Howto Archive

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.

Apple TV

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.

Note that the big drawback to AirPlay Mirroring is that for gaming, it has a noticeable amount of latency; use our previous guide for reducing latency to help out with this.

Video Output Cables

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: TupacHologram+nz@gmail.com 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.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2012-10-02 :: Category: Music

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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?

How To: Use Accessibility Options

 

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 SettingsGeneralAbout 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.

Clear History will clear your list of previously-visited sites. Clear Cookies and Data will delete any tracking cookies stored on your device, and also clear out any logins. Reading List’s Use Cellular Data toggle will allow for you to save on data usage by only letting Reading List sync over wi-fi. Fraud Warning will warn when you’re on a suspicious website. JavaScript allows you to disable this for any sites that may be slowed down by this. Block Pop-ups allows you to let pop-ups open as new tabs.

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.

How To: Transfer Contacts to iCloud

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 SettingsMail, 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!

FREE!
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-10-27 :: Category: Travel
$0.99
$2.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2010-04-01 :: Category: Education

Google has made an announcement that they are shutting down Exchange ActiveSync as a way to access Google email, contacts, and calendars. This has an impact on those who used our earlier guide to get sync Google contacts with iOS, used it for calendar support, or for push email to their devices. While current Exchange connections will still work after the shut down, new ones will be unable to be made. Thankfully, for those who rely on this for contacts, calendars, and email, there are alternatives available.

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 SettingsMail, 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.

iTunes 11, just released at the end of November 2012 by Apple, represents probably the biggest changes to the way iOS devices sync up with computers in quite a while. In particular, apps synchronization has changed quite a bit.

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.
  • i-FunBox – available for Mac or PC
  • GoodReader for iPhone or iPad.
  • Regular readers will recall i-FunBox from an earlier How To article on transferring app save files, which is worth a read for the basics on what the app is and what it does. When ready, load up i-FunBox. On the left sidebar, click the dropdown arrow next to App File Sharing. Select GoodReader from the list.

    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.

    How To: Set Up the VIP Inbox in iOS 6

    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.

    How To: Use Shared Photo Streams

    One of the features that Apple added into iOS 6 that is kind of hidden away is the new Shared Photo Stream functionality. What this allows you to do is to take photos from your photo library and share them with other people in an album that can be viewed and automatically updated on an iOS device or browsed on the web. Sounds nifty, right? Just one problem: how do you use it? Good question! Apple didn’t exactly put this functionality front and center in iOS 6, but it’s there and it works. Here’s how to start using Shared Photo Streams.

    Go to Photos. Go to the album where the photos are stored, such as Camera Roll, though these can be from pretty much any album on the device. Now tap Edit in the upper right corner, and select the photos to be added to a Shared Photo Stream. Once this is done, tap Share, then Photo Stream. Then there’s the option to add them to an existing Photo Stream, or to a New Photo Stream. Tap this to call up a dialogue to where people can be selected to send the stream to, name the stream, and whether to make the stream public.

    When photos are shared to other people, they can see the entirety of this Photo Stream. When adding addresses, the Contacts list will show those with an actual iCloud ID. Otherwise, these albums can be shared to other people who don’t have iCloud IDs, as they will receive a URL to view this Photo Stream on the web at iCloud.com. People can comment on these photos that are shared. As well, these photos don’t take up any iCloud storage space.

    Now, visiting iCloud.com and logging in to your own iCloud account won’t actually show your Photo Stream or any shared albums, even ones that you’ve made public. There is a way to get the URL for easier sharing. On the Photo Stream page, tap Edit in the upper right corner, then tap Share Link. From here, it can be mailed, messaged, tweeted, Facebooked, or copied. The name of the album, new people can be invited, current subscribers can be modified (with their invite status visible), and the album can be set to private.

    So, that’s how to use Shared Photo Streams. It’s a little buried, but easy to use. Have any creative uses for them? Let us know in the comments!

     

    One of iOS 6’s big new features is Passbook: a one-stop shop for accessing cards and tickets that is not only available from a single app, but is also location and time-aware to make coupons and loyalty cards appear near certain locations and tickets at the time of the event. Now, it doesn’t work with just anything, unfortunately. There’s a limited selection of apps that are available at the moment with support for Passbook. There’s been some confusion on how to activate it with apps, and this guide is here to help.

