Tips & Tricks: 6 new uses for your old iPad

Getting a new tablet? Before you sell the old one, consider putting to use in other ways.

 

 

By Rick Broida of CNet

If the arrival of Apple’s latest iPad is tempting you to upgrade, you might be debating the fate of your old iPad.

Two options: keep or sell. The latter can net you some funds to help defray the cost of the new tablet; here are some tips on selling used iPads for maximum profit.

But there are plenty of reasons to keep that old iPad around. The most obvious, at least for parents: Fill it up with educational games, e-books and the like, and give it to the kids.

You can also devote an old iPad to a specific task or set of tasks. Let’s take a look at some practical ways to wring more life from that aging tablet.

1. Full-time photo frame

The digital photo frames of yesteryear were small, low-resolution and a pain in the neck. But your iPad can deliver the ultimate photo-frame experience, revolving through hundreds or even thousands of photos in a never-ending slideshow.

Unfortunately, Apple removed the iOS Picture Frame mode years ago, which was designed expressly for this purpose. But you can accomplish more or less the same thing by setting up a dedicated iCloud photo album, then tweaking your iPad’s settings so it continues to display a slideshow of that album.

I’ll explain how to set that up in a future post. In the meantime, or as an alternative, check out LiveFrame, a free app that displays photos from not just your photo library, but also your Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and other accounts. (If you want to remove ads, it’ll cost you $1.99.)

From there, you’ll just need a good iPad stand and a nearby outlet so it has full-time power. Trust me: Once you start using a photo frame, you’ll never want to live without it.

2. Dedicated music server
You may not think of your iPad as a music machine, as that big screen would seem to lend itself more to books, movies, games and the like. But let’s not forget it’s an iOS device, and therefore capable of providing infinite music options.
Your own library, yes, but also Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn and lots of other great music apps.
Just pair your iPad with an AirPlay or Bluetooth speaker, then tap to queue up some tunes. And if you leave it on a side table sitting in a stand, you can enjoy some nice cover art while you listen.

3. Dedicated e-book and magazine reader

 

For hard-core readers, it’s hard to beat an iPad — especially the easier-to-hold iPad Mini ($335.00 at Amazon.com). It gives you access to just about every e-book reading app (and ecosystem) under the sun, from Kindle to Kobo to Nook to iBooks. Stock your old iPad with books and keep it at your bedside for an endless supply of nighttime reading.

And don’t forget magazines. The Mini feels a little small for them, but a full-size iPad works beautifully. 

Many print subscriptions come with digital editions you can access via their respective apps. There’s also Texture, which was recently acquired by Apple and offers unlimited magazine reading for a flat monthly rate.
Finally, don’t forget digital magazines you can check out from the library. They’re free, meaning you can turn your iPad into a full-blown magazine rack.

4. Kitchen helper
iPads and cooking go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or maybe that should be olive oil and balsamic. Either way, an iPad makes a great kitchen companion — not just for searching and viewing recipes, but also for watching demonstration videos (like this one for a simple oven-baked chicken parmesan, a favorite in my house).

In fact, you could install an under-cabinet tablet mount and keep your iPad at eye level, at the same time protecting it from cooking splatter.
And don’t forget all the great cooking apps, like How to Cook Everything, Butterball Cookbook Plus (essential around Thanksgiving), and the ever-popular Epicurious.

5. Secondary monitor
A dual-monitor setup can be a huge boon to your productivity, but if you work with a laptop, it’s not exactly convenient to schlep an extra LCD everywhere you go.

Ah, but guess what? Your iPad can pull monitor duty. Just install an app like Air Display, then use the tablet as a second screen alongside your PC. Put your mail client in there, or a stock ticker, or anything else you like to refer to throughout the day.

The desktop client is available for Windows and Mac; the iOS app will cost you $9.99.

6. The ultimate AV remote
If you’ve ever tried using your phone to control your TV, you know it’s not typically a great experience. Know why? The tiny screen.
An iPad, though, is pure home-theater luxury. You can use it with dedicated apps for your Apple TV ($179.00 at Walmart), Amazon Fire TV ($69.99 at Amazon.com), Chromecast, Roku and/or Logitech Harmony Hub system. That big screen makes it so much easier to navigate program guides, menus, virtual buttons and other items that feel extra-cramped on a phone.

What you do with your old iPads? Sound off in the comments below!!

Tips & Tricks: Buying an Android Phone in 2018? Here’s What to Expect

 

 

By Jeffery Van Camp of Wired

Yeah, it’s only March, but phone season has begun for 2018. Dozens of new handsets were unveiled at Mobile World Congress, the largest smartphone show on Earth, (here are the highlights) and Samsung’s Galaxy S9 is already on its way to early birds. Also, Google is now circulating a developer preview of the next Android version, currently codenamed Android P.

With all this action, we’re beginning to get a picture of what smartphones in 2018 will look like. Here are some of the more interesting trends you may see on your next phone.

Notches Galore

It’s been years since smartphones didn’t all look mostly the same. In 2018, we can expect mobile manufacturers to once again get on the same wavelength—with that wave coming straight from Cupertino. Apple put a controversial notch at the top of its

iPhone X screen and we’ve already seen Android phones start to adopt it.
Asus has already shown off a line of phones with Apple’s new signature notch chopped out of the top, and the LG G7 and others will likely follow it into Notch City.

With Google offering support for “display cutouts” in its early Android P developer preview, it looks like the notch invasion is just beginning. The Essential Phone already had a camera cutout in 2017.

By year end, the phone market will be full of phones with really long, edge-to-edge screens, and a notch cut right out from the top. Many iPhone X users don’t seem to really like the notch, but don’t expect that to stop anyone. When the iPhone makes a design change, the industry tends to follow.

Knockoff Animoji

If you were creeped out by Apple’s new face-tracking animated Animoji, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Samsung has already debuted “AR Emoji” on its Galaxy S9, which mimics your face in a Nintendo Mii style and animates it. Asus’s Zenimoji are coming next, which look more like Apple’s version. And now that Samsung has its own Animoji, you can bet its Korean rival LG probably will soon too. Goofy animated faces, not to mention pigs and dogs, are just beginning to seep out of the woodwork.

Helpful Android Enhancements

In its new developer preview of Android P, Google pulled the lid off a few tasty new things you’ll start to see on Android phones in the next year or two. As usual, Google’s Pixel phone will get these features first, and the next Pixel is likely coming out around October. Once the new features launch on Google’s flagship device, they’ll start to trickle out to other phones.

