iPad iPhone

Use Event Countdown App to Keep Track of Important Upcoming Events

So I was bored one day and decided to hunt around and find some new widgets to add to my iPhone Home Screen.

I’ll be honest, most of the current widgets are wack, that is until I found the Event Countdown app from Widget Studio.

With the app, you can create a countdown to keep track of any important date/event. In my case, my birthday is coming up so….

Once I created the countdown and added all the specifics (name, date, color, icon, etc), I added the widget to my Home Screen.

Now every time I look at my phone, I get a constant reminder that I’m about to get one year older. Yay?!

I’ll probably add a countdown for when the zombies start tearing up the world after this first batch of COVID vaccine starts to be administered…


iPhone Tip: What Song is This?

Back in the day, Apple bought the popular music discovery app Shazam. For the longest, Apple kept the service as its own standalone app. 

Apple has started to integrate Shazam natively into its ecosystem with the latest iOS 14 release. Peep my latest for PCMag on how to enable it.

How to Use Shazam’s Music-Recognition Feature in iOS 14


iPhone 12 Pro – Buyer’s Remorse?

Why do you ask? If I’m honest with myself, I wanted a new phone sooner than later, so I convinced myself that the smaller iPhone 12 Pro would be just fine.

The screen size of the XS Max is 6.4″, while the 12 Pro is 6.1″. That’s only a .3″ difference! My original thought was that’s not enough of screen difference to notice. Additionally, I also have an iPhone XR and it’s the same screen size of the 12 Pro, and I assumed the 12 Pro at the same screen size, would FEEL the same in my hand as the XR.

I was wrong. The 12 Pro is slimmer and more compact than the wider XR. So while the viewing size of the devices are similar, the FEEL of the device in my hand is different.

All that to say, after a couple of days of playing with the iPhone 12 Pro, I thought I could get used the one-hand usage of the 12 Pro. I even bought a dope slim case for the iPhone 12 Pro to add some girth, but I could still tell the difference.

All that to say, if I’m being honest, I was just trying to fool myself into NOT waiting for the iPhone 12 Pro Max when it drops in November.⁠

So I’m moving my data BACK to my XS Max and I will reluctantly, but patiently wait for a couple weeks to get what I really want.


iPhone 12 Wishlist: 6 Things We Want on Apple’s Next Smartphone – PCMag

Apple’s September event is upon us, but it’s not expected to include the launch of a next-gen iPhone. Instead, the gathering’s “Time Flies” moniker suggests a new Apple Watch, while rumors tip updated iPads, too.

This isn’t totally a surprise; COVID-19 has put a strain on the global supply chain, and that includes iPhone parts. “As you know, last year we started selling new iPhones in September. This year, we project supply to be available a few weeks later,” Apple’s CFO said in July.

Still, we will get the iPhone 12—or whatever Apple calls it—eventually. And until then, here’s what we hope Apple will add to its smartphone.

  • 5G Technology
  • Slimmer Notch
  • Aluminum or Steel Rear Housing
  • Magnetic Rear Housing
  • USB-C Port
  • Device-on-Device (reverse) Charging

Read the entire story on PCMag, then let me know what features you want to see on the upcoming iPhone 12


7 Cool iOS 14 Features to Try Right Away – PCMag

With the iOS 14 public beta now available, I threw caution to the wind and installed it on my main iPhone. I wasn’t too worried, as the past few public betas from Apple have been surprisingly stable. But I did make an archived backup of my iPhone just in case, and I recommend other beta testers do the same.

It’s a safe bet that many if not all of the features present in the public beta will make it to the final release scheduled for this fall. After digging through and trying out all the features, here is a look at seven of the more notable ones you will want to try first.

Customize Your Home Screen With Widgets

App Library Ditches Endless Pages of Apps

No More Full-Screen Phone Call Notifications

Siri Gets Less Intrusive, More Informative

Video Picture-in-Picture

Better Organizations for Messages

Beefed-Up Privacy, Security Features

Read the entire story over on PCMag


The Best Way to Back up Your Mac

I recorded and published this walk-through video of Apple’s Time Machine backup process way back in 2015. The cool thing about the process is that it’s so simple to setup and use, that I didn’t even need to record a new video to update said process.

