iPhone

Using Messages in iCloud

Using Messages in iCloud

Last week, Apple released updates for the Mac, iPhone and iPad which finally introduced the ability to start using  Messages in iCloud.
Messages in iCloud is a new feature that Apple announced last fall, but didn’t become available to the public until now for some reason. If you enable Messages in iCloud on your devices, it will store all your messages to the cloud, and then sync across all the devices almost instantaneously.

Obviously, this has a couple of big advantages. First, once this is turned on, if you delete a message from one device, it will delete from your other devices on which you have Messages in iCloud enabled. So, you’ll no longer need to delete the same message from 3 different devices for example. And secondly, it clears those messages from your iPhone / iPad so that you can reclaim storage space on your various devices. This is very similar to using the iCloud Photo Library option on your devices.

Personally, I think this is a great feature. But, if you’ve not turned this on yet, there’s one thing you should be aware of that could decide whether you want to turn this on or not:

And that is that if you move your messages to iCloud, it will count against your storage quota on iCloud. If you’re on the iCloud free plan, or 50 GB plan, your messages could end up eating up quite a bit of the space you have available. I often work with people to help them figure out why they are running out of space on their phone, and quite often, Messages is the biggest culprit. People who send a lot of photos and videos to friends and family can easily rack up a few gigabytes of Messages being stored on their phones and iPads. I’ve had a few clients with 30 Gigabytes worth of messages on their iPhone. It can happen very quickly if you send a lot of videos back and forth. If you don’t keep a lot of messages on your phone, or delete them often, then you shouldn’t have to worry about this.

Also, please note that this service does need to be turned on before you can take advantage of it. It doesn’t turn on automatically when you do the update.
So, first, you need to update to macOS 10.13.5 and iOS 11.4. Then you turn on Messages in iCloud in your settings.

Here’s a good article and video from Appleinsider that shows you exactly how to do that.

Alright, well hopefully, that sheds a little light on how this new feature works, and you can now decide whether or not it’s something you want to use yourself.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Apple news, iCloud, iPhone, Mac, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments
iOS 11.4 was released today

iOS 11.4 was released today

Today, Apple has released the iOS 11.4 update for iPhone and iPad. It has a few new features, but the most anticipated one is the long-awaited arrival of Messages in iCloud. This feature syncs your messages on your iPhones and iPads. So, whenever you delete a message from one device, it is also deleted from your other devices.
It’s important to note that the feature is not available on for your Mac yet. It’s coming for Mac in the upcoming macOS 10.3.5 update, which will hopefully be out very soon.

Other new features include Airplay 2 and HomePod stereo. AirPlay 2 is the first major update to Apple’s wireless audio streaming protocol in years. It primarily adds multi-room audio to iOS devices, when using AirPlay 2 compatible speakers. You can adjust the audio levels on a room-by-room basis, or even play different music in different rooms.
While HomePod stereo allows you to pair and sync two HomePod devices in the same room in order to give them a wider, stereo range.

If you need help to enable Messages in iCloud on your iPhone and iPad, this article explains how to set it up.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Apple news, iOS, iPhone, 0 comments
New security updates

New security updates

Today Apple released the iOS 11.3.1 update, and the macOS 10.13.4 update. The iOS update includes a fix for a display bug that some users experienced with 3rd party replacement screens.

Both of the these are mainly security updates, and just be aware that the macOS update is fairly large and requires a lengthy restart. The download itself is around 1 Gigabyte and it took about 45 minutes for my MacBook Pro to restart after starting the update. So, make sure you will not need your Mac for a while before you do this update.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Apple news, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Mac Security, 0 comments
Apple buys the Texture app

Apple buys the Texture app

A few weeks ago, Apple announced that it was purchasing the Texture app. Texture has been described as a sort of ” Netflix for magazines”, and gives you access to over 200 publications on your iPhone and iPad. Texture has been around since 2012, and for a monthly subscription fee of $9.99, you can read a wide variety of well known magazines such as People, the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, Vogue and many more. But there’s also a very broad section of lesser known publications. Pretty much any magazine that you can find in the magazine section of you local grocery store and most book stores is available in the app. You can view the whole catalog on the Texture website and see if you favorite magazines are included.

