When Apple first introduced the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus back in September they also, without much fanfare, increased iCloud storage plans. Although they didn’t upgrade the standard 5GB of iCloud storage that comes with every iOS device, Apple did drastically improve the cloud storage limits of their existing plans.
New iCloud Storage Plans
- 50GB –> $0.99 / month (2.5X more storage for the same price).
- 200GB –> $2.99 / month (cost reduced by 25%).
- 500GB –> $9.99 / month (discontinued).
- 1TB–> $9.99 / month (cost reduced by 50%).
Finally, Apple’s new iCloud plans are much more competitive and can compete with the likes of Google, Microsoft and Dropbox. Unfortunately, these upgrades, while offered at the same cost or even lower than previous iCloud plans, do not upgrade automatically for existing users. So how can you upgrade your current iCloud plan to one of the new storage plans at no additional cost to you?
I’ve been trying out a few different iOS 9 enabled workflows on my iPad, and one of the ideas I stumbled upon was maintaining an always-on Split View app. The choice of this app would is very important, of course. One of the major advantages of working on the iPad has long been the one–app–at–a–time approach. The iPad is supposed to just become whatever musical keyboard, game, or writing machine you want it to be…and the rest is supposed to fade away. That effect is reduced by the presence of a Split View app on my Air 2, and that case is especially evident if the Split View app is dynamic in nature.
These days most websites you open in your Safari browser have a password associated with them. I don’t know about you, but I find it tough to keep track of them all. This is especially true if you don’t use a password utility app like 1Password to manage your growing, overwhelming unmanageable list. Luckily, Safari offers a solution where you can store your passwords so you don’t have to remember them each time you visit a website requiring further authentication. You have to opt-in each time a new password is entered before Safari will save the info, and you also have to activate Safari in iCloud to share your passwords across multiple devices. Here’s how to get started.
Much has been said about the lack of new features in iOS 9. Many refer to Apple’s latest software update as more of an under the hood refinement. iOS can definitely benefit from a tune-up, with a greater concentration made in making the the OS run more efficiently. Too often with each new iteration, consumers, and especially tech writers, get caught up in the bullet list of new features and capabilities. We tend to forget that none of that really matters if the OS is slow, buggy and uncooperative. Having said that, there is no way that Apple would miss an opportunity to introduce at least a handful of new attributes for iOS. After digging around I made a wanted to share (5) of my favorites.
Pixelmator 2.1 includes a few housekeeping changes: iOS 9 support with bona fide Slide Over and Split View. On the surface, this is already enough to change the way you use Pixelmator on an iPad Air 2. Once the WordPress app is updated to support iOS 9 multitasking, I can see myself running WordPress right alongside Pixelmator as I finish up longer reviews.
However, the larger change to my workflow comes in the form of the “Save to Photos” feature. This is a big one, folks.
Previously, opening one of my photos within Pixelmator would create a copy within the app, and saving that photo to my camera roll would create another copy. I’d then have two such photos in my iCloud Photo Library — the original and the edited version. Pixelmator 2.1 changes things around by letting me save edits to the existing photo in my library. No more duplication. What’s more, these changes are non-destructive and completely reversible from within the Photos app. If I decide tomorrow that I don’t like my changes, I can edit that picture within the Photos app and tap the “Revert” button to go right back to the original.
I’m taking a step back from iCloud Photo Library. I had chosen to go all-in and place over 12,000 photos and 500+ videos (35 GB of data) into the service, but it hasn’t been working out. I’ve been taking a lot more pictures since I purchased my Sony A6000 earlier this year, and the resulting 24 MP shots are taking up a lot of room on my Mac and iOS devices — enough that I’m consistently getting storage warnings while I use them. So I’m opting for a hybrid system for photo and video storage that utilizes iCloud Photo Library for recent photos (the past 5 years) and Dropbox for everything else.
“Optimize iPad Storage” isn’t Optimal
In my Four Month Update post I discussed using iCloud Photo Library’s “Optimize iPad Storage” settings. This setting dynamically downloads full-res versions of your media, thereby saving space on devices where there isn’t enough space for your full photo library. The optimize settings were working well earlier this year, but the performance has since deteriorated. Pictures that aren’t stored at full resolution can take anywhere from 1–10 seconds to load on LTE, and loading times that last more than a few seconds just kill the buzz when you’re trying to show vacation shots to friends.
There’s a lot that you can accomplish within the Photos app on your iPad on iOS 8:
- Built-in tools help edit the exposure, contrast, saturation, and more with non-destructive edits
- Videos in the library can be trimmed so that you’ll always fast forward straight to the best parts
- Third-party photo extensions can spice up images, or even show you the EXIF information of your shot (e.g. ISO, shutter speed, etc.)
- Photos are auto-sorted by Moments, Collections, and Years; but you can also create albums out of hand-picked collections of pictures and videos
However, Faces are still strangely only half-supported on iOS. I love this feature on the Mac because it helps me identify and tag the faces of friends and family in my shots. The first few times require some manual tagging, but the algorithm quickly picks up on who “Po”, “Nicole”, and “Leona” are, and their names start to appear automatically as suggestions for me.
Unfortunately, aside from albums, there isn’t any way to tag sets of pictures on iOS — but don’t worry, as long as you’ve got a Mac, specifying Faces in Photos for OS X will sync that same metadata over to iOS. The only catch is that you’ll have to search for the names in the search bar, because they won’t appear as albums on your iPad.
There are two main methods for capturing text while using your iPad. One way is by using Siri to carry out an ever growing variety of commands and tasks. The other method is through dictation accessed via your iPad keyboard. While Siri is a perfectly capable tool to use for dictation, and might be your preferred way to capture text, we have found that our favorite digital assistant especially shines when asked to answer questions and perform tasks. Thomas recently wrote about some of his favorite uses for Siri on his iPad. Dictation, however, is more of a quick and dirty way to collect your thoughts and have them transposed right onto your iPad screen whenever you typically would need to enter text in an app. Think of it as an alternative to typing. While a very helpful tool, there are some initial challenges to dictating effectively on your iPad or other iOS device. The manner in which we speak doesn’t always translate exactly to how we write–or even how we collect our thoughts. As a result we’ve collected some tips to help you be the most efficient at using dictation.
With iOS 8, Apple expanded the iPad’s ability to share information in many different ways. This has long been a frequently requested feature that was already available on various other mobile platforms in one form or another. Sharing information and data, in any form, can be a very useful tool for all iPad owners. I want to discuss three of the best ways iPad users can share information, and the processes they can use to make this possible.
To use Apple services you need to start with an Apple ID. Your Apple ID is based on an email address you would like to associate with your account. Your Apple ID is your gateway to adding all kinds of content to your iPad, including Music, Apps, Movies, and Books. When you set-up your Apple ID you have the option to also use the same ID for your iCloud services account. However, this isn’t a requirement. You can also choose to set-up one Apple ID for for iCloud services, and a separate account for your iTunes, App Store, and iBook Store purchases.
Confused yet? Apple recommends creating one ID for both services to eliminate some of the confusion. They caution that using multiple Apple IDs might be confusing and might cause issues with accessing purchased content or using some services. However, in the event that you still want to keep your services separate, he is a quick and dirty how-to.
Security–it’s on our minds more than ever before. It seems like there isn’t a week that goes by where we don’t hear about some new exploit that allows someone to hack your most personal information. With our mobile devices containing more of this information with each new iteration, we need to stand up, take notice and do something about it. Through our own due diligence we can monitor some of this information. But what about our devices? What can we do to keep our iPads, and our data more secure?