December 2023

iOS & Apple news

iOS 17.1.2 has been released. However, 17.2 is imminent and is currently in public beta. It will bring several new features.

The full iOS 17.2 release notes: Every new feature and change, by 9to5Mac.

iSO 17.2 will also Allow Siri to Access and Log Health Data.

Apple names `Wiser Than Me' the 2023 Show of the Year. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the host; the podcast is offered by Lemonada Media.

You can also see The 2023 charts in the Browse tab of the Podcast app.

Apple unveils App Store Award winners, the best apps and games of 2023.

Plus Apple announced: `Apps are a reflection of culture, and in 2023, generative AI captured users’ collective imagination with its evolution unfolding in real time' and highlighted the trend of the year: Generative AI integrated in apps.

Apple extended Emergency SOS via satellite for an additional free year for existing iPhone 14 users for another year.

A bride-to-be discovers a reality-bending mistake in Apple's computational photography, reports AppleInsider.

However, someone offers probably a better explanation.

iOS apps

Orion turns iPad into your portable HDMI Monitor. For photography, you can use your iPad as a monitor with your camera for previewing photos or video, to compose the photo or just to snap instant captures and see them in real time. Also, you can plug in any Mac or PC to use your iPad as an extra HDMI monitor.

For photography, Skylight Forecast is a `weather' app for light, a sunset & golden hour companion. The app is free, but with a $12/year subscription (or $3/monthly), it gives you predictions of the quality of the golden hour based on atmospheric factors near your location, including sunset and afterglow. Golden hour `is the period of time directly before sunset, when the light is at its most beautiful'.

Have you considered note apps in iOS? There are only about 3 billion (slight exaggeration). Some are professional or complex, some are simpler, and there is a very wide variety in style. Tiago Forte takes a systematic look at them and categorizes them in 4 different approaches: For Librarians, Architects, Artists, and Students. He then offers a brief overview of the best ones in each category. All in all, he looks at 50 worthy note-taking apps:

Yoga for Beginners is a very innovative and enjoyable app to get you started with some basic yoga. It uses your phone's camera and gives you live feedback on your form as you go through the exercises. They say: `Intelligent motion tracking—move your body into the frame and discover how a free yoga and fitness app can help align your poses more closely and ensure you get it right. Track your entire body from head to toe. Also, it offers privacy, you can even hide your form and focus on the outlines of your body during yoga. Our camera is secure, and we make no recordings of your sessions, so your workout is always just for you.


Why is There No Pie Emoji?: This podcast episode gives an entertaining and informative overview of how an emoji gets made. Plus they submit a pie emoji proposal to Unicode. It's 17 minutes and worth a listen.

tips & tricks

How to leave a video message in FaceTime on iPhone:

A reminder -- if you want to try out an app that offers a trial period but don't want to forget about it before you get charged, you can subscribe and then cancel. You will still get the free trial. Here is how:

Do you have some friends or family you contact frequently? The old-fashioned approach is to make them a `favorite'. But with iOS 17 you can create a widget. Olga gave a demo. `

Some iOS 17 users report a bug that causes the app switcher to appear when typing on the screen. Here is how to work around this.

If you have taken a recent trip or have had an event where you took hotos you would like to see and reminisce, iOS offers a nice option. Create an album with your favorite photos from the trip or event. Then, create a photo widget using this album. The widget will frequently change the displayed photo, bringing some fond memories when you look at your iPhone or iPad.

gadgets & accessories

Now that iOS 17 offers Standby mode for iPhones, there are many chices for stands. Here are a few examples:

Th FACBINY 3-in-1 Magnetic Foldable Wireless Charging Station.

The KU XIU Foldable Magnetic Wireless Charger.

The MagSafe Charger Stand, Anker 3-in-1 Cube with MagSafe.

Also, the 'ButterFly' 2-in-1 MagSafe Charger for iPhone and Apple Watch, reviewed by Macrumors.

Airtag collar for your dog. This can help you locate your dog in ways a microchip cannot. However, Apple officially does not endorse using AirTags fro dogs (though they do not describe why). Here is an article on aspects to consider: Apple Airtag for Dogs: Pros, Cons, Risks.

Shane Whatley looks at HomeKit-compatible garage openers. Since MyQ has stopped supporting all smart home integrations, Shane reviews an alternative by Tailwind, the Tailwind iQ3 Pro, which he considers very capable:

The new SwitchBot Mini Vacuum supports HomeHit. Shane Whatley has a review:


Apple Pay Later is readily available: it appears as an optional tab when you prepare to pay with Apple Pay. Apple summarizes it: `Apple Pay Later splits your purchases into four equal payments over six weeks — with no fees or interest. Use it on the millions of apps and websites that accept Apple Pay to more easily buy the things you want. You can use it for purchases between $75 and $1000 made on iPhone and iPad.'

According to Macrumors, `There have been rumors for months that Goldman Sachs wanted to get out of consumer banking and thus out of its partnership with Apple. The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Apple will let Goldman Sachs out of its deal, with Apple planning to stop working with Goldman Sachs in the next 12 to 15 months.' Bloombergs Mark Gurman indicates that Chase Bank is 'Ideal Partner' to Take Over Apple Card Deal. This is not confirmed by Apple, though. `‌Apple Card‌ service will continue on as normal as Apple works to find a new partner, and Apple has promised to continue to provide "the best tools and services" for Apple Card customers,' reports Macrumors.


Apple released new watchfaces with watchOS 10. However, the Solar watchface was released in 2020, and deserves additional attention. In-Depth The Eerie Beauty Of The Apple Watch Solar Face, And The Anatomy Of Nightfall is a close look at this well-designed watchface.

Apple offers 10 tips for watchOS 10. You probably know some but maybe not all.


As AI is increasingly used in our daily lives, this section will cover some noteworthy aspects, good or bad.

AI Alliance will open-source AI models; Meta, IBM, Intel, NASA on board, reports 9to5mac. `A new industry group known as the AI Alliance believes that artificial intelligence models should be open-source, in contrast to the proprietary models developed by OpenAI and Google. Meta, IBM, Intel, and NASA are just some of the organizations to sign up, believing that the approach offers key benefits.' Notable exceptions are OpenAI and Google, who keep their models proprietary and secret. Read more about the AI Alliance.

General Apps & Services

The video above shows an innovative use of iPhone technology. This company creates prosthetics for dogs and other animals using an iPhone and 3D printing.

even thieves know...

Thieves robbed a DC Uber Eats driver but rejected the stolen Android phone for not being iPhone, reports KATV. `Two masked gentlemen” approached him and were armed with guns. “They robbed him, took everything he had in his pockets, took the keys to my truck, and got in and pulled off,” the woman recounted. But before driving off, the thieves took a look at the phone they had just stolen and promptly handed it back to the husband. “They basically looked at that phone and were like ‘Oh, that’s an Android? We don’t want this. I thought it was an iPhone,'” the wife said.

A good summary for the last meeting of 2023 ;-)

next iPUG

Our next iPUG meeting will be on Tuesday, January 2, 2024. Thank you for another fun year of iPUG meetings. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, see you in 2024!