iOS 6.1 Beta 5 Released for Developers

Jan 27, 2013 - 4 Comments

iOS 6.1 beta 5 has been released and is available for all registered developers to download through the iOS Dev Center. Supported devices continue to be iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and the iPod touch 4th and 5th generations. The prior beta build of iOS 6.1 is set to expire today (January 27) and was pushed out to developers over a month ago, making todays release a timely update for developers.

iOS 6.1 Beta 5

For those not in the developer program, iOS 6.1 is expected to be an extraordinarily minor update on the user end of things, consisting primarily of bug fixes alongside some improvements to Apple Maps, Passbook, Siri, and Safari. Several small adjustments to user interface elements have also been observed in the 6.1 betas.

There is no known timeline for the public release of iOS 6.1, but it is likely due sooner than later.

Those interested can read about some of the minor changes at MacRumors forums

By Matt Chan - News - 4 Comments

Take a Photo While Recording Video on the iPhone

Jan 26, 2013 - 11 Comments

iPhone Plus rear camera

The latest versions of the iPhone can record high definition video, and as a result they’re getting a lot more widespread use as ways to capture memories in motion. But sometimes when you’re recording a movie, you also want to take a picture of what’s in focus too, and you can do exactly that on the iPhone.

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By Paul Horowitz - iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 11 Comments

Mac Setups: Photographer’s Workstation

Jan 26, 2013 - 7 Comments

Mac photographers desk setup

This weeks great Mac setup comes to us from Ivo P., a wedding and lifestyle photographer who uses the following hardware to handle the images and process his work:

  • MacBook Pro 15″ (2011) – 2.2Ghz Intel i7 – 8GB DDR 1333 DDR3 – Matte Screen at 1680×1050
  • Dell U2412M 24″ 1920×1080 (connected to the MBP)
  • iPad Mini 16GB – black Wi-Fi
  • iPhone 4S 16GB – black
  • 2 x 2TB WD External HDD as a working drives + backup
  • 1 x 1TB Samsung USB HDD for Time Maschine backup 
  • 1 x 1TB Samsung USB HDD as a portable backup
  • 5 x 1.5TB WD Green 64MB 5.25″ SATA HDD as a backup drives used with Thermaltake Black X double HDD adapter case
  • Apple wired keyboard
  • Logitech M-U0007 mouse
  • 7 port USB Active Hub
  • Datacolor Spyder4Pro monitor calibrator
  • Cambridge Soundworks “Megaworks THX250D” speakers
  • Griffin laptop stand for MacBook

That’s a serious amount of disk space, and the Thermaltake BlacX USB docking station is a really great way to be be able to juggle multiple SATA drives as if they were standard externals. PS: you’ll be forgiven if you initially thought the MacBook Pro was a MacBook Air too, but the matte screen option removes the black bezel in addition to the gloss.

Show us your Apple & Mac workstations and desk setups! Send us a good picture or two along with a brief description of the hardware and what you do with it over to

By William Pearson - Mac Setups - 7 Comments

Dial International Phone Numbers from iPhone the Easy Way Using the +Plus Prefix

Jan 25, 2013 - 8 Comments

Dial International phone numbers from the iPhone

Dialing international phone numbers can be done by prefixing a phone number with the current countries exit code (011 for USA), the country code of the number you are calling, and then the phone number you are dialing. This ends up being a fairly long string of numbers that is infinitely confusing to those who don’t dial foreign numbers often, like 011 86 10 XXXX 5555. Another much simpler approach is to use the plus + prefix and the country code, skipping the exit code completely and leading to a shorter number and less dialing frustration.

There’s not much to this, it’s really just a matter of accessing the + key which is hidden by default on the iPhone’s number pad:

  • Press and hold 0 for a second or two until a the + plus sign appears to replace the 0
  • Enter the international phone number and call as usual

Much easier, right?

Taking the earlier example, drop the 011 and instead use: +86 10 XXXX 5555. That is usually how you’ll find international numbers written anyway, so it makes a lot more sense to use the plus sign than fiddling around with the unnecessary country codes which seem to trip people up frequently. If you intend to save an international number to your iPhone Contacts list, prefix it with a + and you’ll be able to dial it as any other number – and here’s the best part, it works even if you change the SIM card while you are traveling abroad.

Unless you have a generous international plan through your cellular provider, you probably won’t want to aimlessly test this one since you could wind up with a hefty long distance bill.

Heads up to MacWorld for the + dialing tip, they point out some US carriers won’t even accept the 011 exit codes with numbers which basically forces the usage of the plus number prefix anyway.

