In my opinion, Control Center on the iPad is analogous to a Swiss Army knife, only in electronic format. Like a Swiss army knife, it is the place to go to get things done. Control Center is a collection of utilities that you can reply on to solve a multitude of problems and gain access to them quickly and easily. It’s the control hub of your iPad.
Activating Control Center is simple and intuitive–in one motion, just swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Here you will find all you need to activate, disarm and adjust various settings and functions on your iPad. You can also activate Control Center from the lock screen and from within apps with the same swiping motion. You can turn these settings on and off in the Settings App under Control Center.
Highlighted (call-out) Controls starting in the upper left and moving in a clock-wise direction are as follows
- Wi-Fi. Tapping this button will allow you to turn your Wi-Fi on or off. Turning on will let you connect to Wi-FI hot-spots–however, you may still need to enter password information of your iPad detects a hot-spot that you have not previously connected to, or you instructed your iPad to “forget” the hot-spot after the last time you were connected.
- Bluetooth. This will turn your iPad’s Bluetooth connection on or off allowing your iPad to pair with a Bluetooth device such as a keyboard
- Do-not-Disturb. A great little utility that you can adjust to mute notifications and calls for pre-set times or on the fly as needed.
- Screen Lock. Locks the screen orientation in other portrait or Landscape mode.
- Airplane Mode. When active, it will turn off cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Can be a useful way of saving battery–especially in areas where signal strength is weak and your iPad is looking for a cell tower.
Family Sharing is a great utility Apple introduced in iOS 8 that allows family members to share all their purchases across the App Store, iTunes and the iBookstore. With Family Sharing, though, all participating members need to have their own Apple ID’s. However, minors under the age of thirteen can’t create an Apple ID on their own. Luckily parents can give consent and create one for them–and when you do, it will be added to your Family group automatically.
Apple verifies that you are indeed an adult and can create an Apple ID for your child when you use a credit card as your method of payment in your iTunes account. Unfortunately for this exercise, though, if your payment method is currently a debit card, you will have to replace it with a credit card because iTunes uses the security information on the credit card to confirm consent for a minor to use the account.
When Apple introduced iCloud Family Sharing with iOS 8 they finally provided us with a method to monitor purchases made with our Apple ID from other devices _before_ they are actually purchased. These “other” devices were typically used by our children. With Family Sharing we can manipulate purchase settings so that we are true gate-keepers of any service that needs our our Apple ID for authentication.
Personally, I love using Family Sharing with my oldest son who is now 12. I appreciate that he can still have his own Apple ID and make his own choices on which apps, songs and books he would like to download to his iPhone. But in the end, I still get to make the final approval. That perfect mix of independence for my son, and peace of mind for my wife and I, seems to be working well for now.
One unforeseen benefit from having purchases made by different people in the same Family Sharing plan is that these purchases can be sorted by Family members. To download only purchases made from a specific member if your Family Plan first launch the App Store app on your iPad.
With iOS 8 your iPad has enhanced accessibility features that can be very useful for everyone. One such feature that I find myself using on a regular basis is centered around speech–specifically, reading selected text back to me. There are countless benefits from such a feature, from reading a how-to aloud while you actively participate in making or fixing something, to catching you up on your RSS reader feed while you wade through your backlog of emails. I find it particularly helpful to finish reading a post when I need to redirect some of my attention to another task. Whatever the reason, I’m sure you can find scenario that is beneficial for you, too.
Start with opening the Settings App on your iPad, and select General. Next, open the Accessibility tab and locate Speech at the bottom of the Vision section. Here you have three options–Speak Selection, Speak Screen and Speak Auto-text.
Now-a-days, kids are far more technologically advanced than most of their parents were at the same age much less now. This is both a blessing and a curse for us as parents, though. I think it’s great that my 7 year old can pick up an iPad and get his reading and math homework done using a touch interface that he is already very comfortable and proficient with. I find it helpful and thoughtful that his school supports a paperless initiative when it comes to the tools he uses for learning.
As a parent, the flip-side of this story is that there will come a time in the very near future—sooner than I probably would like to admit, that he will begin to explore the cyber-world outside of his academic bubble. This scare the hell out of me at times. The internet can be a wonderful learning tool, but it can also be a window to so much more—much of which can be very damaging to children—especially young ones.
