If you have a Web site or Web app that you use all the time on your iPhone or iPad, you can make accessing it as easy as any iOS app by making it an icon on your Home screen. Open the site in Safari, tap the Share icon, and tap Add to Home Screen. (You may have to swipe left to see Add to Home Screen.) Give it a name (just a word or two), and then tap Add to create the Home screen bookmark icon. From then on, tapping that icon will open the associated site in Safari.
Apple just released new versions of all its operating systems—iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS—fixing bugs, plugging security holes, and, best of all, adding a few new features. Here are four things you can do once you’ve updated. (If you’re concerned that installing the updates may cause other problems, check with us first, but it’s best to stay current.)
1: Sleep better after using your Mac late at night.
macOS 10.12.4 Sierra has gained Night Shift, a feature from iOS that automatically shifts the colors of the screen to the warmer end of the spectrum after dark. Night Shift may help you sleep better by reducing the amount of blue light that tricks your body into thinking it’s earlier than it is.
To set up Night Shift, open System Preferences > Displays > Night Shift and choose Sunset to Sunrise from the Schedule pop-up menu. Night Shift knows when the sun rises and sets wherever you are, but if you prefer, you can also set custom on and off times. (If you don’t see the Night Shift button in the Displays preference pane after upgrading to 10.12.4, your Mac is unfortunately too old to support Night Shift.)
If you’re working with graphics at night, or if video looks odd, you can turn off Night Shift manually. Do that either in the Displays preference pane or by scrolling down in Notification Center (click it in the upper-right corner of the screen) to see the Night Shift switch.
2: Find the AirPod that fell between the couch cushions.
Apple’s wireless AirPods earbuds are cute, but they’re also easy to misplace. If you can’t find yours, iOS 10.3’s Find My iPhone app can help. Bring it up, tap the AirPods icon in the display, and then tap the Play Sound button to make them play a locator sound. If you’ve lost only one AirPod, you can mute the other so it’s easier to hear where the sound is coming from.
Note that Find My AirPods works only when in range of a paired iOS device, so it may not help if you lose an AirPod while running.
3: Don’t be “that person with the Apple Watch” at the theater.
You’re in a darkened theater, at a movie or a play, and when you move in your seat or cover your mouth to cough, your Apple Watch’s screen turns on, annoying the people around you. Even worse is when a notification rolls in, causing the watch to make a sound. Embarrassing, we know. Happily, watchOS 3.2 adds Theater Mode, which turns on Silent mode and keeps the screen dark by disabling its standard “raise to wake” behavior.
To enable Theater mode, open Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. Then tap the Theater Mode button, which is emblazoned with theater masks. After the performance, you’ll need to disable Theater mode manually by tapping its button again.
If you do need to check the time surreptitiously (who knew this performance would go so long!), tap your Apple Watch’s screen, or press the Digital Crown or side button.
4: Ask Siri to find your car in a humongous parking lot
We’ve all been there. You parked at the mall, but got turned around while you were inside, and now you can’t find your car in the sea of automobiles. In iOS 10.3, you can now search for “parked car” in Maps, or just ask Siri, “Where did I park?”
And if you ever lose your car at a place like Disney World, this feature alone will be worth the price of the iPhone!
Apple often adjusts its iPad and iPhone lineup in March, and this year’s changes make the selection more attractive and affordable while adding a new way to support the (RED) international charity. Let’s take a closer look at what Apple has done and what it means for you.
New iPad replaces iPad Air 2
The most significant of Apple’s changes is the replacement of the iPad Air 2 with a new 9.7-inch iPad model called simply “iPad.” This latest iPad is extremely similar to the iPad Air 2, and although most of the changes are for the better, Apple cut a few features so as to reduce the price to the lowest ever for a 9.7-inch iPad.
Physically, the new iPad is almost identical to the iPad Air 2, apart from being 1.4 mm thicker, which might cause problems for some current cases. More interesting is that Apple swapped the iPad Air 2’s A8X processor for the faster A9 chip, which should improve performance. The cameras remain mostly the same too, though photos taken with the rear-facing camera should be somewhat better, thanks to two improvements over the iPad Air 2’s camera: auto image stabilization to help avoid blurry images and a hybrid infrared filter to improve color accuracy and sharpness.
On the downside, the new iPad lacks the iPad Air 2’s laminated display and anti-reflective coating, which combined to increase screen clarity, particularly in bright light. You’d have to compare the new iPad against the more expensive iPad mini 4 or the much more expensive 9.7-inch iPad Pro to see if the screen change is a major problem for you.
The big win with the new iPad is price, which has dropped $70: it’s now only $329 for the Wi-Fi–only 32 GB model or $429 for 128 GB. The cellular models cost $459 for 32 GB and $559 for 128 GB. It’s now the least expensive iPad and what Apple expects most new buyers to purchase. It’s available starting March 24th.
Apple reduces iPad mini 4 price, drops iPad mini 2
The new iPad takes over the entry-level iPad spot from the iPad mini because Apple simultaneously dropped both the iPad mini 2, which had been priced at $269, and the 32 GB model of the iPad mini 4, which previously sold for $399. That leaves just the 128 GB iPad mini 4, and Apple slashed $100 off its price to bring it down to $399. Despite the price drop, unless you especially want the iPad mini’s smaller size or better screen, it’s probably worth $30 to move up to the new 128 GB iPad.
