Wi-Fi Assist – thank you, Apple?

October 11, 2015

It makes sense – Apple was solving a problem many of us probably didn’t know existed – With wi-fi assist Apple uses your phone’s cellular network to boost your connectivity. And why not? A good cellular connection is just as fast as some wi-fi networks. The issue I have with it is Apple didn’t warn us. My data usage last month was higher than I expected. It took me a while to figure out what changed, but I think this is it. It’s great Apple is speeding my access up, but I wish they had made the impact of this new feature clear!

If you want to turn this feature off it’s pretty straight forward; just a little hidden. First go to settings, then to cellular, scroll all the way to the bottom of the cellular page (all the way) and you will see Wi-Fi Assist right above the reset statistics link. Slide the wi-fi assist button to the left and it will be turned off.

While you are on the cellular page go ahead and look at all the apps that use a cellular connection. Do all those apps need to have access to your cellular network? If not, you can turn off cellular access for the apps you can afford to only give access via wi-fi. For example I only down load movies and tv shows when I am on wi-fi. Things like that.

Hopefully turning off wi-fi assist and limiting some of your apps access to cellular will help keep your data access charges reasonable too.


September 24, 2015

Talk about painful, Apple! Could that have been more difficult?

I am a fanboy of most Apple products, but dang that was not the experience I expect from Apple. It took me 24 hours of trying things, but finally I was able to update my Apple watch to watchOS2.

For the longest time I would check for an update and I was told I had the newest OS version, but I could see it was 1.0.1 (from your iPhone open the watch app, make sure you are on the My Watch tab, click on General, then Software Update). But finally after rebooting my iPhone numerous times I finally got the much anticipated update message! But by then I was at work and I didn’t have my Apple Watch charger. Ok, I have to admit at first I didn’t see the requirement that the Apple Watch had to be on a charger and over 50% charged so I tried a few times at work to update the watch. That was my fault for not reading close enough, but still it was frustrating.

Finally I got home and immediately slapped my Apple watch on it’s charger and hit update, accepted the disclaimer, and watched it very slowly update, and hang on validation…. for a really long time.
So I tried again… and it hung on validation… for a really long time.
So, I tried again… and it hung on validation… yes, for a really long time. What is going on?!?!?! So I google it.
Ok, fine I will turn blue tooth on and off and try again.. and it hung on validation… for a really long time. So I google some more.
Oh, try to restart the Apple Watch (just hold down the crown and the side button at the same time for a few seconds) and then it should work, right?
So I try again.. and my iPhone says my Apple Watch is "…up to date" (1.0.1 still). It’s past midnight, I am going to bed!

Next day, it will work now I am sure! Nope, still being told that my Apple Watch is on the newest version and "…up to date" (1.0.1 still). Hours of rebooting my iPhone while working (yes, I have a day job) and finally it I get the update.
Just in case I reboot my Apple Watch again. After it starts back up I try again… and it works! Finally! Wow! Almost 24 hours later (yes, I slept a few hours in there) I finally have the update on my Apple Watch.

So was it worth it? There are a couple of cool new watch faces, but I like the modular face and I have it customized the way I like it. So not a big impact.
I can draw pictures in multiple colors now, but I didn’t really use thatch before and don’t see that I will use it all that much now.
Now Time Travel is pretty cool. I can dial the digital crown and I can see my upcoming appointments. That is useful.
And I am able to reply to email using the microphone now too, again very helpful.
I haven’t tried tetherless wifi yet, but that might be cool.
Now you can add more than 12 friends, but honestly I only used 3 or 4 of the contacts most of the time anyway (maybe I need more friends?).
Nightstand mode seems cool. I even bought a new stand so the Apple Watch is in the correct position. We’ll try that tonight.

So was 24 hours of pain worth it? Eeh, maybe? We’ll see.

