Try This Easier Method of Flipping between iPhone Camera Modes

The Camera app on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch can take three kinds of video and three types of photos, and the interface suggests that you switch between them by tapping or swiping on the labels below the viewfinder. Unfortunately, those labels are small and can be difficult to swipe accurately. If you’ve found moving between modes frustrating, try swiping left or right on the entire viewfinder, which has the same effect as swiping on the labels but with a much larger swipe area. And, if your Camera app occasionally takes an unexpected type of photo, an errant swipe could explain it.

Swipe-on-viewfinder

Take Advantage of Extra Features in Messages Group Conversations

Using Messages on the Mac or in iOS is simple. Start a new conversation, enter someone’s phone number or email address, and start chatting. And if you want to talk with several people at once, type a couple of phone numbers or email addresses when you begin.

What you may not realize is that if everyone in your group is using an Apple device and iMessage—this is the case if your messages to them appear in blue bubbles—extra features become available when you click or tap the Details button in the upper-right corner of Messages. Did you know that:

  • You can give the conversation a name that’s more descriptive than the truncated names of the people in the conversation. On the Mac, type in the Name field at the top; in iOS, tap in Enter a Group Name and then type.
  • At any time, you can add more people to the conversation; click Add Member (Mac) or tap Add Contact (iOS) and type the desired phone number or email address.
  • You can remove people from the conversation. On the Mac, click the person’s name and press Delete; in iOS, swipe left on a name and tap Delete. Be careful since there’s no opportunity to confirm the deletion, so you’d have to add any mistakenly deleted people back manually. (In iOS, Messages doesn’t always let you remove people.)
  • You can even “delete” yourself by clicking or tapping Leave This Conversation at the bottom of the Details screen. Once you’ve left, you can’t get back in without someone else adding you.
  • Is leaving a little drastic? Perhaps the conversation is being too chatty while you need to get work done. To mute notifications from the conversation, enable the Do Not Disturb option; disable it when you’re ready to be alerted to new messages again.
  • Everyone in the conversation can send or share their location from an iPhone or iPad. Sending a location is like posting a message saying “I’m at the library now” along with a map to where you are. Sharing your location allows the others to see where you are at all times, for one hour, until the end of the day, or indefinitely. Of course, if you opt to share indefinitely, you can revoke that sharing later.
  • When anyone in the conversation is sharing their location, a map appears at the top, showing the locations of those who have shared. This is fabulous for keeping track of relatives during family reunions where different groups head out on separate outings.
  • Finally, the bottom of the Details screen displays all the pictures that people have shared within the conversation. Messages gives you control over these images, letting you copy, save, open, and delete them. It’s all easy; on the Mac, select photos and Control/right-click to see a contextual menu that includes an Add to Photos Library command or press the Space bar to invoke Quick Look for a bigger view and a Share option. In iOS, touch and hold on a photo to see additional options—tap Save to copy the image to the Photos app.

Alas, if you include even one green-bubble friend who doesn’t have an iPhone with an iMessage account set up and instead relies on plain old SMS text messaging, these features disappear. It’s just another way Apple encourages your friends and relatives to use iPhones.


Twitter: Did you know you can add and remove people (including yourself!) from group chats in Messages, among much else?

Facebook: Ever wanted to mute or leave a chatty group conversation in Messages? You can do that, plus a lot more.

Going into Airplane Mode: Flying with Technology

Since 2013, we’ve been able to use handheld electronic devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and Kindle at pretty much all times during airplane flights, including takeoff and landing. That was a big change from previous policy, which banned the use of personal electronic devices below 10,000 feet, forcing passengers to occupy themselves with books and magazines at the start and end of flights.

But now flight attendants ask us to put our devices into “airplane mode.” You probably know how to do this on your iOS device, but if not, here’s how. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up Control Center and tap the airplane button at the top left. Alternatively, you can open the Settings app and enable the Airplane Mode switch (it’s the first switch in the list). When you land, use the same controls to turn it off again.

What does airplane mode do? It disables certain wireless features of your device. Specifically, it turns off the cellular voice and data features of your iPhone or iPad, and on all iOS devices it turns off both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. However, only the cellular features are important to your airline—you can re-enable both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth at any time. That might be useful if you want to use the airplane’s Wi-Fi network for Internet access (usually for a fee) or Bluetooth to play music over wireless headphones.

To turn these wireless features back on, tap the grayed-out Wi-Fi and Bluetooth buttons in Control Center, or flip their switches in Settings > Wi-Fi and Settings > Bluetooth. Don’t bother turning them on unless you’re going to use them, though, since you’ll save a little battery life by leaving them off for the duration of a long flight.

