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Expert Blogs

Swift Programming 101 - Understanding Access Control

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Access Control is one of the late-breaking features added to the Swift language. It allows you to specify the parts of your code you want to make public, and the parts you want to hide. It's an important tool in creating easy-to-use, and easy-to-understand interfaces.



Tip of the Day: Use Siri to Identify Songs Playing on the Radio

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You've probably had the experience of listening to the radio and wondering the name of the song that's playing—maybe it's new to you and you're wondering who the artist is, or maybe it's familiar but you can't remember the name. Now with iOS 8, Siri can help. In the past, you could ask Siri to identify music playing on your device, but with iOS 8 you can ask Siri to identify any ambient music. And, conveniently, Siri also makes it easy to purchase the song or album.



Tip of the Day: Turn off Predictive Text Completely

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Can Apple read your mind? With iOS 8, it looks like it! Apple has caught up with Android and other platforms that offer a form of predictive Text called QuickType. This means, when composing text, your iOS device will suggest words that it thinks you want to use. While AutoCorrect guessed at a word, based on the letters you type, QuickType predicts what word you might type next based on the context of your message or document.



Tip of the Day: How to Add Widgets to Notification Center

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With iOS 8, we finally got the ability to customize the interface by adding widgets to Notification Center. Now when you swipe down from the top of the screen to see the Today view in Notification Center, you have the opportunity to see many new items in addition to the standard ones that had been available in the past. New widgets you can add include sports scores, news, travel guides, calculator, dictionary and thesaurus, package tracking, task management, photos, and much more.



Tip of the Day: How to Turn On Grayscale Mode in iOS 8

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Among the many new features of iOS 8 is grayscale mode. Why would you want your display to appear gray rather than in colors? There are two main reasons. First, for those who are color blind, items such as menus may be hard to distinguish if they rely on color to stand out from a background. Grayscale can make the display more readable for them. And second, if your battery is running low and you know that it will be a while before you'll have the opportunity to charge it, grayscale can extend battery life. 



Tip of the Day: How to Use iOS 8's Manual Exposure in Camera

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Automatic exposure (which determines how light or dark our images should be) is so convenient and accurate most of the time, but then there are those times moments when we end up with  overexposed or underexposed images that make us cringe. After all, our cameras are pretty advanced, but it's still impossible for them to recognize when we want our focal point darker (such when shooting silhouettes) or lighter. 



Tip of the Day: Use Reader Mode in Safari for Easier Reading

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Web pages are often cluttered with ads and menus, all of which can be distracting if you're just trying to focus on reading the text. Fortunately, Safari has a Reader Mode that removes all those distractions and presents the page's text and images in a simple and attractive fashion.



Tip of the Day: How to Add a Third-Party Keyboard in iOS 8

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One of the most-requested features for the iPhone and iPad was the ability to add third-party keyboards, and Apple responded to that request in iOS 8. Popular keyboards such as Swype ($0.99) and SwiftKey (free) add many features, and can speed up text entry.



Swift Programming 101: Demystifying Swift's Initializers (Part 2)

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In this second part of my two-part post on Demystifying Swift's Initializers, I explain the concepts of initializer chaining, two-phase initialization, and initializer inheritance using hands-on examples that walk you through some of these deeper concepts. You can read part 1 of this post at this link.

If you would like to follow along and perform the step-by-step instructions with this post (highly recommended) you can download the project we have completed so far at this link.



Tip of the Day: Keep Your iPad from Ringing Everytime You Get a Phone Call

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Apple's new iOS 8 is great, and one of those great new features is Continuity. With Continuity, users of multiple Apple products can take a phone call on one device and switch to another on the fly. I typically leave my iPhone docked at the entrance to my house and then I work upstairs on my MacBook. When the phone rings, I have to make a mad dash to answer it. Now I can take the call on my iPad. And soon, with Mac OS X Yosemite, I can answer the phone call on my MacBook!



Tip of the Day: Answer Phone Calls On Your iPad

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Forget running downstairs to where you left your iPhone, take the call on your iPad or iPod instead (as long as you have later-model devices running iOS 8).



Tip of the Day: Add Phone Numbers to Contacts from Mail in iOS 8

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You probably already know you can call a phone number from within an email by tapping on the number. But did you know that you can now quickly add the phone number to Contacts as well?



Swift 101: Demystifying Swift's Initializers (Part 1)

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Now that Apple has officially released Xcode 6 and the NDA has been lifted, it's time to dive deeper into Swift—Apple's new language for building iOS apps. Learning how to properly use initializers in Swift can be daunting at first. Swift's requirement that all stored properties in a class are initialized adds complexity to the initialization process. In the first part of this two-part post I'm going to demystify initializers as I provide a hands-on approach to learning how to best implement initializers in your custom classes.



Tip of the Day: Delete Mail Faster in iOS 8

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In iOS 7, deleting individual emails from your inbox in the Mail app was a multi-step process. You had to swipe left on the email preview and then choose Delete from the options that appeared. It's much faster in iOS 8.



Tip of the Day: Use Siri Hands Free with iOS 8

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Siri can be quite useful, but if you really want a "Jarvis" kind of experience, like Tony Stark in Iron Man, you need to be able to interact with Siri without touching a button. Fortunately, iOS 8 makes this possible. 



Tip of the Day: Take Slo Mo Movies on Your iPhone

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The iPhone 5s gave us Slo Mo video capture, where images are recorded at 120 FPS (Frames Per Second) and then played back at 30 FPS. But now the iPhone 6 offers Super Slo Mo, which captures 240 FPS. This will allow for some incredible action videos. I played with this new feature at my daughter's softball game and was able to analyze her swing and running essentially in real time. This could be a great boon to coaches and athletes, not to mention a lot of fun! Here's how to use it:



Tip of the Day: Hide the Predictive Text Feature on Your iOS 8 Keyboard

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When Apple announced that their keyboards would now have a predictive text feature in iOS 8, the general reaction was, "About time, Apple!" But it turns out there are some iOS users who find the feature really annoying. Fortunately it's easy to turn predictive text off:



Tip of the Day: How to Use the New Self-Timer on Your iPhone's Camera

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Until now, you could only use a self-timer with your iPhone camera via third-party apps that included the feature. It's surprising this was never a built-in option for users before, but either way, we’re happy it’s finally here!



iOS 8 Upgrade Fail — Why It May Be Better to Upgrade Via Connecting to Your Computer [update]

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Eager to upgrade to iOS 8, I connected my iPad to my computer and booted up iTunes. The iTunes software automatically backed up my iPad to my computer, as it usually does whenever I connect my iPad. Then I clicked on the update button and confirmed that I wanted to update to iOS 8. The update downloaded just fine, but then when it was installing I got a message on my computer that there was an unknown error. I looked at the screen of my iPad and nothing was happening in the progress bar. Basically it seemed frozen. I had to press the power button and home button simultaneously to force the iPad to shut down. Then when I restarted it, I got a message that I needed to restore to the original factory settings. Which I did by selecting that option in iTunes. Then once the iPad was restored to its original state, iTunes asked me if I wanted to set it up as a new iPad or to restore from the backup. I chose the latter, and when it was done, things were back to normal — and my iPad Air was running iOS 8.



Tip of the Day: Set Old Messages to Automatically Delete

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If you do a lot of texting, your Message app is probably clogged with old messages. Before iOS 8 you had to manually delete conversations or individual messages. Now you can set the app to automatically delete all messages older than 30 days or one year. The default setting lets you keep your messages forever, which could be handy if everything you write is a gem of unparalleled wisdom. Everyone else, read on:



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