To start, Google is adding support for Wi-Fi 802.11mc, which will let it give more accurate indoor mapping directions in places like museums, casinos, universities, and malls that have shared their indoor layouts. New Android devices that support the wireless protocol will be able to ping nearby networks of Wi-Fi hotspots to pinpoint your position indoors and give more precise guidance. Google Maps may soon be your go-to app when you need to navigate an unfamiliar airport.

Photos and pictures are also coming to Android notifications, along with those quick replies you may have seen in your Gmail, allowing instant responses right from the notification tray.

Google introduced the idea of Instant Apps last year, and you’ll likely start to see more of them pop up in 2018. They’re stripped-down apps that don’t require installation. The goal is to end the annoying requirement of downloading and installing full apps to perform simple tasks. You can access these Instant Apps from a URL, just like webpages.

Finally, security is getting a boost, too. You won’t be able to see it, but apps running in the background won’t have the ability to turn on your camera, microphone, or other sensors. Why they were ever allowed to do these things in the first place is a good question.

Thumb Wars

Apple did away with its Touch ID sensor entirely on the iPhone X, but Android phone makers won’t, partially because most (or all) of them just don’t have the security in place to make facial recognition work as securely as it does with Apple’s new Face ID. Instead, fingerprint sensors on Android handsets have almost all been moved to the backs of the phones, making way for those edge-to-edge screens.

This shift started years ago, thanks to innovations from companies like LG, but it’s the end times for home buttons and fingerprint buttons on the front of phones. You’ll be hard-pressed to find new devices coming out in 2018 that don’t use your index finger for biometric unlocking.

Face Off

It will take a while for Android manufacturers’ facial recognition tech to catch up to the secure systems already in place.

Samsung

Facial recognition technology requires some strict security measures to be an effective way to verify a user’s identity, and most Android manufacturers remain behind the curve. Even though many of the systems being demonstrated now can be fooled by a simple photograph, the big Android players will continue to show off new face detection unlocking features this year, if they haven’t already. They’ll likely call it a new feature, even though several companies have been building it into their devices for a while. Remember: Google showed off basic, insecure face unlocking years ago.

Faster LTE

Most of the fanciest phones this year will run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor, a chip that has gigabit LTE capability built right into it. Qualcomm thinks it will offer a real-world speed boost of 20 percent over current phones, but the platform is capable of 1.2 Gbps speeds.

The big holdup will be your wireless carrier. Providers like Verizon and T-Mobile are testing gigabit speeds, but bandwidth like that won’t be widespread for years. Your next phone will be a lot more capable than your wireless network.

Other perks of the 845 processor include a new dedicated security chip to protect things like payment and fingerprint data, enhanced video capabilities, and some improvements to battery life.

Double the Cameras

Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus (left) makes use of dual cameras to judge depth and add effects to photos.

Apple

 

Most high-end phones already have dual rear cameras, but Android P will bake in more support for the feature, so you can expect a lot more mid-range and cheaper phones to start doubling up their camera hardware. Dual-camera setups use a second camera to more accurately judge depth (this is why you have two eyes) and offer features like 2x zooming, depth effects for portrait shots, and wide-angle photos.

Some phone-makers, like Apple, do a great job utilizing the extra lens, but others still struggle to show a big improvement in photo quality. Who wants to take bets when we’ll see a tri-camera Android phone? It’s not as far off as you think. Rumors are swirling that Huawei is working on a camera with three lenses.

Wireless Charging Everywhere

Samsung has pushed wireless charging for years, but now that Apple has adopted the feature on the iPhone 8 and X, you can bet that the rest of the industry isn’t far behind. Here is a list of phones that have wireless charging now. Chances are high that your next phone will have it. We’ll also start seeing wireless charging stations pop up in places that aren’t McDonald’s and Starbucks.

Future Shocks

Vivo’s Apex phone is just a prototype, but it has some tech inside that signals where Android devices of the future are headed.

Vivo

 

You may wonder: What’s on the horizon for 2019 and beyond? I won’t get too deep into it, but there are a few innovations worth getting excited about. At Mobile World Congress in February, a company named Vivo showed off a concept phone named the Apex that had a fingerprint sensor and speakers built right into its screen.

Features like these could become commonplace. Before it showed off Face ID, Apple was rumored to be testing a Touch ID sensor built into the iPhone X screen. Sony is already selling a Bravia TV with speakers built into its screen, as well.
Smartphone companies have been pursuing foldable screens for many, many years, but they may finally arrive sometime soon. ZTE’s Axon M launched with a fold-out screen last year, and less clunky devices without hinges (or next to no bezel between the screens) are on the horizon.

Such a device may even come from Microsoft. Redmond is believed to be working on a tablet-like device, codenamed Andromeda or possibly a foldable Surface Phone. Samsung and others have also filed patents for foldable device tech. But don’t start buttering that smartphone pretzel just yet. Unlike all the other features actually coming to phones this year, folding screens still have many wrinkles that need ironing out.

Does anyone else see the similarities? Or is it just me? Sound off in the comments below!

Tips & Tricks: Pro Tip: Convert an iMessage to an Apple Notes checklist

 

By Charlie Sorrel of Cult of Mac

Does your husband/wife/boss/presumptuous, spoiled teenage kid send you lists via iMessage or SMS? Do you then spend the whole day flipping to the Messages app and scanning it to see which tasks you’ve done (or groceries you’ve dropped in your cart), and trying to work out what’s still left to do? Then you need to get that list out of the Messages app, and into the Notes app, turning it onto a checklist along the way. And don’t worry. This is so quick and easy, you can do it in a few seconds.

Convert an iMessage to a Notes checklist

If you use a todo app, then it’s possible you can just share a paragraph from iMessage, and the text will be turned into a nice checkable to-do list for you. If not, the quickest, and easiest, way is to use the built-in Notes app. Here’s how to do it.

1 Copy the text of the iMessage by long-pressing and tapping “Copy.”
2 Launch Notes app and create a new note.
3 Paste the copied text.
4 Select all the pasted text, and tap the Checklist button.

And that’s it. You now have a checklist in the Notes app, ready to be used. If you find yourself doing this more often than you like, then you should take the time to train whoever keeps sending you lists via iMessage to use Shared Reminders instead.

 

Do you have a cool trick like this that saves you time? Tell us about it in the comments below!!

Tips & Tricks: Seven Useful Mac OS Tricks You Might Not Know

 

 

By Juli Clover of Mac Rumors

There are a lot of hidden features in both macOS and iOS that often go under the radar, either because they’ve not received much attention from Apple, or they’ve been forgotten after a period of time.

In the latest video over on our YouTube channel, we’ve rounded up some useful macOS tips and tricks that you might not know about.

