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Mac Heads

iOS Security: 3 Steps You Can Take Right Now

If hackers can break into Pippa Middleton’s iCloud account (sister to Kate Middleton, who is married to Prince William…Real talk, I had to look her up to find out who she was), you better believe they can get into yours. Sure, you may not think you’re important enough to hack, but sucks to be you if you’re hacked because you chose not to take these 3 simple steps for better iOS security.

Add a longer device Passcode

 
While it takes a ton of effort on a hacker’s part, it is now possible to crack the default 4-digit long passcode most of us use on our devices. To make it even harder for hackers, you can opt to use a 6-digit (or longer) passcode for added security:

Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Change Passcode
 

Update Your Apple ID Password

 
I’m almost positive that the company you work for requires you to change your system password every 90 days or so. If it doesn’t, the entire IT department needs to be fired. If you’re a small biz owner and you are your IT department, fire yourself.

Apple does not require you to change your Apple ID Password. So a good habit to pick up would be to change your Apple ID password when you’re required to change your work password:

Settings > iCloud > Click your account > Password & Security > Change Password
 

Add 2-Factor Authentication

 
The final and possibly best way to protect your Apple ID account would be to add 2-Factor Authentication. That way, if somebody gets your Apple ID and password, then tries to log in to your account from a device not already recognized by your account, they will also need access to your phone in order to enter the special code Apple sends via text message or iCloud message.

Settings > iCloud > Click your account > Password & Security > Set Up Two-Factor Authentication
 
Device sequences may vary depending on iOS version installed

All that to say It’s best to take the extra precaution now, versus trying to figure out why you’re spread eagle all over the interwebz.

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Mac Heads

New Apple iOS Blocks Concept – Best Of Three Worlds?

I’ve been saying this every since I got my hands on my first Android after courting iOS for so long…It would be dope if Apple used a variation of Android “widgets” to let iOS users further customize their home screen(s). Furthermore, one of the reasons why I dig Windows Phone so much (and now own a Nokia Lumia Icon)  is because of the Live Tiles that serve up information on the home screen without digging into my phone just to find out what’s going on in my digital life.

All three mobile platforms have adapted ideas from each other to further compete for our eyes and thumbs, but Apple has held off of on doing anything dramatic to iOS and has opted for smaller “iterations” and “refinements”…Boo.

The Apple World-Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) kicks off next week, where the company will possibly show off its plans for iOS 8. Hopefully it will include some of the ideas from UX (user experience) designer Jay Machalani that pulls in tricks from both Android and Windows Phone in his latest iOS 8 concept work.

iOS Blocks as they are called, take your average app icons and lets users enlarge them using the pinch and zoom gesture to reveal more information. You have the choice to return the icon back to its original shape, or permanently re-size the icon to customize your home screen. In its larger form, the widget will provide at-a-glance information, similar to how Android widgets and Windows Phone Live Tiles work. Peep Machalani’s concept video to get a better idea.

Dope right? Rumors are Apple will reveal a larger 4.7 inch iPhone 6 later this year. I will buy the iPhone 6 because I do want larger iPhone hardware…which is why I skipped on upgrading my iP5 to an iP5S. I’ll be honest though, I’m tired of the “iterations” and “refinements”. I’m looking for something new as it relates to iPhone software as well.

I still think Apple could easily do more with iOS that has essentially looked the same since iOS 6 was released in 2012. Apple doesn’t have to copy revolutionize how we interact with our mobile devices, but I do think they need to up the ante. Windows Phone is emerging as a solid option and Android is definitely giving Apple a run for its money. So I think Apple needs to change up the game on both mobile hardware and software fronts.

What say you? Does Apple have/need to take cues from Android and Windows Phone to stay on top? Or can they continue to iterate to provide the ideal mobile experience Apple users have grown accustomed to?

image via Jay Machalani

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Mac Heads

Hacker Alert: Your iPhone Could Be Held Hostage

image via picjumbo

Word on the street is that hackers have somehow breached Apple’s iCloud (iOS cloud storage/sync/backup) service in order to “unlock” stolen iPhones to be sold at a huge profit. To make it even more gangster, sources claim that the group has even taken control of users iOS devices via the “Find My iPhone/iPad/Mac” features and remotely locked devices and demanded ransom payments via PayPal  in exchange to have user’s phones unlocked.

