Tag Archives: ios

6 Useful Hidden Features of iOS7


Seems like everyone has found the SAME “Top 10 Hidden iOS7 features,” already, so they’re not really all that hidden anymore. Here are MY favorite semi-hidden features — ones that I find useful.

1. Turn Siri into an English butler. Ask him to “Call Josh,” and he’ll respond, “Ringing Josh.” His confused responses to your silly questions seem downright charming. General –> Siri –> Language –> ENGLISH (UNITED KINGDOM)……

2. A special sub-tip: Siri can now read you any bit of text you select. Accessibility -> Speak Selection –> (On), Voices -> Select. And choose the speed, too. Then, when you select text, you move the black bar to the left until you see the “Speak” selection.

3. Want a more ANDROID-like interface? Though it’s possible to adjust the size of the default font, (Accessibility –> Larger Type), you can also invert the colors entirely, turning your white pastel experience into a more clear, machine-like display. (Accessibility –> Invert Colors.)

4. Save your passwords and credit card numbers in Safari. This is quite convenient, and saves you from having to re-enter your credit card number inside the window of the mobile version of a website. Settings –> Safari –> Passwords and Autofill, Saved Credit Cards — and enter in your card, and then toggle Credit Cards” to on. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you’re reasonably confident that your device won’t be stolen, but Safari won’t show you the card you entered, so even if someone manages to access your phone, you should be ok.

5. Save battery by reducing automatic system service updating. This requires a bit of hunting. Settings –> Privacy –> Location Services — scroll ALL the way down, past all of yours apps — to System Services, and you’ll see a plethora of toggles corresponding to different ways that your phone can communicate with cell towers and other devices. Some of them, like Diagnostics and Usage, tend to run constantly in the background; others run only when you start up an app. Disable a few of them, and your battery life should last a little bit longer.

6. The new Control Center can be useful, but it can also be annoying if you’re playing a game. It’s easy to disable it. Just go to “Settings –> Control Center –> and hit the “Access within apps” toggle.

iPhone 5S would begin a critical time for Apple


Here we go.

Word is that Apple is going to unveil its new iPhone at an event scheduled for Sept. 10, according to All Things D.

Few other details were known, although Apple is widely expected to show off a new iPhone 5S that has been rumored to include improved cameras and processors as well as possible goodies like a fingerprint sensor for added security.

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But if the date holds up, it will mark the beginning of a critical few months for Apple.

“We are on track to have a very busy fall,” Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, said on the company’s earnings call in July. “I would like to leave it there and go into more detail on October.”

It appears things will get rolling even sooner.

The iPhone continues to be the company’s main source of growth and profit, and it’s essential that each new version entice a sizable number of users to upgrade. The high end of the smartphone market has become increasingly saturated, with users becoming more hesitant to switch when a new phone comes along.

At the same time, many users are opting for older versions that carriers sell at heavy discounts. If history is a guide, Apple probably will discontinue sales of the iPhone 4, keeping the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.

Apple continues to gain smartphone market share in the U.S., but it is struggling in the rest of the world to compete against phones running Google’s Android operating system. Analysts have been calling for a cheaper iPhone, and it’s possible the company may also trot one out at the Sept. 10 event.

VIDEO: YouTube video claims to show rumored, low-cost plastic iPhone

All of these phones, old and new, will likely come with the radically redesigned iOS 7 operating system that Apple announced at its developers conference this summer. While developers have been testing out beta versions of the new iOS, it remains to be seen what kind of reception it will get among the general public.

The new Mavericks operating system for Macs will also be released this Fall. And so will a new beta version of the iCloud versions of Apple’s iWorks products.

Next up should be iPads in October, probably new versions of both the main and mini iPads. These will be every bit as important to Apple as the new phones.

The company reported a surprising drop in iPad sales in the most recent quarter. And worldwide, sales of all tablets dipped in the last quarter.

