Category Archives: Uncategorized


Recover Deleted Data from iPad and iPhone Without Backup


How to recover deleted photos, videos, messages, WhatsApp, notes from iPad without backup


Our iPads hold so much data. From Music, photos, videos, contacts, text messages and so much more. As much as we like to store information on our iPads, we also inherently understand that the data could be lost at any time. Data loss is a risk we take every time we use the iPad and it can happen for a number of reasons. One of the most common reasons for data loss is usually accidental deletion although it can happen for a whole host of other reasons. There are times when even a software update can cause data loss.

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iOS 10 Wishlist: More Keyboard Shortcuts and Improved Photos Support

  ‘Tis the season: it’s getting closer and closer to June so people are unwrapping their biggest wishlist items. The funny thing is that we’re really close enough to the beta of iOS 10 (usually released just after WWDC in June) that our wishlist items couldn’t actually have any effect on development at this point. They’re either in development now, or they won’t be in iOS 10. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to write up a wishlist anyway.

Better Photos Support

I’ve already talked about the lack of decent RAW support, so I won’t re-hash that. However, as I test Lightroom 2.2 on my iPad, I arm starting to realize what else is missing from the Photos app.

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I Welcome This Second, Smaller iPad Pro!

The iPads Pro tell an interesting story, and I am very happy to see that Apple doesn’t think of the 12.9–inch Pro as the only iPad capable of doing “serious work”. As an owner of the first 12.9–inch model, I have to say that even I was tempted when I heard about this new smaller version of the iPad Pro. As amazing as it is to have this gigantic display to read off and create with, it can also be quite an imposing figure on a desk.  

Ten–inch Tablets

The 9.7–inch iPad Pro is more in line with the iPad Air 2 in terms of size and weight, and that device was had a form factor I really really enjoyed. It was just light enough to hold with one hand for reading and browsing, but it was still large enough to enjoy comics and movies on.

There are definitely some things I miss about that display size. Surfing in bed was a little easier because I still had the thumb keyboard. I can still type while lying down on the larger iPad Pro, but there’s a massive difference in how far my finger has to travel to type a simple URL out. A thumb keyboard on the Air 2 was definitely way easier, and I’m hoping it makes a return on the smaller iPad Pro.

I can also see this 9.7–inch iPad Pro making a superb replacement for a notebook. It’s a great size to write on, and it’s small enough to quickly and easily whip out of a bag so that you’ll actually have it at-the-ready. The larger iPad Pro just isn’t that kind of machine any more. I could cradle it on my lap and write at a cafe, but its larger size means it’s no longer the public transit-friendly device. I genuinely believe that the Apple Pencil and smaller iPad Pro will unlock a whole new use case for tablets. It looks like great combo of size and utility.

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iOS 9.3 Beta 5 Returns Full Functionality to Apple Pencil

Before iOS 9.3, you were able to use the Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro in much the same way you would a finger. This is one of those things I didn’t think I really cared about until it was taken away from me in the past four betas. After all, before the introduction of the Pencil, I had always used my fingers to scroll and tap elements on iOS. The whole operating system is optimized to have the finger be the pointing device, and a stylus just didn’t seem necessary because the tap targets were always big enough. Now that I can once again scroll and tap anything with the Apple Pencil in iOS 9.3b5, I’m starting to get it. 

What I didn’t account for previously is how convenient it can be to browse while using the Pencil. My usual browsing habit when I’m using the iPad Pro at a desk is to keep my right hand clamping the bottom-right corner of the tablet. I keep it there because I scroll often while I’m browsing, and it’s a lot more comfortable over the long-term to scroll with one thumb than it is to use my index finger to flick at the middle of the screen. However, all of the controls within Safari on the iPad are located along the top of the screen. I don’t switch tabs with my thumb (for obvious reasons), so I use my index finger to point at the screen and tap them. Since the iPad Pro’s screen is so big (a good nine inches across), I often move my hand across the width of the screen to reach different tabs.

The Pencil changes this interaction up because it can act like a much longer index finger. I can easily reach across the entire screen while keeping my elbow in a fixed position on the desk. In other words, I don’t need to lift my whole arm up to tap between different tabs. Scrolling on web pages is also simpler because I can flick with my entire wrist, instead of just the smaller arc afforded by my thumb.

