New Book Coming Soon: Take Control of macOS Media Apps

Mac media 2macOS Catalina has been released today, and with it a new way of working with your medial files on Mac. iTunes has been split into four apps, Music, TV, Podcasts, and Books, and these new apps will require new strategies for working with your media library.

In this fully rewritten sequel to my best-selling Take Control of iTunes 12, I cover all four of these media apps, with close attention to the Music app. I look at how to manage your files, how to adapt to the new interface and options, how to create playlists, and I cover using the cloud and Apple Music.

I also look at watching videos in the TV app, finding, subscribing to, and listening to podcasts in the eponymous app, and storing and listening to your audiobooks in the Books app.

The book is undergoing its final polish, and will be available real soon. I’ll naturally post here when it’s released, but you can also check the Take Control Books website.

Filming the Show: Pardon the Intrusion? Or Punish It? – The New York Times

Joshua Henry, the star of a new Off Broadway musical called “The Wrong Man,” had tried repeatedly to signal his disapproval to the man in the onstage seating who was using his smartphone to capture his performance, but he wasn’t getting through.

By the third song, Mr. Henry had had enough. So he reached into the seats, deftly grabbed the phone out of the man’s hand, wagged it disapprovingly, and tossed it under a riser — all mid-song, without skipping a beat. “I knew I had to do something,” he explained later.

Just a few nights earlier, in Ohio, the renowned violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter had stopped playing Beethoven mid-concerto to ask a woman in the front row to quit making a video of her. After the woman rose to reply, she was escorted out of the hall by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s president, and the music resumed.

Both artists were cheered — first in person, later on social media — for taking a stand against the growing ranks of smartphone addicts who cannot resist snapping pictures and making recordings that are often prohibited by rule or by law, that are distracting to performers and patrons, and that can constitute a form of intellectual property theft.

There’s a lot of discussion around this, in part because most of the people who use their phones during concerts or plays are not regular patrons of these forms of entertainment. It’s one thing to spend your time with your camera in your hand during a rock concert, hoping to get some pics or videos, but it’s another to do so when it disturbs both the performers and the audience, as in classical concerts or plays.

I go to the theater often, notably at my local, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and I’ve never seen people take their phones out during a play, but I have heard of such incidents that have occurred there. I have heard the occasional phone ring during a performance, even though people are told to ensure that their phones are off before performances begin. I not only put my phone and my Apple Watch in airplane mode, but I also put my Apple Watch in theater mode, so when I move it doesn’t light up and disturb anyone.

It’s really just a question of manners. People think that they can act like louts because they’ve paid to buy tickets, but they need to learn to respect others.

Source: Filming the Show: Pardon the Intrusion? Or Punish It? – The New York Times

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 103: Updates, Legit-Looking Lightning Cables, Malspam, and Touch ID

Josh and Kirk discuss the many updates to iOS 13, how legit-looking lightning cables that can hack your devices will soon be on sale, how malspam mostly tries to trick people with bogus links, a Touch ID issue, and much more.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

CarPlay Crashes Constantly in My Car

Update:

Today, I spoke to a senior AppleCare advisor. He wanted me to set the phone up as new to see what happened. I did this, and sat in the car for a few minutes, and there were no crashes.

I hadn’t signed into anything when I set the phone up, so I signed into Apple Music so I could listen to music while waiting, and there were still no crashes.

I then signed into iCloud with my Apple ID, and CarPlay promptly crashed. I signed out, restarted, and everything worked fine again. I signed into iCloud, and it crashed. I signed out, and it worked fine.

I then signed in with a different Apple ID, one I don’t use much, and CarPlay worked fine. I signed out, signed in again with my normal Apple ID, and it crashed again.

So there’s something in my iCloud data – contacts, calendars, phone call info, or messages – that is corrupt and causing CarPlay to crash. I don’t know how they are going to figure this out, but the person sent this on to Apple engineers to see what they can do. I imagine that if it is possible to export all my iCloud data, then reimport it, it might solve the problem, which seems to be some corrupted data that CarPlay reads.

Of all the things that I could think of causing these crashes, this would never have crossed my mind. Lots of people are reporting issues with CarPlay and iOS 13, and I wonder if this is the cause of many, if not of most of them.


Original article:

I have a magenta fizz 2018 Toyota Aygo, which was the first Toyota that offered CarPlay, and that feature is one of the reasons I bought this model.

XPRO4632

Under iOS 12, I never had a problem with CarPlay, but since iOS 13, it has consistently crashed. It started when I updated my iPhone XS Max to the golden master of iOS 13 (that’s the final release version of the software, available to people with developer accounts about a week before the official release). Since then, there have been three other updates to iOS §3 (and my phone is no longer running betas), so you’d think that Apple has had plenty of time to squash bugs.

