I've just moved from a country where I had unlimited (really) data on my iPhone contract to one where data plans are metered and expensive. So this recent article by David Chartier, on the Finer Things in Tech web site, comes at the right time. It points out the simple setting in iOS to turn off automatic loading of images in Mail. As with Mail on OS X, you can load images later, but you won't need to load them for every message, saving download time and bandwidth.
To change this setting, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts & Calendars, and toggle Load Remote Images to OFF. If you get an email with images, and want to see them, just tap on Load All Images in the message.
This setting would make more sense if it only affected image downloads when using cellular data. But it's an all-or-nothing choice, so even when you connect via Wi-Fi, you'll need to download images manually, if you use this setting.
Google has added Google Now to its Google Search app for iOS. This provides local traffic information, weather data and more. Unfortunately, this also keeps GPS on permanently on an iOS device, depleting its battery.
After installing the new Google Search app, I had noticed that my iPhone's Location Services icon was on permanently. I quit all apps that could be using GPS or location services, but it was still visible. I restarted the phone, and it was still visible. It turns out that it was Google Now, and I resolved the issue by deleting the Google Search app.
You can also just turn off Google Now, in the Google Search app's settings. (See this screenshot by Dave Hamilton.) If you want to use Google Now, be aware that it will drain your battery, and remember to turn it off when you don't need it.
I assume Google will update the app soon to fix this, but in the meantime, it's a good idea to be aware of this issue.
Update, June 1: As you can see below in the comments, a Google representative claimed that Google Now has no effect on iOS device battery life. Interestingly, this person posted the exact same content on dozens, perhaps hundreds of websites that were claiming this was in issue. The Loop published an article with a screenshot for a recent update, whose notes discuss improving battery life. But The Loop's Jim Dalrymple, in an update to the post, says he might be wrong.
If you reply to an email message in iOS, you normally wind up quoting the entire message you are replying to. Usually, all you want to reply to is a portion of the message.
By selecting that portion of the message in the received mail before replying, only that selection will be quoted, just as with OS X Mail app and most other computer-based email programs.
To do this, tap and hold on a word in the section of the email you want to quote. When the selection handles come up, drag them to select only that portion of the email you want to quote. Then tap on the arrow button to reply to the message.
[kirkmc adds: This is pretty basic, but there's no hint on the site, and I'd bet a lot of iOS users aren't aware of this.]
I'm giving one of my iPads to someone soon, and a recent TechHive article pointed out the easiest way to prepare an iOS device to give or sell to someone.
Go to General > Reset, then tap on Erase All Content and Settings. If you have a passcode set, you'll need to enter the passcode to continue. An Erase iPad dialog will inform you that this will erase all media and data, and reset all settings; tap on Erase. Another dialog will ask if you're really sure you want to do this. Again, tap on Erase.
The screen will go black with an Apple logo and a progress bar, then you'll see the iOS device's name (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch) and a slider. Slide the slider to begin setting up the iOS device as a new device.
The TechHive article also noted that you can use this process to wipe and restore an iOS device; at one point in the setup process, you'll see a choice to set up the device as a new one, or to restore from an iCloud or iTunes backup.
When the process has completed, you'll have an iOS device with the stock apps and settings.
Our sister publication, Macworld UK, published a neat hint on recently, showing how to have an iOS device read texts from iBooks. iOS has accessibility features that can perform text to speech, but you need to know the trick to get this to work in iBooks.
First, turn on text to speech: go to Settings > General > Accessibility, and set Speak Selection to On.
Next, in a book, switch to scroll mode (tap the aA icon, then tap Themes to get to this theme), you can select a word and drag the selection far ahead in the book. Then, in the menu that displays, tap on Speak.
You can use this technique to have text spoken in any document, and there is a limitation in iBooks, where you can't select all the text and have it spoken. Since selecting is annoying - having to drag the handle a very long way - you may find this troublesome, but if you really want to have a text spoken, this lets you do so, even in iBooks, which is read-only.
If you are jealous of the Roku 3's new, very cool "private listening" feature (headphone jack is on the remote) and would like to achieve the same on your AppleTV, here's a way to do so:
• AppleTV 2 or 3, running AppleTV software 5.2 or newer (need not be jailbroken)
• iOS device (iPhone, iPod touch or iPad)
• Any one of the following apps to make the above device act as an "AirPlay Speaker"
- AirView, AirFloat, or something similar (previously downloaded from App Store, as these routinely get pulled from the App Store)
- Airfoil Speakers Touch, with in-app upgrade for direct AirPlay feature already purchased (also no longer available for purchase.) This feature can be manually added via jailbreak and manual hack (or via app preference editor Flex, though)
- Jailbreak, and installed via Cydia, any one of the following: AirServer, AirFloat, airplayspeaker, AirCrack, perhaps others?
• Enable the app/feature/function that turns your handheld iOS device into an AirPlay Speaker.
• Plug in headphones into your iOS device.
• On the AppleTV, go to Settings > AirPlay > Speakers and select your iOS device. This will be the speaker to which audio is routed. (This can also be selected or changed while playing video content, by holding down the Select button on the remote, moving to the "Speakers" tab and selecting your iOS device from the list.)
• Start playing a video content on AppleTV.
You're now "private listening" to the AppleTV! Be amazed by the perfect audio/video sync, while your bed mate sleeps soundly. You can even use the Remote app to control playback too, and the audio should continue playing in the background.
[kirkmc adds: Interesting. I don't know why Apple doesn't offer this possibility. Personally, I don't have a TV in the bedroom, so I wouldn't use this, but I can imagine sometimes in the living room wanting to watch something when someone else wants to be in the living room and not hear it.]
The iPhone's Do Not Disturb setting (in Settings > Notifications) is a way to turn off rings, alerts and other sounds on your iPhone; it's great when you're in meetings, or in the movies.
However, you may want to not be disturbed and still want to be notified when you get calls from specific people. There's a way to do this, but it's a bit complex; a Stack Exchange member explained how to do it.
It involves creating a group for the person or people you want to "disturb" you in Contacts (either on your Mac or on iCloud.com; you can't do this on the iPhone), and selecting that group in Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb. You can choose to allow calls from Everyone, No One, Favorites, or specific groups. So you might have a few people set as Favorites, so you can call them quickly from the Phone app, but if you want to limit the rings to just one or two people, it's easier to create a group for them.
A recent post on The Mac Observer pointed out a useful way to set alerts on an iPhone. If you dig deep into the ACcessibility settings (Settings > General > Accessibility), in the Hearing section, you'll find an option called LED Flash for Alerts. If you turn this on, you'll get a flash whenever you get an alert, such as for phone calls, text messages, etc. This is most useful if you're in a situation where you need to turn the sound off on your iPhone, or if you're in a noisy environment, and may not hear any alert sounds.
[kirkmc adds: This only works if the iPhone is asleep; in other words, if the screen has gone dark. It would be helpful if it flashed in all cases. Also, if you have the iPhone on a table with the LED on the bottom, you may not see the flash.]