Video - Apple Watch Tips

Once again here are some Apple Watch Tips. Want to know how to use handoff? Change the call volume when taking a call via the watch? How about adding new customized watch faces? Check out the video.

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iOS 9 Wish List

When iOS 7 came out the focus for most of us was getting used to an entirely new look and feel to Apple's mobile OS. With iOS 8 Apple pushed things open a bit and brought with it some great additions like actionable notifications, widgets, and iCloud Drive. The only issue with these two advancements has been some lingering bugs, not uncommon in software, but some uncharacteristic of Apple.

With iOS 9 most likely to be previewed at WWDC, which is right around the corner, Apple has reportedly stated that stability and bug fixes along with quality are their goals. That's music to my ears. They didn't say "no new features" however... Therefore, here are some things I'm hoping to see Apple's new mobile OS bring to the table along with the items mentioned above.

1. Full 3rd Party Actionable Notifications

One of the biggest features of iOS 8 to me was actionable notifications. Unfortunately the ability for 3rd parties to customize these to make them as useful as possible was not included. Hopefully that will change with iOS 9. 

2. Multiple Logins - On iPad

Icon - iNinja

Icon - iNinja

Since the first time I opened and used the original iPad on launch day, I've been wanting a simple way to share it with my family. Sure, the iPhone is a personal device and shouldn't need multiple logins, but the iPad could be a family tablet, and having logins for others available would allow this. I imagine keeping the iPad on the coffee table, with anyone in the family able to simply pick it  up and log in. Perhaps with as much work as a thumbprint. 

My kids simply don't need their own iPads. Sure, they have them now. They're also iPad mini 1st generation devices. They're not going to keep chugging. However I am not buying two (three or four if you count my wife and I) new iPads every few years. But I'd probably buy 1 new one every one or two years. I can justify that to myself. With multiple logins it would be possible.

3. Spilt Screen Use - On iPad

Icon - Sam Beckett

Icon - Sam Beckett

It's been rumored for years. It's been shown to be in the code. It's been shown in videos and concepts. It apparently wasn't ready for launch. So we have gone without. It's now time to bring it to the table. With or without the fabled iPad Pro 12" device, split screen usage needs to happen. With the first few iPads I didn't miss the windowed workspace. I actually found peace in a single thing happening at a time. Now however, that I can use my iPad as great productivity machine on the go, split screen is a must. There are just too many times I could use side-by-side comparisons or usage these days. Four finger swiping or double-tapping the home button worked great for a while...but it's gotten old for this workflow.

4. Notification Sync and Red Dot Notification Alert

One of my biggest pet peeves is missed notifications making their home in my Notification Center. I hate clearing one away on my iPhone, and having it remain on my iPad and/or Mac. The crazy part is sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. There isn't any real consistency to it. This needs fixed. Push Notification Sync needs to come to iOS 9. In addition, I argue that the "red dot" from Apple Watch for alerting users to a missed notification would be a worthy addition. It's unobtrusive but informative at the same time.  

Right now if I want to see if I have a missed notification I either have to check by pulling down Notification Center or swipe through pages of apps to look for red badges. The tiny red dot would be a welcomed addition to iOS in my opinion. It would make it clear if there are or are not missed notifications, in a subtle way. I'm sure there are others who agree. Others who wholeheartedly disagree. For me though, well, Apple, please make it so.

Of course, only make it so IF notification sync comes with it. Otherwise my iPad would have a red dot ALL the time. No thank you!

5. Universal Night Theme

One of the reasons I stuck with many apps like Tweetbot for so long was the auto-theme ability. Based on the brightness of the room the app would change its theme from a light to a dark look. It truly made using it easier on the eyes. Apple brought this same concept to iBooks for reading, which is great. Now they need to make it system-wide. A universal night theme option, or toggle even, would be welcomed by me. Inverting the colors in Accessibility seems to be the go-to for many right now, but this isn't always a great solution, actually, it never really is. A true solution would be great.

6. Avatars in iMessage

While the iPad and iPhone 6 Plus now have the ability to show avatars of users in iMessage, I see no reason this can't be brought at least to the iPhone 6. The screen is plenty big enough and the usefulness of having the picture of the person there in the message is huge. Without it, all the messages start to look the same, and when carrying on two or more conversations at once it's easy to mistakenly say something to the wrong person. Not that this has ever happened to me... I'm just saying.

7. Customizable Control Center

I love Control Center. I use it almost every single day. That said, there are things in it I simply do not need or use. I'd love the ability to decide which apps can be launched from here. 

8. More DND Control

Another feature I rely heavily on is Do Not Disturb. I use it at meetings and work, as well as at bedtime. It's a useful tool. However, I'd love to be able to better tune my DND settings to reflect my days and weekends. The ability to set DND times for specific days instead of just times, would go a long way. My weekends are vastly different from my weekdays.