I tried the app years ago, but just never used it enough to justify the subscription price. And it also felt very slow at the time. So, I decided to give it another try.
Once you’ve installed the app to your device, you can read the magazines while connected to Wi-Fi, or you can choose to download the publications to your device for offline reading. I’d recommend against downloading too many magazines to your iPhone and iPad unless you have plenty of space on your device. Magazine downloads can add up very quickly and use up a lot of your available space.

Overall, I have to say, I’m very pleasantly surprised by how well the app works nowadays. Even on an older device, such as an iPad 2 from years ago, the app felt very responsive and worked great.
So, if you like to read magazines, this is a great option to catch up on many of your favorites, all in one place and for a very reasonable monthly fee.
You can find the app in the iOS app store and download directly from there.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Apple news, iPad, iPhone, 0 comments
The best To Do apps for Mac

The best To Do apps for Mac

There are some great options available on the Mac to help you organize your to-do list and manage your tasks efficiently. Given the fact that many Mac users are also using an iPhones and iPads, I will focus on to-do apps that work on both macOS and iOS.

There is some excellent free to-do apps currently available, as well as some really top notch paid apps available on the market.

Things 3: This is one of the most popular task management application available for the Mac and iPhone. This application has been around for 10 years, and they’ve won many awards over the years as one the best productivity tools for Apple users. It’s a very elegant looking application with a very minimal interface, yet still manages to pack in a lot of features. Things 3 has won a lot of praise recently and has a large user-base, and continues to receive regular improvements and new features. With a price of $49.99 for the Mac version, $19.99 for the iPad version, and $9.99 for the iPhone version, it can be pretty costly to have it installed on all your devices. Also keep in mind that you have to buy these all over again apps again when they introduce a new version, such as the upgrade from version 2 to version 3.
So, while I think it’s a great app from a great company, just be aware that it’s also one of the most expensive tool you can buy for task management.
You can find more information about Things 3 on their website here

2Do: This is my personal favorite at the moment, and the one I use on a daily basis. This one is also a paid application which usually costs $49.99, but is occasionally on sale for $24.99. But unlike Things, the iPhone and iPad versions of 2Do are free, which is a great little added bonus. It’s a very powerful application loaded with features and many ways to customize it the way you like to work. It is always one of the most highly rated productivity app on the Mac App store with a 5 star rating, and for good reason. I highly recommend that you check it out.

You can find more information about 2Do on their website here

Wunderlist: Wunderlist is a wonderful to-do list app which works well on your Mac, as well as on mobile devices. It’s also cross-platform, meaning that it also works for Android, Windows and Kindle devices. It’s completely free to use, with an option to sign-up for some premium features which are mainly useful for teams. And while I used to really recommend Wunderlist, the company that created it was bought by Microsoft in 2017, and it now looks like they will eventually kill off Wunderlist for their own to-do app. So, for that reason, I wouldn’t get too invested in Wunderlist, as I think it’s eventually going away.

Get more information about Wunderlist on their website.

These 3 apps are the most useful for anyone using Apple products at the moment in my opinion. Leave me a comment below if you think there’s something else better out there.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in iPhone, Mac, Productivity, Recommendations, Software, 0 comments
New Apple updates

New Apple updates

This week, Apple has released updates across multiple devices. The iOS 11.2.6 update fixes some issues on iPhones and iPads. While on other devices, be sure to download macOS 10.13.3 supplemental update, watchOS 4.2.3, and tvOS 11.2.6.

These updates fix security issues and various other bugs which could hamper your devices. Better safe than sorry !

