iPhone Apps & Gear for Your New Year’s Resolutions

In the 150th episode, David and Donna share apps and gear to help you accomplish your 2021 goals. Last but not least, they’ll go over tips for decluttering your phone that will help give you a fresh start for the new year!

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This episode was brought to you by OWC. Have you invested in a new MacBook Pro but find yourself frustrated by the lack of ports? The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock ($118) gives you everything you need to expand your connectivity. This sturdy, smartphone-sized dock weighs just over 5 ounces and offers two HDMI ports, a USB 2, USB 3, and even an Ethernet port. When you connect up to two external monitors, you’ll experience the productivity boost of screen-extension and mirror modes and enjoy 4K video and streaming for movies, games, and more. The benefits don’t stop there, though. Audiophiles will appreciate the high-fidelity sound supported by HDMI precision multi-channel audio. The Gigabit Ethernet port keeps users navigating, streaming, and sharing when Wi-Fi isn't reliable or fast enough. The USB 3 port even charges smaller devices and accessories. Done for the day? It's quick and safe to disconnect the Mini Dock with included Dock Ejector app, which is engineered to ensure all data is written before disconnecting. 
 

Questions of the week:

What are your New Year's resolutions & how are you using your iPhone to meet them? Email podcast@iphonelife.com and let us know.

Articles referred to in this episode:

New Year's apps & gear referred to in this episode:

Digital decluttering tips referred to in this episode:

 

Useful links:

Episode 150 transcript:

- Hi and welcome to the iPhone Life Podcast. I'm Donna Cleveland, Editor in Chief at iPhone Life

- And I'm David Averbach, CEO and Publisher.

- Today we are are celebrating our 150th episode of the iPhone Life Podcast.

- Wow Congratulations, Donna.

- Can you believe that?

- What's the traditional gift for the 150th episode?

- I think something bronze and I don't know.

- Mm yeah. No, I cannot believe it. That is a lot. That's a lot of time you and I have spent talking about iPhones together.

- I know, it's been so much fun. It's one of my favorite parts of this job, I have to say.

- It is a lot of fun and thank you all for sticking around. Has there... Okay this isn't the official question of the day. Is there anybody out there who's listened to all 150 episodes? Send us an email podcast@iphonelife.com

- Yeah I know, I wonder... I do feel like we have some very, a very loyal fan base of listeners who have been with us for this whole time, so it'd be fun to hear from you. Email us and let us know what you enjoy most about the podcast too. That would be a lot of fun.

- Yeah, or anything you'd like to see changed. I'm curious 'cause I feel like I am subjective, but I feel like we've gotten better over time. I feel like the earlier episodes were not as good.

- Well, I remember the first time we recorded or the first couple times. I had this impression like, "Oh, I have to say everything perfectly or else we have to start all over again." So like in front of the mic like, "Like how am I gonna get through like an hour without having to start all over again?"

- Well, in the early-

- So we've come a long way since then.

- In the early days, we had one microphone for all three of us and we weren't recording the video, so you couldn't see us. So what we'd do is we'd all sit around like on the floor with our faces next to this microphone and these little three, Cassera was there, all three of us.

- Before days of COVID

- Yeah, before the days of COVID and now we're in our homes, but we actually have a studio that I would like to see some day.

- I know. Yeah, it's fun to get to hang out on Zoom, but it was more fun when we did it in person. So it'll be fun to get back to that one day. Which maybe fits in with our new theme for this issue, for this episode. You can tell I'm thinking about the magazine. We're about to go to print. Anyways, this episode, the theme is New Year, New You. So we want to go over apps and gear and tips for decluttering your phone to give you a fresh start for 2021.

- Yes.

- And how that fit in with what I was saying before is hopefully in the coming year at some point, we'll all be back in the office together again.

- I cannot wait.

- And David, do you want to tell us about our sponsor for this episode?

- Yeah. Today's sponsor is OWC and OWC is this great company. They have this really great line of Mac and iPhone and iPad accessories and they also sell used and refurbished Mac computers. But today I'm gonna tell you about their product, the USBC Travel Dock and don't let the name fool you. It is great for if you're traveling, but it's really great for if you're at home as well. I've talked about it in the past, but this is actually the second generation, so they've made some improvements. And what it is basically for your iPad or your Mac computer that's USB-C. It has a cable that is now built in, which is nice and you plug it in and it gives you a range of docks that you now can use with your, either your Mac or your iPad and it has a traditional USB-C cable, it has an SD card reader, it has HDMI reader. It also has this really cool new feature, which it has pass-through, a USBC passthrough up to 100 watts and what that means, I know it's a little bit technical, but what that means is you can actually plug your charging cable into this dock and it passes through. So you can be charging your computer while also having access to all of these other docks and it's only having one cable plugged into your computer. So you don't have to have this mess of cables. So it's a really great product. It looks sleek, it's aluminum, it matches the Mac look and feel and it's pretty affordable. So make sure you check it out, we'll link to it in the show notes or you can go to OWCDigital.com and find it. And again, that is the USB-C Travel Dock used for travel and at home because we're not traveling right now, but it's still great.

- It sounds like I need one for my new Mac.

- You do. I have one, I love it.

- Yeah, with the limited ports on the newer devices, devices like this are crucial.

- Yeah, everybody needs a dock for the like... To have all the range of cables that you sometimes need.

- Yeah. All right, next I want to tell you about our daily tip newsletter. We send out a free daily newsletter, where you can learn something cool you can do with your iPhone in just one minute a day. It's a really awesome service because, you know, a lot of us don't want to invest a ton of time learning how to use our devices, but we don't want to miss out on all the cool things that your iPhone and iPad can do. We also include tips for the Apple Watch, we're getting into Mac as well. So go to iPhonelife.com/dailytip to sign up. I have a tip I want to share with all of you this week that I've been making a lot of use of and it's how to use picture and picture on your iPhone and iPad. And this is a-

- Mm I love this.