The iPad has been a hugely disruptive product since its launch in 2010. But the recent weakness has raised questions about whether its days of super-charged growth are over. Releasing new versions will be Apple’s best chance to show that’s not the case.

Beyond these two major product categories, Oppenheimer’s remarks at the earnings call tantalized that perhaps at last Apple was getting ready to reveal a whole new product category this year. The iWatch? The Apple TV?

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“We are very hard at work on some amazing new products that we will introduce in the fall in across 2014,” Oppenheimer said.

One thing that will be interesting to watch is whether the company is hit with the same production problems that struck last year. After the iPhone 5 went on sale, demand was so heavy that some customers had to wait weeks to get theirs.

Indeed, the combination of a new iPhone, a new iPad and the iPad Mini in 2012 clogged Apple’s production chain for months. It would take well into this past Spring before the company said that it had achieved supply and demand balance.

For the last quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, the company said it could have grown faster had it been able to deliver all the products customers wanted.

With Apple’s stock regaining some momentum in recent weeks, but still well off its all-time high from last September, the coming months will demonstrate whether the company can convince investors that its best days still lie ahead.

Apple iOS 7: What’s new, what’s catch-up


Tech enthusiasts love nothing more than a good old fashioned smackdown. And now that Apple has released iOS7 to developers, the slugfest over whose mobile operating is superior promises to get even nastier.

The main event pits Apple against Google’s Android, of course, the operating system adopted by Samsung, HTC, and a slew of other handset makers. But direct comparisons aren’t always easy. For starters there is no one single version of Android. And phone makers often layer their own software — and features — on top.

At the core of iOS 7 is a beautiful and translucent new design. But Apple piled on new features too, some of which are new and innovative, others which have the company playing catch-up. A few areas to compare:

•Sharing: Apple’s AirDrop, a Mac feature new to iOS, is a peer-to-peer networking feature that lets iPhone users share pictures, Web sites and certain other files with contacts who are close by — Apple hasn’t spelled out just how close. You tap the Share button and select the person you want to share with. AirDrop makes the transfer using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Recipients can choose whether or not to accept whatever it is you want to share.

The rough equivalent on Android takes advantage of NFC (Near Field Communication) to have two people share files by bumping one phone against the other. Windows Phones also use NFC for sharing. Apple continues to eschew NFC, especially in areas such as mobile payments.

WANT IT NOW on iOS? Try the Bump app, an iPhone stalwart that lets Bump users share things by knocking their phones together.

•Radio: Apple adds iTunes Radio, a new feature with 200-plus radio stations in multiple musical genres. You can build stations around artists whose names you type in. Google has its own radio service called Google Play Music All Access, a subscription service. Apple’s is free (and ad-supported). Google’s is $7.99 a month right now, but lets you listen to any available track on demand. Microsoft, meanwhile, touts the Xbox music service on its phones. And there are many big third-party competitors, from Pandora to Spotify, Slacker and beyond.

WANT IT NOW on iOS? Download Pandora’s free version.

•Multitasking: This is an area of catch-up for iOS since Android has traditionally handled the ability to keep a bunch of apps going at once more handily than Apple. Apple devices currently have some multi-tasking ability, but iOS7 amps it up. It’s not just a matter of switching apps. Apple gets to know you over time so that it refreshes an app at an optimal time, such as the social app it knows you check out daily at 8AM.

WANT IT NOW on iOS? This one’s going to be tough. Lifehacker recommends Background Manager and Dash for jailbroken devices (which would leave out us mere mortals).

•Photography: Apple adds Instagram-like filters, an in-camera option that lets you choose shooting modes more easily — still, video, panorama, and now, square — and instant organizational tools that sift your pics automatically into “Collections,” “Moments” and “Years.”

On the Android side, a lot depends on the phones. For example, Samsung and HTC have added a bunch of different photo tricks. The iPhone’s camera is easy to use and takes great snaps, but nearly everyone else offers more gee-whiz features.

