Is Notification Center far too busy? Can you not find what you want at any point, and thus any semblance of usability for the drop-down menu has gone the way of the dodo? Well, we can help you de-clutter Notification Center with these handy tips!
Clear out individual apps:
Most apps’ notifications will clear when you enter the app, but some, like Instagram, will not disappear. Thus, just pull down from the top status bar to access Notification Center, scroll to the app that’s got too many notifications, tap the X to the right of the app’s name, and then tap Clear. All these notifications will disappear and the app won’t reappear until new notifications come in.
Disable notifications for an app entirely:
Do you really need to see notifications for that game you barely play? Well, to disable notifications entirely, go to Settings -> Notifications, and scroll down to the app you want to disable. From here, turn Notification Center off, and this will hide notifications from appearing in the drop-down menu, though they will still come in. If you want to disable them entirely, set Alert Style to None, and disable Badge App Icon and Sounds.
Reduce the number of items that appear in Notification Center:
It’s also possible to just make an app take up fewer slots in the menu. Go to the app’s page in the Notifications setting menu, and tap the Show menu. From here you can only show 1, 5, or 10 recent items. All notifications will still come in, but only that many recent ones will appear.
Use manual notification sorting:
So, you still want notifications to appear in Notification Center but maybe just want to have the important ones appear first? From the main Notifications settings menu, choose Manually under Sort Apps:, and then tap the Edit button in the top-right corner. You can now use the drag selector on the right side of an app’s listing to drag it around in the list. Apps will always appear in the order you specify. Note that new apps always get added to the bottom of the list, so you must always sort them to your desired position yourself.
If you don’t need to check stocks, think social media is for teenagers, or live in Texas and don’t need to check the weather ever, you can disable each of the three built-in widgets by tapping on their entries in the Notifications settings and turning Notification Center to off.
Hopefully these tips have made Notification Center a much more useful place for you!
Why should we ever have to look up the number for our favorite contacts ever again? We shouldn’t ever have to, and thanks to the Favorites list and to some clever trickery with home screen shortcuts, it’s possible to never have to memorize a phone number ever again!
The way to access Favorites is through the Phone app on iPhone, or FaceTime app on iPad or iPod touch.even if trying to FaceTime them. So open up the Phone app or FaceTime app and go to the Favorites tab.
Tap the + icon in the upper right corner. Your contact list should now be displayed. Tap on a contact to access their page. Now tap on the phone number or email address you want to add to Favorites.
Phone numbers will add a shortcut to call the person; email addresses will go to FaceTime. Note that each phone number and email address will appear separately in the list, along with the description for the phone or email address, so you can easily call the different numbers for a person. You can rearrange and delete by tapping Edit in the upper-left corner.
Note that this brings easy access to people for phone calls and FaceTime, it may make access too easy! Tapping on the person’s name will start a phone or FaceTime phone call, so if you tap the button accidentally, be prepared to hit the “End Call” button immediately! It isn’t possible to add a person to the list as an SMS/iMessage contact, but tapping the blue arrow to the right of their name (carefully, lest it start a call!) will call up their full contact card, where you can send them a message or email from that page.
Now, an even quicker way to call people or to send them a message is through home screen shortcuts. See, it’s possible through URL shortcuts to call up different built-in apps: tel://1-800-692-7753 when pasted in to Safari would call up Apple’s support hotline, and there’s shortcuts for sms:// and facetime:// as well.
The easy way to set up a home screen shortcut for yourself is to do it through an App Store app – there are several, but OneTap does the job, with the ability to create shortcuts for calls, messages, FaceTime, and even Twitter. It can even set up custom user icons.
The shortcut, once on your home screen, briefly opens up Safari before completing the action you want.
Now, there are ways to do this yourself, but they’re more complicated and they require the iPhone Configuration Utility, or other methods with HTML pages and URL redirection that just aren’t worth your time.
Hopefully this guide helps you on your way to getting to contact the people you want to contact faster!
Want to share your photos with your friends and family in an extremely easy way? There’s a way to do it with Shared Photo Streams, to easily and automatically share photos with people. Start by using our guide to create a Shared Photo Stream. Once the Shared Photo Stream is created, tap on the blue arrow to enter the Edit Photo Stream screen. Now, it’s possible to add a subscriber that can view the Photo Stream on Mac in iPhoto, on Windows with the iCloud Control Panel, or on their iOS device. However, the easiest way to share photos is to create a public website from the Photo Stream. Turn the Public Website switch to on. Now, this creates a public website that will feature any photos that are in the Shared Photo Stream where users can see comments and download the photos for themselves. To share the link with someone else, tap the Share Link button. You can share the link through social networks, Mail, Messages, or by copying the link and pasting into the sharing method of your choice. Now, on the web view, the photos will be arranged by date, to see when a photo was uploaded. To add a new photo into a Photo Stream, go to the photo in Camera Roll, tap on it, and then tap on the Share arrow. Tap on the Photo Stream icon, and you can add it to either an available Photo Stream or to a new one that can be created. When you add a photo, you can add a comment that will be displayed along with the photo in the web gallery. You can add multiple photos by tapping Edit to multi-select the photos, and sharing them as normal. Note that any comments added will be for all the selected photos. To delete a photo from the Photo Stream, open up the Shared Photo Stream in Photos, and tap the Edit button. Select the photos to be deleted, and tap Delete. While this will prevent them from being viewable in the gallery any more, those with the link may have saved them separately. Remember: the things you share publicly never truly go away. These tips should make it easier to share photos straight from your iOS device in an easy-to-access web gallery. Thanks to this guide for inspiring these tips.
Apple is introducing a new way to protect the security of your iTunes account. It’s called two-step verification, and while it does involve an extra step to log in, it will help make logging in to your Apple ID more secure and make it harder to break into through the use of a trusted device and a secret passkey.
See, security questions are not entirely safe since it’s possible for someone who wants illicit access to your account to get things like your mother’s maiden name or first job. So instead, this presumes that a more capable form of security for your account is a physical device that you would have to own in order to get access to your account – this can be a trusted iOS device or any SMS-capable phone, though not a Google Voice account, along with a security key or one’s password. It’s unlikely that someone wanting access to your account from an untrusted source will have two of the three.
Go to Apple’s ID page, and log in with the Apple ID you want to set up two-step verification on. Go to the Password and Security section, and if it’s available, choose to set it up. You will need to wait 3 days before you can complete the setup of your account. So bookmark this page and come back in 3 days!
Welcome back, unless you stuck around to see what the steps are, then thanks for sticking around!
Now, follow the various dialogs that appear. Apple will warn that once two-step is enabled, it can’t be disabled, and that it will require at least two of the three necessary components.
Then, Apple will require you to verify your trusted devices. Every device you choose to verify will have a verification code pushed to it, and you can independently verify your iPhone’s phone number in case you change devices or switch to another OS. Not that you’d do such a thing.
Then, Apple will give you your security key. This is one of the other necessary components to get back in to your account. You will need to securely store a copy of this key, by either writing it down, or printing out a copy somewhere. Apple will then make you enter the security key they just gave you.
