How to Change the Auto-Lock Time on your iPhone or iPad

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 7.56.53 PMWhen you finish using your iPhone or iPad, it will, after a certain period of time, lock up. It will do this after a period of inactivity. This is obviously a good thing for security purposes, and of course, by shutting down your device it helps save battery life, as well.

But it is completely up to you WHEN you want your iPhone or iPad to shut down. Some people like it to shut down quickly once they stop using it, while others may prefer some wait time of 2 minutes, 4 minutes or perhaps ….. never.

Here is how to set the auto-lock time for your iPhone or iPad:

Go to Settings

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Once you open Settings, tap on General.

Now scroll down to find “Auto-Lock.”

Tap on “Auto-lock.”

You will see the screen below. Touch to select your choice of minutes (or never).


That’s it! You’re done …. and the next time your iPhone or iPad is inactive, it will shut down according to the time you just chose.

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How to View Movies on your iPad or iPhone OFFLINE, with Amazon Prime, for FREE

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 9.33.06 AMAnyone who travels has faced the situation. You want to load up your device with some content to watch while you are offline (not streaming). Anticipation of a long airplane ride will send most people to iTunes or Amazon with the intention of grabbing some movies or tv shows to help pass those long hours in flight.

Until now, your best option was to rent a movie (or tv show).

But recently Amazon has announced a new feature for its Amazon Prime members: Free offline watching of (some) videos. This is great news for travelers who subscribe to Amazon Prime. This feature had previously only been available for Amazon’s own Fire tablets, but now this is a new expansion to include iPhones and iPads. Yay!

Although Amazon has made it clear that this feature is not available for everything in their Prime library (I’m sure they have to pay for the right to do this) …… they claim that “thousands” of videos are available for off-line viewing.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 8.55.19 AMSo, I decided to give it a try, since “easy” is not always easy for us un-techy folks. (Remember, you must be a Prime member to take advantage of this feature.)

Your first step will be to download Amazon’s free video app to your iPhone or iPad.

What follows here are several screen shots from my iPad as I downloaded a video to watch off-line.

After downloading the app, I was greeted with this screen, informing me of this new off-line watching feature.


Opening the app, I tapped on several programs that were available free for Prime members. The first one I found that also offered the download option was “Curb your Enthusiasm”. Notice the download icon next to each episode.


I tapped the download icon and the program started downloading immediately.


After the file downloaded, I closed the app, and went off-line, putting my iPad into airport mode.

I went back to the app to see if I could watch the program. I wasn’t sure how to access it, but sometimes the ‘easiest’ way is the one that works. I simply went to the same screen where I did the downloading, and tapped on “play.”

Instantly, the show began, and played flawlessly, while my iPad was offline. Hurray!

Your movie or tv show will not stay on your device forever, it will “expire”. In this case, you can see that I was told that the program would be available offline for me for 48 hours.

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A Better Way to Look back at your Browsing history on your iPhone and iPad

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 8.23.54 AM I only recently found this “better way” to look back at my safari searches on my iPhone and iPad. But it’s SO much better, I will use it exclusively.

Before this discovery, when I wanted to return to a web page that I had previously viewed, I would tap on the ‘back button’ on the bottom left side of the screen. This ‘back button’ would scroll back through the web pages that I had viewed recently, one at a time.

I would tap, tap, tap.

Nope, nope, nope…. yes.

Tap tap tapping to find the elusive webpage of yore.


The “better way” is this:

Put your finger on that back arrow and HOLD IT.

A LIST of your recently viewed web pages will appear, and to return to any, just touch it.

SO much better!!!


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How to UN-delete a Photo on your iPhone or iPad with iOS8

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Did you ever do an “oops” and delete a photo that you didn’t mean to delete? Or maybe you deleted one and regretted it later?

In iOS8, this problem can be fixed.

You CAN recover a deleted photo.

How to recover a deleted photo:

Open your Photos app.

Tap on Albums.

Scroll to find “Recently Deleted”


Open that album and you will see all the photos that you have deleted over the last (approximately) 30 days.
Each photo will have a number under it, telling you how many days are left until it is permanently deleted.


Choose the photo you want to un-delete, and look down at the bottom of the screen. Tap “Recover” to bring your photo back to your photo stash.


All done! No more “oops”. :)

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How to Change Your Email Signature on your iPhone and iPad

Over the last several years, “throwback Thursday” has become quite popular. Although it is really supposed to be about nostalgia (like old photos), I thought I’d stretch the point, and occasionally post an old (but updated!) “how to” on Thursdays, for the benefit of the many new-device-users who have joined our blog. (or to refresh the memories for those of us who forget!)

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 8.48.41 PMWhen you send an email from your device, it has a little “stamped” message at the bottom of your text, either “sent from my iPhone” or “sent from my iPad”. If you are a relatively new user, you may have wondered if you can change this message.

The simple answer is…… yes, indeed.