I’m not going to blow this out of proportion and say that this has changed the way I use my iPad Pro. It’s really just a more convenient option for browsing (which I do a lot of on my tablet), and I also make frequent use of keyboard shortcuts for loading sites and switching tabs. However, I did want to point it out to show that there are other ways of viewing a stylus than just for precision drawing or helping you to tap small on-screen targets. There’s also something to be said about having a stylus simply to have a longer pointing tool, especially as touch screens get bigger and bigger.

I’d be curious to see what Apple could do with even more Pencil integration at the OS level. It may prove challenging to integrate 3D Touch on an iPad because of how hard you’d have to press (you might accidentally collapse a Smart Cover or topple the device), but I could definitely see some cool use cases for navigating the iPad with a Pencil and having iOS respond to pressure and unlock additional control.

Now if only I could find some place to hold the Pencil when I put it down…

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Launch Apps With A Keyboard in iOS 9.3


I’ve never had a keyboard attached as often as the Smart Keyboard has been on this iPad Pro. iOS 9.3 beta 4 came out four days ago, and even this incremental beta has new changes over iOS 9.3 b3. I can now CMD + Tab between applications and have the text cursor follow me to the new active app, even in Split View mode. I’m also seeing little bug fixes for iMessage displaying properly as the keyboard is dismissed during Split View. 

What all this means is that iOS is just feeling more reliable, and I’m feeling more and more confident about working and writing on the iPad Pro. As I spend more time on this gigantic slab of glass, I’m settling into a new habit for launching apps.

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Using Spotlight in iOS 9 for Offline Conversions and Calculations


It can be difficult to memorize all of them, but there’s no denying that keyboard shortcuts provide the fastest way of navigating an operating system. I do still think Apple has a lot of holes to plug with regards to missing shortcuts on iOS, but they are making strides with every dot update (ex. iOS 9.3 brings new shortcuts for iBooks). 

However, one feature that has really grown over the past few years is Spotlight. It got some major upgrades in iOS 8 with Spotlight suggestions — little contextual suggestions based on location or app usage — but there was still a strange disconnect between what Spotlight and Siri could provide. Siri could do calculations and quick conversions, but only if you used your voice. If you typed a conversion request like “53 CAD to USD” into Spotlight in iOS 8, you’d simply get an offer for a web search. 

iOS 9 changed that by integrating Siri with Spotlight, granting some more intelligent and proactive parsing to the universal search bar. Having the Smart Keyboard attached 99% of the time has made Spotlight into the Swiss Army Knife of my iPad Pro — the quick tool I utilize in a lot of my daily activities. I love how quickly the feature activates, and how I can summon it regardless of which app I’m in.

One of my favourite use cases after I press Cmd + Space to activate Spotlight is as a quick conversions and calculation tool. The iPad has long been missing a default calculator app (what’s with that, anyway?), but I no longer pine for one in iOS 9. Spotlight can help me in a pinch with lightning fast calculations and conversions. It’s so good that it has even replaced long-standing third party apps like Calcbot (which offered great conversion options and a really fun calculator interface).

Typing “3 lbs in kg” into Spotlight will show me a live conversion as the first search result, but what’s even cooler than that is that Spotlight knows I’m likely converting from imperial to metric, so simply writing “3 lbs” will show me the same search result. This is really handy, and much faster than any other third-party app I’ve used.

The same seems to go for my ever-worsening currency conversions from USD to CAD. Any time I’m about to shop for something online, I end up checking the exchange rate in Spotlight. It’s both depressing and highly efficient. I have done this enough times that I can simply write 300 USD and Spotlight will suggest the (much larger) sum in Canadian Dollars.

One last thing I realized only recently is that Spotlight seems to cache currency conversion rates. I’m not sure how often it refreshes the cache, but it does make enable currency conversions offline, which came as a pleasant surprise to me. I’ve always known Siro to be a service that’s completely dependent on an Internet connection, it’s interesting to see that certain aspects can be cached for offline use.

My next step for Spotlight would be to have it automatically parse other types of data. I want to be able to type “Event Lunch at Red Lobster Sunday 12pm” and see an option to create that exact event in my default calendar, and have it show up as the first search result in Spotlight. The same should be possible for creating Reminders. I don’t mind having to learn a specific syntax to do this, or mimicking the existing syntax for creating notes, events, and reminders within Siri. I also don’t see any reason why this couldn’t be an entirely offline module for Spotight, as well. If this type of enhancement could make it into an iOS 10 preview this June, I foresee Spotlight being one of the biggest selling points of iOS for power users.