Apple will then give you one final warning before enabling two-step verification on your account.
Congratulations! You’ve enabled two-step verification on your account. This will make it harder for unauthorized access into your account. You can disable two-factor from the Apple ID settings if you find it too much of a hassle, however.
Want to listen to listen to the wealth of podcasts that are available on iTunes from anywhere you have an iOS device and an internet connection? Then download the Podcasts app from the App Store. Now, the app can be a bit convoluted to use, so this how to guide should make getting into the app much easier.
If this is your first time using it, the app will show a blank screen with a white square you can tap to go to the Podcasts Store. Otherwise, you can tap Store in the upper-left corner to go browse for podcasts on iTunes.
Use the tabs to find audio and video podcasts, find the most popular podcasts, or search for your favorite podcasts, like The Portable Podcast! You can download individual episodes or subscribe to the podcast, which will show the latest episodes in the app.
To return to the main screen, tap Library in the upper-right corner. From the main screen, tap on the podcast’s icon to open up the available episodes; it’s also possible to add old episodes to be displayed.
Tapping on an episode will start streaming it. It’s also possible to download episodes for offline listening by tapping the downward arrow next to it. As well, tapping the blue arrow will allow you to see an episode’s description, mark an episode as played or unplayed, or add it to an On-The-Go playlist.
When you play a podcast, there’s the standard music controls, along with 15 second skip buttons to easily re-listen to something or skip ahead. The 1x button adjusts playback speed to playback episodes faster or slower, if you wish. The center clock icon allows for a sleep timer to be set. The share arrow allows you to share the podcast via different built-in services.
When you call up the music control buttons from the multitasking bar, the forward and reverse buttons are replaced with the 15 second skip buttons.
The podcast’s settings page allows you to update the podcast with new content, adjust which episodes should be kept, and even enable automatic downloads.
Now, there’s a new “My Stations” feature which is built for the podcast-obsessed. This makes it possible to easily organize your podcasts by topic, or some other methodology. It also houses the On-The-Go playlist for making a quick playlist of podcasts to play back. To make your own custom station, tap the New Station button and name it. Then choose which podcasts you want to appear on the station. The station will show any episodes that have been added to your library, so to get podcast episodes to appear on your station, you need to add them from the individual podcast’s page.
You can choose the order for new episodes from each station to be played in by tapping Edit. Tapping Settings will call up a variety of settings for Play Order, which episodes to include, and the podcasts included in the station.
These tips should help you master Apple’s official Podcasts app for listening to your favorite podcasts from iTunes.
Thanks to the last two major iOS releases, iOS 5 and 6, sharing on social media has gotten a lot easier. It’s now easy to tweet and post to Facebook from anywhere in iOS. Want to do this for yourself? Here’s our how to guide on taking advantage of social media features on iOS.
First off, you need to log in to your social media accounts, which for most users will be the Twitter and Facebook support. Start by going to Settings. Scroll down to the Twitter and Facebook options. Now you will see a screen that will let you install that service’s official app from the App Store, log in with an existing account, learn more about the service, or Create a New Account. If you don’t have one, this is the quickest and easiest way to make one. Once you have an account, log in with it and let the fun begin!
For Twitter, you can log in to multiple accounts from this screen. Tapping on an account info will let you re-enter your password if you change it, to change the account’s description in iOS, and to disable the “Find Me by Email” setting. Scrolling down to the bottom will allow you to Update Contacts with information from Twitter contacts, and to modify which apps can access data from your Twitter account.
For Facebook, it has many of the same options, but you can only log in to one account. However, you can configure the app’s settings for alerts and HD video recording from here.
Now, time to take advantage of this. Bring down Notification Center by swiping from the top of the screen. You should now have Tap to Tweet and Tap to Post buttons. Each one will send a tweet or a post to Facebook. You can add your location, and the Twitter post box will replace the enter button with the @ and # symbols. You can enter a line break by hitting the 123 button and finding Enter there.
If you want to share a photo, you can do so by going to Photos, and tapping the Share arrow, and you will see options to post the photo to Twitter or Facebook. Twitter will automatically add the photo and subtract the characters for the link in your tweet without showing the actual link in it. Anything like this will be shown with a paper clip and a thumbnail of what is being sent.
Apps can tweet and post to Facebook, too. Try sending a link from Safari using the Share arrow. Some games will let you share your high scores, like Punch Quest does.
Apps like can request access to your Twitter or Facebook contacts to find new people to connect to, such as Vine supporting Twitter contacts, or Game Center letting you discover friends through Facebook.
Some apps can let you instantly log in to them with your registered Twitter or Facebook account, even third-party Twitter apps like Tweetbot. Finally, you can Like apps on the App Store by tapping the Reviews tab and then the Like button.
These tips cover the basics of how you can use the built-in social media connections to share from your iOS device. Note that not all apps use the built-in iOS connections, so you may still need to log in separately in some apps.
With text messages and iMessages being such an important form of communication between people, it doesn’t make much sense that there’s no easy way to store them and back them up. They’re backed up when making backups through iTunes or iCloud, but if you have to wipe your device clean, then they’re lost forever. And because of the personal and private nature of these messages, important ones can be lost, unlike email which exists on cloud servers. Now, there is a way to backup your SMS and iMessages manually. Note that this guide will require you to be at a computer with iTunes, and to poke around some hidden directories. If you’re comfortable with this, let’s begin.
Now then, the fun part. We need to go into where the backup is stored. On Windows PCs, this location has to be accessed by opening a local Explorer window, and typing in %APPDATA% (a shortcut to your Windows primary hard drive’s Users/[your username]/Application Data folder). On Mac, open up a Finder window. Hold down the Option key, click Go in the top bar, and select the Library folder that now appears. It only appears when you hold down the Option key. The necessary folder will not be visible if you just go to the Library folder from your Mac on the left sidebar in Finder. Open Application Support.
Now, on either OS, open up MobileSync -> Backup. Open up the most recent folder, as that should be your latest backup.
Look for a file called 3d0d7e5fb2ce288813306e4d4636395e047a3d28. It may or may not have a file extension on it. Copy this file to a safe place.
Now, if you just open it up in a text editor, the file will be full of gibberish but you can search for text strings and they will pop up. It’s largely unreadable, but it’s something.
Now, if you want them available in a readable format, this can be done. Go to http://iphone-sms.com. Upload that file you just saved, and choose an export format. Note that you are uploading your message data to a remote website, so if you’re concerned about the privacy of your data, you might want to be careful, though there’s no known risk factors with the site. Also, the file doesn’t include picture data, so you might want to save those to your Camera Roll manually.
So, that’s how you get your SMS and iMessages backed up. It’s not easy, but it’s a way to preserve your treasured messages. Or not-so-treasured ones. Such is the beauty of text messaging.
So, your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is acting really weird. It’s constantly rebooting. It isn’t being recognized by iTunes. Or just any sort of weird issue that seems outside the realm of normal troubleshooting. It just feels like this is the end, time to go to the Genius Bar if your phone is still under warranty or just panic otherwise? Not necessarily. There’s still one way to rescue it. It’s called DFU mode, and it can be used to restore your device.