I have already experienced a taste of this world with my oldest son who is 12. He is a very trustworthy young man, but he is also at an age of maturity and discovery and is naturally curious about everything else that goes along with growing up.
Apple update iOS software to version 8.3 yesterday in advance of the Apple Watch launch. To update your iPad open the Settings app and go to General–> Software Update. The list of enhancements and updates is quite extensive. Highlighted by improved performance for
- App Launch
- App responsiveness
- Control Center
- Safari Tabs
- 3rd-party keyboards
- Keyboard shortcuts
- Simplified Chinese keyboard
and fixes for the following
- Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
- Orientation and rotation
- Family Sharing
Followed up by an extensive number of additional improvements and bug fixes too long to list.
As with most iOS updates, there are always less talked about improvements that are welcomed changes. Sometimes we’re really lucky, and these improvements solve nagging issue that have existed longer than they should have. This is one of them. Now we can sort and report junk Messages thanks to iOS 8.3–here’s how.
While I was surfing around the internet the other day, I came across a procedure that allows you to record the screen of your iOS device using QuickTime Player on your Mac. As someone who could really benefit from this feature for demonstrative purposes, my curiosity was definitely piqued. Add to that the fact that it is built into every Mac running Yosemite and that it’s completely free, and I knew that some of you, too, would really appreciate knowing how it works. Here’s a quick tutorial based upon Aaron Douglas’ Blog post on The Dangling Pointer.
Benefits of using Yosemite & iOS 8 to record your iPad screen
- QuickTime is already built into your Mac
- High quality recording since you are hard wired
- Capable of recording audio
How to record your iPad screen using QuickTime
Expected battery life has always been one of the most important factors for consumers when they deciding on what mobile devices to buy. Admittedly, iPad’s have always excelled in this category. However, we often want and/or demand more out of our iPad’s then they ultimately can deliver–at least for now. As a result, we routinely try to find ways to extend the battery life of our iPad’s. To that end, here are the (5) best ways to maximize your battery life on your iPad.
1> Make sure your iPad is running the most up-to-date version of iOS software. The main reason this is important is because newer software will include the most recent version of energy saving technology.
When it comes to keyboards that are compatible to use with my iPad–I have always had a soft spot for the Apple Wireless Keyboard. It’s a great combination of a full size keybaord that’s not too large, but still feels sturdy and comfortable to type on. One drawback, though, is that with the Apple Wireless Keyboard, you have no practical solution to use it with your iPad when a flat working surface is unavailable . If you want to work on your iPad in a car or any other circumstance where your lap is the closest you are going to get to a table, I have found that your best options are keyboard cases that provide all-in-one solutions.
While there is absoulutely nothing wrong with this use case, I wanted more options, and I wanted at least one of them to include the Apple Wireless Keyboard. When I discovered the Nimblstand I was intrigued by the possibility of finally being able to type on my lap without compromises. The Nimblstand is very lightweight (less than 0.5 lbs) becasue it is made out of recycled materials–so carryong it around isn’t a burden.
Cyber security is an ever increasing challenge that we face on a daily basis with growing concern. Not a week goes by that when we don’t hear about a new hack, or virus, or commercial security breach that exposes are most important personal data. Data that criminals use to steal from us for there own selfish gains. We might never ever truly be completely safe and secure. However, there are steps that we can take to, at the very least, make our own data harder to obtain.
One of the steps we can take is two implement two-step verification of our Apple ID. We use our Apple ID to sign into iCloud and the App Store and the Mac App store, so by taking this extra step we can provide added security to the majority of the Apple services we use most often. Two-step verification is achieved by entering our password to verify our account on one of our additional Apple devices. Now, even if someone has your password, they would still need to go through the extra step up verifying your identity on one of your other known devices.
With iOS 8 we have more control over the settings of our apps then ever before. Sometimes individual app settings are easy to find, and sometimes they are buried deep within the app, several layers in. To find what you’re looking for, it could take you several tries, no to mention the time you spend researching on the internet. It doesn’t have t be this way–not anymore. Apple has actually made it rather simple to adjust settings for each app all in one place.
Start by opening the Settings App. As you scroll down the side-bar menu on the left side of the page, you will eventually se a running list of all of your installed apps. Opening/selecting any one of your apps from the side-bar will display all the settings that you can interact with and adjust. Not all of your apps are going to display the same settings. That’s because not all apps are capable of providing the same services. As a result, there will be a wide variety of changes that you can make to each app.