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.]
If you want to send an email via the Gmail iOS app containing the URL and title of a web page, you can't simply use the Share button. But you can use a bookmarklet, as posted by Federico Viticci on MacStories. Save the following bookmarklet in your browser:
Select it from your browser, and it will open the Gmail app, and create a new email with the title of the web page as the subject, and the URL in the body of the message. Note that this may not work if the Gmail app is not paused in the background.
I was on the road for a bit the other day, and when I left home at noon, my iPhone's battery was about 95% full. About 4 hours later, I saw it was down to about 25%, and I wondered what it could have been doing to deplete the battery so much. I thought of the usual culprits, like brightness (it's not at the maximum), Bluetooth (it seems well behaved with iOS 6, going in standby mode when not in use), or push email. Then I looked at which apps were open. I quit them all, including Skype. An hour later, my battery had only dropped another 5%.
When I came home, I did some googling, thinking it could be Skype, or it could be another app. I came across a Skype forum post where someone said they lost 70% in four hours, just like me. There were no other apps running that would have been keeping a connection open, so it's safe to say - given the vast number of people who have commented on the relationship between Skype and poor battery life - that there is a link.
So, if you use Skype, and see bad battery life on your iPhone, try quitting the app and see if this improves things. I haven't done any scientific testing, but there seem to be enough people who have this problem to suggest that Skype may be the culprit.
Sometimes when calling other countries, I have trouble getting through. For some reason, my phone provider seems to not like numbers with the 00 prefix (the international access code from France), though I never have problems with numbers beginning with + saved in my Contacts.
Rob Griffiths, during a chat the other day, found that if you press and hold the 0 button on the number pad, it types a + character. So to make an international call, all I need to do is press that button, then enter the country code and the number. This will make my international calls a bit easier, at least for people who are not contacts, and who I don't want to make contact cards for.
It's worth noting that pressing any of the other keys, the ones that show letters, such as ABC, only types the number. I guess the fact that the + is on the 0 button makes one think there's a way to get it to display; I had tried in the past, but didn't hold it long enough.
You can add a photo or a video to an email message in iOS Mail without gong to the Photos app, though it's not very obvious how to do this.
While composing your email:
1. Tap on your email and hold until the "Select, Select All, Paste" menu displays.
2. Tap the arrow button at the right of this menu.
3. Tap Insert Photo or Video.
4. Select the photo or video you want to embed.
[kirkmc adds: I'm sure plenty of you know this, but I certainly didn't. A little curiosity would have found it, but I never tapped on that arrow button.]