WANT IT NOW on iOS? The organizational features look promising to help control the chaos that is Photo Gallery for most of us. Is there an app for that? The App Store lists some, but most photo tools are aimed at editing. Readers, if you have a tip let us know in the comments or email us at techcomments@usatoday.com.

(Update at 1:55 p.m. ET: Thanks to reader Colin Whiteneck for writing in to remind us about Disney’s Story app, which groups your photos by location and date and makes photo albums out of them. You can edit the albums with text and “other look and feel edits,” Whiteneck says. Contributor Jennifer Jolly took a look at it for us just last month.)

•The bottom line: Apple devotees will find a lot to like in the upcoming iOS7 release. But for folks looking to buy a phone between now and fall, the question becomes — try one of the hot new Androids, a Windows Phone or even a new BlackBerry, or wait for iO7 and, presumably, a new iPhone…


Should you risk jailbreaking your iPhone?

The “evad3rs” team has published its “evasi0n” jailbreak tool (for free) to the iOS community. The team claims that in roughly a week, some 7 million users have used the tool to jailbreak their iOS devices. By any measure, the launch — already up to Version 1.3 to support Apple’s iOS 6.1.1 release on iPhone 4Ses — has been wildly successful.

But is jailbreaking your device something you want to do? Let’s consider a few issues before you dive in.

First, just what is jailbreaking? It’s the process of removing the sandbox protections that Apple places in its iOS products. Its purpose is primarily to enable users to install unreviewed (by Apple) software on their iOS devices. Secondarily, it enables users to access files they normally wouldn’t be permitted to, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for customizing an iOS system. Many technically inclined users find liberation in these things and loathe being locked into a sandboxed device.

There are entire unsupported (again, by Apple) communities where apps can be purchased or simply acquired for free. These communities don’t have the strict curation policies that Apple employs in its App Store, and that is exactly its appeal to the jailbreakers. Indeed, many apps that were rejected by Apple over some policy violation or another have ended up in the jailbreak app communities.

Is it legal? Apparently it is, at least in the U.S. In 2010, the U.S. Copyright Office declared jailbreaking to be an exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But the situation is not exactly cut and dried. See here for more information, but it seems that jailbreaking an iPhone in the U.S. remains legal, while doing the same to an iPad is not. The bottom line is this: if you’re at all concerned about the legality of jailbreaking your device, you’re probably well advised to abstain. And be aware too that Apple maintains that jailbreaking may well void a device’s warranty.

Is it safe? The answer probably has more to do with you than with anything else. Most jailbreaks completely remove iOS’s app sandboxing features, even after the device has been booted up after the jailbreak process itself. At this point, all apps essentially run in a privilege state where they can all read/write pretty much anywhere on the device. This opens up a jailbroken device to possible malware, data exfiltration and so on. Essentially, a jailbroken device has all the file protections of a Windows 3.1 system. It’s a single-user device, and every app can get to everything.

iOS 6.1 Jailbreak: 3 Reasons Why Evasi0n Is So Popular

The iOS 6 jailbreak, Evasi0n, has been downloaded more than 7 million times in less than a week since its release, according to Forbes. But while the popularity of the Evasi0n jailbreak is unique, there are extenuating circumstances that have led to the tool to reach such unprecedented heights.

Extensive Development

Evasi0n was highly anticipated and took more than five months to develop — before Evasi0n’s 100-day development, the longest jailbreak had taken 80 days to complete. The new iPhone 5 and iOS 6 had a number of security features installed that made this jailbreak take even longer to develop than previous versions. Cydia creator Jay Freeman, aka Saurik, explained some of Apple’s security features in an interview with IBTimes.

“Apple has been getting much better at making a secure system, so they’ve been adding various defenses,” Freeman said. “One of them, in particular, is Address Space Layout Randomization. And, in particular, they’ve added it to the kernel. The kernel is the core part of the operating system that maintains all of the devices, and it has to be secure, fundamentally, or else nothing else can be secure. And they added this particular submission to the kernel so they have KASLR [Kernel Address Space Layout Randomization].”

