iOS 6.0.2 Released with Wi-Fi Fix for iPhone 5 & iPad Mini [Download Links]

Dec 18, 2012 - 11 Comments

iOS 6.0.2 download available now, fixes Wi-Fi problem with iPhone 5 and iPad Mini

Apple has released iOS 6.0.2, a minor version release with a major fix aimed at iPhone 5 and iPad Mini users who have experienced problematic wi-fi connections with the devices. The changelog for the 6.0.2 update says the update includes improvements and bug fixes, but only lists “Fixes a bug that could impact Wi-Fi” in the list of adjustments.

The iOS 6.0.2 update is available now and can be downloaded from iTunes by connecting the iOS device to a computer, updated with Over-the-Air from the device itself, or by directly grabbing firmware files that are hosted by Apple and updating manually with IPSW. Attempting the OTA update may provoke a temporary error as the release propagates throughout Apple’s content delivery servers, if you encounter such an error try again in another few minutes. The OTA update is by far the quickest method and the smallest download, taking less than a minute to install.

iOS 6.0.2 Direct Download Links

These are direct download links of IPSW files hosted with Apple, right-click and choose “Save As”.

We’ve discussed various connectivity and wi-fi issues pertaining to iPhone 5 on separate occasions, and previously offered a workaround that involved setting manual DNS entries which provided some relief for the sporadic wireless speed issue. Making troubleshooting initially difficult was the observation that wi-fi problems only manifested when a particular iOS device was connected to certain brands or models of wireless routers. The iOS 6.0.2 update is expected to resolve this entirely, regardless of the router or device in use.

As of now, the iOS 6.0.2 update is limited to iPhone 5 and iPad Mini. For other users, iOS 6.1 is currently in beta and expected to be released within the coming weeks.

By Matt Chan - iPad, iPhone, News - 11 Comments

How to Set Time Limits for Computer Use in Mac OS X

Dec 18, 2012 - 1 Comment

Set time limits for computer use in Mac OS X

Mac OS X allows you to set time limits for computer usage by way of Parental Controls. With the feature, you can set different limits to computer use for weekdays, weekends, and even set bed times, whereby the Mac would be unusable between some specified hours. This is obviously a good way to set computer use time limits for kids, but it can also be a handy way to force some self control on yourself if you struggle separating work from play, and otherwise just spend too much time on the computer.

If you haven’t done so yet, you will need to create a new user account on the Mac, this can be done quickly through the Users and Groups control panel. Assuming you have the new account created:

  • From System Preferences in the  Apple menu, choose “Parental Controls”
  • Click the lock icon in the corner to unlock the control panel and enter the administrator password
  • Select the user account to set time limits for from the left side, then select the “Time Limits” tab
  • Check boxes and adjust the sliders as appropriate for the desired time limitations
  • Close out of Parental Controls when finished

Set Time Limits for computer use in Mac OS X

With Time Limits configured, the next time the user accesses that account they will be confined to the timing restrictions that were indicated. The “Limit computer use” options are generic in that a restriction of 3 hours a day can be used for a grand total of 3 hours a day at any time of the day. The “Bedtime” feature allows you to specify clock hours if you want the user account to only have access during specified hours.

Parental Controls has a lot of other helpful options available too, like preventing certain apps from being used, limiting contact with certain people, profanity filters, and more. The name makes it obvious that the feature set is geared towards parents for their children, but I know several individuals who use different user accounts for separating their home and work lives, and also to limit distractions from apps like Twitter.

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

iOS 6.1 Beta 4 Released for Developers

Dec 17, 2012 - 1 Comment

iOS 6.1 Beta 4 has been released to developers registered with Apple’s iOS Dev program. The 4th beta release of iOS 6.1 is build 10B5126b, and is now available to download through OTA update on devices already running existing 6.1 betas. As usual, IPSW firmware files are also available to download directly from the dev center. Compatible devices continue to be the iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and the iPod touch 4th and 5th gen.