You can customize it however you would like, or you can choose to have no message at all.

You can also select a different signature for each of your email accounts, clearly separating your personal and professional life.

Before you make any changes, give it a little thought. For example, “future rock star” would be a poor choice for a professional signature. :shock: Make absolutely sure that you pay attention as you assign a signature to your email accounts. Determine if messages will be personal or professional, and create accordingly.

Personal signatures vary from the simple “regards” or “cheers” to a comedy choice (“sent from my Atari 2600”) to inspirational quotes or lines from literature.

The directions to make a change are the same for both the iPad and the iPhone.

Here is how to change your email signature:

Go to your settings and select “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”. Then scroll down and tap “Signature”.

You can now make the choice of “All Accounts” or “Per Account.” You can see, here, that on my iPhone, the message “sent from my iPhone” goes out on all my emails, from any account.


Under the “accounts” choice, you see a text box, with the current message in it.

Replace “sent from my iPhone” with your name, or whatever else you would like to appear at the bottom of every email that you send.

Once you have made your changes (you can just make it blank), you are done. There is no “save” button, it just works.

To go back, touch the “Mail, Contacts..” arrow at the TOP of your screen, and this will take you back to Settings. Give your Home Button a push, and you are back to a screen full of your icons.

All done. The next email you send will contain your new signature (or no signature at all if you made it blank).

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How to Loan a Kindle Book

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 7.22.24 PMWhen we read a great book, it’s natural to want to share it with others. Unfortunately, this is the one big drawback with digital books. Sigh. :(

There are a few work arounds. You can form a “group.” And recently Amazon introduced “family sharing” which also involves linking accounts.

But what if you want to simply lend a book to a friend?

You can share a Kindle book ….if the publisher allows it. (note: the recipient does not have to own a Kindle. The Kindle app on their iPhone or iPad will work just fine.)

How to loan a Kindle book:

Bring up your Amazon account, and select “Manage Your Content and Devices.” There are several ways to navigate to that page, but I think that the easiest way is to go to a page with a Kindle book(s) and look across the top of the page, just below your search bar. On the far right, you’ll see “Manage Your Content and Devices.”

Click on “Manage Your Content and Devices” and you’ll be brought to a page that has tabs marked “content,” “devices” and “settings.” Click on “Content” and you will see all the books that you own … and the opportunity to do things with them. One of those things …. if the publisher allows it…. is to lend your Kindle book to anyone at all.

To the left of each book, you’ll see a little gray box with dots, under the column marked “actions.” Click on that box, and the possible actions (for that book) appear.

Here I have clicked on one of those boxes, and you can see all the choices, including “Loan This Title.”

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If the publisher does NOT allow lending, the option will simply not be there. So if you SEE the option, you can loan the book.

Click on “Loan This Title,” and you will bring up the screen, below.

From Skitch-2

As you can see, to loan the book, just enter the email address of your recipient (and a message if you would like).

When the receiver-of-your-book (the loan-ee? :) ) gets the email, all they have to do is follow the instructions to download the book to the device of their choice.

That’s all there is to it! (One note… you cannot read the book while it is loaned out.)

I wish that this option was available for ALL books, but for now, it’s not. It should be, (grumble, grumble) but it’s not. Maybe someday….

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How to Turn Off (the evil) In-App Purchases

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 6.49.05 PMAlmost two years ago, I blogged about turning off in-app purchases, after a child in the UK racked up a whopping bill of $2500.

Since many folks have recently subscribed to this blog after (probably) getting a new device for the holidays, I think it’s time to talk about this again.

First, my rant. Bluntly, I think in-app purchases are (usually) evil. It’s a model designed to get you to pay more and more just to finish whatever it is you are doing. In-app purchases often appear in games, encouraging you to acquire extra powers or lives or turns or whatevers. In the heat of the moment, many normally-sane people find themselves wracking up charges for…… well, lots of nothing.

It just seems to me that the vast majority of in-app purchases are simply designed to, uh, ‘get’ you.

If you have children using your devices, you should absolutely positively turn OFF the ability to buy these extras.

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 7.00.17 PMBut I’d like to take this a step further and suggest that all of us boomers do the same. Those in-app purchases are pretty darn sneaky (and getting sneakier all the time). They can pop up and be confusing, and you might find yourself buying something you never intended to buy at all.

I recently downloaded a well-reviewed match 3 game, a Disney product, and was flabbergasted at all the “do you want to buy an extra turn/power/etc” that the game kept throwing at me. I’d MUCH rather pay for a game, and use it cleanly without any hidden costly surprises.

Here is how to turn off your in-app purchases on your iPhone or iPad:

Go to your Settings > General > Restrictions.

To enable restrictions, you’ll have to enter a passcode. Be sure to remember this, because you will need it if you want to change it later.

Once you have enabled restrictions, just slide on down and find “In-app purchases.” Slide the switch to off (not green) and you’ll be all set.


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