Apps

Who Me? An iPhone Addict?

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Smartphone addiction is real. Do you check your iPhone before you get out of bed? During family dinners? Right before you go to sleep? Constantly during the day even when you’re on vacation? If you—or your family members—feel that you’re disappearing into your phone too often or at inappropriate times, it may be time to do something about it.

To start, you might want to quantify the problem, and for that, you can turn to a free iPhone app called Moment. Written by developer Kevin Holesh, Moment is designed to track three key pieces of data:

  • How often you pick up your iPhone every day
  • How much time you spend on your iPhone
  • Which apps you use the most

It then uses that information to paint a picture (well, not literally) of your iPhone use. Most people underestimate how much time they spend on their iPhones by about 100% (the average Moment user uses their iPhone for nearly 4 hours per day!). Knowing how much time you spend is the first step toward using your phone intentionally, rather than as a conduit to a constant stream of social media updates (look at the stats shown below), email messages, and quick-hit entertainment.

 
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To get started, use the App Store app to install Moment, and then launch the app. It starts tracking your usage immediately, although once per week you’ll need to take screenshots of Settings > Battery so Moment can figure out how long you use each app. Then ignore Moment for a few days so it can gather some data.

On the main Screen Time screen, Moment shows how much time you’ve spent on your phone today, along with a scrolling bar graph of how much time you spent every day since you installed Moment. Don’t get too hung up on these raw numbers, though, since Moment tracks every second the screen is on. You probably aren’t concerned about time spent reading an ebook or working out with an app that talks you through a routine.

To view both a breakdown by app and a timestamp for each time you picked up your iPhone, tap any day’s entry, and to see how much you use a particular app on average, tap it in the day view. You can answer a Yes/No question about whether you’re happy with how much you use the app, which informs the Time Well Spent aggregate data about which apps people are and are not concerned about.

 
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All that is helpful, but for a more useful overview, tap Insights and then Week. You’ll see graphs of your usage patterns for screen time, waking life, pickups, most used app, and sleep (this depends on your first and last pickups of the day, so take its data with a grain of salt). Tap any graph to see more detail, but wait until you’ve used Moment for a while.

 
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Everything we’ve described so far is free, but Moment offers additional features for a one-time $3.99 in-app purchase. They let you exclude certain apps from the app-use detection, if you don’t want to be dinged for using apps that are necessary or otherwise positive. You can receive quick reminders about your usage, and set daily time limits. There is even a 14-day Phone Bootcamp course that helps you rethink your relationship with your phone.

More interesting for parents is Moment Family, a subscription service ($26.99 for 6 months or $44.99 for 12 months) that allows you to monitor your entire family’s screen time with Moment, set phone-free dinner times, and enforce daily limits.

So if you’re perturbed by the amount of time you spend using your iPhone every day, give Moment a try. On its own, it won’t solve your problem but by showing you exactly how often you turn to your phone—and for what apps—it can help you regain control over your usage patterns. And if others in your family have trouble putting their iPhones down at dinner or to do homework, Moment Family could be the answer.

Don't Let Apple Pay Slow You Down

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When it’s an option at a cash register, Apple Pay is faster, easier, and safer than using a credit card. But accessing it from the Wallet app is way too slow! Here’s the trick to pull up Apple Pay quickly. In Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay, under “Allow Access When Locked,” enable Double-Click Home Button. Then, when you want to pay in a checkout line, double-click the Home button from the Lock screen of your iPhone to bring up Wallet instantly. If you have trouble with your thumb unlocking the iPhone instead, use another finger that isn’t registered with Touch ID, and then use your thumb to authenticate once Apple Pay comes up.

 
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Do You Suffer From Messy App-age?

Be honest- your Mac's screen is cluttered with windows from all the apps you have open. Sometimes it's handy to view a couple simultaneously, but having too many apps visible can be incredibly distracting. There are a variety of ways to focus on a single app at a time, but here's one of the easiest:

When you click on a window or dock icon to bring it to the foreground, hold down the Option key to hide all the other windows from various apps you have open.

 
 

If you get in the habit of Option-clicking to switch apps/programs regularly, before long you'll find it easier to focus on what you're doing without all the distractions from the other apps. Buckle up: Productivity, here we come! 

Reach Out and 3D Touch Something

Apple first unveiled 3D Touch in iOS 9 with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, giving users of those iPhones a new way of interacting with apps, but 3D Touch never really caught on. Now, with the release of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and broader support in iOS 10, 3D Touch is worth learning if you have one of the supported iPhones.

