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Five Tip Friday ~ Connection problems and how to resolve them


I have Gigabit Fibre, via Vodafone, and it can be really quick, at least outside peak times, but I just wish it was more reliable. Damn me it it doesn’t drop out at least once a day, if not more. Actually, my Vodafone connection has always done this, and it’s a pain in the you-know-what, although things are usually resolved with a modem restart, for some reason. I have called Vodafone many, many times but 1/ it can take forever to get a human to talk to, and 2/ the problem has never been fixed, although I’ve been through several modems over several years. Anyway, here are some tips to get you back online.

1/ Is it your internet connection or your wifi? My Apple TV is connected via wifi to stream iTunes and Netflix onto the TV in my lounge. Inevitably around 8pm, when seemingly everyone else in New Zealand is doing the same thing (heavy internet load), connection gets flaky. The easiest way to tell whether it’s the wifi zone in my house that’s down or the entire internet (my connection to it, anyway) is to whip out my iPhone, drag upwards from below the bottom of the screen (nay he Home button) to launch the Control Center, and tap Airplane Mode. This disables every connection into and out of the iPhone: cellular, Bluetooth and WiFi. But the great thing about this feature is that once it’s initiated, you can turn Bluetooth and WiFi on separately.
[Bonus tip: this is how you avoid Roaming Charges when you are overseas. You can stop your iPhone or iPad trying to find local cellphone networks, hence plus charging you for roaming, while still enjoying local public or hotel/airport/private WiFi, or a Bluetooth connection within, say, a car, by using Airplane Mode and turning on the two other services independently – in the picture, you can see Airplane Mode is activated as there’s a plane icon at the very top left of the screen, and the Airplane Mode button is orange, but also that the WiFi button is on, as it’s blue.]
Anyway, back to my lounge. with Airplane Mode on and WiFi on, if a page loads in Safari, I know it’s loading over my WiFi network and not over cellular, which is off, so any problems with the Apple TV are with the Apple TV itself rather than my bigger internet connection.

2/ Turn your modem off — This is also known as a Hard Reset. Most internet modems have a button on the back for power. Our it off. Count slowly to 5. Turn it back on. wait about 2 minutes and check if things are connecting. In most cases, this fixes my problem. [NB, ISPs like Vodafone in New Zealand hate you turning off the Optical Link modem, which, if you have fibre, your Modem is connected to, since it’s beyond their jurisdiction.]

3/ Test for Packet Loss — Packet loss is one type of connection issue. It can happen if you have a weak Wi-Fi signal or bad Ethernet cable, but it can also happen if your ISP’s connection is flaky. The tool ping is available from the Terminal of every build of macOS and OS X (and MacOS X before that!). To test your connection, open up the Terminal (it’s in the Utilities folder within your Applications folder), type in ‘ping http://www.apple.com’ (without the single quotes) and press enter.
This command sends requests to http://www.apple.com and looks for replies from the same. By default these should happen once per second. You’ll see the display show them as they happen, and they should be consistent. The icmp_seq field should increment sequentially, and the time should be about the same (within 15ms). After 20 or 30 seconds of this, press Control-C to stop the output and get a summary. Packet loss should read 0.0%. If there is any packet loss or a wide variation in response time, that can be an indication that yo
u have a connection problem.
Here’s the trick: it’s possible this test might identify packet loss within your home so, if you do see packet loss, be sure to repeat the test with a Mac that is Ethernet-connected to your router. If that test shows packet loss, then you likely have an ISP problem. Similarly, if the Ethernet-connected Mac shows no packet loss but your Wi-Fi connected Mac at the other end of the house does, then you might need to beef up your Wi-Fi connection with a new router.

4/ Test the Ping inside your own local network — Now that you know how to use ping, you can also use it inside your network. Open up a Terminal window again and type ‘ping’ (without the ingle quotes) followed by the IP address of your router (open System Preferences, tap the Network tab, highlight your network connection – it’s typically the one at the top of the list – and click TCP/IP. If you’re on a Wi-Fi connection, click the Advanced… button and then TCP/IP. In that screen you should see your Router address which always looks something like 192.168.76.1.
By looking at the TCP/IP section of the Network prefpane, you can find your router address.
The same analysis as above applies. If you see any packet loss or wide variations in response time, you almost certainly have a Wi-Fi issue because these ping tests are only happening locally between your Mac and your router, not using the internet. [From the Mac Observer.[

5/ Enter the world of surreality — That’s right, call your provider. Once again, than goodness, your iPhone can help out as it has speakerphone. Call your ISP’s free number (Vodafone is 777, from cellphones). Launch the Phone app, tap the number on the keypad, tap the speaker icon at top right, and at least you can put your phone down and keep doing things until someone answers.
And the surreality? The other day I got a call from a  Vodafone Service Representative. “We have noticed you have made several calls to our help desk. How would you rate our service?”
“Pleasant and helpful, but the problem has never been resolved.”
“That’s good to hear, is there anything else we can help you with?”
“What? I said the problem has never been resolved.”
“Great! If you’d like to call my supervisor (supplies number) and tell her I’ve done a good job, that would be really nice.”
“What? Like I said …” Click… (Disconnection tone.) Gah!

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Five Tip Friday ~ Memories, screenshots, Preview views Exif data, wrangles GIFs


1/ Use Memories in the Photos app in macOS Sierra — Apple revamped the Photos App in macOS Sierra, adding a Memories feature, which is designed to help you rediscover favourite and forgotten moments from deep in your photo library. Memories automatically creates curated collections of your most meaningful photos and videos.
To use it, open the Photos app and click Memories in the left sidebar. You’ll see a summary of the Memory’s contents, chosen from the best photos in your library. Choose Show All to see every photo and video in the Memory.
Scroll down to see the people included in the Memory, a map showing where the photos and videos were taken, and a list of related Memories for you to explore. At the bottom of your Memory, you can find options to add the Memory to your favorites or delete it.

