Posts Tagged ‘apple’

My new iPhone 7 Plus

laelene Posted in reviews,Tags: , , , ,
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This was the first time I can remember not ordering my new iPhone as soon as it came out. I was far too busy with school to pay much attention to it, plus I knew that I wanted to leave AT&T but I wasn’t sure for which carrier. A few weeks into it being released, I went to Sprint and T-Mobile stores to try to understand their options for plans and purchasing a phone. I still wasn’t decided at that point and I just wanted an unlocked phone, but those weren’t being sold yet so I went back to waiting.

Upon receiving the internship offer from my top choice of companies (more on that another time), I decided to check the Apple Store online to see what was available. At that point, unlocked phones were available, so I treated myself to one… to be delivered a month later, between Nov. 22-30.  -___-;

And so the wait began… until finally, I received my phone on the 22nd! I watched the updates as it shipped from China, made its way through Korea to Alaska, and took a break for the weekend. I thought it’d come straight down to California after that, but I shouldn’t have been surprised when it appeared in Louisville. Then it came over to California and eventually made its way onto a truck for delivery. It was so fresh from the factory when I got it that it still had a chemical smell. I immediately kept the box open to air it out so I could use the phone soon.

Somewhere along the way, I decided to purchase storage space on iCloud. I had not backed up my phone in months and I don’t want to risk losing anything. Plus, as the phone storage got larger, it started to become cumbersome for my computer to keep backups. So I opted for the 200 GB plan to ensure plenty of space for all my stuff. I then tried to back up my phone to iCloud so I could restore the backup for my new device, but it kept failing.

After many tries and nearly giving up, I finally went home where the internet speeds were a lot faster and completed the backup only to find that it was somehow incompatible with my new phone! At that point, it seemed like a sign to start my phone anew. So I downloaded only the key apps that I use and now my phone feels kind of empty. I’m using about half the space I was before, even with all my photos transferred over. I have nearly 100 GB to work with!!

With that, here are some pics of my brand new phone…

black iphone 7 plus box iphone 7 plus info sheets and apple stickers front of iphone 7 plus in black

back of iphone 7 plus in black

I got the 7 Plus for the dual camera, for that extra zoom capability!

iphone 7 plus headphones and charger in box

iphone 7 plus charging cable and headphone jack converter in box

So far I’m loving the much larger screen, though one-handed use is nearly impossible. That’s ok since I’m not a thumbs user. The home button that’s not a real button was weird when I first felt it in the store, but after having some sensitivity issues with my last phone, this actually feels great and is working well. I’ve tried my hand at 3D touch, but for the most part don’t remember to use it or some of the fancier response options that allow me to not have to jump between apps.

I’m enjoying some of the simpler updates, like how the screen turns on when I raise the phone, so I can check the time and recent notifications quickly. I also like being able to activate Siri without being plugged in and I hear that she recognizes my voice versus someone else who may try to use my phone.

Overall it’s less buggy than my phone was running before, which might partly be due to the newness and partly due to the fact that I didn’t restore it from that phone and carry over any legacy stuff. The battery life also works great, which I was having some trouble with on the last phone. It is rather slow to charge up though.

All in all, I’m always happy with a new phone and since getting it, we went out and got ourselves new phone plans too. I’m now on T-Mobile, which has decent service and is just as bad in the same areas as AT&T was (namely, parts of my apartment and the courtyard between buildings at school). I’m starting to consider whether I’ll move to an annual update with my phone at some point… 2 years is starting to feel long.

iCloud, you’re dead to me

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, stories,Tags: , , , ,
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May I rant a bit? It’s been weeks since my iCloud backup worked and Apple support didn’t solve my problem. I’ve given up on using it and I’m so frustrated with Apple.

It began a couple of weeks ago. With one of the iOS 9 updates, everything went awry. My backups used to take up about 3.3-3.5 GB worth of space and then suddenly I was getting an error message pretty much daily, telling me I didn’t have enough space in iCloud. So I try deleting the current backup to free up the 5 GB of space and trying again with no success. I thought the issue was that the photo backup got turned back on, so I tried turning it off. Sometimes it would straight up give me an error message that it couldn’t be turned off at that time and sometimes it would look like I had turned it off, but then got undone the next time I went back.

