App of the Week: The 6 best new features in iOS 11

 

 

By Ashley Carman of The Verge

Apple unveiled iOS 11 during its Worldwide Developers Conference this week, and while it might not feature an overhauled Messages app like last year, the company’s smaller but iterative changes add functionality that some users might have always wanted. Do Not Disturb While Driving, for example, mutes notifications when your iPhone thinks you’re moving. It’ll auto-reply to your texts, too, which is a welcome feature after other companies, like Samsung, introduced a similar product.

The whole App Store is undergoing a redesign, as well, so that’s cool.
We compiled a couple lists of all the features we learned from the WWDC keynote, and now we’re narrowing them down to the things that we’re most excited about. These are the six best new features coming with iOS 11.

YOU CAN PAY FRIENDS WITH APPLE PAY

This could be huge. Users can pay someone via an iMessage or tell Siri to pay someone by using a credit or debit card that’s stored in their Wallet. Once they’re paid, this money goes into an Apple Pay Cash account and can be sent to other people or used to buy something in stores through Apple Pay. It can also be transferred to a bank account.

Now, your friends have to be on iOS for this to work, so it doesn’t have the exact appeal of Venmo or Square Cash, but still, the idea of sending money through Messages instead of a third-party app is appealing. I imagine some people likely won’t switch, simply because they’ve already set up a solid network on Venmo and have a workflow. For those who haven’t, or don’t like the social network part of that service, this is a nice opportunity to try something else.

SIRI TRANSLATIONS

Siri will be able to translate English words and phrases into Chinese, French, German, Italian, or Spanish. Apple demoed this functionality during its keynote. Google Assistant already does this, so while Apple’s playing catch-up with this feature, it’s still nice to have. We don’t know how well it works, but the idea of going to China and having Siri translate a phrase for me is great, especially if I don’t have to navigate to the Google Assistant app and can instead access Siri straight from my home button.

AUTOMATIC APP DELETION

iOS 11 will launch with the option to automatically delete apps you never use through a feature called Offload Unused Apps. Basically when you’re running low on storage, the feature will get rid of apps you infrequently use while retaining related documents and data so you can always get the app back. A tap on the app’s grayed-out icon will restore it. Owners of 16GB iPhones can celebrate this, although if you’re using a ton of apps, I’m not sure how much it’ll really help storage issues.

NEW CONTROL CENTER

The new Control Center is getting a lot of flack for how overwhelming it could potentially look, but I’m psyched to have everything in one place. You can customize the control screen to your needs, like having an Apple TV widget or stopwatch access. This is slightly reminiscent of Android, and will probably be useful so long as you don’t go too crazy with shortcuts and basically turn it into a second home screen.

 

IPAD MULTITASKING AND REDESIGNED DOCK

The iPad is going to act a lot more like a Mac. With iOS 11, we’ll be able to customize our docks with apps we use most frequently. Plus, we can multitask with up to three apps running at once, side by side. A new Files app will also let users store data locally and access it straight from the device, just like a Mac. The Verge’s Vlad Savov pointed out this week that the iPad is increasingly becoming a device that could replace a computer. This is welcome news, especially for people who might be using their iPad at work.

SCREEN CAPTURE

Apple didn’t even mention that iOS 11 would allow for easy screen capturing during WWDC, but developers messing around with the beta release gave us a peek. You’ll be able to screen record right from the new Control Center to capture whatever you do. Share away.

What features of iOS 11 are you the most excited about? Tell us in the comments below!

How to: switch between list view and honeycomb app grid on Apple Watch with watchOS 4

 

 

By Benjamin Mayo of 9to5 Mac


With watchOS 4, Apple is offering an alternative to the honeycomb screen used to display your Apple Watch apps. The honeycomb view lays out the circular watch app icons in a hexagonal grid with a focus on the middle of the display, and a miniature clock in the center.

The honeycomb design is not universally beloved but it has been the only option for Apple Watch users to date. With watchOS 4, Apple is adding list mode which sorts apps into an alphabetical scrolling view. Here’s how to enable it …
watchOS 4 has many improvements to core functionality including new Siri, Kaleidoscope and Toy Story watch face options, motivational Activity progress alerts, redesigned Workout and Music app, integration with gym equipment and more.