3D Touch works in two ways: “peek and pop” and “quick actions.” Apps use peek and pop to let you glance (peek) at an item by pressing down on it (not just a touch, but a press into the screen), and then jump to that item (pop) by pressing harder still. In Safari, for instance, you can preview a link by pressing it, and then either release to dismiss the preview or continue to load it in its own tab by pressing harder. Or move your finger up on the screen without letting go or pressing harder to get controls for opening the link, adding to your reading list, or copying the URL. This trick applies to links in other apps like Mail, Messages, and Notes, too.

You can also use peek and pop with email message summaries in Mail, headlines in News, thumbnails in Photos, people in Find My Friends, dates and events in Calendar, and even the previously taken photo box in Camera. Support for peek and pop in third-party apps isn’t as widespread as it is in Apple’s apps, but it’s still worth trying whenever you want to preview something.

More interesting are quick actions, which present a menu of common actions when you press down on an app’s icon on the Home screen, or on various controls and other items throughout iOS. Home screen quick actions are great, since they let you kickstart an app into doing something with just a hard press on its icon. If the app has a widget, a 3D Touch press shows that as well.

For instance, using 3D Touch on the Phone app shows its widget, which gives you buttons to call people in your Favorites list, along with actions to view the most recent call, search for a contact, create a new contact, or view the most recent voicemail. The Clock app lets you start a timer or the stopwatch, or create an alarm. Messages quick actions can create a new message or open a recent conversation. Use 3D Touch on Safari’s icon and you can create a new tab or see your bookmarks or reading list. You can even press on a folder to rename it quickly.

Quick actions and widgets are much more commonplace among third-party apps than peek and pop support, so be sure to try 3D Touch on all your favorite apps. If all you see is a Share item, the app has no quick actions or widget, but many apps provide both static actions that are always the same and dynamic actions that reflect your past usage.

iOS 10 brings 3D Touch to Control Center too. Press the Flashlight button to adjust the brightness of the light, the Timer button for some pre-canned times, the Calculator button to copy the last calculation result, or the Camera button to take a photo, slo-mo, video, or selfie.

On the Lock screen, press a Messages notification to expand it and reply directly from the notification. More notifications will become interactive in the future too. And in Notification Center, you can press a notification to expand it, or use 3D Touch on the X button for any day to reveal a Clear All Notifications option.

It’s too bad that there’s no way to know in advance if an app supports quick actions or peek and pop, but as the number of iPhone users who can use 3D Touch increases, developers will incorporate 3D Touch capabilities into their apps more and more. So give it a try!

Apple Notifies Aperture Users of Upcoming Removal From App Store

Apple sent an email to Aperture customers today to reminder them about the impending removal of the professional grade photo editing software from the Mac App Store. The email confirms that Aperture will be removed from the Mac App Store when the release of Photos for OS X. When Photos for OS X launches this spring, Aperture will no longer be available for purchase from the Mac App Store. You can continue to use Aperture on OS X Yosemite, but you will not be able to buy additional copies of the app.  You can migrate your Aperture library to Photos for OS X, including your photos, adjustments, albums, and keywords. After migrating, your Aperture library remains intact. However, Aperture and Photos do not share a unified library, so any changes made after the migration will not be shared between the apps.

Aperture users will be able to continue using the software on OS X Yosemite after its discontinued. Aperture users can migrate their photo libraries to Photos for OS X, including photos, adjustments, albums and keywords.

Photos for OS X will be available this spring for OS X Yosemite.

Share a list in Reminders

Share Reminders 1 Not only is it easy to create and edit reminders, but you can also share and collaborate on lists with anyone else in the world, even if they don’t have an Apple Device with them. All they need is an iCloud account.

To be clear, you cant invite others to share your Reminders lists from your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. You have use your Reminders app on the OSX version 10.8.2 or later. If you don’t use a Mac computer, you can access Reminders from iCloud.com. Just log in using your iCloud account information. Most people’s iCloud account is the same as their Apple ID (the account info and password used to buy music and apps).

The steps:

1. Launch Reminders app on OSX or iCloud.com

2. Create a list you want to share with others.

3. Hover over the right side of the list you want to share and select the broadcast icon that appears

4. Enter the iCloud connected email address for anyone you want to invite to the list.

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Once you’ve shared a list, the person or people you are sharing with can see all of your archived items, plus the current list. They can also edit the list. So, if you share a grocery list with your spouse, the two of you can add or remove any items. It is as if you are sitting in the kitchen together while making the list.