    First, find an app that is compatible with Passbook. Launching Passbook for the first time will come up with a short description of what Passbook can do and launches an App Store section with apps to check out. Tap that, and a variety of Apple-curated apps with Passbook support are listed. Even for apps like the Starbucks app that have a card functionality already, the card needs to be added to Passbook through the app. To show how this Passbook functionality works, let’s download the Walgreens app and add the Balance Rewards card to Passbook.

    Create an account with Walgreens and sign up for their rewards card, or log in to the account if you have one already. If you signed up in-store, you can add it to a new account. Now, go to the Rewards section of the app, and the card will appear. Below, there is an Add to Passbook button. Tap this, and it will prompt to tie it to a specific store location, which will make an alert pop up when near that location. Then, a final prompt to add it to Passbook with the location information attached will pop up. Tap Add, and boom, the card is now in Passbook.

    Launch the Passbook app, and all added cards and tickets will appear, including the one we just added. Tap the (i) icon to modify the individual card’s settings. This automatic card recall works on the iPod touch as well, though location detection may be spottier due to only being able to detect location by nearby wifi hotspots. Once added, cards in Passbook are accessible offline.

    While Passbook is still somewhat limited as developers continue to integrate into their apps, and apps that already had user cards need to be updated to support Passbook, this is still handy, especially with its handy awareness features. Know of any useful apps using Passbook that Apple didn’t feature? Let us know in the comments.

     

    No matter how much storage space we get when we buy our iOS devices, we eventually run out of room. And it’s usually apps that are the culprit, from high-end games to turn-by-turn navigation software.

    Apps take up so much space in part because iOS requires that installed apps have both their zipped IPA file installed, along with the unpacked files for the app, meaning that any installed app is going to take up roughly twice its download size once installed. It gets worse: app updates need to be downloaded and unpacked into free space before they can be installed. This means that to update a gargantuan app like Infinity Blade II, it needs essentially four times the storage space to update it because ‘delta’ updates that only download the changed bits are not yet available for apps like they are for iOS updates.

    If you have a filled-up device like me, this causes particular consternation as what to do to clear up space for it. Rob Rich and I usually complain loudly on Twitter about the whole thing before playing ‘duck duck goose’ with whatever apps need to be deleted.

    Now, it is still possible to manually manage media and apps from iTunes. That’s clunky and requires syncing, which takes forever. Thankfully, iOS does provide ways to manage space on the device itself in the Usage section. While this normally shows info like how long a device has been on, there’s a storage section as well. Access it by going to Settings -> General -> Usage -> Show all Apps. What this does is show a view of all the apps installed, sorted by space used in descending order, with the ability to delete an app by swiping horizontally across it to call up a ‘Delete’ button.

    This shows the total space that an app is taking up including the compressed IPA, unpacked IPA, and the “Documents and Data“ portion, which can be handy as a reminder to delete unneeded data from applications like GoodReader, or audio recording apps, that may not need to be on the device any more. Now, it isn’t possible to delete the ”Documents and Data” from Usage, only to see how much it takes up, so files must be deleted from apps themselves, and save files for games can’t just be erased here, unfortunately. However, it provides a way to see which apps are taking up stealthy amounts of space. A 50 MB app sounds a lot bigger once it’s uncompressed to over 100 MB!

    Also, this section shows how much data music, photos, and videos are taking up. To individually manage these files, they need to be done in their own respective apps like Music and Videos, but the results of clearing up space in these apps will be reflected in Usage.

    With these tips, hopefully now you understand why apps are taking up more room than they should be, and know now how to easily manage storage. Have a method for determining what needs to go when space must be cleared? Let us know in the comments below.

     

    Ah yes, iOS 6 and the iPhone 5 just came out. As with every major iOS release, complaints of battery life being worse than before are in tow. There are ways to preserve battery life on iOS, thankfully.

    Now, the thing with saving battery life is that there’s a trade-off between being able to leave some feature on, and having to jump in and out of settings to re-enable features we need. If you’re so fed up with battery life that you really need to start disabling features, here’s a rundown of what may help.

    Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not using it.

    While it can be convenient to leave these on, and Wi-Fi assists in location detection, they’re also both massive idle battery drains because they’re constantly scanning in the background. Disable both of these features in Settings when not using them. Bluetooth settings are no longer hidden under submenus iOS 6, making it easier to manage.

    Disable or Reduce Cellular Data When Necessary

    If you don’t need or don’t have data service available, then disabling Cellular Data can save on battery life while leaving you available to the world. What if you have wifi access and are not expecting – or not wanting – any calls, and anyone who needs to reach you has iMessage? Well, Airplane Mode serves as a handy way to make sure that there’s no usage of cellular access at all. It should dramatically improve battery life.

    LTE on the iPhone 5 is fast, and will also drain your battery fast. Your Twitter notifications will come in just fine on 3G networks alone, so disable LTE when not needing it, or not in an LTE service area, to save some battery life. Disable this in Settings -> General -> Cellular. Older phone models may have the option to disable 3G networks.

    Turn Off Notifications, and Reduce Background Data Usage

    Getting lots of notifications can be a real drain on battery life as the screen constantly turns on, and the device constantly polls the Apple servers for notifications. While there’s no easy way in iOS 6 to turn off all notification, at least turning off certain applications’ notifications can help.

    As well, if you have push email and don’t really need it, set it to Fetch every so often, or just check it manually. This can be done from Settings -> Mail, Contacts, and Calendars -> Fetch New Data and diabling Push, and setting Fetch to manual.

    Just Buy an External Battery Already

    Look, the reason we leave all this stuff on is because we want the convenience of being able to jump from mobile data to Wi-Fi, to be notified of every little thing, and to have a screen so bright it could be seen from space. So why trade off? There are plenty of external batteries out there, including separate ones, and ones built in to cases. Yes, it’s something else to carry around, and will leave less pocket room, but for the ability to never have to turn off Bluetooth ever again when you want to pull out that keyboard? Priceless. Mophie makes battery-enabled cases with wide availability. NewTrent makes external battery packs that are beefy enough to charge an iPhone several times over. DealExtreme is a great source for cheap external chargers.

    Have other ways to save some battery life? Let us know in the comments below!

    It’s that most magical time of year: the time before a new iPhone launches. This means that for many people, it’s time to sell that old phone to buy the new one. For those looking to ditch their phone, here’s three handy tips to make sure everything goes smoothly in transitioning to the iPhone 5.

    Make Sure the Phone is Backed Up

    There’s no real need to start fresh with any missing contacts or apps when using a new iPhone. Follow our handy guide to setting up backups via iCloud or iTunes. Then, when the new iPhone is purchased, simply restore to the backup of that phone. On iTunes, this is just as simple as selecting the device from the list when choosing what to restore from. For iCloud backups, make sure to log in to the same iCloud account when restoring on the new device. It may be a good idea to note which iCloud account is being used on your old iPhone. Remember as well that backups are cross-compatible, so even an iPod touch backup could be used to restore to the new iPhone

    Make Sure the Phone is Erased.

    No one wants to accidentally hand over a phone with all their contacts, saved payment information in apps, and their most embarassing photos to a stranger or even worse: a family member! Thankfully, erasing a device is easy. Just go to Settings -> General -> Reset and choose Erase All Content and Settings. This will erase all user data on the phone. Make sure it’s backed up first! This will leave it in a state where it will be possible to restore to a new device. If you’re selling it to someone you don’t know, you may want to set it up as a new device just so they can test the features out, while showing how to erase it so they can set it up themselves, possibly even from a backup they made!

    Sell Securely

    A website like Gazelle or a store like GameStop may make it easy to sell the phone quickly and securely, but this will not net as much as selling it directly to another person will. Selling via eBay or Craigslist is a good way to quickly sell the phone, but it comes with the inherent risk of dealing with strangers. Hold on to the original receipt if possible in order to ensure that you have proof that you purchased it in case someone tries to claim that the phone was stolen. Especially log your phone’s IMEI or ESN, a phone’s unique identifying number, if possible, as it is what the carriers use to track stolen phones. Here’s how to find this information on the iPhone itself. Having a log of this may help if a scammer tries to claim you sold them a stolen phone.

