Take Better Selfies with the new Timer in iOS8

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 7.16.27 AMYour Holiday Selfies just got more interesting. Unless you have REALLY long arms, you may find that your Selfies are often not very flattering ….. a little TOO close for comfort.

Now you can prop up your iPhone, and using the timer, step back a bit. This will allow you to include MORE folks in the photos, and you can include that backdrop for the holiday or travel. (What good is your selfie in front of the Colosseum if all you can see are your teeth? :shock: )

How to use the timer on your iPhone camera:

To use your timer, bring up your camera and tap on the clock icon which is up at the top of your screen. Once you tap on the clock you have options to use either a 3 second or a 10 second timer.

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After you have selected either the 3 or 10 second option, tap your photo button. You’ll see a countdown on your screen… 10 .. 9 .. 8 .. 7 .. 6 .. 5 ..4 ..3 ..2 ..1…. and then your photo happens.

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Your photo(s) will occur in a burst. This is set by default to give you a burst of photos when you use the timer. (A great idea, I think. You get to choose your no-blinking best.)

When you are done, make sure you turn the timer-selection off by tapping “off” at the top of your screen (otherwise the next time you go to take a photo, it will still be set to timer mode.)

Have fun!

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See what apps are draining your Battery Life in iOS8

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 7.15.22 PMI’ve been pretty happy with the battery life of my iPhone 6 Plus.

Although I keep the brightness turned down a bit, I’ve made no special adjustments other than that. I have bluetooth turned ON all the time (so when I get in the car it pairs up right away), and I keep wifi ON all the time, as well.

I usually plug my phone in each night, and start the day with 100% power.

I’m a text-er, not a talker, but I do have my phone working a LOT during the day, playing podcasts or audio books or music for long periods of time.

If you are finding that your battery is draining too quickly, you can now see which apps are doing the damage.

Here is how to check on your battery usage:

Go to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage

By tapping the tabs, you can see which apps have used the most battery power for the last 24 hours or for the last 7 days.

Here is a screenshot of my battery usage for the last 7 days. There is nothing surprising, and I’m not having any troubles, so the information is merely interesting to me.

BUT … if I was having a big battery drainage issue, this would be awesome information, because I could see the offending app and delete it.

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This is a good thing to remember in case your battery starts to take a dive! Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 7.22.15 PM

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Let your iPhone or iPad read to you (part one)

Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 7.45.56 PMThere are so many things that you can tweak on your iPhone (and iPad). But, we all don’t need everything. For example, some people love the flashing light notifications (an old post, but still generally accurate), while other people don’t need that flashing feature and don’t care one bit that it is available.

Today we are going to explore another one of those “extra” things. For some people this will be a life-saver. For others ….. it’s just a curiosity (but kind of fun to fool around with!)

Let’s look at turning on Speak Selection on your device.

By turning on “Speak Selection”, you can have your phone read selected text to you.

To turn on “Speak Selection”, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech > Speak Selection

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Once you have turned it on, select any text, and the choice to “speak” it will appear as an option when it is highlighted. Tap on “speak” and your phone will read the text to you.

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And now that you know how to do this, I can’t wait to post “part two”. Stay tuned!

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Saving some memory in iOS 8

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 7.27.21 AMSaving memory is a big issue for some people, especially if you have a 16GB phone. Memory gets eaten up by all kinds of things.

One of those “things” is the collection of photo-messages, video-messages and voice messages that you acquire over time.

I never realized this until doing the research for this post, but apparently your messages are saved for… well….. forever. :shock: (that’s a long time!)
And if you get a lot of pictures, etc, via the messaging app, your memory could be taking a serious hit.

iOS8 gives us the opportunity to have a little control over that.

Here is how to make your own choice about message-saving:

Go to Settings > Messages

Slide down, and you will see a place for “message history.” The default is to keep messages FOREVER.

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Tap on “forever” and you will be given two additional choices: 30 days or 1 year.

From Skitch

By nixing the “forever” choice, you’ll be saving memory that would otherwise be lost. Every little bit helps!

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Is Your Blog Snowing?

Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 6.47.28 AMIf you have added snow to your Blog here on WordPress anytime in the past, you might have noticed that WordPress remembered this …. and it has recently started snowing on your blog without you doing a thing to get it going.

And if you leave it alone, it will automatically stop on January 4.

If you are new to WordPress and you would like to make it snow on your blog, here is what you do:

Go to Settings > General and scroll ALL the way down to the bottom. There you will find the box that you can check to make it snow on your blog (or UNcheck if you do not want the snow).

This snow is harmless. It won’t accumulate, and you don’t have to shovel it. :)

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Saving Favorites in Safari with iOS 8

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 7.07.56 PM Safari changed a bit in iOS7 and a bit more in iOS8. Not a lot, but enough to mention, here.

When you bring up a web page on Safari, and you would like to save it as a favorite, there is a really easy (visual) way to do this…… but it’s kind of hidden.

So let’s go and find it. :)

Let’s start by using Safari to bring up a website that you would like to save.

Here I have summoned the website for one of my favorite podcasts, A Way with Words.

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To save it as a favorite, just touch the search bar, again. Suddenly, you will see several “squares” representing the websites that your iPhone thought you might like favorited, like Disney and ESPN.