Time Machine is $free.99 and is included with every Mac. All you need is an external Hard Drive with enough space (Peep my Hard Drive recommendation below). Overall, it just works…

The above backup process stores a copy to an external Hard Drive that you keep on hand just in case something happens to your Mac. The only problem with this is the “worse case scenario” where BOTH your Mac and your external Hard Drive is damaged, lost, or stolen. Or in my case, you have a different (and very important) external Hard Drive that can’t be backed up via Time Machine.

With any of those cases, you need to create an additional off-site (remote) backup that you can access if the worse-case scenario becomes a reality…Like it was for me. To solve that potential problem, I recommend BackBlaze to backup your files to the cloud. Check out this video I did outlining how BackBlaze saved my ass

I don’t know how important your files are to you, but my files are very important to me. Don’t wait until something happens before you figure out how to restore your data, go ahead and follow my suggestions, and you will be prepared WHEN (not if) your data is gone.


You’re Using The Yeti Blue Mic Wrong

I’ve seen a ton of folks transition to digital during this new social distancing experiment. DJ’s, podcasters, and video content creators all stepping up their digital game to share their influence. 

Many of those content creators are using the popular Yeti Blue Mic…WRONG!

From one digital content creator to another who uses the Yeti Blue Mic, STOP TALKING INTO THE TOP OF THE MIC…There’s literally no mic up there! 

The mic(s) are on the front, back & sides (depending on what mode you’re in). So do me a favor: If you want crisp & clean audio for your digital content, think of this pic before you go “live”

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How To Sanitize Your Devices

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The generally accepted ways to stop the contraction and spread of the Cornoavirus is to practice social distancing (stay away from large crowds), and regularly wash your hands. Simply because the virus spreads by human contact, so quit touching people and stuff.

No problem, right? Surprisingly, the media hasn’t really talked about how our devices (that we literally touch all day every day) could be contributing to the spread of #DatRona.

We already know that our phones are as dirty or even dirtier than a toilet, so it isn’t stretch to say that we need to keep our devices as clean as our hands.

In a Business Insider India article, Suranjeet Chatterjee, Senior Consultant in Internal Medicine Department of Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi stated “Coronavirus and other germs can live on surfaces like glass, metal or plastics and phones are bacteria-ridden. It is necessary that we sanitize our hands frequently and make sure that our hands are clean all the time.”

‘Nuff said. So here are a few ways to can sanitize your devices to stop the spread of germs…and Coronavirus.

Regularly Sanitize Your Devices

We are so trained to touch our phones as much as we are prone to touching our eyes, mouth, or nose. We already know frequently touching our face is a not helping reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, so that’s why it’s advised to wash your hands all the time.

The same can be said for your devices. As often as you wash your hands, you should be cleaning your phone (at least the screen). The best way to sanitize your devices is by using an alcohol-based sanitizer and a clean cloth to wipe the screen any part of the phone that touches other surfaces.

If you use a spray based sanitizer, lightly spray your phone after spraying your hands. for a more in-depth cleaning, I recommend using the WHOOSH! Screen Cleaner Kit ($15 bucks on Amazon).

Go Hands-Free

Again, the best way to not spread the ‘Rona is to limit contact with people and things. Now is good time to get more acquainted with voice assistants like Siri, to complete simple tasks like sending texts, emails, answering calls, checking your calendar, etc. It is also a good idea to invest in Bluetooth headphones/ear buds if you frequently make/receive phone calls – Don’t be that dork annoying people by using the speakerphone all the time.

A study published in 2018 by Insurance2Go stated that one in 20 smartphone users was found to clean their phones less than every six months…YUCK! Don’t be that person that is OD about cleaning their hands and has stockpiled hand sanitizer, but hasn’t taken the time to clean that nasty-ass phone of yours.

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Annual Mac Cleanup Checklist

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

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The holidays are over. You’ve ate too much food, opened (and returned) your gifts, and partied with people you don’t even “like” like that. Now it’s time to get back to work.

