Start your engines:
Would you like to know what we thought of all this drifting and rough racing? Check out our Reckless Racing 3 review!
Reckless Racing 3 is down and dirty racing that prides itself on crazy drifts, breakneck straights, and fantastic in-game physics. Here are few tips to help you to take those corners like a pro.
Start Your Engines
Use the straight sections to steal a glance at the mini map towards the top of the screen and check for any fast-approaching sharp turns.
It’s only on those severe turns that braking becomes necessary. Usually releasing the acceleration while turning into the bend, then hitting the gas and turning out of it will suffice. When using the default button layout, tapping to turn out of a drift is a much better technique than holding down on the directional arrow, ensuring maximum control rather than veering into another drift accidentally. Just be aware that terrain can sometimes dictate otherwise.
While the green guideline might be a great tool for rough navigation, deviating slightly wide and then taking corners as close as possible without crashing is a surefire way to overtake and undercut other racers.
The reset button isn’t as damning as you’d think. In fact, in any situation that requires a reversal maneuver the reset button is actually preferential as it only incurs a minimal time penalty, can serve as an obstruction to opponents, and sometimes players won’t even lose their position.
Larger, heavier vehicles can use their weight to their advantage by smashing other cars off-course. This is best achieved by hitting the back of an opponent’s car during a turn, forcing them into a tailspin. Be sure to judge how this will effect the speed and trajectory of your own car, though.
In the settings menu, turn on the Chase Camera to have a clearer view of the road ahead, putting you behind your racer rather than at a fixed bird’s eye view. While this new angle may bring on a bit of motion sickness for the weak-stomached (if you had a problem with iOS’ home screen animations then you might want to play Zen Garden instead) it grants a better perspective for upcoming turns. For Gymkhana Mode however, the sheer amount of donuts and spins makes the Chase Camera a dizzying nightmare, so it’s better to have it saved for Races and Drift events.
Cars: Fast as Lightning is a cute and fun app that combines racing and town-building with the charisma and marketability of Disney Pixar’s Cars franchise. It’s a friendly game, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a few tips to help you make Radiator Springs shine again.
Complete quests to earn rewards – Quests queue up on the left side of the screen when you’re not racing. Quests offer rewards like experience and coins, and they’re a good way to get back on track if you’ve been meandering from task to task.
Pay attention to the difficulty meter before you race – Each car you engage in a race has a difficulty measuring from one to four. Make sure to race within your rank if you don’t want to waste gas on a loss.
Place attractions on the track to earn more experience with races – Don’t neglect putting attractions on race tracks. They earn you a bit of extra experience with every race, plus they make the joint look classy.
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Curious to know what we though about all this robot-on-robot carnage? Then check out our Bot Squad review!
The Bot Squad: Puzzle Battles offers nearly 200 stages based on its varied approach to tower defense. That’s pretty great, but it also means there are lots of strategies to master and the amount of options can be a little daunting. Here are some tips on how to save Dynamo City.
The Best Defense
The Bot Squad is separated into Defensive stages and Offensive stages. Defensive stages play more like typical tower defense games, and many of the same strategies apply, but they still have their own quirks.
To start, use standard Smacker and Blaster tower bots to weaken enemies that cross your paths. Always pay attention to the range of your units and try to cover as much ground as possible.
Sometimes it’s good to be redundant and have multiple towers clustered in the same area to kill enemies faster. It depends on the stakes.
Stop enemies in their tracks with Stoppabots like Blockers and Grabbers. Unlike towers though, these obstacles can be destroyed. They can also only be placed on certain terrain so be smart with them.
Certain levels provide a limited number of towers to take down a limited number of enemies. However, other stages have an unlimited supply of towers that spawn at set intervals. Enemies come fast and furious in these levels though, usually in big groups, so quickly put your extra power to use.
If a level already has a few towers, pick them up and rearrange them to forge a better defense.
Hey There, Zombie Apocalypse Survivors:
Want to know what we thought about all this vehicular zombie slaughter? Then check out our Zombie Highway 2 review!
Zombie Highway 2 answers the age-old question of how far you would get during a zombie apocalypse if you and your buddies piled into a car and hit the road. The answer is not far at all. Still, these tips might help you survive just that little bit longer.
Zombie Kill of the Week
It’s all about speed. The faster you travel, the more damage you do to a clingy zombie. Try to make it a clean hit though, without letting the car touch the wrecked vehicle. Otherwise it’s a first class ticket to slow city. Population, you.
If a bash doesn’t dispatch one of the more determined zombies, give him a few rounds to the face as he will be more susceptible to damage while stunned from a hit.
