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Apple Archives - In 30 Minutes Guides

Touch screen basics for new iPhones

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If you getting a new iPhone, you may wonder how a device without a physical keyboard can do everything from checking your bank balances to telling your Facebook friends about your daughter’s birthday party. The answer: It’s all in the touch screen. The following post explains how to use touch screens on new iPhones (including the iPhone 7, iPhone 8 and iPhone 10). Some of the instructions will be valid for older iPhones as well.

The iPhone touch screen lets you press virtual buttons, enter text on a pop-up virtual keyboard, and use other types of gestures, including:

  • Force Touch. Pressing and holding a finger on the screen can place the cursor in a document or email, select an area or object, or mark an item for cutting, copying, and pasting. Force Touch can also be used to remove apps from the phone (see Chapter 4, ).
  • Swiping and Brushing a finger across the screen allows for horizontal browsing (for instance, to see the next picture in a photo album) or vertical scrolling (useful in the iPhone’s browser, if you want to read to the bottom of a long article or page). Flicking can be used in book apps to flip through the pages, and some games even use swiping for special actions such as slicing tossed fruit (no joke—this is the object of a game called Fruit Ninja).
  • Double-tapping. In email, double-tapping text will highlight text and give you the option of copying, cutting, and pasting. In games and other apps, double-tapping might allow certain moves or special functions.
  • Dragging is a combination of holding and swiping, and is similar to “dragging” an item with a mouse on a desktop computer. Try it by holding down one of the app icons for two seconds. Without letting it go, drag it to the right side of the screen. The icon will follow your finger and will eventually be dragged over to the next pane of the Home screen. Let go of the icon, and the icon will be deposited on the new pane.
  • Zooming. This gesture is commonly used for zooming in and out, which can be useful for examining photos or maps. To zoom in, place the tips of two fingers or a finger and a thumb next to each other on the screen, and then spread the digits. To zoom out, do the reverse.

Many gestures and touch-related actions are contextual. That means a gesture may be assigned different functions, depending on the app that is being used. Fortunately, some gestures are nearly universal. For instance, the swiping gesture rarely changes from app to app (Fruit Ninja being one amusing exception!)

3D Touch, Peek, and Pop

All newer iPhones have additional touch screen actions, which Apple collectively calls 3D Touch. The touch screens on these newer models are able to differentiate between taps, light pressure (Peek), and heavy pressure (Pop). Peek generally previews content or provides additional options, whereas Pop will open the content.

Here are some examples of how Peek and Pop work:

  • From the Home screen, light pressure on an app icon will reveal a menu of Quick Action options for that app.
  • When reviewing the list of email in your inbox, light pressure on a particular message will preview it, while heavy pressure will open up the message.
  • While browsing photos and videos in the Photos app, use Peek on a single image to open it up for preview.
  • From your list of contacts, Peek will let you quickly mail, message, or call someone.
  • In Maps, use Peek to preview a business or organization, share its location, start driving directions, or browse contacts in your favorites (see the image below).

iPhone 7 Plus Peek favorites iPhone touch screenHowever, there are some drawbacks to 3D Touch:

  • It takes some getting used to. Press too hard or too softly, and it may not work as expected.
  • Apple Apps widely incorporate 3D Touch, as do some popular apps such as Instagram. However, not all apps support 3D Touch.
  • For certain apps, there does not seem to be much of a point to Peek or Pop—for instance, why bother using 3D Touch to preview or open a photo when it is already so easy to use the touch screen to open it?

Nevertheless, some apps are really improved by the addition of 3D Touch, such as Contacts. If you own a newer iPhone model, play around with 3D Touch to determine which apps work best with the new touch screen technology.

This post was excerpted from an IN 30 MINUTES guide.

