Major Ulysses Update

On Monday 27th May 2019 Ulysses will release an update to their award winning text editor for Mac and iOS. This update is free for Ulysses subscribers and has two major features added.

The first feature is the ability to publish directly to Ghost (img.1), Ghost is a , is a publishing platform that specialises in blogs and online publications. Due to its simplicity, security and speed, some of the most innovative companies in the world chose to rely on Ghost for their online publishing needs. Ulysses users can already publish directly to WordPress and Medium and every addition to this is more than welcome. The Ulysses press release states:

To date, Ulysses’ publishing function was available for WordPress and for Medium; with the new release, Ghost joins the two. Facilitating the publishing of blog posts and web articles, the feature is the most comprehensive and versatile of its kind in the world of writing apps. Ulysses’ users can upload their texts — including images, links, tags, etc. — to the named platforms with only a few clicks or tabs. Editing happens entirely in Ulysses; there’s no more need to copy, paste or manually format text.



The second feature added blew my mind when I heard about it as I didn’t think it was possible. Full-featured Split View Editing on iPad (img.2), yes two instances of the same application on the iPad enabling editing on two texts at the same time, a feature that many productivity specialists have been asking for and Ulysses is the first application to add this feature. The Ulysses press release states:

The ability to display two texts next to each other is handy for translating, for comparing two versions of a document, and for having an eye at reference notes while writing. On Mac, writers could do it for a long time, and Ulysses just recently improved it by introducing a native editor split view to its Mac app. Now with this release, split view editing comes to iPad. Ulysses’ users can not only display and edit two texts at a time, scroll both texts simultaneously, and portion the available screen space at will between the two editors. With a split view consisting of two full-featured app windows, they’re also able to navigate and to show an export preview next to an editor, to see what their output is going to look like while they write.



These two features will enhance an already great application and I’m sure I’ll be asking Max Seelemann (co-founder of Ulysses) about how they such powerful features when he appears on the Mac Quadcast in the near future.

Bear Subscription Giveaway Winners

A blind draw was made on Thursday (8th November) with all of the entries that I received for the Bear Subscription Giveaway entered, the five winners were:

Neil T

Mieszko Ś

David S

Nash P

Karen A

Congratulations to the five winners, hope you enjoy the software and find it as useful as I do.

Thank you to everyone at Bear for generously providing the five subscriptions each for a year and also, thank you to everyone who took the time to enter.

Bear Subscription Giveaway

I have a great chance for you to get your hands on one of five subscriptions each valid for a year for Bear, one of the top note and writing apps on Mac and iOS.

Bear is perfect for everything from quick notes to in-depth essays. A focus mode helps you concentrate and advanced markup options are an online writer's best friend. Bear is also packed with beautiful themes and typography which makes your writing look great before and after publishing. The applications simple tools take the effort out of writing, whether you need to hit specific word counts and reading times, or you need to convert your writing into PDF and Word docs and with Bear's custom markup shortcuts, you can add style and links with just a tap or keystroke.

Features Include

* Advanced Markup Editor that supports and highlights over 20 programming languages.

* In-line support for images and photos.

* Cross-Note Links to build a body of work and quickly reference other notes.

* Hashtags to quickly find and organise notes.

* All your notes are stored in plain text for the ultimate in portability.

Bear Pro is $14.99 for a year and gives advanced features, including syncing between all your devices, application themes and exporting and the team at Bear have given me 5 subscriptions, each for a year to give to my podcast listeners and blog readers.

The Bear Subscription Giveaway Has Now Closed

Entries should be in by 12 midday GMT on Friday 2nd November and winners will be announced in the next episode of the Mac Quadcast and then posted on the Mac Quad website.

Thanks to all at Bear for this generous giveaway.

Auto Turn Book Pages in iOS

Welcome to a new screencast on The Mac Quad. In this post I will show you how to have iOS auto turn your pages in a book, making it much easier for motor impaired users to read an ebook.


