iPhone Tips

Sending Messages using iMessage or SMS

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips, Mac Tips.

iMessage is a clever messaging system built into your iDevice.  You can use it on Mac OS X, on the iPhone, iPad or iPod.  It sends messages via the internet and Apple's servers directly from one iDevice to another.

imessageIn order to use iMessage, you need to activate it on your device by logging in with your Apple ID.  On the iPhone, you have the possibility to send messages via standard SMS or via iMessage.  The iOS is clever and always tries to send your message via iMessage if it can (if the other person is also using iMessage).  If it can't send the message via iMessage (maybe your internet connection is not working), it will resort to sending it via SMS instead (that's a configurable option).  It's simple and easy and it works.  In most situations that is.

However....

This does have a certain limitation which might not be immediately obvious.  What if the person you are sending the message to does use iMessage but temporarily does not have internet access on their phone.  The message will be sent as an iMessage and will be waiting to be picked up by the receiving party.  However, they are unable to receive it.  The result is - they don't get your message.

So, assuming that you realise this and the reason why (your friend's lack of  internet connectivity on their phone), probably the best thing to do is to turn off iMessage, right?  That way the message will be sent as an SMS instead.  But what about everyone else that you send iMessages to?  You don't want to be turning on and off iMessage every few minutes, so here's a little trick to help you out:

Without having to switch off iMessage, simply create a new message to your friend and send it.  It will send as an iMessage, as expected.  However it will not show as delivered, because your friend hasn't received it.  Now, double tap the message and you will see a context menu appears.  In there, you will find the option to Send As Text Message.  This will immediately send the message as an SMS instead.  The beauty is, all your other iMessage contacts will still receive your iMessages, which is what you want!

For those of you that may not be familiar with iMessage, when it is enabled you will see a different colour scheme used in the Messages app.  Messages with a green bubble have been sent as SMS messages (which cost you money).  Messages that have a blue bubble have been sent as iMessage messages via the internet.  This helps you to easily determine at a glance which messages went as an SMS and which as an iMessage.

 

iOS6 is here

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips, News Articles.

Apple have released the latest version of their mobile operating system iOS 6.  

It claims to have a much improved Maps interface which now has the appearance of a SatNav and not of a simple maps application.  Siri has been improved and expanded to allow opening of apps and instant posting to Facebook from many parts of the iOS.

Facetime is now available over cellular networks making it a great choice for on the go communication.  New Phone features include the ability to hang up and send a message to the caller (via SMS) with either a default message or a custom message of your own.

The Mail app has been redesigned and Safari now has iCloud integration.  The camera now has the possibility to take a panoramic photo which looks very interesting!

All in all there do seem to be some very nice new features in this version, I'll be keen to update and see it for myself!

a2z Conversions App – Way cool!

Posted by on in Coolest Apps, iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips.

One app that I use on a very regular basis is the a2z Conversions app from Western ITS Limited.  It's very easy to use and converts so many things......

a2z ConversionsYou can convert all sorts of things, such as distance, speed, pressure, area, energy, length, angles, temperature and even currency!

You simple choose the type of thing you want to convert, then select the units that you want to start with and the number of units you have.  You can then see those units converted to all the other types available.  For example, you can choose Currency as the type of conversion you want to do, then choose the starting currency, say Euro for example.  Entering 10 into the quantity box will show you how 10 euro converts to all the other available currencies.  These are updated live.

Equally, you could choose Distance as the type of conversion, choose Kilometers as the unit and enter 10 as the value to convert.  You can then see the results in miles, meters etc.  It's an incredibly useful tool and best of all - it's free!

Making Folders in iOS

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips.

You know all those pages and pages of icons you've got on your iPhone or iPad?  Well, you can tidy them up if you wish.  Organise them into folders and save yourself some flipping of pages!

iOS FolderTo make a new folder, simply go into Edit Mode by holding your finger on one of the icons on the home screen until they all start to jiggle.  This mode allows you to move your icons around, delete them, or organise them into Folders.

Once you are in Edit mode, you hold your finger on one of the icons, then drag it on top of another one.  You will see the border thickens to show you that a folder will be created.  When you take your finger off the icon, a folder is created with a suggested name for this group of icons.  A grey border indicates that this is a folder and the name of the folder is show beneath.

iOS Folder OpenIf you click once on the folder icon, it will open and display its contents, using a cool sliding movement.  You can also have folders inside folders if you wish.

When the folder is open as can be seen in this image, you can click on its name to change it.  Click anywhere on the home screen background and the folder will close, revealing once again you home screen.

A folder will usually store 12 apps so you can significantly reduce your space and organise your experience.  Folders also display badges to alert you to items that need updating or that have sent you notifications.