Paint the town (RED) with new iPhone 7 models
For more than 10 years, Apple has partnered with the (RED) international charity to raise money for the Global Fund to combat AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. By offering products in the licensed PRODUCT(RED) color and donating a portion of the proceeds, Apple has raised over $130 million for (RED), making it the charity’s largest corporate donor.
On March 24th, Apple will start selling the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus PRODUCT(RED) Special Edition models in 128 GB and 256 GB capacities. They’re functionally identical to the existing iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models and are priced the same too, but they come in what Apple calls “a vibrant red aluminum finish.” It’s a strong color that’s a far cry from Apple’s almost pastel rose gold color choice.
And if you’d like a PRODUCT(RED) iPhone, but have a perfectly serviceable iPhone that you don’t want to replace, Apple now offers silicone and leather cases in the (RED) color—they’re not quite as snazzy as the red aluminum finish, but they’re similarly bright.
iPhone SE now holds twice as much
Last, but far from least, Apple has doubled the storage tiers for the 4-inch iPhone SE, so you can now purchase a 32 GB model for $399 or a 128 GB model for $499. This minor change is welcome for two types of iPhone users.
First, if you’re looking for the least expensive iPhone, the 32 GB iPhone SE at $399 is $150 cheaper than the 32 GB iPhone 6s at $549. And second, some people with smaller hands or pockets don’t like the extra bulk of even the 4.7-inch iPhone 6s/7, much less the 5.5-inch iPhone 6s/7 Plus. For them, the svelte iPhone SE is a perfect size, and it’s helpful that buying it no longer requires living with only 16 GB or 64 GB of storage.
If you have questions about which of these products is right for your needs, get in touch!
For many years, Apple has shipped MagSafe power adapters with Mac laptops (although the 12-inch MacBook and 2016 MacBook Pro laptops have different adapters with USB-C ports). Many people have never realized that the MagSafe adapter has two “wings” on the corners on either side of the integrated cable. Flip them out and you can wrap the cable around them, securing it with the little clip that slides along the length the cable. If you’ve been fussing with a messy MagSafe cable while traveling, give the wings and clip a try!
Does it bother you when you open a new Finder window and it doesn’t show up where you expect or in the right view? Here’s how you fix that. Press Command-N, and get the window looking exactly as you want it in terms of position, size, and view type. Then, before doing anything else, close that window with Command-W, and then press Command-N again. The window should appear as you wish, but if it doesn’t, repeat the process of customizing and closing it again—sometimes it takes two tries for the Finder to realize it should remember your settings.
You’re hanging out at the beach at the end of a relaxing day on your tropical vacation and the light glancing off the water is perfect. You whip out your iPhone and snap a few shots, but they don’t capture the grandeur of the moment.
You need a panorama.
Luckily, the iPhone’s Camera app has been able to do that since iOS 6. At a basic level, it’s easy to use, but with a few tips, you can get even better results.
First, let’s make sure you know how to take a standard panorama. Hold your iPhone in portrait orientation (so it’s taller than wide). Open the Camera app, and swipe left twice on the viewfinder to switch to Pano mode (you can also swipe the labels or tap Pano in that row). Start with the left side of the image in the viewfinder, tap the round shutter button, and move the iPhone smoothly and continuously to the right to capture more of the scene. The white arrow moves across the screen as you move the iPhone. Be careful to keep the arrow on the yellow line—if you wobble too much, your panorama will have jagged edges. If you regularly have trouble moving the iPhone smoothly, look for a tripod with an adapter that can hold your iPhone.
Here’s your first tip: Although the iPhone will stop taking the panorama automatically when the arrow reaches the end of the line, you can stop the panorama at any point by tapping the round shutter button at the bottom. This is useful if you want to cut it off before hitting some less-than-scenic bits at the right edge
Speaking of edges, it can sometimes be easier or better to move from right to left, rather than left to right. To switch the direction of the panorama, tap the arrow. You might want to make such a switch if it will be easier to keep ugly scenery out at the start, rather than at the end. Also, the Camera app can’t change exposures in the middle of a panorama, so if one side of your panorama is much lighter than the other, starting at the right might provide a better result. Tap the arrow again to switch back.
Although we generally think of panoramas as wide vistas, you can also use the iPhone’s Pano mode to capture vertical panoramas, like towering trees, soaring skyscrapers, and rushing waterfalls. Even an unexceptional scene topped off with interesting clouds can turn an everyday snapshot into a striking photo.
To take a vertical panorama, hold your iPhone in landscape orientation (wider than it’s tall), start at the bottom, and move it so the arrow climbs the yellow line. It’s likely that you’ll want to tap the shutter button manually to stop when you’ve captured the desired amount of sky.
Pano mode works by combining a lot of separate photos into a single image. You can take advantage of that fact to create some interesting effects:
- You can have someone appear in both the left and right sides of a panorama. After you’ve panned past the person on the left side, have them run around behind you to get into the right side of the scene.
- If you’re in the passenger seat of a car, try capturing a panorama of an interesting street scene using the motion of the car. Do not do this while driving!
- If an object, like a pet, is moving while you take a panorama, it can result in some silly photos.
Finally, although a panorama is a very wide (or tall) image, remember that it’s still a regular graphic, which means that you can crop out jagged edges or an undesired edge in a graphics app like Preview.