Announcing an updated version of our unofficial iPhone user guide

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Publisher i30 Media has released an updated version of its iPhone user guide. Authored by Ian Lamont, iPhone Basics In 30 Minutes covers the current iPhone hardware lineup including the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and the iPhone SE. It also explores the iOS operating system, Apple services such as iCloud and Siri, and important apps such as Phone, Photos, Mail, and Maps. Finally, it provides reviews of nine powerful apps that many new iPhone owners may never have heard of, such as Waze and Wunderlist.

Written in plain English with a touch of humor and lots of images, this iPhone user guide covers basic setup, key hardware and software features, and various tricks and time-savers. Topics include:

  • How to customize the iPhone’s appearance
  • What users need to know if about migrating from Android
  • Touch screen basics
  • 3D Touch, Peek, and Pop
  • Switching apps and multitasking
  • Typing and text tricks
  • How to use Siri and its kid brother, Dictation
  • Getting the most out of the powerful iPhone camera
  • Managing iCloud settings
  • Security features, from Find My iPhone to Touch ID
  • Wi-Fi and other wireless settings
  • How to tame notifications and after-hours calls
  • Moving, deleting, and grouping apps
  • Four ways to conserve battery power
  • Seven ways to free up iPhone storage space
  • Nine exceptional iPhone apps

Not a comprehensive iPhone user guide

As its name suggests, iPhone Basics In 30 Minutes does not cover everything about the iPhone. Nevertheless, in a single reading readers will discover new features and learn time-saving shortcuts. The guide also explains how to leverage the iPhone’s increasingly powerful camera and photo-organizing software.

iPhone user guide camera tipsiPhone Basics In 30 Minutes contains updated text and imagery from an earlier title, iPhone 6 and 6S In 30 Minutes, but has been significantly revised to take into account Apple’s new iPhone models and updates to the iOS operating system.

Here’s what real readers have said about the guides:

John Steel:

“A really useful guide full of hints tips and information. You can save yourself a lot of money by following the clear instructions over usage. I would still be struggling to use the phone to its full potential without this book. Highly recommended.”

Gary Coates:

“Great help for Android users wondering where all the functionality has gone when using an iPhone for the first time.”

To learn more about the title, or to purchase the ebook, PDF, or paperback editions, visit the In 30 Minutes online shop listing for iPhone Basics In 30 Minutes. The book will be updated as Apple releases new hardware and software.

Working with Photos and iCloud Photo Library on macOS/OS X

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When it comes to photos, the digital revolution has been a blessing and a curse. It is so darned easy to take photos, yet it’s so *&^$% hard to organize them. A lot of people either don’t know how to transfer photos from their smartphones and cameras to computers and tablets — or they can’t be bothered. Who wants to deal with cables, import settings, albums, and all of the other details? Apple has tried to take away some of the pain with Photos, the photo organizing application for OS X (soon to be renamed macOS?), as well as iCloud Photo Library, a cloud-based photo storage service.

Photos for macOS/OS X is closely integrated with the Photos app on iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad (the mobile version of the app is described in more detail in our iPhone In 30 Minutes book):

photos app iPhone

The Photos app on an iPhone.

Photos replaces iPhoto, an older Apple photo editing app for Macs. If you are using an older Mac and upgrade to the latest version of OS X, Photos will be installed and old iPhoto collections will be migrated to the new application, along with any albums created in iPhoto. Here’s what you need to know when it comes to using Photos:

