iPhone Tips

Kids And The App Store

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

One of the challenges of new technology, including iPhones, iPads and iTouch devices,  is that inevitably the younger generation are keen to get their hands on them, mostly for games.  Whether the games are free or not, you still have to have an Apple ID to be able to "purchase" and download them.  That's all very well, but if you have an Apple ID with your credit card attached, you certainly don't want to take the risk that the kids might download loads of stuff without your knowledge, or even by accident, costing you an absolute fortune!

There's a good way to deal with this, but first you need to know one of the tricks of the App Store.  When you first receive your iDevice (iPad, iPhone or iPod), you need to create an Apple ID.  Many people do this at the prompt during setup of the device.  Once you've filled in all your details, you are then asked for payment information.  At this point, there is no option to choose None as the payment method.  You are forced to enter some credit card information in order to be able to continue.  For some people, this is not ideal - maybe they don't have a credit card, or maybe they simply don't want to use it!

The best thing to do is to use a different means to create your Apple ID.  Simply skip the Apple ID at the setup stage and go directly to the App Store.  Find a free app, any free app, even the iBooks app that you'll automatically be offered.  When you choose to download it, select the option to Create An Apple ID.  At this point, because you are downloading a free app, you will be given the option to choose None as the payment method.  Now we're talking!

Of course, you can easily add payment information afterwards if you wish, but that's not the point.  The point is, for example, that you can create an Apple ID for your child with no payment information attached.  This means that they can never spend money by mistake.  This is most useful when they have their own iDevice and you want them to be able to download free apps.

But what if they then want to pay for some apps?  Simple.  You buy them a Gift Certificate from the iTunes store using your own Apple ID (which has payment information attached) and then credit it to your child's Apple ID.  Now they have a credit balance that they can use to buy apps, but they can never spend more than what you've given them.  This gives you excellent control over their spending and also helps them to learn the value of money!

One more thing to remember, and this is a really, really important one - when you download an app from the App Store, or you are asked at any point to enter your Apple ID and password, there is a certain period of time after you have entered the password in which you will not be asked to enter it again.  For example, you decide to update all the apps that have updates waiting, you hit the Update All button and you enter your Apple ID and password.  Once the apps are all up to date, you give your iPhone to your child to play on.  For a certain period of time (maybe as much as 30 minutes), you will not be asked to enter your password again, even if you decide to buy an app.  This means there is a period of time where your child could download anything they want, deliberately or otherwise, without needing to enter your password.  Be careful, it happens - A LOT.  I know people whose kids have spent €300+ in a very short time using in-app purchases, because the password had already been entered and the adult wasn't aware of this problem.  So watch out, be careful and - have fun!

Interesting iPhone Apps – Whatsapp Messenger

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

While there are many different messenging apps out there for the iPhone, of the ones I've tested I have to say I find Whatsapp to be the best by far.  It's very quick, very simple to use and has lots of nice features.  More importantly, it seems like virtually everyone with an iPhone is using it now, for business and personal use alike.

Using Whatsapp, you can quickly text your friends, share photos and contacts with them, or even send them your exact location!  This "location" actually interfaces with the Maps app on your iPhone so if you someone sends you their location and you tap it, the Maps app opens showing you their location as well as your location.  Now that, for me, is a really nifty feature that I've used many times.

It also integrates directly with your contacts on your phone, showing you who's on Whatsapp already and allowing you to invite those that aren't.

Of course, like most messenging apps, you need internet access to use it - but most of us do have internet on our phones these days.  The app costs only €0.79 and is worth every single penny in my opinion!


Free Credits at MacHelpline.net!

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, iPod Tips, Mac Tips, MacHelpline.net Updates, News Articles.

MacHelpline.net, the net's top support service for Mac, iPhone and iPad users, is now offering all new customers a Free Credit to allow them to try the service at absolutely no cost! You can get straight through to a support operator who will be able to answer your question immediately.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain - why not register yourself today for free!  If you want to see what it's all about, just head on over to the registration page and see for yourself.............  You'll be glad you did!


