My 13-year-old’s dramatic eye-rolling made me a better iPhone user.
I recently discovered that I can use YouTube for listening to music on my phone without it taking over what’s happening on my screen. Here’s what I mean.
My daughter was describing a song to me, but couldn’t quite recall the title or artist. As a TECH GOD I grabbed my iPhone and launched Apple Music. “Just use YouTube,” she said with the disdain typically reserved for someone who had just kicked your dog.
I would, but YouTube commandeers the iPhone. If you’re using the official app, any video that’s playing stops as soon as you navigate away. The same goes for YouTube.com in mobile Safari. Unless you do the following:
Go to YouTube.com in mobile Safari.
Find the video you want to listen to and get it playing.
Hit your iPhone’s Home button to navigate away from Safari.
The music stops. Don’t panic! Just swipe up to reveal the Control Center (below)
Hit the play button.
That’s it! Hit the Home button one more time to dismiss the Control Center and use your iPhone however you like while the YouTube video plays in the background. I had no idea this was possible.
Apple released version 1.2 of Podcasts for iPhone and iPad with several big changes, including custom station creation. I like this feature a whole lot, as it lets you group podcasts however you like and moves between new episodes across shows automatically. I’ve already made several, including science, drama, fun and tech. Here’s how to create a custom station in Podcasts for iPhone and iPad version 1.2.
Subscribe to some podcasts. Enter the store and pick a few that you like.
Tap My Stations and then New Stations.
Enter a name for your new station. A list of your subscribed podcasts appears.
Tap those you’d like to add to your station. When you’re finished, tap Done.
That’s it. While on the My Stations screen, tap Edit to re-order your stations. You can delete a station (but not the podcasts it contains) by swiping across its title.
The menu bar items Apple puts in OS X are pretty useful, but you can make them even more so by holding down the Option key when clicking on them. Note that this trick doesn’t work with all menu bar items, just Apple’s (as far as I’ve found. I haven’t tested every app, of course!). Here’s a look at the result of several items with and without an Option-click (note that I’m using Snow Leopard in these screenshots).
The odd thing is there’s a difference in the Time Machine menu, too, but OS X won’t let me take a screenshot of the Option-click version. When you Option-click, Back Up Now turns into Verify Backups, and Enter Time Machine becomes Browse Other Time Machine Discs.
This one’s a bit of fun. You can change the name of an iPhone folder to an emoji icon, or combine emoji and text for a fun, nice-looking change. The first step is to enable emoji, then alter the folder name. Let’s get started.
iOS treats Emoji as a distinct keyboard, so you enable it in the keyboard preferences. Follow these steps:
Open the Settings app
Tap General, then Keyboard
Tap Keyboards, then Add New Keyboard
Scroll until you find Emoji, then tap it
Change your Folder Names
You’re all set. To activate the Emoji keyboard, do the following whenever you’re entering text:
Tap the globe icon to switch to Emoji (or tap and hold for a pop-up list of active keyboards)
When you’re done, tap the globe icon again to switch back
Now that we’ve got that sorted out, it’s time to add icons to your folder names.
Open and folder and tap-and-hold any icon to enter “jiggle mode.”
Tap the folder’s label field.
The keyboard appears. Tap the globe icon to switch to the emoji keyboard and find a descriptive icon.
Tap the home button when you’re done.
That’s it. You can combine letters and emoji if you like, or use the icons alone. I think it looks cute.
Click the gear icon and then select Reader Settings.
The settings screen appears. Click the Import/Export tab.
At the bottom of the screen, click Download your data through Takeout.
You may have to sign into Google again.
A new screen appears. When your file is ready, it’ll say “100%.” Click Create Archive.
At this point, the process begins. How long it takes depends on how many feeds you subscribe to. If you don’t feel like waiting, opt to receive an email when your file is ready. Otherwise, click Download when the process is finished (you might have to sign in yet again). Your file will download.
The result will be a folder on your computer with files that end in .json and one that ends in .xml. Now you’re ready to find a new client and import your feeds via that .xml file. But that’s another post entirely.
Apple’s Music app for iPhone does a nice job of playing back your songs, podcasts and audiobooks. Unfortunately, the iPhone’s small screen prevents you from seeing a long title — be it a song, album or artist — at a glance. Fear not! There’s a simple fix.
Just tap and hold on any long title for a pop-up that displays everything in full, no matter how lengthy.
Recently I mentioned that I still use the calculator Dashboard widget. A lot of you responded with, “Why don’t you use Spotlight?” The truth is, I didn’t know Apple’s Spotlight could do math! Sure enough it can. Here’s how:
Tap Command-Space to bring up Spotlight (or whatever keyboard shortcut you have assigned to it).
Type your math.
That’s it. Basic operations work, like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. But that’s not all. Check it out:
Enter a Restrictions passcode, one that your child can’t guess (1234 is out)
Scroll down and move the In-App Purchases slider to the Off position
That’s it. Your child can no longer make in-app purchases. I know many kids have their own iPod touches and even iPads. If they’re young and not buying apps with their own money, you should do this. If you share an iDevice with your kids, choose a complex Apple ID and do not share it.