Universal Copy Paste – In iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, Apple introduced a universal copy paste feature. On devices where you’re signed into your iCloud account, if you copy something on one device, you can paste it to another. So if you copy something on your iPhone, for example, you can swap over to your Mac to paste it.

Menu Bar – If you hold down the Command key, you can use your mouse or trackpad to rearrange the icons of the menu bar at the top of your screen.

Dragging Text – You can highlight text on your Mac and then hold down with the trackpad or a mouse to drag that text into another app. If you drag text to the desktop, it’ll create a new text clip document.

Split Screen – To quickly access the split-screen multitasking mode on your Mac, click and hold the mouse cursor over the green button in the upper left hand corner of any app window.

Emoji – To insert an emoji into any document or message, hold down the Control and Command keys and then press the space bar to bring up an emoji menu interface where you can choose an emoji.

Picture-in-Picture – When you watch a video on your Mac, like the YouTube video above, click on the Picture-in-Picture button that’s in the bottom right of the video player (it looks like an arrow pointing at a separate screen). If there’s no Picture-in-Picture button, you can hold down Control and then double-click inside the video to open up a shortcut menu. From there, you’ll have a separate video window that can be moved and resized.

Signing Documents – When viewing a PDF or document in an app like Preview, there are tools for inserting a signature. You can create a signature using a finger on the trackpad of your Mac, which is a handy way to sign digital documents.

Do you have any Mac Tips? Sound off in the comments below!!

Tips & Tricks: 6 Gmail tips, tricks, and hacks to help you master your email

 

 

 

By Nicole Gallucci of Mashable

Have you ever accidentally sent a damning email to someone that you intended to save for the rest of time as a draft? Or made a friend audibly gasp at the sight of thousands of unread email notifications on your phone? Perhaps you’ve run out of storage space on your drive entirely and are paying actual money for more. If so, you’re not alone, but you do need some major Gmail guidance.

The first step to mastering Gmail is admitting you’re not that great at it. You’re here reading this so you’ve done that already. Good. The second step is studying this handy list of Gmail tips, tricks, and hacks that I’ve complied just for you. Easy.

These six tips will teach you the ins and outs of un-sending messages, customizing your account, staying in the loop on the latest updates, and more. You’ll be a Gmail show-off making the most of your account before you know it.

 

1. Save some valuable space

There are two types of people in this world: those with zero un-read messages in their inbox and those with thousands.
If you’re a member of the latter group maybe that works for you, or perhaps you’ve simply lost control of your inbox and are now on the verge of losing sleep at night, just praying that an easy way to free up space in your Gmail account existed.
Okay, let’s not get dramatic. Decluttering that mess might seem impossible but it’s doable. We promise.

Search and delete

Gmail search allows you to specifically filter your messages to locate and delete by sender, file size, attachments, YouTube videos, or other links. Simply type a command into the search bar followed by the key words you’re looking for (ex: “from:mashable”) and Gmail will locate all related emails for you to review and potentially delete.

To start, you might consider searching for larger MP3 or video files to delete — but even if you don’t have any specifics in mind definitely make use of the file size search operator. You can type in “larger:3m” to search files over 3MB and so on and so forth. You can also wipe messages by date range. Typing “older_than:5y” will show all messages older than five years ago, which you can then select, trash at once, and pretend they never existed. 👍 Perfect.

If manual search operators aren’t your thing there’s always the more advanced drop-down search menu.

You can find Gmail’s full list of search operators here, along with search methods that may not have even crossed your mind.

2. Enable ‘Undo Send’ and breathe a sigh of relief

Gmail’s potentially life-saving “Undo Send” feature was introduced in 2015 so you’ve probably heard of it, but if you’re not sure how to enable it it’ll unfortunately be useless to you.

To do so, simply click on the settings gear in the upper right-hand corner of your Gmail account. Select “Settings” from the drop-down menu and check the box labeled “Enable Undo Send.” You’re then given the option to set a “send cancellation period” of either 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds.

Obviously choose 30 seconds, you know, because not everyone always realizes they made a horrible mistake RIGHT AWAY. (Why does a five second option even exist?)
Share Quote

 

3. Organize your inbox for maximum efficiency

Are you an email hoarder who refuses to delete messages? That’s okay, but if you’re going to keep thousands of emails you might want to organize them to make things less hectic. Labels and categories are your friends, but they each serve different purposes. Here’s the deal:

Labels:

Labels are sort of like folders, but the good thing is you can add multiple labels to a single email. To choose or create new labels open an email and click the label tab next to the “More” option above the message.
Once selected the labels will show up beside the email subject. Clicking on them will allow you to see all messages with that same label.

Once new labels are made, they ‘ll show up in the menu list on the left hand side of your account where you can edit and color code for extra customization.

 

Categories:

If you want to separate your emails before you open Gmail take advantage of inbox category tabs. These will sort your emails based on subject matter like “Social” or “Promotions,” so not every message shows up on the homepage.

 

To enable inbox categories go to Settings > Inbox and select “Default” inbox type. Then you can choose which categories you want to use, but be aware you’ll have to have less than 250,000 emails in your inbox for it to work

 

 

4. Personalize your account

While you’re staring at Gmail for hours at work don’t you ever wish it would better reflect your personality? Email is boring as hell, so for the love of your tired, strained eyes please take some time to add flair and color to your account.

⭐ All the stars ⭐

In the email world a yellow star generally signifies a message is important, but by utilizing all the stars and symbols Gmail offers you can use the shapes to organize emails into groups.

To choose which stars you have at your disposal go to the Stars section in the Settings tab. You can choose to use one, four, or all 12 symbols. (Don’t forget to save your settings changes at the bottom of the page.)

Starring an email highlights it and includes it in the “Starred” label, but enabling different colored stars makes it even easier to perform specific searches. For example, if you’re looking for emails with purple stars you can type “has:purple-star” in the search bar and voila.

To access the different colored symbols simply continue clicking the yellow star until you reach the one you want.

Custom themes:

Anyone who’s ever been to a themed party knows themes are a blast, and in this case they have the power to transform an otherwise dull but very necessary communication tool into a low-key enjoyable thing to look at. To choose a theme you can browse some of the lovely options under the drop-down settings gear (island getaway, crunchy leaves, light blue, etc.) or upload your own photo to get even more personal.

 

5. Reclaim your time

No one wants to spend their day navigating Gmail, so here are some hot time-saving tips that will let you get back to Twitter, Facebook, and uh, work, I guess, sooner.

