Since they’re technically the same game, I’ve added tips for Enemy Within to our pre-existing guide for Enemy Unknown. All of the Enemy Within tips can be found towards the bottom of each category, and are denoted with a bullet point. You can also check out our Enemy Within review right here.
The X-Com series, particularly the earlier games, are notoriously unforgiving. Although while XCOM: Enemy Unknown has been modernized, and is therefore more player friendly, it’s no slouch either. In fact, even on the Normal difficulty there’s a good chance you’re going to get creamed if you try to breeze through it. But all is not lost. If you find that you’re losing soldiers at an alarming rate or keep getting the project disbanded because a bunch of countries freak out and leave, we’ve got a few tips you might want to consider.
Facilities are essential. Your manufacturing and research abilities, as well as your satellites, all require the proper facilities to operate. Completing a terror mission to earn five engineers could be a waste if you don’t have enough workshop space to use them. And that could lead to falling perilously behind in the early game arms race.
Research, research, research. Don’t neglect your scientists! The technologies they can uncover after studying alien corpses and weaponry are essential to giving your soldiers a fighting chance. By the same token, don’t be afraid to take aliens alive. Assuming you can do so with relative safety. It allows you to recover their weapons intact, which can then be equipped on your soldiers or sold for a tidy profit.
Don’t ignore the Council. You might prefer to spend your money and resources on better armor and weapons, but if you don’t get a few satellites in orbit and ignore the Council’s requests you stand to lose immense amounts of funding. Plus you can flat out lose if too many countries abandon the project.
Check your stores often. Sometimes you’ll acquire items you don’t need for research or manufacturing, and these can be sold off in bulk for a decent price. The same goes for alien tech and specimens you’ve fully researched. So long as it isn’t Ellerium or alien alloys there’s a good chance you won’t need it for the long haul.
Build smart. Most facilities belong to one of a few different categories, such as energy production or satellite use. Whenever two facilities belonging to the same category are next to each other either horizontally or vertically (i.e. uplink next to an uplink, etc) they both get a bonus. This is a very good thing.
Pay attention to your upgrades. You won’t necessarily have the chance to develop all of them, but many of the projects you can produce at the Forge (once it’s available) can make a huge difference.
Consider holding off on major tasks. Despite all the open-endedness Enemy Unknown’s story does progress linearly. Every so often an urgent mission or task will appear, and once it’s completed the next phase of the story begins. While the alien forces will get more and more difficult to deal with over time, regardless of where you are in the story, there are benefits to keeping the plot in check. Namely it gives you the opportunity to research better equipment and gather more resources before the endgame.
Don’t rush to build a Cybernetics Lab or a Genetics Lab right away. I know it’ll be tempting to try out all those shiny new toys as soon as possible, but it will take you a while to collect enough Meld (the new alien substance you’ll use to enhance your soldiers) for either one to be useful. You’re better off focusing on keeping your squads well-equipped at the start – you can always build either (or both) structures later.
Both cybernetic and genetic augmentations take time, so plan accordingly. No matter if you’re turning your soldiers into hulking death machines or enabling them to leap several stories into the air, you’ll need to wait a few days – in addition to the upfront money and Meld costs, of course. You’ll want to pace yourself so you don’t end up with half (or more) of your best soldiers stuck in surgery or whatever when the aliens start a new terror campaign.
MECs don’t use equipment. If you do ever turn a soldier into a MEC trooper, know that they won’t be able to use any of their old equipment. If you plan to augment one or two of your soldiers and they happen to be using nice armor or weapons, you can pass them along to the others and save a few million bucks on production costs.
Pay close attention to soldiers’ skills. Plan accordingly. Try to select skills that compliment each other, such as the heavy’s Holo-Targeting (accuracy bonus to all squad members when firing on an enemy) and the sniper’s Squad Sight (can target any enemy that other soldiers see, no matter the distance, so long as there’s a clear path to the target).
Consider having two or more of each elite class. It can take some effort but will be worth it. It enables you to create various soldiers with skills that are ideal for a variety of situations; such as a sniper that specializes in large, outdoor environments or an assault soldier ideal for cramped locations.
Upgrade the barracks. Don’t forget about the Officer Training School. Many of the upgrades you can acquire can be a huge help throughout the game; especially the ones that increase the squad size. Check in every so often as more options become available as your soldiers gain higher ranks.
Don’t ignore the support class. Having a medic on the team can mean the difference between a favorite soldier spending a few days in the infirmary or getting their own epitaph. Plus their smoke grenades can really help out in a pinch.
Sidearms can be your best friend. Pistols may not seem all that great at first, but they can mean the difference between life and death; especially plasma pistols. Make sure to give your most powerful handguns to your snipers as they can’t move and fire their rifle in the same turn unless they learn a specific perk. Otherwise, if you intend to move them at all, make sure they have rockin’ pistols. And make the effort to manufacture the pistol upgrades when you can, too. I’ve had my snipers take down enemies from quite a distance during their reaction shots using only a pistol on several occasions.
You wanna live? Get a S.H.I.V. The S.H.I.V. is a small robotic vehicle, not unlike a human-sized tank. They’re no replacement for a battle-hardened soldier but with enough research and development they can be quite devastating. Plus they’re the perfect expendable solution to filling an injured soldier’s spot on the squad during a mission.
Use the right armor. You might think it’s clever to put every single soldier in your squad into the most durable armor you can find, but it’s more likely to hinder them. For example, snipers shouldn’t be on the front lines, and therefore could benefit a lot more from armors that may not be super-tough but can help them reach the high ground easier.
Award medals to your soldiers as soon as you get them. Medals another of the new additions in Enemy Within, and you can use them to give your favorite soldiers a slight boost to various skills or attributes. Each medal can be assigned one of two permanent buffs (in other words, once you pick a medal’s effect you won’t be able to change it), so you’ll also want to think about what will be best for the long haul rather than what might be handy in the moment.
No matter how cool it sounds, don’t turn everybody into cyber soldiers. Sure MEC troopers are a force to be reckoned with, but they aren’t as adaptable as regular or genetically modified soldiers. One or two MECs will probably be enough. And MEC suits are interchangeable, so even if you lose a cybernetic soldier you can still pass their rig onto someone else.
Autopsies lead to more modifications. As with the rest of your technology, the more types of aliens you autopsy the more gene and cyber mods you unlock. If you want to really dig into either of these new sub classes, make sure you don’t dawdle when it comes to cutting those bodies open.
The Foundry can be a MEC trooper’s best friend. In addition to a few new projects that benefit regular soldiers (such as giving everyone the ability to carry two items), there are quite a few that are specifically tailored for MEC troops. Things like improved armor durability and movement. Make sure you check these projects out if you’re serious about cybernetics.
Converted MEC troopers keep their ranks. This is important because, just like regular soldiers, higher ranks means more skills. If you convert a high-ranking soldier into a MEC trooper, you’ll be able to access the same number of skills from the MEC skill tree. It gives you a bit of a head-start, as it were.
Both cyber and gene mods are irreversible. The game makes sure to tell you this, but it bears repeating: once you modify a soldier, you cannot go back. On a similar note, MEC troopers can never be genetically modified or vise-versa.
Cars can, and will, explode. It seems obvious but I can’t stress the importance of keeping an eye out for burning vehicles enough. Cars and trucks do provide decent cover, but once they catch fire it’s only a matter of time until they blow. And you don’t want your soldiers near them when that happens. So take a moment to see if the vehicle you plan to move to, or are currently hiding behind, is a ticking time bomb before you make a move.