While smashing a zombie into the wall is effective in the tunnel to enable safe passage, outside it slows the car down too much, making it easier to tip over.
Weapons-wise, save up for the big hitters over the automatics. Revolvers, shotguns, and the more exotic weapons pack a greater wallop. Just make sure you hit the reload button more often. Did anyone order zombie pate?
In it for the Long Haul
Save the nitro boost until later. When you have no ammo and 4 fat zombies attached to your car, a nitro boost will keep you level and, more importantly, build up enough speed to bash them off in one go. If you’re walled-in when this happens then it’s your lucky day, because you can proceed to bash those suckers down repeatedly at breakneck speed.
Reload every time you hit a straight stretch of road devoid of zombies or wreckages. There’s nothing worse than running out of ammo while a raging red zombie beats against the window.
Avoiding zombies is better than hitting them, especially in the later stages of a run. Do this by either driving behind them or by swerving towards them but narrowly missing, not giving them enough space to make a leap to your car. More often than not this will work, and will avoid the slowdown that comes with running over a member of the undead.
When the warning symbols appear, steer into the tipping motion that puts the car on two wheels in order to counteract the jolt. Even better, ram the effected side of the car into a wall if there’s one available, as it will prevent it from overturning. It will effect speed however, so make sure the threat from the other side isn’t just as bad.
Lastly, here are a few extra tips straight from developer himself:
Focus on your driving. For the first couple miles zombies do not pose an imminent threat. If you can’t scrape them off after a few tries, then resort to shooting.
The tunnel may seem difficult, but most of the debris is angled so you can deflect off of it. Stay calm and you will survive.
Hard zombies are worth A LOT more than weak ones. Go farther for big rewards.
Hopefully these tips and hints will be enough to help see you that extra mile on the inevitably doomed journey down the aptly-named Zombie Highway.
But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It’s the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, both of which hit North America on September 19.
As might be expected by this point, the iPhone 6 is an expensive chunk of technology. You need to talk to it softly, pat it gently, and reassure it as necessary. Here are six tips for taking good care of your new friend.
Also included: Blatant suggestions on what not to do with your phone, regardless of whatever that “fwd: fwd: fwd: READ THIS APPLE FANS!!!” email suggests.
DO: Use a soft, dry cloth. Like most open-face electronics, the iPhone 6 collects fingerprints as efficiently as a 12-year-old collects Pokemon.
DON’T: Use a scouring pad. Or a rock. Or your cat’s fur. Do not spit on your screen and rub it in your shirt. Do not hand your iPhone to your child, for handing anything to a child is the exact opposite of cleaning it.
How to Charge your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus
DO: Use the provided Lightning cable. Plug it into a USB port, or use the prong extension to plug it into a wall socket. Proceed to twiddle your thumbs for the next hour or so.
DON’T: Use your microwave. Not unless you want to risk killing yourself in an inexplicable quest to own a stinking, molten chunk of plastic, aluminium, and circuitry. Seriously folks, just because a press release is written in Myriad typeface doesn’t mean you should do what it says.
DO: Purchase a protective case for your device; preferably an amusing retro tribute that resembles a Game Boy or an NES control pad. Keep your iPhone in a bag or purse pocket that’s separate from coins, keys, and gremlins.
DON’T: Stick your iPhone 6 in your back pocket, as aluminum and bum-heat don’t mix favorably (the validity of this rumor has yet to be debunked or verified by Snopes, but when is it ever a good idea to keep electronics in your back pocket, anyway? Hint: Never).
How to share your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus
DO: Be generous about letting your friends examine your iPhone 6. Understand their need to do so; touching an object is the most primal way of memorizing its texture, shape, and curves. You should probably stop any attempts to sniff or taste the iPhone, however.
DON’T: Hiss and rear back when your friends reach for your iPhone. Or, if you must do so, at least try and prevent your eyes from flashing yellow and constricting into cat-like slits.
ALSO DON’T: Hand your iPhone 6 to your child. We’ve already discussed why.
DO: Sit your iPhone up at the table, put a bib on it, and offer it a scone.
DON’T: Smear peanut butter between two phones and take a bite.
How to properly show off your iPhone or 6 Plus
DO: Lift up your phone slowly and carefully while humming the “Sunrise” theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Before presentation, review your position with the Earth’s sun so that its rays may catch and glint off the sexy aluminum backing.
The iPhone 6 is out tomorrow, and plenty of people are excited about it. So much so that they’re planning to – or already have – traded in their old iPhone to go towards it. The thing about trading in hardware is it’s very important to make sure your personal information isn’t still on there once it leaves your hands. You generally have nothing to worry about when going through reputable businesses, but these days it never hurts to make sure.