- Feature that's been around for the iPad for years, but it's new for the iPhone ever since iOS 14 and there are some new tips and tricks, even if you have been using it for years there are some new ways you can use it. So first, I just wanted to talk about like what apps this feature is available for. As most of you know picture and picture minimizes your video view so that it only takes up a little bit of your screen so that you can multitask and do other things while you're watching a video and it works with a lot of Apple stock apps. I actually have a list here of apps you can use it with. You can use it for FaceTime, which is really nice. You can use it in the podcast app for video podcasts. You... What are some of the apps that you use it for?

- I mean the main one I use it for is FaceTime and this is new with iOS 14, that you can do it with FaceTime. Before on FaceTime, if you were on a FaceTime call and you swiped up to use your phone. It would pause and it would not... The video would pause and it would tell the other person that the video was paused. And so it was very clear to the other person that you were not watching them and you could not multitask. Now sometimes I, especially with COVID and you know, all the people I don't get to see. I'll have pretty long FaceTime calls, where either I wanna multitask because I'm talking about something that I want to look up on my phone, or maybe sometimes I get a text message that comes in and I'm responding to that text message as I'm talking to somebody. Little things like that where it's really nice to have, be able to have their video and have my video not pause, while also being able to sometimes use my phone for other things. Another use case that's great, is if you're one of our Insider subscribers, you get video versions of our daily tips and our guides. When you log into our site, you can go watch the video and have it be small so that you can still be scrolling through the written step-by-step directions and then follow along with it as you watch on the video, or you could like be going into your settings and change the settings that the video is telling you to do while you're watching, because we use Vimeo and YouTube to play our videos. And those are apps that are compatible with this. Vimeo is what we use for our Insider videos and it definitely works. I was gonna say, actually, a caveat is that YouTube is a little tricky. YouTube doesn't... They want to make you pay for their YouTube monthly service in order to use picture and picture and be able to minimize your video window. It seems like with some YouTube videos you can like play it through the Safari app and not use the YouTube app and then you can use picture and picture but like, I think that Apple has tried to block that too. But anyway, I'm gonna post a list at iPhonelife.com/podcast of all of the apps that are compatible. 'Cause I think it's a feature you're not gonna take advantage of, unless you know that it's there, but it works for like a lot of the network news apps like CNN for the NFL, Netflix and Hulu support it. There's a bunch of ones, so I'm gonna post that there.

- And if you're-

- iPhoneLife.com/podcast.

- Just to echo what Donna said, if you're an Insider, I really encourage you to test this out with Insider because it's such a cool functionality to have the tip going and be able to do, follow the steps as you're doing it. So you have the video in the corner and it says, "Go to settings," and you go to settings and you get to see where it is. And it's such a great way to use the video tips we have every day to actually customize the things you want to customize while somebody is walking you through it. It's really an awesome functionality that we're taking advantage of there, so if you're an Insider make sure you check it out. If you're not an Insider, we have a great link for you.

- Yeah, also not to mention, if you're listening to the video version of this podcast, it's great.

- Yeah.

- Like which also, I just want to take a minute to explain to people because it can be a little confusing. We have an audio and a video version of the podcast. They're both available through any podcast player that you, that pretty much any podcast player that you'd want to use, but they're two separate feeds. So if you want the video version, you search for iPhone Life Video Podcast. Otherwise, you just search for iPhone Life Podcast and so you would subscribe to those separately.

- You also can watch it on our website at iPhonelife.com/podcast and we also put it in YouTube, So we're everywhere.

- We're everywhere, yeah.

- Everywhere you wanna be.

- So back to picture and picture. I've told you about like the benefit of why you'd want to use picture and picture, so here's how you use it. Once you open up one of the apps that I mentioned and are playing a video or you're making a FaceTime call or something like that. You either tap, like there's gonna be a little picture add picture icon, which is like a square with a little arrow. And you tap that and it makes the windows smaller or if you're in full screen mode while you're playing the video and just swipe up from the bottom of your display, you'll also go into picture and picture, but that'll only work if you're in the full screen mode. If you're playing a video just in like, that's not in full screen mode and you swipe up, you'll just close the app. So that's something, a distinction that messed me up for a while that I wanted to explain. And then once you have a smaller window, you can just pinch and spread your fingers to resize the video window and you can move it around. You can drag and drop the window anywhere you want on your display, so it's not covering up anything you're trying to use. And this is a cool, newer feature. You can swipe the window off of your display and a little like arrow tag will appear and the audio will continue of whatever you were listening to. But that way, let's say you need your whole display without any obstruction you can do that. And then just like tap that little tag at any time and it'll come back onto your display. And it works on your iPhone now too, so it's awesome, I use it all the time.

- And those are some nice little bonus tips there. I didn't know until we... I think we talked about it in one of our classes, actually our iOS 14 class, but I didn't realize you could pinch to adjust the size of it. That's a really nice little bonus tip.

- It is, yeah. So that's our tip of the day and next, I want to tell you about our Insider subscription. We were just mentioning before all these great videos that we have. This is part of our premium subscription. If you go to iPhoneLife.com/podcastdiscount. You'll get 10% off your subscription, which is a great bonus for all of you loyal podcast listeners. So you'll get not only our whole collection of video guides for all of your different Apple devices that will teach you, start to finish, how to use your new devices, but you'll also get unlimited access to our live online classes. We now have added four classes every year, plus monthly online live workshops that you can join, where we'll go in depth on a topic. For instance, as soon as the new operating systems come out. We launched the very next day a class that will teach you how to take advantage of all the new features and how to go through the updating your software without messing up your phone and things like that. We're gonna teach you how to use the camera and how to organize your photos, all of that. If you go and sign up for Insider. And we also have a feature called Ask An Editor, where you get access to our experts. If you're having a tech problem and you're not having an easy time fixing it. Like you don't have to bother family members, you can email us and we'll walk you through and help you find solutions to your problems. You also get access to our full archive of iPhone Life magazine and the premium version of our podcast with no ads and premium extra content. What am I missing David? Daily video versions of our daily tip.

