Punctuating abbreviation in iOS 6

Here’s another nicety I’ve noticed in iOS 6. It no longer capitalizes the the first letter of a word following an abbreviation with a period. In iOS 5, the iPhone would have capitalized the “f” in “for” above. iOS 6 recognizes “appt.” as an abbreviation, not the end of the sentence, and keeps the lower-case “f”. I love it.

How to create custom iPhone vibration patterns

Apple debuted customizable iPhone vibration patterns with iOS 5. It lets you create your own vibration pattern and assign it to a contact or alert. It’s easy to do and more useful than you might think.

For example, assign your custom pattern to important contacts, so you know if you should bother to look at your phone during a meeting or other important activity. Or, get really creative and use a little morse code to spell out your wife’s name, for example, or “GOD NO” if it’s your in-laws. I like to use a brief vibration followed by a long pause, giving me time to get to my phone. Custom vibrations let me create that exact pattern. Here’s how to create a custom iPhone vibration pattern and assign it to a contact.

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iPhone Notification Center wish list (Update)

I love iOS 5’s Notification Center. As I said in this week’s episode of Enough, it was one of my favorite new technologies of 2011. There’s still room for improvement, though, and I’ve listed my Notification Center wish list here. I’ve got no idea how to implement these things, but that’s up to Apple’s developers to figure out. Hop to it, folks.

Timer. The timer should appear in the Notification Center. I often set a timer with Siri while I’m cooking. Siri’s timer looks great, but as soon as you put it away, it’s gone. I keep the clock on the third screen, so it takes some hunting to get to. If it can’t go in the Notification Center, I’d like to ask Siri, “How much time is left on that timer?” [1. Chris Rawson points out that you can ask Siri, ” Show me the timer” or “How’s the timer doing?”.]

Larger “Clear” buttons. They’re way too small and I almost never hit them on the first try. Even better, let me swipe to remove notifications, as I can with email messages.

Wi-Fi/Bluetooth toggle. As the settings I change most often, I’d like quick access right in the Notification Center. Swipe on, swipe off.

Favorite contacts widget. I’d love for a widget that notices my favorite contacts and lists them for one-tap call placement from within the Notification Center.

I’ve got one more request but fortunately Rene Ritchie has offered a nice fix. Sometimes I get a banner notification just as I need to tap a button in the scene’s upper right-hand corner. Rather than wait for it to roll out of the way [1. I know,God forbid I have to wait a whole 2-3 seconds for something to happen.], I can quickly flick it away. Thanks, Rene.

Mobile Safari Reader vs. Instapaper

Recently I was in a conversation and I asked, “Do you use iOS 5’s Reader function in mobile Safari?”

“Oh no,” was the answer. “I only use Instapaper.”

I use both, as each has its own role. If I want to read an article right away, I’ll do so with Reader. It just looks so good. For example, which would you rather read:


On the other hand, I use Instapaper to stash articles I can’t read right away. My question to you is, do you send everything to Instapaper, even if you intend to read it right away, or do use the Reader feature in that situation? Let me know at @davidcaolo.

iOS 5.0.1 addresses iPad Smart Cover unlock bug

Last month, 9to5 Mac demonstrated a “bug” affecting the iPad when used with a Smart Cover. Specifically, if a user engaged shutdown and then closed a Smart Cover before the process completed, the Smart Cover could be removed and provide “access” to the iPad’s home screen or last running app, even if a passcode is enabled.

I use “access” loosely because the iPad was largely unresponsive in this state. Users could swipe from screen to screen but not launch any apps, which isn’t really a big deal. However, if an app was running at the time of shutdown, it became accessible, which is a big deal. Chris Rawson was able to send an email and post to Twitter via Safari when accessing the apps with this method.

In the iOS 5.0.1 change log, Apple states:

Passcode Lock

Available for: iOS 4.3 through 5.0 for iPad 2

Impact: A person with physical access to a locked iPad 2 may be able to access some of the user’s data

Description: When a Smart Cover is opened while iPad 2 is confirming power off in the locked state, the iPad does not request a passcode. This allows some access to the iPad, but data protected by Data Protection is inaccessible and apps cannot be launched.”

What’s interesting is that this doesn’t say “we fixed it.” It says, “…data protected by Data Protection is inaccessible and apps cannot be launched.” To me, that sounds like, “The behavior is intact but it’s nothing to worry about.” Incidentally, isn’t this an unusually detailed change log from Apple?

Using iOS 5 built-in image editing

Apple added simple image editing tasks to its Photos app in iOS 5, including rotate, enhance, red-eye and crop. Each works rather well, and I suspect will be enough for many users. Straightforward and effective, Apple’s editing features won’t replace apps like Camera+, but offer no-fuss solutions to common tasks.