When a person accepts your invitation to share a Reminder list, you will receive an alert on all devices that feature the Reminders app.

All changes that are made to your list will be immediately viewable in our iOS Reminders app. So, if your spouse makes a note on one of your items, you’ll know about it before putting it in the cart.

You can remove someone just as easily as you invited them. Hover over the broadcast icon again and click on their name. Select “Remove” and you're done. They will no longer have access to your list. However, all of their changes will remain on your list.

 

How to pin an app to a specific Mission Control Desktop

How to pin an app to a specific Mission Control Desktop Mission Control 101

 

You can assign an app to a specific desktop in Mission Control—perfect for keeping your programs in their proper “spaces,” particularly when you’re booting up your Mac.

 

Before we begin, something to keep in mind: this trick applies only to apps running in standard  “windowed” mode. Programs running in “full screen” automatically get assigned to their own desktops.

 

Related: Desktop "Spaces in Mission Control

 

Are you ready to start “pinning” your apps to specific desktops? Here we go…

Just select “This Desktop” to pin an app to a specific Mission Control desktop.

▪ First, navigate to the desktop where you’d like a particular program to call home. If, for example, you want Calendar to sit in Desktop 2, launch Mission Control, then click on Desktop 2 from the overhead Mission Control view (or create a second desktop if there isn’t one already).

▪ Launch the app you want to assign to the desktop—again, let’s use Calendar as our example.

▪ Go down to the Mac desktop dock at the bottom of the screen, find the icon for Calendar, and right-click it.

▪ In the menu that appears, select Options, then select “This Desktop” under the “Assign to” heading.

 

Now, let’s test. Go ahead and close the app you just assigned to a desktop, navigate to Desktop 1 in Mission Control, then launch the app again—and when you do, it should launch in the desktop you assigned it to.

 

Also, if the app you’ve pinned to a desktop opens automatically when you start up your Mac, the app will now launch in its assigned window.

 

 

OK, but what if you want to “unpin” an app from a desktop? Just right-click its icon in the dock, select Options, then select “None” under “Assign to.”

Desktop "Spaces" in Mission Control

Mission Control 103 Did you know that there’s more than one desktop on your Mac? Yep, it’s true, you can pretty much have as many desktops as you want, each filled with its own assortment of open documents and applications.

Most of us are used to having a single desktop on our systems—you know, the one that’s directly in front of us. The idea of have more, “virtual” desktop spaces with open windows that you can’t see can take a little getting used to. Once you get the hang of it, these additional desktop spaces—which you manage in Mac OS X with a new feature, dubbed “Mission Control”—can become addicting, even essential. Let’s take a quick tour of the desktop spaces in “Mission Control”—and keep in mind that older versions of the Mac operating system also have the “spaces” feature, which you can manage in the System Preferences panel under the Apple menu.

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1. First, activate Mission Control by clicking its icon in the Mac OS “Dock,” or swiping up with three fingertips on your MacBook trackpad. You can also turn Mission Control on by hitting the F3 key on your keyboard.

 

2. Now, you’ll see an overhead view of all your open applications, windows, and spaces. On your desktop, you may have five applications open—Mail, iPhoto, iCal, iTunes, and Safari, not to mention a total of three Safari open windows at once. Things may start to get a little crowded.

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3. Time to spread out a little bit. Activate Mission Control again, click and hold the app window you want to move to a different “desktop”, and then drag it up and over to the upper-right corner of the screen—where all of a sudden, a new “space” with a big “+” sign appears.

4. Drop the app into your new space, and presto! Now you have another desktop with just the one application open. To visit your new space, just activate Mission Control and click the Desktop icon, which immediately zooms in and fills your screen.

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5. Now go ahead repeat with more open applications. To switch between your desktops, open Mission Control and click the desktop space you want to jump to. You can also scroll though them one-by-one with a sideways three-finger swipe on your trackpad, or by tapping a left or right arrow key on the keyboard while holding down the Control key.

Mission Control 101

6. Want to clean up your spaces? Activate Mission Control, then hold your mouse over the space you want to close until a circle with an “x” appears on its corner. Click the “x,” and the space will disappear, with any open windows safely sliding over to one of your remaining spaces (so don’t worry, you won’t lose any work).

Give it a try!