By Paul Horowitz - iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 8 Comments

Check Out This Awesome LEGO Rendition of the Original Macintosh

Jan 25, 2013 - 4 Comments

LEGO Macintosh

This LEGO build of the original Macintosh 128k is a thing of retro beauty, all that’s missing are some wild eeps to go along with it. Check out the full size version, but the LEGO rendition image resolution maxes out at 1024 x 683, so if you were hoping to use it as a wallpaper it won’t work that great for most displays. If you’re dedicated to using it with anything beyond a 13″ non-retina display you may want to throw some borders on it like I did, but that’s your call. You can check out the bigger version of the picture here, or grab the LEGO instructions to build your own micro-Macintosh below!
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By Paul Horowitz - Fun, Retro - 4 Comments

Get the Classic iTunes Search List Style Back in iTunes 11

Jan 25, 2013 - 21 Comments

Return iTunes library search to normal

A lot of things changed when the latest version of iTunes was released, much of which represented user interface and behavior changes that weren’t always popular. For many of us, the best solution of handling the new UI was to basically revert the changes to make iTunes look normal and familiar again, and we’re about to do the same thing with the Search feature.

First an explanation: in iTunes 11, searching brings up a nice looking pop-up window that let’s you interact with music and add songs to the Up Next. You’ll no longer get direct access to a simple list of songs that match the results, which is a view that is pretty much essential if you want to make a bulk edit of a group of songs, update album art, or even just make a simple playlist the old fashioned way. A fair amount of users experience this as a bug, assuming that search is broken or not working correctly, but it is, the results are just different looking. Before iTunes 11, searching would bring up a simple results list from the media library that would let you highlight multiple songs and easily make adjustments, and frankly that was useful enough that many people want that ability back.

Make iTunes Search Return Lists and Be Useful Again

In order for this to work across all future searches, the iTunes Search box must be cleared:

  • Open iTunes and click the tiny magnifying glass icon within the “Search Music” box
  • Uncheck ‘Search Entire Library’
  • Fix iTunes Search to show classic results style

  • Test a new search and hit return to discover the classic results list style

The difference is night and day in presentation, and you regain the ability to select bulk songs in the results, plus you can now make group edits to songs again. If you’re not quite sure what we’re talking about here the screenshots below convey this fairly well.

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By Paul Horowitz - iTunes, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 21 Comments

How to Re-Enable the Invert Display Keyboard Shortcut in Mac OS X

Jan 24, 2013 - 1 Comment

Invert the screen colors in Mac OS X

Many Mac users have noticed that the good old Invert Display keyboard shortcut disappeared from Mac OS some time ago. Well, it didn’t disappear completely, but Invert Display is now tucked into a submenu of Accessibility options via a keystroke on the Mac.

The change to the Invert Display keyboard shortcut first happened with Mac OS X Mavericks and Mountain Lion but it persists today with macOS High Sierra and Sierra too, where it was replaced with a different Command + Option + F5 keyboard shortcut that summons Accessibility Options, from which you now have to manually invert the screen by checking a box on or off.

If you want to get the good old fashioned Control + Command + Option + 8 inversion keystroke back on the Mac, here is how to enable it again in Mac OS and Mac OS X.

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By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 1 Comment

Dictation Commands for Mac OS X & iOS

Jan 24, 2013 - 50 Comments


Dictation is a feature of iOS and Mac OS X that lets you speak as you normally would, transforming your speech magically into text. It’s impressively accurate, letting you easily crank out notes, emails, diary entries, or just about anything else with it just by talking. To really get the most out of Dictation though you will want to learn a few extra commands, they will help with things like punctuation, creating paragraphs, jumping to new lines, and setting capitalization.

These commands will work in both OS X and iOS, so long as the Mac, iPad, or iPhone supports Dictation and has the featured turned on (here’s how to enable it in OS X and how to enable it for iOS, though it’s almost always turned on by default in the latest versions of both.)
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By Paul Horowitz - iPad, iPhone, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 50 Comments

Set an Ultra-Strong iOS Password by Using Accent Characters

Jan 23, 2013 - 7 Comments

Super Strong iOS Passwords with Accent Characters

If you want maximum security with your iOS device, having a strong password is essential. Though you can extend password strength by using a phrase with mixed characters, another excellent option is to use special accent characters, making a password virtually impossible to guess. The idea is fairly straight forward: take a word, sequence, or phrase that you would normally use as the password, but then replace certain characters with accent letters or special characters. This will work the same on on any iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, and here’s what you’ll need to do.

Turn On Strong Password Support in iOS

We’ve discussed the strong passcodes feature before as a great way to secure iOS devices, and that’s where this tip begins. Here’s how to enable that if you haven’t done so yet:

  • Open Settings then tap “General” followed by “Passcode Lock”
  • Tap “Turn Passcode On” if you haven’t done so yet, then flip the “Simple Passcode” switch to OFF

For added security and easier testing, set ‘Require Password’ to “Immediately”, though that is optional.

