everyone the importance of backing up. You should be backing up your iOS device both locally and online.

Apple has an excellent online guide that shows you how to backup both locally with iTunes and online via iCloud.

But here is a really important message I want to impart on you. iCloud online comes with 5GB of online storage, you need to be aware of this. For your average iPhone user snapping pics and videos this will be used up rapidly. 

Apple has a range of very affordable monthly tariffs for iCloud storage, make sure you invest and upgrade. It will cover all of your iOS devices and ensure that your devices are backed up every night as they are plugged in to charge.

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How to Enable iOS Night Shift Mode and Why you Should

Review: Verbatim MediaShare Wireless – Stream Files, Movies and other Data Wirelessly to Your Tablet and Smart Phone

How to Enable iOS Night Shift Mode and Why You Should

EDIT: Apple has just released iOS 9.3.2 which now allows night shift mode to operate in low power mode.

Night Shift mode in iOS is a system setting that allows you as a user to vary how your iOS device handles the blue light that its screen emits and varying times of the day.

Why Would I Want to Reduce Blue Light?

In short, blue light is the same light that reaches your eyes when you step outside. Biologically speaking it signals to your brain that it’s day time and hence your body reduces the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you fall to sleep and that is critical for the synchronisation of your circadian rhythms. When using your iOS device during the day, this isn’t an issue but if you are using it at night time the blue light interferes with your circadian rhythm and hence your ability to sleep as well as your ultimate sleep quality.

There are some added benefits besides the blue light reduction, such as the reduction in being blinded when you wake in the middle of the night and look at your screen! The warmer temperature on the screen will be much easier on your eyes. 

How Do I Use It?

Here is how you enable Night Shift mode:

Settings -> Display & Brightness -> Night Shift -> Scheduled (Toggle On/Off)

From this menu you have several options, I recommend you toggle ‘Scheduled’ on which will present you with new menu options. Again, I’d personally recommend that you set it to ’Sunset to Sunrise’ but if you want to, you can choose a ‘Custom Schedule’. ’Sunset to Sunrise’ will use your location and enable the ‘Night Shift’ to occur at exactly the right times for maximum benefit. 

If you find yourself wanting to disable it, say because you are watching a movie, then from the iOS home screen you can swipe up from the bottom. This will bring up a menu where there is a new icon which looks like a sun icon thats half black and half white. Tapping this during the day will enable and disable the Night Shift. Toggling this when your phone is in scheduled night shift will present you some menu options for temporary disablement. 

The final settings are for colour temperature, personally I set it to the most warm to remove as much blue light as possible but you should set it to whatever you feel comfortable with.

Conclusions

Applications to reduce blue light on electronic devices have been used for years on many other devices via apps like F.lux, however, this is the first time this has been possible on iOS (after F.lux was removed from the app store). Whilst it may take a little bit of getting used to you will soon notice the health/sleep benefits of minimising blue light around bed time. Indeed, this looks to be the way Apple is going as a default after the release of the new iPad Pro (9.7”) with True Tone display which adjusts the amount of white light dependant on the ambient light to make the display appear more natural.

What are your thoughts on ‘Night Shift’ mode? Leave a comment below.

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How to Remove Connect from Apple Music

When Apple Music launched back on June 30th 2015, Apple also announced Connect, their social media style interaction with music artists located in the Apple Music app. Connect was a second attempt at the artist social networking after the failed Ping, which was launched September 1st 2010.

However, it doesn’t appear that Connect is a success for Apple Music with widespread consent online and many many people looking for a way to remove the Connect button from their Apple Music app. It’s rumoured that Apple will allow its users to remove the button in iOS 10 but in the meantime there is a way to remove it and replace it with ‘Playlists’.

To remove the Connect button from Apple Music you need to go through the following menu’s:

Settings -> General -> Restrictions -> Apple Music Connect

 

For the majority you will need to enable the ‘Restrictions’ section then toggle the Apple Music Connect button. When you switch back to Apple Music you will now see your Playlists button where Connect used to be. Enjoy!

How to Name Locations in Apple’s Find My Friends App

Do you share your location with your friends, family or spouse? Well here is a little trick that you can use to name frequent locations such as ‘Home’ or ‘Work’ so that you can quickly see from notification centre where your contacts are with friendly names. 

Here are the simple steps to follow:

  1. If you haven’t already, install Find My Friends app from the App Store it’s a free app. Many people don’t know this exists as it’s possible to share your location without it.
  2. Open the Find My Friends app and tap on the contact who’s locations you want to name. Note: They need to be in one of these locations to change its name.
  3. You should be looking at a map screen showing your contacts location. Along the top bar, blow their name, should be three menu options. Tap ‘More’.
  4. It should show an address just below the map with a little piece of orange text just above, tap that and a menu will appear with a list of location names such as ‘Home’, ‘Work’ or ‘Custom’. Make your choice based on the label you want to add.
  5. Go back to your phone home screen and swipe down from the top of the screen to bring up the ‘Today’ and ‘Notifications’ tabs. Scroll to the bottom and hit edit and add ‘Find My Friends’ if it isn’t already. Now when you view the today tab it will use your friendly names for your contact. 