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Now, pull DOWN on the page. Two hidden buttons appear, “Add to Favorites” and “Request Desktop Site.”

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Tap on “Add to Favorites” and your website will be saved with its own little square icon, as you can see, here.

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(The other option allows you to view the regular desktop site instead of the abbreviated mobile one.)

If you need to delete a “Favorite” in the future (or delete the “favorites” that Apple chose for you), just tap and hold a square. “Delete” will appear above the square as an action-option. Now touch “delete” and the square-favorite vanishes. Poof! Gone!

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Spotlight improved in iOS 8

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 9.05.08 AMThere are so many new features in iOS 8, it will take us a long time with our one-at-a-time approach to work our way through them all! But honestly, when I read articles like “35 things you need to know RIGHT NOW” or “100 little known features…blah blah blah”, well, I get overwhelmed.

So I’m keeping my turtle pace, even tho we have a lot of territory to cover. Baby steps.

Next up: Spotlight.

Spotlight USED to be a feature where you could do a search on your device (only). I originally thought that was silly, but over time, I’ve found it useful to find an app buried in a folder. (I created those folders to organize and find stuff easily, but that seems to have backfired.)

In iOS 8, Spotlight has been improved. It will now not only search your device, but also the internet. And so … if I search “Enya” on my phone, the search will turn up music that lives on my phone and also a link to a Wikipedia article about her (which is NOT on my phone… that’s on the internet.)

To access Spotlight, go to your home screen (a page full of icons). Now, pull down on your screen from the top of your device. Stay ON THE SCREEN as you pull down. If your finger goes higher onto the white or black surface of your phone, you’ll get a different delight. Put your finger between some icons near the top and pull down.

You’ll see a screen that looks like this. The new Spotlight.

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Below is a screen grab of the results after I searched for the word “card”, looking for the card game I use to play Free Cell. Notice here that not only did it find the app for me, but it also found “card” in my contacts for a cardiology doc, it suggested the St Louis Cardinals as something I might find interesting (that’s a stretch…. I don’t live anywhere near there, so ..?? ) and the search also brought up emails and messages that included the word “card.”

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Now, all of this is rather useless information if I’m just looking for an app, but I can certainly understand that situations arise where this broader search is necessary.

So if you are a person who wants all this extra stuff, you’re in luck. But if you DON’T (and that means me), you have the option to turn it all off.

Go to General > Spotlight Search

There you will see a screen like the one below. Notice all of the things that are checked to search!!! That happens by default, so if you don’t want them, you have to deselect them.

As soon as I publish this post, I have some “de-selecting” to do. :)

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How to Send a Voice Message in iOS 8

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 6.11.49 AM iOS8 has brought lots of changes. Several of these changes improvements are to the Messages app.

We have already discussed the new answer-from-the-banner ability.

Another new feature is Voice-messaging to other iMessage users. In other words, this feature is an iOS to iOS ability only. If anyone learns that it works from iPhone to Android, please let me know.

Notice that next to the typing space, the “send” has been replaced by a little microphone.

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Here is how to send a VOICE message in iOS8:

When you get ready to compose your message, instead of typing, put your finger on the microphone to the right of the message space.

As you press the icon (keep your finger on it) you can record your message.

When you are done, lift your finger up to listen to the recording. To send it, tap on the arrow. To delete it, tap on the X.

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If you want to use this feature, I suggest you practice a little bit. It sends quickly and if you make an error, you can’t get it back…… so use with caution. :shock: :)

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A Quick Post about Quick Reply in iOS8

If a text appears at the top of your device while you are involved with something else, you no longer have to leave whatever-you-are-doing to head over to messages to answer it.

When the text comes in, just pull it down.

You’ll have the opportunity to reply right then and there, and then go back to doing whatever it was that you were doing.

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How to Name that Tune with iOS8

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 7.32.44 AMI remember having great fun several years ago when my son introduced me to Shazam, an app that let’s you identify music that you hear playing. We sat there testing it with all sorts of tunes and found ourselves amazed at the capability of the (then) new and extraordinary app.

I never installed that app (it went from “free” to a pretty hefty charge) and I didn’t really see the need. It was fun, but not worth the $$$.

In iOS8, Apple has just given us that fun… for free!!

Siri has been been teamed up with Shazam and can now identify songs for you …….. and it’s pretty darn awesome I think. (I continue to be blown away with all the things that new tech can do.)

If you hear a song playing from ANY source (a cd, the radio, the television, a speaker in an elevator) just ask Siri: “What song is playing?”

Siri will ask to be left alone for a moment while she listens … and then she’ll name that tune.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time :shock: a little while testing Siri’s new abilities. (in my defense….it’s fun!)

I pulled up songs on my computer and asked Siri to identify the song. I was selecting pretty common stuff, so I decided to go deeper into my library. Trick her, I would!

I found a soundtrack from a very limited run Broadway show from 1962. I looked through the songs, and selected a random basically-unknown song. I was sure I got her on this. After all…an obscure song from an obscure show from 52 years ago? Ha!

“What song is playing?” I asked with devilish glee. Seconds later …… Siri named the tune AND the singer. Whoa!

I NEVER “got” her. She named the tune 100% of the time. Even classical music.

I can’t help it. I find this amazing.

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