  • Select the Photos tab to see all photos and videos organized by date taken and location (if location data has been added). If you use an iPhone or iPad, you may also see Photo Stream images, a free service which automatically uploads to iCloud up to 1,000 photos taken on your mobile devices and then shares them on any other Mac, iPhone, or iPad connected to the same iCloud account.
  • Shared is part of iCloud Photo Sharing, an optional service that lets you share photos and videos with friends and relatives, including people who do not have Apple devices — albums are visible on the Web, and people can leave comments. As iCloud Photo Sharing is similar to photo-sharing features found in Facebook, Line, and other social networks, it may not be worth activating. On the other hand, it lets you work with existing photos without having to upload them to a separate service.      
  • Under the Albums tab are photo albums you have created (press the “+” symbol to make a new album), as well as views of videos, the most recent import, and Photo Stream.
  • Projects is an underappreciated paid service that lets users create photo books, cards, calendars, and prints. Select photos in the Photos or Albums view, and then click the “+” button. The cost varies, but the quality is good. The books and prints are an excellent way to preserve the best photos in your albums.
  • iCloud Photo Library is a service that syncs photos and videos on all devices using iCloud. So, if you take a photo on your iPhone, a copy of the photo will be uploaded to iCloud and then distributed to your Mac, your iPad, and any other device connected to the same iCloud account. If you edit the photo on one device, the changes will be reflected on all other connected devices.

Photo Stream vs. iCloud Photo Library

Unlike Photo Stream, which stores only a limited number of photos, iCloud Photo Library can store all the photos and videos you add to the account, up to the storage levels you have paid for in your iCloud account. While every iCloud account comes with a limited amount of free storage, it’s not enough to hold a lot of photos or videos, especially if you are constantly taking photos with an iPhone camera.

To activate iCloud Photo Library on your Mac, go to Photos > Preferences > iCloud and check the box for iCloud Photo Library. To add more storage space, open Apple Menu > System Preferences > iCloud and select iCloud Drive. There are several paid tiers:

iCloud Photo Library paid tiers

iCloud Photo Library: Paid tiers

Once activated, photos taken on your iPhone or uploaded or transferred to your Mac will be accessible on every other connected device.

A new In 30 Minutes book about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S

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I’m pleased to announce the release of iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 Minutes: The unofficial guide to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S, including basic setup, easy iOS tweaks, and time-saving tips. This is a special book for i30 Media, as I will describe in the following blog post.

First things first: It’s safe to say that the four devices that make up the iPhone 6 family (and iOS 9) are the most innovative iPhone models since the iPhone 4/4S. With the new phones, Apple has moved beyond Steve Jobs’ emphasis on small and simple that defined all previous generations of the iPhone. The new phones have large screens and enable some advanced technical and UI features, such as 3D Touch and “Live Photos” in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models as well as a more sophisticated Apple Wallet experience. Here’s a chart comparing the basic features of the iPhone 6 family:

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S comparison chart specs

However, with the additional features comes additional complexity—and that’s where iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 Minutes comes in. The learning curve for people coming from Android or older iPhone models can be steep. For people who have never used an iPhone (or owned an older model), features such as Dictation, Maps, Touch ID, 3D Touch, Apple Wallet, and various camera modes are not readily apparent unless someone sits down and explains how they work.

That’s precisely what I have set out to do in this book about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S. Using the classic In 30 Minutes style (friendly, brief, lots of examples), I cover basic setup and then move on to hardware, touch screen gestures, Siri, and core apps such as Camera, Mail, and Maps. Topics that are particularly tricky (I’m looking at you, iCloud and Photos app!) get extra attention. I also warn people away from settings that can negatively impact the iPhone experience, such as Wi-Fi Assist. There are more topics listed here.

What’s special about this title, beyond the cool product it’s about? For one, it’s the first new hardware-specific book published by i30 Media in two years. However, I have to admit that iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 Minutes spends quite a bit of time on iOS, apps, and other software/network settings. In other words, it’s not purely about hardware.

iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 MinutesSecond, iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 Minutes is also the first new title that sports the new In 30 Minutes design. This new look has been in the works since the beginning of the year, so it’s a real relief to finally see it in the hands of readers!

Please go to the iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 Minutes website if you are interested in learning more about the book or reading some tips and sample chapters. We are offering a 25% discount to people who download the PDF version, but we also offer a paperback edition and ebooks for the Kindle, iPad/iPhone, Nook, and other devices that have e-reader software for the ePub format.