There are also minor enhancements across watchOS 4. List mode app screen is one such change for people that can’t stand the fluid honeycomb layout and prefer something a bit more ordered.

From your watch face, press the home button once to open the app screen. Then, press firmly on the display to open the new contextual Force Touch overlay.

This view offers a toggle between the two modes for app screen, grid view or list view. ‘Grid view’ is what Apple calls the honeycomb arrangement.

 

Press the List View icon to switch to the new mode. The app screen transforms into a plain list of all your Apple Watch apps in alphabetical order. Each row shows the app icon and its name, something that is generally not visible when in the Watch interface.

You can use the digital crown to scroll up and down the list; rows at the top and bottom of the screen scale down to prioritize apps in the center. Tap on a row to launch the respective app. It is not possible to rearrange apps in the list — they always go from A-Z.

When you return to the app screen, list view is preserved. If you want to change back to the (far prettier) honeycomb layout, Force Touch on the list and select Grid View.

Although it’s always nice to have the option, I personally will not be using the List View that much. It’s limiting that the apps cannot be re-arranged into a preferred ordering as my most used apps are not those that start with A, B, C. Moreover, the honeycomb shows more apps at once on the screen and it simply looks better aesthetically.

Do you prefer the List View and are grateful Apple added it to watchOS 4? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Tips & Tricks: 5 ways to boost your MacBook battery life

 

Photo: picjumbo.com/Pexels CC

Save yourself some battery power when you go remote.

 

5 ways to boost your MacBook battery life

Jovan Washington of Cult of Mac

Despite the MacBook’s svelte design, their batteries last a long time because Apple put a lot of thought into how the hardware and software work together. Still, if you find yourself running out of juice, some simple changes can help you extend your MacBook battery life.

Apple designs its laptops to maximize user productivity and minimize extra work, but following these simple tips will boost MacBook battery life considerably.

HOW TO BOOST MACBOOK BATTERY LIFE

While your MacBook’s battery life totally depends on what you’re doing on any given day, making small sacrifices can pay off big time. (See Apple’s specs listings to see exactly how much screen time you can hope to attain.)
These tips should boost your MacBook battery life noticeably.

TURN DOWN MACBOOK SCREEN BRIGHTNESS

Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Decrease the brightness levels on your MacBook to save battery power.

 

Apple’s Retina display is pretty adaptive and vibrant even at low brightness settings. In most conditions, you can turn down your brightness settings — especially if you are not accessing highly visual content — to extend your battery life.

Go to System Preferences > Displays. In the Display tab, move the Brightness slider to the left and uncheck Automatically adjust brightness.

SWITCH OFF BLUETOOTH AND WI-FI

If what you’re doing doesn’t require Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi, turn them off. These two laptop mainstays can eat up a big chunk of your battery without you realizing it. Ask yourself, “Do I really need to be connected to Wi-Fi if all I’m doing is working on a spreadsheet?” Switch off your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not in use.

  • To switch off Bluetooth, go to System Preferences > Bluetooth and then select Turn Bluetooth Off.
  • To switch off Wi-Fi, go to System Preferences > Network and select Turn Wi-Fi Off.

 

DISCONNECT PERIPHERALS

Believe it or not, keeping a compact disk inserted or USB device connected consumes significant MacBook battery power. While on the move, even the slightest of battery wastage can prove to be a heavy blow and reduce overall performance. Always disconnect any peripherals to conserve and extend laptop battery life.

TURN OFF BACKLIT KEYBOARD

Having a light-up keyboard definitely proves convenient in certain situations, but you only really need it in dim lighting. Turning off your backlit keyboard will extend the battery life of your MacBook.

INVERT COLORS

Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Select this option to give you a bizarre view of your desktop while saving battery life.

Designed for people with limited vision, this option saves MacBook battery by displaying energy-saving black pixels rater than juice-devouring white ones. If you can stand the pain of working in such a stark environment, this is a good way to get more from your Mac’s battery.

 

BONUS MACBOOK BATTERY TIPS

Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Safari is using significant energy.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

MacOS helpfully informs you if any apps use significant amounts of power. Just look in the Battery menu. Click on Battery in the Menu bar and check under Apps Using Significant Energy. Safari is the culprit in the example above. But you should quit any hungry apps and use a low-energy alternative instead.
You can also get more detailed information on energy usage using the Activity Monitor app.