- Yeah and we have an archive of thousands of them now, so you can go through all of them. And I'm particularly excited that we now have classes in our Insider and that we're doing live monthly workshops, so we have lots of ways to learn through Insider.

- So start off year 2021 right by signing up for Insider and this year really make use of your Apple devices. It's also something that, you know, you can, you don't have to invest a lot of time when you sign up for Insider. There's so many different ways to learn that you can really learn at your own pace and use the features that work for you. We try to offer lots of different things and you can sort of find within that. What is the most accessible and comfortable for you?

- One thing, I don't know if you mentioned it or not, but it's important to emphasize for you podcast listeners. We have an extended version of the podcast for Insiders. We have bonus content and it's ad free. So you get a extra special podcast each episode

- without us doing this every time.

- Yeah, you don't have to listen to this because you're already enjoying Insider.

- Yeah. Okay, let's get into our special theme now. Now we are, as we mentioned, we want to help you start off your new year with apps and gear that help you meet your goals and live a healthier, happier life. We also want to... Like we think it's a great time now to go through and do a digital decluttering and get rid of all the extra things on your device that might be slowing it down or just stuff that you no longer need and makes your user experience with your phone, less enjoyable. So let's dive into it. I see David, you have some product recommendations. Let's start with that.

- Sure. I have one that I use every day, which is the Withings Smart Scale. I've had it for years and I actually love it. They're a sponsor now, so I have to put that disclaimer, but I've had this for years, I love it. And basically-

- He's not just talking about them 'cause they're a sponsor.

- This is true.

- He actually had it before.

- This is true. And basically, how it works is it's a normal looking scale, but when you step on it, first of all, it recognizes you. So you can have different profiles for different family members and it syncs with your app, and you can track your... Obviously, you can track your weight and your, but you can also track your Body Mass Index over time. It also tells you the air quality, so that's a nice little bonus thing. It tells you the weather, which I actually really like. It's just a really quick easy way in the morning, as I'm getting ready to know what the weather is gonna be. But my favorite part about this is that, if you use it regularly over time, you get a really good sense of your weight trends. I've been using this for so many years that I can literally see like the peaks and valleys of when I've gained weight, when I've lost weight and I'm actually a fan. I think that it's really... Personally, I think it's healthy to weigh yourself every day. I know that's a controversial thing, but to me it sort of, it gets me out of the-

- I disagree.

- I know a lot of people do, so it's a personal thing. But it gets me out of the head space of like thinking it's a really charged thing. It just, I don't... It removes the emotions for it for me. I just look at it and it also gives me a pretty decent sense of like, which activities are causing me to gain and lose weight. And cause it's not always intuitive but if you look at like, you know, it's pretty easy to see, "Oh, I lost weight this month, what did I do differently?" Or, "I gained weight this month, what did I do differently?" So I'm a big fan of that. If weight loss is something that is a goal for you for 2021 and I know we've all been very sedentary for 2020, so it might be. Then I really recommend the smart scale.

- I have a fun while we're on the fitness side of things, a fun product recommendation, Colin Thomas, one of our writers featured this in our buyer's guide. It's called the Tangram SmartRope and it's $79 and it connects to your phone. So it tells you like how many reps you have from doing jump rope. And it has this really cool thing, where it creates this sort of like holographic display on the wall that tells you how many reps you've done while you're jump roping.

- That's crazy.

- And it's a really cool, like techie look to it. So if you're someone who sort of likes to geek out on tech stuff and you're trying to get in shape. This is a great device and you can, you know, have like goals of how many reps you want to do every day, for instance. Yeah, when I saw that. My husband just got a jump rope and is really into it. He wants to be jump roping every day to get in shape for tennis and I thought that this would be like... It would have been a cool device for him. Instead of just a plain old jump rope,

- Boring old jump rope.

- Yeah. We talked about this last episode, but I think it's a good thing to bring up again. That Apple just came out with a fitness service and this is if you're wanting to get into working out and you're not going to the gym because of COVID. This is a really good alternative. It's 9.99 a month. You have to have Apple devices to use it. You can watch it on your Apple TV, iPhone or iPad, and you use your Apple Watch you connect, hook it in with your Apple Watch so that it actually, shows you completing your movement goals on the display as you work out.

- And I mean, right along with that this is an obvious one, but a lot of people don't have it and that's the Apple Watch. Donna and I both love our Apple Watches.

- Yeah.

- We use it for fitness constantly. It is a... Similarly to how with a smart scale, just tracking your activity over time can help you identify trends. It's the same with your Apple Watch. Tracking that well your activities over time is really nice to understand. Get a feeling for how many calories you burn while going for a walk versus how many calories you burn for going for a run and, you know, tracking each of your workouts, looking at them over time. I love the Apple Watch, so that's another great fitness device.

- Yeah, I agree and since Apple came out with the Apple Watch SE now. You can get instead of like the starting price being 350. You can now get an Apple Watch, I think it's like 270 or something like that.

- Yeah.

- So it's more affordable than it used to be.

- Yeah.

- And yeah, with Apple Fitness+, I talked about this last episode too. I'd used it for a couple of different workouts and I did want to say like there are some issues with it. It's not perfect but overall I think it's great. And the fact that it gives you that extra motivation through your Apple Watch does give it a big edge over just like watching a YouTube workout.

