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Take Advantage Of Group Messaging

Group text messages can be an incredibly convenient way to communicate with several people at once, but it can also be a bit of a headache! Messages has become an extremely versatile app, and knowing some of the tricks to group messaging can easily turn your frustration into one of the most valuable way to talk to a group.

Locating the right group conversation on your phone can be a real struggle, perhaps you’ve even has a similar conversation with two different, yet similar list of names. Consider giving the conversation a name that’s more descriptive than the truncated names of the people in the conversation. On the Mac, just type in the Group Name field; in iOS, pull down on the Details screen to reveal the Group Name field. At any time, you can add more people to the conversation; just click or tap Add Contact and select the desired contacts.

Similarly, people can be removed from the conversation. On the Mac, click the person’s name and press Delete; in iOS, swipe left on their name and tap Delete. Be careful with this feature since there’s no opportunity to confirm the deletion, so you’d have to add any mistakenly deleted people back manually. Plus, the iOS version of Messages doesn’t always let you remove people.

You can even “delete” yourself. If you’ve been included in a group conversation accidentally or ended up in one that doesn’t interest you, click or tap Leave This Conversation at the bottom of the Details screen. Once you’ve left, you can’t get back in without someone else adding you.

Is leaving a little drastic? Perhaps the conversation is just being too chatty while you need to get work done. Turn on Do Not Disturb to mute notifications from the conversation; turn it off again when you’re ready to be alerted to new messages again.

Did you know that everyone in the conversation can send or share their location from an iPhone or iPad? Sending a location is like posting a message saying “I’m at the library now” along with a map to where you are. Sharing your location allows the others to see where you are at all times, for one hour, until the end of the day, or indefinitely. Of course, if you opt to share indefinitely, you can revoke that sharing later.

When anyone in the conversation is sharing their location, a map appears at the top, showing the locations of those who have shared. This is fabulous for keeping track of relatives during family reunions where different groups might head out on separate outings.

Finally, at the bottom of the Details screen, you can see all the attachments that people have shared within the conversation. Messages gives you control over attachments, letting you preview, copy, save, open, delete, and share them. It’s all easy; on the Mac, select attachments and Control/right-click to display a contextual menu, or press the Space bar to invoke Quick Look. In iOS, press and hold on the attachment until additional options appear.

Hopefully with a better understanding of some key features in group messages you’ll find yourself enjoying group conversations more!

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Back it up!

I am surprised at how many people neglect to backup their important data, pictures and movies until it is too late and they are standing in line at our service counter seeking to have that data recovered. We have talked about backing up your Mac using Time Machine. It is so easy and drives are so inexpensive that there simply is no excuse for not having a backup.

But what about your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch? You can’t just hook up a drive to them to back-up. Fortunately, Apple has given you two easy ways to backup your data from your iOS device. You can use iCloud back-up or backup using iTunes. I use BOTH and urge you to consider that, too!

iCloud Back-up

Backing up your iPhone using iCloud backup is easy. Make sure your iPhone (or iPad or iPod touch) is connected to your Wi-Fi network. Tap on “Settings” scroll down a bit and select “iCloud”. Once you are in the iCloud screen you can select “Back up”.

Make sure backup is turned on. If you are doing this for the first time, select “backup now” grab a nice cold brew coffee and wait for your back-up to complete. Make sure that the backup finished: Tap Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage, then select your device. The backup should appear in the details with the time and backup size.

Tell iCloud to automatically back up your device each day:

  • Make sure that iCloud Backup is turned on in Settings > iCloud > Backup.
  • Connect your device to a power source.
  • Connect your device to a Wi-Fi network.
  • Make sure that your device’s screen is locked.
  • Check that you have enough available space in iCloud for the backup.

iTunes Back-up

To make an iTunes back-up you need to have a Mac or PC running iTunes (doh!). Connect your iOS device to iTunes with a USB cable. If a message pops up for your device passcode or to “Trust This Computer”, follow the onscreen steps.

Select your iPhone, iPad, or iPod when it appears in iTunes. If you want to save Health and Activity data from your iOS device or Apple Watch paired to your iPhone, you will need to encrypt your backup. To do so, select the box called “Encrypt backup” and create a memorable password. Write down your password and store it somewhere safe, because there’s no way to recover your iTunes backups without this password.

If you are a couch potato like me and don’t want to backup your health and activity data you can skip this step and simply click “Backup now”. To check to see if your backup was successful you can click on iTunes Preferences > Devices and you should see your backup listed.

Once you have set up iCloud or iTunes backup to be automatic you can rest comfortably that your data is safe from that unfortunate accident with the sea. The way I handle backups is to make iCloud my automatic backup and from time to time plug my devices into my Mac and back them up using iTunes. Whatever way you choose, take a few moments to give yourself peace of mind and backup your iOS devices now!

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Flying in Airplane Mode

Going into Airplane Mode: Flying with Technology

Since 2013, we’ve been able to use handheld electronic devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and Kindle at pretty much all times during airplane flights, including takeoff and landing. That was a big change from previous FAA policy, which banned the use of personal electronic devices below 10,000 feet, forcing passengers to occupy themselves with books and magazines at the start and end of flights.

But now flight attendants ask us to put our devices into “airplane mode.” You probably know how to do this on your iOS device, but if not, here’s how. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up Control Center, and tap the Airplane Mode button at the top left. Or open the Settings app and enable the Airplane Mode switch that’s the very first option. When you land, use the same controls to turn it off again.

