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Expert Blogs

Tip of the Day: How to Adjust Siri's Volume

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Have you ever wanted to tell Siri to keep it down or to speak up, but couldn't find where in the settings to adjust the virtual assistant's volume? That's because there is no Siri volume control in Settings.

Asking Siri to adjust it's own volume doesn't work either. You may recognize these Siri replies from your own attempts to adjust the volume:



Unleash Your Inner App Developer Part 14: Core Data

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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 iOS 7.1.)

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.



Tip of the Day: How to Take Pictures While Shooting Video on Your iPhone

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What do you do when you're recording a video on your iPhone and a perfect picture-taking moment arises? Do you stop recording? Or do you let the moment go by? If you have an iPhone 5 or later model, you can relax and take the picture while you continue to record your video. Here's how:



Tip of the Day: How to Turn on Character Count in Messages

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Apple does not limit the character count for iMessages; but if you are sending a message to a non iUser it will be sent as an SMS and will therefore be limited to 160 characters. This means characters over 160 will be sent in a second text or possibly even deleted, depending on your recipient's carrier. To avoid this situation, turn on Character Count so you can always know when you've reached the SMS character limit.



Unleash Your Inner App Developer Part 13: App Architecture

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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 13 of the series. If you are just getting started now, check out the beginning of the series here(This post has been updated to iOS 7.1)

This post contains some of the most important information you need to know to build a well-designed app that easily adapts to changes requested by users, the constant changes Apple makes to iOS, and the ever-changing landscape of iOS devices. It all comes down to a solid app architecture. We're going to take a quick digression from the iAppsReview app this week to look at a simpler Calculator app to help us establish good architectural principles.



Unleash Your Inner App Developer Part 12: Hardening Your Code

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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 12 of the series. If you're just getting started now, check out the beginning of the series here (this post has been updated to iOS 7.1.)

One of the best software development books of all time is Steve McConnell's Code Complete. Whether you are a seasoned software developer or a brand new programmer, regardless of the platform or language in which you write code, I highly recommend checking out this book. It will change your way of thinking and vastly improve the quality of the code you write.



Tip of the Day: Siri Can Flip a Coin, Roll Dice, and Make Hard Parenting Choices for You

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Siri can flip a coin, roll dice, or pick random numbers for you.

These may seem like amusing but ultimately useless tricks, unless you are a parent. In which case they can help you navigate all the tricky situations you deal with on a daily basis. 



Swift 101 - Swift Meets the Cocoa Touch Framework

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Even though Apple has provided the new Swift programming language for building iOS apps, one thing remains the same—we still use the Cocoa Touch Framework libraries to build iOS functionality into our apps. However, since the Cocoa Touch Framework is written in Objective-C, how is this accomplished? In this article I'll show you the mechanics behind how Swift accesses Objective-C code, and how the Cocoa Touch APIs (application programming interfaces) change when you access them from Swift.



Unleash Your Inner App Developer Part 11: The Photo Library

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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 fun turning your ideas into reality can be! This is Part 11 of the series. If you're just getting started now, check out the beginning of the series here(This post has been updated to iOS 7.1)

Now that you have some of the basics of Objective-C programming under your belt, it's time to dive into some deeper coding territory. However, first let's talk about the homework assignment I gave you last week. I asked you to enhance iAppsReview so that it pulled the name of the app from the Write Review scene's text field. 



Tip of the Day: How to Set Speakerphone as the Default for Hands-Free Calling

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If you spend most of your free time elbow deep in garden soil, if you have a long commute, or if you otherwise need to take calls on your iPhone hands free, you will probably be pleased to know that it is possible to set your iPhone to automatically answer calls in Headset or Speakerphone mode.



Unleash Your Inner App Developer Part 10: Social Media and Collections

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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 fun turning your ideas into reality can be! This is Part 10 of the series. If you're just getting started now, check out the beginning of the series here (this post has been updated to iOS 7.1.)

In my previous post, you learned the basic mechanics of sending messages. There's very little you can do in Objective-C, the language of iOS development, without sending messages. In this post, we're going to put into practice what you have learned about messages and integrate social media into the iAppsReview app we've been working on in this blog. I'm also going to introduce a new Cocoa Touch Framework concept known as collections. You can get the latest version of iAppsReview from this link.