Now, the first thing to know about DFU mode is that it will wipe your device clean, so anything that is not backed up will be lost. If possible, make a backup either via iTunes or iCloud. As well, you need a computer with iTunes in order to use this. This is generally a last resort method of rescuing your device, though entering it is not going to ruin anything.
Plug your device into your computer with iTunes. Turn your device off. Turn it back on, and keep the power button held for 3 seconds. Now, without letting go of the power button, hold down on the menu button for 10 seconds. Now, let go of the power button and keep holding the menu button until iTunes says that it’s detected a device in recovery mode. From here you can easily restore the device.
Now, if you want to escape DFU mode, you can hold down on the power and home buttons for about 15 seconds and it will boot up as normal.
Now, if either of your hardware buttons are broken, it’s still possible to enter DFU mode. This method requires more experience with files and using a hex editor. This method is more complex and potentially more risky to the device, but it should cause DFU mode to be enabled. Read about it at The iPhone Wiki. We’d suggest at this point just going to the Apple Store if you are uncomfortable.
Hopefully this guide helps you rescue your device. Even better would be if you don’t ever need it, but in case you do, it’s here for you.
Now that Real Racing 3 is out, we are going to give you some tips to get the best times and have the most fun with Real Racing 3. All of that with an eye toward how you can minimize any real money investment in the game.
Real Racing is the most beautiful racer on any mobile platform, and it’s free, so there is no reason not to try it. I’ve played Real Racing 3 for around 30 hours total now, let me give some tips on how to get the farthest possible in the shortest amount of time and without paying a thing.
Manual brakes = faster times. The main tip I can give is one that I still haven’t mastered completely myself, turn the braking assist to low or even better off. Of the three assists in the game it makes the most difference in your racing times/speed. When the computer does all of the braking for you, it does so very conservatively. If you can at least turn braking to low, it will greatly decrease your times. One thing to remember, you can change this in-race, at any time. Hit the pause button and you can then get to the settings in the lower left of the screen. (See more dirty tricks below)
Get inside, quickly! You start in last place in every single race. Seems unfair, but get used to it. You can usually jump up at least half way up the standings in the first couple turns with smart maneuvering. The key here is to not follow the car in front of you. If you do that you can only go as fast as they are going, and the car in front of them, etc. Pick your own path, preferably on the inside of the turn, and zoom past the other cars as they all line up and then slow down when the car in front of them does. It’s best to not follow another car at any other time if at all possible, you get no advantage from drafting and will be more likely that you will need to slow down to avoid hitting the car you are following.
Build your stable of cars, smartly. You will need a single car that is one of the 3-4 for each circuit to race in that circuit. But you will need all of the cars in the circuit to complete it 100% as there will be races that require each car in the circuit. You should also note that most cars you purchase will be able to race in more than one circuit — just check out the list on the main page to see the circuits you have access to.
iPhones are great. iPads are great too, what with their big screens. They can play all sorts of music video, and games from many different sources. But don’t forget about the big TV screen when using these devices. Yes, there are ways to take the picture from your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, and put it on your TV. Here’s how to do that either through the Apple TV or through direct output cables.
The benefit of using an Apple TV is simple: no need to plug in a cable when wanting to view a video on TV, not to mention no wires getting in the way of holding the device when displaying photos or games on TV.
To start viewing your device on TV, set up your Apple TV, have it plugged in, and on the same network as your iOS device. It does not necessarily need to be actively on, with the front light glowing. Now, on your iOS device, call up the multitasking bar by double-tapping the home button. Swipe to the left until you see the AirPlay icon, which looks like this:. You will need to swipe twice on the iPhone and iPod touch, and once on the iPad. Tap the AirPlay icon. Choose your Apple TV. If you have multiple Apple TVs in the same network, it may help to give them custom names in each box’s settings.
For those with an iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch 5th Generation, or any iPad except the very first model, AirPlay Mirroring for displaying your whole screen on TV is available. By default, mirroring will be off, which means that only audio and apps that support AirPlay video output directly will be displayed. Enabling it will send the entire contents of your screen to your TV. Apps that support video ouput will switch over to that mode instead of using mirroring.
Apple also sells video output cables for those who prefer direct connections, need to output to analog video connections, or want to save some money by not buying a $99 Apple TV.
Simply plugging the cable in to your device, and then plugging the necessary video cable(s) in to your TV will do the trick. HDMI adapters carry audio, analog video adapters have RCA audio outputs, and the VGA adapter requires using a separate audio cable to output through the headphone jack. Digital video connections and VGA will not offer resolution options, though the device will generally output what the TV reports back as the maximum possible resolution.
If you have a device with a Lightning connector and a video output cable with the dock connector, it will not work with the lightning-to-dock adapter currently available. In general, these should lead to better results with gaming due to less video latency.
By following this guide, you can now easily display all the content available on your iOS device on your TV easily.
So, you want to play Real Racing 3 but are cursing your parents that you weren’t born an Aussie or Kiwi? Why do they get the game first, anyway? Well, developers often release free-to-play games early in countries like these in order to let a small segment of the global public get their hands on it, allowing them to tweak things like gameplay and IAP costs, as well as testing a game’s technical backend, before its worldwide release. But there is a way to become an honorary member of another country to get their free apps (at least in iTunes), and I’m going to tell you how.
First, let’s build a fake identity. I use FakeNameGenerator.com, which generates fake names and addresses in order to create a convincing identity. Choose your country to generate a name and address – I recommend New Zealand for this example, as they also get App Store games first on release day as they are close to the international date line.
Now go to iTunes on PC/Mac. Go to the iTunes Store, click the Home icon on the top sidebar. Now scroll to the bottom and to the right, and click your country’s flag in the bottom-right corner.
This opens up a screen to pick a new country. Scroll to Asia Pacific and choose New Zealand. This will switch you to the New Zealand App Store. Now, the easiest way to create an Apple ID without entering payment information is to start to download the app, as just going through the standard iTunes account creation process will require the input of payment info. So, search for the app you want to download, like, say Real Racing 3. Start to download it, and when the dialog to sign in pops up, click Create Apple ID.
For your email address, I recommend putting something like “+nz” after the name but before the @ if you use Gmail. This will still send it to the same base email but will work separately in iTunes. For example: TupacHologramfirstname.lastname@example.org still goes to TupacHologram@gmail.com. Otherwise, go through the process to register an account, using the info from the fake name generator. Apple will ask you to verify the account by sending you an email. Do so. The app should start downloading on iTunes, or you can now log in to this account on your iOS device. The store will automatically switch to New Zealand from your home country’s account, and switch back upon logging back in.
Note that unless you get your hands on a credit card or gift card for that country’s App Store, you will only be able to download free games, and you will not be able to buy in-app purchases, even if you log in to your home country’s App Store account. This is because iTunes requires that you buy IAP on the account that the game was downloaded from. If you use our guide to transfer saves by deleting the New Zealand app, installing the US version, and then restoring the save, it should work to keep your progress.