Don’t take unnecessary risks. It’s often better to miss out on alien tech than to lose a skilled soldier. Take it slow and don’t spread out too much. If a soldier encounters an alien squad and no one can reach them within a turn or two, they could be in serious trouble. Splitting up into groups of two or three is usually the best way to go. At least until your soldiers reach the higher ranks.
Head for the high ground. Everyone, soldiers and aliens alike, benefits from a higher elevation. The higher up you are, the better your accuracy and the worse your enemy’s is. It’s not worth taking unnecessary risks to get to the top of a building or anything like that, but if you have the chance to take a higher vantage point then do it.
Never, ever, ever, ever, blindly rush in to a room. It doesn’t matter if it’s a UFO, base, regular mission, or terror site. It’s a sure-fire way to get vaporized. Approach with caution instead. Get at least two soldiers into good positions, preferably with one next to a door or window, and go into Overwatch. Then carefully open the door or peek in on your next turn.
Approach all newly encountered alien species with extreme caution. At least until you know what they’re capable of, and especially if you’re new to X-Com. What looks like a pushover could quite possibly decimate your entire squad if given enough of an opportunity. Just assume every new life form you encounter is the most dangerous creature you’re ever going to face and you should be all right.
Take ‘em alive. It’s not always feasible, or worth the risk, but when you can you should try to capture an alien or two alive. Not only can their interrogation lead to new research opportunities, you’ll be able to recover their weapons intact which could save you a fortune in engineering costs.
Push forward at the beginning of your turn, not the end. When you move ahead into unknown territory you always run the risk of encountering a squad of aliens. Believe me, it’s much better to discover them after only moving one or two soldiers than all of them. It leaves the entire squad incredibly vulnerable, especially in the later levels.
Keep Chryssalids as far away as possible at all times. You’ll typically see these spider-like aliens during terror missions but they can (and will) appear elsewhere. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE. Trust me.
Surprise attacks are possible. While the aliens are definitely at an advantage most of the time, they aren’t omnipotent. Use this to lure them into a trap on occasion. If your soldiers can’t see them, they can’t see your soldiers, so it’s possible to set a few up in key locations and use one of your own as a decoy to draw them into range.
Don’t underestimate Sectoids. Sectoids are the most “normal” of Enemy Unknown’s, and possibly the most common. However, while they aren’t particularly durable they can use their telepathic abilities to strengthen their comrades. However, if you kill a Sectoid while its mind is merged with another alien both will die. Keep that in mind.
Pick augmentations that suit a soldier’s class. Most of the genetic modifications you can research are useful in a variety of situations, but some are far more tailored to certain types of solders than others. For example, giving your sniper the ability to jump super-high will make it much easier for them to reach the high ground in a hurry. The modification that prevents poison and strangling is also great for snipers as they tend to hang back in combat, which leaves them susceptible to the new Seeker enemies (think robotic flying stealth squids). Similarly, it’s most beneficial to give your scouts (typically Assault or Support classes) mods that allow them to ‘sense’ enemies that are still hidden.
MEC troopers are not invincible. Oh sure they’re more durable than regular soldiers but they’re also bigger targets and they can’t use cover. Until you’ve got a high-ranking soldier using a second or third tier MEC suit, you’ll want to avoid using them as walking, talking shields.
Try to use two MEC troopers, one with each kind of secondary weapon. The flamethrower can be monstrously effective against Chryssalids, especially when they group up, but it has a very limited number of uses during a mission and the lack of range makes it a poor choice against targets with guns. Foundry upgrades can make it more formidable, though. Conversely, the pneumatic fist (I don’t care what it’s actually called, that’s what I’ve dubbed it) has absolutely no range. However, it can one-shot most small enemies and may even knock them several feet through a wall. It can also be a very effective (and cool looking) way to finish off larger enemies like Berserkers and the new Mechtoid.
Play around with new types of equipment when you can.Enemy Within also sports a number of new secondary items for your soldiers to carry into battle such as grenades that can stun your enemies temporarily and special ammo that deals significant amounts of damage but isn’t useful over long distances. There’s no reason you shouldn’t try most (or all) of these new toys out – especially once all of your soldiers can carry two items apiece.
Do NOT investigate the fishing village. Trust me.
The Most Important Thing
Be prepared to lose. A lot. Newcomers, especially. XCom is a fair game, but it’s also fairly unforgiving. A few wrong decisions early on could create a ripple effect that totally undermines your progress later (see previous tips about selling gear and tending to the Council). Depending on the difficulty and options selected you could also lose a beloved soldier in a flash thanks to one silly mistake. Avoiding these situations is incredibly difficult, but learning from them doesn’t have to be.
If you’ve got your own tips and strategies you’d like to recommend feel free to chime in below. With the odds stacked so firmly against us, We’ll need whatever help we can get.
The Clock app. Not much to it, right? Wrong. There’s some little tweaks and intricacies that you should know about that can help make this core system app better to use.
The World Clock section can display the times from various cities. Just tap the + in the upper-right corner to add a city. Tap the time to switch between analog and digital clocks. City searching is a bit frustrating in that it only supports a limited number of cities. Thus, for comparing where you are to other world cities, you may need to choose a city in your time zone that isn’t where you are. For example, Lubbock, TX isn’t in the list of cities despite being where I got my start, and the home of America’s dreamiest football coach, Kliff Kingsbury. So, you may need to put in a larger city near you in your time zone. You can also search by country, not just city name, if you just need to find a city in a country somewhere to compare your time to.
The Alarm section of course allows for various alarms to be set, but there’s a variety of options here. Repeat allows for one alarm to be used on a regular basis, so you can set an alarm for weekdays, and one for weekends, or any combination of days, and not have to worry about setting it before you go to sleep. You can also label alarms individually. The Sound function works with songs, alert tones, and ringtones, so you can wake up to whatever you so choose. Snooze can be disabled for those who know that they’d get up way too late if they snooze too much. However, now when you snooze, the lock screen shows how long the snooze is for.
The Stopwatch is a stopwatch. You can use the Lap timer to list any lap times, though the data can’t be copied and exported in any way, unfortunately.
The Timer can be used to set off an alarm a certain number of hours or minutes from whe it is set. It has one incredibly useful feature that you may not be aware of. Think that the When Timer Ends section is just for selecting which alert to play? Nope! Scroll all the way to the bottom and enable Stop Playing and when the timer ends, if you have a music app playing, sound will stop being played. Note that Spotify has a bug with it, but it works for the built-in music app and Pandora. This way, you can fall asleep to music without it wasting power your bandwidth.
And of course, the system time can be set by going to Settings->General->Date & Time. Here you can configure 24-Hour Time to show 13:31 instead of 1:31 PM for example, choose to have the network set the time automatically, and manually choose your time zone, though automatic time setting will try to locate which time zone you’re in automatically. You can enable or disable this in Settings->Privacy->Location Services->System Services->Setting Time Zone.
Hopefully you now know all the useful little things you can do with this otherwise-straightforward function!
Does your job have you responding to lots of emails saying the same basic thing? Create a shortcut with a good canned response to save some time and thought.
Fix common typos
iOS’ built-in autocorrect is useful, but sometimes its autocorrect can try to correct to phrases that aren’t what you want. So, make your common mistake the shortcut, and the corrected version your phrase. This will take preference over autocorrect’s suggestion so you can create your own autocorrections!
As well, autocorrect works for text shortcuts you’ve created. So if you make a typo for a shortcut, autocorrect will fix it to the correct shortcut and correct expanded text. You don’t have to be perfect – just close.