What does airplane mode do? It disables the wireless features of your device to comply with airline regulations. Specifically, it turns off the cellular voice and data features of your iPhone or iPad, and on all iOS devices it turns off both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. However, only the cellular features are important to your airline—you can re-enable both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth at any time. That might be useful if you want to use the airplane’s Wi-Fi network for Internet access (usually for a fee) or Bluetooth to play music over wireless headphones.

To turn these wireless features back on, tap the grayed-out Wi-Fi and Bluetooth buttons in Control Center, or flip their switches in Settings > Wi-Fi and Settings > Bluetooth. Don’t bother turning them on unless you’re going to use them, though, since you’ll save a little battery life by leaving them off for the duration of a long flight.

Why do the airlines care about cellular? It has little to do with airplane safety; the prohibition on their use comes from the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission, not the Federal Aviation Administration. The reason is that fast-moving cell phones used high in the air may light up many cell towers at once, which can confuse the mobile phone network.

The technical solution is akin to what the airlines do to provide Internet access now; a device called a “picocell” would be installed on the airplane to provide connectivity with the phone network, and cell phones on the plane would communicate with it instead of individual cell towers on the ground below. Will it happen, though?

The FCC has proposed that it would allow cell phone use on properly equipped planes; however, the thought of fellow passengers having phone conversations during flight fills many people with dread. Many lawmakers in the United States oppose allowing passengers to make and receive phone calls during flight, citing concerns about cabin safety, a worry echoed by the flight attendants union. Even FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has acknowledged this, saying “I get it. I don’t want the person in the seat next to me yapping at 35,000 feet any more than anyone else.” So don’t expect that rule to change.

If you’re allowed to use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, why do the airlines make you stow your MacBook Air during takeoff and landing? It has nothing to do with the technology—the airlines ban laptops during times when there could be an emergency landing because they could, like carry-on luggage or lowered tray tables, impede evacuation.

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Save your life, add a medical ID to your iPhone

You only think you are invulnerable and won’t get into an accident, but if you do, and if you end up being unable to speak with the emergency responders, wouldn’t you like your iPhone to help you out? Once you enter your medical data and emergency contact info into Apple’s Health app to create a Medical ID, anyone can use your iPhone to learn about your medication allergies and other conditions, plus contact your family. And it works even if your iPhone is locked. Even if you are too shaken up to share your details clearly, you may be able to point at your phone sufficiently to show your Medical ID.

This data could also help a Good Samaritan return a lost iPhone, too.

To enter this essential information, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Health app, and tap Medical ID in the button bar at the bottom.
  2. Tap Create Medical ID on the first screen that appears.
  3. In the Medical ID screen, make sure Show When Locked is enabled.
  4. Enter all the relevant details about your medical conditions, medications, allergies, and so on.
  5. Specify one or more emergency contacts. These must be people in the Contacts app with phone numbers; if the right people aren’t there, add them first. You can’t select your own card in Contacts, so consider making one for a fake person called “If Lost, Please Call” and listing a different phone number at which you can be reached.
  6. Tap Done once you’ve finished entering all relevant information.
  7. Create-Medical-ID

Hopefully, you’ll never have to use someone else’s Medical ID information, but you should know how to do so. You should also teach family, friends, and co-workers how to find and use this information. Should you come across a biker who has had a bad crash or a similar situation, follow these steps:
With a locked iPhone, slide right on the Lock screen to display the Passcode screen.

  1. On the Passcode screen, tap Emergency in the bottom left corner to move to the Emergency screen. If necessary, call 911 from this screen.
  2. Again at the bottom left, tap Medical ID to display the Medical ID screen, complete with all the details that person entered into the Health app.
  3. From that screen, you can share the information with EMTs or other first responders so they’re aware of any serious conditions or allergies that would affect treatment. You can also call any emergency contacts listed.

Please, enter your medical and emergency contact details into the Health app right now, and spread the word to everyone you know. It could save your life, or help you save someone else’s!

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Don’t Leave Your iPhone in the Heat

iPhones and other electronic devices are not meant to be kept in extreme temperatures. As the summer temperatures rise it’s important to remember that our iPhones can’t perform well in extreme temperatures. iPhones have ideal operating temperatures and work best between 32 and 95 degree Fahrenheit. Leaving your iPhone in your car on a hot day or in direct sunlight can cause your phone to overheat. In addition to being in direct sunlight or in a car on a hot day, your phone can also overheat on warm days if it’s running something graphically intense or using GPS.

If your phone is overheating you will likely notice anomalies in its performance or even an alert on the phone itself. In extreme heat your phone may stop charging, it could have a very dim display or any number of other performance issues. When you’re using an app such as navigation you might even experience that the phone goes to a black screen and seems unresponsive yet the directions are still audible as you drive along.

Should your phone stop working because it’s overheating, it’s also likely to be very warm to the touch as well. What your phone needs it to simply cool down. I have overheated my phones in warm weather a few times, and just like in extreme cold, when your phone shuts down due to extreme operating temperatures it’s simply a matter of time before it comes back to life. This process could be just a few minutes or it might take an hour, but your phone should come back to life. If your phone does not come back on after some period of time a hard reset of your phone might be necessary to help jumpstart your phone back to its previous performance level.

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