2/ Save a Memory movie in macOS Sierra — Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap or click Add to Favorite Memories. You’ll find it in the Favorite [sic] Memories album of your Photos app. If you decide that you don’t want to save a Memory anymore, tap or click Remove from Favorite Memories.
When you add a Memory to your Favorites [sic ditto], you preserve it and keep it from going away when Photos creates new Memories. You can also share your experiences with friends and family. On your Mac, you can share the photos and videos from your Memory when you click.
On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, play a Memory movie, then tap on it to show the editing and sharing options. Tap  and choose to share the movie through Messages, Mail, iCloud Photo Sharing, and your favourite social media sites.

3/ Directly paste Screenshots into Documents — First, hold down Command (⌘) + Shift + 4, to bring up the screenshot selection tool.
Next, hold down Control, and make your selection on the screen using your mouse.Click and drag diagonally, and when you let go, the screenshot is captured.
Open whatever document you want to paste the selection into, including email messages and web-page windows of sites you control, or Facebook, say, and press Command (⌘) +  V or right-click/control-click and choose Paste from the pop-out Contextual Menu, or select Paste from the Edit menu, and the screenshot you captured is pasted right there.

4/ View photo metadata, called Exif, using Preview Inspector — Preview is a superb and deceptively simple app built into macOS that has multiple uses, like viewing PDFs, photos and more. Preview Inspector is one its powerful, hidden features that makes Preview so useful.
Short for Exchangeable image file format, Exif data contains important information about a photo. Location, camera model, color space, exposure and more are contained in each image. If you need to quickly look at this information, using Preview is the easiest way.
Find the image you want in Finder, then right-click (or hold down your Control key and click on it) and select Open With Preview fro the menu that pops out.


Next, in Preview, click on Tools > Show Inspector in the menubar (or press ⌘ + I on your keyboard).
In the next window that pops up, click on the Exif tab. You’ll then see all of the pertinent information about your image.

5/ View and grab GIF frames in Preview — Open the GIF image in Preview – if this doesn’t happen when you double-click a GIF file, drag-and-drop the GIF onto the Preview icon in the Dock, or use macOS’s Quick Look feature to open the image (click the GIF’s icon ONCE, then press the spacebar, then click ‘Open with Preview’ in the upper right of the Quick Look window.
In Preview’s sidebar, scroll to the frame you want to save. Control- or Right-click and select Export As.
You can then export it in the file formats JPEG, PNG or PDF.

Five Tip Friday ~ Finding things on Macs, secure Keychain notes, disabling Safari autoplay


1/ Use Boolean Oprators in Spotlight — All you need to do is insert the words AND, OR, or NOT (or a minus sign) into searches, depending on what you’re trying to find. For example, if you want to see files on your system with either ‘project’ or ‘writing’ in the title, invoke Spotlight by clicking on the magnifying glass in the upper-right corner of my screen or by using its keyboard shortcut (Command-Spacebar), and type: title:project OR title:writing
Note there’s no space after the colon.
Alternatively, you can find items from two separate dates: date:6/6/66 OR date:17/6/17
Use NOT (or the minus sign -) to exclude file types, for example, from your results:
date:6/6/66 NOT kind:pdf
If you have any more questions or would just like to see more ways to use this, check out the examples Apple posted on this support page.

2/ Find tagged items in macOS — If you’ve set up your Safari-like tabs to work in folders in macOS Sierra, it’s easy to find the items you’ve tagged. Click the Finder icon in the Dock to open a Finder window and do any of the following:
Search for a tag: Enter the tag color or name in the search field, then select the tag from the suggestions.
Ask Siri. Say something like: Find files with a red tag.
Select a tag in the sidebar: To see everything with a certain tag, click the tagin the Finder sidebar.
To change the items you see in the sidebar, choose Finder > Preferences, click Tags, then select the tags you want to see.
Arrange items by a tag: Click the Item Arrangement button , then choose Tags.
Sort items by a tag: In any view, choose View > Show View Options, then select the Tags checkbox. In List view and Cover Flow, move the pointer over the Tags column, then click it. Click the column name again to reverse the sort order.

3/ Go directly to a specific folder in macOS Sierra — You can jump directly to a specific folder in macOS Sierra: In the Finder, click the Go menu in the menu bar, then choose one of the following:
Enclosing Folder: Choose this option to open the parent folder for the current window. For example, if you’re in your Downloads folder, this option opens your All My Files, Documents, or other listed folders: Choose a folder from the list.
Recent Folders: Choose a folder from the submenu. (The submenu shows up to 10 recently opened folders.)
Go to Folder: Type the folder’s pathname (for example, /Library/Fonts/ or ~/Pictures/), then click Go.
A slash at the beginning of a pathname indicates that the starting point is the top level of your computer’s folder structure. A slash at the end indicates that this is a path to a folder, rather than a file.
A tilde (~) indicates your home folder. Most of your personal folders, such as Documents, Music, and Pictures, are in your home folder.
If you’re having trouble finding a folder, make sure you’re spelling its name correctly and typing the full path, including slashes.
You can also ask Siri to, for instance, ‘Open the home folder.’
(To reveal the hidden macOS Library folder, press and hold the Option key on your keyboard, then choose Library as it will be revealed in the Go list.)