Only use the emoji you want
Like to use certain emoji but hate having the international keyboard button? Well, it’s possible to have only certain emojis be triggered by using a keyboard shortcut. Just enable the emoji keyboard, insert the emoji(s) in the phrase section, and then create a useful shortcut. Want to insert the US flag into tweets? Just create a usflag keyboard shortcut.
You can then disable the emoji keyboard and it will still work – it’s a system font, so it will work even if the keyboard is disabled. This works with any international keyboard, too, though emojis are more fun.
Insert frequently-used URLs
Constantly need to link to something? Set the URL as the phrase and set an easy-to-remember shortcut. This is perfect for reaction images or for, you know, more serious purposes. But mostly for GIFs.
What kind of shortcuts should I use?
Make sure that they’re phrases that don’t conflict with actual words. I like to make six-character shortcuts, usually making the first three relate to the topic of the shortcut, and the last three being something about the shortcut. It needs to be simple, memorable, and short enough to justify you saving time! Note that shortcuts do sync up between iCloud devices, so you don’t have to worry about having to recreate shortcuts when you pick up your other device.
Keyboard text shortcuts are a great way to save time – using them is a great way to make the use of your device more efficient! Go on and be short!
iOS 7 contains two new options for managing contacts: blocked contacts and short names.
Blocking a contact will prevent that contact from calling, messaging, or FaceTiming you. Blocked contacts can be added in two ways: You can do it from a message by tapping the Contact text in the upper-right corner, and then tapping the (i). From Phone or from FaceTime in the Recents list, tap the (i) icon next to the contact.
After tapping the (i), scroll down to Block Caller. Tap this, read the warning text, and then tap Block Contact. This will block the contact. They don’t inherently have to be in your contacts list, you just have to have received a message or call from the number or email address in order to add them to your list.
You can manage your blocked contacts not in the Mail, Contacts, and Calendars section, but from any of the Phone, Messages, or FaceTime sections in Settings.
You can remove blocked contacts from this section, and add new contacts to the list from contacts already in your book.
For the blocked contact, their iMessages will show as delivered, but will not pop up on your device. FaceTime calls will ring on their device, but not on yours. Same with phone calls – your device just pretends that they don’t exist.
Now, for the people that you do want to hear from, one of the new contact options in iOS 7 is the Short Name option. This controls the way that contact names are displayed in apps like Messages. It allows for names to be displayed in a brief way, as opposed to just displaying the whole name entirely.
You can configure Short Name by going to Settings and Mail, Contacts, Calendars. The Short Name icon is under the Contacts header. By default,Short Name is set to display just the first name only, and to prefer nicknames for contacts. The settings are all fairly self-explanatory: having First Name & Last Initial will show my short name as Carter D, for example.
These features should help you manage your contacts in a much better way and make sure the people you don’t want to hear from are ignored, and the people you do are shown in the way you want!
Notification Center may be nothing new to iOS users, but iOS 7 brings a bit of an overhaul to the veritable notification bar. Here’s a guide to what’s new, what’s different, and what’s been removed.
The first big change is that there are now three sections to Notification Center: Today, All, and Missed.
Today replaces many of the widgets that were originally displayed at the top of Notification Center. This shows the current weather in a human-readable forecast, saying what the weather today will be, what the current temperature is, and what the high will be. Below this, Notification Center will tell you what events you have today and show you which events are coming up in the next few hours. Below this, the Stocks widget is displayed. At the bottom, the summary of events for the next day is displayed.
All is the traditional list of notifications: based on how they are sorted in Settings, apps’ recent notifications will all display here as they come in. Tap the X next to an app’s name in this view to clear out all of that app’s notifications.
Missed shows notifications as well, but only ones that appeared while the device was locked. These are not sorted by app, but are sorted purely by when they came in. Clearing the app’s notifications out of All or opening up the app the notifications came from will clear it out of Missed.
As well, Notification Center is now available from the lock screen, so you can see the Today, All, and Missed notification views from this screen. As well, you must swipe on the notification itself to open it up – the bottom Slide to unlock bar will always unlock the device, not view the most recent notification.
Many of the settings for Notification Centerremain the same as they were in previous versions, particularly arranging notifications for the All view, but there’s new settings for the new features. You can control Access on Lock Screen to enable or disable access to the Today view and to view notifications while the device is locked. Disable both to disable the Notification Center pulldown on the lock screen entirely.
The Today View settings control which widgets appear in Notification Center. Most notably, the ability to share to Twitter and Facebook from Notification Center has been removed.
This covers the changes to Notification Center in iOS 7. Now go on, be notified! Be aware!
Perhaps the biggest addition to iOS 7 is the new Control Center, which makes common setting toggles available from anywhere with a simple gesture. Here’s how to use it and to configure its options.
To call up Command Center, just swipe up from the bottom of the screen, like you would swipe from the top to open up Notification Center. This works from the lock screen as well.
Many of the controls that were available by double-tapping and swiping left-to-right in previous iOS versions are available here. The new multitasking bar has no actual controls.
The top row of commands from left to right toggles Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and Orientation Lock. The first four can now be toggled from any app, instead of having to open up Setting to specifically toggle the features. Below that is the brightness dial. Auto-brightness toggling is sadly not yet available from Command Center, which would be a handy toggle for saving battery life, like disabling Bluetooth is.
Below the brightness toggle is the music and volume controls. These are expanded from the standard music controls in iOS 6 and earlier, in that there’s more than just play/pause buttons. It’s possible to see track name, artist, album, and current play time, with the ability to seek to a different time. Of course, reverse/pause/forward buttons are available, with the forward and reverse commands changing to jump 15 seconds commands when Podcasts is playing a track.
The AirDrop setting allows you to toggle whether AirDrop, the new feature for sharing content from apps with other local users, is disabled, enabled for contacts only, or enabled for everyone nearby. This will enable both wi-fi and Bluetooth if they are disabled. The text will be black when disabled, and will turn white when enabled, and will display which setting is enabled when there’s not an AirPlay receiver nearby. This is the other option on this row, and it allows for audio, video, and/or mirroring playback to AirPlay receivers on the same network.
The bottom row has quick shortcuts to four built-in features. On the left: Flashlight, meaning that it’s time to dump that flashlight app for good. Second from left is a shortcut to the Timer in the Clock app. This means setting an alarm is just an additional tap away. Second from right is Calculator, and on the right is Camera. This makes these features easier than ever to activate.
Settings has a Control Center section, but there’s only two toggles: Access on Lock Screen and Access Within Apps. The former configures whether Control Center can be accessed from the lock screen, and the latter whether it can be accessed within apps. For some intense games, this may be a good setting to have, but much like Notification Center a quick inadvertent swipe will not open it up, it will just call up an arrow to swipe to open it up, so it shouldn’t open unless by the user’s volition. Still, that’s why this setting exists!
Control Center makes using an iOS device more convenient as many toggles are now available without switching apps. Settings just might feel lonely without all that attention now!
Powered by Find My iPhone, the still-misnomered service that tracks and locates a user’s iOS devices, Activation Lock makes a device that gets reset to be unusable unless it is logged in to with the iCloud username and password that was used to reset it. It’s the nuclear option that can make a stolen device unusable if the worst comes to worst.
Go in to Find My iPhone, either on an iOS device registered with the same iCloud account as the lost device, or on iCloud.com. Open up your device. Now, you need to choose whether you want to do Lost Mode or to Erase the device.
