Recording Your iPhone Screen

One of the new features is iOS 11 is the ability to record your screen. This is not available by default but you can easily add this ability. You can record your screen for many reasons.

Enable Screen Recording

  • The first thing you need to do is add the screen recording button to your iOS 11 Control Center:
  • Go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls.
  • Under More Controls, scroll down to Screen Recording and tap the green plus button to add it to the controls included in the Control Center.

Create a Recording

  • To create a recording, swipe up from the bottom of your screen to pull up the control center. You’ll now see a record button among your controls.
  • Tap the button and you’ll see a three-second countdown before your phone starts recording.
  • If you want to record audio while doing a screen recording, long press the button in your control center and you’ll see an option to record with or without audio.
  • While recording, the network/clock bar at the top of your screen will be red.
  • To stop recording, you can either tap the red bar at the top of your screen or by bringing up the control center.
  • When you tap the stop button, the screen recording will be saved to your iOS photos.

So with that in mind here is a screen recording of my iPhone setting this up.

 

Video Player

 

Watching Star Trek: Discovery Offline

With Star Trek: Discovery now airing exclusively on CBS All Access I was trying to find  way to be able to download the episodes so I can view them while flying. Unlike Netflix & Amazon Video CBS All Access does not (yet) have a watch offline feature. However – in the meantime…

Image result for star trek discovery

It looks like will there is a will – there is a way, even if it will cost a few bucks.

Streaming your favorite shows on a spotty internet connection can be quite the nuisance – but it doesn’t have to be. There is a handy app that lets you save any show for offline watching and the best thing is that it works with practically any streaming service, including Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO and thank goodness CBS All Access.

Image result for playon cloud

Available for Android and iOS, PlayOn Cloud makes it possible for users to record and download titles from a variety of leading streaming services, so they could still binge their favorite shows once they go offline – anytime and anywhere.

In addition to the previously mentioned content providers, the app also supports downloads from YouTube, Yahoo Views, CBS, PBS, CW, ABC, NBC and Fox.

The only downside is that you will have to pay for this privilege. PlayOn’s iOS and Android apps are free, but the company will charge $0.99 for each recording. The good thing is that PlayOn also offers various recording packs and bundles for as low as $0.20 a pop. You can look up pricing details here. I paid $4.99 for 20 episode downloads which should all me to watch Discovery’s Season 1 offline – no matter where I am, regardless of access to the internet!  You must, of course be a subscriber to CBS-All Access to access their content through PlayOn Cloud.

Considering that each recording is stored in the cloud – and therefore available to download locally on any device using the same PlayOn account – it’s not such a bad deal.

One thing to keep in mind is that Netflix already rolled out support for offline viewing for mobile last year. The disadvantage is that not every entry in its catalog is available to stream offline. Another upside to using PlayOn is that, unlike Netflix, downloaded recordings never expire – unless the user deletes them, of course.

Yes, recordings stored on the cloud will be deleted after 30 days, but they will still be available on your device locally.

For those wondering about the app’s legality: The PlayOn team claims their software is entirely “legal and protected by the same laws that allow consumers to use a DVR or VCR to record broadcast content.” They have explained this in more detail in a blog post on their website.

In all fairness, PlayOn Cloud has been around for a while now. But should you find yourself planning a faraway trip without any guarantees for a stable connection, now at least you know you have options to keep yourself entertained.

 

Saving Data Usage with Facebook

Are you a Facebook addict? Aside from needing to break the addiction as soon as possible (seriously, it’s not a healthy way to live your life), you should give some serious consideration to your data usage. Facebook like other apps just loves to use data – even when you are not looking at the app.

If you’ve had a few “shock” bills from your carrier, Facebook could be to blame. Between high-resolution images and auto-playing videos, the app can burn through data in no time.

Of course, you can turn off auto-playing videos by going to More (the three horizontal lines in the top right-hand corner of the screen) > Help and Settings > App Settings > Auto-play.

But there’s a better way: use the Data Saver tool.

What Does Data Saver Do?