 

Send personalized mass emails

Ain’t nobody got time to individually personalize the exact same email for multiple people… until now. Thanks to a nifty Chrome extension called Mail Merge for Gmail you can send personalized emails to a mass group of recipients at one time.
After downloading the add-on simply create a spreadsheet in Google Drive, then go to Add-ons > Mail Merge and Scheduler > Create Merge Template to make the spreadsheet merge-able. To add recipients either import from your Google Contacts on input the info manually.

Learn more about using Mail Merge here.

Schedule emails like a magician

Another great thing about Mail Merge is it has a built-in scheduler that you can use to send out emails at later dates or times.

Boomerang for Gmail is another service that lets you schedule emails to send ahead of time, and is especially great if you want to get a jump-start on work or simply want to ensure you don’t forget to send something. You can also set reminders for yourself to follow up on messages, which is something everyone could benefit from.

Learn those sweet sweet keyboard shortcuts

Hotkeys have the potential to change your Gmail life, but before you master them make sure they’re all turned on by going to Settings > Keyboard Shortcuts > On.
Once that’s done you’ll have access to dozens of helpful key combinations that will make formatting text, chatting, navigating your account, participating in Hangouts, and much more seem like a breeze.

Google has a complete list of keyboard shortcuts, but you can also type a “?” when Gmail is open to make another list appear.

6. Stay up to date on Gmail news

Gmail is always improving and changing, so one of the best ways to keep up is to test new features while they’re still in beta.

You may be unaware of Gmail Labs, which allows you to do just that. It’s the hub for all things in the experimental stage, which can occasionally become permanent parts of the mailing system. You can test out and enable all sorts of fun features by visiting the Labs tab in Settings. Just don’t get too attached because they could wind up disappearing on you.

And if you’re really afraid of getting Gmail FOMO you can follow Gmail’s official blog for the latest news and updates. (Also, maybe consider closing your laptop and hanging out with some friends IRL because Gmail FOMO should not be a ~thing~).

 

Do you have any tips for using Gmail? Tell us about them in the comments below!

Tips & Tricks: 20 Rocking Apple Music Streaming Tips

Apple’s streaming music service is growing by leaps and bounds—here are a few tips to get the most out of it.

 

 

By Eric Griffith and Jeffery L Wilson of PC Mag.com

Few streaming music services explode onto the market and into the public consciousness like Apple Music. Backed by Cupertino’s marketing juggernaut and millions of existing iTunes users, Apple Music is now growing faster than its top rival, Spotify.

This isn’t too surprising. It’s a default app on iOS devices, and there’s even an Android version for people who don’t own an iPhone or iPad. That’s potentially millions upon millions of customers who may give the app a try for their streaming music needs.
Plus, Apple Music is a fine music service. You get lots of tunes, music-related television and film content, and the Connect social network that keeps you on top of music happenings. And Apple Music offers a family plan ($14.99 per month for six people who share over iCloud) and a discount for college students ($4.99 per month).

Apple Music isn’t flawless. It doesn’t have a free, ad-supported option like Spotify, but it does let iOS users listen free to Beats 1 radio and other stations. That’s the big picture Apple Music, but the music service has lots of goodies beneath the hood. We’ve got a list of 20 tips and tricks here that will help you get the most out of Apple Music, or at least prevent it from getting the better of you.

 

1. Get Your Connect Name

When you post comments or playlists in Apple Music, it’ll show your name. You can claim a special nickname for Apple’s somewhat-revamped Connect social network, if you’re quick about it. (No one wants to be told they should be egriffith646985.) In the Music app, enter a handle and add a photo.


2. Skip Connecting

By default, any artist you add to your library is going to be one you follow using Connect. In fact, any artist you’ve ever bought music from in iTunes is auto-followed, even that one hit wonder from years ago. To change that, tap Account > Following. There, you can not only unfollow individual artists—who might, in fact, use the service to try and stay in touch with you about new releases—you can also tell Connect to stop auto-following artists you’ve added to your music library. Any artist you don’t follow on Connect won’t appear in the Connect Section of Apple Music, naturally.

 

3. Kill Connect Entirely

Want to do away with Connect? On iOS, go into Settings > General > Restrictions. Turn them on if they’re off. Scroll down to Apple Music Connect and turn on the restriction. After that, go back to the Music app—you’ll see the Connect tab has been replaced with “Playlists.”

4. Turn off the Auto-Renew
After your three-month trial of Apple Music, Apple is just going to assume you love it and want to subscribe. Prevent that charge from automatically appearing on your credit card. While in the Music app, tap the head icon in the upper left > View Apple ID > log in > Manage (under Subscriptions at the bottom). Turn off Automatic Renewal. A pop-up will tell you how long you have left in your trial. Remember, after your trial ends, any music you’ve added via Apple Music to playlists and the like will go buh-bye.


5. Tap to Like, Double-Tap to Love.

Services such as Spotify and Apple Music live by mining what you like musically, so it can recommend more. In Apple Music, you’re asked from the get-go for suggestions of favorite artists and styles when you tap “For You.” To make changes later, tap the head icon > Choose Artists for You. Pink bubbles with musical genres and then specific artists will appear. Tap to tell Apple you like it. But if you double-tap, it indicates a deep, abiding love and that singer or band or genre is going to weigh heavily into future suggestions. If there’s a genre in a bubble you don’t like at all, tap and hold it to get rid of it.

 

6. Like from Lock
Listening to Apple Music with your phone locked is a god-send. If you hear a new song stream you like, but don’t want to go back into the app to indicate you like it, just click the heart outline on the iOS lock screen. It’ll turn solid red, to indicate your devotion. (This does NOT add the music to your phone or playlists. It just lets Apple know you like it/them, so future recommendations can reflect your refined tastes. You’ll find those recommendations on the For You tab.)

 

7). Siri into Apple Music
The ties between Apple’s audio AI and Apple Music are pretty good. You can use Siri to search for music (“Find ‘White Christmas’ by Bing Crosby on Apple Music” brought it right up), but also to do things like shuffle songs (hold down the home button while in a playlist and say “Shuffle Songs.”) Remember Siri also has built-in Shazam, so ask Siri to ID a song playing around you, and when she does, you can then immediately click the arrow button to start playback.

 

 

8. Hide Apple Music Suggestions
Hate that For You tab because you already know what you like, and hell, you already have all the music you want? You can stay subscribed to Apple Music while hiding it from view. On the iPhone, go to Settings > Music and turn off Show Apple Music. Next time you open the Music App, the For You and New tabs will be gone, and it will show My Music, Playlists, Radio, and Connect (assuming you didn’t kill it in restrictions).

 

 

9. See Recent Searches
If you can’t remember the last thing you looked for, or just don’t want to type it again, look for the clock icon in the search bar on iOS. It’ll show you a full list of the most recent searches.