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in Apple news, iPhone, Mac, Mac Security, 0 comments
Customizing your iCloud settings on iPhone

Customizing your iCloud settings on iPhone

If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, it is beneficial to have a basic grasp of which iCloud services are available to you on those devices, and how to turn each setting on and off. When you use iCloud on your iPhone, you are allowing Apple to back-up some of your information to the Apple servers somewhere in the US. Once the initial back-up is done, you can also ask iCloud to sync all your Apple devices so that you will the same information across all devices.
In this video, I cover all the different settings which are available to you on iPhone / iPad, and how to customize them for your needs:

Over the years, iCloud has grown to include a broad set of features which are all pretty useful, but you may not necessarily want or need to use all of them. So, we’ll look at what each service does, and you can decide whether you want to turn it on or not.

  1. iCloud Drive: This is Apple’s answer to other cloud services such as DropBox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. This service allows you to easily back-up files and documents from your computer and mobile devices to the the Apple servers. Those files an documents are then synced across all your devices on which iCloud drive is turned on. If you tend to save a lot of large files onto iCloud Drive, you may at some point need to buy extra storage space for iCloud.
  2. Photos: This allows you to sync either some of your photos and videos, or all of your photos and videos to iCloud. If you turn on the iCloud Photo library, all your pictures and videos will be stored on iCloud and then synced across all your devices on which iCloud photo library is turned on. Turning on the iCloud Photo library can help clear space on your devices, particularly on iPhone and iPad if you’re running out of room.
    But it is important to keep in mind that if you turn on the iCloud Photo library on all your devices, once you delete an image or video from one device, it deletes from your other devices as well. Your Photos library will be identical on all devices on which this feature is turned on.
  3. Mail: This feature is available if you have one of the Apple supplied email addresses that are available for free to anyone. These addresses end in @icloud.com,  @me.com, and @mac.com.
    If you use one of these email addresses, your emails will then be synced across all devices. You can also save previous emails in folders as a back-up should you ever need to retrieve anything.
    These use the IMAP protocol, just like a Gmail address or a Yahoo address, which means that when you delete an email from one device, it also deletes it from everywhere else.
  4. Contacts: When you use the Contacts application (formerly known as Address Book) on your Mac, you can either save contacts to your Mac or to iCloud. The advantage of saving your contacts to iCloud is that your contacts will always be in sync on all your devices, and also become available on www.icloud.com. For the vast majority of people, you will probably be using the cloud to back up and sync your contacts. But it can also be used in conjunction with contacts you may have stored with Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Exchange and many other providers.
  5. Calendar: The Calendar app lets you can create events, appointments, and to do’s in a simple scheduling app. You can create calendar events either just on your Mac, or create them using iCloud, which will then sync across all your devices. Again, I strongly recommend that you use iCloud for your calendar events so that everything syncs across all your devices.
  6. Notes: Same as the previous two, most people should store their Notes in the cloud, unless you are really worried that someone could gain access to your iCloud account. You can create super simple notes, or far more intricate notes with tables and attachments in the latest version. It’s a pretty powerful tool which many people are starting to use instead of something like EverNote because it integrates so well with all your Apple products.
  7. Siri: Turning on Siri in the iCloud panel allows Apple to learn your voice across multiple devices. The way that Siri is supposed to work is that it learns your voice over time and gradually gets better at recognizing your voice and the way you ask it questions. If you’ve been using on iPhone for some time, and you get a new device, having Siri turned on in iCloud means that it doesn’t have to start from scratch and learn your voice all over again on that new device. Slightly spooky maybe, but pretty useful …
  8. Keychain: Keychain is password manager built into Apple products, which allows you to save only certain passwords. When you create or enter a username and password on a website while using Safari, you can save that username and password to your Keychain so that Safari will enter it automatically for you the next time your visit that sit. Your Keychain can also remember wi-fi passwords and various other internet related usernames and passwords. You cannot use it to store just any passwords like you can in some other applications like 1Password or LastPass. But it’s still a very handy feature.
  9. Back to My Mac: Hardly anyone uses this feature, because it hasn’t always worked very well. But, in theory, if you have 2 or more Macs using the same Apple ID, you can access your Macs remotely. So, if for example you’re on the road with your MacBook Air, and you have an iMac at home… If both are turned on and using that same Apple ID, you can access and operate you iMac from your MacBook Air. You can grab files from your home computer while you’re away basically. Again, it’s not used much, but it can be very useful for some people.
  10. Find my Mac / iPhone / iPad: With this feature turned on, you’ll be able to track down your Apple devices and see them  on a map when you log into www.icloud.com, or by using the Find my phone feature on one of your mobile devices. Of course, your device needs to be turned on and within reach of a network for this feature to work. For most people, I’d recommend you have this feature turned on in case you ever lose your device.
Posted by Ian Van Slyke in iCloud, iOS, iPhone, Learning, Tips & Tricks, Training, 0 comments
Gift cards available