Lost Mode works the same as it did before: it automatically locks the device, and creates a temporary passcode if one is not set in order to make sure that the device can’t be used by someone who shouldn’t be using it. As well, it is possible to add a message that someone with the device will see on the lock screen. But they can still theoretically erase it and use it for themselves.
However, when choosing to erase the device from Find My iPhone, now what happens after it is erased is that not only is the Lost Device message that was input with optional phone number is shown:
But also, when trying to set up the device, the unlucky thief will now have to log in with the iCloud account that was set up with Find My iPhone to reset the device.
This makes it so that unless the person knows the Apple ID and password of the person they stole it from (which is highly unlikely), the device will be virtually unusable. Whether this helps to deter thieves is unknown, but it will help ensure that any thief not only won’t have access to data, but the device they stole will be a brick, too. Just remember to have Find My iPhone set up to begin with!
iOS 7 brings not only a radical new look to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, it also brings new tweaks and features that make the iOS experience better. Upgrading to the latest version on compatible devices is fairly painless, but there are things you need to know before you get started.
Which devices can upgrade to iOS 7?
The iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 can upgrade to iOS 7. The iPhone 5c and 5s will come with it preinstalled.
Only the iPod touch 5th generation (the widescreen model released in 2012) can be upgraded to iOS 7.
The iPad 2, iPad Mini, iPad 3rd generation, and iPad 4th generation can all be updated to iOS 7.
Note that not all features will come to all devices: the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and iPad 3rd generation won’t get AirDrop, for example.
How to update?
The easiest way is to just do an over-the-air update: go to Settings -> General -> Software Update. Once the update is live, the device will download the latest update and install it when ready. You will need to be on wi-fi, and eventually need to be plugged in, to install it.
You can also install from iTunes, but this may take longer as iTunes will download and install the entire update file. Update to iTunes 11.1, which should be available as iOS 7 launches. Plug the device into your computer and open iTunes. On the device’s summary page, click Check for Update. If the update is ready, then iTunes will download it and install it.
Now, Apple’s servers will most likely be absolutely hammered in the period after the iOS 7 release and as the new iPhones release later in the week. What you may want to do in order to make the process quicker is to download the file externally – find a trusted website with an externally-hosted version of the file, and install the update manually. It’s the same as installing in iTunes, just hold down Alt on Windows or Option on Mac and click the Check for Update button. You can then open the IPSW file that contains the update manually.
As well, with a new software update it may be a good time to do a fresh start on your device. In iTunes, you can click (or option-click if you have the file) Restore to start anew on iOS 7, or to even just restore from the backup, which may help clear out some lingering bugs and errors that occur over time.
Apple has made the installation process of iOS 7 to be very easy, so go ahead! Take the plunge!
iOS 7 is imminent. With Apple announcing new iPhone(s) this week, the final version of iOS 7 seems imminent. Thus, it’s time to prepare to upgrade in case anything goes wrong. Here’s what you can do to ready yourself for iOS 7.
If you download and install the update on your device, you will naturally want to make sure that you have room to download the file, of course. But you will also want to have plenty of room to update your apps. Many developers will be issuing updates to their apps to ensure that they are compatible with the released version of iOS 7. Many ensure that their apps work with the betas, but things can obviously change between now and then. Especially for large games, it’s recommended to free up some space around this time. As well, you need enough free space that’s double the size of the app in order to update it. Might be time to do a good spring cleaning?
Know how to update!
You can obviously update on your device itself since iOS 6 introduced this feature, but you may want to download and install the update via your computer. iTunes will let you download the file on to your computer, but you can also obtain it through other sources like downloading through a web browser or through a mirror (since Apple servers will likely be hammered) and install iOS 7 from the downloaded file.
Installation will take time. App downloads will take time. Developers may be slow to update apps because many developers are not large faceless corporations, but actually just individuals or small teams working part-time. So be patient: you likely won’t be able to get everything you want right away!
Have issues with firewalls on a local network? Need to connect to work networks for reasons of work? Just want to get privacy while browsing? Setting up a VPN is easy on iOS.
To set up a standard VPN connection, start by going to Settings -> General -> VPN. Tap Add VPN Connection. Choose the protocol that your VPN connection uses from the three protocol choices.
Use Description to create a name for the service. Server will be the server that gets connected to – this may be a URL or an IP address. RSA SecurID may be used by your VPN connection, toggle it if necessary. If off, then the Password section will appear. Put your password in this section. Encryption Level will determine just how much of the connection is encrypted. Send All Traffic will determine if all traffic gets sent to the VPN or not.
To enable the VPN, you can either turn on the connection by enabling it in the VPN section, or by turning on the new VPN toggle that appears in the main section of Settings. If the connection works, a VPN icon will appear in the status bar to indicate when you are connected to the VPN.
Some specialized VPN connections, like OpenVPN, require being set up in an app. For example, OpenVPN Connect, the official app from the creators of OpenVPN, works for opening those connections up. They require loading a file with the connection information in it, which can be added either by importing files from Private Tunnel, an OpenVPN Access Server, from iTunes local file storage, or by opening up a file from another app.
Once you input your credentials, you can sign in using the app you originally used to sign in with. The credentials will appear in the VPN section, but you must connect through the original app.
While many VPN services are paid, there are some free ones out there: a great way to try out the feature is through VPNbook.
In-app purchases, especially in regard to kids making them (often accidentally), remains a hot topic. Apple is poised to launch new restrictions on some apps that offer them, but for parents, it is important to know how to keep accounts secure by restricting in-app purchases.
Apple’s built-in parental controls, available in the Settings app under General then Restrictions, contain options for restricting in-app purchases.
The first of the two settings that you will want to consider is the In-App Purchases toggle, which will allow you to disable them entirely. Apps will either report that IAP is disabled or that the app is not connected to the internet.
As well, you can require Require Password immediately, which will make any new purchase from the App Store, in-app or otherwise, require the user’s password to be immediately re-entered. This way, you can make a one-time purchase without future ones being automatically approved.
Now, there’s not necessarily an easy way to disable these restrictions temporarily without going back in to the Restrictions menu and temporarily re-enabling them. As well, disabling Restrictions entirely will reset all settings. So, for someone loaning their device to their kids, it’s not the best solution.
Separate iTunes account with gift cards only
One other solution is to create a separate iTunes account that’s funded only by gift cards. Normally iTunes accounts must be tied to a credit card, but there is a way to create one that isn’t tied to a form of payment.
The trick is similar to creating an account in a different country. Go to the iTunes Store on your computer and log out of your current account. Go to download a free app. Choose to register an account and complete the process. When you put in your billing information, None should be the selected option, only available by trying to download a free app. You now have an account that doesn’t have a credit card tied to it. You can redeem gift cards on to this account to provide credit for IAP and buying apps without needing to be connected to an alternate form of payment. This is perfect for kids’ accounts.
To switch between accounts on the device itself, just scroll to the bottom of the App Store, tap on your account, and choose to Sign Out. Then the next user can sign in either through that same prompt or when going to download an app and/or make a payment. I recommend disabling automatic downloads – sometimes Apple will force an Apple ID to remain logged in to a device with them enabled.
Hopefully these tips make controlling in-app purchases much easier. Apple could still do a lot to make them less of a hassle for users who share devices, but in the absence of such mechanisms (or apps that target kids with expensive purchases), it’s up to parents to be educated about the features of the advanced technology they want their kids to enjoy and benefit from.
iCloud, much like life, is a scary and often unknowable thing that doesn’t always work the way it should. But much like life, if you know the little things and tweaks, you can make it work much better for you. I think that’s how life works, anyway. At least that’s how iCloud’s settings works. Here’s a guide to the iCloud settings menu.