4/  Using Keychain’s Secure Notes feature — If you need to store private information on your Mac like an Inland Revenue number, there is a feature of a built-in program called Keychain Access that’ll let you store notes in a very secure way. If you’d like to take a look, open the app first—you can get to it within the Applications > Utilities folder by using Finder’s Go menu.
Once the app is open, click on “Secure Notes” from the sidebar and then click on the keychain where you’d like to store yours.
Use either the login or iCloud keychain for this – the only difference is that the iCloud one will sync these notes to any other Macs that are set up with your iCloud Keychain. (The notes won’t sync to your iOS devices, though.)
Once you’ve selected both options, click the plus button at the bottom-left corner of the window. Then you can give your new note a name and type the stuff you want to keep private under the Note field.
Once finished typing, click Add and your note will appear in the list. If you want to look at it at any point afterward, just go back to Keychain Access, click Secure Notes in the sidebar, and choose the keychain you added it to.
Double-click on the note to view it, and when you do, you won’t see the secret info you typed yet—yay! It’s still all hidden and private and stuff.
You’ll need to click the “Show Note” box I’ve called out above, and then your Mac will make you type in your login password to prove that you have the right to view its contents.
Melissa Holt likes this method better than using iCloud’s password-protected notes because it’s sort of “security by obscurity” – no one will likely think to look in Keychain Access for your notes. Which is good if you’re the type who doesn’t want anyone to even know that you have secrets to keep! Plus, you only have to remember one password – your Mac’s login one – which makes losing access less likely, and it’s darned secure as long as no one knows that password. For those same reasons, I like using Keychain Access better than password-protected documents, too. But this is certainly better than what a lot of people do, which is using Contacts’ Notes field to store very secret data. [From Mac Observer.]

5/ Disable autoplay in Safari — If you hate it when certain sites auto-play videos when you arrive at their site [it’s why I stopped using the otherwise excellent Macworld site], you can disable video autoplay using Terminal: quit Safari completely. That means clicking Safari from the top left of the menu bar, and then Quit. Once that’s done, launch Terminal from Applications -> Utilities. In Terminal, type the following commands:

defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitMediaPlaybackAllowsInline -bool false
defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2AllowsInlineMediaPlayback -bool false

— If you’re running the WebKit Technology Preview, you’ll also need to run these commands in Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.SafariTechnologyPreview WebKitMediaPlaybackAllowsInline -bool false
defaults write com.apple.SafariTechnologyPreview com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2AllowsInlineMediaPlayback -bool false

That’s it. Start up Safari once again, and enjoy a life free of video autoplay.

Five Tip Friday ~ Checking the weather Reminders, Night Shift Calendar & extra extras


1/ Check the Weather quickly using Spotlight — If you’re curious what the weather is like, you can launch the stock or a 3rd party weather app, sure, or just pull down on a Home Screen page to get Spotlight (device and ’net search) to appear. Type in “weather (and location)” to get the weather report for that spot. You’ll get the details you’re looking for. The same applies to any day within the normal seven-day forecast period. This Spotlight trick works on iPad, too. (It even works on macOS in Spotlight.)

2/ Delete all Reminders in a list — Sometimes, you want to quickly delete all reminders in a list. People use the Reminders app as a catch-all for everything we want to remember, whether it’s work-related or a group of tasks we need to cary out.
Within iOS, there’s a way to delete not only the list, but also all the reminders within that list. This works for things you’ve marked as completed, along with tasks that you haven’t tapped to show them as done. Launch the Reminders app and navigate to the list you want to delete.
Now, tap the Edit button in the top right corner of the app.
Scroll to the bottom (if you can’t see it it) and find the item that says Delete List.
Tap that option and confirm you want to delete all the reminders. (This is a viable on Mac too: secondary click (right- or Control-click) the name of the list and choose Delete. If you are working in iCloud.com, you can go to a Reminders list, click on Options, and then choose Delete. When you delete a Reminders list from one device, that action will take place on every device logged into the same iCloud account.

3/ Night Shift Mode into Staying on All the Time — You can have Night Shift on iOS on all the time if you prefer the softer lighting (it’s more yellowish) of Night Shift mode all the time. Night Shift is most useful after sunset, you may want to have it enabled all the time. This display-based setting makes your screen “warmer,” usually at night, to cut down on blue light exposure which is believed to keep people awake. To get to this setting: Settings> Display & Brightness> Night Shift. The default is to have the mode activate at sunset, and then deactivate at sunrise but you can also set custom start and stop times for the mode.
To keep Night Shift on during the day, you need to set custom hours for the feature. Unfortunately, you can’t set the start and stop times the same so you have to decide on a one-minute time of the day (or night) when it’s okay for the mode to briefly deactivate: for example, Night Shift could temporarily stop at 1:59am. Then, the mode turns back on at 2am.

4/ Set your default Calendar across devices — People can find their Mac set to add events by default to one calendar while their iPhone is adding them automatically to a different one. This can make it seem that iPhone events are colour-coded differently to Mac events, which is confusing.
All your Apple devices that can sync with your iCloud account have a “default calendar” setting that’ll be applied when you don’t specifically change which one you’d like to add an event to. On the iPhone and iPad, this option is listed under Settings > Calendar. On the Mac, this setting is within Calendar > Preferences under the “General” tab.

5/ Dealing with other calendar services — When a device is set to sync to a calendar (say, a Google one) and that particular calendar isn’t even configured on another of that person’s devices, it will make it seem like everything from one device is disappearing. You can check which accounts you’ve got set to sync calendars on the Mac under System Preferences > Internet Accounts.
Any of your accounts that have “Calendars” listed in grey underneath their names are syncing that service with your Mac. Verify that you’ve got the same list turned on for your iPhone or iPad at Settings > Calendar > Accounts.

Extra – The Health app: as Apple Insider puts it in a detailed explanation, the launchpad for all things is the Health Data tab, which lists all of the categories the app can handle. While Activity, Mindfulness, Nutrition and Sleep are front-and-center, others include Body Measurements,  Health Records, Reproductive Health, Results and Vitals. These all break down into numerous subcategories, where the real meat of the app is found. Under “Activity,” for instance, are items like steps, workout duration, and active energy consumption. Tapping on one displays a graph with adjustable views, as well as an explanation, suggested apps, and a set of configuration options.

Extra extra — the logic of iPhone/iPad Force Quitting: The Mac Observer has a detailed description of why and when you may need to do this, and when you should’t worry.