At this point I’m relatively certain most of the country is familiar with Destiny. And for those looking to augment their game a bit, Bungie has changed their Bungie Mobile Companion App to Destiny Companion.
Hey there, town-builders:
Want to know what we thought about the Ice Age team’s adventures in environmental preservation? Check out our Ice Age Adventures Review!
While we may have to wait a few years before the next ‘Ice Age’ movie, Ice Age Adventures lets fans pass the time with Sid, Manny, and Diego on the go. The great thaw has caused the world to crack, leaving friends stranded and the community in disarray. Here are some tips for saving everybody and making the village as good as new. Who else is going to rescue Ray Romano?
You’ll spend most of your time exploring the different islands for treasures and members of the village.
You’ll need to clear paths to get around. As your party expands, you’ll be able to clear more obstacles. Sid cuts trees, Manny tramples rocks, and Diego fights off enemy pirates. However, this also consumes your berry reserves faster.
Clearing paths gives you tons of shells – another currency for store. Finding clams, particularly golden clams, is also a great way to gain resources.
A few times a day you can enter the various caves on the islands. They provide everything from extremely valuable golden acorns to chances to rescue even more lost baby animals.
Rescuing a member of the herd typically involves playing a short mini-game like sledding downhill or solving a match-3 puzzle. Take them seriously though, because failure leads to a lengthy wait before the next chance to try again.
To unlock more parts of the map, you’ll occasionally have to gather items like vines and torches for friendly characters. Caves and shells are usually the best places to look. You’ll have to complete most of each island’s missions before moving onto the next one.
You can always go back to past islands to find things you may have missed or enter caves again for the chance to win more prizes.
Mobile apps and games have always had their share of problems, and it’s not going to stop any time soon. Exposure, pricing, cloning, advertising, cloning clones, freemium monetization, etc – there are a ton of little (and big) things to worry about every time you put something up on the App Store. Heck, simply getting noticed by review sites in the first place can be a monumental task.
The unfortunate reality is that there are no guarantees. Sometimes legitimately great apps and games will fade into obscurity before they even had a chance. It can be disheartening. It can be downright frustrating, even. Another unfortunate reality is that there are people out there who would use a developer’s desperation and frustration to make a quick buck.
Things have changed in Berk, the fantasy Viking village of DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon series. Dragons and Vikings, once mortal enemies, now must learn to live together in peace. Dragons: Rise of Berk lets players manage dragon-Viking relations first hand, and here are some tips for keeping everyone happy and prosperous.
Reign of Fire
Obviously, dragons play a pretty big role in a game named after them, and they’re good for much more than just flying and fire-breathing. Here’s how to put them to work.
To get started, level up Toothless by feeding him tasty fish. Once he’s strong enough, you can then send him out to search nearby islands for more dragons eggs. Get a Whispering Death on Bashem or maybe a Scauldron on Unlandable Cove.
After hatching an egg, place your new baby dragon wherever there is room and feed them until they level up and reach adult size. You can also train dragons by sending them to the academy for a few minutes.
Adult dragons can independently perform many tasks around Berk, and as they grow they learn new skills such as how to gather resources like fish and lumber. Having more dragons at your command also increases Berk’s ability to expand.
Now that the sequel to the widely lauded Civilization Revolution is finally upon us, it seems high time to fill you all in on the best ways to lay siege to the world for a second time. But as any diehard Civilization fan already knows, the long and winding road to victory can be fraught with countless twists and turns. Hopefully, if you take a few of these hints to heart, you might be able to alleviate a few of those first devastating defeats.
Research Unlocks All Doors
No matter what the objective in the specific scenario being played, research will eventually be the key to success. Here are a trio of key research concepts to keep in mind as the battle progresses:
In many cases, the other civilizations on the map are slow to expand outward. Take advantage of that time to pour extra gathering units into pulling in as many research points as possible early on. You will reap the benefits as the eras advance.
Though the game does tout its ability to shift gears throughout the research trees, it is still best to put focus one specific area, with specific end goals in sight. Only after exhausting one avenue of advancement in an era is it really beneficial to branch out into other paths.
There are great late-game payouts for each research tree, so make sure to check out the flowchart and find the payouts that will best compliment your playstyle.
The Evolving Role of Cities
As mentioned before, early on it is best to pour the most resources into research. But as time progresses and more cities are added to the empire, the roles of each province should change.
