Hacks & Hints

This page covers Mac, iPhone, iPod, iPad, iOS, … hard- and software hints, including for iCloud, iTunes, … and some simple stuff on things like backups with the Time Capsule, ….

I have a separate set of Webpages about Scanning, Archiving and Printing, in particular for my collection of photographs, negatives and slides. 

Slow machine

Slow machine, with the spinning beach ball of deathappears to be an inevitable problem of modern Apple machines, dare I mention built-in obsolesces.  

At one point in time (mid-2012) I found that my 'old' MacBook Pro (OS X 10.7 Lion) ran a bit slower than usual (spinning beach ball of death). Here was a list of potential fixes that I found at that time:

Change HD for a SSD

Upgrade memory from 4 GB to 16 GB

Clean dead apps

Reduce ‘login items' (see troubleshooting)

Maintain current OS X version (I did this systematically)

Run OS X maintenance scripts

Troubleshooting with Activity Monitor

I hesitated to invest in more memory and a SSD until I had tried all the other options.

In 2013 I finally upgraded to a new mid-2012 MacBook Pro. I chose that model because you could still access the internals and eventually add RAM and a new HD.

Lion was OS X 10.7, then came OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, then OS X 10.9 Mavericks, then OS X 10.10 Yosemite, then OS X 10.11 El Capitan, and now (Oct. 2016) we have OS X 10.12 Sierra.

The performance of my MacBook Pro (mid-2012) was fine until late in El Capitan (Sept.-Oct. 2016), and became worse (very slow and difficulties with Safari) after installing Sierra. 

Time for some ‘cleaning’. I had not done a good clean since Jan. 2016, and my desktop was a mess. So cleaned desktop, ran CleanMyMac (new version 3), and MacScan (old but updated version 2). Then ran 'First Aid' in the application Disk Utility. This told me that my disk was damaged and needed to be repaired. Now I thought that “First Aid” would do the repair, but no (ran it 3 times but no luck). So at start-up ran “Command (cmd) + R” and ‘First Aid’ under 'that' Disk Utility. And the disk was repaired!

Did a bit of cleaning up, and things looked a bit better, but Safari still ‘playing up’. Also I was still using iWeb and it would occasionally block (I now use Sandvox). It would appear that with Sierra there is a new kind of pro-activeness. So it warned me that iWeb was blocked (for example, when doing a save), and asked if I want to force it to close (good old spinning beachball). I did not close it, then iWeb continued on and finally saved my pages. It looks like this new pro-activeness sees something not working fast enough and thinks that the app is frozen.

Finally I upgraded (again) to the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro in Aug. 2017 (2.3 GHz, 8 GB, without the Touch Bar). In the professional press this was recommended at the most sensible choice.

My approach has always been to build from a ‘clean slate' and not use the migration facilities. I do this because I use the upgrade as an opportunity to  delete some software packages (e.g. ……) and introduce some new ones (e.g. ScanVue, Sandvox, Pixelmator, etc.). 

I no longer use things such a Clean My Mac or MacScan, etc., and I have avoided re-loading other packages such a Firefox. Starting with a ‘clean slate’ means just using the things I really need.  

Just a word on re-installation

With Sierra there are three options for a re-installation. 

First: Upon startup, press Cmd and r, will install again Sierra, without any updates. This installs Sierra that is already on the machine, and it does not need an Internet connection.

Second: Upon startup, press Alt/Opt, Cmd, and r will use Internet to install the latest possible OS version. 

Third: Upon startup, press Capitals, Alt/Opt, Cmd, and r will install the OS that came with the machine when purchased. 

None of these options erases the HD or any data.


Some useful Apple-oriented info sites:

Cult of Mac daily news site with a sections on news, “how-to’s”, apps and deals. 


9 to 5 Mac Apple intelligence


iMore about iPhone, Mac and iPad

iPhone Update

iLounge is about iPod, iPhone and iPad media players

The iPhone App Review

Sniff Wifi is a blog about Wi-fi sniffing

Remote Wipe of my Mac and Find My iPhone 


This article tells me how to wipe my “stolen” Mac using iCloud.

You can track your iPhone even when the battery runs out. In iOS 8 your iPhone will send its last location to the iCloud before being switched off or when the battery runs out. In iCloud go to “Find my device” and turn on “Last Location”. 

Things Your Mac Does Behind Your Back

Apple is trying to make a new deal for privacy. In this case, iOS 8 randomizes MAC addresses when scanning for Wi-Fi networks (sometimes called MAC spoofing). The effect is to stop retailers and location tracking firms frospying on iPhone users as they go about their day. This stop shops, etc. automatically logging (sniffing) any iPhone within Wi-Fi range (and obtaining a record of who walked into the shop and when). 