- Yeah, absolutely.

- Yeah, I like it.

- I've got a couple of recommendations for you here.

- The first one, this is another advertiser. Just full disclaimer but we recommend. I only recommend things that I like. They did not pay me to recommend them, but it's funny 'cause they brought this on my radar, which I don't normally think of calendars and reminders as being a new year's resolution type thing. But every year their ads just go through the roof this time of year and they find that across the board. That all of a sudden one of people's goals is to get more organized. And one of the best ways to get organized is to have a good reminders app and a calendar app. And so Fanatic, who is a sponsor of ours, and they have an app called Pocket Informant really does have one of the best apps for this. And what they do is they combine the reminders and the calendars app into one. So it's all in one place and it allows you to... It's just a more natural way of interacting with it. 'Cause there are so many times where I don't know, am I creating a reminder for tomorrow or am I adding it to my calendar for tomorrow? And in reality they're kind of the same functionality. So it's a great app. They invest a lot of energy into making it really easy and intuitive to use. Also it works across all of your devices. So if you're somebody who, let's say, maybe doesn't have a Mac computer. Then suddenly all of Apple's calendar apps aren't gonna work very well for you, so it's a great option as well.

- Awesome. Yeah, there's something so satisfying about like really spending the time to like fill out your calendar schedule and set your reminders and kind of like have all of that set up really well in your phone. And that's been... We've had this sponsor for a long time and they've just been really popular with our listeners. I've used it a bunch too and enjoy it. It works out really well like both with Withings and with this company. That when we get sponsors that like we really believe in and then it's easy to...

- Yeah.

- Yeah, it's a win-win

- Absolutely and it definitely is one of the things, you know, we're going through this listen, "I want to do better in 2021." I actually just started this month of just being more diligent about adding things to my to-do list because I have this really bad habit of keeping that list in my head and then it doesn't stay in my head. It just disappears and I just kind of have to improvise every week. So having a to-do list, keeping it organized, making sure I'm prioritizing it is something that I need to get better at, so it's on my list.

- I found that the HomePod Mini has made me want to do that more because I like using the feature, where you ask what your schedule is that day and it tells you.

- Oh, that's cool, yeah.

- So it's nice to like have it all in there.

- What I love if you are using the reminders app, I have a grocery list on my reminders app and you can use Siri to add things to your grocery list. So I'll always be like in the kitchen and I'll be like, "Hey, Siri, add milk to my grocery list," cause I just ran out of milk. So that's a really nice use case too.

- Yeah. So for me, I don't have much more. I wanted to spend most of my time talking about like the digital decluttering 'cause I think that's a great thing to do this time of year, but did you have any other just sort of aspirational apps for people to use for new year's resolutions? I have one more for you, which is Duolingo. This is one that my stepson has been using. Well, you know, because of COVID he did a lot of homeschooling and we improvised a lot. And one of the things we did is had him learn Spanish and he used the app Duolingo and it was great. He really... He's eight and he was learning Spanish, it was wild and it's a really well-designed app. I think it's free but they, you know, to really use all their functionality, they have a monthly subscription service but I'd recommend it if you are interested in using a language. Maybe you have travel aspirations for 2021.

- Yeah, that's a great idea. The one I wanted to put in was Yousician and the guy who mentioned it before, but a couple of years ago I picked up a ukulele and Yousician is a fun app that gives you... It's like just fun. Like it gives you little exercises where you play along with different songs. It has a tuner in it. You can like learn pop version. You can learn ukulele versions of like pop songs and things like that. So that combined with just using like YouTube tutorials has been a fun way to like pick up some different songs. I don't know how my husband feels about my ukulele hobby, but I've been fun with it.

- On our 200th episode.

- On our 200th episode are you gonna play the ukulele for us?

- I don't know. I was gonna say, I don't know if that's like a promise or a threat. I'm not very good. I would. I would be happy to do that but David, you might want to have me at... You might like edit it out later.

- Well, I've heard you play. I mean this was a couple of years ago. I don't know if you've gotten better or worse, but you were decent, it was listenable.

- Okay. All right, yeah, 200th episode I'll play you guys the Ukulele.

- I can't remember, I think it was our five-year company anniversary. I had a goal of juggling flaming pins for the five-year anniversary and my... Ralph, our CTO who was on the podcast recently is an excellent juggler and taught me how to do it, and then I did it for our five-year anniversary. Were you there then?

- I remember that, I was there then. I think that was towards the beginning when I was there. That was fun.

- It's just as terrifying as it sounds. I mean I like had a couple jugs like I am not that good, but maybe for our 200th episode you can play the ukulele and I'll juggle.

- Okay, it sounds good, yeah. Since there's no like fire involved with mine, I'm comfortable with that. All right, so digital decluttering, let's talk about that.

- Yeah, let's get back on topic.

- Yeah. So as everyone knows, I feel like with Marie Kondo and all of that, like people are really into living a more minimalist life and clearing out the clutter of things that don't spark joy in your life or whatever. I definitely, with all the time at home in 2020, spent more time throwing away old stuff, but people you know just forget about your phone and it's really like between all these different files that people have sent you like GIFs and different things like will clog up your messages app. Sometimes you've downloaded tons of apps that you haven't used in years. That they're just sitting there and sort of getting in the way of getting where you need to go. So I think it's a... A lot of people don't take the time to go and... Through all this stuff and organize their phones, so I thought we could talk a little bit about that.

- Yeah, sure.

- What are some of your top tips for decluttering?