    Good luck out there!

    Howto: Switch Carriers for the iPhone 5

    So you, like many, have decided to switch carriers with the iPhone 5? You could go data only but perhaps you still need the phone part of the iPhone. Let’s say for instance you are tired of the customer-hostile management at AT&T and want to move to Verizon. Just, you know, as an example.

    Let’s rundown what you will need to make the switch and any pitfalls you might hit. It’s a fairly simple process, but there are some things you should know first, before starting.

     

    Double check your new carrier choice

     

    While you can look at coverage maps online to see where your new carrier of choice has coverage (see below for quick reference). It’s always best to double check the service in the places that matter most to you. For most people this is going to be home and work. Find someone you know on your new carrier in or near those locations and check their signal strength as close to those locations as you can.

    This is a much more reliable way to test that your new carrier will have service where it matters to you most.

     

    Call your current carrier, and be nice

     

    It’s a good idea to call your current carrier to find out what your early termination fees will be, if any. They may give you the tough sell and try to get you to stay. Be careful though, unless the deal is killer and enough to sway you, they could renew your contract for another two years if you agree to a new plan rate.

    Try to be nice to them, even though you are likely fed up by now. Remember that the person you are talking to doesn’t set the policies or prices.

    If any of your phones are still under contract, you’ll be looking at an early termination fee. This will be somewhere around $350 minus $10/per month fulfilled in your contract depending on when you signed up and what carrier you have. And that’s for each line still under contract.

    If you are out of contract, the carrier you are switching from shouldn’t charge you anything to cancel, except perhaps a small account change fee; they get you whenever they can.

     

    Make the Switch

     

    To actually pull the trigger and make the switch you’ll create a new account at your new carrier of choice. This is typically done when you order your new phone. In this case we’ll assume you are ordering the iPhone 5. You’ll create the account during the ordering process and then cancel your old account after your new phone is all set up and working.

    You’ll need your current mobile phone number, your account number, and your account password from your current carrier to make the switch. Though those things are only needed if you wish to keep your current phone number. If you are getting a new number, you’ll just need to call your current provider to cancel your account once the new one is working.

    Next you’ll need to decide if you want to do the switch online or in a store. Each has it’s advantages. In store you will have someone who will help you walk through the process. If you do it online you won’t need to wait in any lines.

     

    Make the Switch Online

     

    You can pre-order the iPhone 5 and switch carriers at the same time. Here’s what you need to know to do so.

    First, during the order process you want to create a new account with your new carrier. You will likely need to choose what level of service you want to for the new account and then continue.

    Next, you will have two choices when you order your phone online. You can either keep your current phone number (called number porting), or you can get a new one. Think about both options, you may want a new number, especially if your old boyfriend/girlfriend keeps bugging you.

    If you want to keep your current number, at some point during the process it will ask for your current phone number, your account number and password with your current carrier. The account number and password are what you typically use to login to your carrier’s site to check your account. For some carriers, your account number may be the same as your phone number.

    Enter this and it will walk you though the process to port the number. A couple more steps and you’ll likely be asked for your Social Security Number as the carrier will want to do a credit check before opening your account.

    Finish the process answering things like your billing address, then do the normal hardware ordering process, pay for it, and then wait. And skip to The Switch is Done below.

     

    Make the Switch In Store

     

    By far the easiest way to do this is to go to the carrier you want to move to. After all they are incentivized (and the salesperson usually gets commission) to get you set up properly. You can also go the the Apple Store to do this and it will be just about as easy.

    When you get to the store let them know that you want to create a new account with your new carrier. They will get the information needed and help you pick a service level plan. You will need to decide if you want to keep your current phone number (called number porting), or you can get a new one. Think about both options, you may want a new number, especially if your old boyfriend or girlfriend keeps bugging you.

    The sales assistant will need your phone number, account number and password with your current carrier. The account number and password are what you typically use to login to your carrier’s site to check your account. For some carriers your account number may be the same as your phone number.

    The rest of the process will be fairly straightforward, filling out forms with your address, billing info, etc.