 

 

10. Download for Offline Listening
You’re an Apple Music paying customer, or soon will be… so enjoy the fruits of that by making music you wouldn’t necessarily buy otherwise available to listen to, anytime, anywhere, even when you’re offline. All you do is click the three-dot menu next to a song (or an entire album) and on the menu that pops up, click Make Available Offline. (To buy it, click Show in iTunes Store.) This also works from within Beats 1 Radio.

 

11. Download Over Cellular
The default setting is that you only get to download music to the phone using Wi-Fi. You can change that by going into Settings > iTunes & App Store. Turn on the Use Cellular Data option. It’s up to you to make sure you don’t hit your data cap, if you have one.

 

 

12. Call in Your Requests
Want to make a request of Beats 1 radio? You can, by calling the number for your geographic location, listed here (and shown above). To be clear, in the US, call 1-310-299-8756 or toll free to 1-877-720-6293.

 

 

13. View Downloaded Only
Let’s say you’ve got a huge library of music showing in your My Music tab—but most of it’s streaming. If you want to know what’s available when you’re offline (namely, the tracks you’ve downloaded), tap on the My Music tab, and at the top of the tracks, tap Songs or Albums or whatever shows just below the album covers. It brings up the menu where you change how to sort music. At the bottom of that menu, toggle Show Music Available Offline to only see what’s stored on the phone. (This doesn’t quite work for iTunes Match users; on my phone, I still saw all my Match titles, even though they’re not locally stored. Seems like more of a bug than a feature, Apple.)

 

 

14. Publish to Apple Music
Looks like Spotify isn’t the only place you can push your tunes! On iOS, music crafted with GarageBand can be shared direct to Apple Music Connect. (This doesn’t yet work on the Mac desktop.) Naturally, an Apple Music account is required, and chances are if you ever leave the service behind, the service will kick your music to the curb. And it’s not exactly going to replace SoundCloud for original music sharing anytime soon. But it’s an interesting start.

 

 

15. Wake to Apple Music
Any song in the Apple Music library of 30 million tracks can now be what you wake to in the morning. Save a favorite song to your library (click that ellipsis three-dot menu as a song plays and select Add to My Music)—after that, go into the iOS Clock app, create or edit an alarm, and under Sound, click Pick a Song. From there, find it in the lists by album, artist, song, or just search for the individual track. (If you let the subscription lapse, you won’t have that song to wake to, of course.)

 

 

16. Access Apple Music on the Desktop
You’ll need to make sure you’ve got the latest version of iTunes, 12.7.3, but when you do the software that has always held your Apple-based music collection (and is the focal point of Apple-based music sales, not to mention backup up your iPhone, etc.) becomes your streaming center. Along with the usual tabs for My Music and Playlists, you’ll see Apple Music-specific tabs at the top including For You (seen here on both mobile and desktop), Radio, and Connect. If you’re all thumbs, this is the best way to do some of the detail work, like adding things to playlists, creating Smart Playlists, etc.

 

 

17. Enjoy Music-Related TV and Films
Apple Music has more than just audio content. By visiting Browse > TV & Movies you can dive into video, too. The annoyingly popular Carpool Karaoke, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story, and Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives are just some of the music-focused television and film content available for streaming.

 

 

18. Apply Content Restrictions
Did you know that Apple Music lets you filter out naughty language and adult themes? By visiting Settings > Content Restrictions, you can toggle the Allow Explicit Content option on or off. This doesn’t only apply to music; you can also apply filters to music-related television and movie content.

In addition, you can create a restriction password to prevent someone else from adjusting the restriction parameters (a much welcomed feature for those who have children).

 

19. Automatically add Songs to Your Library
You like playlists, I like playlists, we all like playlists. Themed music collections are the way to go for those times when you need extra energy for a gym session or soft vibes for falling asleep. Music in your playlists are likely to be tunes you dig, so a handy Apple Music feature lets you automatically add playlist tracks to your Library. You can get it up and running by opening Settings and toggling on Add Playlist Songs.

 

20. Tweak EQ Settings
You don’t need to use Apple Music’s default audio settings. The app includes an equalizer that lets you boost various frequencies, as well as up the bass and adjust the surround sound.

What are your favorite Features of Apple Music? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Tips & Tricks: 20 + Must-Know Home Pod Tips

 

By Jeff Benjamin of 9to5Mac

If you’re an Apple Music subscriber who’s all in on the Apple ecosystem, then the HomePod is a compelling smart speaker. Not only does it sound excellent, but it has Siri built in, which can do things like control your music and control smart home accessories.

HomePod isn’t yet as “smart” as Google Home products with Google Assistant, or Amazon products with Alexa, but it has loads of potential, and already features many built in conveniences. Did you recently purchase a HomePod? In this hands-on video, we’ll walk through some of our top must-know tips for new HomePod users.

How to access HomePod settings

 

To access HomePod settings, open the Home app, tap the Home tab, long press on the HomePod tile, and tap the Details button in the bottom right-hand corner.

How to access and rename HomePod

Although each HomePod takes on the identity of the room its in, if you have multiple HomePods in the same room, giving them a unique name may be a good idea. To rename your HomePod, open its settings, and tap the name field at the top of the screen.

How to talk to Siri

There are two ways to invoke Siri. You can simply say ‘Hey Siri’ or you can long press anywhere on the HomePod touch panel and Siri will respond.

Keep in mind that when talking to Siri via Hey Siri, you don’t have to wait for Siri to respond before issuing your command.

If you make your command a part of the initial Hey Siri command, you will have more success controlling HomePod.

So instead of saying:

Hey Siri…. <wait for response> what’s the weather today?

Say:

Hey Siri, what’s the weather today?

How to disable ‘Hey Siri’

 

Disabling Hey Siri is easy, and can be done directly via the HomePod settings using the Hey Siri toggle. You can also disable Hey Siri by asking HomePod to do so via Siri.

Simply say:

Hey Siri, disable Hey Siri.

Siri will ask you to confirm with a yes before disabling Hey Siri. If you wish to enable Hey Siri again, you’ll need to do so directly from the HomePod Settings, or by manually invoking Siri using the HomePod’s touch controls.

How to control HomeKit accessories

HomePod can be used as a hub to control most HomeKit accessories like smart lights and thermostats. Simply say something like:
Hey Siri, turn on my string lights.

You can also use Siri to control HomeKit scenes. For example, say:

Hey Siri, goodnight.

How to set alarms on HomePod

 

 

Keep in mind that HomePod alarms are separate from the alarms you set on your iOS device. There are two ways to set an alarm with HomePod. The first way is to use Siri:

Hey Siri, Set an alarm for 8:00 AM.

