March 2018

iOS & Apple news

Apple Music is on track to overtake Spotify in US subscribers, reports the WSJ. `Apple’s U.S. subscriber-account base has been growing about 5% a month, versus No. 1 Spotify’s 2% clip.'

Apple Park is now the official corporate address.

Photos from inside the new Apple Park, posted on Instagram.

Apple Park Visitor Center is a lesson in how to create an accessible building, reports 9to5mac. Take a look at the detailed photos taken by a visitor recently.

Upgrade to iOS 11.2.6 for better security, including avoiding the rare Telegu bug.

Apple is launching medical clinics intended to offer employees and their families the ‘world’s best healthcare.’

Apple confirmed it's using Google's cloud services for iCloud. `Apple periodically publishes new versions of a document called the iOS Security Guide. For years the document contained language indicating that iCloud services were relying on remote data storage systems from Amazon Web Services, as well as Microsoft’s Azure. But in the latest version, the Microsoft Azure reference is gone, and in its place is Google Cloud Platform.'`

Here is Apple's iOS Security Document 2018. Here is a key passage:

`Each file is broken into chunks and encrypted by iCloud using AES-128 and a key derived from each chunk’s contents that utilizes SHA-256. The keys and the file's metadata are stored by Apple in the user's iCloud account. The encrypted chunks of the file are stored, without any user-identifying information, using third-party storage services, such as S3 and Google Cloud Platform.'

Apple has released a new HomePod video directed by Spike Jonze, starring FKA twigs, an English dancer, singer, record producer:

Apple is reportedly working on high-end headphones, according to Bloomberg. These will be noise-canceling, over-ear headphones that rival headsets from market leaders like Bose and even Apple’s own Beats by Dre brand.

Bloomberg also reports that Apple is working on a redesigned version of iBooks to take on Amazon e-books. `The new app, due to be released in coming months, will include a simpler interface that better highlights books currently being read and a redesigned digital book store that looks more like the new App Store launched last year. Apple released an early version of its iOS 11.3 mobile operating system update to developers on Wednesday, providing a hint that the new e-books app is on the way. The app is now simply called Books, rather than iBooks, according to the update.'

Apple was granted a patent for a wireless charging case for Apple Watch, similar to the AirPods case.

Apple Maps now have Tucson and Phoenix transit info. Take a look at directions in Maps to see the new options.

First, some people complained about the iPhone X’s `notch’. Now, Android phones are copying the notch.

With iOS 11, Messages get smart punctuation, reports John Gruber. ` You can turn this on in Settings > General > Keyboards. When enabled, quotes and apostrophes are automatically turned into their proper counterparts, two hyphens in a row are turned into a proper em-dash, etc.' `

Apple confirmed HomePod's supported audio sources.

Another positive HomePod review: You Can't Unhear Apple's HomePod, writes Tom Bajarin. `Once you listen to it and experience it for yourself, there is no going back. My Sonos, as great as it sounds, and my Echo's just didn't sound the same after listening to the same songs on the HomePod. You can’t unhear the quality of the HomePod, and it will change your opinion of many others speakers you may own. There was no going back. I can say, with absolute confidence, the HomePod will be the best sounding speaker many people have ever owned.'`

In just one month, HomePod has already reached a 3% share among smart speakers:


Art that inspired iPhone X's wallpapers is now on display at a gallery in Spain. The artists is Ana Montiel.

Ciari Guitars has been granted a patent for a travel guitar. This will work with an iPhone or iPad.

`Christian Keil dropped his AirPod into the tracks while waiting for a train in Berkeley, California. A cry of despair on Twitter led to its miracle return.' The Great AirPod Rescue Miracle of 2018 documents this.

[ RUMOR ] There are increasing rumors suggesting apple will hold a March Event or that they will soon deliver refreshed versions of iPads, Macbooks, and more. Rene Ritchie of iMore discusses these rumors and educated guesses with other analysts in his recent podcast. Take a look:

[ RUMOR ] Apple is reportedly preparing to release a trio of new iPhones later this year: the largest iPhone ever, an upgraded handset the same size as the current iPhone X and a less expensive model with some of the flagship phone’s key features, reports Bloomberg. `With the new lineup, Apple wants to appeal to the growing number of consumers who crave the multitasking attributes of so-called phablets while also catering to those looking for a more affordable version of the iPhone X, according to people familiar with the products.’

iOS apps & widgets

Alto's Odyssey has been released! Roger S. has played and says it's lots of fun. Instead of snowboarding (Alto's Adventure), you sandboard in the desert.

Paper has recently been updated in significant ways. However, it's still free and one of the very best apps for your iPhone and iPad.

