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Liberate Your Time

Tired of Asking Your Children for Help with Your iPhones & iPads?

Jumping woman silhouetteCan You Answer “Yes” to at Least 1 of These Questions?

  • Are you often frustrated with your iPhone/iPad?
  • Do you dread asking your children for help with technology?
  • Do you feel like you can’t keep up with the changes in technology?

If so, help is here! Just enter your email below and click “Get Updates!”

ios 8: The Disappointments

ios_8_logo sadIn my last article, I described some of my favorite improvements to the iPhone’s new operating system called iOS 8. This week I’ll share some of the features that disappointed me and begin an explanation of the new iCloud Drive.

Siri

When I first heard that iOS 8 would let me voice-activate Siri with a simple “Hey, Siri…” I was super excited. I use Siri a lot for dictating text messages, placing phone calls, finding phone numbers and directions. Rather than holding down the Home button to activate Siri, I could just see myself telling my phone on my desk or car console what I wanted it to do.

Alas, it’s not to be. “Hey, Siri” will only work if your iPhone is plugged into a power source. I’m a plug-my-phone-in-when-I-go-to-bed kind of person. I certainly don’t plug and unplug it as I go about my day. Until Apple fixes this restriction, “Hey, Siri…” will only be useful in the car for people who plug their phone into a car charger each time.

Health app

Another much anticipated feature was the new Health app. Theoretically, it can monitor your health and physical activity, share that information with other apps or even a health care provider, and provide emergency contact and medical information in case you are incapacitated.

It’s a great idea but requires a lot of manual user input for things like nutrition and calories and multiple apps or equipment for “automatically” measuring activity, fitness, sleep and vitals. It’s too complicated for most people to get all of that working properly together. If the upcoming AppleWatch is able to do most of the physical monitoring and Apple makes it seamless to connect that information with the Health app, then it will become incredibly useful.

iCloud Drive

Are iCloud and the new iCloud Drive the same thing? No, and yes. iCloud is the storage service Apple has been providing for iPhone/iPad backups and certain types of documents. While most people have tried to stay within the iCloud’s free 5 GB of memory, more storage could be purchased at an expensive price. (As a reminder, Apple’s Photo Stream, iTunes purchases and any shared photo albums don’t count against that free storage.)

Apple’s new iCloud Drive is a service that has been added to iCloud. What’s different about it is that you can now store any type of document or image in iCloud Drive and access it from any device as long as that device has the correct application to open it. Once you need more than your original free 5GB of iCloud space, you can pay a monthly subscription for more. It’s very similar to Dropbox but a bit more expensive. If you like Dropbox, I’d stick with that service for now.

As with so many new technology products, just wait a bit. I believe you will see these “features” improved and perfected in the coming months.

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ios_8_logoNow that iOS 8 is officially “out” and I’ve had some time to use it’s new features, I’d like to share some of my favorites as well as my disappointments in this two-part series.

As with all major Apple upgrades, there are a slew of new features with iOS 8, many of which I am still discovering. Let’s start with my picks.

QuickType

QuickType politely anticipates and suggests words to speed up your typing when composing a text message, email or note.

It’s a welcome improvement over the annoying auto correction that constantly pops up and requires you to touch the little ‘x’ to prevent your iPhone from entering a completely-wrong-but-properly-spelled-word. Unless you like the old auto-correction, I recommend the following changes:

  • Touch Settings>General>Keyboards.
  • Turn OFF Auto-Correction.
  • Turn ON Predictive (which is QuickType).

Favorites and Recent Contacts

Faster access to Favorites and recent contacts by double-pressing the Home button. Previously, you had to touch the Phone icon and then Favorites or Recents to access those contacts. Now they are displayed across the top of your screen whenever you press the Home button twice.

Quick Response

Quickly reply to new text message alerts without leaving your current app. When a new message notification pops up on your screen, simply swipe down on the new message and the text box for replying will open.

Family Sharing

Family Sharing of your iTunes, iBooks and App purchases with up to six family members.

Finally, spouses and children with different Apple ID’s can share each other’s previous purchases and only pay once for future purchases. Parents can require that purchases made by their children under 18 must be given permission, electronically of course!

Here are some good instructions for setting up Family Sharing.

Family Sharing isn’t for everyone. I thought I might set it up to share apps and music with our adult children but found out that all future purchases within a Family Sharing group have to be made on the controlling family member’s credit card. Sorry, kids, I’m not falling for that!

Text Messaging Improvements

The Messages app has a couple of new features that I really like. You can now create and name a group of contacts that you regularly text, which is a real time-saver. In addition, you can send a recorded voice memo which is great for those longer messages that no one likes to type or read. Finally, you can send multiple photos at once from your Photos library.

