Apple yesterday released an update to the iOS iTunes Remote app, which can be used to remotely control playback from an iTunes library. This wouldn’t be a big deal except for the fact that the company finally updated the iPad version of the app, which, in spite of received minor updates over the years, still presented an iOS 6 style interface.
Here’s how it looked before the update:
I had long been surprised that Apple couldn’t bother updating the interface of this app. Granted, it may not be widely used, but still; compared to the current iOS look – which has been “flat” since iOS 7 – it looked archaic.
We all know that our iPhones have a way of attracting us to their bright screens. Waiting for a bus? No problem, let’s just play a few levels of that new game. At the bank or doctor’s office? Why not browse Facebook or Instagram for a bit–we’ve all been there.
The advantage is that we always have something to do, but the disadvantage is that, well, we always have something to do. We have less downtime, less time to think, to ponder, to daydream. These activities help us be more creative, and even help us relax. Having a smartphone means that we spend more time looking at its screen than we probably should.
iPhone addiction has become a real problem, especially for kids, but many adults also find that these smartphones suck them in as well. In this week’s presentation of the new features coming in iOS 12, Apple showed off new tools to help combat the overuse of smartphones.
The security researchers, Adi Sharabani and Roy Iarchy, presented a live demonstration of the attack. Sometime before the presentation, Sharabani had previously connected his iPhone X to Iarchy’s MacBook and tapped “Trust” in a dialog box on the iPhone–something many people do when they connect their iPhone to a computer.
During the presentation, Sharabani used his iPhone X to take a selfie with Iarchy, after which he sent a text message to their company’s CEO.
On the MacBook, Iarchy issued a command to Sharabani’s iPhone to back up its data over Wi-Fi, which is made possible by an iOS feature, called iTunes Wi-Fi Sync. After the synchronization was complete, Iarchy showed that both the selfie and the text message were easily accessible on his MacBook.
This is fascinating stuff. You “trust” a computer when you connect an iOS device; this is a security feature that ensures that when you connect a device to a computer, you have to choose whether it has access to the data on your device. This notably allows you to connect your iPhone or iPad to any computer to charge it without worrying about the computer and iTunes wiping the device. But the downside is that people may see the dialog and think they have to trust a computer to charge, if they do this, which opens up the device to access even via wi-fi.
To access this setting, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health. You’ll see the battery’s maximum capacity – the amount of power it can hold when fully charged – and its peak performance capability; this latter will be reduced if the battery is old.
This information shows up on my iPhone 8+, but not on my 10″ iPad Pro, or my iPad mini 4. My guess is that it only displays on those iPhones whose processors can be throttled if their battery is below nominal capacity. (iPhone 6 or later, and iPhone SE.) It would be useful, however, if it displayed on all iOS devices; I think users of old iPads might like to know what the maximum capacity of their batteries is, and potentially replace the battery when it gets low.
The iOS Music app now shows a Music Videos section when you browse Apple Music.
This shows featured videos at the top of the page, followed by New Music Videos, Music Video Playlists, then some sections by genre and one for the “Essential ’80s.” There are only three genres for now – hip-hop, pop, and rock – though that probably covers the majority of music videos available in the west. (Bollywood videos are certainly a big thing in India.)
This is another step toward Apple Music becoming more than just a music service, but expanding to what will eventually become a full range of video content. You can check one out here.
This section does not yet appear in iTunes on the desktop, but should show up soon.
Update: the Music Videos section now shows in iTunes as well.
If you travel regularly with your Mac or iOS device, you likely find yourself connecting to new Wi-Fi networks: at airports, in train stations, in hotels, restaurants, pubs, or at clients’ offices. Whether you connect to these networks with your Mac, iPhone or iPad, miraculously, your devices will remember these networks and sync them via iCloud — so your other Apple products can access them too, if you use iCloud Keychain.
Your Apple device’s ability to remember previously connected to networks can be both good and bad. While it means you don’t have to search for or remember login credentials when you connect to a known Wi-Fi network on a different device, it can lead to a surfeit of Wi-Fi networks stored in your keychain and potentially allow you to unknowingly connect to a Wi-Fi network that might not be secure.
You can cull these Wi-Fi networks, but only on a Mac. Read on and we’ll show you how to remove these Wi-Fi networks so your Macs and iOS devices forget them.
Your need passwords to log into websites and services, and it’s hard to remember them. Since it’s a bad idea to use the same password for each different website — because if one site is compromised, hackers will have an email address and password that they can try on other sites — you need to ensure that your passwords are different, and hard to crack. (A recent episode of the Intego Mac Podcast talks about password strategies.)
