Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to fix an iPad that's been disabled after entering the wrong passcode

by Kelly Hodgkins,

February 11 10:30 AM

Have you ever picked up your iPad, only to discover it has been disabled by your curious children who entered the password too many times? Or maybe you've done it yourself when you've forgotten the passcode you created a month ago? if you enter in an incorrect password too many times, iOS will think someone is trying to break into your device and will disable it.

The problem with a disabled device is that you can't type in the password anymore, even if you suddenly remember it. You either have to wait a certain amount of time or connect the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to iTunes, if it has been permanently disabled. Here are a few tips to help you get that device unlocked without losing valuable information.

Try to back up the iOS device in iTunes

The first thing you should try to unlock your disabled device is a simple iTunes backup. Connect your iOS device to your computer via USB and open iTunes. Select the device in the upper right-hand corner to display its properties in the main screen.

Click on the "Back Up Now" button to start a sync. You may be prompted to type in your password on your iOS device to start the sync because the device is locked. Once you have typed in your password, you can cancel the back up and start using your device.

Restore the device using iTunes and a previous backup

If the backup trick doesn't work, then you may have to reset the passcode by restoring the device. This only works if you have previously synced your device with iTunes and have a backup stored on your computer. Follow these steps to restore your device and reinstall your backup.

  1. Connect the device to the computer with which you normally sync and open iTunes.
  2. If the device is still disabled, or if iTunes does not automatically sync your device, sync the device with iTunes by pressing the "Back Up Now"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

10 Tips and Tricks to Make Siri More Useful

July 17 08:00 AM

I have a love-hate relationship with Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled digital assistant for iOS. On the one hand, she’s quite helpful when I need to do things like set reminders and compose text messages. On the other hand, it’s absolutely maddening when she repeatedly makes mistakes or can’t complete a task. So I can understand why people get frustrated and give up on using Siri altogether.

But you shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss her. Voice assistants like Siri (and Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana) can be useful and timesaving tools for getting things done and finding information. You just have to be willing to put in a little time and effort to better understand what Siri does and train her to be a smarter assistant.

To help you, I’ve gathered up some tips and tricks for using Siri. They range from the very basic for beginners to more advanced features that some current users may not know about.

For Apple’s part, the company is continuing to make improvements and add features to Siri. When iOS 8 is released this fall, Siri will gain new capabilities, such as providing visual feedback, so you can see how Siri translates your commands in real time. You’ll also have the ability to launch Siri using just your voice (as long as your iOS device is plugged in for charging, that is). But here’s what you can do with Siri right now.

1. Find out what Siri can do

If you just got an iPhone or haven’t really used Siri, it’s helpful to know what she can and can’t do. To find out, hold down the Home button and say, "What can you do?" Siri will then provide a list of sample questions and commands she understands, such as launching an application or asking for sports scores.

Alternatively, after you’ve activated Siri, you can tap the question mark icon in the lower left-hand corner and get the same results that way.

The first couple of times Siri misunderstands your commands, you’ll probably want to scream and drop-kick your iPhone. (Or maybe that’s just me.) But have a little patience and give her a chance to learn from the mistakes.2. If Siri makes a mistake, tell her

If Siri misinterprets something, swipe down on the screen to reveal your initial command and then use the "Tap to edit" to correct the statement or question. Not only will she return with new results, she’ll also remember the correction to provide better performance in the future.

3. Teach Siri how to pronounce names and tell her about your relationships

Along the same lines, you can tell Siri how contacts are related to you, so you can say things like "Call my husband" instead of "Call Ryan Gosling." To do so, say a command like "Text my boss," then Siri will ask you, "What is your manager’s name?" Or you can say, "Walt Mossberg is my boss" and Siri will add that relationship to her records.
I always thought my last name, "Cha," was pretty easy to pronounce (it’s just like the dance). But I get a lot of "Chow," "Che" or in Siri’s case, "Char." If Siri mangles any of your contacts’ names, you can correct her by saying, "That’s not how you pronounce his/her name." Siri will then ask you how to pronounce their first and last name and give you three different options to choose from. Once you’ve made your selection, Siri will use that pronunciation from then on.