Why do the airlines care about cellular? It has little to do with airplane safety; the prohibition originated from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, not the Federal Aviation Administration. The reason is that fast-moving cell phones used high in the air may light up many cell towers at once, which can confuse the mobile phone network.

The technical solution is akin to what the airlines do to provide Internet access now; a device called a “picocell” would be installed on the airplane to provide connectivity with the phone network, and cell phones on the plane would communicate with it instead of individual cell towers on the ground below. Will it happen, though?

In the past, there have been proposals to allow cell phone use on properly equipped planes. However, the thought of fellow passengers having non-stop phone conversations during flight fills many people with dread. Many lawmakers in the United States oppose allowing passengers to make and receive phone calls during flight, citing concerns about cabin safety, a worry echoed by the flight attendants union. Even former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler acknowledged this, saying “I get it. I don’t want the person in the seat next to me yapping at 35,000 feet any more than anyone else.” So don’t expect that rule to change.

If you’re allowed to use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, why do the airlines make you stow your MacBook Air during takeoff and landing? It has nothing to do with the technology—the airlines ban laptops during times when there could be an emergency landing because they could, like carry-on luggage or lowered tray tables, impede evacuation.


Twitter: Ever wondered why the airlines started allowing iPhone and iPad use at all times on flights? Here’s the scoop:

Facebook: Ever wondered why you have to put your iPhone and iPad into airplane mode when using them on an airplane? And why can you use your iPad during takeoff and landing, but not an 11-inch MacBook Air?

Go Beyond Texting a Snapshot: Share Photos via iCloud Photo Sharing

It’s easy to take lots of photos on vacation these days, and while a slideshow of all of them is a bit much, friends and relatives might like to see a Best Of collection. Or you might wish to share baby photos with your family or pictures of your new city with friends back home.

With iCloud, it’s easy to create a shared album and to invite other iCloud users to subscribe to it (handy for viewing on an iOS device or Apple TV). It’s also easy to create a public Web page of photos that anyone can see, even if they don’t use any Apple devices.

First, some setup:

  • If you’re using an iOS device, go to Settings > Photos & Camera, scroll down if needed, and turn on the iCloud Photo Sharing (not iCloud Photo Library!) switch.
  • On a Mac, open System Preferences > iCloud, click the Options button next to Photos, select iCloud Photo Sharing, and click the Done button.


Next, follow these steps, which are similar regardless of the device you’re using:

  1. In the Photos app, select some photos or videos. In iOS, that involves tapping Select before tapping the items to select; on the Mac, Command-click the items you want or drag a selection rectangle around them.
  2. Hit the Share  button and pick iCloud Photo Sharing.
  3. Select an existing album, or create a new shared album (in iOS, tap Shared Album to see the New Shared Album command).
  4. For a new album, provide an album name, enter the names or email addresses of any iCloud users with whom you want to share the album, and add an optional comment. In iOS, tap Post; on the Mac, click Create.

To add more photos, you could repeat the steps to select photos and then add them to the shared album. But it may be easier to start with the shared album:

  • In Photos for iOS, if necessary, back out of the view until you see the Shared button at the bottom of the screen. Tap Shared and then the name of shared album. Then tap the + button in the bottom-right corner of the photo grid, select the items to add, tap Done, enter an optional comment, and tap Post.
  • In Photos for the Mac, just drag photos into the shared album in the sidebar, under Shared. Or select the shared album in the Shared category, click “Add photos and videos” (near the upper right), select the items to add, and click the Add button.

It’s easy to tweak the options for your shared album or to create a public Web page for it. The process is similar in both operating systems:

  • In Photos for iOS, tap Shared at the bottom of the screen and select the shared album. Tap People to bring up a screen where you can share the album with more people, control whether subscribers can post their own photos, create a public Web page, enable notifications, and delete the album entirely. To share the URL to the public Web page, tap Share Link and select a sharing method.

  • In Photos for the Mac, select the shared album in the sidebar, and then click the People  button in the toolbar. From the popover that appears, you can do the same things as in iOS, although sharing the link is best done by either clicking it to visit it in a Web browser and copying from there or Control-clicking it in Photos and choosing Copy Link from the contextual menu.

After practicing these steps a few times, you’ll be able to create shared albums in a flash, and share them easily!


Twitter: Want to share vacation or baby photos with your family? iCloud Photo Sharing has your back—learn how to use it here:

Facebook: The best part of photos is sharing them, but if you don’t want to put them on Facebook and risk everyone seeing them, you can use iCloud Photo Sharing to create an album that you share with just a few select people. Better yet, they can add photos to it as well!