To create a contacts group:

  • You must have a text message that you have already sent to this group of people. You can either select an old message you previously sent them or send a new message.
  • From the Messages app, touch the message that you sent to the group.
  • Touch Details in the top right.
  • Swipe the screen down to reveal Group Name at the top.
  • Enter a Group Name.
  • Touch Add Contact to add more contacts to this group.
  • Touch Done.
  • Touch Group and then Messages in the top left.
  • Now whenever you compose a new message to this group, simply type the group name you gave it.
  • ***If you delete this group’s thread (conversation) of messages, you will delete the group name, so don’t delete it!

How to text a voice recording:

  • When you are composing your message in Messages, touch and hold the microphone beside the text box and begin speaking immediately.
  • When you are finished, lift your finger off the microphone.
  • To replay your message before sending it, touch the play arrow.
  • To delete your recorded message, touch the ‘X’.
  • To send your recorded message, touch the ↑.

How to send multiple photos in a text message:

  • When you are composing your message in Messages, tap the camera beside the text box.
  • Recent photos will appear just above “Photo Library.”
  • Scroll from right to left and touch each photo to select.
  • Touch Add Comment to add a message and then Send.
  • ***If the photos you want to send are not in your displayed recent photos, touch Photo Library. You will have to choose each photo individually, but you can still send multiple pictures in one message.

Battery Usage

For those of you who have tried to make changes in your iPhone’s settings to turn off apps that drain your battery, you will love the Battery Usage screen that shows you which apps are sapping your energy.

When I checked mine, I was surprised to see that Skype had used 10% of my power in the past twenty-four hours. This was with it being turned off in Background App Refresh. Since I only use Skype on my iPhone for international phone calls, I signed out of my account on the Skype app and that fixed my battery usage. I’ll sign back in the next time I am making an international phone call.

To check your battery usage:

  • Touch Settings>General>Usage>Battery Usage.
  • Scroll down to see which apps are using the most power. You can select Last 24 Hours or Last 7 Days.

Next week, I’ll finish with the iOS 8 features that need some help and an explanation of the new iCloud Drive.

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Apple Does It Again!

Candy Store 1I feel like a kid in front of a candy store.

The rumors about Apple’s big product announcement were correct.

There is a new iPhone and an all-new AppleWatch, but the details are absolutely amazing to this geeky gal.

Here are some of my favorite new features and capabilities with Apple’s new products.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Two models that are bigger and thinner than the recent iPhone 5s, which had a 4-inch diagonal display. The iPhone 6 is 4.7 inches and the 6 Plus is 5.5 inches. There are a lot of technical advancements which improve speed, battery life and image resolution, but the new built-in camera sounds especially promising.

They can be preordered beginning September 12 and begin shipping September 19.

iOS 8

Apple’s new operating system will work on the new iPhone 6’s, iPhone 5’s, iPhone 4s and iPad 2 and newer. It introduces the ability to send voice messages as text messages (goodbye voice mail!), family sharing for iTunes purchases, enhanced iCloud and photo sharing, and a new health app that keeps your health information at your fingertips.

iOS 8 will be available for downloading September 17.

ApplePay

This is my second favorite announcement and Apple’s solution to carrying a wallet full of credit cards. 

It will change how we pay for items in stores and online.

The way it works is that when you are ready to check out at a store, you will wave your compatible Apple device in front of an electronic reader, securely touch your device and you’re done!

No more digging out credit cards, signing slips, losing cards, reactivating cards, etc. It is truly amazing and touted as extremely secure.

Apple will not be keeping your credit card information. They will be linking you directly to your bank, and will not be collecting data about you, what you bought, what you paid or where you bought it.

They already have agreements with the major credit cards, banks, Macy’s, Staples, Subway, Walgreens, McDonald’s, Whole Foods and more.

ApplePay will work with the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and my favorite new product announcement – the AppleWatch.

AppleWatch

It is not a small phone attached to your wrist.

It’s a beautiful combination of personal technology, style and taste.

Yes, it can do many iPhone-type tasks like phone calls, text or voice messaging, email and calendar functions, which is kind of nice to not have to pull out your phone all the time.

A new technology called Digital Touch will alert you with a tap to the wrist for all kinds of notifications. The health activity monitoring tracks calories burned, exercise goals and even how much you are standing versus sitting.

The AppleWatch face will come in two sizes for small or large arms with six different metal finishes and a multitude of interchangeable watchbands.

It is scheduled for release in early 2015.

To see pictures and videos of these new products, spend some time clicking around at apple.com.