Text Walkthrough

How to auto turn pages in a book on iOS

  • Select Settings

  • Ensure General is selected the tap Accessibility

  • Flick down and tap on Accessibility Shortcut

  • Tap on Voice Over

  • Go back to main accessibility screen

  • Flick up and tap on Voice Over

  • Drag Speaking Rate to between one quarter and one third

  • Return to Homepage

  • Launch iBooks

  • Choose book

  • Once on the page you wish to start at triple click home button, Voice Over is now activated

  • Start continuous reading by doing a two finger swipe down

  • Turn iOS volume down to zero

  • When Voice Over reaches the end of the page it will turn

  • To stop Voice Over and auto page turn triple click home button

  • You can return to the homepage as usual

I hope this video has enabled you to get more out of your iOS device and made reading books easier.

Audible Added To Sonos

It’s been a long time coming but solely going from information on my Sonos system (Two Play:1 Speakers) Audible has finally made a return to Sonos. It has been a service that many users have been crying out for but has been consistently put back by Sonos, audiobooks have been available on Sonos via the service, however, this service has a much smaller user base and a severely reduced catalogue compared to Audible.

After adding the Audible service in the usual way on Sonos (on the Mac Controller click ‘Add music service’ then choose Audible and follow the instructions to add your existing account or create a new one) the option of Audible is available in your services list. My Audible service shows accounts for several countries, even though I only have an account (I don’t know if this is a glitch on launch). Once in your appropriate region all of your audiobook purchases should be available.

I am unable to verify if this service is available to control via Alexa on the Sonos One as I do not have a unit available to test. I would like to test a Sonos One in order to do a comparison with the HomePod but obviously there are financial constraints.

The addition of Audible is extremely welcome to users of the Sonos ecosystem and I know I will be making use of it extensively.

iMazing Giveaway Winners

A blind draw was made today with all of the entries that I received for the iMazing Giveaway entered,the three winners were:




Congratulations to the three winners, hope you enjoy the software and find it as useful as I do.

Thank you to everyone at DigiDNA (the makers of iMazing) for generously providing the three copies of iMazing and also, thank you to everyone who took the time to enter.

iMazing Giveaway

The iMazing Giveaway has now closed

This week I have been very kindly given three Single iMazing 2 Licenses by my friends at DigiDNA to give away. If you have read my post about how to Use iMazing to Check the Health of an iPhone Battery you will be aware of some of the features available in the full version of iMazing but there is so much to this great piece of software.

iMazing 2 is for personal iOS device management, empowering users to simply do more with their Apple devices. It has been downloaded by over 10M users and is the number one software to transfer and save music, messages, and data from any iOS device to a computer. iMazing 2 introduced a safer way to back up, backups are automatically archived, so that digital memories are safe, and browsable in just a few clicks. It works with all iPhone, iPad and iPod models, on both Mac and PC.

Key Features

  • Old iPhone to a new one

It's easy to copy the content of any iPhone or iPad to a new one. Users can choose what data and apps they want to save and transfer.

  • Safe backups on any Mac or PC

Any iOS device can be securely backed up via WiFi or USB. Backups can also be browsed and edited before being restored.

  • Simple message transfers

Text messages, MMS, iMessages and attachments can be safely stored on any computer. Conversations can then be browsed and printed.

  • Easy access to music, photos and videos

Media files can be moved between any iPhone or iPad and a computer. Favourite pictures, homemade videos and music can be saved and shared, without using iCloud or iTunes.

Further Features

  • Full iOS 10 and 11 support
  • A time machine for iPhone
  • Battery health check
  • Photos to Device
  • Console and Logs
  • Manage iBooks
  • Install iOS
  • Automatic Wi-Fi Backups
  • Download and Manage Apps

As stated above I have three Single iMazing 2 Licenses to give away each of which is worth £34.99 and gives access to a License for 1 computer (Mac or PC), All iMazing 2.x updates and 24/7 support.

All you need to do to enter for a chance to win one of these licenses is to use the link below to send me an email with iMazing Giveaway in the Subject Line, please only one entry per person.

The iMazing Giveaway has now closed

I will conduct a blind draw to determine the three winners.

All entries must be in by 09.00 GMT on Thursday 8th March 2018. Winners will be posted on the website over the weekend of 10th & 11th March, I will also contact the three winners by email over the same weekend.

Thank you to everyone at iMazing by DigiDNA for their generosity in providing these codes. If you are not lucky enough to win please visit the iMazing website and see what this great piece of software can offer you.