- One thing I would recommend, I mean there's a lot there. But I recommend everybody review their notification privileges for apps. 'Cause what I find is a lot of times I open an app and A, I haven't used it before so I don't know if I'm gonna want notifications and B, I'm just kind of trying to get through it quickly. And I'll often allow it to give me notifications, but notifications are a really powerful thing. They grab your attention and make you pay attention to your phone when you weren't necessarily trying to. And so I recommend going and proactively clearing out a lot of them that you don't actually want to get notified regularly. And you know, in particular, it's like I get notification from news apps and it's like, I don't necessarily want in the middle of my day to like have like, "There's a mass shooting." Like I can check it at my time, when I'm ready to look at the news. I don't need that in my face. So, you know, really think through. Like you were saying, honestly I love Marie Kondo. Like are these notifications bringing you joy, are they serving you at all? And checking that is a really good, easy decluttering.

- Yeah, a lot of this goes hand in hand with the type of recommendations we give, if you're wanting to work on your iPhone addiction. I feel like all of us at this point have a bit of an addiction. It's not a personal insult and it's because a lot, like these apps developers spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to hook you in and it's just based on basic psychology. So yeah, like some of these notifications will draw you in when you picked up your phone to do something else. So you want to shift things back to that. You're using your phone, like your phone isn't using you. So I think one big thing too is like I like to turn off badge app icons for most of my apps because that little red notification on your app is like very distracting for the mind. You want to see what's new that's in there. So if it's not an app that you're wanting to visit regularly going and turning that off is great. So that's something you will also do in your notification settings like David said. So notifications is the first big recommendation we have. Another one is going in and just checking out, what's going on with your local iPhone storage. This is different than your iCloud storage. So you go to Settings, General, iPhone Storage and you'll see a display that will show you how much of, you know, depending on what iPhone storage you bought. You'll see a different total amount. I have 128 and 47 gigabytes of that are being used right now. So I'm not having a big problem there, but I still don't want extra stuff on my phone that I don't need. So at the top, it'll give you recommendations of ways that you can clear out clutter. It'll say review large attachments. So you can tap that and it will show you, a lot of times it'll be videos that people sent you. And most of the stuff that people are sending me in messages. I don't really feel attached to and don't want to keep. So you can go through and either swipe left to delete things or tap Edit in the top right corner and like tap all the videos that you don't need and then hit delete and trash them.

- One thing I do want to make a couple of recommendations there. Things to be careful of, number one, something that can save you a lot of space, but I recommend using with caution is offloading unused apps. I used to do that.

- I hate it feature.

- I hate it because what ends up happening is there's this category of apps that you don't use regularly but when you use it you want it. So a good example of that may be, this was something that drove me crazy, is travel apps, right? Like I don't use the Southwest app very often, but when I'm traveling and I want to load up my ticket. I don't want to have to re-download that app in the airport. And it just kept happening to me over and over, where I tried to use an app. It was like a situation where I really wanted to access it quickly and it couldn't because I had offloaded it. And then I'm trying to download it when I don't have wifi. I'm on the go when I need to use the app. So that's one that I recommend being cautious using.

- How do you turn that off? I'm like having a hard time finding it.

- I don't know 'cause right now I just have it, like the option is typically there to enable it in your storage settings and mine, I just haven't enabled it. I don't know, we'll have to...

- I'll have to look it up.

- I'm looking it up. Okay, I've got other points too, while you're looking that up. The other feature that I-

- Oh interesting, it's in the App Store now.

- I thought that's where it might be.

- They moved it. I feel like it didn't use to be there. So you go to App Store and then-

- Are you literally turning this feature off as I'm talking?

- Yeah, seriously I like... Hold on, you keep going 'cause I'm...

- You're now just a listener of the podcast.

- Yeah.

- The other thing that I did that I regretted was I... Another thing that can save you a lot of space is if you delete your message history. So you can have your messages stick around forever, you can have your... Or have it delete after a year or after I think a month, and at one point I got desperate and I deleted everything after a year, and I really miss it. Because, first of all, there's when somebody texted me something a long time ago that I want to go look. Like, for example, my sister texted me her address. Now I need to send her a Christmas present and it was over a year ago and I don't have it. Another example is people die and you've lost all their messages. So that's another one where, you know, you some... It's a personal preference thing but my recommendation is to have your message history kept forever. It's just really. There's all of these use cases that I find that I regret having deleted old messages. So that's another one where I don't want to recommend being proactive. A couple of ways though, where I think you should be proactive. Number one, like Donna said, reviewing large attachments. You can do it in the... From the iPhone storage settings, but also often what it is is it's long videos that you recorded and so if you just go look through your videos in your photos app and just delete the ones that are really long that you don't need anymore. That frees up a lot of storage. The other thing is audio or video that you've downloaded. So the podcast app is a notorious culprit for downloading a bunch of stuff that you don't need. So going into your podcast app and managing, are you downloading like a bunch of podcasts that you subscribe to that you aren't actually listening to. Going into like Netflix and Disney Plus and iTunes and seeing did you download movies? 'Cause that takes up a lot of storage as well. Okay, I went through a lot there. Donna, what do you have?

