How to mute channels in Apple News on iOS 10.3

Looks like Apple have taken the Microsoft route of renaming already established features with this one.

Whilst trying to mute a channel today I discovered 'mute channel is no longer an option'.

Apple have renamed this to 'dislike channel', which does the same thing as the previous 'mute channel' did.

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  • On the story tap on the share sheet icon
  • Scroll across and tap Dislike Channel
  • Tap dislike

What is Apple's new Clips app?

Source: Apple

As promised last month today Apple have launched a new app in the App Store called Clips.

The purpose of this app is to allow you to record video and take photos then add filters and text/graphics on top. Think of it like a bit of a local Snapchat. Once you have created your video you can then send via iMessage or one of many social links such as YouTube or Instagram.

It's a pretty minimal app and the experience (for me) is just as confusing as trying to use Snapchat. I'm planning on writing some how to's but this app really is targeted at a much younger demographic than me, I'm no millennial.

If you like the idea of Snapchat and filters then it's not a bad place to start when creating video for sharing. For me I'll stick with using Instagram stories.

MacBook, three months later

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I've been using a 2015 MacBook for a few months now and wanted to share my thoughts on what it's like to live with one day in day out.

I picked mine up refurbished direct from Apple with the following spec:

  • 2015 model
  • 8GB Ram
  • 256GB SSD

I actually sold my 12.9" iPad Pro to help fund this purchase to help my freelance writing so it had to be able to do that job. It's not a heavy workload computationally but being able to use multiple windows and quickly switch between spaces was a must.

Here's what I do on it:

  • Simple photo editing from my DSLR using Pixelmator
  • Writing in Ulysses
  • Video editing in iMovie, only once a month or so and nothing heavy
  • Listen to music via iCloud Music Library
  • All the socials...

I've split my thoughts up as follows:

Keyboard

There isn't a lot of key travel and the keys themselves sit pretty flat so I guarantee it won't be like any keyboard you've used before. When I first started I made a lot of mistakes and to this day I am still making the odd one here and there. It's taking me a while to adjust but I'm sticking with it. It's not as good as my previous MacBook Pro but Apple don't make these anymore so there's that.

If you want to stick using an Apple laptop then you have to embrace this new keyboard design.

Dongle life

I'm not going to lie it's a pain only having one USB-C port on your main portable machine. The saving grace on this model is that the battery lasts a long time, especially for me using it a couple of hours every night. The only dongle I've bought is the USB-C to USB-A so I can use all of my usual USB accessories.

Main gripe is that I really miss my SD Card Reader from my MacBook Pro. I use the USB dongle so that I can attach one.

Also take into account you can't charge and use a dongle at the same time unless it has power pass through.

Portability

It's like carrying around an iPad. I'll sacrifice convenience over portability. I often move around the house and like to switch positions when working and the MacBook has been the perfect machine to do this. I have the power of macOS in an iPad like form factor.

Display

A retina display that is stunning. Great colours and detail, nothing negative to say here at all.

What I love

  • Portability
  • Battery life, lasts me a few days with 3 hours use per day
  • Screen

What I don't love (hate is a strong word...)

  • Keyboard takes some getting used to
  • Lack of SD Card slot

Overall thoughts

Despite the less than ideal keyboard I actually really love my little MacBook. It's more than powerful enough, lightweight, fits in my camera bag and looks gorgeous.

That being said if Apple had put this display in the 11" MacBook Air then it would have been my perfect machine.

I would recommend that if you are thinking of buying one then don't sight unseen. Get yourself to a store and have a good type on that keyboard. Some people are going to love it and others really hate it. I'm not a huge fan of it but it gets the job done.

I've got an iMac as the main desktop at home so don't spend all my time on it, I'd recommend a dock or at least a Bluetooth keyboard if you plan to use it as your main machine.

So, I'm glad I've got one. I do miss my iPad, especially the pencil but for what I need the MacBook does a great job.

How to enable iPhone WiFi calling on Three

Over the past couple of months I've been using wifi calling on my iPhone with Three. I recently had a replacement iPhone and realised I'd not shared how to actually enable this.

  • Tap Settings
  • Scroll down and tap on Phone
  • Tap Wi-Fi Calling
  • Tap the toggle on Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone
  • Tap Enable

You should now see Three WiFi Call in the status bar on your iPhone (top left).