Data Saver not only prevents videos from playing automatically but importantly, it also reduces the resolution of any images in your feed.

To set it up, head to the More menu in the top right-hand corner or your screen. Scroll down until you find Data Saver. It’s in the Help and Settings section.

On the next screen, make sure you slide the toggle next to Data Saver on into the On position. When you enable the setting, a new option will appear. It allows you to disable the Data Saver feature while you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Other Options to Save Data

To further reduce your data usage, there are a couple of other hidden settings you might find useful.

Go to More > App Settings and turn off the toggles next to Upload photos in HD and Upload videos in HD.

As a last resort, you can install Mobile Protect. Navigate to More > Mobile Data to get started.

Microsoft Kill’s It’s Windows Keyboard for iOS

Microsoft is removing Word Flow from the App Store. This means that the critically acclaimed keyboard app will no longer be available to iOS users who haven’t already downloaded it. And those that have face the prospect of Word Flow never being updated again. Because that’s how Microsoft rolls.

Having failed with their “Windows Phone” Microsoft began releasing several apps including Word Flow for iOS. Word Flow being a keyboard app designed to replicate the Windows Phone typing experience on your iPhone. Microsoft released Word Flow in April 2016, and gave it a major update adding GIF search and other features in August 2016. You can check out my April 25, 2016 review of Word Flow here.

Now, Microsoft is delisting Word Flow on the App Store. This means that while existing users will be able to carry on using Word Flow (without any future updates or support) new users are being denied the opportunity to try Word Flow out for themselves.

On the Microsoft Garage website, Microsoft describes the Windows Phone keyboard app as “an iOS app with a blazing fast keyboard that comes with search (GIFs, restaurants, and more), free customization options and includes Arc mode for comfortable one-handed typing.”

That one-handed typing is what separated Word Flow from the crowd. Once you got the hang of it Word Flow could speed up your typing, and all while leaving one hand free for other things.

Microsoft is advising Word Flow users to download SwiftKey instead because the former acquired the latter in early 2016. And this acquisition is probably why Microsoft is killing Word Flow in the first place. Let’s just hope the one-handed typing feature now makes it into SwiftKey.

Outlook Just Got Even Better on iOS

My favorite Calendar /Email app on the iPhone is Microsoft’s “Outlook”. This one app handles my email, my calendar and my cloud storage. This awesome app just got even better.

outlook-ios-scheduling-assistant

Microsoft today announced a new scheduling assistant on Outlook for iOS. This new feature works similar to the scheduling assistant which is already available in Outlook on the desktop. Before scheduling a meeting, you can now easily see your coworkers’ availability and find a time that works for everyone. Also, Outlook team has made this process so simple to use on Outlook Mobile.

introducing-our-new-scheduling-experience-for-outlook-for-ios-2

After you create an event from your calendar, add your coworkers to the People field, tap the date picker. Times that work for everyone show in white, yellow indicates availability for one or more people in the group, and red indicates times with no availability. Next, tap the time picker and just drag and drop until it turns green—indicating everyone is available at that time. Once the time and date are finalized, you can complete the other fields and tap the checkmark at the top to save and send your event.

The feature is currently available on Outlook for iOS when connected to Office 365 or the latest versions of Exchange. This feature will be coming soon to Android and Windows 10 mobile as well.

Turn Your Smartphone Upside Down

Even with today’s advanced batteries, the quest for better battery life rages on. With the bigger screens of modern devices, you might have trouble getting through half a day with your battery.

Developers have come up with all sorts of tricks to squeeze a bit more life out of device batteries. Here is one tip for saving battery life that you may not be aware of.

Image result for iphone upside down

Turn Your Smartphone Upside Down

The secret is that when your iPhone is face down, incoming notifications don’t turn on the screen. This means that when you’re sitting at your desk for hours not looking at your phone anyway, setting it face-down can be a big battery booster. Of course, there are times when you want to glance at notifications, and can certainly keep your phone face-up when that’s the case.