He continued, adding that jailbreakers need to find and exploit an increasing number of mistakes in iOS in order to get a clean jailbreak experience. Finding the flaws in iOS has become increasingly difficult with Apple’s inclusion of security defenses like KASLR. But despite five months in development, at least the added waiting time created increased anticipation and hype for Evasi0n’s release.

Setting A Fixed Release Date

Usually, the release of a jailbreak isn’t as set or advertised online, but, due to the number of users that were waiting for the Evasi0n release, the Evad3rs group that created the jailbreak tool uncharacteristically announced a fixed release date for Evasi0n: Feb. 4.

The increased amount of press the iOS 6 jailbreak received most likely played a role in the inflated number of downloads.

The Growing Number Of iOS Devices

The Verge says there are 500 million devices running iOS 6 right now, which is approximately 60 percent of all iOS devices ever made. With the release of the iPhone 5 in September and the iPad Mini and iPad 4 in October, there are millions of iOS devices that have been added to the market preinstalled with iOS 6, which means they couldn’t have been jailbroken until very recently.

When accounting for the number of users who upgraded to iOS 6 on their iPhone 4 or 4S or their iPad 3s, the number grows even more. While those users may have wanted to jailbreak their device, the absence of the tool made it difficult, which created an even stronger demand.

The high number of downloads may not be as “inflated” as it seems. Seven million downloads is certainly high, but, if the jailbreak came earlier and without so much anticipation, it could have been a couple of weeks before the figure reached 7 million, instead of a couple of days. Freeman spoke about the high number of downloads, saying, “[when the last major jailbreak came out] if you totaled the week, you might get a similarly large amount of people, proportionally at least, depending on how many people owned the devices at the time.”

Regardless, Evasi0n has been immensely popular, which begs the question: Do Apple iOS users want an open operating system?

Nokia’s iOS HERE Map: cool or crap?

Nokia’s “Here Maps” for iOS has arrived, but with lower res graphics for maps and satellite imagery than was expected, and a lack of detail like house numbers, some think Nokia’s Here Map is crap, while others think it’s better than Apple’s Maps app.

If you’ve been waiting for an official Google Maps app to return to iOS devices, rather than being forced to use the Web app version, you’re still waiting.

However, some iOS users have decided to give Nokia’s new Here Maps app for iOS a try to see how it fares against Apple Maps – and the well known Google Maps experience.

According to eWeek and to a litany of reviews for the app at iTunes, it appears that a great many people aren’t impressed by Nokia’s latest effort – especially as it seems different to Nokia’s own Lumia Drive navigation app.

Some users report the maps being “low res”, rather than the sharp and clear Retina-resolution that many iDevice owners now expect (especially if using Retina-class devices), others say the maps and satellite images are old, others complain there are no street numbers.

I can see, when I take at look at the app myself, that these comments appear to be true – things could indeed be sharper, there don’t appear to be any street numbers, and POI (point of interest) info appears to be slim.

Yes, it is possible to find business and other locations with the maps, it’s possible to switch on a “live traffic view”, you can easily search for destinations (although I didn’t see an option to choose from a range of routes when I tried one destination) and despite the called-out fuzziness, the maps app seems to work.

And yes, while there are a stack of low-star reviews, there are happy people there too, who say it works better than Apple’s Maps.

So, while Nokia’s NAVTEQ division may well power “90%” of the world’s GPS mapping devices, according to Nokia itself, it looks like getting a maps app right – even for one of the world’s biggest mapping companies – is still a much bigger challenge than anyone would have originally imagined.

At least, however, Nokia’s HERE Maps is now out, and will undoubtedly be going through much updating and improving as time goes by – and as the launch of an official Google Maps app for iOS navigates its way to the platform and all those hundreds of millions of end-users ever closer.