Apple Examiner brings together information, tools, techniques, and resources that help you as an Apple and Macintosh analyst, and that means covering OS X, iOS and network services such as Time Machine and Mobile Me. So talk is about forensics, file salvage, real-time keychain decryption to obtain passwords, decoding user login passwords, ...

iPhone Tracker - The iPhone and iPad keeps a log of all your movements (and syncs this with your Mac). The file is open and can provide anyone a complete list of all your movements. The starting point is iPhoneTracker but at the time I also needed this to get a Snow Leopard (10.6) version.

General Security: VPN and tracking

SecurityKISS Tunnel is a VPN provider offering privacy protection, ensures anonymity and bypasses Internet restrictions, and there is a version” for Mac OS X 10.6. There is a very useful discussion about free anonymous surfing, and it provides pointers about different VPN offerings such as the cross-platform TOR (see Wikipedia, and the useful guide on comparitech which list a number of alternatives tools that are available to avoid being tracked). Included are a series of tools for testing anonymitytesting speedFirefox add-ons, use of httpsanonymous search engines such as Ixquick, and anonymous email.

General Security: Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi Users Clueless About Security is an article (Oct. 2011) in which the author notes that the Wi-Fi Alliance recommends enabling WPA2, creating strong Wi-Fi network passwords (at least 8 characters long, with a mix of letters and symbols) and changing them regularly, and turning off automatic sharing on devices to avoid connecting to suspect networks.

If you run Airport Utility and Manual Setup, select the Summary tab you can get a list of MAC addresses of all your Wireless Clients (your Macs, iPods, etc.) as well as anyone else accessing your network without your permission

Mac Security

Keep your Mac safe from Web security flaws (added Sept. 2011), and in particular how to ensure rogue security certificates don't subvert your encryption.

This is about removing Flash, because of its security vulnerability. You don’t need it - many have shifted to HTML5 video or use Silverlight. If you need it use the ClickToFlash plugin for Safari, or use with Chrome (who keep Flash is a sandbox).  

This article (from April 2012) mentions that you can, of course, use Finder to browse files in your account, and organise them, delete them, etc. But even if you can log in to another account on the same system, OS X will prevent you from using Finder to browse files belonging to the first account. If you are on one account you can not access other accounts on the same system. You can of course change the permissions (here is a description of permissions in OS X) to allow access to your account, but then you must undo the changes later. Yet if problems occur in a user account and you can not log in correctly, you may want to remove preference files, caches, etc. that load at log-in. You can do this using Terminal but you must know UNIX commands. The article goes on to tell you how to access the “root” account that provides access to all aspects of the system, including all files on the system. 

IceFloor is a graphic front-end that provides access to a lot of “hidden” features of the Mac OS X built-in firewall(added March 2012)  

“Flashback malware for Mac changes infection tactic” is an article (added March 2012) about a version of the password-stealing Flashback that targets Apple computers. The first version tried to trick users into installing it by masquerading as Adobe’s Flash Player - Flashback was generally understood to be a kind of “backdoor Trojan” designed to cripple the OS X anti-malware system Xprotect. A later version would check to see if an unpatched version of Java was being used, and if that did not work it would present itself as an Apple update with a self-signed security certificate. The later version Flashback.N infected the computer after a person has visited an infected Webpage. It showed a “software Update” dialog box similar to the legitimate Apple box and asked for the user’s password. It then injected itself into the Safari browser and started to sniff data traffic for user names and passwords employed to access different Websites, e.g. online banking, Amazon, eBay, ... It would appear that Twitter was used to provide command-and-control of the malware. But be warned there was also a version Flashback.G which, if you visited a Webpage and your Java was not up-to-date, it would install without user intervention. If the Java was up-to-date then you would just see the certificate alert, but were not asked for a password to launch an “update”. The main message is to keep your Mac updated

System Preferences: Sharing 

Make sure you don’t share screens, files, Web, remote login, remote management, remote Apple events, Xgrid, and Internet. You might want to share printers and even a scanner. In fact I leave every Share in System Preferences switched “off”. 

Keeping your Mac “Clean and Tidy”

This is really all about making sure your Mac works properly, and you see the “spinning beachball” as infrequently as possible. 

The starting point must be the Activity Monitor in the Utilities Folder. This will tell you what is running and what might be “hogging” CPU or memory. 

In Utilities there is also Console which lets you check the logs the Mac produces to document what it’s doing. 

Ensure that you empty regularly the Safari cache and the System caches.

Don’t open too many widgets and login items (System Preferences>Users & Groups>Login Items). 

Keep software updated. 

And you can add memory and upgrade the hard drive.

