Yesterday, I discovered that, when I asked Siri for the temperature on my iPad, it would always tell me the temperature in fahrenheit, even though I am in France, and my time zone is set as such. (There is no real country setting on iOS.) On my iPhone, however, I would get the temperature in centigrade, as expected. A friend suggested that this is because I had set C in the Weather app on the iPhone. As there is no Weather app on the iPad (I still don't know why), there's no place to make this change.
Fortunately, a commenter to the blog post I linked to above pointed out that there is, indeed, a way to set the temperature, but it is well hidden. Open Clock, tap on Edit, and you'll see two buttons at the bottom of the clock list, one for F and the other for C. It seems that the only reason this setting is here is because the clocks can show time and temperatures. But unless you live in a major city - one for which you can choose a clock - the temperatures here aren't much use.
In iOS 6, Siri is smart enough to open your apps for you. Just speak the command "Open Mail," and Mail will open. This works for built-in and downloaded apps.
[kirkmc adds: It's about time, frankly. I've been extremely disappointed in Siri; it hardly ever works for me. I hope this works, because this will save time when I want to open an app that's not on my home screen, or buried in a folder.]
iTunes stores iOS device backups in ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup. Each folder within the Backup represents a different "backup" that will be presented as a possible restore source when restoring an iOS device.
In the process of restoring from a backup, iTunes migrates the data from one of those Backup folders into another, sibling folder, that will naturally end up being the same size.
Because you end up with two distinct backup folders, it follows that in order to restore an iOS device, you need to have at least as much free space on the device as the size of the backup subfolder. In my case it was more than 50 GB.
In order to restore my iPhone, I needed more than 50 GB free on the disk where iTunes finds my backups, so I copied the backups folder to another disk with lots of space, then made a symbolic link to it at the original location:
(Replace the volume and folder names by those on your hard disk.)
Now when I open iTunes I can restore from the backup and iTunes does all that work in /Volumes/BigDisk/Backup.
[kirkmc adds: This hint was sent to me by Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater Software. Dan's problem is interesting, and something that would prevent a restore if he didn't have a second disk and the knowledge to do the above. It's surprising that the restore process will actually fail in such cases. With lots of Macs having SSDs, excess storage space on the startup disk is now rare for many people.]
Sometimes you want to be alerted when you have new e-mail, but you don't want an audible alert. Here's how you can do it.
If you take a silent audio file, when you install it as a new silent ring tone and set it for the New Mail alert, your phone will vibrate only. Since the iPhone lowers any audio currently playing, you want to make this as short as possible (.1 sec), so the audio dip will be at a minimum.
[kirkmc adds: It so happens that I have a bunch of silent MP3 files on my website, in an article about adding silence to iTunes playlists. I added a .1 second file, as well as a .1 second ringtone to the zip archive.
I set up the ringtone on my iPhone, but I wasn't able to test if it works or not. I happen to be part of the 1%; that is, the 1% of people whose iCloud e-mail has been down for more than 24 hours, and none of my other accounts work with push e-email.]
Apple recently released a Podcasts app for iOS. This application has a number of performance and interface issues, but some podcast listeners may find it superior to using the Music app (though many standalone podcast apps have far more features than Apple's app).
When you look at the Podcasts app, it seems as though you can only subscribe to podcasts that are in Apple's store. This is not true, but the way to subscribe is unintuitive.
When you're in the Podcasts app and viewing your podcasts, there's a black bar at the bottom of the window with a Search field to the right. Paste a podcast URL into this field and tap on Search. A dialog will display asking if you want to subscribe to the podcast. Tap Subscribe to add it to your podcasts.
With the arrival of Google's Chrome web browser on iOS, many are finding this to be a better tool than Safari. Developer Jon Abrams posted a nifty trick to easily open a web page in Chrome. Since iOS doesn't allow you to choose which browser will open links, Safari takes over every time you tap on one. But you can create a bookmarklet for Safari to open the current page in Chrome.
To do this, do the following:
Bookmark this or any web page.
Open Safari's bookmarks, tap on “edit,” and edit the new bookmark.
Rename it to “Open in Chrome” or whatever name you wist.
Delete the bookmark's URL in the bookmark and paste in the above code in its place.
This seems to remove an extended attribute that prevents iTunes from syncing the iPhoto Library. Keep in mind that if you have a lot of photos in your library it may take a while to sync them all.
Note: You may have to re-apply the command from time to time, when the attribute is restored by iPhoto.
[kirkmc adds: This works as described. However, this may sync much more than the photos that you see in your iPhoto library. I have a very small iPhoto library, and the number of photos that synced was about 5 times the number in my library. This is because the iPhoto library contains masters, previews and thumbnails. However, that happened the first time I synced my iPad; the second time, the number was much lower. So I'm not sure if this method tells iTunes to find every picture in the iPhoto Library bundle the first time, and subsequent syncs only find the main pictures, and not their variants.]
The default YouTube app in iOS was great back in 2007, but it hasn't seen a significant update in years and is lacking many features compared to the newer mobile YouTube website that Google launched two years ago.
To stop iOS from launching the native YouTube app, and force it to use the superior YouTube mobile website, simply disable YouTube under Settings > General > Restrictions.
This will make all YouTube links open the mobile website and will also hide the native YouTube app on the device. If you decide you want to revert these changes, simply go to the Restrictions settings and toggle YouTube back on.
This hint solves a long standing problem when playing classical music on an iPhone. When using the iPhone Music app (iOS 5.1), the full entry (e.g. name of artist, album or song title) for an item can be too long to be displayed. Tap and hold entry to see the full entry pop up. Tap and drag your finger down the list to make the pop up change as you drag. This works for album titles, song titles, and artists names.
[kirkmc adds: Nice. I hadn't heard of this before, but searching the web shows that it is not totally unknown. Since it hasn't shown up here before, it's worth posting.]
iOS Reminders can give you alerts when you arrive at a location, but those locations must be in your Contacts list.
I want to be reminded before I get to a location, for example, when I get to the exit off the Interstate. If I turn left, I head home, but my bank and the grocery store are the other way. It won't work to set a reminder "when arriving at the bank," because I'll never get there. I need to set a reminder "when arriving at Exit 15."
The trick is to use the Maps location. Tap and Hold the location you want to use for your reminder.This will create a "Dropped Pin." Tap on the > button to display details about that location Then tap on "Add to Contacts," "Create New Contact," and give it a name, like "Exit 15." This is kind of silly, as it isn't a person, and it isn't a business. It has no email, or phone, or even a real address.
Now go back to the Reminders Application. I can use "Exit 15" as the location for "Stop at the Grocery Store," and get a reminder, which lets me know that I need to turn right.
The only problem with this approach is that if I happen to be lucky enough to get a green light at the end of the exit ramp, I'm not at the location long enough for the Reminder to trigger.
[kirkmc adds: Interesting idea, but the bit about needing to stop seems to make it unpredictable. I don't have time today to go out and drive around to test this, but I think that if you are going to depend on a reminder that will only remind you if you get a red light, then this might not be ideal. If anyone wants to test this, please post your results in the comments.]