9. Delete-able App Cache

One of my biggest annoyances is the "other" in usage stats. Also, when I check storage usage on iOS and see Twitter taking up 2GB or my wife's Facebook app taking up 3GB. That's just completely insane and uncalled for. I understand the need for cache, but right now it seems the only way to delete it is to delete the app and reinstall. Sure, some apps actually have an option in their settings built-in by 3rd parties who understand our issue. Both these solutions work, but they're a workaround. iOS 9 needs to bring the ability to manually delete this cache from any app as desired. 

10. Type to Siri

Siri is one of those things I use, but not as frequent as I thought I would...however with Apple Watch I'm using it a ton more. That said, when I'm on my iPhone I'd love the ability to just simply key in my Siri request. I'm not always in a place where talking out loud is appropriate. Sometimes I just don't want to disrupt those around me. This would come in handy.

11. iCloud Drive Manager

I really like iCloud Drive. I use it instead of Dropbox or OneDrive or Google Drive. That said it could really use some help on the managing side of things. First, there should be a File Manager app...period. Many users, myself included, still like to see what all they have sitting on their "drives". I want to see the folders and hierarchy. I want to move or delete files as needed. From a single app. Speaking of deleting, Apple needs to figure out these non-removable iCloud Drive App Folders. Every app I have used with iCloud Drive, even just to test, has a folder there. All empty. Using the web app on I see all of them, and no matter how many times I delete them, no matter how I try (through web, Mac, iOS), they always return. Please, please fix this!

12. Better Folders

More specifically, better sizes. With iOS 7 came new folders for apps. While I understand the old system was a bit poor, the new system isn't great either. I also understand the reason they are designed how they are...they look like a zoomed in App icon. I get it. The problem is they waste so much space. There is just so much empty space surrounding open folders on iOS that it's insane. Especially on the iPad. There has to be a better way to display folder contents on iOS. Apple needs to figure it out.

13. Group FaceTime

I hate Skype. I do. With a passion. However, if my family wants to do a group video chat, that's where we end up. FaceTime has been a staple of our family since its introduction. Over the years it's become more and more commonplace in our lives...with parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and children all around the world joining in. It sure would be nice to see more than one of them at a time. Also. Enterprise. Meetings. I think I read somewhere Apple was getting help in enterprise.... 

14. AirPlay Icon

No small change has brought me more annoyance I don't think, than AirPlay. Having to use Control Center to enable AirPlay as opposed to the icon option appearing IN the actual video is one of my biggest pain points. Please bring it back! 

15. Saving Original Photos in iMessage

A bit nit picky I know, but, I wish there was an option to turn off saving photos taken inside iMessage to my iCloud Photos Library. I don't need 100 selfies or quick one-off shots that I sent my brother or wife from the store ("do you want this one, or this one") sitting in my Photos Library. Maybe some do. Just a simple toggle in the iMessage settings alongside how long to keep audio/video messages would suffice. 

These are just 15 things I have been thinking about when it comes to iOS and iOS 9. I don't expect Apple to tick off each of these things, who am I anyways?! But if they could pull off the above I'd be one happy user that's for sure!

What are you wishes for iOS 9? iPad only features? New additions? Fixes? Let us know!



The Apple Watch, Beats, and Running

When my first wearable landed in my hands (an original Jawbone Up) I started thinking of all the possibilities, most of which were not realities at the time. One of those hopes was being able to leave my iPhone at home, track my runs, and still listen to music. I've gone through multiple Jawbone UP's, a Nike Fuelband, a couple Fitbits, a Withings Pulse, and a Withings Activite Watch. It wasn't until the Apple Watch that my hopes finally became a reality for me. 

While it's true that the Apple Watch relies heavily on the iPhone, it can still function limitedly without one. In my case it has just enough function to allow me to go iPhone-less. At home, and more importantly, on a run.

The Apple Watch can track (without GPS) my run steps and workout, and since I can sync music to the watch itself and listen to it using Bluetooth headphones, I can finally head out the door without my iPhone. 

Syncing playlists to the Apple Watch isn't hard but does take a few steps. This Apple support article walks you through it if you need it. The one key thing that trips up the majority of people I've talked to is that the playlist can only sync over to the watch when connected to the charger, so don't forget that part. Yes, I did.

After syncing my "Running" playlist to the watch I paired my Beats Powerbeats 2 wireless headphones with the device, and I was ready to run....without my iPhone.

The Apple Watch has me using my iPhone less. With glanceable information and quick replies, I find I don't get sucked into the iPhone vortex. Especially social media. Now I'm leaving home without it for runs. It's amazing how by adding a device I barely use, I've started using my most frequently tapped device so much less.  

Video - Apple Watch Tips

Tips and How To's for your Apple Watch, including screenshots, pinging your iPhone, returning to the last app, rebooting your watch, and more. 

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