You can also venture directly into the Home App, tap the HomePod tile, and tap the Alarms button in the bottom left hand corner.

How to play music with HomePod

 

The easiest way to play music on HomePod is to simply ask Siri. Just say:

Hey Siri, play <name of song, album or playlist>

Keep in mind that you can only play music Apple Music, iTunes Match, iCloud Music Library and iTunes Purchases via your voice.

How to adjust HomePod volume

 

There are several ways to go about adjusting volume with HomePod. For starters, you can use the touch controls to incrementally adjust volume up or down. You can also long press on the + or – buttons to quickly adjust volume in either direction.

Of course, you can also ask Siri to adjust volume as well. Some valid commands include, Hey Siri…
Set volume to max.
• Mute volume.
• Increase volume by 50%.
• Set volume to 10.
• Set volume to 85.

How to control music playback

 

You can use Siri to control music playback on HomePod. Simply say:

Hey Siri, <play/pause, skip, go back>.

The HomePod’s touch controls can also be used to control music playback, much like the EarPods inline remote controls.

• A single press of the touch panel will play/pause.
• A double press will skip to the next song.
• A triple press will go back to the previous song.

You can also pause and play music directly from the Home app. Simply open the Home app, and tap on the HomePod tile to pause or play music playback.

How to play similar music on HomePod

 

If you’re enjoying the currently playing song, simply say:
Hey Siri, play more songs like this.

Or you can say something like:

Hey Siri, make play the whole album.
Or:
Hey Siri, make a station from this song.

How to add a song to your library using Siri

If you’d like to save a now playing song to your music library, say:

Hey Siri, add this song to my library.

How to play Podcasts on HomePod

You can playback your favorite podcasts on HomePod by saying something like:

Hey Siri, play the latest episode of 9to5Mac’s Happy Hour.

Request the latest news from Siri

Hey Siri, what’s the latest news?

You can change your news source by saying:

Hey Siri, switch to (CNN, NPR, Fox News, or Washington Post)

How to add a song to Up Next using Siri

To keep the music playing, use the Up Next feature to queue up songs to play next. Say Hey Siri…
Add ‘Hotel California’ to Up Next.

If you’d like to check which song is queued to play next, say:
Hey Siri, what song is up next?

Access HomePod Now Playing from Control Center

Although it’s not very discoverable, it’s possible to control and view details about the currently playing song directly from an eligible device, like an iPhone, on the same network.

To do so, invoke Control Center, and long press on the Music widget. Scroll to your HomePod, and you should see the currently playing song. Tap on the HomePod to expand the Now Playing controls, which will allow you to play/pause, skip, and go back to the previous song.

You can also use the HomePod Now Playing controls to adjust playback volume directly.

How to fully control Apple Music on HomePod from an iOS device

It’s possible to fully control Apple Music, including selecting additional songs, and queueing up music, directly from an iOS device on the same Wi-Fi network as HomePod.

There are two ways to do so:

The first way is to invoke the HomePod Now Playing interface as described in the previous step, and tap on the album artwork to open the Music app. From there it’s possible to control your music just like you would when playing music directly on an iOS device.

The second way to access full HomePod music controls is to open the Music app, and tap the AirPlay button at the bottom of the Now Playing interface. Once you do, you will be able to access the HomePod, and control music playback directly.

Share the Up Next queue

 

One cool thing about controlling HomePod from an iOS device using the music app is that you, or anyone else on the same Wi-Fi network with Apple Music can contribute to the Up Next queue.

Simply access the HomePod controls as described in the previous steps, long press/3D Touch on a song, album or playlist, and select Play Next. This allows multiple people to contribute to the Up Next queue, which is great for parties.

How to transfer a phone call to HomePod

Although you can’t initiate a phone call from HomePod, it is possible to transfer a call to HomePod to continue a conversation. While on a phone call, tap the audio destination button in the Phone app interface, and select HomePod.

You’ll know when HomePod is hosting a phone call by the green Siri indicator on top of the Touch Panel.

How to output sound via Apple TV

There are several ways to go about connecting the Apple TV to HomePod for audio output. The easiest way is to simply press and hold the Play button on the Siri Remote while on the Apple TV Home screen. Doing so will invoke an interface, shown in the photo above, that allows you to quickly select audio output.

You can also go to Settings → Video and Audio → Audio Output and select the HomePod as output. Other apps, like the Music app, allow you to select audio output options directly as well.

How to control Apple TV playback features

One of the major benefits of outputting sound from Apple TV to HomePod is that it surfaces a limited amount of voice controls. While watching content, you can control playback via HomePod using the following Hey Siri commands:
Hey Siri, play/pause.
• Hey Siri, skip ahead <amount of time>.
• Hey Siri, go back <amount of time>.

In the future I imagine that Apple will work on fleshing out Apple TV voice control via HomePod to be more closely aligned to what’s possible via the Siri Remote. But even now, in this limited state, using HomePod to control the Apple TV playback experience is pretty awesome.

How to AirPlay to HomePod from Mac

To AirPlay all sounds coming from your Mac, you should enable the Show volume in menu bar option located in System Preferences → Sound. Once you do, you’ll be able to easily select your Mac’s sound output destination, which includes the HomePod, by clicking on the Volume button in the menu bar.

How to AirPlay to multiple HomePods using AirFoil

Users will be able to facilitate stereo pairing with two HomePods once AirPlay 2 launches in a future iOS/HomePod software update. For now, it’s possible to enable “stereo” playback via AirFoil, a paid Mac utility. It’s not exactly what Apple had in mind with AirPlay 2, but it’s an interesting workaround until stereo pairing launches alongside iOS 11.3 in the near future.

How to reset the HomePod

 

There are two ways to go about resetting the HomePod. The easy way is to venture into HomePod settings via the Home app. Once there, you’ll find a Remove Accessory option at the bottom of the screen.

The second way to reset the HomePod, and the method that you’ll need to use if resetting via the Home app fails, is to do so directly from the HomePod itself.

Step 1: Unplug the HomePod power cable.
Step 2: Plug in the HomePod, and after three seconds elapse, tap and hold the touch surface.
Step 3: Continue to hold the touch surface, and you should see the touch control status indicator turn red. Continue holding the touch surface until you hear three beeps.

The HomePod will then reset, allow it to be reconfigured from scratch.

Conclusion

There are many more Siri commands that you can utilize to control HomePod. What are some of your favorite commands?

What other HomePod-related tips do you have to share? Sound off in the comments below with your feedback.

Tips & Tricks: 13 Roku tricks you should try right now

Your Roku streamer can do a lot more than you might think. These are some of the coolest tips we’ve tried.