Good Luck,

The Mac Quad

HomePod - A Review

I purchased my HomePod from one of our local Apple Retail Stores on Monday (12th February) only three days after launch and for the first time, in my experience, the Apple Store was nearly empty and on asking if the Space Grey HomePod was in stock the answer was “yes plenty”. Is it a surprise that this product has not captured the public’s imagination like the iPhone, iPad or even the Apple TV? Probably not, firstly, Smart Speakers are still very much in their infancy (even the Amazon Echo has only been available in the UK for about two years) tech geeks are excited about these products and their evolution but until home automation is embraced by tech muggles these items will live on the periphery of home consumer electronics. Secondly, high quality audio is niche market, much of the buying public will throw down £50.00 - £80.00 for an Amazon Echo or Dot and not notice the woeful sound quality but not consider, or not be able to consider, a £319.00 HomePod with superior sound quality, superior build, superior R&D but a few less features (at the moment).

Apple's HomePod

Apple's HomePod

What can the early adopters expect, apart from a much thinner wallet? Unboxing, like most Apple products, displays minimal packaging and instructions, however, the initial set up is so simple that instructions are irrelevant. Set up is initiated by plugging the power into HomePod then placing your iPhone near it (img.1), after a brief walkthrough on the iPhone the HomePod is ready to go. After this the Home app on the iPhone is used for some advanced settings and updates.



The HomePod is supposed to sample the audio properties of the room it is in within seconds (img.2), I found it took several tracks in a couple of different genres in order to settle the bass down. Once the bass had settled down (it was a little distorted to begin with) the sound was outstanding, bass was strong but not overpowering, vocals were right at the front and virtually all of the levels were excellent, the only small thing, which is a matter of personal taste, is that I would have liked a little more treble, there is no ability to alter the bass or treble. To compare the audio quality with the Amazon Echo is ridiculous, the HomePod is way out of that league, however, the Sonos system is a much closer comparison. In my view, Sonos has the advantage of adjustable bass and treble and the ability to create a Stereo Pair (a feature HomePod can expect sometime this year) but the HomePod has a slightly better warmer sound while also bringing the vocals to the front a little better than Sonos. Due to the size constraints and configuration of the speakers neither of these Smart Speakers can outperform my dedicated Onkyo system with CD and Turntable.



Controlling music is extremely easy, providing you have a subscription to Apple Music, I have asked Siri for several artists, genres and albums without any issues. Voice volume control is far more granular than other Smart Speakers I have used, you are able to select any volume between 0% - 100%, the highest I have used so far is 50% but the unit is in quite a small room.

Podcasts work perfectly, I have asked for a number of different podcasts each of which were found immediately. The speech is clear and I felt no desire to have any of the audio levels different. At launch HomePod does not seem to have support for any audiobooks, not even those purchased in the iTunes Store, I’m really hoping this functionality will be added very soon as I feel audiobooks are an integral feature of a Smart Speaker. Radio is extremely limited at launch, only Beats1 is available for streaming, but as the BBC is used for news and sport updates I’m hoping radio integration with at least BBC stations will come soon. The ability to stream from an iOS device to the HomePod using Airplay (Airplay 2 is another feature that is promised for later in the year) partly negates the lack of Audiobook and Radio integration but it would be great to have these controllable via Siri on the HomePod.

I have not set up any home automation yet, however, I do have an Eve Smart Plug which I will be trying soon. A major automation feature that has been ignored is a sleep timer, many people (myself included) use this type of product to go sleep with music in the background and a sleep timer is a vital feature that has been omitted.

A voice feature which is very welcome is the ability to send a text message. Integration with your iCloud account means Siri can access the contacts there and message them, this I have tried and was successful. Siri also has the ability to read back incoming messages to you.

I feel that the HomePod is a superior sounding Smart Speaker which has several vital features missing at launch. If the ability to control and play audiobooks, more radio stations and a sleep timer are added soon, this product will be a major contender in the Smart Speaker market and may not need third party apps and integration to make it a success. At the moment it is is a worthy addition to any home that is immersed in the Apple Ecosystem and wants high quality audio. Is it worth £319.00, in my view yes.

iOS 11.2.2 Released - Spectre Patch

Apple released an iOS patch (11.2.2) last week.

This patch reduces the risk associated with the Spectre chip vulnerability. It will make your iOS device more secure but will not completely eradicate the issue (this can probably never be completely dealt with via a software fix as the vulnerability is within the chip itself)

Apple has said there maybe a small impact on the performance of the iPhone by installing the 11.2.2 update but tests have shown it may be as little as 2.5 %, in my view, a hit worth taking for increased security.

