How to Set Up a Custom Start Page in Safari 14

It’s useful to have quick access to the websites you visit often, and in Safari 14, you can create a custom Start Page with your favorites, sites you visit often, and much more. Not only can you configure this on your Mac, but your favorites sync via iCloud to your other devices, so you can access the same sites easily on your Mac, iPhone and iPad.

Here’s how you can make your start page really useful in Safari 14.

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

Should You Back Up Your iOS Device to iCloud or Your Mac?

You probably know how important it is to back up your data, and there are a number of different backup options for Mac.

But it’s also important to back up your iPhone or iPad. While you may not have a lot of documents on these devices that aren’t stored on a cloud server—which you can easily retrieve if necessary—you are likely to have photos and videos which, if you haven’t backed up, could be lost. Additionally, it can take a long time to re-create the setup of your iOS device; re-downloading all your apps, entering your user information, and organizing them on home screens can be a tedious process.

If you have a problem and need to restore your iOS device, it’s easy to do from an existing backup. But if you haven’t backed up your iOS device yet and want to prepare ahead of time, you might be wondering: should you back up your iOS device to iCloud or to your computer? If you use a Mac, since macOS Catalina, you back up your iOS device in the Finder. If you use Windows, or are running a version of macOS prior to Catalina, you back it up in iTunes. While these are different apps, the backup interface is the same.

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

macOS 11 and iOS 14 – New Security and Privacy Features

In a socially-distanced keynote address to open Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference yesterday, the company presented new features for the next versions of all of its operating systems. Apple announced new features for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and tvOS, and security and privacy features were prominent across the various operating systems. In this article, I’ll give you an overview of what’s coming in these new operating systems to help ensure your security and privacy on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

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

Managing Battery Life on Macs and iOS Devices

Batteries are essential to our portable devices. For many of us, in our everyday use of Macs and iOS devices, we don’t have to worry too much about this. Modern iPhones and iPads provide a full day‘s battery life, and if you use a portable Mac, you can probably get through the day unless you are using battery-intensive apps.

But sometimes you can’t. If you’re away from home or the office for a long time, you either need to take a portable battery pack with you, or carry a charger and go hunting for available plugs. And, as your devices get older, their batteries lose capacity. This means that instead of, say, a full day of power for your iPhone, you may need to charge it sometime in the afternoon.

In this article, I’m going to tell you how you can check on your battery to see what its capacity is, and how to find which apps use the most power so you can get rid of them to ensure that your devices’ batteries last as long as possible.

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

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode #137: Apple operating system updates, iPhone & iPad storage, and shooting video on an iPhone

Apple updated all its operating systems again this week, but a jailbreak vulnerability was found quickly. We discuss the new contact tracing feature in iOS, how to free up storage on an iOS device, and give some tips on shooting video on an iPhone.

Subscribe to The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

Hand Off Music from Your iPhone to HomePod; I Also Want to Hand Off from My Mac to My iPhone

New in iOS 13 is the ability to “hand off” music from an iPhone to a HomePod. If you’re playing any audio on your iPhone, just go near your HomePod (or near one HomePod of a stereo pair), and after a few seconds, the audio will switch from the iPhone to the HomePod.

What this essentially does is switch the output from the iPhone via AirPlay to the Home Pod.

HandoffAs you can see here, the iPhone shows all available AirPlay devices that are active in my home. Music that I was playing on the iPhone (top) then started playing in the bedroom.

As you can see in this interface, you can control a number of AirPlay devices from your iPhone or iPad, sending music to each of them, or controlling playback from Apple Music or your music in the cloud.

What I’d like to see in addition to this is the ability to hand music off from my Mac to my iPhone. If I’m listening to something on my Mac then want to go out, it would be great to pass the music over to that device. It wouldn’t be the same as with the iPhone to the HomePod, which is essentially just playing the music via AirPlay, but it would be more like when you open a web page in Safari, and can then load the same page quickly on an iOS device. Naturally, this would only work with Apple Music or with your music library in the cloud, but it would be a useful addition to the web of Apple devices.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 108: iPad vs. MacBook: is iPadOS a game changer?

