All items tagged with "tips and tricks"

Add custom replies to Apple Watch, seem less robotic

Don't be such a square when you reply. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Don’t be such a square when you reply. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Messaging is one of the best use cases for Apple Watch – you get a message, you dictate a reply, you get on with your day.

Apple has included several pre-written responses for you to use when you’re just too busy to dictate a response (or don’t want to talk into your watch). They’re pretty awful, though, ranging from the terse (“OK”) to the fairly robotic (“Sorry, I can’t talk right now”). None of them really quite fit the way we talk, do they?

Happily, Apple lets you change these canned responses to better reflect your personality and style. Here’s how to do so.

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Make iOS Calendar look the way you want

Press the button. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Press the button. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Oh, that pesky list view in your iOS Calendar app. It sure likes to go missing in various iOS updates, doesn’t it, like in iOS 7 when it just, sort of, disappeared.

It’s not totally gone now in iOS 8.3, but there is a new way to access it along with a new layout. There are also some funky ways to move around your Calendar app that may not be as intuitive as they should. These aren’t necessarily new to iOS 8.3, but it’s handy to know them, as well.

Here’s the recipe you’ll need to view your iOS Calendar the way you want on your iPhone and iPad.

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Take the headache out of calendar syncing with these quick tips

Fantastical 2 uses iOS calendar settings to sync with Google. Screengrab: Flexibits

Fantastical 2 uses iOS calendar settings to sync with Google. Screengrab: Flexibits

As many of us use Google calendar to manage our daily lives, it’s an important thing to get this wondrous scheduling solution on our iPhones and iPads to better able to access it on the go.

Several third-party calendars, like the ever-useful and visually stunning Fantastical 2, use the iOS system for connecting to and synchronizing your calendars from Google to your mobile device.

Usually this works without a hitch, especially with newer iOS versions; you simply add an account and the calendar events you input on the web will show up on your iPhone, and vice versa.

When that doesn’t work, however, the settings you need to tweak can be a bit unintuitive. Here’s what they should look like for the best two-way Google to iOS sync.

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Trick out your iPhone with Notification Center widgets

Make the Notification Center your own with widgets. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Make the Notification Center your own with widgets. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Swipe down from the top of your iPhone (or iPad) screen and you’ll see the new iOS 8 Notification Center. It’s got two sections — Notifications on the right and Today on the left. Tap on the Today button and you’ll see all the new widgets arrayed in their default order.

You can add your calendar, weather, stocks and any one of hundreds of third-party app that has widget support.

The great thing is that you’re not stuck with the default order, or even the default apps — this part of Notification Center is totally customizable. Here’s how to make it your own.

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Delete your unwanted iPhone photos in one quick purge

Do you really need to carry all of these photos around with you? Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Do you really need to carry all of these photos around with you? Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

We all need to get rid of photos from our iPhones from time to time, and iOS 8 makes it pretty simple to select a single or group of photos and delete. Deleting a photo at a time is all well and good, as is tapping a bunch of them and then deleting. But what if you want to just seriously delete a whole ton of them at once?

There’s a better way to bulk delete photos from your iPhone (or iPad), and it takes a lot of the tapping out of the process. Here’s how to do it.

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How to get rid of the predictive text suggestions on your iPhone

With predictive text enabled. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

With predictive text enabled. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

iOS 8 brought with it a couple of keyboard changes — adding support for predictive text suggestions when you’re using the built-in iOS keyboard.

This is pretty great stuff, unless it bugs you to have three words or phrases at the top of your keyboard. If that’s you, then here’s a simple way to disable the “feature.”

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Maximize your Mac’s file system with Smart Folders

Smart Folders are my jam. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Smart Folders are my jam. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

A longtime Cult of Mac reader wrote in with a question about some odd-looking folders she sees on her Mac.

“The ‘All Pictures’ folder has a sprocket looking icon,” she writes. “Same with All PDF documents and Recently Changed documents.

Are these files located elsewhere and if I deleted a file from one of the above folders does it remove it from all my files? Don’t understand the purpose of these.”

Excellent question, for sure. Let’s take a look at what these folders are, and how to use them to their full potential.

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3 super-easy ways to convert currency with your Mac

Your Mac's calculator has some tricks up its sleeve. Photo: Rob LeFebvre

Your Mac’s calculator has some tricks up its sleeve. Photo: Rob LeFebvre

As the world gets smaller and smaller thanks to the global marketplace called the internet, you may sometimes need to know exactly how much your dollar will get you in the wider world. Is that £15 widget really worth it? You’ll only know if you convert it to some form of currency that you understand better.

Your Mac has at least three ways to do this sort of calculation: with a Dashboard widget, the built-in Calculator app, and even with Spotlight. Here’s how to convert currencies into something that makes more sense, right from your handy Mac computer.

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How to nuke pesky location data from your iPhone photos

"You were in Vegas without me!?" Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

“You were in Vegas without me!?” Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

These days, any photo you shoot with your iPhone or other smartphone will typically contain location data (unless you have that feature turned off) to allow apps like iPhoto to place your images on a map.

Even photo-sharing services use this data, with some — like Flickr — posting it prominently on your photo pages (along with all the other EXIF data, like shutter speed and f-stop).

If you don’t want the location of your photos to be known, the Yosemite version of OS X’s Preview can take care of it for you. Let’s strip that location data before we post that photo to the Web, OK?

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5 super-quick iPhoto tips to make your photos even better

Don't overlook this great bit of free software for your photos. Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Don’t overlook this great bit of free software for your photos. Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhoto is a free download for everyone these days, making it a basic bit of kit for anyone dealing with the deluge of photographic data we seem to collect. Still, it’s often overlooked by the best of us because of its limitations.

That’s unfortunate, because the simple program offers some pretty useful features that can quickly let you get on with enjoying your photos rather than tweaking them.

Here are five simple tips for using Apple’s built-in photo “shoebox,” letting you make your photos better and more organized even more quickly.

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