Unleash Your Inner App Developer Part 9: Sending Messages

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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 fun turning your ideas into reality can be! This is Part 9 of the series. If you're just getting started now, check out the beginning of the series here (this post has been updated to iOS 7.1.)

In my previous post, I taught you how to write your very first line of code. In the process, I touched on the concept of passing messages in Objective-C. In this post, we're going to take a closer look at the important concept of passing messages, and we will also work on converting the prototype iAppsReview into a fully-functional app.



Tip of the Day: How to Quickly Invert Colors for iPhone Use in Low-Light Situations

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A few days ago I was on a late night stroll with my dog, when I received a text from my daughter that needed a reply. During the exchange that followed, I dictated my texts instead of attempting to type out a reply while walking or holding an energetic puppy still; but even so, I had to take a moment after sending each message to stop and let my eyes readjust to the darkness.

I could have gone in to my settings and selected Invert Colors, but I didn't feel like stopping and taking the time. "If only there were a way to quickly invert the colors of my screen," I thought as I squinted into the glare of my iPhone's screen.



Use Your iPhone to Build a Successful Business

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In this article you will learn how to connect to your purpose and manage your time, two critical critical components of building a successful business. The apps you need for the exercises in this article are Pic-Collage (free) and Producteev (free) (or a similar task management system.) 



Unleash Your Inner App Developer Part 8: Code Writing First Steps

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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 fun turning your ideas into reality can be! This is Part 8 of the series. If you're just getting started now, check out the beginning of the series here (this post has been updated to iOS 7.1.)

In my previous post, I mentioned Objective-C, the language of iOS Apps, is an object-oriented programming language. This means when you write code, you are mostly interacting with objects—both visual and non-visual. Working with an object-oriented language is a great advantage for non-programmers who want to learn programming. In this post I'll talk about these advantages, and we'll even get you to write your first lines of code!



Tip of the Day: How to Create Custom Reminders in iOS Reminders

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When you set up reminders in the iOS Reminders app, you have six options for repeating:

  • Never (default)

  • Every Day

  • Every Week

  • Every two Weeks

  • Every Month

  • Every Year

But what if you need to repeat a reminder at a different interval? Maybe you want to be reminded every three weeks or every six months or weekdays only.



Tip of the Day: Take Easy Silhouette Shots with Your iPhone Camera

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One of my favorite things about my iPhone is the way even a decidedly untalented photographer like me can easily take and share decent photos and videos using the built-in Camera, and I'm always on the lookout for iphoneography tips to help me improve my skills. Here's one on how to take easy silhouette shots with your iPhone, generously shared with me by iPhone Life magazine's newest editor Rheanne Schlee. This really easy trick can result in amazing photos:



Unleash Your Inner App Developer Part 7: The Big Picture

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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 fun turning your ideas into reality can be! This is Part 7 of the series. If you're just getting started now, check out the beginning of the series here (this post has been updated to  iOS 7.1.)

In my last several posts, we have created a prototype app called iAppsReview that allows users to rate apps on their iOS devices. Whenever you build an app, it's a best practice to first create a prototype that you can give to your client or potential user base for feedback. Once you get feedback, you often need to make changes to the prototype based on the feedback you receive. However, once the dust has settled, you have to take the prototype and turn it into a real app. That requires writing code. Since this blog series is specifically designed for non-programmers, we need to take a step back and look at the big picture of app development and learn the basics of writing code.



Tip of the Day: How to Get an iTunes Refund

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Apple vets everything sold on iTunes very carefully and is pretty clear that all iTunes purchases are final. But what happens if you purchase an app that just didn't work or has problems downloading or some other significant issue? Then your purchase may not be as final as Apple's terms and conditions make it sound.



Swift 101 - New, Powerful Enumerations

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In this post, I'm going to demonstrate some of the powerful new features of enumerations in Swift.

Declaring Swift Enumerations

Just about every programming language has the concept of enumerations. An enumeration allows you to group a set of related constants together. It contains a complete list of all the possible values for a given type. 



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