     

    The Switch is Done

     

    Ok, the switch is done, your phone is ordered, now what?

    Nothing will really happen until you get and activate your new iPhone. When that happens, your phone number will transfer over and your old account will be a zombie. This will likely happen in store if you go that route, or when you plug in your phone for the first time if you order it online. If you ported over your number, that will take 1-3 hours from when your new phone is turned on. Once that’s done your phone number will ring to your new phone on your new carrier.

    Once you have your new phone, new account, and everything is in working order, it’s a good idea to call your old carrier again. You will need to close the account down and pay any termination fees. If you don’t close your account, they may just keep it open and assign you new phone numbers and keep charging you.

    While talking to them, ask them to unlock your phone as well. It will make it worth a bit more money down the road.

     

    Backup and Restore Your Old iPhone

     

    If you already have an iPhone you’ll likely want to use iCloud or iTunes to backup and restore your phone. This will bring over all your apps, preferences, and data to your new phone. Here’s our Howto backup your device with iTunes or iCloud guide that will walk you through that.

     

    And finally…

     

    Enjoy your new iPhone and your new carrier!

    They will hopefully be better for you. Remember that each carrier has dead spots, don’t expect your phone to magically work everywhere. And the dead spots that you memorized for your old carrier will likely be different now. You phone may get reception in places it didn’t before and will likely not get reception in all new places. Hopefully you did step one above to make sure it works in the places most important to you.

    Consider donating your old phone to a charity that helps people in need. Or you could sell it, hopefully as an unlocked phone. Just make sure to wipe the old phone’s data before you get rid of it (instructions in the above linked backup post).

     

    Quick Reference

     

    Here’s a quick reference to some of the items you may need in helping you decide if you want to switch carriers.

    AT&T
    [ Account Login ]
    [ Coverage Area Maps ]
    [ Plan Prices ]

    Sprint
    [ Account Login ]
    [ Coverage Area Maps ]
    [ Plan Prices ]

    Verizon
    [ Account Login ]
    [ Coverage Area Maps ]
    [ Plan Prices ]

    In traveling the internet for interesting iOS conundrums to solve, I came across this one on Reddit: “How do I get games that are no longer offered on the App Store?” Now, this was both referring to buying games not available for sale any more, and a false positive at that. But it raises a very good question, one that some people may not realize: it is possible to get a game that is no longer on the App Store if it was once purchased on an iTunes account.

    See, when an app gets pulled from public view on the App Store for whatever reason, Apple still allows users to reinstall the app, even if it’s deleted. The thing to remember about this is that purchases are tied to an Apple ID, not to a device. This means that as long as a device is authorized with that Apple ID, either through iTunes or by logging in to the account on the device, that app can be downloaded to that device. This means that some apps that may have been once downloaded and since updated can be redownloaded if once purchased or downloaded, even to a new device – and it also works if the app has gone universal.

    For users who sync apps to iTunes, the app should still work if it’s in the library. Just set it up to sync with the device of choice, and it’s good to go. Well, assuming it still works on modern iOS versions.

    The other method is to go through Purchased history. Now, one would think that it would be as easy as just searching for it and seeing if it pops up, right? Wrong. This did work shortly after the Purchased tab was introduced in iOS 4.3.5, but Apple changed it so that deleted apps do not show up when searching any more when searching. But they’re still there. It just takes a lot of patience. On iPhone/iPod touch, the Purchased section is available under Updates, at the top of the list. Open this section, and just keep scrolling through the list (either sorted by date or by alphabet, depending on which seems like will pull the app up sooner) until the desired app is found. On iPad, tap the arrow in either the upper or lower right corner to keep going to the next page until the app is found.

    This works as recently as iOS 5.1.1 on the App Store – I used it personally to redownload Casey’s Contraptions after it was pulled shortly after the Amazing Alex launch. Some other interesting apps to download if they’re pulled and presumably lost: iDOS, the original Tetris by EA (sans IAP), and heck, even Tris, possibly the first big iOS pulled app controversy, is still available. No app truly dies, it just takes a lot of searching to find. Happy hunting!