1. Launch the Activity Monitor app.
2. Click on the Energy Tab and Energy Impact header to view the apps and processes taking up the most power on your Mac.

Also, check the following options in System Preferences > Energy Saver:

  • Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible.
  • Slightly dim the display when using this power source.
  • Automatically reduce brightness before display goes to sleep.
  • Disable Power Nap.

Those quick changes can boost Mac battery life considerably.

Do you have any tips for preserving battery life on your laptop? Share them with us in the comments below!

Weekly Round Up 6/16

 

Customers at a Whole Foods Market in Manhattan. Credit John Taggart for The New York Times

 

 

Dads love Gadgets.
Top Tech Gifts for Father’s Day

Looks like Amazon Fresh is about to take off.
Amazon to Buy Whole Foods in $13.4 Billion Deal

This could help me put the “Legal” in Legally Blonde.
Justin Kan confirms $10.5 million in funding for his legal tech startup Atrium LTS

I’ll bet Elon Musk isn’t on that list.
Here are some of the tech investors invited to the White House next week

Yet, another thing Canada is better at than us…
Gender, racial diversity part of city’s tech push

She may want to talk to Tim Cook about that after that San Bernadino thing…
Theresa May wants tech companies to censor terrorists, but will they play ball?

Um…I have enough noise in my head already, thanks.
What is “brain hacking”? Tech insiders on why you should care

And we lose one of the few female CEO’s in the tech world….great.
Tech Roundup: The End of Yahoo, the Problem No Executive Could Fix

App of the Week: Everything you need to know about the new Files app on iOS 11

 

 

By Charlie Sorrell of CNET

Files is the new Finder app for iOS 11, and it’s already about a million times better than the basic file-picker it replaces — iCloud Drive. Files is a central place from which to access all the files on your iDevice, and in iCloud. You can find, organize, open, and delete all the files on your device, in iCloud, and on 3rd-party storage services like Dropbox. And because this is iOS 11, Files supports all the fancy new multitasking features like drag-and-drop.

So, lets take a look at what it can do:

 

Of all the new features in iOS 11, Files is still one of the most beta. It’s buggy, laggy, and is missing several of the features shown in the 2017 WWDC keynote. Right now, it doesn’t even have an entry in the Settings app. But despite this, its already more than useful.

 

FILES’ MAIN SCREEN

I call it the “main” screen, but it’s really Files’ only screen. down the left is a list of sources, and on the right you see the folders and files. Right now the available locations are On My iPad and iCloud Drive. You can also drag any folder to the Favorites section, and there’s another section for tags. These tags are the same ones that you may already use in the Finder on the Mac, and, like everything in iCloud, they sync between Mac and iOS. In the future, you will also be able to access Dropbox, Box, and other file storage services.

GETTING AROUND

Tapping on a source in the sidebar opens up that source. You can then tap on any folder to open that. There’s a persistent search bar at the top of this view, and while it doesn’t yet search within files themselves, it will find files inside subfolders. This lets you quickly find a file if you know its name.

 

Pulling down on the screen in this view reveals more options. You can create a new folder, sort by Name, Date, Size, or Tags, and toggle between and icon view and list view. At any time you can drag a file and drop it in another folder, or drag it onto a tag to apply that tag. You can also hit the home button and drag the files onto another app (or into an app open in Split View).

You can also drag multiple documents at one time, using multitouch. To do this, you start dragging one file, then tap any other file to add it to the pile under your other finger. This works across multiple locations, so you can keep dragging as you tap to visit many folders and tags, tapping files as you go, until you have everything you want. And once you

Be careful, though. There’s no way to quit an operation once you’ve started. You might find yourself dragging a fingerful of files and realize you’ve gotten the wrong files, or just changed your mind. Workaround include keeping a tag just for this, and dragging them onto it. Nothing will be moved, just tagged. Or you can tap the home button and drop the files on an open space in your home screen. Fortunately, files are copied, not moved, so you can safely delete the erroneously-copied files and leave the originals untouched.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH YOUR FILES?