It’s a testament to technology that delights.

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Elephant HeadIt’s difficult to remember all the ways your smart phone, in my case an iPhone, can help you remember little things with a quick voice command. Each time you do remember to use it, pat yourself on the back.

It’s a great feeling when you apply technology as a tool to save time, solve a problem, or be more productive.

I just had a pat-myself-on-the-back moment the other day.

Upon returning from a week’s vacation, I was faced with a mountain of laundry. In our household, drying times vary depending on the items and I invariably need to check the dryer periodically to pull a shirt here, some shorts there.

It’s the “periodically” that gets me every time. I tell myself that I’ll come back in “x” minutes and then I forget!

As I berated myself for letting certain pieces get too dry, I had a revelation! It’s so simple that I’m almost embarrassed to tell you, but maybe you too have had laundry amnesia and would like to know.

When you load your dryer, tell your phone “Remind me to check the dryer in five minutes.” Or, you can tell it “Set the timer for 5 minutes.” 

We’re all busy with overloaded brains.

Think of all the ways you can let your phone keep you on track. Whenever you begin a thought with “I need to remember….”, tell Siri to remind you. Use it for staying on schedule, cooking, and remembering errands. You can even set up recurring reminders like “Remind me to call my mother every Sunday at 5 pm.”

There are two requirements for this to work, though:

  1. You have to keep your phone with you.
  2. Your notification sound needs to be loud enough for you to hear.

On the iPhone, you can change the alert sound for Reminders in the Notification Center settings. The Timer sound is set up directly through the iPhone’s Clock app.

Here’s how to set up your sounds for Reminders and the Timer.

First, check your Siri settings

  • Touch Settings>General>Siri.
  • Siri should be ON (green).
  • Touch General>Settings in the top left.
  • Press the Home button.

Change Notification Sounds

  • Touch Settings>Notification Center.
  • Scroll down and touch the Reminders.
  • Under ALERT STYLE touch Alerts.
  • Badge App Icon can be on or off, depending on whether you use that feature.
  • Touch Reminder Alerts and select a sound you can hear well.
  • Show in Notification Center can be on or off, depending on whether you use that feature.
  • Show on Lock Screen should be ON (green).
  • Touch Back>Settings in the top left.
  • Press the Home button.

Change Timer sounds

  • Touch the Clock app.
  • Touch Timer in the bottom left.
  • Touch When Timer Ends and select a sound you can hear well.
  • Touch Set in the top right.
  • Press the Home button.
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Baseball gameI have great news for some owners of the iPhone 5, which includes me! Apple is replacing the battery in some iPhone’s – if they qualify.

Apparently Apple has found that a small number of iPhone 5’s (not the newer 5C or 5S) are experiencing a shorter battery life. I’ve had my iPhone 5 almost two years and just this summer noticed that my battery life was getting bad. 

If your battery life is noticeably worse lately, you can check to see if your iPhone 5 might qualify for replacement by going to this Apple site and entering your serial number.

To find your serial number on your iPhone 5:

  • Touch Settings > General > About.
  • Scroll down to Serial Number.

If you receive “The iPhone 5 serial number you entered is eligible for this program,” congratulations, you’ve reached first base! You’ll understand why it’s just first base in a minute.

The next step is to decide whether you want to take your iPhone into an Apple store, authorized service provider or ship it to Apple.

I don’t have an Apple store near me and I certainly don’t want to ship it off, but I called my closest Apple service provider to ask about bringing my iPhone in for my battery replacement. He told me that passing the serial number test is just the first step. 

Next, you have to have the phone inspected and tested by Apple or the service provider. This involves leaving your iPhone with them for about 3 hours. If you pass that you’ve reached second base.

To advance to third base, the store or service provider must have a battery replacement in stock so that you don’t have to make another trip to the store.

Important Tip: Call the Apple store or service provider you’re going to use and ask if they have a replacement battery in stock before you take them your iPhone 5.

Just to recap the steps for getting your battery replaced IF your serial number qualifies AND you have experienced poor battery life:

  1. Call your Apple store or service provider to ask if replacement batteries are in stock and set appointment.
  2. Back up your iPhone 5. I recommend both to iCloud and iTunes (click here for instructions).
  3. Turn off Find My iPhone at Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Find My iPhone > OFF (not green).
  4. Follow Apple’s instructions and erase your iPhone. If that’s too scary, wait and let the Apple store/provider help you, but backup to iCloud and iTunes before you go!

Assuming your 1) serial number qualifies, 2) your phone passes the store’s bad battery test and 3) the store has a battery replacement in stock, you (and I) will score a home run!

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