Five Tip Friday ~ iOS tips


1/ Check your iPhone battery percentage from macOS Sierra — If you are an iOS user who also has a Mac, making sure your Mac and iPhone are both using the same iCloud account and you have Bluetooth enabled, you can hold down the Option key on your Mac’s keyboard and click the Wi-Fi icon in the Mac menu bar. After a second or so, your iPhone will show up in the Personal Hotspot section even if you’re not using it to set up a personal hotspot.
If you’re not using it as a personal hotspot, that option will be in light grey; if you are using the iPhone for that purpose, Personal Hotspot will be in bold letters. either way, the battery icon and signal strength is displayed (left).
However, if you mouse over your iPhone’s line, a small menu will appear that shows the exact percentage of battery you have left (below).

2/ Individual Read Receipts in Messages — You can turn on read receipts in Messages for just one contact. If you tap the information button (an “i” with a circle around it at top-right of your screen) you’ll see the option to enable read receipts just for that person.

3/ Take screen shots on iPhone and iPad — The ability to quickly snap a photo of whatever’s on your iPhone’s (or iPad’s) screen. It’s handy for everything from documenting buggy iOS apps to quickly sharing a text message thread with a friend.
Just press the Sleep/Wake (on the top right of your iPhone/iPad) and the Home button (the dished button at bottom centre of your screen) at the same time. The screen will flash and you’ll hear a telltale camera snap, then find your screenshot sitting in the iOS Photos app’s Screenshots album or in your Camera Roll. From there, you can share it by tapping the Share Sheet button (the square button with the upward arrow).

4/ Pinch-and-zoom to enlarge stickers — You can actually adjust how large or small stickers are before you send them: when you’re peeling a sticker off to put it somewhere in your conversation, add a second finger and pinch-to-zoom. This way you can make it bigger or smaller before you drop it into the chat.

5/ Unfreeze a frozen iPhone — It’s winter here but hey, this can happen in summer too. Sometimes your iPhone may come to a grinding halt, perhaps because of an errant app, or maybe iOS itself has locked itself up for some reason. Generally speaking, quitting a frozen app (by double-clicking the Home button, then swiping up on the app’s multitasking card that appears) is enough to fix the problem. You could also try a standard restart (press and hold the Sleep/Wake button until the “slide to power off” slider appears).
But if an app remains stubbornly stuck—or, worse still, if iOS becomes completely locked up—there’s another way to get things moving again: by force restarting your iPhone (a.k.a., a “hard” reset).
On pre-iPhone 7 models: Press the Sleep/Wake and Home buttons—but instead of letting them go immediately as you would when taking a screenshot, keep holding them until the screen goes blank. In a moment or so, you should see the Apple logo, a sure sign that your iPhone (or iPad) is rebooting itself.
On iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold the Sleep/Wake and volume-down buttons until you see the Apple logo.

Five Tip Friday ~ x2: 5 for macOS and 5 for iOS


I inexplicably failed to post five tips last week, for which I apologise – so here are 10 tips, 5 each for Mac and iOS.

spring2

1/ Open folders in new Finder tabs or windows in macOS Sierra — When you open a folder in the Finder (the default application for browsing your Mac’s files), the folder’s contents usually replace the current contents of the window. However, you can open a folder in a new tab or window, if you wish. Open System Preferences (from its icon in the Dock or from the Apple Menu), then click Dock.
Click the “Prefer tabs when opening documents” pop-up menu, then choose your option: Always, In Full Screen Only, or Manually. By default, documents open in tabs only when an app is full screen.

2/ Open folders in tabs or windows — Hold down the Command key on your keyboard while you double-click a folder and it opens in a new tab or window, depending on your Finder preferences. (If the Finder toolbar and sidebar are hidden, double-clicking a folder without pressing the Command key opens the folder in a new window.)
To open a new Finder window without opening a specific folder, choose File > New Finder Window or press Command-N. [From Apple World Today.]

spring13/ Spring-loaded folders — macOS Sierra, as with several previous versions of macOS, supports ‘spring-loaded folders’. These pop open when you drag something onto it while holding down the mouse/trackpad button. Spring-loaded folders work with all folder or disk icons in all views and even in the Sidebar.
Select an icon (not a disk icon) and drag the selected icon onto any folder or disk icon while holding down the mouse/trackpad button. The highlighted folder or disk will flash twice (very quickly), then spring open under the cursor. (You can press the spacebar to make the folder open immediately.) Subfolders wishing this first folder continue to pop open until you release the mouse button. when you release the mouse button, the icon you’ve been dragging is dropped into the active folder. That window remains open; however, while all other windows you traversed close automatically.
To cancel a spring-loaded folder, drag the cursor away from the folder icon or outside the boundaries of the sprung window. The folder pops shut.
You can toggle spring-loaded folders on or off by going to System Preferences > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad. (There’s also a setting for how long the Finder waits before it springs the folders open.) [Also from Apple World Today.]

grab4/ Taking timed screenshots — Hopefully you know the standard Mac screenshot commands (Command-Shift 3 for the whole screen, Command-Shift 4 to select an area with a crosshair). But Apple includes an application (program) in your Applications folder, then in turn in the Utilities folder, that can take them at timed intervals. Open Applications and launch Grab.
When Grab launches, it just waits there with its menus for you to do something. To take a timed screenshot, pick that option from the Capture menu or press Shift-Command-Z. A dialogue box will appear to tell you what’s what. Click Start Timer and as the dialogue box notes, you’ll have ten seconds to set up your screenshot. (If you find that Grab isn’t including your cursor and you’d like it to, select that option within Grab > Preferences and choose one of the cursors there to include it in your next timed screenshot, or if you would prefer no cursor to show up, choose the blank option at the upper-left.
After the screenshot is taken, you can save it out of Grab at its full size.

