How to use Photos’ amazing new search in iOS 12

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iOS 12 Photos thinks that cabbages are melons.
iOS 12 Photos thinks that cabbages are melons.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Photos already has a pretty decent search function on iOS 11. Thanks to Apple’s machine-learning tech, and AI categorization, you can search for thousands of “scenes.” These include the places you took the photo, but also anything from abacus to zucchini, people in the images, and times the images were taken.

This has gotten even better in iOS 12. You can still search on many thousands of categories and keywords, but now you can combine searches. For instance, you could search for several different people, and see photos only containing them all. OR you can combine search terms like Christmas, Food, and 2015, for instance. Let’s take a look.

How to scan QR codes from the lock screen in iOS 12

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Knock yourself out scan qr codes
Knock yourself out.
Photo: Thomas Leuthard/Flickr CC

Ever since iOS 11, your iPhone and iPad have been able to detect a QR code in the camera frame, and pop up a banner at the top of the screen to open the link embedded within it. This is a great way to quickly extract the URL from a billboard, or from a particular nerdy lost-cat poster stapled to a utility pole.

Now, iOS 12 brings a dedicated QR-scanning shortcut you can invoke right from your iPhone’s lock screen. Let’s see how to scan QR codes in iOS 12.

Pro Tip: How to hide photos in your iPhone Photos library

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It's easy to hide your photos in iOS -- and just as easy to find them.
It's easy to hide your photos in iOS -- and just as easy to find them.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bugDid you know that you can hide photos in your iPhone’s Photos library? This lets you keep photographs away from prying eyes, while still having access to them yourself. And — ironically — it also makes it very easy to find all the embarrassing/explicit photos on somebody else’s iPhone.

Check out these hidden tips and tricks for Apple’s Podcasts app

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Apple's podcasts app is deeper than you might imagine.
Apple's podcasts app is deeper than you might imagine.
Photo: Incase/Flickr CC

Apple’s Podcasts app is now the equal of any third-party podcast, or “podcatcher,” app for iOS. I recently switched to using it as my default podcasts app, and I’ve found it does pretty much everything you could want it to.

In fact, it seems like some developers inside Apple are doing the same. The app really is well-designed and now offers some surprisingly deep “pro” features. And these pro features are what we’re going to look at today.

Everything you need to know about Bedtime for iPhone

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Bedtime tells you when to go to sleep, and when to wake up again.
Bedtime tells you when to go to sleep, and when to wake up again.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you’re still using your iPhone’s alarm clock to wake you up in the mornings, you’re about to be amazed at how awesome waking up can become. Right there inside the Clock app is a Bedtime tab, which will make using olde-timey iPhone alarms seem like carrying a wind-up travel alarm clock with you on a business trip.

Not only does Bedtime wake you up with soothing sounds, it also tracks your sleep. It even reminds you when it’s time for bed! Let’s check it out.

AirPlus case adds wireless charging to your AirPods

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AirPlus. If you can live with the thick rubber, they're a great idea.
AirPlus. If you can live with the thick rubber, they're a great idea.
Photo: HiQ

AirPlus is a silicone case for your AirPods’ case, which adds one great feature, as well as several not-so-great ones. With your AirPods inside the case, you can drop it onto any Qi-compatible charging mat and have the AirPods and their battery case charge wirelessly. That’s pretty sweet, but there are downsides too.

How to change the case of your text in seconds

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Text Case probably can't convert this.#
Text Case probably can't convert this.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Tricky text situations:

  • You typed a block of text, and it’s all in capital letters because you left the CAPS LOCK on.
  • You copy a URL and it’s a mess, like this: http%3A%2F%2F
  • You want to capitalize/de-capitalize text, adding or removing title case.

It’s easy to just do this by hand, if time consuming, but now there’s a better way, on iOS at least. Check out Chris Hannahs’s Text Case.

When did Apple’s built-in apps get so good?

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Look at this blank home screen. Just look at it.
Who needs third-party apps anyway?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

It used to be that the first-party iOS apps were only used by people who didn’t care enough to download something better. Mail, Notes, Contacts, the Calendar — all of these were immediately dumped into a junk folder by experienced users, to be replaced with a proper app. But something happened along the way to 2018. Now, Apple’s apps are every bit as good as third-party apps. (Well, mostly. The Contacts app is still awful.)

Today we’ll take a look at a few of Apple’s surprise hits.

How to make your regular camera photos show up on a map

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You can use your iPhone to add GPS locations to your old-school photos.
You can use your iPhone to add GPS locations to your old-school photos.
Photo: TappyTaps

Four years ago, I wrote a post explaining how to “add GPS to your dumb camera photos using your iOS device.” It was a pretty good how to, but things have moved on and it is now easier than ever to import a bunch of photos into your iPad, and then geotag them using an app.

Why would you do such a thing? Well, how about having all your vacation photos plotted on a map, so you can find where you took them, years, later? Or having your fancy-camera photos show up alongside your iPhone photos when you search for nearby pictures?