When I start the car, the car’s head unit displays its welcome screen, then CarPlay displays, then, after about 20 or 30 seconds, it crashes. The screen goes black for 20 seconds, then the head unit comes back, and repeat.

Today, my partner and I went on a short trip, to a town about a half hour away. After several crashes, CarPlay worked for me, long enough to get us to our destination. But on the way back, it wouldn’t work for more than 30 seconds. But my partner’s iPhone SE works fine.

This has happened on two iPhones: my iPhone XS Max, and the new iPhone 11 I got last week. So it’s not specific to a given phone. The fact that it works with an iPhone SE is odd. I’ve tried “forgetting” the car in the CarPlay settings on the iPhone, several times, and I even changed the USB cable in case that could be a variable.

So I called Apple today, and they are escalating the case, but given my experience with Apple and complex problems, I have absolutely no faith that they will do anything at all. I’m taking the car to my Toyota dealer in Thursday, but they’re scratching their heads; all they can do is bounce it up in the Toyota chain to see what happens. It could be something as simple as a firmware update for the car; I got it last December, so it’s possible that there is an update available.

I hope they find a solution to this, because, as my car dealer knows well, this is one of the main reasons I upgraded from a 2017 Aygo to a 2018 model (plus they were having a promotion, so made it worth my while to make the change). But if they can’t fix this soon, I’ll have to see what my options are regarding my lease. Since there is no GPS/satnav on the car, because it supports CarPlay, then I have no way of navigating (without falling back on my iPhone mounted with a suction cup on the windshield, which I really don’t want to do).

What about you, dear reader? I’ve heard a lot of anecdotal evidence that I’m not the only one seeing CarPlay crashes. Have you had similar issues with your car?

Two weeks with Apple Arcade – Revert to Saved

Then Apple Arcade dropped during the iOS 13 beta, letting me check out what was on offer. Immediately, the selection of games was overwhelming. When iOS 13 proper landed, it was the kind of launch line-up other systems would kill for. There were 71 titles in all, from tiny indie delicacies that would find it hard to survive as standalone titles, through to new releases from giants like Capcom. Since that first moment, I’ve been working my way through every game, to play every one at least a little, and therefore get an idea as to who Apple Arcade is aimed at, and whether it’s worth subscribing to.

Craig Grannell writes about games on iOS and on Mac, so he’s the guy who really understands this stuff. I’m not a gamer, so the whole Apple Arcade thing doesn’t interest me, even though I tried.

Source: Two weeks with Apple Arcade | Revert to Saved: A blog about design, gaming and technology

Apple Watch Series 5 Always On Battery Life

Pretty much the only new feature in the Series 5 Apple Watch is the “always on” feature, where the watch’s display is always on in a dimmed, slow-refresh state. Apple says that this doesn’t affect battery life very much, but anecdotal evidence has suggested that this is not the case.

I did my own testing a couple of days ago, and found that the battery life was well below what the Series 4 offered, but still, in my limited usage, within the 18-hour range that Apple claims.

However, my usage was limited. Here’s what Apple says about how they measure battery life on the Apple Watch:

All-day battery life is based on 18 hours with the following use: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 60-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours. Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS) usage includes connection to iPhone via Bluetooth during the entire 18-hour test. Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular) usage includes a total of 4 hours of 4G LTE connection and 14 hours of connection to iPhone via Bluetooth over the course of 18 hours. Testing conducted by Apple in August 2019 using pre-production Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS) and Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular), each paired with an iPhone; all devices tested with pre-release software. Battery life varies by use, configuration, mobile network, signal strength and many other factors; actual results will vary.

I did not do any workout or listen to music, nor did I have any 4G connectivity; I was home all day. With 43% left on my battery after about 13 hours, I find it hard to see how, in the above conditions, the watch would make it to 18 hours.

Yesterday, I did another test, this time with the always on feature disabled. While in my first test I took readings at more or less random times, I tried to be more regular in the second test. Here are the results in chart form:

Apple watch battery chart

With always on enabled, my watch was at 26% after about 24 hours. With it disabled, it was at 46% after the same amount of time. (Note that I slept with the watch on for both test, with the watch in theater mode, and with do not disturb enabled.) But, again, there was no workout, no music playback, no 4G connectivity. This strongly suggests that Apple is over-estimating battery life on the Series 5 Apple Watch, but also that the always on feature does hit the battery considerably. In fact, after about six hours, there’s a 20% difference in total battery power, which, interestingly, remains pretty much stable for the rest of the test.