It’s nice that the changes I make most often — crop, red-eye reduction and enhancement — are available without a third-party app. But how do they work? If your expectations are modest, you’ll be pleased. In fact, I’ll guess that most amateur “snap shotters” will find Apple’s solution to be enough. The rest of you will need something more.

To help you decide, here’s a look at the built-in image editing options in iOS 5.

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iCloud, iOS and multiple Apple IDs

The transition from MobileMe to iCloud presents unique challenges to households with multiple iOS devices and Apple IDs. Formerly used for iTunes purchases, a user’s Apple ID now manages iCloud photo streaming, the Find my iPhone and Find my Friends app, FaceTime, iMessage and iCloud features like calendar, mail, contacts, reminders and so on.

I was having a lot of trouble working my wife’s iPhone into the mix, as I used my own Apple ID when I first set it up a year ago. My goal at the time was to let all of our iOS devices share one account for iTunes purchases. I had also created an add-on email address via MobileMe that her iPhone used. It worked fine until the iCloud transition, when things got convoluted. I’ve finally reached a working – though imperfect – solution. Here’s how I’m managing multiple iOS devices and Apple IDs under iOS 5.

Graham Spencer posted a hugely useful article on sharing an Apple ID at MacStories. He suggested sharing one Apple ID for iTunes purchases, and creating a second one for personal iCloud information. That’s pretty much what I’ve implemented, though it’s not perfect.

The Apple IDs

The Apple ID I’ve used for years has become the “main ID.” It’s used by all iOS devices (and Macs) for purchases and rentals. The main ID, however, has a minimal role on my wife’s iPhone. Her personal ID is in greater use, and it’s mostly working very well. Here’s how I’m using both Apple IDs on her iPhone.

Setting up the “second” iPhone

I’m considering my iPhone the “main” iPhone and my wife’s as the “second” iPhone. Mine uses the main Apple ID throughout, so it’s not worth describing. The second iPhone is where I had to shuffle things around.

On the second iPhone, the main Apple ID is used for:

  • iCloud Photo Stream. I’ve logged into the iCloud preference pane with the main Apple ID. From there, I’ve turned Photo Sharing on and left everything else off. That way, photos taken by my wife’s iPhone, my iPhone and my iPad are shared across all devices plus our Macs.
  • The iTunes Store. I tapped the Store preference pane and entered the main Apple ID. That way, all purchases will be financed by the credit card I’ve used for years. I’ve also enabled automatic downloads for music, but not apps or books. While my wife and I share musical taste, she’s uninterested in collecting Twitter clients.

That’s it. Everything else is managed by the personal ID:

  • Email is logged in with the personal ID and password via the Mail, Contacts adn Calendars preference pane. I’ve enabled Contacts and Find My iPhone.
  • FaceTime. This way she can send/receive FaceTime calls identified as herself and, more importantly, we can do FaceTime calls between her iPhone and my iPhone and iPad.
  • iMessage. Again, same reason.

The good and bad

The good is that her iPhone now receives its own email, FaceTime calls, iMessage identification, calendar events and contacts. Also, it shares photos with all of our devices via iCloud Photo Stream and iTunes purchases and rentals are financed with the designated credit card.

There are problems, too. One is Apple’s Find My Friends app. Unfortunately, it’s tied to an iCloud ID. That means it will only accept the main Apple ID. So, if my wife and I were at a park with the kids, we couldn’t keep track of each other’s location.

iCloud photo streaming is the other potential problem. Those wanting to create separate streams are out of luck, as the personal ID will not work with iCloud photo streaming.

Other affected services include Game Center (my wife doesn’t play games so that was easy for us) and iTunes Home Sharing. We’re using the main Apple ID for that. Also, the main ID must be used for iCloud backup of data and documents.

If you’ve found anothe arrangement that works, please let me know. Our setup isn’t perfect, but it’s working so far.

Put iOS 5 Newsstand in a folder [Update]

Update: Please note that opening Newsstand while inside a folder will crash Springboard. Those wishing to use Newsstand should not put it inside a folder. If you simply want to hide it and never use it, you can try this. Or, you know, just move it to the last screen.

Technically, Apple’s Newsstand is just a styled folder, and you can’t put a folder into a folder. Still, that behavior irks some users. Someone at The Coding Massacre has discovered a work-around that requires a quick hand:

  1. Take two apps and go to create a folder
  2. The second the apps are in the folder and it’s doing the folder creation animation, drag Newsstand into the folder
  3. As long as you’re quick enough Newsstand will go into the folder!

I tried it and it worked. Just be very quick about it (noting, of course, the caveat above).