Mac Heads Tips and Tricks

iPhone Hack – Create PDF Documents

I haven’t done any research or fact checking on this hot-take, but I know the PDF file format is a universal document standard that can be opened by pretty much any device.

So it blows my mind when people send me native Word (.doc) documents that I don’t need to edit. What really grinds my gears more than people who go on social media and complain about a brand that did something grimey, but ain’t thinking about boycotting, is when somebody sends me a Word document I need to sign.

If the sender would have taken the two extra seconds to create a PDF before sending the doc, I could quickly open, sign and send using my iPhone. I am NOT the one to print, sign, scan, and send a document #SaveTheTrees, so here’s little hack I use when I need to create PDF documents from Word/Pages documents, web pages and more using my iPhone – No extra PDF creator app needed.

Mac Heads News

Error 53 Will Brick Your iPhone If Just Anybody Repairs It

“What’s your best price?” Is a question I get all the time as an Apple repair guy…ALL THE TIME. I understand, folks work hard for their money and want to make sure they are getting the best deal. So I always have to pitch my value as a certified repair guy and it goes something like “I understand that there could be cheaper prices out there, but I’m certified and I only use OEM parts and they are backed by a lifetime warranty…(“womp womp womp womp” is what I assume they hear after I give them the price).
Not trying to scare the hell out of you, Well…maybe I am, but if you’ve busted up your phone and it needs repair, be careful who you let fix it. There is a new iOS 9 update that affects all iDevices with Touch ID “fingerprint” home buttons that your el cheapo average repair guy on craigslist or Yelp with a super low repair price may not know, or care about and could result in rendering your entire phone useless.


There is an “Error 53” message making its way around the web that’s reported to brick iPhones. Based on all “the world’s ending” tech articles published on the subject, Error 53 has been traced to devices where the ORIGINAL Touch ID home button has been replaced. Not a common procedure, but if your home button has been damaged beyond repair OR if you customize your device with pretty colors, there are situations where the original home button could have been replaced.
If the original Touch ID home button is replaced, that could also threaten the integrity of Apple’s security features. So what I’m assuming was a stop gap measure by Apple, it has released and confirmed a recent iOS 9 update that will cause major issues if your Touch ID-enabled device detects a foreign home button:

“We take customer security very seriously and Error 53 is the result of security checks designed to protect our customers. iOS checks that the Touch ID sensor in your iPhone or iPad correctly matches your device’s other components. If iOS finds a mismatch, the check fails and Touch ID, including for Apple Pay use, is disabled. This security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used. If a customer encounters Error 53, we encourage them to contact Apple Support.”

How can you avoid Error 53

The simple answer is “Don’t replace your home button”. Now here’s where repair guys like me come in. MOST if not all of my repairs are cracked screens. I’ve been in the game for quite sometime and already knew that putting in a foreign home button on a Touch ID-enabled device would render it useless. So when I get a Touch ID-enabled home button repair request I tell my clients “You will have to holla at Apple to get that fixed (paraphrasing)”.
Additionally, I test all devices before and after the repair and I’ve been CRAZY CAREFUL to not damage the home button during screen repair. MOST if not all iPhone repairs are of the cracked screen variety. Inside Baseball: During a cracked screen repair, the home button must be transplanted from one screen to another. So even if the home button is working fine there’s still a chance it can get damaged during an otherwise routine screen repair.
Not tooting my own horn (Can grown men use the word “toot?”), but my skill, experience and professionalism is why I command a higher price. But there are some folks who don’t care and opt to go with the “lowest bidder”, which boggles my mind – Why pay so much for an Apple device to only go the cheap route when something goes wrong? But I digress.
As the old saying goes “You get what you pay for”. There are some repair shops who will buy the cheapest parts, and do shoddy work, INCLUDING damage your Touch ID-enabled home button during repair and try to replace it on the sly. Before now it wasn’t a huge deal. Now Apple is forcing repair shops to step up their game in order to maintain its security features and protect your data.
So when (it’s not a matter of if) you crack the screen on your iPhone, you might want to rethink your repair budget and do a little more research before you let just anybody repair it. A cheap or half-ass repair could result in your entire phone getting bricked.
….You know my number

Mac Heads Tips and Tricks

Buying An iPhone? Check The IMEI/Serial Number To Make Sure It’s Not Stolen

If you’re looking for a good deal on an late-model iPhone, you’re in luck. Since the arrival of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, folks (like me) are putting up their slightly-used, mint-condition iPhone 4/4S/5/5C/5S up for sale on sites like eBay and Craigslist, or flooding their social media networks. The phones are in ample supply, and you may come across a seemingly “too good to be true” deal.

Before you make, phone calls, putting in bids, or starting message threads, you might want to make sure you won’t have the cops (or some vigilante owner) hunting you down after you’ve purchased a hot iPhone. Apple has released a quick little tool to help make sure you’re not buying an stolen iPhone.

Mac Heads

Oops: iPhone Repairs Skyrocket With No Signs Of Slowing Down

On the eve of the iPhone 6 launch in the U.S., folks (like me) are dying to get their hands on the next-generation Apple smartphone.

