New Touch ID Rules

touchIDDo you use the Touch ID fingerprint sensor  to unlock your iPad or iPhone?  It certainly is a handy feature to keep your device secure with a passcode while still making it fast and easy to unlock your device. If your device has the Touch ID feature (and all newer mobile Apple devices do), then I’d suggest you use it.  It’s easy to set up — just go to the Passcode section of the Settings app, and follow along as they guide you through the fingerprinting procedure. Using the passcode still remains an option whenever you like, but the Touch ID is fast and secure.

Apple has always required that you use your passcode rather than your Touch ID in certain cases.  But have you noticed it happens more often lately?  That’s because they’ve added a new “rule” to the iOS Security Guide  for times the passcode is required.

The 6 rules are as follows, as quoted from the 9TO5Mac site (the new rule is highlighted):

The passcode can always be used instead of Touch ID, and it’s still required under the following circumstances:

  • The device has just been turned on or restarted.
  • The device has not been unlocked for more than 48 hours.
  • The passcode has not been used to unlock the device in the last six days and TouchID has not unlocked the device in the last eight hours.
  • The device has received a remote lock command.
  • After five unsuccessful attempts to match a fingerprint.
  • When setting up or enrolling new fingers with Touch ID.
Posted in Getting Started, Quick Tips, Security | Leave a comment

Use the iPad Keyboard as a Trackpad!

quicktype-swipe-iPad-iOS-9Have you ever been frustrated while trying to edit text using the iPad’s on-screen keyboard?  Using the magnifying glass to position the cursor was an improvement over not being able to move the cursor at all, but it still wasn’t very helpful.

With iOS9, Apple has added an awesome feature — using two fingers, you can turn your keyboard into a trackpad! Just touch two fingers down on the keyboard: the text on the keys will disappear and the keyboard will be greyed out.  You are now in trackpad mode!

The key to making this work is to be sure your fingers are a little distance apart — like maybe an inch — rather than touching, as they appear in the above photo. I had given up on making this feature work, until I read that hint! So spread those fingers!

Another hint — I have never seen it documented, but in fact, you can place your two fingers in the text area and move them around to move the cursor.  I find this easier than putting them over the keyboard, which sometimes starts selecting text, rather than just moving the cursor.  If in fact you do want to select text, tap once (with the two fingers) to select a word, twice to select a sentence and three times to select a paragraph. This post on  iMore will give you further details on all these features.

For me, easily moving that cursor is sweet enough!

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How to Re-Enable All-Caps on Virtual Keyboard

iOS 9 Keyboard

I was looking forward to the new keyboard feature in iOS 9 — the one that made it clear  whether you were typing in upper or lower case by displaying the correct case on the keys. I thought this was such an elegant solution to the problem of not being sure if you were in Shift mode or not.  But guess what?  Now that I’ve used it, I’m not so fond of it!  The switch between upper and lower case on the screen is distracting, and there seems to b a lag before the change is made.  I’m going to give it a little more time to get accustomed to it.  But if you are ready to switch back to the old look, Apple has a setting for that!

lowerCaseKeysGo to the Settings app, choose General, and then Accessibility. Scroll down to Keyboard and select it.

The first option under “Software Keyboards” is Show Lowercase Keys. This is turned on by default in iOS 9, but you can easily turn it off.

Now all is back to the old, familiar keyboard!

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Quick Tip: Take a Photo with the Volume Up Button

how_to_take_photo_volume_up_button_screensI recently was talking to Theresa, one of my iPad students, and she mentioned she missed a photo opportunity because it was so cold!  Here in the northeast US we’ve had a very cold February. Theresa had the scene all set in her Camera app, but when she tapped the screen to take the photo, nothing happened!  Her dry, cold finger would not register a tap on the screen. But wait! You can also take a photo by pushing the physical volume up button on the side of your iPad (or iPhone or iPod touch).

So whether it is the cold, or just a situation where tapping the screen is difficult, remember that volume up button. And as an added bonus, if you have a headset with volume controls, you can plug those in and use the volume up button on the cord. This lets you set up the iPad and then actually step away to snap the photo. I find this handy when I want to be sure my iPad is perfectly steady — no blurry pictures for me!

For more on this and other tips for taking photos, see this article from iMore.

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Viewing Photo Exif Data

viewexifHere’s an app that I’ve been waiting for — and what’s even better, it’s an extension.  This means that I can view  Exif information such as the date, time,  location, and camera settings data while I’m looking at the photo in the Photos app!  More details on this app can be found in this article from AppleWorld.Today, but here is briefly how it works.

1. Using the App Store app, download and install the ViewExif app as you would any other app. (The app is usually $0.99 but is now free for a limited time.)

IMG_28782. In the Photos app, select a photo and view it, then tap on the Share button. On the window that pops up, tap the More button on the second row of icons. Turn on the ViewExif extension. (You only need to do this once.)

IMG_28793. Now the ViewExif icon will appear in the second row of the Share button options. Tap on it to see the Exif data!

You can access this information not only in the Photos app, but any app that has the Share icon for photos.

As an added bonus, you can share the photo after removing this Exif data by tapping on the Share button in the  corner of the Exif data display.

If you’d like more specific help with using this app, including screen shots, you can open the ViewExif app and step through the User Manual.


