When is a service bundle worth it? The Apple One edition.

Apple’s new UK bundle options

So Apple announced a service bundle yesterday, packaging up services in an effort to upsell you on their expensive services. As someone who already uses an Apple family music plan and iCloud, none of these are interesting or at all price competitive.

Would I like to pay an extra £9 a month for Apple Arcade and Apple tv+ and News +? No. Would I take them for free at the prices I’m currently paying? No.

As usual though we got the breathless uncritical coverage from the UK media

Tech: Why can't I upload photos to Strava on iOS?

Strava has a feature that allows you to upload photos to either document your ride, help you remember where you were and what you were doing, what conditions were like, etc. But sometimes when you try and add photos you get this – a blank screen – but you can still select missing images…?

Missing Strava images

Are you using iCloud to store your photos?

If you are using iCloud to store photos what’s happened is iOS has helpfully pushed all your images up to the cloud – so when Strava looks for them it doesn’t see any local thumbnails. If you go to the Photos app and tap on the images you want, iOS will download them again, and Strava will now be able to see the thumbnails.

TIP: if you use iOS’s ‘Low Power Mode’, then your recent images will stay on your phone for longer – or at least ’till you connect to a known Wi-Fi network.

Screen Time tips for Parents – Screen Recording and iOS 12

If your child uses a device with iOS 12.x installed, you should know that a Screen Recording will capture you entering the device’s Screen Time password – if you enter it on an iOS 12 device.

Screen recording in iOS 12

Screen Time “helpfully” captures the Passcode.

Screen recording on iOS 13

No passcode capture.

Tips:

  1. Never enter your Screen Time password on their device if you can help it.
  2. Turn off Screen Recording in their Screen Time settings.
  3. Check to see if Screen Recording is ON before you enter your password – look for the red dot in the upper left corner of the screen.

Tech: Screentime tips for Parents - Managing Music

Screentime is Apple’s parental control tool – in the usual Apple way a whole variety of tools are jammed together somewhat haphazardly, and when it works it’s great and when it doesn’t work it’s impossible to fix.

If you and your child are on different versions of iOS (e.g. if they are on iOS 12.x and you are on iOS13.x), then Screentime may not work as promised/predicted.

The ‘Content and Privacy Restrictions’ sections give you a set of tools for managing content and privacy (as you’d expect), along with a set of general device/account management tools.

If you use iOS 13 and your child uses iOS 12, you might think this setting on your device would control whether they could hear “explicit” or “clean” music – but it often doesn’t work. The settings aren’t always synced between devices.

To make sure your content settings are updated across devices, you now need to go to their device, enter Screen Time settings, enter your passcode, and change their Content Restrictions settings.

Does your MacPro open the DVD tray when it starts up?

My MacPro has started opening the DVD tray whenever it restarts, which is annoying. Why is it doing this?

Because it thinks it should be starting from an optical disk, and if it can’t see one it opens the tray for you to insert one.

Go to System Preferences, set a different startup disk (i.e. select a hard drive), and restart.

Managing Screen Time on iOS12 – what I’ve learned

ScreenTime is Apple’s set of tools introduced in iOS12 to monitor/manage App usage – it’s usually used by parents to try and manage how their kids use Apple devices. At best it works poorly – at worst it doesn’t work at all.

Struggling to manage Screen Time?

Go to protectyoungeyes’s 12 ingenious screen time hacks – there are lots of useful tips for parents on specific issues in administering Screen Time. Also see How to Bypass Screen Time, or How Kids are Hacking Apple’s Control System for a list of steps you can take to make Screen Time more effective.

Of course you’re struggling – Screen Time is complicated.

Screen Time should let you manage app use, accounts, and Settings, and… just about everything. And it’s all lumped together in a very convoluted interface.

Solution: Google is your friend. Search for answers to find the settings you can manage.

Keep your Screen Time passcode safe

The easiest way to bypass Screen Time controls is to find out what the parental passcode is. Change the password frequently, and make sure you aren’t being watched or recorded when you enter your password.

Keep an eye on *your* devices

When your child asks for more screen time, that request is sent to all your iOS devices. If your children get your iPad they can approve their own Screen Time requests.

Screen Time doesn’t (really) work

You can set all the Screen Time settings that you can, but there are dozens of ways kids can get around them – and the older your child is, the more likely they are to either a) know people who know how to get around Screen Time restrictions, or b) search Google and find answers for themselves.

You need to regularly check their phone/app usage to see if they’re getting around your restrictions. When someone has a limit of 30 minutes of YouTube time but has spent 3 hours watching videos, then something’s not right.

Screen Time doesn’t (really) work if you’re using iOS13 and they’re using iOS12

If you’re using Screen Time on iOS13 to manage a device running iOS12 – e.g. if you’re using an iPhone 8 to manage a child with an iPhone 6 – then you’ll find that many of the settings that you toggle on your iOS13 device will not transfer to your child’s phone.

Solution: don’t change their ScreenTime settings on your phone – make them on the child’s phone.

Tech: Apple TV, Apple TV, Apple TV, and Apple TV+

Apple TV, Apple TV, Apple TV, and Apple TV+

Dustin Curtis has a wee review of just how confusing Apple TV (and associated apps/ecosystem) really is.

(After 8 paragraphs of spot-on analysis of how confusing the AppleTV ecosystem is…) Other than that, though, Apple TV is relatively straightforward.

I find Apple TV (i.e. the hardware) relentlessly confusing post recent updates. I see previews of films and don’t know what app they’re from – Netflix, iTunes? It’s prettier and looks flash but is confusing as hell. To me anyway. We just click away and hope for the best, which is frustrating.

People who say Apple software is easy to use – well, I don’t think they use it very often.

Tech: On Ive and Apple - or not everything is or was perfect

Jony Ive Leaves Apple, Ive’s Legacy, The Post-Ive Apple

It won’t be the end of the world now that Jony Ive’s left Apple. It feels like he left a long time ago. Hopefully at some point there will be an objective view on his role – increasingly overstated, not as impactful as advertised might be my summary.

You can’t get around the fact that while the hardware (across the line) is pretty impressive, the software’s not advancing at the same rate – and a fair amount of it is actually pretty poor – if we’re allowed to be honest with each other.

Tech: Why can't I download "free" apps on my iPhone?

You can’t participate in the Apple app ecosystem without two things: an Apple ID, and a valid credit/debit card linked to that ID. That’s right: you can’t get ‘free’ without having credit first.

If you’re setting up a new phone and your Apple ID is linked to another Apple ID via ‘Family Sharing’, you’ll also need the Family Sharing account owner’s credit/debit card expiry date and CCV number.

That’s right: your ability to use your phone with your credit card may depend on you having someone else’s credit card details.

Continue reading “Tech: Why can’t I download “free” apps on my iPhone?”

Tech: What to do when you drop your iPhone in the water

1. Swear.

Use your best words. But get it over with quickly – you’ve got work to do.

2. Dry your phone off.

That’s right, get a towel and dry it off ASAP. Is it dead? It probably isn’t.

Yet.

3. Back it up.

That’s right. Don’t put your phone in a bag of rice or anything like that. While it’s still alive, you need to get your data off your phone as fast as possible.

Continue reading “Tech: What to do when you drop your iPhone in the water”