In Spotlight “Recommendations” will open the following window.

This utility is actually found in System Information - Window - Storage Management

It is also accessible from About This Mac - Storage - Manage.

Firstly you can see the storage allocated to things like Applications, Documents, Mail, iTunes, Photos, etc. And it also offers optimisations of storage including in iCloud. You can “Review Files” which basically list the larges files in folders such as Applications, Documents, iTunes, Photos, etc. Reviewing the large files in Documents can often point to big files that are no longer needed and can be deleted.

Other things you can do to keep your machine tidy and working well are:

Move iTunes and iPhoto libraries to external hard drives or to the Cloud.

Restart your machine periodically.

OnyX Free, Cocktail, Diskwarrior all can help maintain and repair your disk.

Reset PRAM, hold down Command, Option, P and R keys together at startup, and wait until it starts twice. It clears out all parameters and forces the Mac to re-examine hardware and connected devices.

Holding down Command and S keys at boot-up will put you in Single User mode where you can then execute UNIX commands such as “fsck-fy” and end with a “reboot”.

Holding down Shift during startup puts you in “Safe Mode” and temporarily disables login items. 

Holding down the mouse button during startup will eject a CD.

Holding down T forces the Mac into Firewire target mode, so the hard disk operates an an external drive to the connect machine. 

Holding down the Option key during startup invokes the Startup Manager allowing your to scan drives for a bootable system.

This is an article about what to do to protect your privacy 4 Tips to Manage Privacy on Google(added March 2012)

Tips to speed up an old Mac (added March 2012)

Free up disc space (added March 2012)

Find my Mac manuals (added March 2012). Go to <About This Mac>, pick <More Info...> and then pick <Support>.

Backups - Some people swear by Time Machine, but I prefer to clone my disk from time to time. There is a risk - you don’t have your latest work on the backup. But you can boot from a cloned disk. Just hold down the option key when you startup your Mac and a list of bootable devices will be displayed. Checkout Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper! or SilverKeeper. You can also use iDisk which will keep a copy of files, etc. on MobileMe. There is also Dropbox.


You can preview a Website before clicking through. Place the arrow on the link, and press hard on the trackpad. This will open a small window with the Website. “Look up & data detectors”must be selected in Preferences - Trackpad.

I think it is better to see the full Website address. It can help ensure that you are on the right Webpage. For this “Show full Website address” should be selected in Safari - Preferences - Advanced.  

I have customised the Safari toolbar. Control and trackpad, with the arrow on the Safari toolbar, opens “Customise Toolbar” (also available in “View”). I have added Zoom and Print to my toolbar.

The app Dictionary offers a selection of preferences. I have selected English, French, Italian, Spanish and German, in that order (the order can be changed). Select a word on a Webpage and with Cmd, Control and d, a full description of the word will open in window. 

Notifications (about new content becoming available) are either authorised or not by the user. The status of all notifications are listed in Safari - Preferences - Notification, and each can be changed. 

Better browsing

For faster and more reliable Web browsing switch to OpenDNS domain name servers. System Preferences, Network icon, select Airport, and Advanced and then the NS tab. Click + button below the DNS Servers list and enter ‘’, click the button again and enter ‘’. Click OK and Apply. You can check that its working by going here. The Google DSN name servers are “’ and ‘’.


Often ignored, Services provides some useful functions. There are two aspects: 

Firstly, they can be configured in Services - Preferences. I personally like spelling to be corrected automatically in texts.

Secondly, when selecting an application, document, etc., Services can be opened that are specific to that item. Below we have two examples, the first are the Services available of a particular document, and the second are the Services available for a selection of words in that document.


This entry is just a marker, and will need to be expanded as I find interesting Services. You can create your own Services using Automator. 

Things to do with your Mac

How to Backup your DVE Movies for Mac, Apple TV, iOS & iPod (Feb. 2011)

Capturing window snapshots hold down Command+Shift+4 keys, then press the space bar. A small camera icon appears which you can move over different elements on screen to capture them. Click on trackpad and just that element will appear on the desktop as a png file. Use Command+Shift+3 to capture the entire screen.

Apple ID account

You have the option to increase Apple ID account protection with a two-step verification, which effectively stops someone accessing your account even if they know the password. And you can do this for multiple accounts.  

You also get a 14-character Recovery Key which you must keep in a safe place because it allows you to regain access if you lose access to a trusted device or if you forget the password. You don’t need the “old” security questions. .... 

It can be that someone tries to access your Apple ID account, and it is then blocked. You need the Recovery Key. If you don’t have it Apple says your data and access will be lost forever (in principle without the Recovery Key even they can not recover your account and data). This can also occur if you make a mistake with your Password a few too many times. The idea is that you will always have access to two of the three key elements: a trusted device, your Password and the Recovery Key. If you lose the Password, you enter the Recovery Key and get a message on your trusted device. If you lose your trusted device, you can use your Password and the Recovery Key. Lose the Recovery Key, you log in and generate a new one. 