The hackers have taken to Social Media  to “show and prove” what they’ve been able to accomplish. A Twitter account linked to the alleged team of Dutch hackers called “Doulci” have posted and image claiming to have processed over 5,700 iOS Devices.

Of course, tight-lipped Apple has refused to comment on the breach, only to deny claims that iClould was hacked BUT say that they “take security very seriously, and suggest users change their Apple ID as soon as possible”, but sources say the hackers hacked iCloud way back in March and have finally decided to go public after Apple refused to admit it was hacked.

Steps You Should Take

A month ago, Heatbleed was on everybody’s lips. Last week, eBay fell to hackers. Now Apple ‘nem have been the latest hacker victim…Say it ain’t so?

It’s a pain in the ass, but to be safe, you probably should change your Apple ID passwords. I’ve stressed this on more than one occasion, but you should either create a complex password/pass phrase and use a Password Manager to ensure you’re keeping track of all the passwords you use online…Don’t say a Brotha didn’t warn you if/when you get got.

I have a gang of iDevices laying around connected to iCloud specifically for finding them just in case they are lost/stolen, so changing passwords and logging back in to all of them is NOT on my “you know what I look forward to doing today?” list.

But, I’ll be damned if some random hackers think they are gonna extort money from me, just so I can use my devices…So guess what’s on my to-do list for today?

Apple, the Apple logo and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.”

No affiliate links were harmed in the making of this post

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Mac Heads

Switching Back To iOS From Android – It Just Works

Switching Back To iOS From Android - It Just Works via BrothaTech

Not sure if I just got bored and wanted to look at something new for a change, or I truly am a fanboy, but I’ve temporarily (or permanently) switched back to my iPhone 5 as my daily driver. I’ve been using my Samsung Galaxy S4 for quite some time and I must say the larger screen size was my main reason for getting one, and it came in handy numerous times on the potty when I had idle time to browse the web, watch a video, or draft an email.

Additionally, I use Google services all day long, so having that “Google juice” baked into my smartphone is an added bonus

Side note: I’m still trying to figure out a full-proof way to use my Google Apps email aliases in Apple Mail for iOS 7. 

So after a while rocking Android, I’ve switched back to iOS.  While my fat thumbs (Lawd, please force Apple to let us use SwiftKey) and bad eyes have to get used to a smaller screen again, going back to Apple has been a pretty pleasant experience.

The first obvious thing I noticed is that getting media (music, movies, podcasts, etc.) on my iPhone was simple because I use iTunes to download and mange my media. I use a doubleTwist to get iTunes content on my Android, but some content (old DRM stuff) just won’t carry over. Plugging up my iPhone and watching the magic happen is simply a better experience.

Another observation was that it appeared that my Android was getting more an more stuttery (word?) and not as smooth when doing basic tasks like detecting when I wanted to type and pulling up the virtual keyboard, switching between apps, and taking pictures. My GS4 had to literally “think about it” for a while before completing the task.

iOS on the other hand, is still a smooth and seamless experience. Now one could attribute my Android issues to the fact that by the time the manufacturer and the carrier are done with Android, the user experience is lessened. But like I said, as time went on, the stuttering got worse…And until any of you Android enthusiasts scoffing at my analysis (or PR folk looking for influential brands…’cause I’d like to consider myself influential in this tech game) want to send me a Google Nexus 5 to truly experience Android, you will have to make due with my iOS vs. Android experience.

Yeah, my phone is tiny, and I will have to figure out some workarounds to continue dependence on using Google services on an iPhone, but I will say my overall opinion of an iPhone is that with all of its developer and ecosystem restrictions…It just works.

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Mac Heads

Google Now For iOS: Meh – But That’s Good for Google…And Siri

(Image courtesy of Google)

Let’s just say I was pretty excited to find out that the Google Now service is now available for iOS devices (built into the Google Search app). To give you some background info, Google Now learns your habits as result of tracking location throughout the day and keeping track of all your smartphone interactions ( like Google searches) and delivers customized information to you when you need it most.

Need to know the weather before you walk out the house in the morning? Google Now shows you a “card” with the current weather conditions. Need to get a quick recap of the news while you commute? Google Now has a card with the latest stories. There are a total of 29 cards including (but not limited to) news, travel, appointments, sports, traffic that get smarter the more you interact with your phone which, in a way, makes it a true smartphone – It knows what you want to see and gives it to you without asking.