 

 

BY Rick Broida of CNet

Is there a more widely beloved tech product than the Roku streamer? Whether yours is a stick or box, it delivers virtually unparalleled video goodness to your TV: Netflix, Hulu, HBO and so on.

And, yet, it could be better. That onscreen keyboard? Bleh. The default interface theme? Room for improvement. Below I’ve rounded up 13 ways to improve your Roku experience, from organizing channels to watching iTunes movies to adding TV-control buttons to the Roku remote.

Use your phone as your Roku keyboard

Is there anything more aggravating than using a remote to operate an onscreen keyboard? Just signing in to, say, your Netflix account can be a slow, agonizing affair, to say nothing of searching for actors or movies.

Thankfully, there’s an easy fix: Use your phone instead. As you probably know, the Roku apps (iOS | Android) can take the place of your Roku remote, but they also provide a keyboard that makes data entry significantly faster and easier.

So anytime you land at your Roku’s onscreen keyboard on your TV, whether for a search or sign-in, just run the app, tap Remote and then tap the keyboard icon near the bottom of the screen. Now you can tap-type! Or, power tip, tap the keyboard’s microphone icon and “type” your entry using your voice. Speaking of which…

Use your phone for voice search

You know what’s even faster than a keyboard? The spoken word. If you’re lucky enough to have a current-generation Roku, you may have discovered the joys of voice search, which you can operate via the Roku remote.

Don’t own one of those models? No problem: The Roku app now offers voice-search capabilities of its own. So instead of tapping out, say, “Leonardo DiCaprio” to find his available movies (and risk spelling it wrong), you can just tap the Search option, then Voice, and actually say, “Leonardo DiCaprio.”

Stream media from your phone or tablet

Want to show everyone the photos and videos you took at the recent wedding, graduation, soccer game or zombie escape room? Don’t gather them around your relatively tiny phone or tablet; gather them around the TV instead. The Roku app lets you cast photos, videos and music from your mobile device to your streamer.

Just fire up the app and tap Play On Roku. Choose the kind of media you want to stream, then the specific media. Presto! Big-screen viewing from your small(er)-screen device.

Want to take this a step further? You can also mirror your smartphone or tablet to your Roku device.

Turn your Roku remote into a universal remote

I really like the design of the Roku remote, especially those that have shortcut buttons to the likes of Netflix and Amazon. What I don’t like: You can’t program a Roku remote to control your TV.

But you can program a Sideclick. Available for a variety of streamers (including Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV), this clever add-on (with the best name ever) clips to the side of your Roku remote and adds a row of handy programmable buttons: power, volume up/down, channel up/down, input and A/B (these last available for whatever functions you want).

The Sideclick starter kit for Roku sells for $30 and comes with four adapter clips to accommodate the majority of Roku remotes. It’s a pretty nice option for anyone tired of juggling remotes.

Organize your channels

 

The more channels you add to your Roku library, the bigger a jumbled mess they get. If you’re forever scrolling all over the place to find the handful of channels you visit most, you’ve probably wished for some way to reorganize them.

This is that way: Find a channel you want to relocate — let’s say HBO Now — and highlight it with your remote. (Don’t actually select it, just move the cursor over it so it’s highlighted.) Next, press the Option button on your remote (it looks like an asterisk), then choose Move Channel. Now use the direction pad to move the icon where you want it, noting how others move out of the way as you go.

Once you’ve found the perfect spot, press OK to complete the process. Repeat as necessary.

Reorganize channels in the Roku app

A recent update to the Roku app added a great feature: a Channels screen, similar to what you see on your TV. It makes for much faster access to your favorite channels.
However, it’s not immediately obvious how to organize those channels. That’s because you can’t actually do so within the app: You have to hit up your actual Roku on your TV. Then just follow the steps outlined in Organize your channels, above. Or, if you want more detail, check out How to organize your channels in the new Roku 4.0 app.

Choose a new theme

Not a fan of Roku’s default interface theme? That’s OK, not everyone loves purple. If you venture into the Settings menu and choose Themes, you’ll see a handful of other options.

Even better, select Get More Themes, which will bring you to the Roku Channel Store’s Themes collection. (You can also browse them online if you prefer.) Here you’ll find several dozen other options, everything from golf to Garfield to Star Trek. Alas, these add-ons aren’t free: <ost range from 99 cents to $2.99.

Install a screensaver

 

Tired of that Roku logo bouncing around whenever your streamer sits idle for a while? Why not choose a screensaver that’s a little more interesting?
As with selecting a theme, you can head to the Settings menu and then choose

Screensaver for a handful of other options. (If you’ve already chosen a different theme, you may see other screensaver options already. Nebula, for example, offers a digital clock in place of the bouncing Roku logo.)

And, again, you can head to the Channel Store to find lots of other screensavers: aquariums, animated fireplaces, headlines from “The Onion,” even a Nixie Clock. A handful are free; most will cost you a buck or two.

Rename your Rokus

If you have more than one Roku device, it makes sense to assign each one a name — if only to simplify things when using the Roku app. It’s a lot easier to switch between, say, “Bedroom Roku” and “Living Room Roku” than it is “Roku 2” and “Roku 3.”

Curiously, however, you can’t do this from within the app. Instead, you need to sign into my.roku.com, then head to the My Account page. Scroll down a bit to see a list of your connected devices, then click Rename next to the one you want to change. Not sure which is which? You can actually refer to the app for this; tap Settings > Switch Device for a list of connected Rokus (and their convenient accompanying pictures), then look for the serial number. Match that to what you see on the Web portal.

Install private channels

Everyone knows about Roku’s Netflix, Hulu and other mainstream channels, but your streamers also support the addition of private channels.

Is that code for “adult”? Yes and no. Although adult channels do exist for Roku, you can find a variety of family-friendly options at sources like Roku-Channels.com, RokuGuide.com, StreamFree.tv and RokuChannels.tv.

One cool option: The Silent Movie Channel, which offers selections from the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Rudolph Valentino.

To add it, head to Roku’s My Account page in your browser (as described in the previous tip), click Add a Channel, then enter the code ROLLEM.

The channel should get automatically added to your Roku device within the next 24 hours, but you should be able to force it by going to the Channel Store on your Roku, then exiting back out to the main menu.

Find a lost Roku remote

Much as I like the design of the Roku remote, the size can be a problem: It goes missing that much more easily. The Bermuda Triangle has nothing on my couch cushions.

Fortunately, if you own a Roku 4 ($63.99 at Amazon Marketplace) or Roku Ultra, there’s a fast way to find your remote. (Assuming, of course, you can still find the Roku itself. Gotta be somewhere near the TV.) Both models have a button on top; press it and your remote will make a sound.