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iPad or iPhone Charging More Slowly?

lintHave you found that you iPad or iPhone is taking a lot longer to charge than it used to? The problem may be dust bunnies! Depending on where you carry and keep your device, a lot of dust, lint and other gunk can build up in the little connector port. This is particularly true if you carry your iPhone in your pocket. If you’d like to see how much dust that little space can hold,  watch this YouTube video!

Before attempting to clean out the connector port, be sure you have turned off your device (not just put it to sleep)!

Free-shipping-75pcs-font-b-Dental-b-font-font-b-Floss-b-font-Picks-Waxed-TeethI’ve read of various ways to clean out the port. My favorite is using a floss pick — it has a plastic pointy end that is slightly flexible with little barbs that can grab the dust and lint. Others ideas include a toothpick or sharpened broken Q-Tip stick. I’m a little more leery of using a wire or anything metal, or using compressed air, which can blow the lint deeper. (As a quilter, I know this is a real no-no when cleaning tight spaces on sewing machines where lint really builds up.)

The safest alternative is to take it to the Genius Bar at your Apple Store and let them deal with it!


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Check the Available Space On Your iPad

IMG_2774If you’ve had your iPad for awhile, you may be wondering where all that storage space has gone.  When you first got it, it seemed like there was so much room available!  I have a friend who regained 10 GB of space when she deleted the season’s worth of episodes of a TV show she’d watched and then forgotten that she downloaded.

You can check how your space is being used by going to the Settings app, tapping on General in the left-hand column, then on Usage in the right-hand column (or iPad Storage on more recent systems). If you’ve got a lot of “stuff” on your iPad, it may take a while to gather all the info, so be patient while the gear wheel is spinning.(If you’d like more screenshots of this procedure, this blog post has them.)

As you can see in the screen shot above (click on it for a larger image), my photos are using 2.5 GB of storage.  It may be time to move some of those to Dropbox. And I really don’t play Angry Birds anymore, so I could save a half gig by deleting that app — I can always download it again if I want (assuming it is still available in the App Store).

In later posts here I’ll cover some of the other strategies for freeing up space. Or, if you live in central New Jersey or Eastern Pennsylvania, the CLC at Ewing is offering a new class called “Decluttering Your iPad”, as well as one on using Dropbox Cloud Services on the iPad”. Visit the CLC  Web Site for details, and sign up here.


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First iPad Compatible Hearing Aid

ReSound LiNX LINX LNX LX LN HandThanks to a new collaboration between Apple and a hearing aid company, this could be the start of a new era of popular hearing aids.  It uses bluetooth, allows you to connect wirelessly with audio and video apps including phone calls, and has an app for adjusting your hearing aid from your mobile Apple device. (Note that this requires a fairly recent iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.)

Called LiNX, the device syncs wirelessly with the newest Apple mobile devices and takes advantage of iOS 7’s new accessibility options for the hearing-impaired.

This hearing aid from ReSound has been announced and will be made available sometime this quarter (early 2014). Not only is it the world’s smallest hearing aid, it also functions as a high quality headset. The Danish company ReSound will roll out this device to different regions worldwide. This article from9to5Mac and this one from CNN have more detailed information about this new hearing aid.

The price hasn’t been announced yet, but it won’t be cheap — probably more than $3000 per ear. Check their web site ( for more details. You can also give them your email address and they will keep you updated on new developments on availability.

This is one hearing aid I could get excited about!

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Ready to Ditch Your Computer and Go All iPad?

switching-from-laptop-to-ipadIn this post-PC era, some people are ready to try abandoning their computer entirely and using an iPad (or other tablet) for all their computer needs.  Have you been wondering how this would work? Maybe you’re trying to put off a computer upgrade for a little longer. Or are you ready to put your personal computer days behind you?

Geoffrey Goetz has written an excellent article on what the challenges are, and what solutions are available today. He covers such areas as how to deal with those few internet sites that still require Adobe Flash, what to do when a web site insists on presenting you with a mobile-only (often stripped-down) view, how to handle your massive photo collection, and what to do about storage of all those files you currently have on your computer, as well as how to access them from your iPad.

As you might guess, apps and cloud storage and services are the answer to many of these questions. Goetz gives specific recommendations of strategies, apps,  products, and services.  For example, did you know there are networked storage devices you can buy to set up your own cloud-based system at home?

If you’re wondering what a mobile-only computing solution might look like, don’t miss this article!

And here is a more recent article!

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Free Scanner App

screen480x480I don’t mean to flood you with too many posts, but I don’t want you to miss out on this limited time offer. The Scanner Pro app by Readdle has been named the first 2014 App of the Week by Apple, and thus will be free for a week (regularly $6.99).

This app does a nice job of acting like a scanner.  Of course, you can use your iPad’s Camera app to take a photo of anything, including a piece of paper.  But this app turns it into an industry-standard PDF document (even multiple pages) that you can print, email, or upload to Dropbox or elsewhere for storage or sharing. It includes special algorithms that remove shadows, make scans sharper, correct perspective and make them as readable as possible. Scan receipts or create digital versions of any paper documents.

So if you don’t have a separate scanner at home, or even if you do, this is a handy app to have around!

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