As you use the products Apple rolled out this year, here are some tips to getting the most out of devices.
We don’t know yet what the notoriously secretive Apple is planning for 2016, but if the past is any indication, not much new will arrive for a few months.
In the meantime, here are a bunch of tips for getting the most out of the Apple products you have now. Feel free to print these out for later, save them in the Notes app on whichever device you’re using to read this, or forward to friends and family who will find it helpful.
Mac: Manage passwords. It’s time to do this if you haven’t already. Simple passwords are easily cracked, and reusing any password (such as for several online stores) makes it much easier for malicious individuals to break into other accounts.
Take advantage of the iCloud Keychain features in Safari, which can securely suggest and save logins and passwords among all your devices. Or, my preference, buy the application 1Password to do the same. (1password.com)
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Mac: Launch apps quickly. If your Applications folder is full of dozens of apps, it can be difficult to find and open the ones you need — and I prefer not to load up my Dock with more app icons than needed.
Instead, type Command-spacebar to bring up Spotlight’s search field, and then begin typing the name of the app you want. For more options, use an application such as Launchbar. (obdev.at/launchbar)
Mac: Start up from Recovery Disk. If you feel like something might be amiss, or if your Mac is running especially sluggish, it may need a checkup. Restart the computer and press the Command and R keys while it’s starting up. That loads the hidden Recovery Disk, which includes the utility Disk First Aid, which can give the system a once-over and fix common issues.
iPhone/iPad: Set a pass code! You may think requiring a passcode to access your iOS device each time is a hassle, but it’s the best first line of security you can use. Better yet, set a 6-digit or text passcode (see Settings > Touch ID & Passcode for options), which makes it harder for a thief to get in.
The passcode is also the encryption key: if you lose your device, you can wipe it remotely using Find My iPhone.
iPhone/iPad: Check battery usage. Are you getting even shorter battery life lately? An app could be misbehaving in the background. Go to Settings > Battery to see which apps are using the most power.
Apple Watch: Talking to Siri. When you lift the watch, you can invoke Siri by saying, “Hey Siri.” But don’t stop and wait for a response. Go ahead and continue with your query, such as, “Hey Siri, did the Seahawks win this week?”
Apple Watch: Set up VIPs. Seeing notifications is my favorite feature of the Apple Watch, and to ensure that I don’t miss important email messages, I’ve set up several senders as VIPs.
In the Mail app on the iPhone, tap a sender to view more information, and then tap Add to VIP. Then, in the Watch app on the iPhone, go to Notifications > Mail and tap Custom. Lastly, tap VIPs and turn the option On.
Apple TV: Remote app. I complained about the text-input interface in my review of the Apple TV, and Apple has since made an important improvement. Use the Remote app on your iPhone to type into search or password fields.
Apple TV: Rent movies on iOS device. Unless you’re going to rent a movie from the iTunes Store and watch it right away, do the rental from an iPad or iPhone. Why? The rental is locked to that device, so you’ll only be able to watch it on the TV.
If you rent it on an iPad, you have the option of viewing it on the device, or using AirPlay to watch it on the television via Apple TV.
Apple retail: ordering first. The next time you’re up late to order the next iPhone or Apple Watch or other product Apple is offering as a preorder, save yourself a lot of frustration by ordering from the Apple Store app on the iPhone.
Make sure you have Touch ID configured (on devices with Touch ID) with the credit card you want to use. This approach has consistently worked better for me for several products than trying to order via the Apple website.
Apple in general: Don’t listen to anyone, especially if they call themselves “analysts,” who say Apple is doomed or on the verge of disaster. The company is doing pretty well so far.