- Okay, so if you go... But I just wanted to give you all an update. If you go into Settings, App Store there you'll have the option to toggle off Offload Unused Apps. And once that's toggled off, when you download an app, it's there and Apple's not gonna decide to uninstall it for you if you haven't used it in awhile. And like David said, that can help you out. Like, it's really annoying if there's an app that you use periodically and every time you try to use it has to be re-installed. And depending on your internet connection at the moment, that could be a problem. So if you have a phone with a decent amount of storage, I like to turn that feature off. And yeah, so other things you can do, now with iOS 14 you can design your home screen how you want it to look. And I think that's great for digital decluttering in that you can actually limit how many home screens you have. Now with the App Library, which you swipe right to left to get to, you'll have a list there, alphabetical list of all of the apps on your phone. When you tap the search icon there you can scroll through. So that's always there, you can always access every single app on your phone that way, but you don't necessarily need to have every single app that you have on your home screen. And people have been getting around this for years by throwing stuff into folders but like you don't need to do that. So now if you tap and hold on your display and you tap the little plus icon in the upper left corner. Wait, shoot, that takes you to your widgets. Nevermind, you tap at the bottom below, where all of your app icon show up there's like little dots. And you tap that and it will show you a page of all of your home screens and you can select which ones show up. And I've changed it now, so I only have one home screen and on that screen, I like to keep the apps that I use every day and the apps that I would like to get myself to use every day, like the ones I want to encourage. So I'm not gonna be putting Facebook and Instagram there. Those are the ones I'm trying to minimize, but Yousician would would be one I would put there, 'cause it's an app that I. Like I'd like to play the ukulele more and I'm gonna keep my work apps there and Spotify and stuff like that. So that's a way to declutter and just keep what you're wanting to use your phone for within sight.

- And there's two types of people in this world. There's the people that keep their apps meticulously organized in folders and folders within folders. My experience is those people are pretty few and far between, especially those who not only do that once, but then keep it maintained regularly as they're downloading apps. If you're one of those people, then you may want to have a bunch of home screens, but most people in my opinion, the primary way you should access apps is by searching for them and people don't think about it. They try to always find it just by swiping through a bunch of home screens. You don't need the home screen, just search for the apps. And if you just get in the habit of that, you can have such a clean phone because you don't have to have page after page after page of apps.

- That pretty much those are my biggest recommendations. I think, you know, you also may want to go in and delete photos that you don't want. Like these days so many of us take more than 100 photos of an outing that we had. And so you might have like six shots of a person and really you just want one. You know, so you could like trim down 100 photos to like 20, because you're taking basically different versions of the same photo. So that's something I don't have any really fast hack for you there. Like you do kind of need to go through and choose what to keep and delete. But I think that's something that's worth doing, because then when you're going and looking through your photos later. You can see a nice curated, you know, like assortment of photos from different places you've been and not a bunch of junk that you don't need

- Yeah, that ties into one of my new year's resolutions, my digital new year's resolutions. Apple has added a lot of new functionality around creating albums and I really never do that, but I would like to do that more. I'd like to be able to have kind of albums from important moments in my life that are a little more curated. So that's a nice... It's less decluttering but it's a nice thing to do and then you can have those albums to review over time. So that's something I want to do a little more of. Another thing I'd recommend, we talked about reviewing your local storage but you also want to do that for your iCloud storage. Because that's another thing where make sure you have enough cleared out iCloud storage that you're backing up regularly. That's one of the big mistakes people make is not backing up the... Having automatic backups set up for you. And then the last one I would say is review... Yeah, Donna you're typing just what I was getting ready to say. That's so funny. Donna, we have a Google Doc open for our script. I'll let you say it, Donna.

- Oh it's a good time while you're going through this to figure out what apps are potentially hogging your battery and going through and addressing those now. So you go into settings, tap battery and there, you'll be able to see. Like up top, you'll see the apps that are using the most of your battery and you can look at that over either like from the last day or the last 10 days. And and then like either delete the app if you're not using it or just adjust how you're using it accordingly. Like, do you have any tips for that? Like, if it's not an app that you want to delete, but it's using a lot of battery, what can you do about it?

- Yeah, it's tricky. I mean, I guess one thing is background app refresh, making sure you've turned off your background app refresh. 'Cause a lot of times it's using battery when you're not even using the app. You can have changing... The other thing I'd recommend doing is monitoring what apps are you using your location? Not only because it's a pretty serious privacy violation at times, but also because it does drain your battery a lot. So that's a nice way and there's now, Apple gives you options. So you can have, allow it to use your location while you're using the app, as opposed to always is a good one. My final recommendation that I would say is review your passwords. This is a really good thing to do every once in a while. Change your passwords for your apps that you use regularly that are, you need to be secure, like your email and your banking. And also go and look through what is the, what are the passwords that you're reusing? 'Cause you're not really supposed to be doing that and then create new secure passwords for that and save it in your password manager, whether that's Keychain, OnePass, LastPass any of those, but having secure passwords, especially for your most secure apps and using a password manager is a really good... That would be a great new year's resolution. If you all did that, I feel like my work here is done.

- Yeah and here I wanted to make our question of the week. This ties in now to ask you all, what are your new year's resolutions and how are you planning to use your iPhone to meet them? And that can be either something you were inspired by this podcast to do. So don't shy away from sending us something we talked about at the show or let us know your new ideas that maybe we hadn't thought of.

- Yeah.

- So you email podcast@iphonelife.com and let us know what are your new year's resolutions and how are you using your Apple devices to meet them?

- All right guys, happy new years,

- Happy new years and stick around Insiders 'Cause we have some extra special content for you.

- Yes.

- Bye. All right David, I wanted to ask you for the Insider Section, do you have any new year's resolutions? Have you thought of this yet?

- You know I was just getting ready to ask you that too. I would say, I mean, first of all, just a little like behind the scenes, we're recording this early, it's December 15th. So I haven't given it a lot of thought. One new year's resolution that I definitely have is working out regularly. I'd like to work out at least three times a week. I used to. It was really sad because before COVID, I like really had gone in the best shape of my life. For the first time ever, I was like going to the gym regularly. I had a personal trainer and then I couldn't do it anymore. And I've been really bad during COVID about working out regularly. So that's my biggest 2021 recommendation, is that. How about you? Again I hadn't thought of it a whole lot. Like on a personal level, I was more just thinking about like how can you use your iPhone to accomplish a new year's resolution. But for myself, I think that one thing that I like to do every year, that I use my iPhone to do is to create a list in the reminders app and the way... It's based off a podcast I listened to called Happier, where you do like 20 for 2020 or it was 19 for 2019. And you just come up with like a list of things that you want to do in that year and it can be big or small. So I do that every year and it'll be things like I've had... Well, I wanted to do yoga twice a week, hang out with my sisters once a week, spend time with my niece and nephew once a week. Like for me, it was finish the first season of my podcast. So like I have a lot of things that I want to do or like, you know, get some new sunglasses. Like I just put made really random things like that and if I do like half of them, then I'll be happy.