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Little Details in iOS 9.3

Apple doesn’t often publicize dot-releases. They’ll go out of their way to talk about big releases like iOS 7, 8, and 9…but you won’t often see them make a big deal about anything but their major software releases, or a dot-release that enables some sort of new hardware tie-in (like the introduction of CarPlay).

All of that is why iOS 9.3 so interesting. There’s no new hardware that’s rumoured to be released alongside iOS 9.3, so this really does seem to be a pure software update. However, unlike the iOS 9.1 and 9.2 before it, this update isn’t just about bug fixes and stability. iOS 9.3 brings some awesome marquee features with it, and it even has its own dedicated preview page. I’ll let Apple’s preview page speak for the major features, but I wanted to cover some of the smaller details of the beta.

Little fixes

Living day in and day out with an iPad Pro gives you a lot of time to get acquainted with the tiny, annoying, everyday bugs. John Gruber pointed out one of them out in his initial iPad Pro review: the spacebar didn’t work properly in Safari. A tap of the spacebar was supposed to scroll about 3/4 down the webpage, but leave you just enough context to keep things easy to read. This wasn’t the case with iOS 9.0-9.2. Thankfully, iOS 9.3 has fixed this and tapping the spacebar within Safari acts much like it does on OS X. Between this change and the new keyboard shortcuts added in iOS 9, it’s actually really pleasant to surf with a keyboard in Safari now. I love it, and there’s basically nothing I want to do that I can’t already accomplish with my Smart Keyboard.

Home is where the Command Key is

iOS 9.3 also changes the shortcut for getting back to the Home screen. In previous versions, you had to press CMD + Shift + H to get back Home. Evidently, people were finding that this was one key too many, because the shortcut in iOS 9.3 is simply CMD + H. This works really nicely and makes it very easy to trigger the shortcut with either your right or your left hand. I’m not entirely sure this change will stick, though, as some apps (like OmniFocus 2) already use the CMD + H shortcut. We’ll have to wait a few betas to where we net out. 

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Smart Keyboard Impressions

I have to say: the Smart Keyboard really didn’t impress me when it was announced alongside the iPad Pro in September. I saw it and immediately thought of it as a Type Cover rip-off (which it still is). It pairs with the iPad via a hardware connection, it has a keyboard embedded in the cover, and it’s usable on the lap — just like the Surface Pro’s keyboard. None of that is really news in the iPad keyboard world. We’ve already seen really impressive offerings from Logitech and Belkin, and Apple’s own keyboard struck me as a very obvious and bland accessory. Its asking price also seemed well above what I would ever want to pay for an iPad keyboard — at $230 CAD, it’s more than any gaming keyboard I’ve ever purchased, and gaming peripherals are known for being far too expensive.

Typing Experience

What ended up changing my mind was the feel of the keys. I really like these keys. I love the feel of the grippy fabric under my fingers as I type, and I’m a fan of the shallow dome switches. In contrast to the squishy sound they make, the actual keystrokes are short, sharp, and even. It doesn’t really matter if you hit a key on the corner or right in the middle because it will feel identical.

I’d be lying if I said the keyboard hasn’t been a bit of learning curve though. I love typing on the keys 90% of the time, but I also notice that they can stick a little bit, every once in a while. I think this has to do with a vacuum effect that occurs internally. There are vents along the top of the keyboard to let air in and out of the keyboard to prevent keys from getting stuck in the down position, and my theory is that dust or humidity can affect how well these vents perform. If my iPad is on my desk overnight, I don’t have any issues. However, I can occasionally have some sticky keys for the first 30 minutes after I take the Smart Keyboard out of my bag.

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I Opted for Apple’s Smart Keyboard Over The Smart Cover + Magic Keyboard Combo

I recently wrote about some workarounds I was thinking up for working with the Magic Keyboard + Smart Cover combo on the iPad Pro. I was having trouble finding Apple’s Smart Keyboard and Create Pro in stores, so I spent a few days trying out the only keyboard solution I could get my hands on. 

There are no shortages of the Magic Keyboard or Smart Cover, after all, and they have some interesting selling points:

  • they’re separable so you can leave the keyboard at home if you’re only going to draw or watch on the iPad Pro
  • the Magic Keyboard has more travel than the Smart Keyboard (important to discerning typists)
  • the Smart Cover has the extra low viewing angle for touchscreen typing or drawing at a desk (which the Smart Keyboard completely lacks)
  • the Magic Keyboard can be used with any device that can connect via Bluetooth
  • the Magic Keyboard has iOS-specific shortcut keys for brightness, music playback, etc.