5/ Maybe a little obscure for some, but you can disable LinkedIn birthdays in macOS Sierra Calendar — There’s a Birthdays calendar under the Other category in macOS Calendar. Uncheck or delete that one, as it’s one LinkedIn uses. You can also disable LinkedIn in your Contacts’ Preferences > Accounts category.

Now, five for iOS:

1/ Enable Siri for third-party apps in iOS 10 — For third-party apps, Siri support is off by default, and has to be manually toggled on app-by-app for titles that support the technology. There aren’t many that do support Siri so far, but for those that do, open the Settings app from the iOS home screen, then scroll down to the Siri menu option. The next step is to tap on the vague App Support option.
To use Siri once you’ve turned it on for any supported apps, you have to mention an app by name. Saying “find men’s fashion pins on Pinterest” will generate results, for example, while saying “find men’s fashion pins” will not only fail to open Pinterest, but potentially create wacky consequences as Siri tries to interpret what you mean.

2/ Create your own live wallpapers with iPhone 6-7 — First, take a Live Photo by tapping the little circle icon at top centre above the viewfinder screen in the Camera app on any iPhone that supports 3D Touch.
In the app, select the photo you’d like to turn into a Live wallpaper.
Centre the image to your liking, then tap Next.
3D Touch the screen by pressing down in order to get a preview of the wallpaper.
Tap the wand icon in the lower left corner to choose between the animation effects.
Tap Save to export it to your Camera Roll.
Once the photo has been saved, go to Settings > Wallpaper > Choose a new wallpaper to find it (note that this is where you can set any image you took as a Wallpaper, for the Home and/or Lock screen). Note Live Wallpapers will only work on iPhone 6s or later – as long as your iPhone supports 3D Touch, this will work for you.
(An app called LivePapers can turn any photo into a Live Photo. It’s NZ$2.49/US$1.99 in the App Store. It lets you turn any still photo into a Live Photo, which you can then set as a wallpaper on supported iPhones.)

3/ Change the default search engine in iOS Safari — Most iOS users are blissfully unaware of the fact they can easily change the default search engine that’s used by the Safari browser on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. While the default engine is still Google, it’s also possible to change to Bing, Yahoo, or even DuckDuckGo. Here’s how to do it.
Launch the Settings app and scroll down to Safari (it’s near the bottom of the list of Apple pre-installed apps), tap on it, and the top item on the screen that’s displayed is Search Engine (see image below).
Now tap on the search engine you’d like to make your default (see image below). Now when you enter search text into the search/address field at the top of the Safari screen, the results that are returned are from the new search engine.

4/ Search in secret — As above, you can choose a search engine that doesn’t track and record your searches, say if you’re using a work phone or you simply don’t want to leave a trace. As above, just choose DuckDuckGo … it may not be as comprehensive with results as Google.

5/ Speed searches by turning off Safari Suggestions — Because the suggestion may take a split second longer to load than the search results below it, you may inadvertently hit the suggestion instead of the term you wanted. There is a really quick way to fix this, though, so let’s pop over to Settings and check it out, shall we? It’s under the Safari preferences.
Toggle off Safari Suggestions there, and now your search results will now not try to do anything fancy or extra.

Five Tip Friday ~ Find and open files quickly in macOS Sierra


recentitems

1/ Use Recent iItems — Under the Apple Menu at the upper-left of your screen is an option labeled Recent Items. Hovering over Recent Items (above) will show you the files and applications you worked with recently, and within a couple of seconds, you can open one. (And here’s another quick tip: hold down the Command key – there’s one either end of your Spacebar – while you’ve got that menu up to reveal where those items are in the Finder rather than opening them.

2/ ‘Spotlight’ your files — If you either click on the magnifying glass at the upper-right corner of your screen or use the associated keyboard shortcut instead (it’s Command-Spacebar), you invoke the Spotlight search window. Type in the name of the file you’re looking for or a keyword that appears within it, and you can open that file by just pressing Return if it’s the top result.

3/ Files from the Dock — Under modern versions of macOS, you can right- or Control-click (hold down the Control key on your keyboard and then click) on some programs’ Dock icons to see recent items that have been opened with that app.
Click on one to open it, and it opens.

4/ Ask for your files, literally — Sierra’s version of Apple’s voice assistant Siri lets you search for files using your voice. Just click on its colorful menu bar icon to get started.
Try “find files I opened yesterday,” or “show me Pages documents on my Desktop”. Siri is really handy for quick searches, assuming you’re not embarrassed to be talking to your Mac. When you find what you’re looking for, double-click it within Siri’s window and it opens.

5/ From within apps — Open almost any app (Nisus, Pages, Word, Numbers, Indesign, Photoshop, GarageBand …) and choose Open Recent form the File menu. This is handy if you’ve chosen Clear Menu from the Recent Items menu in the Apple Menu as above for any reason but you know you were working in any of the above apps and more – it’s always worth looking for this menu item.

Extra: How to show the User Library Folder in macOS Sierra — Apple likes to hide this as, be warned, it’s not something you should ever play with unless you really know what you’re doing. So this was well-intentioned, but frustrating for longtime Mac power users. There were still several workarounds to access or unhide the Library folder, but they weren’t immediately obvious or simple (like holding down the Option key when you drop the Go menu in the Finder).
Apple still hides the user’s Library folder by default, but in Sierra you can restore it with a single checkbox: launch Finder and navigate to your user Home folder (you can jump directly to your user folder by select Go>Home from the Finder’s menu bar or using the keyboard shortcut Shift-Command-H).
With your Home folder open, go to View > Show View Options from the menu bar, or use the keyboard shortcut Command-J.
At the bottom of the View Options window, check the box labeled Show Library Folder and then close the window with the red close button in the upper-left. You’ll now see your Library folder listed inside your Home folder, where it will remain unless you uncheck the aforementioned option.
(The handiest thing about this for non-pro users is being able to add your own picture the the Desktop Pictures folder so you can set your own pictures via System Preferences.)