No matter how light and tough the iPhone 6 will be, people will need to get it repaired before trading it in for the “new hotness” that succeeds the best smartphone on the market.

Most of those repairs will result in the owner dropping and subsequently cracking the screen (Ask me how I know). Squaretrade, a company that offers smartphone protection plans conducted a survey in 2012 and concluded that Americans have spent $10.7 Billion repairing and replacing phones…and that’s just iPhone numbers dating back to the original iPhone released back in 2007.

Mac Heads

8 Best Mac OS and iOS Features From The Apple WWDC Keynote

I almost forgot to sit through the live stream of Apple’s annual World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) Keynote speech where Apple makes public what developers and consumers can look forward to in the coming weeks/months as it relates to its software offerings (Mac OS and iOS).

I’m glad I did because Apple has announced some pretty interesting features that many Apple enthusiasts like myself had on their wish-list for quite some time. There were a ton a features announced and since this is my blog, I’m going to give you the run down of  features that I was most hyped about in addition to what I think you should know about.

Mac OS X 10.10


First and foremost, this latest update to Mac OS X comes with a new name: Yosemite – That’s a “meh” for me, but Apple has a history of unique naming schemes, so while I’m not impressed, I’m not surprised either.

iCloud Drive

Apple has now provided a decent option for storing your files in the cloud, and more importantly, syncing them across your Apple gadgets. You can quickly search for anything stored in iCloud via Mac OS X “Finder” including iOS stuff. Similar to Dropbox, you can create folders and tags in iCloud Backup for organization.

Apple Gadget Continuity

Probably the best news to come out of all the Mac announcements is how close Mac OSX 10.10 and iOS 8 will work together. AirDrop is now useful, with the ability to quickly share files between your Mac and iDevices. Sharing your iPhone network connection with your Mac is stupid simple with Instant Hotspot. You can now see incoming SMS messages and voice calls via a notification pop-up on your Mac AND start/answer phone calls using your Mac’s speaker phone.

Apple also debuted “Handoff” where you can share work (emails, iWork, etc) between your devices. For example, start an email on your iPhone, and you can quickly continue that draft right where you left off via your Mac or iPad…No need to “save as draft” first.

iOS 8

This iOS 8 announcement is where Apple was all like “You’ve been sweatin’ us for years to adapt some of the features found in third-party apps, Android, Windows Phone, and even BlackBerry…Well get ready to be overwhelmed.” You name it, Apple grabbed and flipped it. Which to me is awesome because competition is ALWAYS good for the consumer.


Now you can quickly take action on items that hit the notification bar, a la Android. You can respond to messages, “like” Faceboook posts, see sports scores, etc. without being forced into the respective app.

Third-Party Widgets and Extensions

I have been waiting for Apple to introduce Android widgets or Windows Phone Live Tiles for a hot minute. Well, Apple decided to use widget-like features in the Notifications Center versus using widgets on the home screen. I would much rather see widgets with Windows Phone Live Tile-esque At-a-glance information on my home screen, but I’ll take what I can get.

Apple is finally letting developers create apps that can share information with native Apple apps. In other words, popular features found in third-party apps (like photo filters) could possibly be used within native Apple apps (like Photos). Normally, initiating this app transaction would force you to leave the native app and open up the third-party app.


Apple has decided to include predictive/learning keyboard typing where you can add suggested words to your content with the touch of a button. Apple will also allow for third-party keyboards (think Swype and my favorite, SwiftKey) to be added so iOS users could finally be able to do gesture-based typing rather than pecking at tiny individual letters. Hopefully the rumored larger iPhone 6 will alleviate some of my fat-thumb typing?

Hey Siri…

One of my favorite Google Now features is coming to Siri. Instead of the press/hold or bring your phone to your ear to activate Siri, now you can just say “Hey Siri” to initiate a dialog. With the added Apple HomeKit and compatible Home Automation gear, you can use Siri to control your lights, thermostat, garage dooe and other connected-home stuff.

Family Sharing

For the tech-savvy family with multiple iTunes accounts. Family sharing will not let members see (and approve) purchases made by each other up to six members…But you all have to share the same credit card. This is dope for parents with of-age kids with itchy download trigger fingers. Kids can send a request to buy a song or app, and the parent has to approve it first.

This was just the stuff I cared about. There were a ton of features, including some great app development, new Photos app, Health Features, and Mac OS X Yosemite design additions announced yesterday. You will be able to sign up for the free public beta of Mac OS X Yosemite sometime this summer, while you will need an Apple Developer’s license to dive into iOS 8 beat available now (Lemme hold something).

Visit Apple’s website if you want to check out the Keynote replay and get more the details.

What features are you most excited about? What do you think Apple fans will use the most? Lemme know in the comments section.

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

Mac Heads

Apple Knows Consumers Want Larger iPhone 6

Apple Knows Consumers Want Larger iPhone 6 via
iPhone 6 Concept by Nikola Cirkovic

That headline probably isn’t a huge surprise. Apple fans may want to pretend that it doesn’t need to chase Android down the “phablet” hole. What they may not know is Apple is and has been well aware of the trend since 2012.

