Here We Go Again! New Operating System Coming Soon. iOS9

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 7.14.47 PMFor the techy people of the world, a new operating system is probably a good thing. For me (and, I’m guessing, many of you…) a new operating system means that I get a little shaky in the knees as I worry about updating my devices and anticipate the glitches-that-will-most-likely-happen. :shock:

Yes, once again we are about to get an update for our iPhones and iPads. iOS9. September 16.

If you’re a long time follower of this blog, you know that I’ve always suggested waiting a while before updating. If there are bugs and glitches, I’d rather have someone else suffer through them as they are worked out. Hopefully the nasty bugs on release day should be few since iOS9 has been public-tested for a while. But I’m very conservative when it comes to “new” stuff, and so I’ll be taking my time as usual.

It always seems that just as I get used to the system I have …. they change it. So what’s new this time? I did some googling to find out what would be “new and improved” in version 9. Here is what I learned:

1. Battery Life. We all tweak our devices to help save battery power. Apparently iOS9 will help us do that. Today, when you set your phone face-down, and you get notifications, your phone lights up, using battery power. In iOS9, your iPhone will KNOW that it is face-down, and it won’t bother lighting up, conserving battery power. There are several other battery-saving additions as well, such as a low-power mode. Apple says that by using the low-power mode you will be able to boost your battery life by as much as 3 hours.

2. Siri improvements. I’ll admit I don’t use Siri very often. Mostly I use her in the car, when I want to call someone hands free (very convenient!), or when I ask her to read text messages to me (also in the car). Apparently Apple wants to make Siri smarter, and has strived to do that with this update. With iOS9, you should be able to ask Siri to show you all the photos you took at your nephew’s birthday party or on your last trip to Chicago. In other words, the search options are expected to be greatly improved.

3. In iOS9, Apple has gotten rid of Newsstand. (I never ever used this, did you?) They have replaced this with a news app that you can personalize to your interests. The app will also make recommendations for you, based on your preferences.

4. Multi-tasking on the iPad will make a debut. iOS9 will give users of the newer iPads the ability to use two apps at once or watch a video while using an app. This is an iPad only improvement. iPhone = nope.

5. Notes app. This app has been improved with some new tools.

6. Keyboard letters. With iOS9, when you are using lower case letters, the keyboard will show you lower case letters. Once you hit the shift key (to use caps), the keyboard will then show capital letters. (Now the keyboard always shows caps, regardless of whether you are using the shift key or not). Although this not-changing thing has never bothered me, it seems so obvious and simple, I’m surprised that it hasn’t been done long before now.

And so, although it looks as though the new iOS9 won’t be too dramatic, it will bring with it some sensible changes.

I’ll wait a little while as I usually do before I install this new operating system, but once I do I’ll be sure to go through each and every change, here on this blog, one at a time. S-l-o-w-l-y. :)

Test Driving Apple’s iOS9

iOS 9 will be available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch September 16th

iOS 9 will be released on September 16th

iOS 9: The new and notable features in the open beta (hands-on)

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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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Very Weird: Ants Respond to Cell Phone Ringing

This is WEIRD. When the video starts, you see the ants running randomly in every direction.

Then … the phone starts ringing.

And then the ants start circling the phone. All together. In the same direction. Weird!!!! …..and, uh … why????

If you were to ask me before I watched it, I would have thought the ringing might make the ants scatter. Certainly not this?

(Update: I continued to look into this, and I’ve seen reports on the internet from those who claim that this video is a hoax, and others who “scientifically” suggest that the ants are responding to the vibration and point to ant studies of similar behavior. So far, the jury is out …. real or hoax? to be continued…..)

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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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Have I really been gone since February???????

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 12.11.45 PMOh my!!! That was quite a break! I was recently reminded that I haven’t been active on this blog since February …. and that certainly is NOT the “short break” I originally intended. :shock:

I would like to thank all of the many lovely people who sent inquiring messages as to my whereabouts. I appreciate your caring thoughts. I won’t slog through all the detail of the time I was absent, but I will share that a full month of that time was spent riding across the entire country. Quite a road trip!! Coast to coast, over 7000 miles, days full of wonderful adventure.

To my surprise, during the time that I was absent, visits to this blog continued. I think this is because many of the issues that I have covered for the iPhone, iPad and/or Kindle often trouble new users (of course, this is the original point of this whole blog!) and therefore when people are searching for answers to their troubles they often land here.

HOWEVER …. as time goes on, it concerns me that earlier posts of the “how to” variety are no longer relevant. As the operating system changes, and new hardware is introduced, etc … some of my “instructions” are completely out of date. I hope that readers will carefully look at the date of the post and the number of the operating system discussed before trying to apply the directions to their own devices. This blog is now several years old, and in ‘technology years’ that’s HUGE.

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My immediate goal is to make many of those older posts current as I add new ones. In my absence, I’m sure many of you have updated your iPhones, iPads and Kindles and so I’ll do my best to bring us all back up to speed. :)

And so …… I’m back. And looking forward to visiting all of YOUR blogs again. I’ve missed you all, and I’m anxious to catch up.

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