Macworld has an article about the performance hit which can be viewed here.

I would advise installing this update as soon as possible, better to be safe than sorry.

Check iPhone Battery Health With iMazing

With recent news about Apple throttling the speed on older iPhones with batteries that are degraded and the subsequent announcement that they have put in place a program to replace any battery in an iPhone 6 or later that requires it for £25.00 instead of £79.00 (see Apple’s Message) it is probably the appropriate time to check your iPhone’s battery health.

There are not, in my view, any reliable apps installable on iOS that will show the health of the battery due to the fact Apple does not make this information available to owners or third party apps. However, there is a great program that works on Mac and PC that can give this information, it is iMazing, which I have been using for several years.

The program iMazing ( is £34.99 for a single machine license but offers so much more than just checking an iPhone’s battery. Other features include copying media between your iOS devices and your Mac or PC, app management (not possible in the latest version of iTunes), backup your iOS device and selectively restore information for specific apps, save and browse also print your iPhone messages, access the file system on your iOS device and much more.

The primary focus of this post is check the battery health of the iPhone and if you choose to use iMazing the process extremely quick and easy.

How To
Once iMazing is purchased and installed, launch it and plug your iPhone into your Mac or PC via the Lightning to USB cable, the window displayed is relevant to your individual OS device. Now click on the battery icon in the lower right of this window (img.1).



The battery information is then shown in a pop up window which can be scrolled to show further battery statistics (img.2).



Battery health is clearly shown and further down the number of charge cycles is displayed, which is a good indication whether your battery is becoming degraded, the average life of an iPhone battery is 400 - 500 charge cycles.

This will give a good indication if you need to take your iPhone in and request a battery replacement under the £25.00 program.

Prevent Live Photo Automatically Reactivating

Live Photos is a feature on recent iPhones that adds a small video clip before the still image and also a small video clip after the still image when taking a picture with the camera app.

Live Photos can be a great feature, especially when editing (enabling the still image to be changed e.g. if the subject’s eyes are closed, to open in another frame) however, some people either do not like Live Photos or cannot afford the extra memory they consume. In iOS 11 turning off Live Photos in the camera app only lasts for the current session of camera use and automatically turns back on the next time the camera app is activated.

There is a setting that can prevent this and permanently disable Live Photos.

How To
Select the settings app on your iOS device (img.1).



Once the setting screen is displayed scroll down until the camera settings option is visible then tap this (img.2).



In the camera settings select the Preserve Settings option (img.3).



Now turn on Live Photo, this sounds counterintuitive but this setting tells the iPhone to remember the state you have chosen for Live Photos (img.4).



Leave the settings app and enter the camera app, make sure the photo mode is showing then tap the Live Photo icon so it appears white with a strike through (img.5).



Live Photos is now disabled for every future use of the app.

Battery Usage On iOS 11

One of the biggest complaints about iOS devices (mainly iPhone) is battery usage, often this can be due to ‘run away apps’ (apps that are using large amounts of battery in the background) some of which may rarely be used. But how can it be determined which apps may be affecting battery life? There is a solution built directly into iOS 11.

How To
Select the ‘Settings’ option on the iOS device (img.1).



Once in ‘Settings’ scroll down and select ‘Battery’ (img.2). 



Then scroll down a little and you will be able to view your battery usage for each app over the last 24 hours or last 7 days (img.3). 



From this it can be determined if an unused app is hogging battery and therefore it can be deleted of if it is an app that is utilised maybe an alternative can be found on the App Store. 

This is an easy way of checking what is happening to an iOS battery.


Website: Ulysses

Price: $39.99 (£35.99) (Billed Annually) $4.99 (£4.49) (Billed Monthly)

Free Trial: Yes (14 Days)

There has been a lot of discussion about the writing application Ulysses recently, very little of it has been about the app itself but instead focusing on the fact that the developer has moved the application (both macOS and iOS) to a subscription model of payment instead of the one-off purchase that it has been up until the present. I must admit I am one of those who has entered into this discussion and is opposed to such applications opting for this payment model. However, having looked at several other options of a minimalist markup text editor I have come to the conclusion that the yearly subscription of $29.99 (for existing owners of both applications) is a price worth paying for one of the best markup text editors on the market for Mac and iOS.