This guide should work for other countries as well – having a Canadian account is also handy. Just remember that these games are often not going to be in perfect form as they are still undergoing testing, and that you should redownload on your home country’s account if you want to buy IAP to support the developers. Have any cool games you’ve downloaded besides Real Racing 3 with this guide? Let us know!
Passbook is cool, right? Only thing that stinks is that not everything is using Passbook. Our wallets must suffer under the tyranny of membership and loyalty cards evermore.
Now, here’s the thing about Passbook: it’s really not that special. See, all it does is load in specially-formatted files that are then displayed in the Passbook app. Now, apps have the ability to add in Passbook cards from the app, but cards can also be installed through Mail and Safari. This means that where gaps in Passbook support exist, they can be filled through third-party methods. Plus, there’s other cool tweaks to play with. It’s time to take advantage of Passbook for fun and profit.
Ticketfly is at least one ticket service that supports Passbook through manual file installation of .pkpass files. If an event you wish to attend is selling through Ticketfly, you can get your ticket added to Passbook. If you request mobile tickets at checkout, then their email will include an attachment at the bottom to install the ticket to Passbook. When you arrive at the venue at the time of the event, just open up Passbook or the ticket from your lock screen. If you open from the lock screen, open it up right before it is scanned, because unlocking the device directly will not go back to the ticket. Don’t hold up the line like I did!
Now, this is a very important thing: if you’re installing a Passbook card via email, it has to be done in the stock Mail app, and the card file has to be an attachment, not a link, in order to work.
If you want to integrate other rewards cards in to Passbook, such as a Best Buy Reward Zone card, go to PassSource. This website offers step by step instructions to import your data into customized Passbook cards. Because Passbook offers limited barcode support, some cards won’t have barcodes because the stores are known to be incompatible with two-dimensional barcodes that Passbook supports. Still, it’s a quick way to integrate in those other cards that are cluttering up your wallet. As well, store owners that want to use Passbook for themselves can use PassSource to help set up a system like this.
Now, the most useful Passbook hack may just be the ability to hide built-in apps, at least on a temporary basis. Visit PassHack on your iOS device and install the Passbook card. On the card’s (i) page, links to hide built-in apps will appear. This works by trying to install apps with the same app identifier as the built-in apps, which will fail to install. When you delete the icon, the app is hidden. Nothing is actually done to your device besides hiding the icon, which reappears on a restart. However, for those that want Stocks to go away for a while, this is the secret.
Have you used these tweaks to make Passbook more useful for you? Have you found any more clever tweaks for Passbook? Let us know in the comments!
So, you see your friends using those little smiley faces and emoticon characters that look silly and add flavor to their text messages, tweets, Facebook statuses, emails, school essays, you know, whatever is fit to type into an iOS device. But how does one enjoy the land of these special graphical characters, called Emoji, for themselves? Well, they can now be entirely enabled from default iOS settings without the need for any special apps. Here’s how to enable and use Emoji, along with other international keyboards.
Yes, Emoji is considered an international keyboard – it started out as an option only for Japanese iPhone users and had to be enabled via backdoor methods for others. But there are now ways to do it without any kind of hacks.
Go to Settings, tap on General, and scroll down to International. Now tap on Keyboards.
Tap on Add New Keyboard… and scroll down to Emoji. Select this, and it will be enabled. As well, you can enable other keyboards from this screen. Taking Spanish classes and want to type things up in a keyboard layout suited for the language? That can be done here.
Now, to use the Emoji keyboard and others in actual text, just open up a text box. You will now notice that the space bar has shrunk, and a new globe icon has appeared. Tap this, and it will switch through your various international keyboards. Tap this until you get to Emoji.
Now, you will see a list of characters available. The clock icon will pull up a section of icons that are both used frequently and have been used recently. The other 5 icons switch between faces & people, various flora & fauna, various small physical objects, large physical objects, and assorted symbols. There’s a strange mix in each section, but poke through them to find fun Emoji symbols to use.
If you want to disable Emoji or any other international keyboards, return to the International section. Swiping horizontally on the keyboard entry will call up the delete button, as will the Edit button in the upper right corner. From this screen you can also adjust the order that the keyboards apear in from tapping the globe icon.
These tips should help you use the Emoji and international keyboards with ease.
There are a lot of iPhone users out there who enjoy being able to personalize their ring tones, myself included. But sometimes that can be easier said than done, especially when users can’t sync to iTunes for whatever reason. However, there’s a way around this issue that’s both easy and incredibly effective with a minimum of cost (about $6 total) and absolutely no jailbreaking involved!
First and foremonst, two apps need to be installed: ToneConvert and GarageBand. Be warned; GarageBand is a big install that takes up close to 700 MB.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-03-10 :: Category: Music
Once both apps are installed and ready to go, the rest is easy. Open up ToneConvert and you’ll see this screen:
Select Browse for audio file. For the purposes of this example we’re going to be visiting www.audiko.net just like in the video. Mostly because it’s a fairly massive source for pre-sized audio files.
Now it’s time to select a sound or song. I’d prefer to search for something myself, so let’s look for the Godzilla roar.
After picking the file, tap the Preview button. This will call up two choices: Play or Download. Hit Play first to make sure it’s the desired sound, then go ahead and Download it.
It’s time to Convert it!, then hit Copy to Pasteboard. And that’s the first half of the process.
With the sound file is saved, it’s time to open up GarageBand. When opening the app for the first time, you should see the Instruments screen. Scroll over to the right until reaching the Audio Recorder.
Tap the Tracks icon in the upper-left corner. It’s the one that looks like a few broken lines next to the arrow.
Now tap the empty track and select Paste. You can use GarageBand to further customize your ring tone but for the purposes of this demo we’re going to keep it simple and stick with the default sound.
Tap the arrow in the top-left corner and select My Songs in order to save the project.
From the My Songs screen tap Edit in the top-right portion of the screen, and select the new song. Tap the Sharing icon in the upper-left corner of the screen (it’s the one that looks like a box with an arrow sticking out of it).
Scroll down and select Share Song As “Ringtone”.
From the Export screen you can name the tone whatever you’d like, then hit Export to finish the job.
Now it’s simply a matter of going into the phone’s Settings and Sounds tab to adjust the ring tone settings. Tap on the particular sound you’d like to replace, which in this case is Ringtone, and select the new tone.
And you’re done! Now you can download, adjust, or otherwise create your own custom iPhone ring tones without the use of a computer, iTunes, or a jailbroken device. So, what ring tones are you planning on making for yourself?
What makes iOS great for users with disabilities is that there’s a selection of options to make using an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad much easier. Many of these features are designed for the visually-impaired, the hard of hearing, or those with motor skills issues, to open up their devices to them in a way that most people take for granted. However, there are a few features here that even able users can take advantage of – custom vibration settings started out as an Accessibility option before becoming standard in iOS 6. Here’s a rundown of what the Accessibility features in iOS are.
To find and configure ACcessibility options, open up Settings, tap on General, then scroll down to Accessibility. All the iOS Accessibility options are here.
VoiceOver is primarily designed for visually-impaired users, as it makes it easier to select specific items, which the device will then speak what that feature is, and double-taps are used to then select the item, making it harder to accidentally tap on certain items. Various other settings for devices like Bluetooth-enabled Braille machines, and typing feedback, can be configured here.