- Yeah.

- So I have that list and I keep that in my phone reminders app. And I think that's something like people don't... You know, you don't have to... It doesn't have to be a list that you're revisiting constantly. You can create lists in the reminders app for kind of like longer term aspirational goals. So that's a little tip I was gonna give people. What's gonna be your 21 for 2021 list, David? Yeah, so I'm gonna create that.

- Yeah, I can't help but notice you didn't actually give us any though.

- I didn't... So which ones did I accomplish?

- No, wait, yeah for 2021.

- I think for this year I would like... Well, I want to do season two of my podcast.

- Yeah.

- That's gonna be a big one. That's probably my biggest like outside of work, passion project so I want to keep going with that.

- If you haven't listened to Donna's other podcast. It should actually be your new year's resolutions. Donna, give us, how can people find your podcast?

- I was just hoping you would ask me so I can plug my personal podcast, yeah. If you search for a Thread the Needle. I have it on an Apple Podcasts and also on Spotify. There's like another podcast called Thread the Needle 2, so mine is the one the yellow and pink episode artwork. Yeah.

- It really is

- Yeah, thanks guys, thanks David.

- You're welcome.

- So I have a tip I wanted to tell you guys about. Do you have and it's a learning because it used to be a frustration of mine.

- Mine is just-

- And actually you're the one who helped me-

- Okay, mine is just complaining. Remember last episode I told you I had a lot of complaints for the upcoming episode. I'm ready to complain. I came, I'm ready to complain.

- Okay, go for it.

- This is like the classic. It's like an oldie but goodie complaint and that is, I'm so frustrated by Apple's autocorrect functionality. The thing that drives me crazy is, you know, cause now it's 2020, it's almost 2021. Clearly they're using machine learning to do autocorrecting, yet for some reason it always autocorrects my think wrong and it's the you're and your or we're and we are. Like I will do it correctly and it will autocorrect it to the incorrect one. And it's so frustrating and it's so embarrassing to me 'cause it always makes me look like I don't know grammar at all. And really, for some reason, it's autocorrecting wrong. Are you having this happen to you?

- This does happen to me a lot and I... It's funny 'cause it's one of those things. Like I type informally to people very quickly and will have errors in there and as an editor, it's especially painful and awkward to be doing that. And I also totally judge other people for doing that.

- Yeah.

- Doing that and like wait, "Do you like not know how to punctuate a sentence?" So yeah, it's a problem because most of the time when we're texting we're doing it quickly. You don't want to spend a lot of time like thinking about your sentence structure and grammar and punctual.

- I don't judge people for having typos but like... I do 'cause I shouldn't judge people at all for anything in this world but I do judge people if they don't know the you're from the your. And like when it's going out of its way to add an 're when I shouldn't. It doesn't look like-

- And it's wrong.

- Yeah, it doesn't look like a typo, it just makes me look dumb.

- The other one than it does a lot is its I-T plus the S. It will sometimes change that the wrong way too, it's very frustrating. I don't have a good answer for this.

- There's no solution.

- I would just say, if you're using you're or its in a sentence then you should proofread before sending.

- Yeah. The other one that's a complaint and this is... Maybe it's borderline not safe for work. When I'm not recording a podcast I sometimes swear, especially if I'm texting people and I'm on a rant, I'll swear and it always auto-corrects it. And I'm like, "Apple, we're all adults here. Can't you just let me swear in my text messages?"

- Wait, like when you're doing a dictation you mean?

- No, if I'm just typing.

- Oh, yeah.

- It'll be like it's always ducking.

- That is a big one, yeah.

- Yeah, like who's this using the word ducking that much?

- I know, like you're almost gonna have to, in order to swear in a text message, you have to like go in and do that setting. There's a setting that you can do, where you can like teach Apple words that you use.

- Yeah, it's frustrating.

- But that also seems like a lot of work to go do to be able to swear in your text messages. It seems a little strange.

- Yeah.

- Yeah. I was gonna get like one workaround I was gonna... It's not something that's gonna teach autocorrect anything, but for people... Like, I don't think everyone's aware of the feature that if you like press and hold on your keyboard, it goes into trackpad mode and then you can quickly move your cursor to the middle of a word. Which is really great if you are proofing a text and you want to add an apostrophe or delete an apostrophe that Apple added that shouldn't be there. That way you can do it. 'Cause I used to not know how to do that and I would be like tapping forever to try to get my cursor to go where it's supposed to go and that would be extra annoying so.

- Mm that's a good one.

- You can like quickly move your cursor to the middle of a word using this feature, just press and hold your keyboard until it turns gray, and then it's magically transformed into a trackpad.

- And the other setting that you were saying is also nice, which is for words that it regularly gets wrong. You can actually go and create shortcuts that will auto, that'll correct it to the right thing.

- Remind me how you do that, it's in keyboards?

- Oh man, Yeah. So if you open the settings app, let's see if I just type in keyboards. I can never remember like off the top of my head where these things are settings, general, keyboard and then-

- Text replacement.

- Text replacement.

- Yes.

- And so that when you add the little tap plus icon, you can type in the word that you want to appear and then the shortcut or in this case, the incorrect version. So if it's a shortcut, you could have OMW and that will turn into, on my way.