When more settlements are added to the empire, don’t be afraid to move the production of battle or defensive units out towards the borders. Unless roads link the entire empire, transporting units towards the front lines become far more cumbersome than necessary.
It is best to use the more internally located cities as resource mines for pulling in additional research points. The benefits of these advancements can then flow outward, further powering expansion
As cities expand away from the capitol, don’t be afraid to change the production role of a city to better match its geographical location on the map. Try to think about what resources in the area are most beneficial to the whole of the country and if the location should be more focused on offense, or defending the core of the empire
Don’t feel the need to establish settlements as soon as settlers become available. There is nothing wrong with idling these units until a more suitable location is found. Under most circumstances, patience will lead to far more beneficial locations becoming available from either a resource gathering or tactical sense.
Despite the game offering up to four different ways to win a match (cultural, economic, conquest, or scientific) it will be pretty much impossible to win without some form of moderate combat. When heading into battle, it may be best to keep the following things in mind:
Get rid of warriors as soon as possible. They are quasi-useful early on when grouped into armies of 3 units, but their effectiveness wanes quickly.
Evolve unit production along with technology. Don’t be afraid to move away from tried and true unit types you rode heavily (in the case of cavalry units, quite literally) early on in the campaign. All of the enemies will be doing the same, so don’t be the one bringing a catapult to a tank battle.
Don’t be afraid to sacrifice a unit or two if you don’t have any scouts available. There is nothing wrong with sending one of the worthless warriors you have hanging around to the slaughter if it means you will be able to get a read on the level of your opposition. Sometimes it is better to lose a level one troop instead of a mid-level army that could be more effectively used elsewhere. After all, warriors are much cheaper and quicker to produce than the disposable spy units.
Don’t forget to cover your back. Any city that doesn’t have at least one troop stationed within its borders is ripe for the conquering. This is essential to not lose sight of when in the throes of rapid expansion. An unprotected city is essentially like leaving the front door unlocked for anyone to walk in and claim for themselves.
As empires become less centralized, consider using roads as a way to ‘hotlink’ provinces for quickly transferring resources and troops. In the long run it can make the difference between victory and defeat.
Above all else, Civilization Revolution 2 will consistently provide a different experience for every single match. Don’t chain yourself to one specific play style, and you will ultimately be able to harvest far more hours of enjoyment than those intent on pigeonholing themselves into a gameplay corner. So get out there and explore; there’s plenty more to learn and enjoy!
To access it, go to No Save Mode. Access the level select by tapping S-E-G-A on the SEGA logo in that order, then tapping and holding with two fingers on the title screen. Go to the Sound Test, and play tracks 01,09,09,02,01,01,02,04 to unlock debug mode. Then, play 03,03,03,0B,10,10,10,04 in order to unlock Proto Palace, which is accessible by playing the Hidden Palace Zone from the level select. You only get one life and the level eventually warps out as it is incomplete, but now you can explore this beta level for yourself — and with the advanced exploration abilities of Tails and Knuckles. We also have hands-on video of how to enter the code and unlock the level below.
Often, incoming emails can feel like things to do – important items just kind of floating around the inbox until they’re finished. Want to add these emails to the iOS Reminders app so that they can be dealt with in an important place? Well, this is possible by using IFTTT. Here’s how to do just that.
First off, download IFTTT and register an account with the email address that you primarily want to forward items from. Now create a new recipe, which is what IFTTT calls the actions that it executes.
For starters, let’s choose the Mail option. You can choose to forward all mail from your registered email address to the IFTTT trigger email address, or only emails tagged with a certain hashtag.
For the second part of the recipe, choose iOS Reminders. By default, this will add the email subject as a reminder to a list called IFTTT. However, that is an option that can be changed from the IFTTT recipes menu.
Tap on the recipe to open up its options, then tap Edit Recipe. From here you can configure what the reminder title will be, which list it will be added to by manually entering the name of the list, and what, if any, priority the reminder will have. Tap the blue plus sign next to an option to add in specific dynamic text like sender, body text, and more.
Now, if you use Gmail you should use the Gmail channel when setting up your recipe. This adds more options for what can trigger the IFTTT recipe. This can include emails from certain senders, emails with certain labels, starred emails, and more.
What the label trigger can do is make it easy to manage emails using Mailbox. Create a list in Mailbox with the title of your choice. Let’s say it’s Reminders. In IFTTT, have the label that the recipe is added to be [Mailbox]/Reminders. Now, whenever you add an email to that list in Mailbox, that will trigger IFTTT to add it to Reminders.