There does not appear to be any significant change, and iOS 6.1 is expected to be an incremental update with bug fixes and improvements to Apple Maps, Passbook, Siri, and Safari. Some minor user interface changes have also been noticed by those using the developer builds.

iOS 6.1 Beta 4

There is no projected release date for when iOS 6.1 will be available to the public, but the beta releases are progressing along at such a rate that we could see a release within the next few weeks.

An ongoing thread at MacRumors has specific discussion on the changes for those who are interested.

By Matt Chan - News - 1 Comment

How to Clear Command Line History

Dec 17, 2012 - 7 Comments

Clear command line command history

If you’re a frequent command line user, you’re likely to have found the history command to be quite useful before, whether it’s for discovering your most frequently used commands, dumping history and searching it to find specific past commands, listing all defaults commands used, or whatever else. That said, there are some obvious situations where you may want to remove that history list entirely, be it for privacy or security purposes.

To clear out history, you just need to attach a -c flag to that same history command:

history -c

That will manually wipe the .bash_history file. Obviously that file could be targeted directly with rm as well, but it’s best to stick with the history command for a variety of reasons.

If you wish to verify the command worked, type ‘history’ again as usual, and you’ll discover the only command listed is “history -c”. The brief video below demonstrates this entire process.

This should work the same at any bash shell, regardless of it being in Mac OS X or linux.

Thanks to Ado for the tip idea

By William Pearson - Command Line, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 7 Comments

Add Bold, Underline, & Italics to Stylize Text in iOS Mail

Dec 15, 2012 - 5 Comments

Style text in iOS Mail

Stylizing text with bold, underline, or italics in the iOS Mail app is easily done with the same tap-and-hold contextual menu that also allows you to select text, block quote, and insert photos. To access the text styling menu:

  • Tap and hold on any text in Mail app, choose “Select” and adjust the sliders to the text you want to select
  • Tap the “B I U” button to reveal the text styles (you may need to tap the > arrow button to reveal the option if device is in portrait orientation)
  • Choose either “Bold”, “Italics”, or “Underline”
  • Repeat to apply additional styling

Make text bold, italic, or underline in iOS Mail

As you probably guessed, this litte-known trick works the same in Mail on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Technically the stylize feature appears in a few other places in iOS too, but we’re focusing on the Mail app because this feature is universally supported there, whereas apps like Notes do not yet support it. This could be new from iOS 6 onward, I don’t have an older iOS device handy at the moment to give it a try and find out for sure.

We covered a handful of helpful typing tips for iOS and somehow missed this one, thanks for sending in another great tip Mithilesh!

By Paul Horowitz - iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 5 Comments

Show Duplicate Songs with iTunes 11

Dec 14, 2012 - 7 Comments

The ability to quickly find duplicate items in iTunes libraries is back in the latest version of iTunes 11 for both Mac OS X and Windows. First things first, you’ll need to update to iTunes 11.0.1 before attempting to use the feature again. Update to the newest version either through iTunes itself, or through Software Update or the Mac App Store.

Once you’re on the latest version of iTunes (11.0.1):

  • Pull down the “View” menu to find “Show Duplicate Items”
  • The iTunes media window will update showing duplicate items

Show Duplicate Songs in iTunes 11

Simple enough right? There’s a couple important things to note here: both items are shown, meaning both a song and it’s duplicate version, so you don’t want to simply just delete everything you see in the updated iTunes window or you will remove both the duplicate and the original. If you’re trying to thin out songs you know are copied throughout the library, take the time to review the files shown to make sure you are deleting the correct version, whether it’s of lower bit rate, mislabeled, or whatever else.

Showing Duplicate Items in iTunes

Also, the duplicates shown at the time will depend on the media library selected. Most people use this feature to find and remove duplicate songs rather than movies or podcasts though, so that shouldn’t be an issue. Finally, if you’re coming from past versions of iTunes that had this feature too, make note of the switch where this option now resides in the “View” menu rather than the “File” menu like it did before. The “Show Exact Duplicates” feature is still around as well, accessible by holding the Option key.