Five Tip Friday ~ Are you using Siri on Mac? More good reasons to try


Siri offers a quick way to get your system specs
Siri offers a quick way to get your system specs – clicking the More Details bar launches the usual About This Mac dialogue.

1/ Siri by default — If you keep forgetting that Siri is now in your Mac, to encourage yourself to use Siri consider changing the keyboard shortcut that launches it to Command + Space. This is usually the keyboard shortcut for Spotlight – then you can change Spotlight’s keyboard shortcut to Option-Space, or something.
Why? Whenever muscle memory presses the shortcut that used to summon Spotlight, Siri appears instead and forces you to find the file, open the application, perform the Web search, or whatever using your voice instead of the keyboard.
You can change Siri’s shortcut in System Preferences>Siri, and the one for Spotlight in System Preferences>Spotlight.

2/ Need some more reasons to give Siri a go? Siri is brilliant at maths: complex equations, Pi, conversions of anything to anything, percentages … it’s so much easier than launching apps and tapping keys and all that palaver.

3/ Get your system specs — The information available under Apple Menu>About This Mac has been vastly improved, but now we have another way to figure out machine specs in macOS Sierra: Siri. Apple’s voice assistant can answer all sorts of questions for you or for anyone you’re trying to help, like ‘How much memory is on my Mac?’ ‘How much free storage do I have on my Mac?’ and ‘How fast is my Mac?’
Click on the Siri icon in the upper-right corner of your screen or hold down the key-combo, and start talking.

4/ What’s the weather like? Siri will respond to a variety of weather-related queries, from the standard “What’s the weather forecast for today?” to more conversational requests, such as “Will it rain today?” Yussss!

5/ Your system can recommend how to save storage space — If you’re running out of space on your Mac, Sierra’s has suggestions for you. The latest version of macOS makes recommendations based on your current usage of your drive.
Click on the Apple Menu at the upper-left corner of your screen and choose About This Mac. Now click the Storage tab, and from there, pick Manage. When the next window pops up, select Recommendations in the sidebar, and you’ll see what your Mac thinks you need to do. This might suggest setting the trash to empty every 30 days, automatically removing iTunes media after you’ve watched it etc. When you click on the button next to one of the recommendations, your Mac will walk you through turning it on and will mention any caveats.
Be sure your machine has a backup before you make any big changes like these, especially if you’re going to turn on iCloud Photo Library and sync your images with your other Apple devices.
If the Recommendations feature is asking you to do something you don’t understand (especially if you’re using the Reduce Clutter option to review your files), then consider putting the brakes on. Better to keep extra files on your Mac than to remove something you need(although, of course, you really should have a backup).

Want more? Check out this list at TekReview.

Five Tip Friday ~ macOS Sierra adds over 60 security features but also cool things


sound

1/ Fast sound changes from the Menu Bar — The Sierra Sound menu bar makes switching audio input and output sources even simpler.
If you don’t see the Sound menu bar item – it looks like a little speaker and sits at top right of your monitor – go to Apple menu>System Preferences>Sound and check ‘Show volume on menu bar’. Now you can click the speaker icon in the menu bar to adjust your Mac’s volume.

2/ More sound control — Clicking the Sound item in macOS Sierra’s menu bar lets you set the volume and output. Prior to macOS Sierra, you had to hold down the Option key and then click the Sound menu bar item to show output options, to change between your internal speakers and headphones, for example. But in Sierra, your output options are always visible, while Option-clicking adds input options to the bottom so you can quickly switch between your internal microphone and your fancy podcasting mic.
Switching speakers without needing to Option-click may not seem like a big deal, but it’s one of many little improvements that all add up to a more efficient interface.

3/ Rearrange your Menu Bar — Before Sierra, you could move some of the system icons, but not the third-party ones. Now, nothing’s off limits except Notification Center (the three-lined icon), which stays pinned to the right. Just hold down the Command key on your keyboard, then click and drag any icon to rearrange things at top right.

4/ Export multiple albums in macOS Sierra — Click the grey Albums header in the left sidebar. It looks more like a label than a button, since it’s just the word ‘Albums’, but click it. On the Albums view this takes you to, you may see individual photos from the last album you were in. If so, click the left-facing arrow at top left to get back to the root Albums view. Here you should see all of your albums as thumbnails. From here, you can choose to export entire albums just by clicking on them. But if you shift-click for a continuous between-click selection, or Command-click for several individual albums, you can select multiple albums together and export them all at once. Now choose Export from the File menu …

5/ One for the aficionados: detailed CPU info via the Command Line — It’s easy to get general hardware information about your Mac from ‘About This Mac in the Apple menu, but the command line data, thanks to UNIX being pre-loaded on every Mac, can provide extra tidbits that the GUI leaves out. Here’s how to reveal additional detail of your CPU from the Terminal app.
Open Terminal (it’s an app on every Mac, and it’s in your Utilities folder in the Applications folder) and either type in carefully, or (much easier) paste:
sysctl -n machdep.cpu.brand_string
Then press the Return key. Here’s mine:

comdeets

Five Tip Friday ~ macOS Mail attachments in macOS Mail (not Outlook)


Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 1.59.22 PM1/ What attachment? —  An email may have an attachment in it, but sometimes, annoyingly, it’s not that obvious. One way to see it immediately is to hold down the Control key on your keyboard and click (or Right-Click, if you have that set up on your mouse or trackpad) the list headers(i.e., usually From Subject, Date Received …) above your main message window to add an Attachments category, which will then show up as a little paperclip icon. In this list the number of attachments an email holds will be listed as a number.

Email1

2/ The hidden menu —  An email you receive that has an attachment in it has a toolbar that’s hidden (above) until you mouse/trackpad-move your cursor over it (below).