Keep Your Hands at 10 and 2

Did you know that you can switch between apps with a key command.  Command (⌘) + Tab then release allows the user to switch to the previously used application.  If you are doing research between two applications this simple step is great.  This interface is more flexible than it seems at first. For instance, if you bring the App Switcher up and hover your cursor over an icon then release “Command (⌘)”, it will go to the application you highlighted. App Switcher

Also, when you have an application highlighted, you can do a few other things: press Q to quit an app instantly; press H to hide an app from view; or press the up or down arrows to see the highlighted app’s open windows in Mission Control.

 

One last thing that I find helpful with the App Switcher is that you can scroll back and forth to choose the app you want with your left pinky.  Command (⌘) + Tab goes left to right and Command (⌘) + Tilde ( ~ ) will go right to left once the App Switcher is activated.

My Favorite App for Family Game Night

When I was a kid, we didn’t have all of these fancy smart phones, tablets, personal computers, cable television, or even a VCR.  I had a bicycle, two big brothers, a lake nearby to swim, UHF, a few card games (Euchre was a favorite) and some board games.  

We engaged with one another all of the time, face to face, nothing to hide behind like the internet.  Sure there was limitations to who we could connect with, dad sure wasn’t going to pay for a long distance telephone call to my cousin.  Besides, I wanted to play a game or ride bikes with him, not talk on the phone.

 

Today is a different age, a digital age where we connect via Instagram and Twitter. Where we post, like posts and repost things that make us laugh on Facebook.  Thanks to most cell phone plans, we can now talk to almost anyone without making a collect call (I had to explain what that was to my teenagers).   We engage each other through a series of 1’s and 0’s and our face is seen on a screen we hold in the palm of our hands (pretty cool really). Enough with the stories from yesteryear,  I really wanted to tell you about my favorite app. An app that gets the whole family involved, Sketch Party. Remember Pictionary? Image that for the digital age.  The rules are basically the same and everyone gets to draw twice.  What makes this app so great?!

 

  1. It’s like modern bowling, It keeps the score for you.
  2. Each play is only 2 minutes so the game doesn’t last forever
  3. Like modern bowling, it tells you who's turn it is
  4. The best part… It’s all displayed on your Apple TV.  The iPad is your canvas, but thanks to the Apple TV, everyone guessing doesn’t have to look over a shoulder or through your hand to see what you're drawing.

 

I don’t buy many apps but I’m glad I spent $5 on this one.  We play the game when grandparents and/or friend come over.  But I really look forward to Christmas gatherings this year. We husbands are going to put a smack down on the wives. Loser cleans the kitchen. Who are we kidding, you darn well I’m going to have the kids do it.

SketchParty  Available at the App Store

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EVX56atjHI

 

Weather Apps

  Punxsutawney Phil might be a weather forecasting groundhog but who has time to wait on him.  Lets look as some great iPad apps that will keep you informed of what to wear when you go outside.

 

 

Magical Weather

Magical Weather [button href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/magical-weather/id396179545?mt=8" target="_blank" size="small" left_icon="" color="#4bb048" caption=""]$0.99 Buy[/button]

Magical Weather gives a balance between beautiful presentation and informative content.  Displaying a week’s worth of temperatures in a transparent pane over an animated background and users can swipe to reveal an hourly forecast. Magical Weather focuses on the important information, like highs, lows, chance of rain, wind, humidity, pressure, and UV index.  A top pick for an app that shows you the weather and still offers something lovely to look at.

 

Intellicast HDIntellicast HD [button href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/intellicast-hd-weather-radar/id408451987?mt=8" target="_blank" size="small" left_icon="" color="#4bb048" caption=""]$free Buy[/button]

Intellicast HD includes a lot of impressive information and features for a free app, with only a small advertisement to mar the display.  This app display a full forecast for the next 10 days, charts, graphs, and hourly forecast for the current day, sunrise/set time, moonrise/set time, moon phase, a dada, storm cell tracking, wind direction, and a wether blog making it an app you can’t afford to miss.

 

Weather LiveWeather Live [button href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/weather-live-reloaded/id749078962?mt=8" target="_blank" size="small" left_icon="" color="#4bb048" caption=""]$1.99 Buy[/button]

Weather Live can be used on iphone and ipad and should appeal to users with basic and more advanced weather needs. Open the app to a single customizable screen with basic weather info such as temperature, feels like temperature, weekly forecast, humidity, precipitation, pressure, visibility, etc. An animated background relevant to current conditions is displayed behind the “widgets” with the temperature information.  The app also includes a section with maps displaying clouds, radar, satellite, and rain.  Making this the app to beat.