Other than preventing repetitive music playing, this can be another effective way to clear up some free disk space when you’re hard drive is running low.

For some background, this feature has been around for quite a while, but it briefly disappeared from the first iTunes 11 release before coming back with the iTunes 11.0.1 update. Presumably it will carry forward with future versions of iTunes.

By Paul Horowitz - iTunes, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 7 Comments

Huge Holiday Apple Sale at Walmart: iPhone 5 for $127, iPad 3 for $399

Dec 14, 2012 - 1 Comment

Walmart is having a large sale on select portable Apple gear just in time for the holidays, discounting iPhone 5 to $127 with a two year contract, and selling the iPad 3 for just $399. The Phone 4S is also available for $47 with a two year contract, but considering the large discount on the new iPhone 5, the 5 is clearly the better deal. Either iPhone can be purchased for any of the major networks in the USA, including AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.

Purchases must be made at Walmart retail stores. As noticed by MacRumors, Walmart made the announcement on their Facebook page, shown below, with a message stating “Nothing is merrier than iPhones on Rollback, just in time for the holidays.” It’s unclear how long the sale will go on for, but the wording suggests it will continue to be discounted through the holiday season.

Walmart iPhone 5 sale

The iPhone 5 is the best iPhone ever, and the base 16GB model is what we have recommended to buy because it delivers the best bang for the buck. Discounted, this is even more true. Typically retailing at $199 with a contract, Walmart’s discount is the thus far the largest seen, and is now the cheapest place to get a brand new iPhone 5. Electronics retailer Radioshack is the next cheapest, offering the same device at $150 with a contract.

The iPad 3 at $399 is also a great deal, coming a full $100 off the standard retail price. From Monday onward, Walmart will also offer a $30 iTunes Gift Card with the purchase of a new iPad, according to MacRumors.

Update: Walmart PR contacted us to note the iPad on sale is the 3rd generation at $399, not the iPad 4 as originally stated. The iPhone 5 discount remains the same.

By Matt Chan - iPad, iPhone, News - 1 Comment

Add Phonetic Spelling to Contact Names to Improve Siri’s Pronunciation

Dec 14, 2012 - 9 Comments

Add phonetic spelling to names to improve pronunciation with Siri

Siri doubles as a great hands-free helper with some extremely useful voice commands, but sometimes Siri can really mangle pronunciation of names that aren’t outright obvious. If you’re finding that Siri routinely either mispronounces a name or doesn’t understand a request regarding a certain contact, try adding special phonetic spelling fields to the troubled contacts:

  • Open Contacts and tap “Edit” on the contact you wish to add phonetic spelling to
  • Tap “Add Field” and choose “Phonetic First Name” and/or “Phonetic Last Name”
  • Fill in the fields for how the name should sound then tap “Done”

The more obvious you can make the pronunciation by spelling out syllables or sounds, the better the results. The screenshot uses a fabricated name, but Siri pronounces it correctly.

Phonetic spelling to contact names improves pronunciation

This also has the side effect of improving the accuracy of when Siri is asked to call or text someone in your Contacts list, as it will take the phonetic spelling into account. This is particularly helpful with names that have unique spellings or pronunciations.

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

Send Apps as Gifts & Schedule Delivery Dates from the App Store

Dec 13, 2012 - Leave a Comment

Gift apps The ability to gift apps has long been around in the App Store, but it briefly disappeared before making a reappearance again with an additional great new feature. As 9to5mac noticed, you can now schedule deliver dates for the gifted apps, allowing them to be automatically delivered at a certain set date in the future. This should make holiday and birthday shopping super easy for some of us, here’s how to use it if you haven’t before:

  • Open the App Store and locate the app to send as a gift
  • Tap the Sharing arrow icon in the upper right corner [>]
  • Enter the recipients email and your name, provide a message if desired, and then choose either to send the gift “Today” or choose “Other Date” to schedule the delivery
  • Choose “Done” to set the app gift in motion

Gift apps from the App Store

Your iTunes Account will be billed for the gifted apps. The billing seems to take place immediately, just as if you bought the app for yourself, so if you’re planning on shopping for someones birthday next year you might want to keep that in mind.