Zoom makes it possible to use 3-finger gestures to zoom in and out of the screen, making it easier for visually-impaired users to see certain items when necessary.
Large Text increases the font size in certain Apple apps.
Invert Colors will invert the device’s colors, which can help users with different vision issues.
Speak Selection and Speak Auto-text make it possible to have text-to-speech enabled on selected text.
Hearing Aids is the settings section for Bluetooth hearing aids. Once connected, the options will be made available.
LED Flash for Alerts makes it possible for the LED flash on the iPhone to go off when new alerts come in. This can be handy for any user that wants a way to see that they have new notifications, even when they’re not looking at the screen.
Mono Audio sets the device’s audio to be only in monaural, making it possible for users who only hear out of one ear (or for users who use mono headsets) to hear both channels in one ear. The audio balance can also be set here.
Guided Access makes it possible to restrict a device to one app, with certain screen sections able to be configured as untouchable. This makes it possible to use a device in a demo mode, or to let a child use an app without leaving it or changing any settings.
AssistiveTouch enables a gray button that can be dragged around the screen. This calls up several system functions, that make it possible to do things like multitouch gestures, take screenshots, and more. For users who have a broken home button, AssistiveTouch can make the device still usable.
Home-click Speed makes it easier to double-click the home button, by not requiring it to be double-clicked so quickly.
Incoming Calls can force the audio from incoming calls to either go to a headset or to the speaker.
Triple-click Home allows for VoiceOver, Invert Colors, Zoom, and AssistiveTouch to be toggled by triple-clicking the Home button.
These settings and features are all designed to make it easier to use iOS devices. Have you found any that make using your device better, or have helped other people use their devices? Let us know in the comments below.
Our phones have become a significant part of our lives, holding large quantities of our personal data on them. Apps that use our data are also a significant part of them, especially given the rise of free apps and services – if you’re not paying, you’re the product – and what these apps have access to is often quite extensive. While Apple’s walled garden does keep many of those with malicious intent away from the App Store, they’re not perfect. There may just be an app that you trust that is doing something with the data you gave it permission for. Here’s how to manage these privacy settings.
The first and most obvious destination is the Privacy section in Settings. Here, you will see sections for various types of data that apps have requested.
By going to one of these sections, and switching the toggle for that app off, then it will not have access to that data any more. So an app that requests Photos access can have it be restricted. Or, if you initially denied access and wish to grant it, you can now do so from this section.
The Location Services section is particularly worth delving into because not only can the icon appear at random times for no apparent reason, but the section to manage it has many wrinkles that the others do not. One, there are variably-colored location icons next to each service, and they may not be apparent to what they mean until you scroll to the bottom, where iOS explains what each icon means.
What this means is that you can see on this section which apps are currently requesting your location, not just which apps have access to your location. If an app is continually causing the location services icon to appear in the status bar (and potentially draining your battery), you can see which apps are the culprit here. Often times, apps that use location services can have settings disabled from within the app to have their recurring location check disappear, as having loaction access enabled periodically may be key to your usage of the app. As well, the System Services section shows several system functions that use your location, including one for Location-Based iAds that can modify the types of ads you see.
Hopefully these tips have helped you manage your privacy better, and you have a greater understanding of the types of access that iOS apps and system functions have to your data.
Now, there’s one particular advertising-related privacy setting that’s not in Privacy that’s worth considering. Go to Settings→General→About and scroll all the way down to Advertising. Tap on this, and you’ll see a setting for Limit Ad Tracking. By enabling this, then services that identify your device by the Apple Advertising Identifier cannot track you based on this. This means that advertisements will be less targeted to you.
Safari is an app that’s been around for a long, long time, having been on iPhones since the original one! It’s easy then to get into a rut where you use it and don’t consider what else it can do. Well, let’s go through Safari’s section in Settings to poke through some of the options that can tweak your Safari experience to be much better.
Search Engine allows you to set Bing or Yahoo as your search engine. Sorry, AltaVista fans and Pawnee residents.
AutoFill makes it easy to enter passwords and personal info in website forms. Enable Use Contact Info with your contact card, set as the iOS default but something that can be changed from here, to have names and addresses in forms filled automatically with your data. Names & Passwords will fill in usernames, passwords, and other info from your contacts in forms as appropriate. Tapping Clear All will reset this data.
Private Browsing changes a Safari session to not store any history or browsing data once completed. Open tabs can be saved or closed when switching back and forth. If anyone gets suspicious as to why you’re using private browsing, just tell them it’s for the sleek dark interfaced that indicates you’re in private mode.
Finally in Advanced, the Website Data section allows you to clear up some storage space by deleting saved data from websites. Web Inspector is a feature for developers who are working to optimize their sites for Safari on iOS.
Hopefully this guide has shown you some useful features for Safari that you never even knew existed or had no idea how to use!
The beauty of individualized ringtones is simple: it’s nice to know who’s calling solely by sound when not looking directly at your phone. But who calls anyone any more that isn’t one’s parents? It’s all texting nowadays. And how about vibration? Well, there is a way to do this, and though it was once only available as an accessibility feature, it’s possible for all users to do this as a system-level feature. While it’s somewhat buried, it is easy to setup.
Go to Contacts. Find the contact you want to set up the custom sound/vibration for, and open up their listing. Now, tap Edit in the top right. This doesn’t just open up the various fields for editing, but it also unlocks the custom sound and vibration settings.
Choosing a ringtone will make that sound play whenever the contact calls. The vibration setting directly below that will be the vibration that goes off when they call. For text tone, this will be the sound that plays when they text, and the vibration setting below this will be the one that goes off when they text.
For vibration, it will be set to the pattern you have set by default, and the other built-in ones can be selected here. To create a custom pattern, scroll down to the Vibration section and choose Create New Vibration.
This will open up a screen where the new vibration pattern can be made. Tap on the screen in various lengths and frequencies in order to create the pattern you want. When finished, tap Stop in the lower right corner to stop recording. Tap Play to play back the pattern, Record to re-record it, and Save in the upper right corner to name and save the pattern.
Saving a vibration pattern makes it available for other contacts, in case you just want a more defined vibration pattern, or want to create vibration patterns for certain groups of people, for example. You can also set a custom vibration pattern as the system default by going to Settings -> Sounds, and then each sound category’s vibration setting can be found by scrolling up.
With Google disabling Exchange ActiveSync support for contacts, a recent guide discussed how to sync contacts up with CardDAV. Well, what if instead you just want to sync up with iCloud instead? Is there any way to do this? Yes! Contacts can be exported to what is known as a VCF file. This includes all basic details like phone numbers, email addresses, and even info like birthdays, so that it’s a relatively pain-free experience to import and export entire lists of contacts. The only major exceptions of data that doesn’t get transferred are contact photos and individual ringtone/vibration settings.
This all happens via your web browser. To export contacts, go to the Google Contacts page. Click the More button, and click Export. Most likely, you’ll want to select the My Contacts group to export, though if you have a specific group you’d like to export, select that, or all contacts. Under “Which export format?” choose vCard format. Save this file and keep note of its location.