Screens are one of the biggest battery drainers, so you should see an improvement in battery life when practicing this nifty little tip. It does require motion sensing to be turned on in your Settings. Browse to Settings > Privacy > Motion & Fitness and make sure Fitness Tracking is enabled. If it’s turned off, your iPhone will turn the screen on no matter if it’s face-down or not.

Microsoft Enhances OneDrive in a Big Way

One of the best ways to protect your photos is to back them up automatically using a cloud service. My favorite one for this is Microsoft’s OneDrive. Once installing OneDrive on your smartphone (and sign up – or into) the service you can setup automatic photo uploads. Once you do this you will be able to access your photos from wherever you are – on whatever device you are using, assuming you have internet access.

OneDrive Banner

I have been using OneDrive for years to backup and manage my photos and the service has improved over the years. This week Microsoft updated OneDrive which really makes this a great solution for anyone looking to backup and manage their photos.

Backing up your photos is incredibly important because someday your smartphone may (will) fail or be lost or stolen and you do not want to be in a position where all of your photos are gone.

Let’s take a look at the major OneDrive updates, including yes, a enhancement for Pokemon gamers.

Automatic albums is probably the most handy addition, and reminds us of Google Photos. OneDrive now detects when you took a few photos in a short period of time and in a particular location. The highest quality photos are selected and put into an album, and you get a notification when they’re ready to view and share. Automatic albums appear on OneDrive.com, in OneDrive’s mobile apps, and in the Windows 10 Photos app.

 

Speaking of the Windows 10 Photos app, you can now expect tighter integration with OneDrive. When you sign into Windows 10 with your Microsoft account, all of your OneDrive photos will now show up. You can also use the app to upload local albums to OneDrive.

 

The OneDrive.com website has gained a new “On this day” view in your All photos page. As the name implies, this view shows images you took over the years on that same day.

 

Another view is the one dedicated to your folders that have a lot of photos in them. The new photos view includes a hero image, larger thumbnails, and a revised menu to help you quickly create an album or share photos.

 

Search now works directly in the All photos view, understands photos that have been tagged, photos from a specific location, and even supports using emojis. These new types of searches work on OneDrive.com as well as the OneDrive mobile apps.

 

Last but not least, Microsoft is jumping on the Pokémon Go bandwagon. If you take screenshots of your captured Pokémon, you’ll want to have the OneDrive mobile app installed. Thanks to some Microsoft Research technology, as long as you have camera upload turned on, the app will save your screenshots and identify all 150 Pokémon for you. You can then view and search for the Pokémon right in OneDrive.

OneDrive-photos-experience-5

Updates like this one are a great reminder that competition in the cloud storage space is still fierce. And yet, no matter how many useful features Microsoft adds, it will continue to face an uphill battle because of its failures in mobile.

Amazon Prime Gets Even Better

In many ways Amazon Prime has become my go-to streaming service. Of course Netflix has some outstanding original content (which I enjoy) however Amazon Prime has continued to regularly improve its service since it’s launch just a few short years ago.

Amazon Prime is the ultimate product bundling deal imaginable because it combines several service including physical free shipping digital subscriptions for music, videos, and more. This week Amazon took an aggressive step to better compete with standalone subscription services (like Netflix & Hulu) by offering a new variety of Prime offerings by the month.

I have happily subscribed to Amazon prime for years. With this subscription, you can get most Amazon.com purchases delivered to your home in two days for free plus an astonishing array of digital services, which include:

Amazon Video. Unlimited access to movies and TV shows in SD, HD, Ultra HD & HDR (where possible).

Amazon Prime Music. Unlimited streaming from Amazon’s music service, which includes ad-free and personalized radio stations. This is replace Apple Music & iTunes for me.

Free Kindle books. As a Prime subscriber, you get access to over 1 million Kindle e-books for free, plus the Kindle Lending Library, which lets you borrow one free e-book per month.