To extract an icon from a folder, simple open the folder that contains it and drag the icon back onto the Home screen background.  The item will then move out of the folder and back to the Home screen.

Useful Apps – TomTom

Posted by on in Coolest Apps, iPad Tips, iPhone Tips.

I have to say the TomTom is probably one of my most used apps when I'm on the road.  I've had a TomTom device before, a physical SatNav that I put in the car.  I believe it was a TomTom One.  What a load of rubbish that was!  I couldn't use the touch-screen as it was too hard to press and too easy to hit the wrong button.  I always ended up cancelling what I was doing by mistake.  Very frustrating.  Then, to add insult to injury, the TomTom would take up to 15 minutes to find the satellites if I hadn't connected it to a computer within the pervious 7 days.  All of this really put me off the TomTom - until I eventually installed it on my iPhone.

TomTomSuddenly, a game changer.  The iPhone picked up the satellites instantly, with hardly a blink, the very first time I opened the app.  It was very simple to use thanks to the amazing iPhone touchscreen and in fact the interface was much more user friendly.  I popped in a destination and off I went.  It was amazingly accurate and took me to my destination without delay.  From that day forward, I've had no complaints, other than a few map details that could be corrected.  The TomTom has been my faithful companion, always getting me where I need to go, or even just showing me where I am!

Something that's worth considering if you are a new TomTom user is this - I never really bothered to add locations to my favourites if they were places that I clearly knew how to get to.  What was the point?  Well, as it turns out, sometimes it can be very useful.  Let's say there's a place that you go fairly often and you usually go there from the same area, so you know where to go.  But what if you are somewhere completely different, say the other side of the city, the side you don't know so well, and you need to get to that location.  All you have to do is tell your TomTom to go there and it will guide you through the unknown areas like a dream.  I'm not saying add every single place to your favourites, clearly there is no need, but on occasion you'll find it useful to have those local places bookmarked!

Cool Apps – Shopper

Posted by on in Coolest Apps, iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips.

Shopper is an app that I find particularly useful.  It's a paid app, but at a great price.  What does it do?  Well, it doesn't quite do the shopping for you, but what it does do is make the whole experience a lot quicker and simpler.  In fact, it has many features that I don't even use (yet) but even the basic features make it worthwhile.

You know when you need to go shopping - and I'm talking food shopping here - you generally need a list.  The old pen and paper job where you painstakingly write the list, not necessarily in the order that you'll find the stuff in the supermarket but more likely in the order that you don't find it in your cupboards and fridge.  Then off you go to the supermarket with your pen and paper, crossing things off as you get them, trying to hold the pen, paper and trolley all at the same time as you pile in the goodies.

Shopper takes the pain out of it and makes it a pleasure.  That's why I love it.  It does just what I want it to do.  The truth is, I was going to make this app myself, but these guys did such a good job I thought, why would I bother?  Pay them for their great work and get on with life!

Shopper has a fully customisable list of items, as well as the facility to add different supermarkets, even different pricing for different supermarkets and even different aisle layouts.  Personally, I use it mainly for one supermarket, but I've configured the items I buy, the aisles that they are in - in my supermarket - and I've ordered the aisles to match the general store layout.  I then use the Browse facility in shopper to quickly run through each item in alphabetical order, checking the ones I'm not sure about, adding what I need to my shopping list with a simple touch of each item.

Now that I have my list, Shopper has already prepared it for me in the correct order, each item in its appropriate aisle.  I don't really use the pricing facility, but I can see how great it could be to see the change in prices of different items from week to week.

Now for the best bit.  I head off to the supermarket, open up Shopper and literally start at aisle one, collecting the items as I go and checking each one off with a single touch.  The items I touch get added to my "basket" and once I'm done, I can check-out to empty the basket.  I never forget anything and even the things that are not in stock remain on my list for the next visit.

I can even share my list over the air with my wife, directly to her Shopper app, or even by email.  I can make the list, share it to her Shopper app while she's in town and she can pick up all the bits on her way home. What a marvellous app, well designed and fully functional!  It's a thumbs up from me!

Cool Apps – StumbleUpon

Posted by on in Coolest Apps, iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips, Mac Tips.

There's a very interesting website out there called StumbleUpon, which is kind of like a search engine (like Google) but it works in a completely different and innovative way.  So think about this - most of us go to Google (or another search engine) because we are looking for something, right?  We know what we want, we type it in and we (hopefully) get the answer.  But what about when you're bored and you aren't really looking for anything in particular, but you want something interesting? The key word here is interesting.

