File this as reason number 17 why Apple Pay is better than plastic. Let’s say your credit card expires and your bank sends you a new card with a revised expiration date. Or perhaps your bank replaces your card with one that has a new number. Either way, most credit card issuers automatically update the credit card expiration date and number in Apple Pay so you don’t have to make those changes yourself. (If your bank doesn’t do this, you’ll have to remove the old card and add the new one.) However, if you move or change your billing address, you’ll need to update that info yourself: in iOS, go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay; in macOS on a MacBook Pro with Touch ID, go to System Preferences > Wallet & Apple Pay.
All iPhones pick up fingerprints, and it’s all too easy to get your iPhone dirty with ink, lotion, makeup, dirt, food, and oil. If you’re faced with an iPhone that needs cleaning, resist the urge to spray it with window cleaner, rubbing alcohol, or ammonia, or, even worse, to scrub it with baking soda or Borax. That’s because all iPhones have oleophobic—oil repellent—coatings on their glass surfaces that make it easy to wipe off fingerprints. You don’t want to remove that coating any faster than it will wear off normally, and cleaning products will strip it quickly. Instead, Apple recommends a soft, lint-free cloth such as you would use for glasses or camera lenses. By the way, even though the iPhone 7 and later have some level of dust and water resistance, it’s important to avoid getting moisture in the openings—most of the time, a lens cloth should be all you need.
When you’re unboxing a new iPhone, it’s time to think about how you’ll move your digital life from your old iPhone to the new one. If your old iPhone is running iOS 11, you can use Quick Start, a new iOS 11 feature that makes the transfer easy. Just turn on the new iPhone, set it next to the old one, and tap Continue when asked whether you want to use your Apple ID to set up your new iPhone. An animation appears on the new iPhone for you to scan with the old iPhone—once you’ve done that, follow the rest of the instructions to enable Touch ID or Face ID and then restore your data and settings from your most recent iCloud backup (you can update the backup first if necessary). Leave the two iPhones next to each other while data is being transferred, and if possible, keep the new one plugged in and on Wi-Fi after setup so it can download your apps, photos, and music from Apple’s cloud-based services.
Apple’s Calendar apps in both macOS and iOS let you manage multiple calendars, some of which may be private and others may be shared with family or colleagues. That’s great, but if you create a new event on the wrong calendar, you may end up oversharing with colleagues (who don’t need to know about your colonoscopy) or undersharing with your spouse (who does need to know about the soccer carpool). To reduce the chances of this happening, set the most appropriate calendar as your default. In macOS, you do this in the Calendar app, in Calendar > Preferences > General > Default Calendar. In iOS, set it in Settings > Calendar > Default Calendar.
It’s that time of year again, when we realize that if we’re going to do holiday cards, we should get started. You can take the easy way out and buy a few packs of generic reindeer cards at the drugstore, but with a little work in Apple’s Photos app on the Mac, you can instead send cards personalized with your favorite family photos from the past year. Here’s how.
- Select photos. Although you can add photos to your card project at any time, it’s easiest to make a new album and then spin through last year’s photos, adding 20 or so of the best candidates to your album. Don’t be picky at this point because it’s easier to choose the final images from within the card layout.
- Create the card. Select all the photos in your new album with Edit > Select All, and choose File > Create > Card. Then select one of the three choices: a 5×7 folded letterpress card for $2.99 each, a 5×7 folded card for $1.49 each, or a 4×6 flat double-sided card for $0.99 each. They all include envelopes.
- Select a theme. Photos loads themes over the Internet automatically, so if you see just a few themes, wait until more appear. Choose Holidays from the pop-up menu at the top, and click either Landscape or Portrait to pick the orientation before selecting a theme and clicking Create Card in the upper-right corner.
It’s easy to change your choices while working on the card by clicking the button next to Buy Card.
- Choose layouts. Although every card starts with a default layout, most have alternatives. Would you prefer a single image on the front, rather than a four-photo layout? Click the Options button below the card to open the Layout Options panel, and click the desired layout.
- Add photos. To add a photo to a spot on the card, drag it from the photo collection at the bottom of the screen, which shows the contents of your album. Dragging a photo on top of an already-placed image replaces it, or you can drag a photo from the card back to the collection at the bottom. Buttons let you clear placed photos (helpful when starting over with a new theme), auto-fill photos for quick placement, switch between showing unused and placed photos, and add more photos to the project.