The iCloud settings are available in the Settings app, under the iCloud section when you scroll down. Here, you’ll see a bunch of different toggles and sections to browse.
Account allows you to control which account is currently logged in to iCloud across the device. As well, you can change the description of the account, modify your storage plan and payment information, and set up advanced email options.
The various switches for Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Safari, Notes, and Passbook will toggle those features on or off for the iCloud account that’s currently logged in, for those who don’t want that info to sync. For certain features, a prompt will appear to have the current local data deleted or not.
The Photo Stream option will allow for uploading to Photo Streams and for Shared Photo Streams to be toggled as well.
Documents & Data will allow you to disable apps uploading data to iCloud, such as games that save to iCloud. You can also toggle Use Cellular Data to help save data fees when on the go. Find My iPhone’s toggle allows you to enable or disable finding your iOS device with the Find My iPhone service. Storage & Backup allows you to view how much storage you have left in your account. Change Storage Plan lets you pay for more storage. The iCloud Backup toggle allows you to enable or disable backing up to iCloud when plugged in. You can also force the backup by tapping Back Up Now.
The Manage Storage section lets you see which devices are being backed up to iCloud, and control what specifically gets backed up to iCloud and to delete the backup entirely. If you select the backup on the device you’re currently on, then toggles for each app’s backup will be shown, allowing you to disable backing up that app to iCloud. You can disabled syncing of Camera Roll photos and videos to iCloud to save storage space, for example. Or if an app uses a lot of local storage that you don’t necessarily need synced up, you can disable it. Scrolling to the bottom and tapping Delete Backup will allow you to delete that backup form iCloud, but you can’t restore from it in the future.
The Documents & Data section lets you see which apps are storing how much data in iCloud. Apps that just use key value data won’t be shown, but games that use save files to sync up between devices will be shown here, too. You can also delete any files as necessary.
Now you know how to properly use the iCloud settings menu, and knowing is half the battle.
Apple recently suffered a security breach when the iOS Developer Portal had information stolen from it, purportedly by a ‘researcher’. The point is, not even Apple is immune to hackers, and you need to protect your identity as best as you can because you never know who will get their hands on it. You need to secure your online accounts as best as possible.
One way to protect your information is to use an app like 1Password to generate and track secure passwords for all your accounts. There are other apps that can be used to similar effect, but 1Password is one of the most robust solutions and also is cross-platform, with support for syncing up to PC and Mac versions of the app, along with universal iOS support. Now, if you’ve got your hands on it, let’s begin.
You’ll first be prompted to set up and enter a Master Password. Make sure that this is something incredibly memorable and secure, as it is used to decrypt your 1Password info. Developer AgileBits has a handy guide toward ensuring that your master password is secure.
Now, go to categories, choose one, and hit the + button. For this, let’s choose Logins. You can rename the text that says Login to the name of the service. Put in your username. Now, for the password section, you can either put in your current password, or tap the combination lock icon to generate a new one. It’s possible to customize the length, and to customize the ‘recipe’ that comprises the password in order to make it pronounceable (and easier to remember) or to make it as random and secure as possible.
Now, if you go to this login once done customizing its details, tapping on the password will let you copy its data to the clipboard so that you don’t have to remember it, or reveal it to you as a reminder. As well, the app’s web browser lets you automatically input passwords for logins and other info. You can also set up 1Password in the settings to sync up to iCloud and Dropbox to make the info available on other devices.
Passwords, however, can still be cracked; so two-step verification is a great step to take toward ensuring that your identity is protected by giving you verification codes on a trusted device. Apple supports it, as outlined in this earlier guide. Google supports it as well, and it’s well worth setting up as it adds a trust element that’s more than just a string of characters. Stay safe out there!
Many people use Google accounts to get their email, contacts, and calendars on iOS. If these accounts were compromised, it’d be a bad situation. However, there’s one way to ensure account safety: by setting up two-factor authentication. Google supports it for accounts, and iOS can use it, but there are some special things to know for iOS users.
To set it up, go to your account dashboard and configure the Manage security section. Click Edit next to 2-step verification and then click to start the process. Put in your phone number. Google will send a text to this number with a 6-digit verification code. Enter it in. Then choose whether the computer you’re setting up 2-step verification from is trusted. Finally, confirm that you want to enable it, and voila! 2-step verification is now enabled.
Keep the page that it goes to open, there are a couple of settings worth configuring here. This page can be reaccessed from the 2-step verification section under “manage security” in the account dashboard. Yes, it’s a bit buried.
While codes by default will come in via SMS, if you install the Google Authenticator you can get codes over wi-fi to a trusted device.
Now, for things like the iOS settings for mail, contacts, and calendars, a special app-specific password will need to be generated, because these do not have the ability to redirect to a web page for the second step of the verification process. From the 2-step verification settings, click on the link to Manage application-specific passwords. Now here, it will be possible to name an application or device with a password that will bypass the second step of authentication. These passwords can be revoked at any time, but will also only be displayed by Google once. Generate a password and enter it in to your account’s settings on iOS immediately.
By enabling 2-step verification on your Google account, you have now helped to make it more secure by adding that trusted device and that extra step to get in. It’s a bit more inconvenient, but given all the important data on your Google account, isn’t it worth it?
Apple’s iMessage is great. Sending messages without using up text plan messages or over wifi? Brilliant! Plus, typing out messages on the iPad or from a Mac is so much better. But there’s plenty of little settings that can modify your experience, or make it difficult if you ever switch phones. Here’s our guide to helping clear up how to use iMessage.
From your device, to enable or disable iMessage, go to Settings -> Messages. The very first switch will allow you to disable iMessage if you’d rather not deal with it altogether.
Send Read Receipts will send a mark that a message was read to your conversation partners after you read a new message. Don’t want others to know? Turn this off.
Send as SMS will allow you to send messages as standard messages over cellular if data is not available. This way you can seamlessly transition between iMessage and SMS without a beat. If a message fails to send over iMessage, tap and hold on it in the Messages app. That will pull up an option to resend it as a Text Message.
Now, it’s possible to send and receive iMessages from not just your phone number but your email address as well. To add a new email address, go to the Send & Receive section. Tap Add Another Email… and then type in the email address you want to add. Open the email in your account to confirm the email. A notification will be sent when it is added.
If you want to customize which address your iMessages are sent from, choose the phone number or email address from the Start new conversations from: section. Now, when you send a new message, your message will be identified as the email or phone number that you’ve chosen. If you’ve just switched phone numbers, this can prevent confusion.
If you have an iPad, you can set your messages to be sent from your phone number once it is added from an iPad.
Now, let’s say that you switch over to an Android, and you want to make sure that when iPhone users send you a message, it is sent as a text message and not as an iMessage that you wouldn’t get on your phone. The easiest way to handle this is to go to Apple’s My Support Profile page and delete your old device. Open your device’s page and Unregister the device. You can also reset the password of your Apple ID account from the web which should cause iMessage to log out on your old device, not allowing it to be used for your old phone number any more.
Of course, you’d never leave the iPhone, would you? Right? Don’t tell anyone, but I won’t judge you.
iOS’ devices volume settings are anything but straightforward, what with the different volume levels, switches, and inconsistent rules of what plays sound and what doesn’t when it should be silent. Hopefully this guide will make controlling the volume more clear, so as to understand why some things are loud, and some things are not!