Gift cards available

Just in time for the holiday season, I have some Mac Learn gift cards available for purchase. If you know anyone that is struggling and needs help with any of their Apple products, this could be a really useful gift. Theses egift cards are super easy to purchase, and even easier to redeem for the person receiving it. All they need to do is give me the 16 digit code they receive with the virtual gift card.
Anyone who receives this gift card can use it to book an appointment with me in the Atlanta area, for both tech support and training with their Apple products.
Even if they’re outside of the Atlanta area, I can still provide support and training remotely, which is how I work with a good chunk of my clients nowadays.

The minimum amount for these gift cards is $50, which is my rate for 1 hour, so you can easily buy one or more hours of my services for anyone. There is no expiration date on these cards, so they can use them whenever they’d like… as long as I’m still alive of course 🙂

If you have any questions about the cards , or if you have any special requests, feel free to call me or reach out  via email and I’ll get right back with you.
The Mac Learn egift cards can purchased through Square, which is the company that processes my mobile payments when I work with clients at their homes and businesses.
You can purchase the Mac Learn gift cards right here

 

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in iPhone, Learning, Mac, Mac Learn, Training, 0 comments
Clean up your iPhone storage

Clean up your iPhone storage

Today, I want to go over something which is sometimes confusing for some of the clients I work with. And that’s the issue of storage on iPhone.
The issue of running out of storage on the phone is probably one the biggest complaints that I get from clients I work with. And there seems to be a lot of confusion with this problem about how to make sure your don’t run out of storage. So, when we’re talking about your iPhone and iPad, there is two types of storage you need to stay on top of. The actual storage available on the phone itself, and the iCloud storage that you can use to store some of your files online and sync your devices.
In this video, I explain how you can check on your iPhone storage and clean things up if needed. Or you can read the instructions listed below the video.

First, there is your iPhone’s storage, which is how much physical storage space you have on the iPhone itself. And that’s something that you choose when you purchase your phone, and that storage size cannot be changed later on. It’s a fixed amount which cannot be altered, or added to, from then on. So, if you purchased an iPhone with 16GB of storage, that’s all it’s ever going to be able to hold. Which is of course different than what you can do with most computers, where you can usually add a bigger hard drive and more RAM.

And then you have your iCloud storage, and that’s how much storage space you have available on Apple’s computers that is reserved specifically for you, using your Apple ID. And that iCloud storage is something that you can upgrade later on, and buy more space for a fee, if you need to. And the reason you may want to do that is to be able to remove certain items from your phone to clear some space, and store those items on the cloud instead. So, I’ll show you how to check how much space you are currently using on your iPhone and iPad.

First, we’ll look at your iPhone storage to see how much room you have left on the phone itself, since usually, that’s going to dictate whether or not you might need to purchase extra iCloud storage. And you can find that information under Settings, then under the General section. Then if you scroll down a little bit, you’ll see the iPhone storage section. When you click on that, the phone will scan itself, and essentially take an inventory of everything on it, which might take a few seconds, or a few minutes depending on how full your device is. Once it’s done, you’ll see a colored graph that tells you exactly what is taking up space on your phone. You’ll see different colored sections for Apps, Photos, Media, Mail, and so on.