If Photos didn’t bring in all the photos from your album automatically, click the album in the sidebar, select all the photos, and drag them to the project entry in the sidebar. That’s much easier than adding them piecemeal via the Add Photos button.
- Edit photos. When you click a photo on the card, the Photo Options panel appears so you can apply filters, edit the photo with all of Photos’ editing tools, or zoom and crop. After zooming a photo with the slider, you can drag it within its spot on the card to position the subject properly.
- Add and edit text. Some text boxes in the layout can be edited; just click inside and type. Others can’t be changed. If you need to tweak the font, size, color, or orientation of text, select it and make your adjustments in the Text Options panel that appears.
- Buy your card. Once you’ve adjusted everything to your liking, click the Buy Card button in the upper-right corner of the window. Click Add Shipping Address, select a contact (likely yourself) to send the cards to, and then enter how many cards you’d like. When you’re done, click Place Order.
Apple prints and mails you the cards, usually within a week or so. The print quality is, as you’d expect from Apple, top notch, and overall, the cards are a step up from those available from other photo services.
The hardest part of designing your own cards with Photos is figuring out which themes and layouts best match the photos you want to share. Some themes offer spots for only one or two photos, whereas others let you include a lot more, at the cost of making them much smaller. Similarly, some themes let you write a full letter, but others have room for just a few words of holiday cheer.
If mailing your holiday cards (which you printed from Photos, right?) is made harder by having to write addresses on envelopes, you can skip the handwriting step this year with mailing labels. Although many people don’t realize this, it’s easy to print mailing labels on standard label stock using the Contacts app on the Mac. You can even add a personal touch by including a graphic and using a custom color and font choice. Here’s what you need to do:
- In Contacts, choose File > New Group to create an empty group into which you can collect your card recipients. Name the group something like Holiday Cards.
- Click All Contacts to see your full collection of contacts, and then drag your recipients from the center column to the Holiday Cards group. Note that you have to click and hold briefly before Contacts lets you start dragging a contact; if you drag too soon, Contacts assumes you want to select more contacts. You can drag contacts one at a time or select several at once and drag the entire selection. This doesn’t move contacts out of All Contacts—you’re just adding them to the Holiday Cards group, which functions much like an iTunes playlist.
- Once the Holiday Cards group is populated with all your recipients, click its name in the sidebar, and then choose File > Print to open the Print dialog.
- To set up your cards, you need to see details in the Print dialog, so at the bottom of the Print dialog, click the Show Details button (if it’s already called Hide Details, you’re all set). You also need to see the special controls for Contacts, so make sure Contacts is chosen from the pop-up menu underneath the page range fields. Then from the Style pop-up menu, choose Mailing Labels.
- Beneath the Style pop-up menu, make sure Layout is selected, and then in the Layout view, from the Page pop-up menus, choose the manufacturer of your labels and the number associated with the labels. (Avery 5160 is the most common label type and is readily available at office supply stores and online.)
- Click Label to switch to the Label view. From the Addresses pop-up menu, choose the type of address you’re using. Home is likely the most appropriate; if you choose All, Contacts will print both Home and Work addresses if available. You can also choose to print company and country here, and if you print country, you can exclude your own country, which makes it easy to include overseas friends and relatives without printing the country for most people.
- Although the defaults are fine, if you want, you can change the color of the label text, select a small image to print next to each contact, and change the font.
- It’s time to print, but not on your label stock just yet! Click the Print button to print a draft of your labels on plain paper. You’ll use this draft for two things—checking the addresses for accuracy and verifying that the labels will print properly on the label stock.
To check if the labels will print correctly, stack a page from the draft on top of a sheet of blank labels, and then hold them up to a bright light or sunlit window. You should be able to see whether the positioning is right—it should be in most cases. If not, make sure you’ve chosen the right label in the Print dialog, and if all else fails, create a custom label with your own margins and gutters to make it work.
- Once you’ve fixed addresses for everyone who has moved recently and verified your positioning, you can print for real on your label stock.
That’s it! Most of the work comes in selecting people, making sure their addresses are right, and updating those that have changed—actually printing labels takes only a few minutes. As you stick your labels on envelopes, you can revel in the knowledge that it will go even faster next year!