Your Macs and iOS devices have a “keychain,” which is an encrypted file that stores your passwords and some other information. This file syncs via iCloud, so you can use the same passwords on all your devices. Here’s how Apple’s iCloud keychain works.
Since the launch of the iTunes Store, you could only view your purchase history in iTunes on a computer. You could see a list of purchased items, but not the actual purchase information (dates and prices). Now you can do this.
Go to Settings, then tap your name.
Tap iTunes & App Store, then tap your Apple ID at the top of the screen.
Tap View Apple ID, then enter your password.
Scroll down to Purchase History, then tap that.
Tap any Total Billed line to see more information about the purchase. You’ll see the date and time of the purchase, the address it was billed to, and more. If you want to have a copy of your receipt for a purchase, scroll down and tap Resend, and you’ll receive that receipt by email.
iOS 11 saves photos in the new HEIC/HEIF format by default on the iPhone 7 or later, and the iPad Pro. This format saves a lot of space; photos are about half the size of JPEGs.
Some people are very worried about this; they want to change back to JPEG. You can do this, but you probably don’t need to. (Unless you’re sticking with macOS Sierra; in which case they look like crap.) Update: some photos don’t look good with High Sierra either, so this isn’t just a problem with the operating system.
To make the change, go to Settings > Camera > Format. Choose Most Compatible, if you want to switch back to JPEG. You’ll see a note explaining that you won’t be able to shoot video at the highest frame rate.
iOS 11 is set up so when you transfer files via email, Messages, AirDrop, or any other type of sharing, these photos are converted to JPEG for compatibility.
Some people have had issues importing these files to certain apps. This could be because they diddled with another setting, that’s in Settings > Photos > Transfer to Mac or PC. This setting should remain on Automatic, unless you do want to transfer the original HEIC/HEIF files.
So don’t sweat it; keep on shooting in the new format, which saves a lot of space. Don’t worry about the files being compatible. And if you do happen to come across .heic files, get a copy of the iMazing HEIC Converter, available for Mac or Windows for free.
I got a new iPhone 8 Plus on Friday. I set up the device by transferring data from my backup, and everything worked fine. But there was one feature I wanted to turn on on the new iPhone that I hadn’t used before: iCloud Music Library.
I have a very large music library. And I like listening to my music from my carefully curated and tagged collection. But it’s always been a compromise to sync music to my iPhone. I have such a large library that I can only sync a subset of the music. That’s fine; I don’t listen to that much music on the go. But it’s a lot of work to keep adding and removing music.
While I don’t listen to music away from home that much, I previously had another limit. My phone plan only offered 750 MB of data. I could have paid for more, but I didn’t need it, and plans with more data were fairly expensive from my provider. But a few months ago, my phone provider had an offer: for a few pounds more per month, I could get 8 GB of data.
So I had two choices with the new iPhone. I could either pay for 256 GB storage, or I could settle for the base storage amount of 64 GB (which is finally a fair size). I opted to save the money and use iCloud Music Library.
Note that I haven’t merged my music library with iCloud Music Library; I have a test library that I’ve maintained for many years, starting when iTunes Match was released, on my laptop. So I now can access that library on my iPhone, and my iPad, and I can add and rate music on my iPhone, and listen to music from that library.
So, with the new iPhone, I went to turn on iCloud Music Library. About five minutes later, I saw this:
If you Google this issue, you’ll see lots of “solutions;” most merely suggesting that you keep trying until it works. Well, I tried, and tried, a dozen times; it didn’t work. I called Apple, frustrated, and ended up having three different calls with three advisors, finally reaching a senior advisor. They didn’t know what to do. Since it was a brand new device, it was clear that restoring it wouldn’t help.
While awaiting to hear back from Apple next week, I had a flash of inspiration yesterday. I knew this wasn’t a network problem (the suggestion from Apple advisor #1), or a problem that could be fixed by force restarting the phone (advisor #2), but it had to have something to do with the music database on the device. I’ve seen similar problems in the past that could be resolved by deleting that database; something that you need special software to do.
So I thought I’d try something else. I tried download a purchased album. After the album was on my device, I went back to Settings > Music and tried turning on iCloud Music Library. The process takes several minutes, but I could see that it was happening differently when I went to the Playlists entry in the Music app. There was a progress bar. It was moving slowly, but it did move.
After about ten minutes, I had my iCloud Music Library on my iPhone.
What I think happened is that there was something wonky in the music database, and that downloading an album – even a song might have worked – cleared or fixed it. So, if you can’t enable iCloud Music Library, try downloading a purchased track – if you don’t have any, spend a buck and buy a song – and see if that helps. If it does, please post a comment below so I know if my solution is helping anyone else.