There’s two different volume settings to be aware of: the ringer volume and the sound volume. The ringer volume controls phone ringtones and notification sounds. The sound volume controls the output of sound from games, videos, and music.
Now, it’s possible to control the ringer volume either manually or to have it set to a specific volume. The latter might be handy for those who don’t want to accidentally make their ringer quiet, or just like to have one set volume. Go to Settings->Sounds. Set Change with Buttons to off. Drag the volume slider to your desired setting. Disable Change with Buttons to make the volume buttons always control the sound volume.
Now, music and especially videos run into a fairly annoying problem: they don’t respect the iPhone’s mute switch for playing sounds. Sitting in a meeting, and suddenly that baseball game’s sound starts playing? Awkward! The prevailing thought on Apple’s side seems to be that by playing one of these despite having the silent switch on, that the user wants sound to play. For music, sure, makes sense. For videos, especially live streaming of sports? Nope. Be careful: ensure that the sound volume is muted as well as the ringer volume before starting.
If you want to ensure that you are lowering the sound volume and not just the ringer volume if you have the volume buttons set to control both, double-tap the home button and swipe to the left until you see the volume control. This takes two swipes on iPhone and iPod touch, one on iPad.
This all gets especially confusing considering that the iPod touch and iPad have a virtual mute switch that is all-encompassing, meaning it will quiet music and videos as well. This is available from the multitasking bar as well by double-tapping and swiping left. This is not available on the iPhone, and it will not display on the iPad if your side switch is set to mute. You can configure what the side switch does in Settings -> General.
Finally, the Music section of Settings has some additional olptions for the built-in music app and volume. Sound Check will attempt to level the volume of all songs. Volume Limit will set a maximum volume for listening to music so as to ensure that you don’t blow your ears out with your headphones!
This should hopefully demystify what the different sound settings do. Turn it up to 11! Or don’t.
Why use a separate app to edit your photos? The built-in Photos app offers a variety of basic features for sharing and editing photos that may just handle most usage cases without needing to launch a separate app to make rudimentary changes to photos. This is how to use the Photos app!
Launch the app and choose one of the photos that you want to view and/or edit. You are first presented with the Share arrow for posting to various social networks, sending it to people, or other options. The Play arrow will start playing a slideshow of photos in the album the current photo is in. The AirPlay icon will send the photo to an Apple TV on the network. The trash can icon will delete the photo. Don’t expect this to look the same in iOS 7, what with the death of skeumorphism and all.
The real fun starts with the Edit button in the upper right corner. The rotate button will change the orientation of the photo, which is handy if photos have come out sideways. It rotates photos in a counter-clockwise 90-degree turn with each press.
The wand icon will turn on auto-enhance, which adjusts light and color levels in the photo automatically to try and make it look better. Tap the icon again to toggle it, and tap Save in the upper-right corner to save the change. The red circle with a line through it is the red-eye removal tool. Tap on a photo with red-eye and it will be removed if the app detects red-eye. Finally, the crop icon will allow for photos to be cropped. This is grat for making precise changes when wnating to share a photo to Instagram, or creating a new Twitter avatar. Use the Constrain option to force the cropping section to a certain ratio.
The forthcoming iOS 7 update will add new features like filters to the existing set along with a new design, so be prepared to do even more with photos, from Photos!
Apple’s AirPort routers are easy to set up and come with great compatibility with Apple devices. However easy to set up they are, it’s still important to know what you’re doing. Here’s a how-to guide on setting up an AirPort from your iOS device.
When you plug in your AirPort, go to Settings -> Wi-Fi, and choose to Set up an AirPort Base Station. Name the network and give it a password, and you’ll have it set up for basic usage.
But to configure settings on it, you’ll need the AirPort Utility app. Versions are available for Windows and Mac, but the iOS version makes it incredibly easy to configure from your iOS device.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2011-10-14 :: Category: Utilities
Launching the app will show all nearby AirPort devices, with images representing which model they are. Tap on yours.
From here, you can view the connection that your device has to the internet, its IP address, the firmware version, the name and basic information about the wireless network, the MAC addresses of connected clients, and other hardware info.
To edit the router’s settings, tap Edit in the upper-right corner. This will take you to the screen where you can edit various setting sfor your device. Depending on which AirPort you use, your settings listed here may vary.
The Base Station option lets you configure the name of your AirPort, and to change the hardware password to it. This is different from the wireless network password.
Network allows you to choose the Wi-Fi mode, whether you’d like to create a wireless network, join another device’s wi-fi network (which can be used to share internet from another router, or to use your AirPort as a wireless ethernet bridge), extend a wireless network (to extend the range of another AirPort device), or to turn wi-fi off entirely if you just want to use Ethernet. The Guest Network setting will create a private network that will be separate from your main network that has its own security settings.
The AirPlay setting for devices with an audio output allows you to configure what the audio output is used for. This is where the joining another wi-fi network setting comes in handy: an AirPort Express can be used as an AirPlay audio receiver with an output to powered speakers. AirPlay can also be disabled if you don’t use the audio output. This setting will not affect AirPlay transmission over the entire network, just for audio output from a compatible device.
Internet Connection lets you configure how your AirPort connects to the internet. You can set up a static IP address or a PPPoE connection if necessary, and add in your own custom DNS server options, which may be faster than the ones your ISP provides. Consider using an alternate set of DNS servers.
The Advanced section contains some of the router settings that may be best tackled by advanced users who know what they are doing. However, there are a few buttons of note here. The Add WPS Printer button will let you add a Wi-Fi printer to your network. The Restart Base Station button will restart your AirPort if issues arise. The Restore Defaults will let you reset your device to factory defaults.
Note that other AirPort models may have different settings for their different features. Hopefully with these tips, you’ll now have a hold on how to set up your AirPort and be routing like a champ.
Do you cower in fear that you’ll lose your iOS devices and never be able to find them? Well, Apple provides handy tools to make sure that you can at least have a lead on tracking them down and a way to protect the personal data contained within. It’s called Find My iPhone, but for it to be any good for you, it’s gotta be set up properly! That’s why this guide is here.
To set it up, start by enabling Find My iPhone in Settings. It may be automatically enabled from when you first set up your device with iCloud, but if not, or if you disabled it previously, it can be re-enabled. Go to Settings, scroll down to iCloud, and then scroll down to Find My iPhone. Set this toggle to On.
Next, download Find My iPhone from the App Store. Yes, it’s a misnomer for iPod touch and iPad users but it will find your devices as well.
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2010-06-18 :: Category: Utilities
When you launch the app, you will be asked to log in with your Apple ID. If you have multiple Apple IDs, choose a common one to log in with on your other iOS devices.
After you do this, it will show any other devices that you have logged in with Find My iPhone, allowing you to see where they are, and to help find them.
Tapping on an individual device will open up a map view showing its current location. The battery life will be shown in the upper-right corner so you’ll know if it’s near shut-off or not if you are looking for it. Tapping on the device on screen will toggle to map mode where you can scroll around its location, and get directions to its location by tapping on the car icon on its location. By tapping the blue arrow next to its name, three options will be presented to you.
You can Play Sound, which will cause the device to play a unique sound that will help you find it by sound, which will keep playing until the device is found. This is handy if you ever misplace it where you live! The Lost Mode will allow you to protect your device by putting a temporary passcode on it so that no one can use it, even if there’s no security on it previously. You can also put a contact number and a message for the person who finds it. All of these options will send emails to the contact email on record for the account so you’ll know when someone is trying to use Find My iPhone features.