Now, you have a convenient spot to do things like send replies to emails once they are cleared from reminders. You can create a recipe in IFTTT to send emails when a reminder is completed in that list, but you might want to send more personal replies. Still, it is an option.
Hopefully this helps you get your inbox under a bit more control by utilizing IFTTT’s powers of automation!
One of iOS 7’s new features is the iCloud Keychain. What this allows is for passwords and credit cards stored in AutoFill to be shared between iOS devices and Safari on Mavericks so that you can easily retrieve them without needing to type them in again. It is also engineered to protect your data through an additional security key and two-factor authentication. Here’s how to set it up, use it, and protect yourself.
iCloud Keychain can be set up when setting up a new device, when updating to a new iOS version, or from the iCloud menu in Settings. When setting up for the first time you’ll be asked if you want to enable iCloud Keychain and to create a security code. By creating a security code, this will store the data in iCloud; if you don’t create one it will still allow for data to be shared between devices, but it will not be stored in iCloud and you will need to authenticate a new device from another device with iCloud Keychain enabled on it. Authenticating from another device requires putting in the password to the iCloud account and choosing “Allow” on the dialog that appears.
To save a password or credit card to iCloud Keychain, just log in to a site or use a credit card in Safari. A dialog will pop up asking if you wish to save to the iCloud Keychain. Now, when you try to use a saved login or credit card from another device, Safari can automatically fill it in no matter where it was originally saved from.
It’s important while using iCloud Keychain to have a passcode of some sort on your device. This treats you physically using your device as secure, so make sure that there’s a security mechanism in place to ensure that your device is being used only by yourself or someone you trust. Otherwise someone can easily get access to your passwords and credit cards just by having your unprotected device.
What the security code for iCloud Keychain does is make it simple to sign in to the iCloud Keychain from a new device without needing to log in on that other device. This is a separate code or password from your login passcode, though it can be the same.
By default iCloud Keychain will prompt for a four-digit security key, though it’s possible to either have an advanced security key that can contain letters and numbers, and/or one that is randomly-generated for complexity. If you forget this key, then you can use a second device in order to approve it. It also provides security so that even if someone compromises your iCloud account and wants to set up iCloud Keychain, they still can’t get into your data unless they know the second password or if they have another device of yours that they also know the password to.
If you disable iCloud Keychain on a device by disabling it from the iCloud Settings, you can prompt to save the AutoFill data locally or erase it.
Hopefully this demystifies this very useful feature!
Apple has introduced a way to share files locally with other iOS users in iOS 7, called AirDrop. This allows for users to share photos, documents, and text with other iOS devices with ease. Here’s how to use it.
There are two important things to know about AirDrop: One, it only works with supported devices. These devices are oddly-selected: the original iPad mini can use AirDrop but the iPad 2 cannot despite identical – and technically slightly more powerful – internals. Two, this is different from AirDrop on the Mac despite being named the same, so don’t expect to send files from Mac to iOS.
To use AirDrop, it must first be enabled from Control Center. Swipe up from the bottom and tap on the AirDrop logo. Now, set it to Contacts Only or Everyone. Everyone will allow anyone within Bluetooth range to share files with you, whereas Contacts Only allows only people in your Contacts list to see you when sharing to AirDrop. Note that enabling AirDrop will turn on both wifi and Bluetooth.
To share a file via AirDrop, go to an app that uses the built-in iOS Sharing feature. This is generally indicated by an arrow pointing upward out of a rectangle. You should see the AirDrop description text first. After a short bit, any nearby AirDrop users will appear. They may need to have their device on and unlocked to be discovered. Tap on their picture that appears to share the file to them. Tap again to cancel.
On the receiving end of the AirDrop process, an alert will appear to Accept or Decline the AirDrop. If accepted, the AirDrop content will open up in the appropriate app.
Some uses of AirDrop include sharing photos from Photos, with the ability to share multiple at a time. All photos are saved to the Camera Roll.
Share contacts from Contacts – it’s possible to just temporarily view a contact card to call or email a person based on the contact info given (but not to FaceTime), or to save it to your contacts. This is great in lieu of business card trading. See a cool link in Safari? Share it with AirDrop.
You can share documents from iWork apps like Pages with others, in a variety of formats like PDFs.
More apps will start to use AirDrop as time goes on, particularly as it is an extremely handy way to send files without having to tap devices or share via the web!
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.
Toyze, the 3D marketplace app by Eligo Games, has signed a licensing agreement with Game Insight to offer fans the chance to own 3D figures from three of their properties: Tribez, Dragon Eternity, and Mirrors of Albion. “Game Insight is one of the most successful players in the international mobile gaming industry and we are thrilled to […]