Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Protect Hearing By Setting Volume Limits on Music Played in iOS

Have you ever had someone pass you their headphones to hear a song, and had your ears blasted by an outrageously loud volume level? Well, by default, anyone can crank the volume up on music played from an iOS device to 100%. That may sound like no big deal, but there are situations where listening to music that loud could potentially be problematic, leading to inattentiveness to the outside world or even theoretical hearing issues. This is particularly important for kids, who may not realize that the volume level is harmful. Thus, if you or your kids listen to a lot of music with headphones on from an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, you may want to consider setting a maximum volume limit for the Music app.

Maximum Volume is an optional setting which sets a system wide volume limit that overrides whatever the Music app Volume setting is adjusted to. This means that even if the Music app is set to 100%, if the system volume limit is set to 50%, the music will not reach beyond that 50% setting. This can help to prevent a variety of issues from listening to music thats too loud, and can be a good trick to protect the hearing of sensitive individuals, especially kids who may be playing with the physical side volume levels, but even for those of us who just listen to a lot of music with headphones on or earbuds in (and yes, the volume limit does apply to soundport AUX audio output too).

Setting a maximum volume limit to Music played from iOS is quite simple:

  1. Open the "Settings" app and scroll down to find the "Music" section
  2. Select the "Volume Limit" option, which will be set to "Off" by default
  3. Adjust the Volume Limit slider to a level you want to set as the maximum
  4. Tap to go Back or exit out of Settings to set the limit

With a volume limit cap set, you can launch the Music app and start playing a song or radio station to immediately hear the difference.

Again, this may not be a big deal for many iPhone, iPod, and iPad users, but it can be a really great tip for parents and educators to prevent issues with blasting audio.

But what about the few songs or audio tracks in a Music library that have much lower audio levels, and are hard to hear without cranking the volume up? iOS has thought of that situation, with a separate unique setting called ‘Sound Check’, which evens the volume levels out of played audio so that all songs are generally played at the same level. That works particularly well with the Volume Limit, and is a good additional trick to use.

Be mindful that some third party headphone brands have their own volume controls on their physical hardware as well, meaning that despite setting a volume limit for the Music app, the headphones themselves may be able to play something extremely loud and at a harmful level. If you use a pair of headphones like that and share them with children, you may want to set a lower iOS Volume Limit to accommodate for any extreme levels.

This covers the iOS world with an iPhone and iPad, but the Mac and many apps like iTunes have similar features for music and volume levels too (even getting song specific in iTunes). Similar to headphones however, most external speakers also include their own volume controls too, which can easily override the system setting, so be aware of that and set the limits accordingly.


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

by Kelly Hodgkins, m.tuaw.comFebruary 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.

Connect the device to the computer with which you normally sync and open iTunes.

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"

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How to Restart iPhone / iPad Without Using Power Button & Home Button

Ever needed to reboot an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that doesn’t have a functioning power button or a Home button? It’s tricky if not impossible, right? Even with the Assistive Touch on-screen buttons and variety of workarounds for a failed power button, rebooting an iOS device without working hardware buttons is a challenge, but it turns out that a few indirect tricks can work to get restart any iOS device, even if none of the physical buttons are working.

We’ll cover two quick and easy methods to reboot any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch – without having to use the hardware buttons at all. These methods rely on toggling software settings that initiate a soft reboot to the device, which means even if your physical buttons are completely malfunctioning, you can still restart a device if it’s necessary to.

Method 1: Reboot iPhone by Going Bold

Not only does bolding fonts make text easier to read on the iPhone and iPad, but, as you may recall when enabling the feature, it forces a complete system reboot to enable (or disable) the feature. Well, that sure is convenient for our purposes of rebooting the phone without functioning hardware buttons, right? Here’s how to do this:

Open the Settings app and head to "General"

Go to "Accessibility" and locate "Bold Text", flip that to the ON position

An alert will show up saying "Applying this setting with restart your iPhone" – so tap on "Continue" to immediately soft reboot the iOS device

Is that easy or what? The great thing about using the Bold Fonts trick to reboot an iOS device is that you won’t lose any network settings or customizations, the only change is to the font itself. You’ll either go bold, or lose the bold text and get a narrow font, depending on your setting to begin with.

This option is limited to modern versions of iOS that have the option, so if you’re working with an older device that doesn’t use iOS 7 or iOS 8, you won’t be able to use this trick, and instead you’ll want to go with method two described next.