If you fear that your device is unrecoverable, the Erase Device option will erase all contents on the device. This is an option of last resort to protect your personal data. Hope you backed it up recently!
You don’t need an iOS device to find your iOS devices – these features are all available from iCloud.com as well. Fun note–iCloud.com still uses Google Maps, not Apple Maps!
Following this guide should help you keep track of your device if you ever lose your devices, be they in another room or in another city!
OneTrack is a great app for musicians who want to take their performance to the stage (review). Here’s a quick guide to help those bands get started.
First, bounce live versions of the songs down for play. The best way to do this is to mute the vocals and any other elements that will be performed live, such as guitars or synth parts. Drums are best left in, but much of that depends on the drummer’s skill level and how much control they want over their sound. For most drummers, it’s best to leave drums in as is, especially if the music relies heavily on loud 4/4 kick beats (at the very least, leave the kick drum in). This is all done in the DAW (digital audio workstation) and depends highly on the software the band uses to compose and record music.
It’s also nice to give the drummer a separate click track to help them stay on the beat. An off-beat drummer will completely ruin the show. This is done in the bounce stage within the DAW, and depends highly on the software the band uses to create music. The person responsible for bouncing the live tracks will have to hard pan the click to the left and the music to the right.
The right channel will feed directly to the PA. This is what the audience is supposed to hear. The left will feed to the drummer’s headphones. This helps them keep the beat and lead into each song.
After bouncing all live versions of the tracks, the next step is importing the songs to the iOS device. Add all the songs to iTunes and sync them to the iOS device as if adding any artist or playlist to the iPhone or iPod touch.
It’s best to add all of the band’s songs to the device. Once imported, the band can decide on a playlist for the show. It’s always cool do make a few playlists in the app.
The screen below shows the OneTrack playlists screen. The example below shows a sample playlist in progress. The top-right corner shows the total playtime so far, which is 12-minutes in this case.
The “Austin Show” was a special show, so it had its own playlist, but it’s good to make a few playlists. Perhaps two 30-minute variations, a 45-minute one and a one-hour set.
Hit the plus sign on the top-left corner and name the new playlist. I would likely go with “30-minute set – 1.”
Select a few great songs for the band to play (30 minutes isn’t a lot!) and tap the plus sign on the right column. Selected song titles will fade to grey:
There is room for several more songs. Do keep in mind that it’s worth adding a count-in to songs (below):
The count-in is basically the quiet space between songs (It’s most useful if the band doesn’t want to be tethered to the iOS device to queue up the show track-by-track). For instance, a five- to 15-second count-in time is ideal. Don’t go too long, or there will be a long, awkward silence between songs. On stage, a few seconds can feel like a long time. It can also add unnecessary dead air to and otherwise great live performance. It’s best to make count-ins just long enough for the band to introduce the song, “This next one is called …. ” and take a sip of water if needed.
When at the venue, and ready to set up, plug into the mixer. IK Multimedia has a couple of cool cables for this: RCA Output Adapter (right) and Mono Output Splitter (below). Anything similar should work. I carry both, because I never know what the venue will be equipped with.
The mono output splitter looks something like the one below.
Mono Output Splitter
A very basic setup should look something like this:
Turn on airplane mode if using an iPhone!
I prefer for the drummer to control the backing tracks, because they are sitting in one spot for the most part, and the drum set kind of covers them. This helps keep the iPhone or iPod touch out of view. It’s not a bad thing, but it kind of takes the audience out of the show for a second if they see the band queuing up the next song.
It’s important to keep in mind which channel is which as to not accidentally feed the click track to the PA system. Otherwise, the band’s epic show will kick off with “click – click – click – click.” Not a good first impression. Check, and double-check. Ask for a soundcheck if possible (before the crowd arrives) and leave things plugged in as is after soundcheck. Bands don’t always get to do this, but it’s nice to make sure things are running smoothly. I usually have a cheesy TV theme song intro, so that the front of house person can adjust levels before my music starts.
Once the music starts blaring through the PA, the show is on. Have fun, and don’t mess up too badly!
Most digital music nowadays sounds slightly worse than it does on CD, thanks to audio compression. This is great for quickly downloading music, but not best for audio quality. If you want to listen to music on your iOS device without that pesky compression, and are willing to give up some additional storage space to do so, we have just the guide to do so.
The easiest way to listen to lossless audio on your iOS device is to use the Apple Lossless Audio Codec. ALAC files can be played by the built-in Music app, providing the best support, and the format can be handled by iTunes.
Now, FLAC exists as another alternative. It’s the most popular lossless music distribution format on the internet largely thanks to its open source nature, though ALAC is now open source as well. Bandcamp artists frequently offer music in FLAC format, though ALAC is also an option.
Converters exist for going from FLAC to ALAC – as both codecs are lossless, there’s no degradation in quality in converting, but for using FLAC, a third-party app with iTunes file transfer must be used. The only real difference between the two is at a technical level. I’ll let the audiophile super-nerds fight this one out, but for iOS users’ convenience, ALAC is the better choice here.
Now, you’re going to want to start with your music in a lossless format. This means ripping from a CD, or finding FLAC/ALAC files. Converting from a compressed format to lossless is just pointless.
If you already have ALAC files, then just drop them in iTunes, and put them on your device. ALAC is natively supported.
If you have a CD (they still make those) that you want to make into ALAC files, just load the CD onto your computer and open it up in iTunes. Go to Preferences, and Import Settings on that first page. Set the Import Using dropdown to Apple Lossless Encoder. Now import the CD. It will be added to your library, which you can then add to your iOS device the same way that any other lossless audio file can be added.
If you have FLAC files that you want converted to ALAC, there are plenty of conversion software titles out there. Consider XLD for Mac, which has a drag-and-drop interface, and the cross-platform fre:ac.
If you just want to play the FLAC files on your device directly (such as if you have a large collection you don’t want to convert), then there are plenty of apps that will play FLAC files. Some free options: FLAC Player+, TuneShell, and MoliPlayer.
You should now be on your way to enjoying your music exactly how the creators intended it to be heard!
Ever notice that you’re running out of free space, and apps like Instagram, Spotify, and Vine are taking up a lot more space than they should be? Some apps like these take up over 500 MB of space for cached data, which can be a killer given the limited amount of storage space on most devices. As well, they don’t engage in a best practice of making it possible in the app itself to delete cached space. When trying to install a large app, this can be a real problem.
It’s time to take the power back, and your device’s free space. I’m going to show you two ways to clear up this cached space: the brute force way, and the way that’s a bit more clever.
Method number one: Just delete and reinstall the app
This will delete all the data for the app. It’s easy enough. The downside? You have to redownload and reinstall the app, not to mention needing to login again. Any special preferences will be gone too. This is a solution. It’s just not a very good one.
Method number two: delete the cache files using i-FunBox
The cache files stored by apps can be accessed by users with a little bit of savvy. Download an app like i-FunBox to access your device. Plug it in to your computer. Launch i-FunBox. Go to the “Applications” section of your device, and find the app whose cache data you want to delete.
Find the folder called Caches in the Library folder. Right-click on it and delete it.
This should work for most apps. See the results in the Usage section of Settings -> General:
See, with Spotify, deleting the Caches folder cleared up much of my recent cache usage, with the tracks that I saved for offline listening still in the app. You will notice that after using the app again, the Caches folder will be recreated, so this is non-destructive.
Some apps may use multiple or non-standard folders. The best way to discover where this cached data is hiding is to select all the files, copy them to your computer, and then poke through folders’ file sizes to see where large chunks of data are hiding. Then you can delete those folders safely.