 

File support is a little inconsistent so far. Some files can be viewed and even edited inside Files. Others will open in their parent app once tapped. Because there’s no way to tell whether you’ll see a preview, or if tapping will launch another app, its all a little frustrating. You can find out more about a file by long-pressing it to bring up a popover, similar to the ones that appear when you select text on iOS. Here the options are Copy, Rename, Move, Share, Tags, Info, and Delete.


Here’s a quick list of what I’ve found out about different file types

  • Images can be previewed, and marked up using the standard markup tools in iOS 11. To remove your graffiti, use the erase tool. A folder of images can be swiped through ands viewed.
  • Text files can be previewed, but only if their parent app isn’t installed. For instance, I tapped a text file created with Byword and it launched in Byword. After I deleted Byword, those files could be previewed in Files instead.
  • Movies can be previewed. I (almost)successfully watched an AVI and a MOV file, although they both stuttered and barely played.
  • GarageBand files open in GarageBand
  • Music Memos files, in the iCloud Drive, are played inside Files.
  • ZIP file contents can be previewed, as if they were in a folder. You cannot zip or unzip.

SHARING

There is a mysterious Sharing feature, which lets you share a file and edit it with other people. Right now it seems that you can invite people to share, but they can’t actually edit the document. I shared a text file with our own Luke Dormehl, and it was added to his iCloud Drive, but he was unable to edit it.

Still, the option to manage collaborations from Files is an interesting one.

Files is definitely a beta app, with a long way to go. Even on an iPad Pro it’s sluggish (although search is instant), and lacks a lot of basic features (there’s no way too sort by file kind, for example). But despite that it’s already pretty great. If nothing else, Files on iOS is an easy and reliable way to access the files in your Mac’s Desktop and Documents folders.

 

How to: Link Your Calendar with Alexa

 

 

by DAN MOREN of Tom’s Guide

Having Alexa read you your upcoming appointments is one of the best uses of a virtual assistant. It saves you from having to go to your computer or pull out your phone to check what’s going on for the day or add a new event. Alexa supports Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, and Microsoft calendars via Outlook.com and Office 365. Here’s how to link them.

 

1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.

 

 

2. Tap the Menu button in the top left corner.

 

 

3. Tap Settings.

 

4. Scroll down to find Calendar and select it.

5. Tap the calendar system you want to link; for this example, we’ll use Google Calendar.

 

6. On the following screen, which includes your name, tap “Link your Google calendar account.”

 

7. When prompted, choose the appropriate Google account. You may need to enter your username and password.

8. The following screen tells you what abilities you’re granting Alexa; in this case, managing your calendars. Tap Allow.

9. Tap Done.

10. Choose which calendars you want Alexa to have access to by tapping the checkbox beside their names. When you’re finished, tap the Back arrow in the top left.

11. In the middle of the screen, you can choose to which calendar new events will be added. Tap the name of the calendar that Alexa has chosen to change it.

12. You’re all set! Now, you can add a new event to your calendar by saying “Alexa, add dinner to my calendar for 6pm today” or, for a more interactive approach, “Alexa, add an event to my calendar.”

T&T: This trick makes moving iPhone apps easier than ever!

 

 

 

by Patrick Holland of CNET

If you have lots of pages of apps on your iPhone, it can be a pain to move them around. But we have an easy solution.

 

Rearranging apps on your iPhone and iPad is pretty easy, but moving them across screens can be a little more frustrating. There’s an easy trick that solves this: use the dock.

Here’s how it works. If you have multiple pages of apps on your home screen, scroll all the way right to the last page. Once there, press and hold on any app to activate “jiggle mode” — be careful not to accidentally trigger 3D Touch if you’re on an iPhone 6S or later. “Jiggle mode” lets you rearrange apps on your iPhone.

Next, remove one of the apps from the dock and place it on that last page temporarily. This frees up a space the dock to shuttle apps back-and-forth to other pages on your home screen. To do this, drag the app you’re relocating down to the dock. Scroll to the spot you want to put it. Then, drag it to its new spot. Repeat if necessary.

When you’re all done, return the app you took off the dock back to its place and press the home button to lock everything down.

Now you can rest easy since all your apps are where you want them — or you could finally get around to cleaning the camera on the back.

Do you have a favorite trick for organizing your Apps? Tell us about it in the comments below!