Thoughts on the Mac Pro announcement

Source: Daring Fireball

I was checking my Twitter feed at lunch yesterday and suddenly it exploded with news of a new Mac Pro. At first I thought it was a late April fools joke but on reading the above post from John Gruber I realised that it was indeed official.

Apple did something out of character (for the good) and gave us some insight into what their plans are to cater for the Pro market.

Now some (including me at various points yesterday) say that this is a sign of desperation and a little too late but the more I've digested it the more I realise that it took a lot for them to open up like this.

They have effectively said that the current Mac Pro form factor was a mistake. It was ambitious and I certainly wouldn't want them to stop trying things like this but they missed the mark with the lack of updates. They turned the Mac Pro into an appliance and didn't update.

Key points I took away

  • Current Mac Pro is being updated spec wise but no price change, bad move. I would have kept the specs the same but discounted by £500
  • Mac Mini feels like it's going to be discontinued
  • Don't expect any revolutionary updates from Apple in 2017
  • New "iMac Pro" coming later this year
  • Laptops make up the majority of Mac sales
  • Newly designed Mac Pro probably coming 2018 but a watch this space so a little worrying. I'd like to think Apple give some more detail at WWDC in June
  • Apple aren't out of the display business and are planning to make their own display. Wonder how LG feels right about now...

Personally I love my 5K iMac so not in the market for a Mac Pro but looking forward to seeing what happens here.

My gut says that it's too late for some Pro users who already feel abandoned and Apple are back tracking.

Being optimistic though it's great to see Apple opening up and sharing some news about their plans to address this gap.

What do you think?

iOS 10.3.1 is out

It's important to stay ahead on updates and today Apple have released iOS 10.3.1

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  • From the home screen tap SETTINGS
  • Tap GENERAL
  • Tap SOFTWARE UPDATE

It'll now download to your device and allow you to install it. It's worth plugging into power to make sure that you don't have any issues.

What's on my home screen, April 2017 edition

I love looking at home screens and understanding how other people use their main devices. To kick this off I thought I'd share my current iPhone 7 one.

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Wallpaper: Here

Most used apps

  • Calendar: I use the app that comes with iOS. I find it reliable and gives me a clear week by week view of how busy I am. I also like to use it's UP NEXT widget to let me quickly see what I have coming up
  • Mail: Even though I use Gmail as my primary mail provider I use the standard app that comes with iOS. Sync isn't the greatest when using Gmail but I like its calendar integration and simple design
  • Photos: As an iCloud Photo Library user I use Photos to manage my library across all devices
  • Notes: iOS 9 gave us a great update to Notes and it's become my go to notes app
  • Google Maps: I'm in the middle of a story about why I use it but generally I find the location information to be superior to Apple Maps
  • Day One: I use the older (classic) app version that syncs with iCloud. It's been fulfilling writing a journal almost everyday since 2011 and I'd recommend you all try it (I'm writing a story about how I do it)
  • Social apps: Instagram and Twitter are are my go to social networks but I use Facebook for friends and Slack for keeping in touch with communities I'm part of
  • Ulysses: When I'm writing up stories I do it in markdown within Ulysses. It's got a dark mode, clean UI and a way to organise your documents within a folder structure
  • Blog (by squarespace): This is how I update and post to this site on the go
  • Music: I'm an Apple Music subscriber and find it to the best (for me) having tried most of the services available
  • Overcast: My podcast app of choice

That's my current setup, please let me know how you use your device and setup your homescreen in the comments.

How to stop Facebook playing videos

One of the major annoyances of using Facebook is auto-playing video, here's how to stop it.

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Once you've fired up the Facebook app

 

 

  • Settings (three horizontal lines on far right of bottom panel)
  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Account Settings
  • Tap Videos and Photos
  • Tap Auto-play
  • Tap Never Auto-play videos

How to fix Nintendo Switch Joy-Con issues

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I picked up a Nintendo Switch on launch and so far am loving it but I've found a potential issue that I wanted to write about.  It's in relation to the Joy-Con controllers, which work fine when plugged into the Switch but have started to disfunction when using disconnected from it.  

The problem I've experienced is the left stick either moves on it's own I.e. In Zelda link will run on his own or worse stop working completely.

After trying two different Joy-Con sets and having the same issue I've reached out to Nintendo for help but in the meantime found a workaround that seems to do the trick. 

On the Switch, head over to SYSTEM SETTINGS then CONTROLLERS AND SENSORS then CALIBRATE CONTROL STICKS. 

Follow the on-screen instructions and once setup you should be back up and running.