Those were the theoretical pros that I had listed before making the purchase. In reality, I really only cared about the extra low viewing angle and the shortcut keys. The other bullet points were still objective advantages, but they didn’t make my experience any better.

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Quick Look: ChargeTech’s Dual-USB Port 24W Charger for iPad

  I wrote about the ChargeTech 24W charger a few months ago. It sounded really promising because of its double USB ports for charging an iPhone and iPad simultaneously, and the 24W output was surprising despite its diminutive size. The ChargeTech is not quite as small as Apple’s own 5W iPhone charger, but it’s definitely smaller than carrying around a 12W iPad charger (which only has a single USB port).

ChargeTech has been emailing me recently with some significant Holiday discounts, but this has only served to remind me how disappointed it has been to deal with them as a company. I ordered two chargers from their website on July 20, and two weeks went by without my receiving any shipping information. I contacted ChargeTech’s support on August 3 and received a reply the next day: Sorry, but we’ve had a delay in shipments and it will be another 3–4 weeks.

I decided to wait for the order instead of cancelling it, but I look up ChargeTech’s reviews on I was concerned by the number of complaints about quality control. People were saying that their chargers were breaking off right at the prongs within days or weeks of receiving them, and some of them were just DOA. This was concerning, but I hoped that it was simply a vocal minority because 83% of the 280 Amazon reviews are 5-star ratings.

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Argh: New USB 3.0 Lightning to SD Card Reader Still Doesn’t Support XAVC-S


Apple released their new USB 3.0 Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader last week alongside the release of iOS 9.2, so I wanted to post some follow-up on my previous post on importing XAVC-S videos to the iPad.

This new adapter transfers media from the SD card to your iOS device at USB 3.0 speeds (theoretically up to 10x faster than USB 2). The caveat is that this extra speed is only available on the iPad Pro, since it’s the only iOS device with USB 3.0 hardware built into the Lightning port. That speed is helpful for transferring large numbers of RAW files from a day of shooting, so it’s something that professional photographers can take advantage of immediately.

Unfortunately for my Sony A6000 and the XAVC-S format, this newest USB 3.0 Lightning-to-SD adapter still isn’t of any use to me.

That USB 3.0 speed would be incredibly handy for sending HD video from a camera straight to your iPad Pro. I took some XAVC-S video at a birthday party recently, and the resulting 30–40 mins of footage was 8 GB on the SD card. The difference between USB 2 and USB 3 speeds in file transfers that large is a marked difference.

Before testing the new reader, I made sure my iPad was updated iOS 9.2. My hope was that, between the new hardware of the USB 3.0 reader and the updates in iOS 9.2, something may have changed since my previous post on XAVC-S. However, when I connected the SD card to the iPad, I was presented with an all-too-familiar sight: all of my pictures showed up in the Import tab of Photos, but I still couldn’t see any of my videos.

Apple’s own staff are also quite under-trained in this area; I visited two different Apple Stores asking about this, but it seemed too niche a question for the retail locations. I don’t expect everyone to be an expert on codecs (I’m still learning about them myself), but I find it absurd that a specialized Apple accessory like this SD card reader can’t recognize the XAVC-S .mp4 files from my A6000 (which means Sony A7 users are out of luck, as well).

From what I can tell, Apple’s own support documents say that iOS 9 and the Reader support the video I’m recording. Here’s the document for supported iOS video formats and the description of the SD Card reader says “…supports standard photo formats, including JPEG and RAW, along with SD and HD video formats, including H.264 and MPEG–4”.

iOS 9 can definitely recognize and edit XAVC-S files, though. I’ve done just that by AirDropping the videos over from my Mac, but that still requires the Mac to act as a middleman. The hardware support for fast video transfer is present in this newest Camera Card Reader, but the software support is still lacking as of iOS 9.2.

This article only reflects the view of a Sony camera user trying to get XAVC-S video to an iPad Pro. I can’t speak for how the SD card adapter plays with video from other camera manufacturers (e.g., Olympus, Panasonic, Nikon, Canon), so if your camera is working nicely with this adapter, let us know the details in the comments.

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