Want to learn how to choose what sound it makes? Check out Quickly find a lost Roku remote with this trick.

Watch movies from your iTunes library

If you live in the Apple ecosystem, you know that owning a Roku means forgoing any movies you’ve purchased via iTunes. After all, it’s not like Apple offers a Roku channel.

Thankfully, there’s Movies Anywhere. This free tool puts all your movies under one roof, so to speak, meaning you can now use a single Roku app to access movies from your Amazon, Google, iTunes and Vudu accounts. Obviously you could already access Amazon, Google and Vudu movies on your Roku via their respective apps, but Movies Anywhere brings iTunes into that mix and saves you from having to remember which movie is located where.

Listen in private with private listening

One of Roku’s best features is private listening, which allows you to stream audio through a remote or your phone to your favorite headphones. That’s great for your half-deaf relative who would normally need to crank the TV volume to house-shattering levels, or for your elliptical workouts where you can’t hear the TV over the sound of the machinery.

The Roku 3, Roku Premiere+, Roku 4 and Roku Ultra all come with a remote that has a built-in headphone jack, by far the easiest option. (Pro tip: If you plug in, remember to unplug when you’re done. Headphones will continue to draw power even when you’re not using the Roku, making it quite likely you’ll return to a dead set of remote batteries.)

But all current-gen models, from the Roku Express to the Roku Ultra, also support private listening via the Roku app. This works with both wired and wireless headphones; just fire up the app and tap the headphones icon to switch from TV speakers to private listening.

And there you go! Thirteen cool ways to improve your Roku experience.

Hit the comments and share your favorite tips!

Tips & Tricks: Top Five Time-Saving iPhone Tips

 

By Tim Hardwick of MacRumors

If you’re looking to cut down on the amount of time you spend performing certain actions on your iPhone, there’s usually a solution hidden in Apple’s mobile operating system. Here are five quick iOS tips that once you start using will make you a lot more time-efficient in the long run.

This article assumes you’re using an iPhone running iOS 11 or later, but some of these tips will work on iPad and earlier versions of Apple’s mobile OS. Read on for more.

1. Search a Web Page

In Safari on iOS, there are two ways to search a web page for a specific word or phrase. One method is quicker than the other, although neither is necessarily immediately obvious.

 

The first way involves tapping the Share icon (the square with an arrow pointing out of it), sliding your finger left along the bottom column, and tapping the Find on Page button, indicated by a magnifying glass. Start typing what you’re looking for, and your search results will be returned automatically.

The second, faster method is to type your search term straight into Safari’s address bar and then tap the On This Page option at the bottom of the suggestion list, after which you’ll be able to tap through each occurrence of the term on the current page.

2. Swipe to Delete in the Calculator

 

It’s a common misconception that if you type the wrong number into the Calculator app, you have to start the whole sum all over again. Happily, that isn’t the case: Simply swipe right or left with a finger across the number display to remove the last number you typed, and repeat the action if necessary to remove several numbers.

3. Access Deeper Control Center Options Sans 3D Touch

In iOS 11, the Control Center is designed to reveal deeper controls when the user hard-presses to activate 3D Touch – just try it on the camera button, for instance.

If you own an iPhone SE or an older iPhone that doesn’t support 3D Touch gestures, it’s still possible to access these more granular controls on any button that supports them by using a simple long press instead.

4. Quick-Switch Back From Numbers/Symbols to Letters

Switching onscreen keyboards when you need to type a number or symbol is an all-too-often occurrence on iPhone, so here’s a tip for making the transition super-swift.

 

Rather than tap the “123” key to switch to the number/symbol keyboard, hold down on it and slide your finger over to the key you want, then let go. This single action types the number/symbol and automatically switches you back to the alphabetical layout, avoiding the need to perform three separate taps to achieve the same result.

5. Clear All Notifications At Once

If you’ve got a bunch of notifications from earlier in the day or week that are clogging up your Notifications Screen, don’t waste time clearing them one by one. Simply hard press on the first x icon you see on the right of the list. From there, you only need to select the Clear All Notifications 3D Touch option to make them instantly vanish.

Do you have an best practices for navigating your iPhone? Tell us about them in the comments below!

Tips & Tricks: Custom thumbnails make your Apple Notes Easier to Find

 

 

 

By Charlie Sorrel of Cult of Mac

Apple’s Notes app gets better and better, with the iOS 11/macOS Sierra version bringing all kinds of amazing features. But however good any notes app is, you still have to find your notes, and for most of us that means scanning a list until we find the one we’re looking for. Today we’ll see how to add a custom image thumbnail to any note, so you can quickly identify it in the list. Even if you use search to narrow down the results, an image will still make notes easier to spot.

Adding image thumbnails to Apple Notes

 

Apple Notes automatically generates thumbnails from any images that are in a note, so the easiest way to add a thumbnail is to add an image. You can do this in many different ways. On the iPad or the Mac, you can drag an image from a Safari page, or from the Photos app, or any other source. On the iPhone, you can add an image from your Photos library by tapping the little plus ⊕ icon, and browsing from there.
Once you’ve added an image, a thumbnail of that image will show up automatically next to the note’s title in the source list. This makes it dead easy to find a note quickly.

Not just photos

But adding photos isn’t the only way to add a thumbnail to a note. The Notes app will pull pictures from some other sources. One way is to add a sketch to your note. On the iPad this is as easy as taking your Apple Pencil and drawing, but you can also tap the plus ⊕ icon and pick Add Sketch from the menu that pops up.

Notes will also grab an image from a URL. If you add a link to a note, you’ll already be familiar with the rich display that results — the link turns into a nice little box with an image, a title, and the URL itself. If no other images are available, then the Notes app will use that image as a thumbnail for the note.

Some rich objects in your Notes do not generate a thumbnail, even though they do create an image in the note body itself. Map bookmarks, for instance, show a preview of the location inside the note, but that map picture isn’t used for the note thumbnail.

Image order

What if you have multiple images in a note? Then Notes will pick the first one. If you have a URL before an image, then, the thumbnail will be taken from the URL. If you’d prefer to use the photo instead, just move it higher up in the note.

And Notes app will grab its images from anywhere inside the note. They don’t have to be at the very top of the note. The app just grabs the first one it finds. So, order matters, but absolute positioning doesn’t.

Thumbnails are a great way to help find notes when you’re searching through a long sidebar list, and there best part is that often they are generated without you having to do anything. But if you want thumbnails in a note that doesn’t already have one, then now you know how to fix it.

What’s your favorite Note taking app or favorite feature? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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