4. Raise to speak

The most common way to activate Siri is by holding down the Home button for a couple of seconds. But there’s also an option to launch the app by lifting your iPhone up to your ear. This will only occur when you’re not on a phone call. If you prefer this method, go to Settings > Siri and then turn on Raise to Speak.

5. Create location-aware reminders

So for example, you can say something like, "Remind me to pick up the dry cleaning when I leave work." But in order for this to work, you will need to add the specific addresses — home, work, dry cleaners, and so forth – to your phone’s address book. Also, you’ll need to make sure you have Location Services turned on and that it’s enabled for Reminders. To check, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, or …
Siri has become my go-to method for setting up reminders. Rather than opening up the Reminders app and manually entering all the information, I can just dictate it to Siri and she’ll create it for me. But she’s also smart in that she can remind you to do something based on your location.

6. Launch specific settings

… tell Siri to open that specific setting. Finding the menus and settings to turn specific features on and off can feel like a fruitless search, so make it easy it on yourself and have Siri do it for you, with commands like "Open Mail settings." Use the same phrasing to launch specific applications.

7. Search your notes and emails

8. Have Siri read your messages, play voicemail
Another timesaving feature of Siri is her ability to search through your emails and notes. If you’re looking for a specific message about a work project, tell Siri, "Find email about Q3 projections," and she will retrieve any relevant emails, telling you how many related messages there are for that specific subject/sender dating back to the first record.

We all know that playing with your phone while driving is dangerous. If you must check your messages or voicemail, Siri can be a better option than looking down at your screen. Use commands like "Read my latest email" or "Play my voicemail" and she’ll read them aloud, and give you options to dictate a reply or ignore.

9. Find and make restaurant reservations

10. Have fun!
Oh, crap! You forgot about your wedding anniversary and you need to make dinner reservations ASAP. Siri can help you with that, as she can tap into Yelp and OpenTable to come up with top-rated restaurants and booking information. If you have a type of cuisine in mind, you can say something like, "Find the best French restaurant around," and Siri will list results based on your location and Yelp ratings. You can also say, "Make reservations for Spruce tonight at 7 pm," and Siri will tell you what’s available according to OpenTable.

There’s a lot more things that Siri can do, so have fun exploring. One of my favorite things to do is to ask her which planes are flying over me at the moment. Need to settle a bet with a friend about who’s the better player, LeBron James or Tim Duncan? Have Siri pull up their stats. She can even solve math problems.

Siri may not be perfect, but with a little effort on your part, she can help save you time and boost your productivity, and maybe even win you a bet.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

iPhone 6 Rumor Roundup


There have been months of rumors regarding the next iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 6" by bloggers and the media. Increasingly the rumors are coming from reliable sources, and some are now being supported by leaked images. Here's a roundup of what the rumors are saying.

As always, it's important to realize that rumors fall short of fact and that we won't know for sure what the new iPhone will be until Apple announces it, which will most likely be in September. Accompanying this post is a rendering by Martin Hajek based on the cases that manufacturers are already making and purported specs. It shows what a bezel-free, 4.7-inch iPhone may look like. You can see more renderings on NWE.


The rumors have converged around the new phone having a 4.7-inch display. Concrete evidence began surfacing in April, which I covered in a post on leaked photos of molds used to make the casing. The image at right shows the mold in comparison to an iPhone 4s. While earlier rumors said the phone would have a 1,920 x 1,080 display, most recently a credible rumor said it will have a resolution of 1334 x 750 (326ppi). You can read more in my post about Apple's roadmap for 2014, which relays information from Ming Chi Kuo, who usually has solid inside knowledge of what Apple is coming out with. Also, my post on leaked specs noted the iPhone 6 could sport an "ultra-retina" display at 389 ppi.