So you can imagine I quickly downloaded the app on my iPhone 5 and zipped through the settings to get everything set up to my liking. After a couple of minutes, I quickly realized that Google Now for iOS is NOT the same as Google Now Android:

Extra steps required

google now for ios search homeAs soon as you open Google Now on Android, you are presented with relevant cards based on your preferences (Accessing Google Now varies across devices). You can also use Google Now as a widget on one of your home screens for quicker access.

With Google Now for iOS, you have to open the Google Search app and then “flick” up from the bottom of the screen to view the cards. Yeah, I’m not over-extending my thumbe usage by completing one extra flick, but the whole point of Google Now is to get information NOW, and the Android version essentially does that better than iOS.

Way more functionality all rolled into one app

You can use Google Now for Android to search the web and find installed apps, compose emails and text messages, add appointments to your calendar…In other words you can essentially use Google Now for Android as the starting point for all your phone interactions.

With Google Now for iOS you can only perform web searches (no finding installed apps, adding reminders or calendar appointments)…Still need to keep Siri around for deeper iOS integration. Let’s face it, Siri is not “what’s hot in the streets” when it comes to understanding what the hell you are telling her to do.

More Cards

With Google Now for iOS, you only get 22 of the 29 cards. The notable holdouts include, Fandango movie information, airline boarding passes, local events and concerts. Yeah, you could use Apple’s Passbook App for those features, but who uses that? #RealTalk

With all the superiority that Android has over iOS when it comes to Google Now,putting out a slightly sub-par service on iOS is still a good thing for Google:

“All your [data] are belong to us”

The ONE thing that SkyNet Google wants more than anything in the whole wide-world is your data. Google Now for Android is only available for devices running OS 4.1 (Jelly Bean). With Android fragmentation, not every phone has the latest OS. So they are limited in the amount of data they can get from mobile users.

Adding Google Now to iOS gives Google more access to data. Just about everyone with an iOS device (iPhones, iPod Touch & iPads) can serve up their data on a silver platter to Google.

“Mo’ Data…”

“Our services are better so our phones must be too?”

Since Apple and Google’s relationship is “complicated”, it’s obvious as to why Google would want to give Android every advantage it can get, without completely alienating iOS users altogether (see “all your [data] are belong to us”). So while it behooves Google to get their apps in the App Store, it’s also reasonable to make their offerings on Android better.

I love Apple hardware, but I’m in Google’s ecosystem all day long. There just may be Apple fans who love Google’s services so much that they are willing to seriously give Android a shot if it means a better experience for them overall.

All that to say Google Now is pretty dope…Way doper than Siri. While I don’t think I’m ready to ditch Apple over one app, I’m sure as hell glad I can get at least a portion of added Google functionality on my iOS device, even if that means being a little jelly (I don’t think grown men say jelly in place of jealous) of my Android counterparts.

Maybe Google Now on iOS will force Apple to stop dragging its feet with Siri if only to try and “one up” Google?

…Competition is ALWAYS good for the consumer.

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Mac Heads

TravelNerd For iPhone – Robust Airport Guide App

Just when you think you’ve got it all together to get in and out of the airport in record time, something or someone at the airport slows you down. The TravelNerd app for iPhone does a good job of giving you the most relevant information about a particular airport so you can react to “Murphy’s Law” when it comes to “flying the friendly skies” without wasting any additional precious airport time…Read more on AppScout.com

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Mac Heads

5 Reasons Entreprenuers Should Buy An iPad Mini

See why small business owners should invest in the iPad offspring

Black iPad Mini

A Black Enterprise Joint

The iPad Mini starts at $329 for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only model; 32GB and 64 GB Wi-Fi-only models are available for $429 and $529, respectively. The LTE-capable models are priced at $459, $559, and $659, for the 16GB, 32GB, and 63GB versions.

Preorders start on October 26. According to reports, the Wi-Fi only models will ship a week later, on Nov. 2. The LTE-enabled models will ship out approximately two weeks later.

Consumers demonstrated with their wallets that there is a market for a 7-inch tablet. Apple, passing up no opportunity to make even more money, has finally responded with a smaller and less expensive version of its popular iPad, announcing the fourth generation iPad at the California Theater in San Jose, California. There is no doubt that holiday shoppers will buy the high-tech stocking stuffer for friends and family, but should you integrate the iPad Mini into your business?

To read my breakdown of why I think the iPad is a good business investment, check out the full story on Black Enterprise