About the Author

Whitney Marks

July 27, 2014

How-to: Use Spotlight and Smart Folders to search for anything on your Mac

In OS X, Spotlight is an effective way to search your entire hard drive for a file or folder, email, or any other file. There are many other things Spotlight can do, and searching for files is just one of them. Spotlight is also capable of looking up dictionary definitions, launching apps, performing calculations, previewing audio, video, documents, and other files. This article will outline some of the benefits of using Spotlight and how to use Smart Folders, which allow you to search for a file even if you don’t know its name.

June 14, 2014

How-to: Request an iTunes purchase refund if you have a legitimate reason

When you purchase an item from the App Store or iTunes, it is possible to obtain a refund on items purchased within the past 90 days if you have a legitimate reason. For example, you might buy the live version of a song when you meant to get the studio version. It is certainly possible to download the wrong app inadvertently, especially on an iOS device.

In this article, I will outline the process of how report a problem (and request a refund) with items purchased in the App Store or iTunes.

June 6, 2014

Post to the community

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway related to our recent review of the iOS app VoiceSnap.

We are happy to congratulate the following 10 winners, who have also been notified via Twitter:

 

 

May 31, 2014

Review: VoiceSnap allows you to control your iOS camera remotely with voice commands [giveaway]

VoiceSnap, a new app from MocaApps LLC, allows you to take photos using voice commands on an iPhone or other iOS device. Rich in features, the app is very customizable and includes the settings needed to make it an effective solution for taking photos.

May 24, 2014

How-to: Conserve battery power on your iOS devices

Since the introduction of smart devices, battery power has been and still remains a precious commodity. In this article we will review many of the features and settings of iOS devices that impact battery life, and make recommendations about how to conserve power.

One important thing to keep in mind is that battery life is complex, and the impact of one setting for a specific user may not always reflect the impact of that same feature on another user’s device. It’s also important to note that after you make any changes, be sure to charge your iOS device on a wall charger overnight. This full charge is often needed before any changes will be effective.

May 11, 2014

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As you may know, Instant Alpha is a feature that allows you to remove an object in an image from its background. You can find this feature in apps like Pages and Keynote, as well as the Preview app that comes built-in on Macs. As we’ve written recently in articles about signatures and marking up images, Preview has a lot of capabilities that don’t get much press.

In this article, you’ll learm how to use Instant Alpha and Smart Lasso to create custom images, remove an object from its background, and some advantages of using Preview to create custom images.

Images created in this way could be used for anything, including fun social media posts. They can be imported into iPhoto, cropped and used in books, calendars, or especially to customize a birthday or greeting card. Depending on what kind of image you want to create, you can really do quite a bit using Preview, Pages and a few other tips and tricks.

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May 10, 2014

Taphive GmbH has recently released a major update to their movie management and discovery app, TodoMovies 3. TodoMovies 3 is a to-do app focused on movies. It has a gorgeous layout, and does a superb job managing a movie related to-do list with a robust set of features.

In this article, I will provide some examples of how the app could be used to aggregate a list of movies you want to watch, explore a vast amount of information about those movies, and discover movies you may not know about.

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March 8, 2014

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Font Studio from Paolo Quadrani is a Mac app that allows you to modify and customize fonts. It provides you with the ability to create a range of font styles. It also includes in impressive collection of fonts that can be customized, saved and organized. In this article we will discuss scenarios in which this app can be useful, how the app works, and what you should expect if you purchase it.

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March 1, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 11.08.56 PMAirDrop can be a be a quick, simple way to transfer files between iOS devices. It can be especially handy because it is truly a device-to-device transfer that works even when neither device has internet access, although Wi-Fi  and Bluetooth have to be turned on for it to function. In this article I will discuss how to turn on AirDrop and use it to share files between devices.

In Apple apps, any files that can be transferred using the share icon can be sent via AirDrop. This includes photos, videos, iWork documents, notes, contacts, links, directions, and location data. Some third-party apps can also share data using AirDrop. AirDrop for mobile devices is a feature of iOS 7, and can only be used to share files between mobile devices, not between computers and mobile devices.

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February 15, 2014

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As we have written about in previous articles, Preview is a valuable tool in OS X that does not get a lot of press. In this article, we will review how you can use Preview to capture your signature using the iSight camera on a Mac, then use it in Pages documents, to sign PDF documents, and as an image in your signature in the Mail app.

