Giving iTunes Match Another Try

iOS Screenshot 20140709-235435 01

iTunes Wi-Fi Sync only seems to work about half the time I try to use it, so a few weeks ago I decided to take another chance on iTunes Match. If you’re unfamiliar with iTunes Match, it’s a $28 annual subscription service that scans your Mac or PC’s iTunes library. Any songs that are matched with existing tracks in Apple’s iTunes catalogue are simply made available in 256kbps AAC, and any songs that aren’t in the iTunes catalogue are uploaded to iCloud. Once the scanning and uploading is complete, your full library of songs is available to stream to up to 10 devices (PCs, Macs, or iOS devices).

The main benefit of this switch has been to eliminate any need to manually sync my iPhone (my main music player) with my MacBook, but a cool secondary benefit has been the ability to stream all of my music directly to my iPad, without having to use up any of my 32 GB iPad’s storage space.

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iOS 7.1.2 Update for iPad Was Released This Week: Security Fix & More

iOS712

At the beginning of this week Apple released iOS 7.1.2 – the latest version of the iPad and iPhone operating system.

iOS 7.1.2 brings a fix to a well-known security vulnerability related to attachments and the iOS Mail app. Here’s the brief description text for this latest iOS update:

• Improves iBeacon connectivity and stability
• Fixes a bug with data transfer for some 3rd party accessories, including bar code scanners
• Corrects an issue with data protection class of Mail attachments

The update is available to install over the air via the Software Update section in Settings – it’s only about a 28.8 download – and well worth installing just for the security fix.

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The Silly (But Functional) Mystery That Is iCloud Backup

icloud backup

I took a leap last week and jumped onto iOS 8 beta 2, and although I was really impressed with the new QuickType keyboard and Continuity features, a few of my essential apps still aren’t compatible with the beta. Luckily, I had a double set of backups to return to: one in iCloud and one in iTunes.

I’ve tried iCloud backups before and they work well enough, but they also take up a lot of time. You’ve got to wait for all of your apps to download again, and apps that sync with cloud services (e.g. Evernote) don’t always remember your login credentials after you restore.

So this time around I decided to try restoring from my manual iTunes backup, from the night before I decided to try iOS 8. The downgrade to iOS 7 went off without a hitch, but I was a little spooked to find a very blank iPad upon my first restart. There were two pages of apps, but each screen was nearly empty, and consisted only of the default Apple apps.

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iOS 7.1.1 Released: Bug Fixes, Security Improvements, and New Labels for Apps with In-App Purchases

App Store In-App Purchases

Apple released iOS 7.1.1 yesterday, the latest update to the iPad and iPhone operating system. This update to iOS brings bug fixes and some security enhancements. It also has improvements to the Touch ID feature for iPhone – which is expected to come to this year’s iPad models.

Another interesting addition in this update, spotted by MacRumors, is a new label on apps with In-App purchases – in the Top Charts listings pages. It’s a fairly tiny bit of text just underneath the Free button in the apps listing.

Given all the controversy around ‘Freemium’ games with sometimes very large In-App purchases (I’ve seen up to $99) and horror stories of kids running up bills into the thousands of dollars, any extra labeling of these apps is a good idea. I’d love to see the label text be a little larger and more prominent.

iOS 7.1.1 is available now as an over-the air update via Settings > General > Software Update.

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Quick Rant: The iPad’s Incredibly Vague Weather Widget

iOS 7 weather widget

This one’s been a pet peeve of mine for as long as iOS 7 has been out. The “Today Summary” section of Notification Center looks quite clean, and I like how it opts to use text over a set of weather icons, but here’s where it can be plain stupid: it doesn’t always show the current temperature.

Sometimes the summary does show info like “a high of 6, a low of –3”, but other times it just shows vague information like “partly cloudy conditions with low visibility”. Unfortunately, the thing about low visibility is that it doesn’t tell me anything about how many layers I should wear before stepping out the door.

This wouldn’t be as bad if I could simply tap on the iPad’s weather report as I do on my iPhone 5S, but I can’t. The iPad doesn’t come bundled with a Weather app, and I can’t link the widget to open any of the excellent third-party weather services on the App Store. This means that the only way to quickly check the weather on an iPad is to use Siri, which displays the proper highs and lows throughout the day. That can work, but Siri has its own issues when it comes to reliablity (sometimes it takes mini vacations and doesn’t respond to anything).

This is one of those details in which the devil lives. It’s an oversight in Apple’s major move from iOS 6 to iOS 7, and it would be oh-so-easy to correct, if only Apple could catch onto it.

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iOS 7.0.6 for iPad Released – Security Update

Yesterday Apple issued the latest update to the iPad and iPhone operating system, iOS 7.0.6. This update is primarily a security patch for a known vulnerability relating to SSL connections. The update is available now and can be installed over-the-air (as in, directly from the iPad) via the Settings app. You’ll find it under Settings […]

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Facebook Sign In on iOS Demands Too Much

The screenshot above is of the advisory popup dialog you get when you’re about to sign in with your Facebook account in the iPad Settings app – to link your Facebook account more seamlessly throughout iOS. Here’s the big catch though: the dialog above lets you know that signing in will do this: Download your […]

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