But the problem with Prime is that it is only available in a one-year subscription, whereas competing standalone services are all available month-to-month. To close this gap, and convince potential customers that the wide swath of Prime perks is worth consideration, Amazon is now offering two monthly Prime subscriptions. They are:

Amazon Prime (Monthly). This is the annual plan, but month-to-month. That is, you get all of the perks of the yearly Amazon Prime membership, but pay $10.99 per month instead of $99 per year. (So it’s cheaper to get the annual subscription if you can afford it and know you’ll use it all year long.)

Amazon Prime Video. Finally available as a standalone subscription service that can take on Netflix and Hulu, Amazon Prime Video costs $8.99 per month, undercutting those services when you compare functionality. Netflix costs $7.99 to $11.99 per month (where only the most expensive versions offers HD and or Ultra HD) and Hulu is $7.99 (with limited commercials) to $11.99 per month (no commercials).

prime-choices

If you go with the yearly Amazon Prime subscription, and then take advantage of the shipping perk, that is still the best choice. But this move with a monthly subscription service signals that Amazon is serious about keeping its digital media services both competitive and desirable.

Microsoft’s Fantastic New News iOS App

Microsoft has been releasing some great apps for iOS recently and their most recent one is a big hit, as far as I am concerned.

Microsoft’s new iOS app, “News Brief” does an amazing job of finding stories related to your job, skills, and interests. It cuts out the fluff and makes news reading easier.

It starts with an easy setup process. You can help the app out by signing in with LinkedIn or Facebook. I chose Facebook because I know that service has a much richer biography of my interests. It worked as expected. The app chose the buckets for “Star Trek” and “Microsoft” and immediately created magazines for these topics.

I clicked on the Me icon and added a few more interests, including “Information Technology” and a few related to Star Trek. When you search for new categories, you can see a list of organizations, skills, and products. It’s pretty slick, but more importantly, it works. I found about a dozen articles that interested me right away, which is far different from what happens with more generic apps I have tried. As usual, it’s all about the algorithms, and Microsoft, thanks to their Microsoft Garage dev team has hit the mark with this one.

The app is also speedy. With other readers, I have noticed there is sometimes a weird pause as the app fetches news or load images and text. With the News app, which is installed by default on an iPhone or iPad, it seems to take forever to scroll through the news feed as it reloads. News Pro lets you drag up and release to fetch new stories, placing one in a prime spot. Stories load quickly with a properly-sized thumbnail.

Speaking of speedy there is a mode in News Pro after you select an article to read called Speedy that removes some of the extra formatting and images.

News Pro reminds me of the Outlook app in that it makes every feature seem like it was designed for people who don’t have a ton of time to figure out weird settings and tabs and are not engineers. News Pro has an intuitive flow that puts the emphasis on finding stories and reading them. It puts the interface in the background where it belongs.

If you have an iPhone and want to check this out simply search for “News Brief” in the app store.

Facebook’s iOS Battery Drain Resolved?

If you are an iPhone owner who uses Facebook I recommend applying the latest iOS Facebook app update as soon as possible. This is because you will probably find that the battery life of your device improves after the update. After ongoing complaints about iPhone battery drain, Facebook reported last week that it has released a new version of its app that resolves two key issues leading to the problem.

Apparently, iPhones with the app were prone to experiencing CPU spin, according to Facebook engineering manager Ari Grant. “A CPU spin is like a child in a car asking, ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’ with the question not resulting in any progress to reaching the destination,” he explained in an update on his Facebook page.

The other culprit behind fast-draining iPhone batteries was Facebook’s approach to managing audio sessions, Grant said. Even when users left the Facebook app after watching a video, the audio session sometimes stayed open as if the app was playing audio silently.

“This is similar to when you close a music app and want to keep listening to the music while you do other things, except in this case it was unintentional and nothing kept playing,” Grant noted. “The app isn’t actually doing anything while awake in the background, but it does use more battery simply by being awake. Our fixes will solve this audio issue and remove background audio completely.”

The description of the updated app on the Apple App Store mentioned that “continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life,” but Grant noted in his post that the location history feature didn’t have anything to do with the battery draining issue many iPhone users have been experiencing.

So there you go, if you use Facebook on your iPhone make sure you go to the app store and update the app. Your battery will thank you!

1 2 3 4