- Yeah.

- Or it could be, you know, what's something wrong? The shortcut could be ducking, would it be? And then you put in the swear word as the actual phrase, if you're wanting to like be allowed to swear or whatever.

- You're really committed to these swear words. Another cool use case for this is you can use the... You can use emojis for it. So you could do like if you did like the colon smiley face, it will convert it to an actual emoji smiley face. And that's a cool use case too for this feature, the text replacement. I think last complaint about this, I think what frustrates me about the swearing thing. It's not like that big of a deal but it fits into this archetype that Apple has, which is sometimes Apple can try to be my nanny. You know what I mean?

- Yeah, it's controlling.

- It's like reminds me to breathe, doesn't let me text while I'm driving. Like tells me I can't use my phone at night. Like all of these types of things, just that's not how I want my technology to interact with me personally and so, it really frustrates me when Apple tries to do that stuff.

- Yeah.

- Okay, tell me-

- Yeah, I find it really annoying. Okay, so mine is that there's a feature with your AirPods that will read your text messages to you and I don't like that happening if I'm working out with my AirPods, but it's a feature that can be useful. So it might be something that you want on sometimes and you want off other times. And I didn't know until David told me that you can quickly toggle this feature on and off in your Control Center. So first, what you have to do is if you have AirPods, you go into your settings app and go to notifications and then there'll be a section, it says, "Announced messages with Siri," and you want to have that be toggled on. So by default, this feature is on. If someone texts you when you're on a run, it'll like interrupt your music and read the text to you.

- Which I love. Donna hates it but I'm on record as loving this feature by the way.

- Yeah, so I'm not crazy about it. So now once you have that on, you can go into your settings app, tap Control Center and from there is now you can like add a Control Center option for announcing messages with Siri. It's a box with a little square, with a little plus symbol in the upper right corner. So once you've added that, then you can open. Like, let's say you are using your AirPods and you're about to go out on a run, and you don't want to be interrupted with texts. Just swipe down for Control Center and toggle off that setting and you won't be bothered and so I was very happy about that. Oh, it's not a plus icon, it's a bunch of little dots in the upper right of the square, but it'll tell you in Control Center what the feature is. So you don't have to memorize the icon.

- Can I tell you what though? I appreciate you giving me credit for this. I did not know you could do this, so it was definitely not me who told you this?

- Really.

- No.

- I wish, I should take credit for it but no, I had no idea.

- Yeah, maybe it was Sarah. Oh, another thing you can do is once you, when you are going into your notifications and you tap, Announce Messages with Siri. In that same section, you can toggle on or off this option that says reply without confirmation. So let's say you want to have your text messages read to you and you want to respond to it, but like you don't want to have to go through the step of saying it and then Siri letting you know what you said, and if you want to send it or not because that's kind of just making the whole thing a little more onerous. You can toggle that off. Then again like Apple might send text responses. Siri might send text responses that have errors in it and you'd have to be okay with that. But I think for me, I decided to toggle that off because the whole thing is like, I just don't want to be bothered and for it to take extra time of mine. And so if I'm going to use it, I'm just gonna say like, "Take my chances at responding with some typos."

- That sounds so dangerous to me. I would never do that. I would always confirm.

- Like you don't want to have to dictate and then have it sent and you might have like, it might have totally gotten it wrong and send something weird. Totally gotten wrong or sometimes my fear would be like.

- I mean you're probably right. I feel like sometimes it thinks I'm trying to reply and I'll just be talking to somebody in the room and not trying to reply. And that would be my nightmare if I'd like texted that to somebody and especially if I was talking about them.

- That's true. Yeah, maybe I should think twice about that, but those are our tips for the week. Yeah, I just wanted to say thank you to all of you Insiders for being with us for another year. It's been, you know, it's been a really difficult year for so many of us but it's... We've still had so much great content and had so many great courses. I feel like we really got to know a lot of you this year through the courses and being able to interact which has been really cool for all of us. And so I hope you all have a good new year and we're excited to bring you a bunch of more exciting content in the new year.

- Yeah, absolutely. Thank you guys so much for your support this year. It's a hard year to be a small business owner and you guys made it great. And so we appreciate you so much and as Donna said, we really enjoyed this year, in particular adding classes to Insider, getting to know you all a little bit more and we hope you have a really excellent 2021, a much better 2021.

- Yeah, with any luck it will be. All right, bye.

- Thanks everyone, happy new years. All right, Donna.

- Uh hu, I'm hungry.

- Let's stop this one, damn.

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Author Details

Donna Cleveland's picture

Author Details

Donna Cleveland

Donna Cleveland is the Editor in Chief of iPhone Life magazine and is a journalist with ten years of experience in writing, reporting, and producing multimedia content. In her 7 years at iPhone Life, she has produced over 15 in-depth guides and 20 issues of iPhone Life magazine, along with countless articles, podcasts, and blog posts. Aside from managing the editorial team and outside contributors, Donna co-hosts the iPhone Life Podcast, teaches online iPhone educational courses, and enjoys reporting on live Apple events.

Donna began her career as a newspaper reporter before joining the iPhone Life team, where she pairs her penchant for storytelling with her love of Apple products. She's the proud owner of an iPhone 11 Pro and Apple Watch Series 4 and is a defender of AirPods as the best wireless earbuds.

Donna holds a master's degree from the University of Iowa School of Journalism & Mass Communication and earned her undergraduate degree in Media & Communications from Maharishi International University. Her writing has appeared in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Little Village Magazine, Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, the Fairfield Ledger, and the Iowa Source, and she was a researcher for American journalist Claire Hoffman's memoir, Greetings from Utopia Park. She is also the host and executive producer of a feminist podcast, Thread the Needle (theneedle.co).