Now I work at home, so there’s no way that I would deplete my battery given the way I use the watch, but if you are out and about, doing workouts, playing music, and connected to 4G, you really need to be careful. I think the always on feature is very good, and if you’re aware of how much it hits the battery, then you may want to use it. But if you plan to not be near a charger until the end of the, and you’re using other battery intensive features, you might want to turn it off.

If I have time next week, I’ll try some more testing: with a workout, music playback, and 4G connection, starting when I get up in the morning, and see how quickly the battery depletes.

Review: iPhone 11, the iPhone for everyone

Last year, I got on Apple‘s iPhone upgrade program to be able to change my phone every year without having the hassle of selling an old one on eBay. Given that I was spreading the cost out over monthly payments, at 0% interest, I decided to go for the best model: the iPhone XS Max. As I wrote on this blog, it was a wonderful phone, but at a high price. And even though I paid for that iPhone monthly, rather than in one lump sum, the payments were still pretty high. So this year, I opted to go for the iPhone 11, which really is the iPhone for everyone.

The iPhone 11 is sleek and slim, and its glass back means that it is quite grippy most of the time when held with bare hands. But its matte edges are a bit slippery, and, as much as I would love to go caseless with my iPhone, I just can’t take the chance. While I have never broken an iPhone screen, and this iPhone is covered with AppleCare+ as part of the iPhone upgrade program, I just know that once I start using an iPhone without a case, I’ll drop it.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Apple Watch Series 5 Review: incremental changes for a solid device

In just four and a half years, the Apple Watch has gone from a whim with vague use cases to a solid device that has found its stride. This year’s model, the Series 5, builds on the previous iteration with small, incremental changes, to provide a solid, useful device.

The history of the Apple Watch has been brief, and has been marked by some major changes: the addition of optional LTE cellular connectivity with Series 3, and the larger size of the Series 4 models. With the Series 5, the biggest change is the always-on display. However, aside from that, the changes to this year’s model are quite minimal.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

The Apple Watch Series 5 and Battery Life

WatchThe Apple Watch Series 5 has only been available for a few days, but there have been a lot of reports of poor battery life. Apple claims that the Apple Watch has “all-day battery life,” and gives more detailed information here, saying:

Our goal for battery life is 18 hours after an overnight charge, factoring in things like checking the time, receiving notifications, using apps and doing a 60-minute workout. And because everyone will use Apple Watch differently, we tested several other metrics as well.

Further down on the page, they go into even more detail on how they tested the battery life:

All-day battery life is based on 18 hours with the following use: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 60-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours. Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS) usage includes connection to iPhone via Bluetooth during the entire 18-hour test. Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular) usage includes a total of 4 hours of 4G LTE connection and 14 hours of connection to iPhone via Bluetooth over the course of 18 hours. Testing conducted by Apple in August 2019 using pre-production Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS) and Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS + Cellular), each paired with an iPhone; all devices tested with pre-release software. Battery life varies by use, configuration, mobile network, signal strength and many other factors; actual results will vary.

With my Series 4 GPS/Cellular Apple Watch, starting the day with a full charge, I would regularly have about 70-80% left at the end of the day, late afternoon or early evening. Overall, even wearing the watch at night to track my sleep, I would probably charge it for 30-45 minutes each day: a bit in the morning, then later when I took a shower, then about 15 minutes in the evening. And it rarely went below that 70-80% level.

With the Series 5, my battery life was quite poor out of the gate. I waited a few days, however, to let it settle in, restarted my watch on the evening of the 25th (two days ago), then did some testing all day yesterday, recording the battery level by taking screenshots. Here are my results:

  • 08:50 am: 99%
  • 13:00 pm: 84%
  • 17:00 pm: 68%
  • 20:11 pm: 53%
  • 21:13 pm: 49%
  • 22:55 pm: 43%
  • 07:31 am: 26%

All I did on the watch was check the time, check a bunch of notifications, and do a very small amount of app usage (perhaps 15 minutes or so). There was no workout, no music playing, and no cellular-only connection. I was home, and was on wi-fi the entire time.

To be fair, even with a workout and music playing, I’d probably get to 18 hours, but this is a very big drop from what I got with the Series 4. I think Apple was definitely underestimating battery life on the Series 4, and I seem to recall that even the Series 3 lasted much longer than they said. I used to be able to take an overnight trip and get home the following afternoon and still have some battery left.

And many people commented on how long the battery life was for the Series 4, just as I’m reading a lot of people saying that battery life on the Series 5 is shorter.

If you have a Series 5 Apple Watch, how’s your battery life? Is it better or worse than with a previous model? Are you getting through the day?