If someone attacks your account with incorrect Passwords it will be disabled. If you have enabled the two-step verification process, then you will absolutely need both the Recovery Key and a trusted device. If you have not used the two-step verification then you can reset your password using iforgot.apple.com

If you decide to use the two-step verification, then printout the Recovery Key and keep it in a safe place. You might also want to photograph it and put it in iPhoto and in your documents folder. If you do this then you can even find it again in Time Machine backups.  

So the message is that if you use a two-step verification then keeping the Recovery Key safe (and remembering where it is) becomes your most important task

Today your Apple ID is tied your iCloud account, and to Messages, FaceTime, App Store, iTunes, iBooks, and Passbook with ApplePay, and can be used to log into your Mac user account. Logically each Mac user should have their own unique Apple ID for each device. It has been suggested to keep Apple ID’s and user accounts separate on a Mac, but you can not do this on a iOS device such as an iPhone that can only support one user account. So you might want to change a Apple ID/iCloud Account. Go to System Preferences>iCloud and sign out of your existing Apple ID on that user account. They say to be careful about documents and data on your iCloud Drive, maybe this means making a local backup. Log on to the other Apple ID you wish to use as the active Mac user account. The iCloud can also create a new Apple ID for you. Changing your Apple ID will change your right to login to iTunes, App Store, Messages, FaceTime, Contacts, Calendar, etc. Better still if your really want to provide access for a different person it is better to create a new user account in OS X, log in and use that to sign into the other Apple ID. You might want to do this to separate home and work on the same Mac, and this way you do not have to change your own Apple ID. So a good rule is each person should have their own unique Apple ID, and only one iCloud account/Apple ID, and use the same Apple ID on all their user accounts and iOS devices. 

You can reset your Apple ID password here. If you have the two-step verification disabled, then it is straight forward. 


This article tells me I can use iCloud to backup my iPhone or iPad. but you can also use iTunes to make a local backup (health and KeyChain not included). You can also use  Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive.

This is about syncing multiple iCloud data with a family Mac. It looks like iTunes has lost it syncing function, and now you must use iCloud. Here the idea is that you have one account but each person wants to keep their emails, contacts and calendars separate. The email is not a problem because iCloud keeps each email address separate. This is also true for the iNotes which are attached to the Notes folder in the email accounts. It would appear that you can have multiple iCloud accounts configured on a single Mac to IOS device, but secondary accounts can only be used for Calendars, Contacts, Reminders, emails and Notes (but not for Photo Stream, Documents and Data, Find My iPhone, and iCloud backups which are restricted to the primary account). Not sure this is relevant for me, but the link is here if needed. The answer involves using a “family” iCloud account as the primary account on all devices, and personal iCloud accounts as secondary accounts

On my Mac I used a lot Mail>Preferences>Rules to get rid of unwanted mail. But it only does this when your Mac is working, e.g. you will still see spam on your iPad if the Mac is switched off, although it will disappear when you boot up your Mac. But if you set the rules in iCloud.com they work immediately across all your devices. And this article also suggested that you can direct mail to different custom folders (e.g. vendors, customers, specific friends) as well as trash and junk. The article is quite complete in describing how you direct mail to custom folders in the iCloud. However fixing rules on the Mac and not on the iCloud means that they apply to all my accounts, whereas you can only fix a rule for one iCloud account at a time. 

More generally iCloud is only one of a set of cloud storage providers, e.g. other include Amazon Cloud Drive, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. Today the big US-based names Amazon and Microsoft are the best value, with $50 yearly for 100 GB. But there are others out there, less well known yet offering very competitive services, e.g. MediaFire, SugarSync, PogoPlug, Mega, Yunpan, Welyun, ...

A very valid question is can you leave the iCloud? It is certain that Apple does not want you to leave, and will try to make it look difficult. They love the word “delete”, and I guess they hope that people will not read the fine print and think delete means DELETE. It looks like calendar will be deleted from your Mac, that you must explicitly keep your contacts on your Mac, and that all documents will also be deleted from your Mac. As far as I can tell this is not true. It says that things like documents will still be available on other devices using the iCloud. But the reality is that you can simple stop the iCloud backup of your different documents and data, and stop the syncing of your devices with the iCloud, e.g. these are just iCloud settings. And you can always delete your account. Some people claim that their contacts, etc. are “messed up”, but other people managed it without any problems, e.g. deactivate contacts in iCloud settings on your different devices and confirm that you want a local copies made on each device.