Some basic users may be asking why would I need a text editor with markup when I have many word processors available to me on my system, also, what is markup anyway? Firstly, markup is a form of computer text language that can show on screen actions such as Bold, Underline and Italics without adding ridiculous amounts of script in the background, this enables writers to enter their text and add their basic formatting but also enables them to export the text to whichever destination they want to without having to worry about underlying script being added. Secondly, a text editor such as Ulysses, Byword or IA writer give a distraction free environment for writing while maintaining some features of a word processor that writers like or require such as word counts and other such stats about their document.

I have been using Ulysses for a couple of years now but when it moved to a subscription model I searched for a replacement, however, I quickly realised that Ulysses had become my preferred writing tool and despite my aversion to subscription models the yearly payment was going to be an essential expenditure. So what makes Ulysses such a good writing tool?

On the initial launch of the application, a section in the library is displayed called introduction which gives a basic overview of how to use Ulysses including First Steps, an introduction to Markup, the finer details of using Ulysses and also some shortcuts and tips (img.1). This introduction is very helpful to new users of markup and basic text editors but once the introduction has been mastered it can be turned off and hidden in the application’s preferences. Ulysses gives the user a library pane where the organisation of writing projects is accomplished, writing projects can either be saved on the Mac or iOS device solely or in the cloud via iCloud syncing (Dropbox is available via the external folders option), iCloud is obviously the best option if you wish to access your documents across all Apple devices. The library allows nested folder structures and also, the nice touch of, user selectable icons for each level of the nested structure. The next pane that is available to the user is where your sheets of text are kept this is named the article pane (img.2), the sheets that are shown here are dependent on what is selected in the library, if a top-level folder is selected everything in the lower levels will be shown, however, if one of the bottom level folders is selected only the sheets in the lower level folder will be displayed, this offers the file structure that many users are used to. The final pane is the editing pane where the entry of text takes place and where users will spend most of their time.





The first two panes can be hidden just leaving the editing pane for distraction free writing (img.3), other features available in the editing pane are typewriter mode (which keeps the text at a set level on the screen so the text entered only scrolls upwards), Dark Mode which inverts black to white and vice versa on the screen making writing at night much easier, there is also a Page Mode which gives borders to the page, once again enabling distraction free writing. Ulysses has autosave which means you will never lose text due to a power cut, crash or if the application is quit for some reason. As noted above an icon in the toolbar gives access to a number of stats about the document currently being edited including number of characters (with and without spaces) and number of words, paragraphs and pages. Another icon gives quick access to the markup commands while there is also an attachment icon that allows images etc. to be placed within the text (as with all markup text editors the images do not display in the editing pane but can be seen via a preview or export). Web links can also be added and once again show via a preview or export. This brings us to the share icon where a preview of the document can be seen in HTML, PDF, EPUB and several more file formats, exports can also be executed from the share icon.



In the application preferences, the look of the entire application can be set to the user’s desired preferences, while Ulysses offers predefined themes and access to users uploaded themes on their website. The application preferences also allows accounts from WordPress and Medium to be added so that documents can be published directly to them. Finally, there is an option to automatically have Ulysses backup the user’s library to a destination of their choice.

The subscription model payment could be a problem to some people, I myself feel that too many applications are moving to this model and users have to be much more selective as to which applications they use and subscribe to, this, could in the long run, lead to a decline in the number of people using a specific application, however, I do realise that developers must find ways of making their hard work in developing and updating good applications give them a decent income. Ulysses is a writing application that I now find indispensable and worth the yearly subscription.

A 14-day free trial is available and the subscription cost is $4.99 per month or $39.99 on a yearly basis, there are lifetime discounts for owners of the stand-alone purchased applications that were available prior to the subscription plans being introduced. A subscription gives the user access to both the macOS application and the iOS app.

I feel that Ulysses is probably the best application in this area, the markup text editing application field.


Website: Todoist

Price: Basic Free - Premium $28.99 per year

Task management is a subject that consumes many column inches in technology blogs and numerous minutes in Mac podcasts. The general consensus being that OmniFocus is the go to application for all task management needs. I however, have come to a different conclusion. Yes, I think that OmniFocus is an amazing piece of software for major project management (I will always open it up if I have a big project I am working on) but I find it quite unwieldy for basic day to day tasks, to do lists, shopping lists, etc. Reminders is great for shopping lists but a basic feature, repeating events, is not included. Therefore, I have been looking for an application to fill this middle ground and is where Todoist more than excels. 