With the release of iPadOS, the iPad has become a serious competitor to a laptop. While you can’t do everything on an iPad that you can on a laptop, the gulf between the two is getting slimmer. We talk with Ian Schray, a dedicated iPad user, about replacing a laptop with an iPad.

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.

Problems Opening Files from iCloud in iOS 13.2

It’s fair to say that this year’s release of Apple’s operating systems has been a lot less comfortable than in the past. There are always bugs in operating systems, but there have been a number of serious bugs both on macOS and iOS that have led many seasoned Apple users to be very critical of these releases. Developer Marco Arment has notably been quite vocal about these issues:

Arment

It’s worth noting that the latest iOS 13.3 beta seems to fix the problem, mentioned above, where apps quit when in the background.

One such issue that has arisen since the release of iOS 13.2 is a situation where it is impossible to open files from iCloud. Here are three users discussing this on Twitter:

Ian Humm of Information Architects, developers of the iA Writer, the text editor I use for most of my writing, told me that he’s been getting a lot of support questions about this, since iA Writer stores files on iCloud Drive, by default. He said that restarting the iOS device where there are problems always fixes the issue, and that:

Reading through a sysdiagnose we received it appears that there isn’t actually a deadlock, but file reading fails with NSFileReadUnknownError.

I asked him if there was a commonality where all affected users has been running beta versions of iOS, as other developers had reported data loss early in the iOS 13 beta campaign, but he said that it is unlikely that all affected users were running iOS betas.

I have not seen this issue myself, but given that it seems fairly widespread, it’s worth highlighting. If you are experiencing this issue, get in touch with the developers of the apps where it’s happened, but it doesn’t look like it’s something they can fix. If anyone is running iOS 13.3 and has seen whether this issue is resolved or not, post a comment below.

There Are Too Many Gestures on iOS; Apple Needs a Gestures App To Help Users

iOS has always been dependent on gestures for accomplishing certain tasks, and this is even more the case with iPadOS. But these gestures are hard to discover, and even harder to remember. Do you know how to make the proper three-finger pinch to copy text on your iPad?

Much of the power of iPadOS comes through new gestures, and while Apple offers a Tips app, this app only shows a couple of the new gestures, and none of the older ones. macOS features visual assistance for gestures on the trackpad or mouse, and you can view them in System Preferences > Trackpad, or System Preferences > Mouse. (Of course, you have to know to look there.)

Trackpad

It would be useful if iOS and iPadOS came with similar instructions. They could be in the Settings app, or there could be a dedicated Gestures app, to which users could refer when they want to refresh their memories about how to do something, or to learn about gestures they aren’t aware of. Apple does offer detailed user guides for iOS and iPadOS, but their descriptions of the gestures may not be sufficient for people just learning how to use these devices. The little videos in the macOS preferences, as in the above screenshot, are much easier to understand.

It is a bit of a shame that these powerful features are so hidden. It wouldn’t be that difficult for Apple to provide a more efficient way for users to discover them and get more out of their iPhones and iPads.

Use Timed Lyrics in the iOS Music App to Sing Along to Your Favorite Songs

I’ve always liked having lyrics available when I listen to music. I don’t look at them often, but there are times when I want to know exactly what the words of a song are. Sometimes when I’m listening to Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row, and want to be precise. (I still haven’t memorized all the lyrics; but it’s more than ten minutes long.)

A nifty new feature in the iOS Music app is Timed Lyrics. When a song offers this, you see the lyrics, each line highlighted as it is sung.

You’ll probably see this in the Music app the first time you play a song that offers the feature, if you have your iOS device’s screen on with the Music app up front.

Timed lyrics1

Tap the Lyrics button at the bottom of the Music window and enjoy.

Timed lyrics2