There have been a couple of times now that I’ve been startled out of a deep sleep by my iPhone emitting a high pitched screeching sound. The sound was to make me aware of an AMBER (child abduction) Alert.
I think AMBER Alerts are a great thing and help save lives, but what annoyed me was that the alert was from a city almost 300 miles away from me. Was it really relevant to me?
Most of the time the alerts are pinged off of cell towers and are specific to the area. I’m not sure why I received this particular alert, but it made me consider turning it off.
It’s a good idea to get in the habit of backing up your iDevices on a regular basis. Having a recent backup can prevent the loss of photos, passwords, contacts, settings, and other important data in the event your device is ever stolen or destroyed. To keep that backup data secure, it's important to encrypt the backup. In fact, some things, such as your passwords, Health data, and Wi-Fi settings can’t be backed up unless the backup is encrypted.
Apple has placed what it thinks are the most useful apps in the dock of the iPad and iPhone, where they are accessible on every Home screen. However, your idea of the most useful apps may be different from Apple's. Here's how to add or remove apps from your dock.
Using Apple's Find My Friends, Messages, and Find My iPhone apps, you can share your location with your family members and see theirs, as long as they have also shared their location. This can help you find your spouse in a crowd, find your child at school, or even check to make sure your teens are where they said they were going. Here's how to set up the Find My Friends app to share your location with your family members. (Please note: Find My Friends doesn't come pre-installed on your iDevice and will have to be downloaded from the App Store.)
With iOS 8, you can send and receive audio messages to and from other iOS 8 users. This can let you send brief recordings of music, a voice birthday message, and more.
Using Siri to call or send messages to people can be very convenient during those times when your hands or eyes are otherwise occupied. Just don't try to call any friends or family members who have an unusual name, because if Siri doesn't know how to pronounce that name, the virtual assistant won't understand what you are asking. This can be extremely frustrating and lead to you yelling at your iPhone in public (don't ask me how I know), and it's why it can be worth it to take the time to teach Siri how to pronounce names correctly.
Take me to level five, Siri.
Do you prefer to text in complete, grammatically correct sentences? Are you one of those people who know when you should use a comma versus when you should use a semicolon? Did you know that you can use Siri to punctuate your texts and emails like a pro?
It's like the Interrupting Cow joke that delights school-age kids everywhere; you activate Siri and start speaking your request, only to be interrupted by, "Here's what I found on the web." At which point you probably say something like "If you'd just let me #$@%ing finish, Siri, you'd know I'm trying to call my wife, not do a web search!"
I can't help you with your anger issues, but I do have a very simple solution to your problems with Interrupting Siri:
Do you have an idea for an app but lack the programming knowledge to begin building it? In this weekly blog series, How to Unleash Your Inner App Developer, I will take you, the non-programmer, step-by-step through the process of creating apps for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Join me each week on this adventure, and you will experience how much fun turning your ideas into reality can be! This is Part 14 of the series. If you are just getting started now, check out the beginning of the series here. (This post has been updated to Swift 1.2, iOS 8, and Xcode 6.3)
Core Data is the technology that allows you to store and retrieve information on an iOS device. Although it is an advanced technology often difficult to grasp, my goal in this post is to simplify Core Data so it can be easily used by beginners.
When you ask Siri to remind you about something, like your car payment, Siri automatically adds the reminder to the default Reminders list. But if you want the reminder added to a different list, that's possible too. You just have to phrase your request a little differently.
The utility I use the most on my iPhone is the calculator. I use it often to reconcile my checkbook, calculate discounts in the store, and more. but when I use the iPhone's calculator to add up a list of numbers, it doesn't offer a record of what I input, so I don't know if I made an error tapping numbers in.
It took me over a year to get in the habit of using Siri, partly because she seemed so human-like. I was worried I'd say something dumb. One day I finally got it: there ain't no one listening. And ever since then I've used Siri with abandon. Lately I was surprised to discover that Siri offers a helpful guide to what you can say or ask.
iTunes Radio is a nice freebie from Apple (at least for those who live in the U.S. and Australia), and I hope Apple continues to offer it even after they launch their rumored subscription service. You can create your own station and customize it to play the kind of music you like best. iOS 8 added the convenience of controlling iTunes Radio from the lock screen.
You need space on your phone, quickly! So you delete a few (or few hundred!) photos. However, that doesn’t seem to give you space.
That’s because your deleted photos go into iOS 8’s Recently Deleted folder. This folder saves your deleted photos up to 30 days after you delete them, so they’re still stored on your device.
When using Family Sharing, some family members (like children) sometimes end up with things on their devices that others (like parents) didn’t really want to share with everyone, like when my favorite song (with explicit lyrics) popped up on my 10 year-old's iPad! Here’s a quick how-to for setting up your Family Sharing so you can share what you’d like, and keep hidden what you don’t.
With iOS 8, you can send and receive audio messages to and from other iOS 8 users. So if you'd like to send a clip of a concert or lecture you're attending, you can just use this Messages feature instead of killing your iPhone battery creating a video or audio recording.
If you receive an audio message, you don't even need to press play—just enable the Raise to Listen feature.
The compass app may be one of those Apple apps that you've forgotten you even have on your iPhone. Apple even has it hidden away in the Extras folder. But it could come in handy if you get lost or need to check if a picture you're hanging is level.
Unless you're using location-based reminders, you're not getting the full use of your native iOS 8 Reminders app. Location-based reminders can help you remember that you need milk as you drive near the grocery store and they can make sure you don't forget to call your mother as you arrive home.
A nice feature in the Photos app in iOS 8 is the ability to precisely rotate a photo to any angle. This can be very useful, since occasionally a photo gets a bit skewed.
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