iCloud Photo Library (in iOS 8.1) stores the full-resolution versions of all your pictures across all Apple devices in the iCloud, including iPhone screenshots and edited photos. There is now a photo uploading feature in the iPhoto section of iCloud.com. You can add .jpg images to iCloud for browsing on iOS and Mac devices that are signed in to that account (and to users granted access). This means you can automatically upload photos and videos (for the moment .jpg videos) from the camera roll, store them, sync them and download them to other devices. But because high-resolution images are stored the iCloud it will rapidly grow, and on top of that it downloads those same high resolution images to your connected iOS devices chewing up space on your mobile devices. Picking “Optimise iPhone/iPad Storage” will just store smaller files on local devices and keep the full-resolution versions in the iCloud. However, some people note that to access your photo collection you need to go to iCloud on the Web and it is very slow in loading. They suggest turning off the iCloud Photo Library and just backing up the iPhone data. 

One blog noted that iCloud lost his files. You store all your files on iCloud. You buy a new machine, and want to access those new files. What looks like the files on your new computer are just dummy “placeholder” files. If you move those files from iCloud, then they will be lost, but that is fine because they are on the new destination (e.g. your computer). Files in a folder that have not been synced to your local machine will be lost, only the placeholder is still there. And you don’t really know that your folder contained no-synced files.   

iTunes (with AirPlay)

The first question is how to put your music on the iCloud. 

As far as I can understand iTunes Match is not a native iCloud service, and as such is not a back-up. It is a separate for-payment service, that could of course disappear in the future if it is considered uneconomic. What iTunes Match actually does is mix copies of music in a personal iTunes library with music for sale. It identifies a tune as being already available on iTunes, and provides access to that “matched” tune rather than a copy of your originally recorded tune. It may be better, e.g. a stereo version rather than a mono version, but it could be of a poorer quality, e.g. your copy might be lossless, but the version provided from iTunes will be a 256-kb/s AAC DRM-free file (which of course could also be of a higher quality than your original recording). Equally “matching” might not always work, e.g. it has been said that iTunes Match sometimes might replace shorter versions for longer versions, or clean versions for explicit versions.

So the next question is how to make a back-up of the iTunes library. Basically just copy the iTunes directory in Music. Equally I will always have a back-up on my Time Machine. 

In addition:

Can I delete my music library after using iTunes Match? Like most things in life the answer is “Yes, but ....”.

How to delete songs from iCloud?

An iPhone can only be synced with one iTunes library. If you try to sync it with a different iTunes library you are told that the content on the iPhone will be replaced with the contents of the new iTunes library. This is because the iPhone (or iPad or iPod) identifies a Library Persistent ID hidden on a Mac. This tells you how to get round this limitation and use multiple iTune libraries. 

How do you remove an item (e.g. app) from both your device and iTunes? Open iTunes on the Mac. Go to the App Store. Select your device, e.g. My iPhone Apps or My iPad Apps. need to check the rest of the process Click on the “X” button, and check that it has disappeared. Now remove the same item from your device, e.g. iPhone/iPad. 

Just a reminder here that I already use an AirPort Express connected to a audio system (and also a Bluetooth connection to my “older” living-room system), but there is also an AirPlay option. I don’t have any “pure” AirPlay-enabled output devices at the moment. But I did note that AppleTV is also an AirPlay device. And I also noted that with iTunes 10 or later you can separately control multiple speakers, but I guess they will all be playing the same music streamed from iTunes. 

This article tells me I can connect my iPhone or iPad and use iTunes to make a local backup (health and KeyChain not included). You can also use iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive. 


I do not have an AppleTV for the moment, but here are a few links just in case:

AppleTV How-To Guides 

Beamer streams to AppleTV

Airbrowser enables AppleTV to be used a desktop browser

wwiTV is an independent guide to streaming TV media available on the web. It points to streaming sites from all over the place. 

Another site doing the same thing is BeelineTV


Apps are in the official App Store, but are they on Sourceforge? A lot of people refuse to look at Sourceforge. And there is Hackstore which professes to provide apps that are legitimate and available but did not make it into the App Store (a kind of Cydia for Mac OS). But again there is a lot of discussion about the fact that it is Russian and can’t be trusted. I also saw a mention of the Bodega app store, but it was shutdown in Sept. 2014. And you have download.com from cnet which provides access to free-to-try legal downloads.  

Using Gapminder Desktop

Duet is an app that allows you to use your iPad as a second display for your Mac using a Lightning or 30-pin cable.  

I’m not sure if you really need to convert all your MS Office, iWork, Web content, Clipboard and images into PDF files, but PDF Smart Convert claims to be able to do this. 