In general, just deleting cached data is safe, because by definition it’s just temporary. As long as you don’t delete anything in the Preferences folder, you shouldn’t lose anything important. Feel free to back it up to be safe.
Not that you may need to do this whenever you need to free up some space as the cached data will add back up as you use the apps. Still, if you’re trying to install a large app, this can free up space without needing to delete apps themselves. So go ahead, install Infinity Blade II and keep it there!
An iOS device, just by itself, is capable of many things but file handling is not one of them. Thankfully, there are ways to get files from one’s computer to an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch with or without a cable. Here are two of the best ways to transfer files to and from your iOS device.
The great thing about Dropbox is that it syncs up very easily with multiple devices. Apps are available for every major platform, but the most convenient thing is that it’s possible to set it up on a computer where Dropbox folders work just like local storage. This way, files can be saved to Dropbox folders and made available easily wherever Dropbox access is available. There’s also access for uploading and downloading files through the web browser for those who just need quick access or can’t install the app for computers.
Don’t worry, files in Dropbox aren’t just stuck in Dropbox’s app. It’s possible to open files in compatible apps. Just tap the arrow in the upper-right corner, tap Open In… and choose the appropriate app. This way, PDFs can be signed in DocuSign Ink, or text files opened in Byword, for example.
Those who prefer a Google bent to their cloud storage might want to check out Google Drive – it provides much of the same functionality.
The beauty of GoodReader is that when it comes to storing and handling local files, no app beats it. Most any file can be opened up in it at least for storage, if not viewing and using in some fashion. Of course, if the app just existed by itself, it’d be useless. Thankfully, getting files to and from GoodReader is a breeze. You can link up a cloud storage service like Dropbox, add in an FTP server, or even SMB/AFP servers for getting files to and from computers with shared folders.
As well, tap the wifi icon in the app to enable wifi transfer mode, where connecting to the given URL through a web browser will allow you to download and upload files. As well, the app supports transferring files through iTunes’ file sharing.
Sadly, just using one’s iOS device as a USB storage device is difficult without the use of outside programs like i-FunBox installed on every computer, which of course kind of beats the point of having a USB storage device. It may be possible through jailbreak utilities, but jailbreaking is more trouble than it’s worth. Have any other useful ways for transferring files? Let us know in the comments.
Think about all the important information and communication methods that you have available on your phone. Now think that it’s probably all unprotected if someone nabs your phone. Thankfully, it’s possible to set a passcode lock in order to help protect your device. Here’s how to do it and to keep it from being too much of a hassle to use your phone when you want to!
Go to Settings -> General -> Passcode Lock. Tap Turn Passcode On. You will then be presented with a keypad to input a 4-digit passcode. You will be prompted to enter it twice in order to verify that you have it correct.
If you want something a bit more complex, turn off the Simple Passcode option and you will have the ability to input a complex passcode using the iPhone keyboard. Only the default language one will be used, preventing a security hole where you could disable a necessary keyboard to unlock your phone!
There’s two advantages to protecting your phone. There’s the obvious one of not just allowing anyone access in to your phone if someone grabs hold of it. This also has the advantage of encrypting all the data on your phone, so if some nefarious person gets access to your device, it’ll be difficult to extract the data off of it.
You can also enable the Erase Data function, where ten wrong passcode entries will erase your phone. Make sure that you back your phone up regularly! As well, if you have Find My iPhone set up, you can make it so that you can reset your device remotely.
The obvious downside to protecting your phone is of course that it’s just a bit more inconvenient to unlock your phone when you pick it up, so it’s a tradeoff. But considering the amount of sensitive data that’s on your phone, it might just be worth it to do it. However, there are options for combining security and convenience. You can set the passcode lock to only enable after a certain amount of time, so that if you’re frequently using your phone, you won’t be inconvenienced. As well, you can leave message replying, Passbook tickets appearing on the lockscreen, and Siri access, without requiring the device to be unlocked.
If you decide that you want to not input a password any more, just tap Turn Passcode Off in the Passcode Lock settings. This will not encrypt your data any more, however.
While it can be a slightly-annoying additional hassle, setting a passcodelock is a great option to protect your device. How do you feel about using it? Let us know in the comments!
Recent versions of iOS have made your voice a much bigger part of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch usage experience. Now, it’s possible to use your voice to do many commands with Siri, and to type things out with your voice. Here’s how to use iOS’ voice actions, available on iPhone 4S & 5, iPad 3, 4, & Mini, and iPod touch 5th generation.
Siri is very easy to use. Call up Siri by holding down either the home button or the play/pause button on your headset remote. Siri can respond to a variety of commands, most of which can be seen by tapping the (i) after the “What can I help you with?” text. This shows all the commands that you can speak to Siri, including actions as diverse as sending tweets and getting sports scores.
Siri’s options can be configured by going to Settings->General->Siri. Here, it’s possible to change the language, the default info that Siri will work with, and to enable Raise to Speak.
The other big feature is the ability to type with your voice. Just tap the microphone button next to the space bar, and say what you need to say. Enunciate clearly for the voice recognition to be more accurate. If a word may have multiple possible interpretations, a blue squiggly line will appear underneath the text. Tap the word to get alternate suggestions.
Now, saying the name of a punctuation mark will generally add that in to the sentence you’re speaking. This is especially annoying if you want to talk about how awesome the Jurassic period was. In many cases, using the word “period” in a sentence will default to the punctuation, but if you see that blue squiggly line underneath the preceding word and the punctuation, then you can tap that and a new suggestion that includes the actual word “period” should be suggested. Sometimes the voice recognition will intelligently actually put down the word “period” but it varies on a case-by-case basis.
Finally, do you want to use large capital letters to get people’s attention, but just don’t have the heart to convey your anger through your fingers? Just enable caps lock by double-tapping the Shift key before enabling voice typing.
Hopefully these tips have helped you use the speech-to-text functionality of iOS.
Recently, I saw someone tweet that they had forgotten their anniversary. Now, with some people, I could understand this, but this person, who shall remain nameless so as to not immortalize their indiscretion, is very tech-savvy. Really, there should be no excuse! But sometimes you just don’t know how to use technology to your benefit in certain ways. So as a public service for everyone who needs to remember an anniversary, or anything recurring, like a reminder to pay one’s bills monthly, here’s how to set up recurring events.
Boot up Calendar. Go to the date that you want to set up the recurring notification for. Tap the + icon in the upper-right corner to add a new date. Set up the event as normal.
Now, check the Repeat setting. You can set up an event to repeat daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or yearly.
The End Repeat section will allow you to choose when this reminder ends, like when a bill is due to be paid off. Save the event, and now every month, an event with the same parameters will appear, including the same reminder settings.
If you want an additional level of notification, sync up your reminder with a Google Calendar account. Then go to your Google Calendar, go to one of the event’s dates (preferably the most recent future occurrence) and you can add email reminders. As well, you can configure alert times to come in at different or additional intervals.
Now, let’s say that you want to cancel this event’s future recurring dates. Like if your beloved turns out to be an alien reptile or something, and that’s just a dealbreaker that you don’t want to be reminded of. Just go to the event on your calendar, and tap Edit in the upper right corner. Now scroll to the bottom and tap Delete Event. Next, a prompt will come up asking if you want to Delete This Event Only or if you want to Delete All Future Events. This same prompt will appear if you make any changes to a recurring event.
With these tips, the only excuse you have for messing up an important date is yourself! Pressure’s on!
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.