    Isn’t it funny how ringtones, short snippets of full songs, cost as much as the songs themselves? It sure is. There is a way to beat the system and use any song – or any piece of audio, really – as a ringtone on iOS, and it can be done using iTunes alone. Seriously.

    To understand how this works, realize that a ringtone file on iOS is essentially just an AAC music file – the file format for the music downloaded from iTunes – with the extension changed from .m4a to .m4r. So creating custom ringtones is just about getting that perfect snippet of audio, and then getting iTunes to recognize it as a ringtone.

    Step 1: Getting a perfect snippet of audio

    While I said that this can be done using just iTunes, for users unafraid to find the files themselves and just cut the audio snippet in an audio editor like Audacity, that can be done as well. Just make sure to export the file as AAC. For those who use this method to get the audio, skip directly to step 2.

    For those who just want to use iTunes, here’s how it goes. Note that while screenshots may be from OS X, these all work on Windows as well. First, find the song to make a ringtone out of. Listen for the part that you want as your ringtone, and note the beginning and end times of this section. Right-click on the song in iTunes and click Get info. Select the Options tab. Put in the start time and end time in the appropriate boxes, and click OK.

    Now, go to the iTunes PreferencesGeneral, and select Import Settings. Set the import settings to AAC Encoder and iTunes Plus as seen in the screenshot at right. Click OK, then click OK again. Right-click on the song again, and click Create AAC Version. This creates a new file that should be listed right next to the original, that is the length you specified. Right-click the song and click View in Finder. Go back to iTunes and delete the file from your iTunes library, but choose Keep File.

    Step 2: Getting iTunes to Recognize the Ringtone File

     Now, with the file that we’ve just created, we need to rename the file extension from .m4a to .m4r, the extension for iOS ringtones. You may need to enable viewing file extensions in Windows Explorer or in the Mac Finder. Once the file is a .m4r, just drag it in to iTunes’ sidebar in the Library section. If you sync tones automatically, the ringtone should show up on your next sync. If you manually manage media on your device, click Tones under Library on the sidebar, find the file you just added, and drag it to your device on the sidebar.

    Now, check your ringtones in Settings -> Sounds -> Ringtone. Custom ringtones are on top of the list, and if you followed these steps correctly, your custom ringtone is in this list. Congratulations! Now you too can wake up every day like it’s the intro of CSI: Miami. Yyyyyyeeeeaaaahhhhhh!

    From Reddit, another interesting “How To” topic: how can we keep stupid autocorrect problems from constantly happening?

    Well, the first solution when iOS picks up on some bad autocorrection habits is to just erase the keyboard dictionary entirely. Do this by going to Settings, General, Reset and Reset Keyboard Dictionary. Note that this will erase everything in the keyboard dictionary, including any good things like emails and usernames that iOS has picked up on. It’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Now, there is a way to get rid of the bathwater while keeping the baby around – it’s cute, even if diapers ain’t cheap. Starting with iOS 5, Apple implemented a feature in iOS to let certain keyboard shortcuts be automatically inserted when typing.

    This is designed primarily to make typing long strings of text much easier by setting up shorter strings to automatically expand to longer strings. For example, I use it to easily send emails to a long address easily. But it also serves as a great deterrent for frequent typos by replacing a misspelling with the proper spelling every time.

    Go to Settings, General, Keyboard, and scroll down to Shortcuts. Tap Add New Shortcut… to do exactly what it says on the tin. Note that the top line is the text that should be replaced, and the bottom line is for what gets inputted.

    Note that these shortcuts work even with hardware keyboards, so common typos can also be corrected even with real keyboards. This is also particularly useful to correct typos like thr being replaced with Thr when trying to type the. Unless you know someone named Thr, which is just awesome. The downside is that pretty much any frequent typo needs to be replaced manually using this method, but at least it exists as a reliable solution.

    To delete a text shortcut, just swipe horizontally and tap “Delete” – this is recommended for the default “omw” shortcut. We’ve all sent a message where we just wanted to say OMW and wound up sounding far more excited than we really were. Yes, we’re on our way, but we’re not all sunshine and rainbows about it.

    So, while perhaps it’s not a perfect replacement for a flawed autocorrect system, at least it’s a clever solution. Have something you need to know how to do on iOS? Let us know in the comments!

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