For the past year, your Mac has been keeping up with how you get things done. Just like how you regularly need to see the doc (and lie that you’ve been exercising) and get your teeth cleaned (and lie that you’ve been flossing), you need to tend to your Mac regularly…more than once a year if you ask me.

Having said that, now is a better time than any to show you Mac some love and perform a cleanup. Here some things you can do to make sure your Mac will perform like a champ throughout the year.

Uninstall Old Apps

If you haven’t used that app/program more than once this year, you might as well get rid of it to free up space.

Reduce Login Items

One of the reasons why your Mac takes FOREVER to start up is because too many apps are automatically slated to open when you turn on your Mac. Turn off those login items to get to work faster after startup.

Remove Files From Desktop

Your Mac has to render all those little files and folders on your “home screen” repeatedly, which slows down your Mac. Delete, and/or move those files to another location for a clean desktop and faster response time.

Organize “Downloads” Folder

If you clicked on and downloaded any and everything under the sun this past year, those files are taking up space. You can go ahead and delete those files now to free up space.

Choose ONE Cloud Service

Bet money you use a combination of iCloud, Dropbox, GDrive and OneDrive – PICK ONE. All those services save files on your Mac. The more services you use, the more files your computer has to manage. If you’re not careful, you will run out of space, as well as not know where anything is. 

Identify And Archive Old Files

Why do you still have files on your Mac from 2008? Quit hoarding and identify, then delete (or at the very least archive) files older than two years.

Delete old iTunes iPhone/iPad Backup Files

If you’re cheap, I mean…fiscally savvy, you’ve figured out how to backup your iPhone to your Mac to save on iCloud storage costs. If you’ve been doing this for multiple iPhones, you probably need to check iTunes and remove old device backups.

Clear Cache Files

There are files that mysteriously show up on your Mac that you don’t recognize and probably don’t need anymore. User, system, browser, and app ‘cache’ files are mostly temporary and no longer needed. Dig them up and get rid of them. 

Use macOS Storage Manger to free up space

If you have macOS Sierra or later, there is a free app that helps you quickly identify where your files are and how much space they’re taking up. The Storage Management Window offers recommendations and solutions for optimizing your storage

Use 3rd-Party Software

Applications like CleanMyMac (I personally recommend and use it) go above and beyond cleaning unused, unwanted files. It can also provide solutions to speed up your Mac, and keep it free of viruses and malware.

If you take the time to do any of these tasks, I guarantee your Mac will feel faster, in addition to adding longevity to your Mac’s life.

If you need any help with these tasks, you can hit me up to schedule a Mac Cleanup booking session…

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iPhone Tip: Enable Mail Smart Folders

I have been forcing myself to use the default Mail App to make sure I take advantage of all the features and functionality before I label the app wack, and adopt a 3rd-Party iPhone mail app.

So late last week, I flagged several emails in my inbox to quickly access those messages later. So when the time came to find those emails, I could not find the ‘Flagged’ email folder. So after to trial and error (and when I say trial and error, I mean searching Google), I was able to figure out how to enable additional iOS Mail smart folder options.

What Are iOS Mail Smart Folders

The short version – Instead of digging through your entire mailbox on your iPhone or iPad, you can enable Smart Folders to only see certain emails that match certain criteria. Smart Folders enabled, you can quickly view certain types of folders like (you guessed it) messages that you have flagged “important”. Additional handy smart folders include unread messages and messages with attachments.

Enabling Smart Folders

Of course, not all Smart Folders are enabled by default, which was the case of the Flagged folder that held the messages I was saving for later. To see and enable all available smart folders:

  1. Open Mail
  2. Make sure you can see all the Mailboxes you’ve currently signed in to
  3. Click “Edit” in the upper right corner of the screen

From there, you will be able to see all the available mailboxes that you can hide/unhide, in addition to the ‘Smart Folders’ you can toggle including:

  • VIP
  • Flagged
  • To or CC
  • Attachements
  • Thread Notifications
  • Today
  • All Drafts
  • All Archive
  • All Sent All Trash

Once you decide which Smart Folders to enable that makes sense for you and how you triage email, those folders will now be available right from the Mailboxes section of the Mail app. The Whole Point of this exercise is to quickly access the emails you need to see, instead of digging through your inboxes.

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