Strong Passwords in iOS

Setting a Strong Password with Accent Characters

To type accent characters in iOS, you need to tap on a letter and hold for the accent menu to appear. An example of a password created this would would beFor example, a password like “tacobell” could be come “tãçōbęll”

  • Now enter a new password, and replace some characters with accented versions to make it more secure

Strong passcode with accent characters

Once this has been set, you can see how it works by locking the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. You will now have the standard keyboard available rather than the simple numeric keys. As usual, the accent characters are accessible by tapping on holding on the letters that support them.
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By Paul Horowitz - iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 7 Comments

Master the Multitouch Gestures for iPad

Jan 22, 2013 - 9 Comments

iPad Multitask Gestures

Multitouch gestures are one of the best hidden features of iOS on the iPad, but a surprising amount of iPad users don’t seem to use them. Perhaps it’s because you just don’t know about them, or maybe you haven’t spent the time to learn what they are and why they’re useful. Take a few minutes to learn the gestures and you’ll be doing more with the iPad or iPad mini in no time, because they offer are the fastest way to close apps, get to the home screen, and switch between apps running in iOS.

Enable the Multitouch (Multitasking) Gestures for iPad

First things first, let’s be sure the multitouch gestures are enabled. These are usually turned on by default in the newer versions of iOS but it’s easy to check:

  • Open Settings app and tap on “General”
  • Scroll down to find “Multitasking Gestures” and flip to ON

Enable multitasking gestures on iPad

With the multitasking gestures turned on, you can now use four or five fingers to perform various tasks that will greatly improve the iPads usability.

Here are the four multitouch gestures you should be using right now:

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By Paul Horowitz - iPad, Tips & Tricks - 9 Comments

Remove Duplicates from the “Open With” Right-Click Menu in Mac OS X

Jan 22, 2013 - 31 Comments

Fix the Open WIth menu and remove duplicate app entries

The “Open With” menu appears when any file in the Mac Finder is right-clicked (or control-clicked), and it is intended to provide a list of alternate apps that selected file can be opened with other than what is currently set as the default application. This Open With is great, but sometimes it can become freakishly cluttered with repeat entries of the same app, and in the worst cases it won’t even just be a duplicate here and there, it will be multiples of the same app appearing in the Open With list. We’ll show you how to remove these repeat entries and how to make an easier to use alias for future uses.

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Get Easy Desktop Access to All iCloud Files with Plain Cloud for OS X

Jan 21, 2013 - 6 Comments

Plain Cloud provides easy iCloud file access

Assuming you have iCloud configured with OS X, you’ve always been able to access iCloud files from the Mac desktop by looking for a little-known directory in the user Library folder. Having access to that folder can make it behave like Dropbox, with file syncing between Macs being built right into the Finder, but the way the files are stored within that Mobile Documents directory aren’t particularly user friendly to look at since each directory is named as a lengthy GUID string. That naming convention is pretty strong evidence the directory was not meant to be accessed by average users, but that is exactly where the free Plain Cloud app comes in.

Use Plain Cloud for Easy Desktop Access to All iCloud Files

PlainCloud serves as a simple front-end to each app that stores documents in iCloud, listing out each app and letting you see just those apps files – no more hunting around in gibberish folder names to find what you’re looking for. To get the most use out of this app, you’ll obviously want to have iCloud configured on all Macs and iOS devices that you have. Once that’s done, using PlainCloud is incredibly simple to use:

  • Download Plain Cloud free from the developer, unzip it, and copy it to the /Applications/ folder
  • Launch Plain Cloud (may require a right-click and “Open” due to Gatekeeper), then click any app name within the app to launch that applications iCloud files directly on the Mac desktop

Easy iCloud File access with Plain Cloud app for OS X

Copy, Sync, Delete: Simple iCloud File Management

These folders are all automatically synced to iCloud, which makes Plain Cloud a nice and simple file management frontend to iCloud data. Dragging files into these Finder folders will upload them directly to iCloud which are then synced to other Macs and devices. It’s very important to point out that deleting a file from these folders is permanent and also carries over to iCloud and all other devices that use the same iCloud account. As a result, only delete something if you are absolutely certain you no longer want it anywhere, because deleting it from these folders will immediately delete it from the containing app as well, whether that’s on an iOS device or another Mac.

Editing iOS Documents on the Mac in Other Apps, and Vice Versa

A nice perk to having Finder iCloud access is the ability to edit documents from iCloud-equipped apps with other applications. You probably already noticed that files and settings from iOS apps are also listed and available by this app, assuming you have the same iCloud account used by both the Mac and iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Launch one of those folders and you can then make edits to that file in a completely different application than what it was created in. This is extraordinarily useful if you’re looking to modify a document on the Mac but don’t have the accompanying iCloud-equipped app for iOS. For a practical example that means you can do things like use MS Office on the Mac to edit a Pages document made on an iPad, then copy that saved file back to the Pages folder in iCloud, and have it be accessible on the iPad again. The more complex the formatting the more potential there is for issues with that approach, but for images and basic word documents with straight forward formatting it works trouble-free and is very useful.

I got Plain Cloud yesterday and am using it a lot more than I initially thought I would. It’s so useful you’ll wonder why Apple didn’t just bundle a similar feature directly into the OS X Finder to begin with, but maybe a cloud-based file management aspect of the Finder will arrive in future versions of Mac OS X. In the meantime, take the time to set up iCloud and grab Plain Cloud, it’s a great free app that serves that purpose.

By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 6 Comments

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