Method 2: Restart the iPhone By Dumping Wireless Settings

All versions of iOS offer another indirect method of restarting a device; dumping the network settings. Yea, the same trick that often resolves issues with iOS networking issues a soft reboot in that process.

Head to Settings app and go to "General" and then to "Reset"

Locate "Reset Network Settings" and select it, then tap to confirm and reboot the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

The device instantly reboots, without having to use any of the hardware buttons.

While this works to restart all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices, the obvious downside is that you lose wireless settings, so that means things like Wi-Fi passwords, VPN details, and Bluetooth connections, so be ready for that and jot down any complex logins or details beforehand.

By the way, if you’re facing this issue with an iOS device that has no functioning hardware buttons, why is that? Is the device damaged? If so, you may need to pay for repairs yourself, or just deal with it. On the other hand, did the hardware buttons just fail on their own? If so, and it’s an iPhone 5, you may qualify for for the free AppleCare Repair service under the Lock Button replacement program, and if so it’s worth using that service to fix the problem. Also, it’s important to remember that all iPhone, iPad, and iPod hardware that is still within warranty from Apple will get repaired for free, assuming the problem is with the hardware and not user caused.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

An Upcoming iPhone Feature From Apple Will Completely Transform How You Use Apps

by Steven Tweedie,

Apple's new operating system for mobile phones and tablets, iOS 8, is slated to release in the fall, and one of its features will transform how you use your apps.

Apple calls it Extensibility, and it basically allows your apps to share both information and functionality with each other, which means less time spent switching between apps.

Let's say you have a favorite app for editing your photos, such as Adobe Photoshop Express.

Before Extensibility, you would need to be inside Photoshop Express in order to use its editing tools. But with Extensibility, you'll be able to access those same editing tools right from within Apple's native Photos app. The editing tools from Photoshop Express would act as the "extension" in this case, and the Photos app would then have access to that extension, allowing you to take advantage of Photoshop Express' unique features and functionality even from within outside apps.

Popular password management app 1Password has already demonstrated how it will use Extensibility to let users easily fill in password info from within any app. Before, you had to boot up 1Password, copy the password for a site or app, and then open the site or app and paste it in. But Extensibility eliminates those extra steps. Other apps can plug into 1Password and let you use it without opening a separate app.

So how does it work?

There are different types of extensions depending on how and where they will share information with other apps. Apple wants to prevent apps from simply having full access to all of the information in your other apps, so extensions are focused on particular functions and tasks, such as Share, Action, and Photo Editing.

It's important to note that an app won't be able to randomly request important info from another app without your consent. You have complete control over when an app makes a request to use an extension, meaning an app can't request your PayPal password from 1Password unless you ask it to.

Besides being secure, Extensibility means more information at your fingertips, and faster.

Apple, for example, is allowing extensions to plug directly into your iPhone's Notification Center, where it will act as a widget. If you want to stay up to date on the latest scores, you could enable ESPN's Sports Center app to see its extension in Notification Center, allowing you to quickly check out what's going on without opening the Sports Center app.

You won't only be able to glimpse information from within Notification Center, extensions will also let you take action.

Say you were using the Philips Hue app to control your smart light bulbs. Right now, that's all done within the app, making it a tad inefficient. But Philips has shown off an iOS 8 concept for an extension that would let you turn on and off your smart lighting, even select some pre-set mood lighting, all from a simple swipe up of the Notification Center.

At its WWDC conference in June, Apple highlighted how an eBay extension would allow you to keep track of auctions from within Notification Center. And since extensions can also include actions, you're even able to place a bid without opening the app.

Extensions can also be used to share things to your favorite social media site. Apple has limited sharing features integrated into iOS 7, but iOS 8 will usher in the ability for any social media app to design its own extension.

Say you're browsing the internet using Safari. With Extensibility, you'll be able to tap the image, select which social media website or app you'd like to share the picture with, and you're done.

Extensibility even extends to core Apple software, such as its keyboard. If another app has a keyboard that you like better than Apple's, they simply have to enable a keyboard extension to give users the ability to replace Apple's keyboard with their own.

At its heart, Extensibility will both remove friction and empower preference, letting users take their favorite app's killer feature and use it from within another app.

It's a giant step in the right direction for Apple, and it means that apps no longer will have compromise on polish in the name of being able to "do it all." Instead, they'll be able to focus on creating a unique experience that users will be able to take with them into other apps.

Extensibility will be available when iOS 8 launches as a free download this fall.