TinkerTool add some new preferences providing access to hidden features of the operating system. Just as one example it shows hidden and system files in Finder. There is also SECRETS, a database of hidden settings for OS X. 

SpamSieve is a spam filter for the email client.

BetterTouchTool provides an improved configuration of gestures with the Magic Mouse and TrackPads.

PopClip appears when you select-and-click text on your Mac (e.g. for copy & paste), just like with iOS.

Acorn is an image editor

OmniOutliner is an outlining editor for collecting ideas, adding structure to writing, and teacking changes, etc. Another outliner, editor, storyboarder tool is ScrivenerNotational Velocity stores and retrieves notes.

The Unarchiver can unarchive many different kinds of archive files, including many of the older formats. 

Check out SkySafari "the most comprehensive astronomy app available for iOS"

Still to check out OnyX, iStumbler, iwebtemplates, Google Analytics, iWeb Themes, akvis, artrage, pixelmator, iscrapbook, shape collage,  shelbeyhunt, dickstrawbridge, joshpix, itweak, iwebsites, iweb seo tool, iwebtemplate, icon factory, browsershots, icomments, BannerZest Pro, EyeTV, Cyberduck, FontCase, Gimp, Flock, Hydra, iBank, Fetch, OnyX, Screenflick, Senuti, SimplifyMedia, Stationary Pack, Spliy & Concat, Speed Download 4, SnapNDrag, TeamViewer, The Tube, Unison, filesonic.com and rapidshare.com

iPhone Security

Crack iPhone security in 2 minutes dates from March 2012, but it is warning to everyone. For example XRY can extract data from mobile and cell phones, GPS navigation units, 3G modems, portable music players and things such ad the iPad. 

Blocking sites from tracking your browsing habits. Go to <Settings>, Open the tab <Safari>, Select ON for “Private Browsing?” and in the dialogue box select “Close All Tabs”, click on “Accept Cookies” and “From visited?” and select NEVER, then turn JavaScript OFF, and you can turn OFF the annoying pop-ups as well. (added Feb. 2012)

Cookies have been around for sometime, and they were (and in some cases still are) very useful for tracking your movements across different sites, and more recently across different devices. But Apple has always tried to restrict third-party cookies, even if they still work on Chrome and Android OS. Also cookies don’t share between the browser and apps on the same device. Facebook watches, follows, and catalogues movements using their SSO (Single Sign-On), and is able to customise what ads turn up on your Facebook news feed. For the moment it only works within the Facebook ecosystem, but with their purchase of the Atlas ad platform they want to expand it. Google also uses its own SSO and supports a industrial standard Ad-iD. If you log-in to any one of their services you are tied into their entire ecosystem, e.g. AdSenseAdMob, and DoubleClick, and of course YouTube, Gmail, Voice, and Search. Apple uses your email address and iTunes account, which has your credit card data. After iOS 6 Tracking was on by default and hidden in <General>, now it is back in Settings>Privacy>Advertising. They have an “identifier for advertisers” or IDFA, and an advertising network called iAd. There are also third-party data providers, e.g. LiveRamp can provide a lot of online transactional data based upon an email address.  

Doing things with your iPhone/iPad

Call deviation: use (isdn) phone and call *21*number to receive deviated calls”hash key”

In iOS 8.1 you can make a receive calls on your Mac running Yosemite. It is the so-called “Continuity” feature, with Handoff enabled on the iPhone. If your Mac and iPhone are linked in the Wi-fi network and singed in to your iCloud account, you can make and receive calls on your Mac. This also works for SMS and MMS messages, just like iMessage. Some negative comments about missed calls, double messages, massages getting lost. 

You sometime want to move audio or video files to your iPhone/iPad, without a jailbreak. Of course it is easy if they are files that you can share between your family of Apple products, but what if they are not in the right format. The app WALTR can do this without using iTunes or any file converter, and they are playable in the stock iOS media apps such as Videos and Music. 

There are a lot of apps that are said to be better than the Apple pre-loaded ones. Google Maps could be one, but there are many other such as Mailbox (mobile inbox), Chrome (Web browser), Haze (weather), Camera+Sunrise CalendarOpera Mini (Web browser), Sparrow (a mail client), 7digital Music SyncRecord-Voice RecorderEvernote (workspace manager), Kindle

You can personalise any song as a iPhone ringtone using iTunes 12.  

There are of course a lot of things you can do with your iPhone that are “less important”. For example:

you can create custom vibration patterns with Settings>Sounds>chose a sound (e.g. Ringtone)>Vibration>under Custom, choose Create New Vibration, and then Phone>Contacts>choose a Contact>hit Edit>set your chosen Vibration under Ringtone or Text

you can alert with an LED flash with Settings>General>Accessibility>scroll down to Hearing>LED Flash for Alerts

TripLingo is a foreign language app specifically designed to cover what you need whist travelling.