At this point, you’ll be able to easily see what’s taking up space, and exactly how much room you still have left on your device.
Underneath that, you’ll see a section called Recommendations which is a new feature in iOS 11. And the way this feature works is that, if for example you downloaded a game a few months ago, and it’s taking up quite a bit of space but you haven’t played that game in quite a while. If you Enable “Offload unused apps”, it will remove that game from your device, as well as anything else you haven’t used in a while, but it will keep your settings. So, at some point in the future, you can just re-download the game if you want to play it again, and all your preferences and any progress you’ve made will still be there, so it’ll be exactly the same as the last time you played it.

Underneath that, you’ll see a list of everything that is taking up space on your device. The apps taking up the most space will be listed at the top of this list, and this is going to give you a very clear indication of what exactly is gobbling up your storage on your device. The main thing to be aware of is that the number you see to the right of the App’s name is the combined size of the app, as well as any content that’s within the app. So, for example with me, I use an app for listening to podcast called Overcast, and if I click on it, I can see that the app itself is really quite small at only 12 MB, but it’s the podcasts themselves which I’ve downloaded to the phone, those are what’s taking up a ton of space. I listen to a lot of podcasts, so there’s a full 20 GB of audio podcasts currently stored on my phone. If I were to delete the Overcast app from my phone, that would remove both the app and all the podcasts, and therefore clear up 20GB of space. Or, in this instance, I don’t really want to do that, so I could just go to the Overcast app and delete certain episodes to make room, now that I know that this is what is taking up a lot of the space on my phone.

Typically, the apps that tend to take up the most space are going to be anything containing videos and photos, and sometimes also music up to a certain extent. Some of the apps to keep an eye on are going to be the Photos app, or any other apps that you use to shoot pictures and videos with. And if you’re completely filling up your device with images and videos, you might want to consider using the iCloud Photo library, which we will look at later.

The Messages app is also one definitely worth checking on, because the files in there can really sneak up on you. A lot of people don’t really think to look there, but if you’re someone that sends and receives a lot of pictures and videos with friends and family through the Messages app, you can end up with tons of space being taken up by those files until you delete them. And one of the best new features in iOS 11 is the ability to check exactly what is taking up space in your Messages app. Mine is not a great example because I’ve already tidied up in here, but you can now click on the Messages app and you’ll get an exact breakdown of which files are taking up space. Then, you can click on Photos for example and see all the pictures that you currently have in the Messages app. You can then choose Edit at the top right of the screen and add little check-marks to each image you’d like to delete before hitting to trash can icon to actually get rid of them.

Now, keep in mind, if there’s an image that you see listed here that you want to save, you would need to go to the Messages app first, and click and hold on the image until you see the Save option, which will save that image to your Photos library. And it works the same way for the videos.

So, spend some time in here and look around, and see exactly what is taking up space on your phone. You might find that there are some apps that you never use, and probably no longer need to be there. So,  if you need to clear up space on your phone because it’s getting full, this is the first place you should look to understand what exactly is taking up the most room.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in iPhone, Productivity, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments
Keep your apps updated

Keep your apps updated

Today, YouTube updated their iOS app after users reported that their devices would get unusually warm and the battery would deplete much quicker than usual while watching videos on the YouTube app. This update is supposed to fix that. And I think this brings up another important point. Whenever Apple releases a major software update such as they did with iOS 11 a couple months ago, many users will experience battery issues and are often very quick to blame Apple for what they are experiencing. I see a lot of comments implying that Apple is intentionally breaking or slowing down their phones with these updates so that consumers will be forced to buy a new iPhone or iPad. But I think that’s completely wrong. In most cases, I do think the problem lies with poorly written apps, or outdated apps that do not function properly with the new iOS update.

I often work with clients and when I open up their App Store, there is often dozens of apps that need updates. And once we’ve updated those apps, it usually resolves most of the issues they had been experiencing. Somewhere along the way, it seems like many people using various technology have gotten weary and suspicious of updating their devices. But updates in the vast majority of cases actually fix bugs and improve the app. Rarely is it a bad idea to update your devices. So, keep all your apps up to date and and you will most likely experience a better functioning device and new feature in your apps.

Posted by Ian Van Slyke in iOS, iPhone, Productivity, Software, Tips & Tricks, 0 comments