The iPhone 6S aggravates missing photo archive features in iCloud

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Apple recently announced the latest iPhone model, the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S+. I have closely followed the news, not only because I have written about Apple for years, but also because I am preparing a new book, titled iPhone 6 & 6S In 30 Minutes which covers all iPhone 6 models running iOS 9.

A lot of the media attention around the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus has concerned the powerful new cameras, the ability to shoot 4K video, and Live Photos. These look like amazing features, but as others have pointed out, they come with a high price: They will quickly use up the iPhone’s storage (particularly the 16GB model). I will take this observation a step further: The powerful iPhone 6S camera aggravates a huge design flaw in Apple’s iCloud service — the inability to archive photos and videos on iCloud Photo Library.

iphone6s icloud photo library archive photos backupLet me explain. If you have activated iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S, All Photos will show thumbnails of all digital photos and videos created on the iPhone that have not been deleted. It also includes thumbnails of photos from any other device connected to the same iCloud account and synced to iCloud Photo Library.

When you delete a photo or video taken on your iPhone, it is also removed from iCloud Photo Library. It is not archived. This is true even if you have a paid iCloud account with tons of online storage. This is a major problem for anyone who takes lots of photos and videos, and then needs to delete them from the phone to make room for more — once you delete them from the phone, they are gone for good!

Apple support forums are filled with iPhone owners who want to clear some space on their phones, but still save copies of the photos and videos (see Can I use iCloud to store photos I want to delete from my iPhone 5s?). There is no solution on the forums, and when I contacted Apple support the only suggestion they had was to optimize storage on the iPhone, as described on this page:

If you turn on Optimize (device) Storage, iCloud Photo Library will automatically manage the size of your library on your device, so you can make the most of your device’s storage and access more photos than ever. All of your original, full-resolution photos and videos are stored in iCloud while device-size versions are kept on your device. You can download the original photos and videos over Wi-Fi or cellular when you need them. If you turn on Download Originals, iCloud Photo Library will keep your original, full-resolution photos and videos in iCloud and on your device. Download Originals is the default setting for iOS devices with the free 5 GB storage plan and for all Mac devices.

Optimize Storage is an iCloud band-aid that doesn’t scale. This option takes all of the high-resolution photos and videos — even the ones you created just last week — and places them on iCloud’s servers. It leads to other problems. Namely, if you tap a thumbnail to download a high-resolution photo or video from iCloud onto your iPhone, the photo or video may take a long time to load -— or may not load at all — depending on the speed of your Wi-Fi or carrier connection. I found this out the hard way when trying to show a two-minute HD video of a recent vacation experience on my iPhone 6 to visiting family members over a standard home Wi-Fi setup. It was taking too long to load, so I was forced to abandon the attempt.

What if you don’t use iCloud Photo Library, and opt for plain-jane iCloud photo storage? In this case, you will revert to the old Camera Roll view, which consists of photos and videos created by the iPhone’s camera and still stored on the device. Eventually they will have to be deleted and/or manually backed up to a desktop computer.

As you can imagine, things will only get worse for owners of the iPhone 6S and 6S+, who will be taking higher-resolution photos and videos. Until Apple’s iCloud group figures out a solution to the problem for all iPhone owners, the best alternative is Dropbox’s Camera Uploads feature, which automatically uploads and backs up all photos and videos taken on your smartphone to a dedicated folder on the user’s Dropbox account. Even if you delete a photo or video on the iPhone, you will still have a copy on Dropbox as long as a Dropbox sync has taken place and there is enough space on the account (free accounts have a limited amount of storage). I have covered this in the latest edition of Dropbox In 30 Minutes for anyone who is interested. Google Drive recently began offering a similar feature, but I have not tried it yet. It boggles the mind why Apple has yet to introduce such a feature for iCloud — Dropbox Camera Uploads was introduced in 2011, so it’s not like it’s a new concept.

Have you had the same photo and video backup problem using iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S? How have you dealt with the problem?