In a presentation uncovered during the Apple-Samsung court wars, Apple displayed two slides that showed the only two areas were it could grow in the smartphone market were if it sold a smartphone that was cheaper than $300, and a smartphone larger than its customary 4-inch screen.

People in the U.S. for the most part have accepted the fact that Apple products are more expensive. All the noise for a cheaper iPhone has come from emerging global markets where Android…and BlackBerry for that matter, have been eating Apple’s lunch.

Additionally, Apple has been in the media claiming why it doesn’t make a larger phone…some weird commercials about thumb placement. That reason has been deemed “unacceptable” by the public, and the growth of 5-inch smartphones and phablets powered by Android, and subsequent shrinking of Apple’s mobile market share over the past two years is the proof.

As an Apple fan that has added a 5-inch Android and Windows Phone device to my daily lineup, I hope that Apple has its ear to the ground to what the public wants, and is paying attention to its own research.

Tech blogs and consumers have been begging Apple to go larger and cheaper for years. Maybe the new smartphone cycle of fall 2014 (read: iPhone 6) will be the year Apple finally buckles to the pressure?

What do you think? Will Apple make larger and cheaper devices this year?

Mac Heads

Which is Faster- iPhone 5S or Samsung Galaxy S4? #AskBrothaTech

Which Is Faster- iPhone 5S Or Samsung Galaxy S4 via BrothaTech.comSince I’m a Brotha that’s into technology (see where I get the name?), I often get tech-related questions via email and social media. So I’ve decided to start a new column on my blog entitled (you guessed it) #AskBrothaTech where I highlight some of the most common (or uncommon) questions as it relates to technology and the Digital Lifestyle.

Here is the latest from a question sent to me via Facebook:

“Hey BrothaTech,

I need to upgrade from my iPhone 4. It’s just too slow for me. I’m thinking about going back to an Android. Maybe the S4. Thoughts? I need speed more than anything.

Sincerely, Speed Demon”

(I added the Speed Demon part because reasons)

Ah yes, the age-old question I get asked the most. In my opinion, all of the flagship smartphones are so close in technical specs that just trying to eyeball which phone is the fastest is nearly impossible.

But since I know y’all ain’t trynna hear “it depends” I’m going to try and give you my honest, non-diplomatic, but non fan boy-ish answer. Smartphone speed is broken down into two factors out-of-the-box speed and how compatible a person is using one device over the other.

Out of the box

Like I said earlier, smartphones are so close spec-wise that a straight-up legit benchmark test can only reveal a “winner” and “loser” between an iPhone 5S and a flagship Android device like the Samsung Galaxy S4. Since I don’t have the time (and don’t get paid) to be messing around with benchmark test, I will say that from a “too many hands in the cookie jar” standpoint, an iPhone may just end up slightly faster than a GS4 out of the box.

From the conception to the assembly line to a consumer’s hands, Apple has been known to be a dictator. They control the hardware and software that goes on every device out of the box. Conversely, the Android OS (owned by Google), device manufacturer (in this case Samsung), and the wireless carrier all have a stake in what goes on the the device before you even open the box. As a result, all that extra stuff we techies affectionately call bloatware in theory can slows down the GS4…Unless you pay full price upfront for a Google Play edition GS4 straight from the source.


Here is where the “it depends” catch-all rears its ugly head, but is a valid point I must make. It doesn’t matter how fast the actual device is – It depends on your compatibility with the device and it’s ecosystem. For example, If you’re always using Google’s services (Gmail, Google Drive, Maps, Calendar, etc.) you will find that those services are integrated into and Android so smoothly, you may find that the GS4 faster than an iPhone 5S, even if those same services are available for iOS.

Same goes for iOS, if you’re knee deep in the Apple ecosystem (iTunes, iMessage, App Store, iLife, etc.) you will find that getting that content on an Android device takes extra steps that could slow down your productivity. As a result, you will feel more productive on an iPhone 5S over the GS4. In other words, your comfort and level of investment with each device/ecosystem should determine which device is “faster”.


Bloatware aside, which may or may not even be a deal breaker, In the end, you will have to decide what’s more important to you: device speed or device compatibility.

Before any of you crazy fan boys (that don’t even get paid by Apple or Google to be fan boys) hit my site with all your “exceptions to the rule”, keep in mind that everybody’s situation is different, so speed truly does “depend” on how you use a smartphone in the long run.

If you have any tech questions you want me to answer, be sure to hit up my Contact Page, or use the Hashtag #AskBrothaTech on Social Media when submitting questions.

Mac Heads

No Cheaper iPhone In Apple’s Future

Cheap iPhone
image credit:

Don’t act surprised – According to Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of worldwide marketing released a statement that pretty much kills any dreams of an “entry-level” iPhone:

From Gizmodo,

“Despite the popularity of cheap smartphones, this will never be the future of Apple’s products. In fact, although Apple’s market share of smartphones is just about 20%, we own the 75% of the profit.”

So there you have it – If you want an iPhone, you will have to spend top-dollar just for the carrier subsidized version, let alone full price just to keep your unlimited data contract.

…Now back to your regularly scheduled programming of Samsung rapidly climbing the market share scale

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