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#913: Move That Widget, iOS Extensions, Pair an Apple Remote


As Bob Dylan was once misquoted: The leaves they are a-changin’.

Moving on, my iPhone 6 has not yet bent in the pocket of my skinny jeans, nor do I think it ever will. If you didn’t hear about this, a very small number of people reported that their iPhone 6 Plus was bending slightly after spending a day in the confines of their tight pants. Subsequent bend tests revealed that when enought pressure was put on the massive phone, it could become slightly warped. Here’s the thing: Your iPhone 6 Plus is a phablet (editor’s note: a portmanteau of “phone” and “tablet”) and you need to treat it that way. With a screen that big, you’re not going to be able to carry it around in the same places and you probably shouldn’t. Yeah, the 11 inch MacBook Air is small, but it’s still a computer, and you shouldn’t carry it around in your cargo shorts.

Treat your technology with respect and it will work wonders. To help make the most out of these incredible machines, keep reading as we dive into articles about moving widgets to your desktop, extensions in iOS 8, and pairing an Apple Remote.

  Move Widgets to your Desktop  

If you are someone who enjoys using the Widget feature of OS X, but finds the fact that they are hidden away in your dashboard annoying, this little trick will help you out…

First you need to open the app called Terminal. Terminal is located in your Utilities Folder and is an application that gives you access to the command line interface of your machine. Once you have Terminal open type in the command that follows and hit Enter:

defaults write devmode YES

After you have entered that, you will need to log out of your account and sign back in. To move the desired Widgets to your desktop, go to your dashboard, click and hold on the desired Widget, and press the F12 key. If this does not work, all you need to do is hop back into Terminal and run the following command:

killall Dock

This will make your Widgets accessible from your desktop. If you ever decide you don’t need to have your Widgets floating on your desktop, run the initial command with NO, instead of YES at the end. It would look like this.

defaults write devmode NO

WARNING: Improper use of Terminal can wreak almost unlimited havoc on your machine. Make sure you type these commands exactly and ALWAYS back up before making these types of changes.

  Extensions in iOS  

It’s finally here! iOS 8 has landed and with it comes the much anticipated support of extensions.

Android users are all too familiar with widgets, and extensions in iOS provide the same functionality albeit in a different manner. Extensions are elements that you can use to customize your experience using iOS and your device. For example you can add custom weather apps in Notification Center, share with Pintrest or similar social websites from the share menu, clip from the web with many note taking apps, and perhaps the most anticipated feature: custom keyboards. 

Android users have been able to enjoy a plethora of good an not-so-good keyboards for a while, but one innovative style of “swiping” between letters on the keyboard has become so popular as to cause custom keyboards to be one of the most requested features in iOS. Now iOS users have access to a plethora of keyboards, from the aforementioned swipe style, to improved word prediction, to silly images and emojiis.

These extensions also integrate with the hardware of new devices. With iOS 8 Apple introduced HealthKit, a developer tool which measures and stores health metrics from sensors in the phone, and yes, the upcoming Apple Watch. A new generation of health apps will be able to use HealthKit to track your data and give you dynamic, personalized feedback.

Other apps, such as LastPass and 1Password, utilize the new extension capabilities to autofill passwords and other forms in Safari in iOS, just like on OS X devices. But their integration doesn’t end there. You can also set your master password to be filled via Touch ID, essentially making your fingerprint your master password, thus vastly increasing the speed of filling in usernames and forms securely.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the use of extensions. With iOS 8 developers have been given the keys to the kingdom, so to speak, when it comes to iOS and we are going to be seeing a huge wave of app integration in the future. The adoption rate of using these features is incredibly high and only growing. While iOS 8 may not appear too different from iOS 7 on the surface, extensions and under the hood enhancements make this one of the most important releases of this mobile operating system. You just may not notice until you start exploring all the amazing new apps.

  MAC TREAT #198: How to Pair an Apple Remote  

An amazing feat by Apple is making all of their products just plain work – and work together. Maybe a little too well perhaps…

One time when I was using my MacBook Pro a buddy of mine was shuffling through the Apple TV and my volume starts going up and down all on its own! Obviously my first thought was “Virus!” and then I remembered I was using a Mac. Calmly and cooly I told myself “there’s no such thing as ghosts” and turned to my friend to show him what was happening. He and I both shared a laugh as I realized it was him not only controlling the Apple TV but my Mac as well. Knowing now what the issue was, I went back to using my computer but now I was facing his ugly mug to prevent the Apple Remote from controlling my machine.

Apple Remotes run off a simple infrared (IR) technology that luckily can be paired and more importantly un-paired with your other Apple products.

Follow these steps to pair a remote with your Mac:

  • Log in on your Mac as an Admin user.
  • Get very close to your Mac (about 3 or 4 inches away).
  • Point the remote at the infrared sensor on the front of your Mac.
  • Press and hold the Menu and Next/Fast-forward buttons simultaneously on the remote for 5 seconds.
  • Your Apple Remote is now paired with your computer. You should see a chain-link style lock appear in the center of your screen for a moment.

Follow these steps to un-pair a remote with your Mac:

  • Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu in the upper-left menu bar.
  • Choose Security from the View menu.
  • Click the lock and enter your Administrator password if necessary.
  • Click Un-pair in the Security pane.

The strange thing about my story is that I never paired the Apple Remote to my Mac in the first place and the Apple TV was purchased months after the MacBook Pro was. To fix my issue I simply turned off IR on my Mac.

Follow these steps to turn off (or on) IR reception with your Mac:

  • Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu in the upper-left menu bar.
  • Choose Security from the View menu.
  • Click the lock and enter your Administrator password if necessary.
  • In OS X Lion v10.7 or later, click the “Advanced” button in the lower-right corner.
  • Enable the “Disable remote control infrared receiver” checkbox.
  • In OS X Lion v10.7 or later, click the OK button.
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