Like the original method, you can still scroll down in the app description and gift from there, but the Share Sheet method is quicker. If you try out the feature now you may find it not to be working all apps yet as the feature is propogating throughout the App Store, you’ll know that’s the case because the Share button is unresponsive. If so, wait a few minutes (or hours) and it should be working as expected.

By Paul Horowitz - iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - Leave a Comment

Find Out Who Called Your iPhone With This Quick Search Trick

Dec 13, 2012 - 11 Comments

Phone icon We all have received phone calls from numbers we don’t recognize, and even when they show up on the iPhone caller ID and provide an area code or region they’re coming from that call can still be a mystery. Like many others, I’ve gotten in the habit of just ignoring phone calls from numbers I don’t recognize, letting Voice Mail sort out if the caller is actually something important or just a telemarketer. But what if they don’t leave a message?

Use this little trick to quickly find out who called you, or at least who the number belonged to, and perhaps find some other additional details about the number as well:
Read more »

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

Stop the Help Viewer Window from Hovering Over Everything Else in Mac OS X

Dec 13, 2012 - 9 Comments

Disable Help window floating above other windows

The Help Menu in OS X is an underused but great resource when trying to learn about new Mac apps, and it can even function as a keyboard-based action launcherto quickly access app features. If you’re using the Help Viewer to actually read help documentation though, you may have noticed that the windows default behavior is to hover over everything else, even if it no longer has the focus. While that makes a certain level of sense, it can be frustrating if you’re on a smaller screen or you just want to be able to treat a documentation window as anything else, letting it go behind other app windows. A quick defaults write command will allow you to do exactly that.

To enable Help and documentation windows to float and behave like normal windows, launch Terminal in /Applications/Utilities and enter the following defaults write command:

defaults write com.apple.helpviewer DevMode -bool true

Hit return, changes should take effect immediately without having to quit any apps.

To reverse the change and have the Help viewer window behave as it did before, always on top of everything else, use the following defaults write command instead:

defaults write com.apple.helpviewer DevMode -bool false

This works in OS X Mountain Lion, Lion, Snow Leopard, and even earlier versions of Mac OS X.

Stop the hovering Help viewer in Mac OS X

By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 9 Comments

Google Maps for iPhone Now Available to Download

Dec 12, 2012 - 17 Comments

Google Maps for iPhone icon Google Maps for iPhone has arrived and it’s available to download right now from the App Store. The easy to use app is free and includes an intuitive interface, voice guided turn-by-turn navigation, Street View, public transportation directions, and perhaps most important for many users, the routinely accurate Google Mapping data engine.

If you’ve been frustrated with any of the issues with Apple Maps, then you might be particularly thrilled to have Google Maps around on your iPhone home screen again. Even if you have no complaints about Apple’s solution, it’s still a worthwhile download for the Street View feature and public transit options alone.

Google Maps for iPhone

Many of the features that we have become accustomed to from Apple Maps work very well, including the aforementioned voice navigation, which is a really nice addition. Even little things like tapping the compass to reorient north and south work the same in Google Maps as they do in Apple’s offering, giving an idea of how well made the app is. Perhaps the only valid complaint would be that the app is not yet sized for iPad, so if you wish to run it on a larger screen iPad or iPad Mini it will have to run the iPhone version in 2x mode, though apparently an appropriately sized iPad version is currently in the works.

Google Maps for iOS supports iOS 5.1 and later, including the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. Some option safe limited to newer devices though, like turn-by-turn voice navigation, which requires a 4S or newer. Installing Google Maps on the iPhone will have no impact on Apple Maps, both apps will reside alongside one another in iOS.

Read more »

By Paul Horowitz - iPhone, News - 17 Comments

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