Email2

This hidden menu even has it’s own little Apple trademark ‘Disclosure Triangle’ (circled, above) that shows more; in this case, an additional, drop-down menu. The choices you see when you drop this (by clicking on that little triangle) will differ depending on what type of attachments you’ve received, but a handy option for images, for example, is Export to Photos. Select that, and the attached pictures will drop right into your Photos Library.

3/ Save attachments — You could also use the above menu to save all the attachments if the email has more than one; it you just want to keep one of the attached items, click its name.

4/ Right-clicking — If you can see the attachment right there in the main body of the email, you can just right-click (or hold down the Control key on your keyboard and click) directly on the image (or whatever) and you’ll get a pop-out menu of options.

5/ Quick Look — You could choose Quick Look from the above-mentioned poppet menu to see a high-definition image of the attachment, or play an audio or movie file, but why when you can just click on the image and tap your spacebar? It’s much quicker, and note this is the standard Quick Look shortcut you should learn anyway.

Extra — You can simply drag and drop visible attachments out of Mail and onto your Desktop, or onto the Photos icon in the Dock to import it that way.

— Why so late? Sorry, I got really busy this morning.
— Why no email tips for Microsoft Outlook? Coz it’s clunky and it sucks, in a nutshell. I can’t believe people still bother with it.

Five Tip Friday ~ Safari on Mac


El_Capitan_Cursor2
Safari tips, and make your cursor easier to spot in System Preferences>Accessibility)

1/ Quick address changes — If you’re looking at one site and you wish to visit another, you don’t have to click within the address bar, highlight it and then delete the existing address. Hold down the Command key, and while it’s held down, press the L key and  it highlights the current address. Immediately enter the new one.
It’s also unnecessary to enter ‘http://’ or ‘www’. Simply enter the domain, such as macworld.com, and then press Return to go to that site.
(If you want to always see the full address, choose Safari > Preferences> Advanced and then turn on Show full website address, as Safari no longer shows this by default).

2/ No squinting necessary — If the web page content is too small to read, you don’t have to squint; you can enlarge it by pressing and holding Command and then tapping the + key on your keyboard (Command – [minus or dash] reduced size).
To enlarge the text but not the images, choose View > Zoom Text Only.
To specify a minimum font size for Safari to use, choose Safari > Preferences > Advanced and enter a larger size in the Never use font sizes smaller than field (it’s visible in the screenshot above). Anything over 14 will be eminently readable.

3/ Using Reader View — Ads are necessary to the monetary health of many websites, but they can make it difficult to focus on reading — especially when they blink or talk back to you. Happily, you can eliminate all that by clicking the icon at the far left of the address bar (it looks like four tiny lines). Then Safari enters Reader View.

4/ Share web pages easily — To share a page with somebody else, choose File > Share > Email This Page and Safari opens a fresh email, puts the headline into the subject field and inserts a link to the page in the message body. (Safari helps you send additional webpages to recent recipients by adding their names to the bottom of the Share menu.)
In the email message, use the Send Web Content As menu to choose between sending a link, the whole webpage, a PDF, or the webpage in Reader View. (The last three options keep your recipient from having to click the link to see the content.) Reader View sends a distraction-free webpage to your recipient. (These tips came from Lesa Snyder at Macworld. There are a couple more on the page.)

5/ Keep losing your cursor? No more — The current display trend is towards much higher resolutions: 4K and 5K displays. At these native resolutions , everything is crisp, clear and .. tiny. It’s all too easy to occasionally lose track of the cursor whether or not you have El Capitan’s ‘Shake Mouse Pointer to locate’ enabled. (It’s found in System Preferences > Accessibility > Display.)
By making the cursor just a bit bigger to begin with, one doesn’t have to engage quite as often with that (delayed) magnified cursor.

Five Tip Friday ~ Mac tips for Safari, typing and Notes


tabs

1/ Tabbed Browsing in Safari — You haven’t lived if you’re not using Tabbed Browsing in Safari, which lets you boot links from search pages into tabs along the top that you can then inspect at your leisure – way more efficient than going backwards and forwards trying to find the correct link from a search.
Assuming you are using tabs, here are some navigation tips. The pre-El Capitan option to use Command-1 through Command-9 for favorited bookmarks remains; after El Cap it has shifted to Command-Option plus a number to go beyond the first 9 tabs; the Command key by itself plus a number moves among the first nine tabs open.

2/ Jump a tab — You can use Control-Tab or Command-Shift-] to move from left to right among open tabs, one at a time, and Control-Shift-Tab or Command-Shift-[ to move from right to left. This includes pinned tabs (which sit at extreme left) which is a new feature introduced in El Capitan.

3/ Show All Tabs — Press Command-Shift-\ to review all open tabs  (or click the button that’s by default in the upper right corner of the Safari window), which are grouped by sites for adjacent tabs that have the same domain (like docs.google.com). Press the keystroke, click the button, or press Escape to exit the Show All Tabs view. Show All Tabs can be slightly more useful, too, if you enable Safari in the iCloud system preference pane and Settings>iCloud on two or more of your devices logged into the same iCloud account. Then, Show All Tabs will reveal all tabs open not just on your Mac, but also on other devices down at the bottom of the scrolling window. This isn’t part of Handoff, but a separate feature, and useful in a different fashion. (These tab tips came from Macworld.)

4/ Fixing double initial letters — DO you do THis? I do. To automatically make the second letter into a lowercase letter, Microsoft Office has a setting, but OS X offers this ability  system-wide as part of automatic spelling correction. This works in all of Apple’s programs and is available in other apps that take advantage of it. This autocorrect will drop in what OS X thinks is the ‘correct’ replacement as you type — it may sometimes be the wrong one if you’re using a specialised term or a special spelling, but generally, it’s the right choice.
In System Preferences, you can enable autocorrection in the Keyboard pane under Text. Check the Correct Spelling Automatically box. In individual apps, like TextEdit, Pages, or Mail, use the Edit > Spelling & Grammar sub-menu to make sure both Check Spelling While Typing and Correct Spelling Automatically have checkmarks. Many third-party apps have the same settings, picked up from the system.