Now go to iCloud.com. Log in, and go to Contacts. Click the gear icon in the lower left, and choose Import vCard. Open up the file you just saved from Google, and your contacts will be added to iCloud.
Note that while this specifically covers iCloud and Google Contacts, any service that can import or export VCF files should work. iCloud offers vCard exporting and Google offers vCard importing from the same menus if you want to go in reverse, say if you want to use your contacts on an Android device as well, or if you just want to use something less proprietary.
Now, on your iOS device, make sure that the device you are using has iCloud contacts enabled. Go to Settings → Mail, Contacts, and Calendars, and choose your iCloud account, and switch Contacts to on if necessary, though it is enabled by default. If you haven’t set that iCloud account up on the device, tap Add Account and then tap iCloud to set it up. On the main screen of Mail, Contacts, and Calendars, scroll down to the Contacts heading and tap Default Account. Set your iCloud account as default for new contacts to be added to this account by default.
Now go to the Contacts app. Tap Groups in the upper left corner, and you can customize which contact groups will be shown. Select only All iCloud (or whatever your iCloud account is named as) and un-select any other accounts, and your contacts list will only show your iCloud contacts. You can review them here as well, and when un-hidden, you can link cards to Google contacts or other contact groups as necessary.
Congratulations, you’ve now moved your contacts to iCloud. This process can be reversed – iCloud allows for contact exporting, and Google contact importing from VCF files, and the options are in the same menu locations at each service.
It’s Christmas time again and Santa will be starting his global voyage any moment now. Did you know that you and the kids can track Santa’s progress around the globe with your iPhone or iPad? Here are a couple apps that help you do it.
By far the best way is to use Google Earth. To view the Santa tracker in Google Earth, just hit the menu tab at the bottom of the screen and select the Santa tracker to follow Santa around the earth.
Vito Technologies has also released an update to Star Walk that lets you track Santa in an augmented reality sort of way. Hold your device up to the sky to track where around the earth Santa is.
To all of you and your families a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from 148Apps!
For calendars, the best replacement solution is to just use the standard Gmail account setup – this uses a protocol called CalDAV to automatically sync calendar events between the device and Google. It should automatically pull in new updates to calendars shortly after they are made elsewhere.
For email, there is no reliable solution at the moment for getting push email in the default Mail app. The Gmail app, which has been recently updated, works very well and has support for multiple accounts and push notifications. Otherwise, consider using an app like Boxcar or Push 4.0 to get push notifications of incoming email.
For contacts, an open protocol named CardDAV can be used to sync Google Contacts up with an iOS device instead. Setting it up is easy. Go to Settings→Mail, Contacts, and Calendars, and choose Add Account…. At the list of services, select Other.
Now choose Add CardDAV Account under the middle Contacts section.
Now at this screen, for the server, enter google.com, for User Name and Password enter your Google Account email address (this works for both regular Google accounts and Google Apps accounts) and for Description, put whatever you want the account to be named as. If all details have been properly entered, then contacts will now sync up with Google.
To use this account as your default account, go back to the main Mail, Contacts, and Calendars screen. Scroll down to the Contacts header. Tap Default Account.
Tap the name of the account you just set up, and any new contacts will be added to this account going forward. Congratulations, your account is now future-proofed against Google’s ActiveSync shutdown.
Sometimes how to articles can cover topics that might seem too advanced. This week, however, I want to cover Notification Center, that helpful list of notifications that can be displayed by swiping down from the status bar. It is possible to manage different apps’ notifications and how they appear on a device, and this guide will make it hopefully less daunting to manage.
To manage notifications, go to Settings and select Notifications. First you will see Do Not Disturb, Sort Apps, and In Notification Center. We’re going from bottom to top.
Each individual app that supports notifications is in this list. For apps from the App Store, this is the default view:
The Notification Center toggles whether the app will appear in the list of notifications available by pulling down from the status bar. Notifications will still appear if enabled. Show will configure how many entries will appear in Notification Center. This way, one app can’t clutter up too much space in the list, or important apps can show many recent notifications.
Alert Style can be set to Banners, which shows the standard relatively unobtrusive banner that appears across the top of the screen. Alerts makes the notification pop up in the middle of the screen, which must be dismissed before continuing to use your device. This is the style of notification that appeared before iOS 5. None means that no alert will appear at all.
Badge App Icon means that as notifications come in, the number on the app will update. Disable this if that number is unimportant or just annoying. Sounds can be toggled to make notifications have sounds or not. View in Lock Screen causes notifications to appear in the lock screen – this can be disabled for emails to protect their private contents, for example. These settings can be mixed and matched: for example, if you want to know about incoming tweets while your phone is locked but not while you’re using it, just enabled View in Lock Screen and Sounds, and then you won’t be bothered while actually using your device, though you can still hear the sounds go off.
Different system apps have different settings: Phone lets you configure the Ringtone from its entry. Messages lets you configure several extra sound and display settings:
Mail lets you configure different notifications for different accounts, along with the VIP settings, as covered in an earlier topic. Finally, the Weather and Share Widgets are just simple On-Off toggles.
Sort Apps allows for apps to either be sorted by time, meaning the latest notification to come in move sall that app’s notifications to the top, or Manually. This means that based on how the apps are sorted in this settings page, done by tapping Edit in the top-right corner and dragging the icon that appears on the right of each list item to move them, will make the notifications always appear in that order in Notification Center.
Do Not Disturb allows for notifications to not go off at certain times. It can be manually enabled in Settings right below Notifications, or it can be scheduled to be set at specific times in Notification Center. Turning the Scheduled switch on allows for specific times to be set on a daily basis for when notifications will not make sounds. Calls can be set to be allowed from Everyone, No One, Favorites in your contacts, or by Groups of contacts. Finally, Repeated Calls means that if someone tries to call again within 3 minutes, then it will not be silenced, so really important calls are not missed.
Hopefully by learning what each setting does, now you know how to manage your notifications like a pro!
iTunes 11 hasn’t just brought huge changes to the way that apps sync, the backup process has changed as well.
Now it is possible to choose whether to have automatic backups continue to be done with iTunes, or to be synced up with iCloud. Go to the Devices page in the upper right corner, and click on your device. It should open up Summary. Now, you will see the Backups section. This will give you the choice to Automatically Back Up to iCloud or to This computer. Choosing iCloud will make the syncrhonization process in iTunes much quicker.
As well, the manual backup and restoration process has been improved in two ways. One, it is now front and center in the Backups section. Second, it’s now even more convenient, especially for power users. Third, it may actually work now.
The iTunes manual restore is recommended over restoring from an iCloud backup in a pinch for many reasons. The main one being it is faster, as it does not have to redownload apps to a device, it only has to reinstall them from the computer. It will also properly restore apps from multiple iTunes accounts without tripping the restore limit that comes with iCloud restores. If apps are downloaded from multiple iTunes accounts on to a device, then those apps can only be restored so many times in a 90 day time period, even if restoring from a backup made on a different iCloud account. This manual process through iTunes restores them without needing to input a password again.