Your presentations best friend – Do not disturb

March 2, 2015

So, I love my iPhone and iPad. I have tuned my notifications set up so I have just about the right amount of information that pops up. Normally it’s not overwhelming. Well, until I decided that my iPad was the best presentation device out there. Which it is awesome! I think it is just about perfect.
I just wish I had remembered to manually turn on Do Not Disturb. It’s so easy to do too – just go to Settings then Do Not Disturb (can’t be much clearer can they?) and then manually turn on Do Not Disturb (very first option – just slide that option on). So easy and yet I forgot. Learn from my mistakes – before connecting to that projector manually turn on Do Not Disturb. I know I will from now on…

Another Apple iOS7 security hole

June 25, 2014

Turn off access to Control Center from the lock screen! It’s not worth the risk. There is another way to bypass the lock screen in iOS7 – if you have a missed call and have access to Control Center from lock screen turned on anyone can have access to whatever app you have running in the foreground. EverythingApplePro has a short video showing the vulnerability http://youtu.be/Hg9Vy7XzGZY

But at least there is an easy fix until Apple comes out with a patch, just turn off access to the Control Center from locked screen for now. Not a huge inconvenience.

Careful when downloading music to your iOS device when using iTunes Match

March 17, 2014

I use iTunes Match to manage my music across all my devices. It works well and has been pretty seamless for me. Well worth the $25 a year.

Recently I took a short trip to Africa and wanted access to my music while I was disconnected from cellular and wifi while I was in the air, so I took advantage of the ability to download music to your device (iPod, iPhone, or iPad) by clicking on the "download all" from cloud option you can see from playlist, artist, or albums while in the Music app. This made it easy to load up my iPhone with hours (days actually) of music. Wonderful, right?

Well, I am back now and I’d like to free up space on my iPhone for apps. Guess what? There is no option to remove songs in bulk from your device. As far as I can tell the only option I have found to remove music from your device is go to the song you want to remove, swipe to the left and click on delete. And you have to do this one by one for each song you want to remove. So what took only a few minutes to load on my iPhone is going to be very painful to undo.

If you know of an easier / faster way to remove music that has been downloaded locally please let me know (and yes, I know I can recover from an old back up, but I am looking for something cleaner than that if possible)!

My most used iPhone and iPad Apps in 2013

December 31, 2013

Ok, it’s the end of another year (wow, 2013 went by fast!), so it’s time for another look at what apps I actually used during the year. There are a ton of apps available and new ones are coming out all the time. Honestly I think I have app exhaustion. I just upgraded my iPhone and during the upgrade I took advantage of it to not bring all the apps I had before over to the new phone. Simplify my life a little.

I won’t say these are the best apps or even the coolest apps out there, but they are the apps I use almost everyday. For the iPhone:

  • Evernote – Still my number one app. Evernote is a note taking app that sync’s notes between my laptop, iPhone and iPad. If you do not have it go get it now.
  • Google Search – love the voice search mode, much better than Siri
  • Googe Maps – was using the mobile browser version, but now they have a nice app
  • Google Authenticator – please tell me you have 2-factor security turned on for your gmail
  • Google Chrome – much better browser and it links up to my browser on my laptop
  • Waze – free navigation tool, but I can say on my last few trips during the holidays Waze had issues connecting to it’s routing server so I ended up just using Google Maps. I missed out on the police notifications, but at least Google Maps worked.
  • TripIt – can’t be beat when traveling
  • Kindle – don’t like reading on my phone, but works great on my iPad
  • Dropbox – online storage
  • Box – online storage
  • Skype – I have a remote team so Skype is essential for communication. With DC traffic I end up running late sometimes so I can just open up Skype and dial in (hands free of course) to the Skype call from my phone. I have learned it is better to have someone else start the call when I do this, just in case I drop the call.
  • Keynote, Pages, and Numbers – I hate working on my iPhone, but I can and have in a pinch. Keynote, Pages and Numbers work well and I love them on my iPad and MacBook Pro.
  • Twitter – cause sometimes you just have to share and Facebook keeps changing their privacy policies (I do not even have the Facebook app on my phone).
  • Reminders and Calendar – these are the applications that are native to iOS. I was using apps for this functionality, but Apple has caught up and the native apps they provide more than meet my needs now.
  • Rdio – I have all my music in the cloud (Amazon, Google and iTunes Match) but I still find Rdio handy for music I don’t own and I have been using it more than the iOS Music app lately.