After much troubleshooting and trying tons of things, I finally booked an appointment at the Apple Store. Coming out of that appointment, I’ve decided to write off iCloud entirely. As it turns out, it is completely useless to me (unless I want to pay). I was passed from one person to the next and ultimately dealt with four different people, two in the store and two on the phone. They ended up telling me that my options were to either pay for more storage or do manual backups to the computer. Let me tell you, I was not a happy camper when that’s all they could come up with.

screenshot of icloud backup screen with options

What’s the point of turning off Photo Library if supposedly you can’t turn off photos in iCloud? I still don’t believe those folks knew what they were talking about.

My greatest problem with what happened was that my backups were well within the limit for years. Suddenly, the space needed for the backup jumps up to nearly triple the amount of space for no reason? It’s not like I suddenly started sending a lot of text messages, taking a lot of pictures, or downloading a lot of new apps. I had no spike in activity, so therefore I expect no spike in the storage space. Not a single one of them could explain that to me. Furthermore, they said that my photos were always backed up and I couldn’t turn that off. Then what in the world is the Backup Options list with Photo Library as an option for?! And how could I have EVER successfully backed up when I know I’ve had way more than 5 GB in photos alone all these years? Yet somehow, I’m expected to believe that it magically worked all along and a good 10-15 GB of photos were able to squeeze themselves into a 3.5 GB backup.

I guess what bothered me the most was the complete lack of logic in how things could have worked before and how they could have changed so drastically without explanation. Telling me that, “Well if you just buy the extra storage then this wouldn’t be an issue,” is not going to help. Of course I know I can PAY you to get more storage. And I don’t care how small the cost is, it’s the principal of the matter that it worked before and now it doesn’t. What sort of technology gets worse as it updates?

So many other problems came up too, all with no sensible explanation. Why did an attempted backup fail yet still take up 3 GB of space? “It tried to back up some of the data.” Why wouldn’t that try to take up the whole 5 GB? Why does it stop at 3 GB each time? (No idea.) Why does Next Backup Size say 0 bytes and all apps say No Data? Does that mean nothing gets backed up? Then how could I not have enough space for nothing?! And on and on and on…

So because of that, iCloud is dead to me. Yet ironically, as I write this and look at my phone settings, iCloud backup is magically working again. Photos off, backup at 3.1 GB. I can’t trust those Apple people to know anything about their products.

The hidden gems of iOS 9

laelene Posted in general blog, reviews,Tags: , , , , ,
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I just got around to upgrading my phone to iOS 9 today and there were some surprises in store for me! First was the new font, which is a bit… cuter, I’d say. It’s hard to describe but I feel like it’s a bit thinner, more rounded, and seems slightly more spaced out. Most people probably won’t even notice it.

The biggest shock was when the keyboard popped up and *gasp* there were lowercase letters! This seemed like such a basic thing, yet it took years to finally get it. In fact, I’ve already converted to Swiftkey as my default keyboard because the Apple one just doesn’t cut it.

ios 9 new safari bookmark icons and lowercase keyboard

As you might also note from here, Safari bookmarks now show a letter when there’s no custom icon from the site. Previously, they used the Safari compass icon as a placeholder.

ios 9 app menu redesign

Switching between apps takes on a new feel as you swipe in the opposite direction now. It glides more but I find it harder to close two apps at once.

ios 9 menu box buttons

Menu box pop-ups feel rounder and more spaced out.

ios 9 new photos folders for selfies and screenshots

New default photo folders group together “Selfies” and “Screenshots”

ios 9 new photo scrubber

Photos have a scrubber at the bottom, where you can quickly navigate through.

Other nice updates allow you to zoom on videos to get a better view, quickly select a bunch of photos by swiping across them (no more individual taps!), and swipe down on a photo to go back to the thumbnail view of an album.

ios 9 new notes with checklist, sketching, and image capabilities

Notes gets a lot more functionality, with the ability to create checklists, draw sketches, and insert photos.

Notes can also be put into folders, making it easier to organize.

ios 9 add webpage to notes

Now easily add a webpage to your notes too!

ios 9 search within settings functionality

Search within settings when you can’t remember where something like battery usage would be found (don’t we all have trouble with this?)

ios 9 view event showing schedule before and after event

Viewing events in Calendar show you a glimpse of your time before and after the event.

ios 9 reminders with number of reminders and overdue items shown

Reminders have nice summaries of how many items are in each list and which of those are overdue.

 

ios 9 text overlap

Sometimes text runs into each other though.