The manual restore will work with switching devices as well, as all backups made with iTunes are available when choosing to restore. To switch a device all you need to do is connect it, explicitly back it up, then restore to the new device. This may be the easiest way to upgrade from one device to another, or switch from iPod to iPhone, with the convenience of iCloud available if a restore is necessary and a computer is unavailable, or if a device is lost and hasn’t been synced with iTunes recently. It’s very flexible, and a welcome addition to iTunes 11.
In order to access your device settings, click on the button that either shows the name of your iOS device or the number of devices you have connected.
First off, all purchases are automatically transferred from a device to the computer when syncing, even if they are not set to specifically synchronize. There’s still the option to transfer purchases without doing a full synchronization, by going to File -> Devices -> Transfer Purchases.
Second, app synchronization is now automatically enabled. If you are setting up a new device, or syncing with iTunes for the first time, then iTunes, as is its wont, will try to sync a lot of apps to the device. The only real solution is to just go through and click “remove” on any app in the list that is unwanted. This cannot be disabled, and the Automatically sync new apps checkbox will only disable syncing apps that are new to the library to the device. However, devices that have synced with iTunes before will not suddenly find themselves buried in apps that iTunes tries to install, as it will leave the current settings alone.
However, the biggest and most convenient change is that it is now possible to manually install apps without neeeding to synchronize. Just select an app from the list, and click Install, and the app will be installed on the device on the next sync. Clicking Remove will set it to be uninstalled on the next sync. Clicking Will Remove or Will Install will set the app back to its previous installed or uninstalled state.
Wi-fi synchronization can be set up from the Summary page, scrolling down to Options and choosing Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi.
This new method of syncing apps makes it easy to download an app while from the computer, and send it to a device without needing to have automatic downloads enabled. This also makes installing previously-purchased apps much easier than on the device itself, as huge libraries of previously purchased apps don’t even load in iOS 6!
While those buying new devices and syncing them up the first time will find a lot of clicking to be necessary beforehand, this does make syncing apps with iTunes an infinitely better process.
The iPhone is great not just because it’s a camera, but because it’s also a great photo editing device, along with the iPod touch and especially the iPad. Now, there’s a good chance that some of your most treasured photos are on there already. But it’s not your only camera. Maybe you own a super-sweet DSLR that you use for real photos, and there’s that one photo that would get so many likes on Instagram. Maybe you have an Android phone (gasp!) but want to edit those photos with Camera+. Woe is your fate to have these photos be trapped on these disparate devices!
But lo, there are ways to free them from their digital prisons through many different processes. Despite iOS’s user-friendly reputation, these methods aren’t necessarily as smooth as they should be, as just adding a photo to an iOS device is kind of like walking into Mordor. But what I am here to show you today is a method that is relatively simple, and that involves as little file transformation as possible, so photos should lose little to none of the quality they had, while still being usable on your iOS devices.
Here’s what you’re going to need:
Your photos ready on your computer in JPEG or PNG format.
Now, if you use the app, you’ll see your downloaded files here. Otherwise, if this folder is blank, then just add your photos here – the fact that this supports folders gives it an advantage over using iTunes’s built-in file sharing method, though you will have to open up the folder that you want to add photos to – you cna’t drag and drop files into folders with i-FunBox.
Now, open up GoodReader on your device. The main page of the app should show the files you just added. To add a picture to your Camera Roll, tap on it to open it up, and then tap the camera icon superimposed with an arrow on the bottom taskbar. Repeat this for each photo you want in your Camera Roll. For massive photo libraries, this may take a while, but it will ensure that the actual original photo is being copied to the Camera Roll.
The photos are now resting comfortably in your Camera Roll, ready to be edited, shared, iMessaged, or whatever your heart desires! Have another preferred method for getting your photos on to your iOS device? Let us know in the comments.
As covered in an earlier How-To column, the Purchased apps list is extremely handy for seeing which apps have been downloaded on to your account, and to re-download apps that have been purchased already. By accessing it from the Updates section on iPhone/iPod touch or just selecting its tab on the iPad, a whole world of old apps is there to be rediscovered.
Well, at least if you’re not an appaholic. See, on iOS 6 in particular, if you have a lot of apps in your purchased history (including free downloads), it appears to cause the App Store to crash when trying to pull up the list. It ain’t easy accessing a list of over 1600 apps, apparently. However, there’s a two-fold solution.
First, you can use iTunes on your computer to view your Purchased history. Open up iTunes. Click on iTunes Store in the left sidebar.
Click the Home icon in the upper bar to the left of Music to go the home screen if you’re not already there. On the right side of the window, click Purchased.
Click Apps on the top bar. This takes you to a list with all the apps you’ve ever downloaded, all loaded up at once. It may take a minute, and if you have like 100,000 apps downloaded, it may still crash, but for most people, even the crazy ones like me, it shouldn’t crash! Apps can be downloaded to your computer, and then installed on your device when it is next synchronized. It may also work with automatic downloads enabled.
For those who want to re-download apps that have been removed from public view on the App Store, they will not show up when using the Search bar to filter out the list. However, they will appear when scrolling through the list. Tapping the Sort By: drop-down menu and selecting Name should make it easy to find – all apps are loaded at once, so scroll with care.
Now, for those that may have apps that they really wouldn’t care to see in their Purchased list, like if its presence is causing the App Store to crash, iTunes can be used to remove these apps from the list. Just hover your pointer over the app’s icon, and click the x that appears in the upper-left corner. This will hide it from your Purchased history.
As well, when you go on the App Store, the app will not say “Install” if you search for it, it will appear as if you’ve never downloaded it. Note that for paid apps, this does not mean that you’ve lost your record of having purchased it. If you try to re-buy it, the App Store will pull up a prompt saying that it’s free because you own a previous version of the item. This way, if you change your mind or accidentally remove an app you didn’t mean to get rid of, you can add it back without penalty.
Infinity Blade is the albatross hanging around my iPad’s neck. I put a lot of time into that game, slaying (and being slain by) the God King. That’s time I don’t want to lose, but the app’s large file size is crowding out other apps on my iPad! The game doesn’t have iCloud like the sequel does, so if I delete it, the save disappears into the aether. Or for a note-taking app like Penultimate, there should be an easy way to transfer an entire library of notes over to another device, such as the iPad Mini, without needing to export to sharing services or having to restore an entire device from iCloud.
While iTunes does not offer this functionality, there are ways to do this using third-party software, and without jailbreaking. I’m going to tell you how you can get to your app’s save files, copy them to your computer, and restore them back later – even to completely different devices.
First, download and install i-FunBox. It’s available for Windows and Mac and is free. Start by plugging in to your computer the device that has the save file of choice on it, and plug only this device in. At least on Mac, i-FunBox can only detect one device at a time.
Now, after it loads and the device is recognized by iFunBox, click on User Applications.
Find the app whose data you want to copy. Clicking on the User Applications text itself will open up a list of all applications, and the “Switch View” buttons in the top bar will change between an icon-based grid and a list view. As well, clicking on the dropdown menu on the left will give a quick list of all apps. Double-click on the app whose save files you want to back up.