Learn more about how to use the built-in Maps app on iOS(added March 2012) 

The warranty for a iPhone is tied to the phone, not the owner. So you don't have to show up in person at an Apple store to get your phone fixed. Similarly, someone who bought their phone from someone else can get a repair without a hassle. But that same approach has apparently rewarded a lot of thieves. While some thieves sell the phones through the traditional channels of fencing stolen goods, examples abound of stolen iPhones being brought back to Apple, as if broken, for either replacement or a discount on a new unit. (added Jan. 2012)

This is an article about installing iOS 5 on an old iPhone 3G. Whited00r has created a custom version of iOS 5 for the old ARM devices. You download the IPSW firmware and install it through iTunes. You get multi-tasking, reminders, folders, Newsstand and an iCloud approximation using Dropbox. (added Jan. 2012)

This is a little trick to save a draft email, by just dragging the the subject to the keyboard. Not sure it is of much real use, but who knows?

iPhone/iPad Hacks

There have been some complaints about the battery life under iOS 8.1. With Settings>General>Usage>Battery Usage you will see which apps use the most battery life. Firstly restart the iPhone/iPad. You can also reset all with Settings>General>Reset>Reset All Settings. They say turning on “Grayscale” in Settings>General>Accessibility will turn the brightness down and remove colours which both consume battery power. 

To charge your iPhone more rapidly, put it in Airplane Mode. To help the battery last longer when its running low, switch off the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Location Services in Privacy, the 3G, the vibrate, the auto-brightness, and the “fetch new data”.

If you have Wi-Fi problems with an iPhone/iPad try this first. Reset network settings with Settings>General>Reset>Reset Network Settings. Second go to Settings>Privacy>Location Services>System Services and turn off Wi-fi Networking. Then re-boot. Remember you will lose all saved Wi-Fi settings so keep that in mind. Reseting Network Settings will also remove Bluetooth settings, and might also solve any issue you have had with Bluetooth. 

To know where you have been, go to Settings>Privacy>Location Services>System Services and look at Frequent Locations.

You have a compass, but if you swipe it to the right you also have a “level” to help you hang pictures.

You can hold down the capture button of the Camera App, and it will take a series of photos so you can get the perfect picture (up to 10 per second). The volume buttons also take pictures with the Camera App.  

You can ask Siri “Planes Overhead?” and it will let you know what planes are flying nearby, their destinations,... You can also ask Siri about flights above another city.

To get CAPS LOCK on iOS keyboard just double tap on the little shift arrow. 

You can double tap the space bar to get a full stop.

You can activate a keyboard of emoticons with Settings>General>Keyboard>Keyboards>Add New Keyboard>Emoji.

Your messages are also time stamped, just swipe the text to view the timestamp. 

If you have typed in a lot of rubbish, just shake your phone and it will ask you if you want to delete the text. 

Instead of going to the numerical-keypad using the 123-button, then writing a number, then using the 123-button to go back to the alpha-keypad, you can hold the 123-button and slide to a number, when you release it you are automatically returned to the alpha-keypad.

At night you can reduce eye-strain by inverting colours in Settings>General>Accessibility.

To stop people accessing some parts of your iPhone you can use Guided Access in Settings>General>Accessibility.

Normally the entry password is a 4-number code, but you can go to Settings>General>Passcode Lock and turn off the simple passcode and get to use an alpha-numeric password. 

The Screen Shot Trick - tapping the home button and on-off (sleep) button at the same time will take a screen shot that's stored in the camera roll. 

The Scroll Back Trick - in many cases, you’ll want to scroll back to the top of the page. By tapping the status bar at the very top of your screen, you’ll by whisked straight back up to the top. 

Hold Home and Sleep to Reboot

Magnifying Glass - tap and hold on any editable text will engage the magnifying glass.

.com in Safari - tap and hold .com and the shortcuts for .org, .edu, ....

Tap and Hold for Extra (alternative) Characters - to get accented or special characters, tap and hold on the letter or symbol that closest represents the one you want. Works also for symbols.

Copy photo, text, phone number - tap and hold on the media

Double Tap a Text Column or Image to Zoom to It - a useful trick in Safari.

Tap and Hold to Save Images - another trick in Safari.

Turn iBooks (text) Into Audio Books - VoiceOver essentially reads aloud what is on the phone’s screen.

and remember to drag your finger down the screen from the top to get a menu with the weather, voicemail, reminders and calendar...... 

(all added Jan. 2012)

iPhone Codes

*3001#12345#* and tap Call Enter Field Mode.