Amazing Portable Scanner for your Mac, iPad & iPhone

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

Now here is a really amazing product.  Someone really put some thought into this one.  I was recently looking for a scanner that might suit my requirement to scan all my existing photos (you know, the ones that we all have sitting in drawers and who knows where...) into my Mac.  What I was really looking for was something simple, not a flatbed where I have to scan each photo, crop it and save it etc.  I came across the Doxie Go portable scanner.


This scanner will connect to your Mac or PC via USB to transfer the scanned documents.  It can also connect via Wifi with an optional adaptor.  But that's not all!  You can even connect it directly to your iPad using Apple's camera connection kit or wirelessly to your iPhone or Android device.

The beauty of it is that it has its own battery.  It is completely stand-alone and it is a feed scanner which allows you to feed in any documents up to A4 size, such as standard A4 paper, photographs etc.  These are then scanned directly to the Doxie's internal memory and can be transferred to your iDevice as and when you are ready, via USB or any of the other means described above.  It takes about 2 hours to charge and the battery is good for about 100 scans.  Nice for on-the-go scanning!

What's more, it charges directly via USB, so you can connect it to your Mac to charge, or use a USB power adaptor to plug it into the mains for heavy duty scanning that will take a lot of time.  Doxie Go works with wireless SD cards from Eye-Fi™ and SanDisk™. With a wireless SD card, Doxie can transmit scans via Wi-Fi to your Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, or Android device –  no wires!

Have a look at more detailed information and photos on their website at www.getdoxie.com.

Background Apps Menu – The Extras

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

So there are a couple of extra things that are useful in the Background Apps menu, i.e. the row of apps that appear across the bottom of the screen when you double-click the home button on your iDevice.  Swipe almost all the way to the left of these icons and you will find the iPod controls.

This hidden extra gives you quick access to a few different things.  Firstly, you have the Rotation Lock which is covered in a separate blog post, but very briefly this allows you to lock the screen rotation so that it does not rotate automatically when you rotate your iDevice.  This is the first icon that you see.

The next three icons are the "quick access" buttons to rewind, play/pause and fast-forward your iPod.  The last icon is a quick link to get to your Music.  These icons are all permanent and can not be removed or "closed" as this is a special utility menu added for your convenience.

If you are looking at the iPod Controls and you swipe one more time to the left, you will get to the Volume control for your iDevice.  Again, this is a quick access function so that you don't have to use the Settings app to access the volume.  This feature may not be available on all devices, it will depend on which version of iOS you are using.

Closing Apps Running in the Background

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

Following on from the post on Background Apps the other day, I wanted to share with you all how to actually close the apps that you don't want running in the background.  But first, let's ask the question - Why would I want to close them anyway?

When apps continue to run in the background, they are taking up RAM and processor time (albeit a small amount of each in some cases).  This can cause your device to slow down while you're using it, especially if you have every app you own all open at the same time!  Also, some apps, like Skype for example, actually stay connected in the background when the app is running and this might not be what you want.  If you thought you had closed Skype, but it's still running the background, people will see you are "Online" when actually you thought you were "Offline".  These are a few examples of why you would want to close apps that are running in the background.

So - how to close them?  Well, it's pretty simple really.  Double-click the home button to show the row of icons across the bottom of the screen - these are the apps that are currently open and running.  Hold your finger on one of these icons, it doesn't matter which one, and all of them will start to "wiggle".  You will notice that a red "minus sign" appears in the top left corner of each icon.  Just press it and that app will be closed immediately.  You can close as many as you want, even all of them.  It's a good idea to check this regularly and close most of the apps that you're not using.  It's good housekeeping 🙂

The Hard Reset

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

Occasionally, I have found that my iPhone or iTouch will not "wake up".  It's in sleep mode but doesn't respond to any of the buttons or touching the screen.  It does also happen, on rare occasions, that the device will just freeze completely while in use.  So what to do in this situation?  If it was an iMac, we'd just pull the plug.  If it was some other device we might remove the batteries and replace them.  In this case, we have no access to the battery and there is no "plug" to pull.

What you need to do is perform a hard reset of the device.  What this does is effectively disconnect the electrical supply internally for a few seconds, causing the device to switch off completely.