At a basic level Todoist is a to do list application with all the features you would expect, such as the ability to add projects and then add tasks within those project, add dates, add times and have notifications but there are several things that make Todoist stand out. The first thing that grabbed me was the look of the application, it is completely integrated with the look and feel of macOS Sierra and at first glance looks basic and unintimidating (an intimidating look is an issue many people have with OmniFocus) but this friendly user interface belies vast power underneath the hood which becomes apparent once the user begins to dig deeper. After the initial download from the Mac App Store there is a brief registration process primarily to enable sync of your tasks between multiple devices and platforms, then you are ready to go without spending anything, yes the basic applications and service is free. 

As stated previously I was looking for a task management application for day to day events, so as a technology geek I like to charge up my external batteries once a month to make sure I'm not caught with a flat battery while out and about, so I wanted a monthly recurring task to remember to do this. The Todoist interface made this simple, I added a Technology project and then clicked one button within the project to add a task, typed the description of the task and then, a feature I love, in natural language added when it should be a task e.g. Every month starting on 4th June 2015 and my recurring task was added. I now have separate projects for my different recurring tasks as well a To Do project in order to add one off tasks. These tasks can be added, completed, changed around and altered anywhere as Todoist has apps and access across multiple platforms, I have used the Mac App, the iOS App and the browser interface and the syncing between them has been without a hitch, there is also an Apple Watch App.

There is much more to this application and service than basic task management though. For a subscription of $28.99 per year numerous additions are opened up. The ability to collaborate on shared projects and tasks with up to 25 family members, friends or work colleagues, to send tasks to your task inbox via an email address, to add files and notes to tasks, to add labels and filters to your tasks and projects as well as have reminders (including location based). 

For Mac and iOS users there is the benefit of a today widget on both and notifications so that tasks are not easily missed.

My search began looking for a middle of the road task management application but what I found in Todoist was an extremely powerful application/service which is simple and unintimidating to use, is reliable and looks great. What more could anybody want from a task management system.

iPhone Home Screen

We all have different ways of organising our apps and keeping what is important to us handy on our iPhone Home Screens and by way of introducing this new blog I thought sharing mine may be interesting. The screen shot below shows how my home screen looks today, however, it probably won’t be long before it changes.

Many people like to keep a minimal home screen or follow the latest trend of leaving the lower row empty but as you can see I don’t subscribe to either of these ideas. I like to have my most used and favourite apps in easy reach.



The screen shot (img.1) has some Apple default apps on the top row and I’m sure there is no need for me to explain what these are or what they do. My folder row comes next, the folders on my home screen only contain one page of apps, once again for quick access. My Personal folder contains two of my must have apps OmniFocus (for task management) I do also use Apple’s Reminders but mainly for shopping lists etc. and 1Password (my password manager that I could not live without). The Social folder is pretty self explanatory as are my News and Sport folders.

Next are some productivity utilities, I’ve used several note apps including Notebooks, Evernote and Bear but have now reverted to Apple Notes since it’s recent enhancements. Ulysses is a great writing app and is where many of the posts for The Mac Quad will start. Drafts is an app for quickly capturing small amounts of text and shipping them off to different places once you’ve decided where they need to be. Lastly on that row Scanner Pro is my favourite document scanning utility with excellent capture and export options.

Starting with Sky Go are some entertainment and video apps followed by Audible and Apple’s Podcasts app, two of my most used apps. I love audiobooks, being paralysed it is much easier to listen to audio than access a physical book or continuously be looking at a screen to use an ebook. I listen to many podcasts and after using many different podcast apps have settled on the native Apple one for about 6 months, maybe not feature rich but recently the sync to iTunes has been extremely stable and enables me to organise my podcasts on the Mac. The audio theme continues with the Economist app, my main news subscription, which includes a complete audio version of the printed edition. I think everyone is aware of Sonos while Radioplayer is predominantly for UK stations. Many people complain about Apple’s Music app but I find it easy to use and as an Apple Music subscriber fully integrated.