Beta

OS X 10.11.4 Beta lets you protecting your Notes with a Password — One of the features in the beta of 10.11.4 is the ability to password-protect items in Apple’s Notes program– in other words, this will come to the public release of OS 10.11.4 once it’s available. In the Notes app for the Beta, there’s now an option to do so under the File menu. Select a note and click on that, and you’ll be asked to set a password and (optionally) add a hint.

psswrd

There are a couple of important caveats here. The first is that any password-protected notes won’t show up on devices that don’t meet the requirements. So don’t add a password to a note you desperately need to sync to your iOS 9.2 iPhone as it will vanish from that device. Also, the password you’re setting isn’t just for the one item you had selected, but applies to all of the notes you password-protect from then on. The next time you try to apply a password to a particular note, you may be asked to enter the master one you set. And of course, you’ll need to put in that password whenever you want to actually read those notes in the future. So don’t forget it! A couple more tricks: if you need to take off the protection for a particular note, that option’s under the File menu; it’ll be labeled “Remove Password.” Also, under the Notes menu, you’ll find some useful choices like Set Shared Password.
There you can change the password you set, or you can reset it (which means that notes going forward will have a new password without changing the one you applied to previous notes).
You could also use the “Notes” menu to lock the already protected items.

Five Tip Friday ~ Locations in your service in iOS


SetLoc1/ Get a reminder when you arrive or leave — Say you have to stop at the ATM on the way home and pick up some cash for something. While you could set a reminder for when you’re about to leave the office, but there’s a decent chance you’ll see the alert, swipe it away, walk out the door, and forget it.
Instead, try a geotagged reminder. Open the Reminders app, add a new reminder by tapping the Plus button at lower left (“Get cash!”), tap the little information icon (the i in the circle to the right) and toggle on ‘Remind me at a location’, then pick a location — in this case, you may even be able to search on ‘ATM’ to find a nearby cash machine. In my example, I typed in ‘Mamata’ so I’d remember to get a pack of their delicious ginger and walnut biscuits from Mamata Bakehouse in West Lynn (as if I’d forget, but a reasonable example – but what’s really interesting is that Apple Maps has a pretty comprehensive list of local businesses even for Auckland New Zealand) … You can set the reminder to trigger itself when you arrive at a certain location, or as you leave it.

2/ Send your location via text — Say you’re trying to meet up with a colleague downtown, and all she needs to know is where you are. You could try describing your location in a text, but there’s an easier, faster and much more precise way. You can text your location to a friend (even an Android-using friend): within your message thread in the Messages app, tap the Details button in the top-right corner of the screen, then tap Send My Current Location. Your friend will get a text message with your map coordinates. If your pal is using an iPhone or iPad, a snippet of a map with your pinpointed position will appear in the actual message thread, whereas Android users get a link they can open with Google Maps.

3/ Let your friends know you’re on your way — The iOS Find My Friends app is a great way to keep track of your friends and loved ones. Once you’ve added some iOS-using people to your Find My Friends list (assuming they’ve given you the OK, of course), you can track their locations and even get alerts when they leave their current location or arrive at a new one.
But you can also set up your own ‘geofence’ to let fellow Find My Friends users know when you’re on the move: launch the Find My Friends app, tap Me at the bottom of the screen, then tap Notify Friends. Add some names in the To field, then pick a Send My Location option: Right Now, When I Leave, or When I Arrive. Tap “Other” if you want to specify a location other than your current position.
There’s another way to do it: go back to the main Find My Friends screen, tap a name in your friend list, tap the “More…” button, then tap “Notify [name of friend].” Once again, you can then pick an option: Right Now, When I Leave, or When I Arrive. If you, say, want your family to know (for example) each and every time you’re heading home from work, or your colleagues back from lunch or whatever, just toggle on the Repeat Every Time setting.

4/ Know when it’s time to go — You don’t want to be late for that big meeting in the city, but you don’t want to be stuck cooling your heels because you’re too early, either. When’s the best time to head out? iOS can pick a precise departure time for you. Make sure you’ve added a place in the event’s Location field. As you type, search results from the Maps app should begin to appear. When you see the right one, tap it. Now you’ve added a location, scroll down to the event’s Second Alert field, tap it, and select Time to Leave. (There’s a good chance that Time to Leave is already the default alert setting on your iOS device – you can check by tapping Settings>Mail, Contacts, Calendars>Default Alert Times.)
When the time is right (basically, depending on how long iOS thinks it’ll take you to drive to your destination, factoring in traffic) your iPhone or iPad will ping you about 15 minutes before it’s time to hit the road.
Unfortunately, there’s no custom setting if you’re planning on walking or taking public transit.
Fun fact: If you check a geotagged-event on the Mac version of the Calendar app, you’ll see the weather forecast for the specific time and place of the event.

RecentLocations5/ Keep iOS from tracking you — Your iPhone (or iPad) keeps a list of your “frequent locations”—specific places you’ve been spending a lot of time at lately.
You can check your own list of regular hangouts by tapping Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Frequent Locations, and you’ll probably find entries for your home and office, as well as anywhere else you’ve been visiting on a regular basis. You can even tap on a place and see long entries marking your visits, complete with times and dates. According to Apple, your “frequent locations” list helps “provide useful location-related information,” presumably like commute times, nearby restaurants and the like.
If you’d rather not have your iPhone or iPad keep such close tabs on where you’ve been, just tap the Clear History button and toggle off the “Frequent Locations” setting.

Additional tip — While you are in the Privacy Settings>System Services, you can turn on Status Bar Icon and then you’ll see whenever Location Services is requesting your location. This twitch is right down the bottom of the System Services list.

These tips came from PC World.