And here are the apps I find I use the most on my iPad at work:

  • Keynote – Apple’s version of PowerPoint
  • Numbers – Apple’s version of Excel
  • Pages – Apple’s version of Word
  • Evernote – note taking app that sync’s notes between my laptop, iPhone and iPad. Again, go get it now if you don’t have it!
  • Skype – IM and web calls
  • Adobe Connect, joinme, and Fuze – online meetings for when we need to screen share
  • Google Search – love the voice search mode, much better than Siri
  • Google Chrome – much better browser and it links up to my browser on my laptop
  • Kindle – I love the feel of a real book, but this way I always have my ebooks with me
  • Dropbox – online storage
  • Box – online storage
  • Feedly – news reader
  • BBC News – for news of course

And on my Mac I find I use:

  • Evernote – sync’s note between all my laptops, my iPad, and iPhone (also works with droid)
  • Google Chrome – best browser out there still
  • Caffeine – let’s me turn off the auto sleep mode when I am giving a presentation
  • Window Tidy – allows me to have screens side by side in an easy quick way. Honestly I haven’t used it much this year…
  • Pocket – allows me to save articles I find to read later
  • Skype – with our distributed team at work we are on Skype all day every day for IM and calls
  • Box and Dropbox – again
  • ClamXav – antivirus for Mac
  • And I find I am actually using the native iOS Calendar and Reminder apps on my MacBook Pro now.
  • Oh, you are using Grab (in the utilities folder under applications)for capturing screen shots, right?

If the apps I use aren’t what you are looking for you can find the Apple Design Award winners from WWDC2013 at https://developer.apple.com/wwdc/events/awards/ (and I agree Letterpress is addictive).  And Apple has their best of 2013 up on the iTunes store now.

Hope the list is helpful. Happy New Year!

iPad is one of the safest computing devices you can use

July 4, 2013

I haven’t addressed this since 2010 so it is worth repeating again.  The iPad is one of the safest computing devices you can use, probably more secure than your PC, but you have to set it up properly.

First, the biggest security risk probably is physically losing the device. iPads are a great size and easy to carry everywhere, which also makes them easy to leave behind or forget. Luckily for us Apple gave us “Find My iPad.”  Under Settings-> iCloud->turn on Find My iPad.  You also have to have location services turned on, so go to Settings->Privacy-> then turn on Find My iPad (while you are there check to see what other apps are using location services).  And of course you have to have an iCloud account.  You should also enable Remote Wiping, which allows you to delete the data on a lost iPad (as long as it can connect to the Internet). But again to do this you will need an iCloud account which is configured in Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars -> iCloud.  This service also allows you to remotely send a signal to the device to play a sound and/or to display your phone number and a message that the device is lost and ask the person that finds it to call you.  And if all that fails, to wipe the device. It’s a great service!  Find my iPad is actually misnamed, because the same service works on iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, iMacs, basically all your Apple devices.

Also, all iPads ship with hardware encryption built-in, but you need to enable it. The simplest way to do that is to set a passcode on your iPad. As soon as you do, your data will be automatically encrypted. To enable a passcode, go to Settings -> General -> Passcode Lock and then enter a four-digit code twice. If you’d like to be extra-safe, on that same page, you can turn the Simple Passcode option to off then you can then use longer codes. You should also set Require Passcode for no more than 5 minutes and turn Erase Data on.  And please turn on Auto-Lock!

Note: if you have small kids that play with your iPad, you may not want to turn on Erase Data.  Erase Data will erase all the data on your iPad if the wrong passcode is entered 10 times. Something a little one just might do.

You can find more information at:





And if you use wifi hotspots like those you find at Starbucks, McDonald’s, or at hotels / airports please use a personal VPN!


I personally like https://www.witopia.net  and the price point is good.  But you can find other options at:  http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/readerpicks/tp/The-Best-VPN-Service-Providers.htm

On my iPhone I have done all the above (again, please at least turn on a passcode and auto-lock) plus I have also turned OFF “Siri” and “Reply with Message” under “Allow Access When Locked” on my iPhone.















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