In addition, rumors have converged around Apple releasing a second new phone later in the year (or early next year) that would have a 5.5-inch display, which Ming Chi Kuo affirmed. In February I passed along the rumor that this "phablet" might not carry the iPhone moniker. Kuo also said that the phablet's display will be made of sapphire crystal or have a sapphire crystal laminate and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (401 ppi). However, he said Apple may not use sapphire crystal in their 4.7-inch phone. In late February, I posted a hot rumor that the iPhone 6 display may use Quantum Dot technology, which renders colors much more accurately. Finally, in a post in early February, I passed along the rumor that said the phablet will be a 2K device, with 2,272 x 1,280 pixels.


In February we also began to get rumors that the iPhone 6 would have narrower bezels (the left and right borders on the display) or even no bezels. This would mean that while the display would be larger, it would keep the overall size of the phone as small as possible.

I also posted a photo of an iPhone 6 case that suggests the sleep/wake button will be moved to the right side of the phone opposite volume-up button. And I passed along the rumor that the shape of the phone's volume buttons will be an elongated pill shape, similar to the iPhone 5c. In that post I also reported noted that the iPhone 6 will emulate the iPhone 5c's holes on the bottom for the speaker and microphone as well as the iPhone 5c's back, rounded edges. In my post on the bezel-free design, I passed along the rumor suggesting that the Touch ID would be incorporated into the bottom of the display, and that there would no longer be a Home button.


Pretty much everyone expects the phone to have a new A8 processor. In March I passed along the rumor that new processor will be a quad-core chip with quad core graphics. I also posted in March some leaked specs, which included the tidbit that the processor will be a speedy 2.6ghz.


In a post in early February, I passed along some leaked specs that said the there would be a 128GB option for the new phone.


Some rumors have suggested it will be even thinner than the .3 inches of the iPhone 5s, as in this post about leaked specs in which I reported it will be in the range of .22 inches thick.


Rumors suggest the camera will continue to be 8-megapixel but will be much improved and will include optical image stabilization.


In mid-April reported that Apple was talking with the carriers to see what they'd think about a $100 price increase for the iPhone 6. So far, the carriers are balking, but it's possible Apple could succeed in getting them to agree to at least a small increase in price.

Bottom line

Everything points to a 4.7-inch iPhone 6, and a larger 5.5-inch iPhone that would come out late this year, or even possibly early next year. Of course it will have a faster chip, and I'm betting we'll see the A8 processor. I also think it's a good bet that the appearance will change, such as the bezels, button shape, and edges. It will come with iOS 8, a feature of which will be the new Healthbook app for monitoring health and performance, as well as a new version of the Maps app.

What we don't know

There has been little news about the battery, but I think it's safe to assume the battery life will be longer, as Apple adopts new, more energy-efficient technologies. I expect them to use IGZO technology in their future displays, maybe even the iPhone 6. An IGZO display would use up to 90% less energy.

What it means

So is Apple copying Samsung, who's been making larger smartphones for several years? Steve Jobs was pretty clear that he thought a phone should be small enough that you could easily hold it in one hand. But larger phones and phablets have become extremely popular, so much so that a court document in Apple vs Samsung revealed that Apple explicitly acknowledged they needed a device to compete in this segment of the market. Not only does a larger phone seem to contradict the direction Steve Jobs gave, it also goes against Apple's long-held tradition of keeping its product line tightly focused. This has helped Apple be more profitable, as well as sell more devices. Research suggests that when there are too many options, consumers actually make fewer purchases. By the end of the year, we could have three phones to choose from: the iPhone 5s, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, and a 5.5-inch phablet. That's quite a change for Apple.

Market analysts seem pretty much agreed, though, that the iPhone 6 is going to create the biggest splash of 2014 in the smartphone market. Many are already expecting huge sales for the device, and there are rumors that Apple will be making some 70 million of them. That's a lot of phones. In the meantime, the world awaits breathlessly to hear what Apple announces.