To perform a hard reset, you simply hold down the Power button and the Home button at the same time for 10 seconds.  Then wait a few seconds and press the Power button to start the device up again.  You should see the familiar Apple logo appear.  If you don't, try another hard reset.  If you still get nothing on the screen, either you battery is completely flat or you have a more serious problem with your device.

If you need help diagnosing or resolving iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac problems, why not click on over to our main site MacHelpline.net and see what we can do to help!

Apps Running In The Background?

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

Now here's something that everyone should know but far too many people don't.

Every time you open an App on your iPhone, iPad or iTouch, the App launches and it keeps on running until you tell it close.  Telling it close is not the same thing as pressing the Home button and this is where people get confused, or more commonly they are blissfully unaware.

When you press the Home button, your iDevice does what you asked it to do.  It goes home.  In other words, it shows you the home screen where you can choose other apps to open etc.  Most people assume that this automatically infers that the app that you were using is now closed.  That is not the case at all.  It is, in fact, still running in the background taking up valuable memory and processor time.  Enter the hidden menu which gives you access to these apps and much more besides!

To see which apps are actually open and running at any given time, you double-click the Home button.  You will notice that the screen slides upwards and a new row of icons appears at the bottom.  These icons represent the apps that are currently open and running on your iDevice.  Try swiping left and right on them - you'll probably be horrified to find that every single app you own is actually open and running!  One huge advantage of this feature is that you can easily switch from one open app to another by double-clicking the Home button, swiping through the row of apps until you find the one you want, then clicking on it once to switch directly to that app.

Try it when you have an app open. Without going back to the Home screen, you can quickly switch from one app to another (provided they are already open).  This can be really handy if you need to flip to another app to grab a piece of text (using Copy & Paste - which I'll cover in another post) for example.  You can then flip back to the original app and paste it in.

So in my next post, I'll cover the other features of this new menu, including how to close apps that you don't want open, why you would want to close them anyway and also the other options available in this cool new feature......

The Secret Camera – Part II

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips.

Continuing on from that lovely screenshot feature that we've seen on the Mac OS X operating system, we have the same feature available on the iPhone and iPad.

To take a screenshot of the current display on your screen, position your hands so that you can press both the Power button and the Home button at the same time.  Now hold down the Power button and press the Home button once.  You should hear the old familiar camera click sound and you'll now find a screenshot located in Photos.  You'll find it in your camera roll, as if you'd just taken a photo with the camera.

Why is this useful?  Well, for one thing, my 6 year old son uses it to take snapshots of things that he likes in various apps that he's got.  Pictures of trains for example.  So he uses this feature to "extract" the image from the app, then happily uses the HP ePrint app to print himself off a copy.  Now that's what I call using your head!

Locking the Screen Rotation

Posted by on in iPad Tips, iPhone Tips.

Well, I think we are all familiar with the fabulous new feature on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch which allows you to rotate the device and have the screen rotate with it!  This is a wonderful feature in most cases, particularly when viewing photos, movies etc.

But what about the times when you really don't want the screen to rotate with you.  For example, you are trying to read your iBook and you prefer to read in portrait orientation.  However every time you turn on your side and you accidentally rotate the device slightly, the screen rotates with it and now you are reading in facing-pages landscape mode.  It takes a few seconds for it to switch back to portrait mode once you've righted your device.  When this happens a lot, it's very frustrating.

The answer is to use the Rotation Lock on your device.  That's all very well, but most people don't know it exists and if they did, they wouldn't know where to find it!  As it turns out, it's very simple - when you know how! (Like most things!!)

To access the rotation lock, simply double-click (press twice quickly) the Home button - the circular button below the screen.  This will open a new row of icons along the bottom of your screen.  This displays the applications that are currently running in the background (but that's for another day!)  Simply swipe your finger to the right on those icons and you will be taken to the iPod Controls.  At the very left of the iPod Controls, you will see the Rotation Lock indicator.  It is what's called a toggle, so you press it once to switch it on and press it again to switch it off.

Now that you know what it is, where it is and what it does, you can use it anytime and save yourself some frustration!  Needless to say, rotation lock has other purposes but I'll leave you to discover those for yourselves...  🙂