 

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How to Combine Videos on Your Mac Without Additional Software Using QuickTime X

If you have followed my writing over at DavidJMoore.com then you will know my passion for Taking the Straight Line – getting from A to B as quickly and as simply as possible. I also have a passion for achieving great results using the base apps on both iOS and OS X. This isn’t always possible, but when combining videos it is.

QuickTime X comes pre-installed on all Macs and makes it very simple to combine a set of video files. To do this all you need to do is open the video you want first in the sequence then select the rest of the files in a finder window and drag them onto the video that’s open in QuickTime X. When you do so, you will notice some yellow film placeholders appear where you can drop the files you are dragging onto. You can then rearrange them as you see fit and once done hit File -> Export and you are done.

Do you have any other tips we should share with the wider community? If so let us know HERE or via Twitter.

How to Know if Someone has Blocked you on iOS

UPDATE JULY 2016: It appears Apple may have made a change to how Messages appear when you are blocked. It used to be that they showed as ‘Delivered’, now they don’t show anything. So if you send a message and it returns no status at all you are either blocked, or the persons phone is off. 

Have you ever got yourself in a situation where you are wondering why someone isn’t replying to your FaceTime calls or iMessages? How do you know if you have been blocked or if you are just being plain ignored? 

There are many articles on the Internet, all stretch the topic out far more than it really needs to be. Here is the simple answer.

How to Know for Certain

To be 100% certain, the person you are trying to contact has to have an iPhone and you need to make a cellular call to their phone on more than one occasion. If the phone goes straight to voicemail you are either blocked, or their phone is off. To confirm this step you need to disable your caller ID and call them back straight away. 

Switch Off Caller ID

  1. Tap on ’Settings
  2. Tap on ‘Phone
  3. Tap on ‘Show My Caller ID’ and switch it to ‘Off
  4. Call them straight away.

If the phone now rings you can confirm you were blocked. 

What About Messages?

Messages is a cloudy way of telling. It used to be that when you were blocked your messages still showed as ‘Delivered’, this gives no definitive indication. However, per the notice at the top of the post, I’ve noticed that when you are newly blocked the message receives no status. A few days to weeks later. I’ve noticed it then changes back to ‘Delivered’. Remember though, showing no status could also mean the phone is off. So really, two calls is the only real way to know. 

What About FaceTime?

FaceTime calls will just ring and ring and then eventually fail, in short they will act as though they are going through but the person is simply not answering.

What Else?

If you were once sharing locations with the person via ‘Find My Friends’ then this will be a massive clue. If you see ‘XXXX XXXX is no longer sharing their location with you’ in your iMessage conversation, where ‘XXXX XXXX’ is the person name, then you have a good indicator they have blocked you. If it says ‘Location Unavailable’ then this IS NOT an indicator of being blocked, merely that they are out of reception, their phone has died or they have turned it off. 

So in conclusion, the only sure fire way is via a cell call with an iMessage as a belts and braces check. It should be noted that the user must have iOS7+ to be able to block a caller, so check this as well. The information in this article is valid up to (and most likely beyond) iOS 10.2.

Have you noticed any other behaviour? Reading this long after iOS 10.2 and wondering if this article is still valid? Leave me a comment below or on Twitter

Create PDFs of Web Pages on iOS

Have you ever found an interesting web article and you wanted to create a PDF of the webpage that you could save for later? Unfortunately Apple has yet to enable ‘Print to PDF’ yet and the most popular method so far has been to send the page to iBooks which will make you a lovely PDF, but then the only way to get it out of iBooks is via Messages or Mail.

However, there is another way using the app ‘Workflow‘ and this article will outline the simple steps needed to create a workflow in ‘Workflow‘ to create a PDF from a webpage on iOS.

  1. Get ‘Workflow‘ from the Apple App Store
  2. Open the app and click the ‘+’ to add a new workflow. You want to create an ‘Action Extension’ in which the three steps you need in your work flow are:
    1. ‘Get Article from Web Page’
    2. ‘Make PDF’
    3. ‘Quick Look’ though this could be substituted with something else like ‘Save to Dropbox’
  3. Save the workflow with whatever name you like
  4. When you are in Safari at the page you want to make into a PDF, you hit the share sheet button (square box with the up arrow) and select ‘Run Workflow’. When ‘Workflow’ opens you tap on the workflow you just created and a PDF will be created!
  5. If you used ‘Quick Look’ as your final step you can then use the share sheet at this point to send the PDF to another app of your choice in iOS.