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January 18, 2014

Review: Tick is a clever, colorful way to manage your to-do list on iOS 7

Tick is a simple, highly customizable to-do list app that effectively uses color and animation to deliver a fun and motivating experience.  Developed by Taphive, Tick was created for iOS 7 and recently updated to be more customizable, have better integration with the Reminders app, and include more animations.

I generally don’t like or use to-do apps because I consider them redundant when paired with apps like Reminders and Calendar. However, I find the fun and utterly simple design of this app makes me more motivated to use to-do lists to manage tasks.

Tick’s main interface features a set of colorful square panels. Each panel represents a list of to-dos. To create a new list, you just tap on the + button, type a name for the list, choose any one of the 64 available icons, assign a color, and tap Save. Then you click the + sign icon at the bottom of the screen to add to-dos to the list you just created.

Clever animations and transitions are present throughout the app, whether you’re checking off a completed item or moving back to the main screen. You’ll even see a special animation when you manage to complete all of the tasks on any given list.

Clicking the share icon at the bottom of a list reveals options to print or share your tasks via text or iMessage, email or AirDrop. Sliding from left to right on the main screen reveals a summary with the total number of Lists and To-Dos, and allows you to access the app’s settings.

In settings, you can choose to display the name of each list or just the icon. The app also features a night mode that can be toggled manually or set to automatically switch on at a specific time. The overall appearance of the app is so bright that I actually prefer to leave it in night mode throughout the day.

Settings has numerous other features like the ability to choose from numerous fonts, whether to vibrate or not when you trigger certain functions, and a myriad of choices regarding the app’s home screen badge.

Even the About section of Settings has a number of handy features.

I especially like the fact that the app works with the Dynamic Text accessibility feature found in iOS 7.

Additionally, Tick completely integrates with your existing Reminders app. This allows you to use Siri to add entries to your Tick lists, and keeps your lists synced across all of your devices with iCloud.

I highly recommend Tick to anyone looking for a fresh approach to getting the necessary tasks in their life and work organized. Tick is available for $1.99 on the iOS App Store.

January 11, 2014

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Preventing unwanted messages from showing up in your inbox can be integral to enjoying email. In this article we will walk you through the process of creating mail rules that will direct messages to other folders or the trash based on conditions you specify. We will also discuss how to update rules to include additional senders or other criteria, and provide some common-sense guidance about effectively using mail rules in general.

Mail rules allow you to direct messages out of your inbox into another folder or trash automatically, based on their sender or other conditions. Rules can be set up on iCloud.com if the email address is the one you use for iCloud (it can end in either @icloud.com, @me.com, or @mac.com).

For your other email addresses, rules can be set up in the Mail app on a Mac. If you set up rules using iCloud.com they are very effective, immediately directing messages to the specified folders on all your devices. If you set up rules using the Mail app, they are effective only after you start up your Mac and open the Mail app.  At the end of this article, I will make some practical suggestions about how to address that, and other aspects of using mail rules.

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December 14, 2013

ringtones_titleImage Using GarageBand, you can create a custom ringtone out of any portion of any track you have in iTunes. This article will walk you through the process of making a custom ringtone and syncing it to your iOS devices, as well as assigning it to a certain contact or as your default ringtone.

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December 8, 2013

OS X Mavericks has numerous features and settings that make text and images more visible. In this article, I will discuss many options and methods to take advantage of those features in different ways. In pointing out many different ways, I hope to help you find a method that will be a good fit for you.

Use System Preferences, Displays Settings: Access System Preferences from the dock or the Apple on the menu bar, and click on Displays. Then click on the Display tab. Choose Scaled, and the different resolution settings available are displayed. The options available vary, depending upon what resolution your model of the computer is capable of displaying. Adjust the settings by choosing different options—the lower the numbers are in the setting, the larger objects will be displayed. Below are examples of the display setting options you will see on a white MacBook, an older iMac, and a MacBook Pro with Retina display …  expand full story

December 7, 2013

Using customized labels can help make your holiday cards look more modern and festive. In this article, you will learn how to make a group in your address book for holiday cards and print address labels based on that group in the color and style of your choice, including a photo. expand full story

November 24, 2013

Apple has finally implemented a maps app in the OS X platform, and it seems to have been worth the wait. After being noticeably missing from the system, Maps (and iBooks) are helping achieve a greater consistency between the iOS and OS X platforms. After running the free Mavericks update, the Maps app icon will automatically be added to your dock.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to use the new app for everything from searching for locations to getting turn-by-turn directions set directly to your iPhone.

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