Field mode reveals many of the inner settings of your iPhone, specifically up-to-date network and cell information.

After pressing call, you’ll be granted access to the Field Test app. Aside from the technical info that you’ll see here, you can also enable the ability to display a cellular reception number instead of bars. The number represents how weak or strong your signal is. The higher the negative number, such as -100, the weaker the signal. The lower the number, -60, for instance, the better the signal. What’s even better is that you can replace those bars permanently just as I have on my own iPhone. While in the Field Test app, tapping the area in the top left corner of the screen will switch the setting between bars and numbers. Once it’s set to numbers, hold the Sleep/Wake button until the iPhone displays the slide to power off screen. Do not power it off. Instead, hold down the home button until the power off screen disappears. Now you have numbers permanently. To switch back to bars, simply repeat the process, only with bars enabled instead of numbers.

*#06# No need to tap Call Displays your IMEI 

IMEI is the unique identifier for your cell phone hardware. Together with your SIM information it identifies you to the provider network.

*777# and tap Call Account balance for prepaid iPhone.

*225# and tap Call Bill Balance. (Postpaid only)

*646# and tap Call Check minutes. (Postpaid only)

*936# and tap Call

This is one of the most popular of codes. Entering this code will provide you with a text message that lets you know when you're eligible for a new phone upgrade.

*#21# and tap Call Setting interrogation for call forwards.

Discover the settings for your call forwarding. You'll see whether you have voice, data, fax, sms, sync, async, packet access, and pad access call forwarding enabled or disabled.

*#30# and tap Call Calling line presentation check.

This displays whether you have enabled or disabled the presentation of the calling line, presumably the number of the party placing the call.

*#33# and tap Call Check for call control bars.

Check all the usual suspects (voice, data, fax, sms, etc) to see whether barring is enabled or disabled for outgoing.

*#43# and tap Call Determine if call waiting is enabled.

Displays call waiting status for voice, data, fax, sms, sync data, async data, packet

*#61# and tap Call Check the number for unanswered calls.

Show the number for voice call forwarding when a call is unanswered. Also show the options for data, fax, sms, sync, async, packet access and pad access.

*#62# and tap Call Check the number for call forwarding if no service is available.

Just like the previous, except for no-service rather than no-answer situations.

*#67# and tap Call Check the number for call forwarding when the iPhone is busy.

And again, but for when the iPhone is busy.

*#76# and tap Call Check whether the connected line presentation is enabled or not.

State whether the connected line presentation is enabled or disabled. Presumably similar to the calling line presentation.

iPhone Malware

WireLurker can infect both OS X and iOS systems (including iPhone/iPad). You can follow these instructions for both jailbroken and non-jailbroken phones (but non-jailbroken phones are safe). For the moment WireLurker is active in China, but it is likely to spread. A jailbroken phone is in principle more vulnerable. For example there is Xsser which installs as a Debian package (.DEB) and looks like it will unlock some great features of your iPhone, but it fact it collects SMS messages, call logs, passwords, photos and other data. And there is AppBuyer that on jailbroken iPhones/iPads that can steal your Apple ID and pasword and buy apps without your consent. And the Unflod.dylib malware also gleaned the Apple ID. And there is also AdThief (or “Spad”) that hijacks advertising revenue from your iPhone/iPad. All this malware only attacks jailbroken iPhones and iPads.   

iPhone Jailbreaking 

In 2012 I unlocked my iPhone 4, but I did not bother to jailbreak it. I am still using it with a different SIM and carrier. And if you don’t know what a jailbreak is have a read of this and this

I now have a LuxGSM iPhone 5 that was already unlocked. I still have not bothered to jailbreak it.

If I wanted to jailbreak a new iPhone (or my iPad) I would first think of CYDIA, but I would also look for any recent articles, etc. Unlocking is the process that allows an iPhone to be used as a phone on other carriers that normally aren't supported. I know where to go to get this service. As one word of warning - I would NOT upgrade my iPhone system before looking at jailbreaking and unlocking options. Sometimes the upgrade negates your options.  

Here are some random bits about jailbreaking:

Absinthe jailbreaks millions

Absinthe” a free untethered jailbreak tool for iPhone 4S and iPad 2 (from 2012)

iPhone Jailbreaking Tweaks 

NoBarScreen allows you to take screenshots without a status bar (it is free on Cydia’s Bigboss). An alternative is to use Yosemite’s new Quicktime screen capture feature that stadardises the status bar to make it look fresh and clean. 

Repairing your iPhone 

Here we have a description about how to replace a broken screen on a iPhone 6 plus in 5 minutes.  

bernard.smith@mac.com  © Bernard Smith 2017-18