Open it up, and a screen with several folders and a few files should be available. Ctrl-click (on Mac, Command-click) on the Documents and Library folders to highlight both of these for copying to your computer. Now click the orange arrow facing right that on Mac says Copy To Mac.
Save these files in their own individual folders. Do not let them mingle with other preferences files, lest the wrong save files get copied to their own devices! I created a Backups folder and then an individual sub-folder in that folder for each app’s Documents and Library files.
Now, it’s actually a very simple process to restore an app’s data to a device, hypothetically including to a different one than what you made the backup from. Unplug the original device and plug in the device to be copied to. Follow the same instructions as before to find the exact same app. This means do not copy from an iPad version of an app to an iPhone version or vice versa, as it will most likely not work! Once you’re at the screen with the Documents and Library folders, click the orange Copy From Mac or similar button and ctrl-click or Command-click on the app’s Documents and Library folders. Dragging the folders to the i-FunBox window should work as well. i-FunBox should instantaneously copy the files to the device. Load up the app, and if all has gone well, then the save file should be transferred!
Now, just a word of warning: as this is somewhat of a backdoor method to do this, there’s no guarantee that it will work properly. Transferring preferences files between universal apps should work, but iPhone and iPad versions will likely not. There’s no guarantee that a transferred save file will work, but Infinity Blade and Tilt to Live are confirmed working for me. And remember, keep the folders isolated. If an app won’t load due to messed up configuration files, then deleting it and reinstalling it should solve the problem. Just be very careful.
In iOS 5 with Notification Center, there was finally the ability to get push notifications for all emails that came in through the official Mail app. There was just one problem, not every email is necessarily all that important to make one’s phone go buzzing all willy-nilly.
Thankfully, that’s what the VIP feature in iOS 6 is designed to alleviate. It’s possible to get a push notification when certain people send emails. Setting it up is easy.
Open up Mail. Go to the Mailboxes screen, by tapping the upper left arrow until it disappears. Then tap on VIP. If a VIP has already been set up, then tap the blue arrow on the right. This will open up the VIP list. Tap Add VIP… to set up a contact as a VIP. Only people with email addresses will be selectable as VIPs. Note that as of iOS 6.0, all of a contact’s email addresses are added as a VIP, so separate contact cards will need to be set up for a person in order to not have certain emails show up in VIP.
The VIP inbox should now be selectable from the Inboxes section of Mail, below All Inboxes. This inbox includes all recent email from VIPs, from all accounts.
The beauty of VIP email is that it exists as a different set of rules in Notification Center, so there’s no need to enable all notifications for Mail, or only certain ones like sounds can be enabled while VIPs will appear as a banner. These can be configured from the VIP List screen by tapping VIP Alerts, or by going to Settings -> Notifications -> Mail -> VIP. VIPs can be configured to appear as alerts, and everyone else as banners. Look at them up and their emails up there in that tiny banner. They’re like ants from up here. VIP emails will show in Notification Center with a star to to differentiate from non-VIP email notifications.
There’s a drawback for Gmail users looking to take advantage of VIP notifications: as built-in Gmail support is still Fetch-only, this means that true Push will only work through Gmail accounts set up as Exchange accounts.
Has the VIP inbox helped tame the email beast? Let us know in the comments?
AirPlay Mirroring is great – in theory. Beaming an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch screen to an Apple TV without having to fuss with cables at all? Wonderful! However, apparently beaming HD video across a wireless network is not easy! For those getting blurry video, or latency so slow that it feels like communicating with the moon would be faster, here’s some tips to make AirPlay Mirroring work far better.
Get close to the router
Rule number one of wireless communication: the closer you are to the wireless source, the better the signal. In this case, video will look a lot better. What may help is to set up a second router near your TV as an access point, using a physical ethernet run to the main router. This may be most easily done via powerline ethernet adapters.
Plug the Apple TV into ethernet
Look, the great thing about wifi is that there’s no cables to fuss with. However, because wifi is essentially sound waves traveling through walls and and other waves, as opposed to beams of concentrated light sent on a direct path like with ethernet, a lot of issues can come up because of this. So, if possible, plug the Apple TV in to the router via ethernet. Performance will get better instantaneously as only one the iOS device will have to be wirelessly communicating to the router.
Upgrade that old router
That old Linksys router with the curious blue front and black body may still work fine for many tasks, but even wireless-G is something of a speed and latency dinosaur. Upgrading to a wireless-N router will find video quality and latency much improved. A dual-band router, one that uses both 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz bands, may find improved performance all around.
Upgrade that old Apple TV
The 2nd generation Apple TV, released in 2010, can decode 720p video sent by AirPlay. Just not very quickly. Upgrading to the newer Apple TV, bolstering an A5 processor, can help. But really, there’s one step for getting high-quality, low-latency AirPlay Mirroring:
Get a Mac.
It’s not an officially-supported feature, but there is a third-party app that can do AirPlay Mirroring on the Mac, called Reflection. It’s $15 with a free trial, and it leverages the powerful processor in a Mac (generally more powerful than the ones in Apple TVs) to provide AirPlay Mirroring at probably the lowest latency possible. I was able to get six-digit scores on Punch Quest, and while some latency is definitely noticeable still, it’s the best possible experience. Just get an HDMI cable and plug that bad boy in to the flatscreen!
AirPlay Mirroring will never be perfect because wireless communication is inherently imperfect, but these tips will make the experience far better!
Your computer is a powerful piece of technology, and it usually has a lot of storage space on it, enough to store band discographies that you’ve never even listened to one track off of. Your phone and tablet are great mobile devices, but they’re also great for listening to music and watching videos while at home. So, you’re sitting on your couch or laying in bed, and want to listen to that one album from that band that you’ve never really listened to all the way through. However, you’re too lazy to get up to your computer to actually put it on there. Or maybe you downloaded season 5 of Breaking Bad but your storage space is best measured in kilobyes, not gigabytes. If only there was a way to stream the media from iTunes to your iOS device!
Well, there is, and it’s called iTunes Home Streaming. This streams media from an iTunes library over a local wi-fi network to any iOS device.
Set it up on iTunes first. Log in with the Apple ID of your choosing – it’s best if this is the same Apple ID that was initially set up on the device, and is logged in to iCloud, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be. To manage the Apple ID that is logged in to Home Sharing, go to Settings -> Music or Video and tap Apple ID.
To access music from a local iTunes library, go to the Music app. Tap More, Shared, the name of your iTunes library (configurable from iTunes’s preferences), and then the standard music listings will instead show what is available from the remote library, which can then stream the music to your iOS device.
Now here’s the kicker: it also works for video. As long as the video in the iTunes library is compatible with iOS, then it will play. DRM-protected content purchased from iTunes plays back via Home Sharing too. These videos can also be streamed from AirPlay to an Apple TV. It’s the ultimate in high technology being used for new levels of laziness.
Now, the only real downside to Home Sharing is that it only works over local wi-fi. There are plenty of ways to stream music and video over the internet, but that would fill up a completely different article. Until then, enjoy using thousands of dollars of technology to stream video to TV without getting up to your computer.