Lastly comes the obvious Phone, Messages and Mail apps, I’ve tried several third party email clients such as Airmail and Spark but despite it’s limitations find Mail the most reliable. My current calendar app is Fantastical which now boasts travel time.

I hope this gives some ideas for apps and it would be great to her from you about your home screens.

Wi-Fi Scanning On The iPhone

The fact that Apple will not open WiFi Scanning to 3rd party apps means there seems to be nothing on the App Store that can do this job and most people resort to walking around their house (or wherever they need to scan) with a laptop in their arms, not the most convenient option. 

However, there is a simple solution using a native Apple iPhone app which few iPhone users are aware of. WiFi scanning on the iPhone can be done using the AirPort Utility app. 

How To
The first step is to download the AirPort Utility app from the App Store, it’s free of charge so the price is right! Once the app is downloaded to your iPhone select settings (the small grey icon with circles on it) and scroll down to the setting for the AirPort Utility app and select it. The screen below (img.1) will be visible, as shown on the screen shot turn the WiFi Scanner option on. 



When this is done go to the AirPort Utility app and tap on it to load it in. The screen below will be displayed (img.2) with the option at the top to WiFi Scan. Now tap the WiFi Scan option. 



The screen below will then be shown (img.3). If you are scanning around the house for signal strength, noise, channels, etc. it’s probably best to keep the scan on Continuous. Then just tap scan. 



This will then scan for information about WiFi networks that are  within range and will be displayed as below (img.4). 



Once you have obtained the information required you can then return to AirPort Utility settings to switch off the WiFi Scanner option in order to maintain battery life. 

The above steps give you access to a free convenient WiFi Scanner.


Website: TextExpander

Price: $3.33 Month (Billed Annually) $4.16 Month (Billed Monthly)

Free Trial: Yes (30 Days)

TextExpander is a utility that, in my view, is a must have for any Mac user who enters text on a regular basis, so effectively every Mac user.

TextExpander works in the background and watches keystrokes for pre-defined abbreviations and extends these abbreviated keystrokes into longer words, phrases, paragraphs or even entire  letters with fill-ins so a letter template can be quickly customised with a few dropdown choices. 

When TextExpander is initially launched it will walk through creating some basic snippets e.g. a snippet for an email address by asking the user to type in their email address and then a keyboard abbreviation for this (my abbreviations always start with x, so my email abbreviation is ‘xem’) once this walk through is completed the snippets can be used anywhere (text editors, web forms, spreadsheets, etc.). With my email example whenever I need to type my email address I just type ‘xem’ and my complete email address appears. This is just a basic snippet and even this basic use will save a great deal of time but imagine if there is a sentence or paragraph that has to be entered on many occasions over time, just write it once, give it an abbreviation in TextExpander and see it appear with just a few keystrokes. 

As well as saving time TextExpander can help with commonly mistyped words. If a user has a word that they misspell in the same way on a regular basis then they can add the misspelling as the abbreviation and then add the correct spelling as text triggered, therefore, every time the misspelling is entered it will be replace with the correct spelling by TextExpander. 

There are many uses for TextExpander adding email signatures, adding salutations quickly on a letter, quickly filling out forms on a website or adding the date to a file name. Also, as I have already stated advanced features include creating entire forms with customisable drop down fields available from one short abbreviation.

Other great features include, TextExpander suggesting snippets from phrases you habitually type, reminding you of missed opportunities to use your snippets and the ability to search and expand snippets in the menu bar application.

TextExpander is now a subscription service, which enables sync across all of your devices (including Windows) and sharing of snippets.  Also, there are more immediate updates due to the fact they no longer have to be agreed by Apple in the App Store.

For any Mac user TextExpander will speed up text entry to unbelievable levels. TextExpander is a great application and is worth every penny. There is a free trial version available on Smile Software’s website, there will be no looking back once TextExpander is installed. 

Take a Screenshot on iPhone or iPad

This is a very simple and quick tip for iOS devices. You may wish, or need to, have a record of what is on the screen of your iPhone or iPad, the quickest way of doing this is using iOS’s built in method of taking a Screenshot. 

How To
1. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button.
2. Press and release the Home button.
3. Your will hear the shutter sound.
4. You can then release the Sleep/Wake button.
5. The image will be stored in your Camera Roll.

iPad Buttons

iPad Buttons

iPhone Buttons

iPhone Buttons