We all have our own interests, so what may be interesting to me might not be at all interesting to you.  That's what StumbleUpon is all about.  You register your own interests (by choosing a few from a list of categories and then later you can refine this by adding more or removing some etc.)  StumbleUpon then gives you a big Stumble Button to click which starts to present you with random pages from the internet that are related to your interests.  But that's not all!

StumbleUpon

With each page that appears, you can rate it with a thumbs up or a thumbs down.  It depends on whether you liked the content or not.  The thing is, this is like a community effort.  The more people that "thumbs up" a page, the more likely it is that StumbleUpon will display that page to others with the same interest.  It's like a rating system for pages, which is then used to try and present others with pages that were most liked by previous viewers.  It's a very clever system and the more you rate the pages, the more of the good pages you get to see.  It's actually quite addictive and you wouldn't believe some of the stuff you'll find, which you would probably never find if you hadn't used StumbleUpon, simply because you weren't looking for it!

To take it one step further and make it even easier for you to "stumble" whenever you feel like it, there is now a StumbleUpon app available in the App Store for free.  It allows you to log in and very quickly start (or continue) stumbling your favourite interests.  I have to say, I love it!  Give it a go today and drop me a comment to let me know what you think.

How To Move Apps Around On Your iDevice

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips.

We all download lots of apps, useful or otherwise, to our iDevices, be it for the purpose of testing them out to see if they're any good or because we've been recommended to try them.  Inevitably, we end up with a bit of a mess - loads and loads of apps on multiple pages, many of which we actually don't use or don't want.  And many more that we just can't find when we want them!

There are several things you can do to organise your apps.  Today I'm going to cover the first one - moving your apps.  When you download new apps, they fill the first available space on your iDevice home screen.  This is usually the last position, which could be on the 2nd page or the 20th page, depending on how many apps you have.  So what do you do if you want that app to be on the first page?  If it's an app that you like and intend to use often, you probably don't want to have to search through 20 pages of apps to find it.  The easiest thing to do is to move it to one of the first pages - but how?

This tip is something that many people find a little tricky, or a bit difficult to understand, but it's actually very easy once you get the hang of it.  The first thing to do is to locate the app that you want to move.  So flick through the pages until you can see it.  Now, press the app as if you are going to open it, but don't release your finger.  Hold your finger on it for a couple of seconds and you'll notice that all the app icons start to wiggle.  That's good news!  You've just put your home screen in Edit Mode so you can now move things around!

Now that you are in Edit Mode, you need to "grab" the app that you want to move and put it where you want it.  Since we have to go back a few pages to get to the first page, how do you move the app without losing sight of it?  It's easy.  You simply do the same as above, hold your finger on the app you want to move and start dragging it around.  You will notice that as you drag the app around on the current page, the other icons move around to make room for it.  This is what you will do, when you get to the page you want.  For now, you need to move the app to the very far left of your iDevice screen and then wait.  Keep holding your finger on the app while it is positioned against the far left of the screen and you will see that your iDevice suddenly starts flicking back through the pages of apps and the app you want is still there, held under your finger!

Once you see the page that you are looking for, simply move your finger (with the app still underneath!) into the page, away from the left side.  This will cause your iDevice to stop on that page.  Now all you have to do is move your app to the location on that page where you want it to be.  The other apps move out of the way for you and once you have the app positioned where you want it, just take your finger off it and it will drop into that spot!  Just like magic!

When you are finished moving your apps around, press the Home button to leave Edit Mode.  The apps will stop jiggling and you can no longer move them around.  They are now locked back into position.

One more little tip - if you go past the page you were looking for when you are moving your app, simply move the app to the far right of the screen and it works in reverse, your iDevice will start flicking forwards again through the pages.  A bit like a rolodex 🙂

Printing from your iPhone/iPad/iTouch

Posted by on in Coolest Apps, iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips.

Printing from your iDevice has been made particularly easy, provided you are using a printer that supports AirPrint.  If your printer is supported, all you have to do is click the action icon (shown below) on the page that you want to print and select the Print option.

Action

Simply choose your AirPrint compatible printer (which must be connected to the same network as your iDevice), choose your settings and hit Print.

AirPrint is available from many places, such as Photos, Safari, Mail etc.  It may also be available in apps that you download from the App Store.  For more information and a list of compatible printers, you can view this article from Apple's website which lists compatible printers by manufacturer.

As many older printers are not AirPrint compatible, there are also some other ways to print.  For example, if you are using a HP printer, have a look at the HP ePrint app from the App Store.  This will allow you to print to many more HP printers, directly from your iDevice.  To do so, you must use the HP ePrint App, not the action button above, to print.  The HP ePrint app is quite clever.  It can access your photo library and you can also load documents directly into the ePrint app to print them.  I've used it with my HP OfficeJet 4500 to print photos and it works a treat!