Liza Donnelly, cartoonist for the New Yorker and CBS News, used her iPad and Paper to live-draw the Oscars two nights ago.

VSCO is both a very nice iOS photo app and an online community where you can upload your photos to share with others. As an app, it's one of the better ones. As a sharing community, it's less invasive than Instagram (owned by facebook) and showcases artists. Here is an example: Scenes from the Daily Commute.

There are many sophisticated 3rd party apps to manage ToDo's and projects. However, sometimes you may be better off using the native Reminders app. Here is a way to adopt the GTD method using Reminders.

Bob told us about iMazing, an app he has not yet tried but has heard of for transferring data between your Mac and your iOS devices.

Also for data transfers, iExplorer is an excellent app. Note: it's not an iOS app, it runs on your Mac (or PC) and lets you have detailed access to data on your iPhone and iPad in order to transfer data to your Mac (or PC).

Bob also told us about PhotoSync, an app designed for transferring photos and videos wirelessly from your Mac to iOS devices.

Petra told us about GoTucson Transit, an iOS app with many functions, including the ability to buy fares for riding Tucson transit.

Gail told us about CBP Border Wait Times, an app that lets you see estimated wait times when crossing Canada/US or Mexico/US land borders.

tips & tricks

Professional photographer Austin Mann has published a new guide on A Shot in the Dark: How to Capture low-light photos on iPhone.

Austin Mann also offers an online class tutorial on taking excellent iPhone low-light photos.

A reminder, if you want to save on battery life: five things that will run down your battery the fastest.

Some apps offer subscription-based access to their services or content. Here is how to view, change or cancel your subscriptions.

On a Mac, How to set Siri so that she does not suggest emails from those who have previously sent you spam , reports Glenn Fleishman.

gadgets & accessories

Review: VOCOlinc’s smart power strip is an affordable way to add HomeKit to 3 devices, report 9to5mac. You also get 3 USB ports.

Amazon acquired Ring to bolster home security products, reports The Verge.

Bellroy makes wallets for men and women. They are carefully designed to avoid bulk while offering as many pockets as most regular wallets. Bernie showed us their Hide and Seek wallet which includes hidden pockets. Their Coin Fold wallet includes a hidden slot to keep an extra a SIM card for your iPhone, a nice extra if you are traveling.

the Photojojo Shutter Remote is a small gizmo that lets you remote-control your iPhone's camera to take a photo. (Those who have an Apple Watch can use their watch of course.)

Amazon carries many third party watch bands. Olga showed us two inexpensive bands she got: the Sport band in pebble color and the Sport band in Rose Red color. The First one is OK and it's not obviously `cheaply' made. However, the metal closure is made of some metal that irritates Olga's skin slightly. On the other hand, the Rose red band is not as well made, it's narrower than Apple's and Olga does not plan to use it. You get what you pay for, she says.

TechHive reviews Lux Kono: a smart thermostat that is low priced and well-connected, but low on advanced features, according to the review.


Apple Pay has added over 20 more banks across the uS, reports 9to5mac. It already works with nearly every major financial institution in the US, but there are minor and regional credit unions and banks being added.

Apple pay will soon be available in Brazil.

Merchants together with Apple frequently offer in-app Apple Pay discounts. Look for these in apps you already use or stores you visit.


Your watch is your new iPod. You can use it to stream music. But you can also copy music to play to a wireless speaker (or headphone) without any streaming. Here is how to transfer music to your watch, by iMore.

How to get to most accurate heart rate on your Watch.

How to Pair Bluetooth devices with your Apple Watch.

privacy & security

Apple has a new Privacy webpage, stating that for Apple, privacy is a fundamental human right.

A woman in Texas had a scary experience, chased by a stranger. Experts are guessing she might have exchanged contacts with the stranger in the past, using AirDrop. It’s a good idea to review your AirDrop settings to ensure they reflect your preferences.

MoviePass app Tracks Your Location Before and After the Movies, reports MacRumors. They want to use your location data to make money.

User sold his iMac and can still see its location 3 years later. Be sure you log out of iCloud before selling. And if you buy a used Mac, make sure the previous owner logged out of iCloud.

general news and crossover

If you purchase items from Amazon, be careful of counterfeits. Amazon is complicit, claims ElevantionLab. They describe what has been happening to one of their popular products. `When counterfeiters tool up and make copies of your product, send that inventory to Amazon, then overtake the real product's buy box by auto-lowering the price - it's a real problem. Customers are unknowingly buying crap versions of the product, while both Amazon and the scammers are profiting, and the reputation you've built goes down the toilet.’

general apps & services

Make any web page print-friendly with Not needed for those who have a Mac but can come in handy if you are helping someone you met online or someone with an older PC.