And then of course there are plenty of other changes that you probably heard about as well:

-directions for public transit in select cities

-smarter prompts from Siri: swiping right from the home screen pulls up suggestions for contacts, calendar events, apps, and more

-“Back to [previous app]” option in the top left now lets you quickly return to the app you just came from

-Low power setting to conserve your phone’s power usage

-Improvements to performance so battery life is extended

-Passbook is now Wallet and you’ll be able to add loyalty cards in addition to other forms of digital cards/tickets

-A News app for aggregating news that you might want to read

-“Remind me of this” prompts Siri to set up a reminder about whatever you are looking at

-Add attachments in Mail – not just for photos anymore!

So far I’m really liking the changes and I look forward to stumbling upon others that make the experience better in subtle ways. I’m not upgrading my iPad mini just yet because a coworkers told us that the version of Reflector we use isn’t compatible with it. I need to be able to show my tablet screen for demos and webinars and I’m not keen on paying for the newer version of the software just so I can have iOS 9 on my tablet. Have you upgraded to this new operating system? What do you think so far?

An iPhone exchange mistake

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
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It’s been a good nine months with my iPhone 6 and I only had one minor issue with the earpiece that required a replacement of the screen a few months back. While the physical hardware seemed to be ok, I was having a lot of crashing issues with it. It would sporadically restart when I was using it – sometimes when using an app, sometimes when trying to update a bunch of them. This Friday it happened again and since it’s been occurring almost regularly now, I decided to go get my phone checked out. I made an appointment for the Genius Bar after lunch, backed up my phone to iCloud, and went off.

A diagnostic couldn’t pinpoint what it might be, so I was offered a new device in case it was a hardware issue. If the problem persists, then we know it’s probably a software issue. I felt pretty confident swapping out devices since I’d done it so many times before. As we were setting up the new device, I remembered some photos from lunch that I had not backed up, so I made sure to do that. Once I felt good about it, I relinquished that device and went back to the office.

The rest of the afternoon I let my phone restore from backup. By the end of the day, the apps were all there and everything looked like normal. Except… why were my photos not syncing? I figured it would take more time. Later at night I checked again and not a single old photo was there. That’s when I realized that my iCloud backup didn’t back up photos. Since we only get 5 GB for free, I didn’t have room for them. I was so rusty when it came to this process that I hadn’t made a backup via iTunes (rookie mistake).

Luckily, I had done the photo backup to Flickr and Dropbox, so the photos are available, just not the way I want (in my Camera Roll). However, with more digging I found that some videos I’d taken last weekend were not backed up. My Dropbox had run out of space and Flickr doesn’t auto backup video files. Sad times! No matter what I did, I just couldn’t recover them anymore. It’s unfortunate and I’m not happy about it, but it was my own oversight.

Lesson learned.

From now on, I will be sure to back up to iTunes. While this is inconvenient, there’s not much I can do. The last iTunes backup I have is from December! It feels like too much lost data along the way if I restore using that version. So while I am happy to have a brand new device, I mourn the loss of the media that got lost in the shuffle.

What I love about the iPhone 6 & iOS 8

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It’s been well over a month since I’ve had my new iPhone 6 and I’m very happy with it. Since this came with iOS 8, some of the new features might actually be from the operating system, so older iPhone users can update to iOS 8 to also get some updates functionality. Not only is it physically more comfortable to hold and use, there’s a lot of other things that make this iPhone better than ever. Here are some of my favs:

touch ID – easily the thing I most looked forward to ever since it was introduced for the iPhone 5S

-easier on the eyes (larger screen really helps!)

double tapping the home button brings down the screen for easier one-handed use

double tapping iphone 6 home button brings screen down for easier reach with one handed-use

new calendar (probably an iOS 8 thing) includes option to use current location for calendar entry location, add travel time, and great view of month and upcoming events of the day on single screen

camera video options now include slo-mo, time lapse, and timer

native keyboard options allow you to change the default keyboard to a third party one! I installed Fleksy and Swiftkey – so much better, though I wish the shortcuts I set worked with them (learn how to set your own shortcuts)

iphone 6 with swiftkey keyboard third party keyboard installed natively

battery usage shows me which apps suck the most energy on my phone!!

iphone 6 battery usage summary in settings

And other ones to note:

-location-based lock screen app suggestion

-email notifications (get notified when there’s a reply to an email thread)

-hiding email drafts (pull the draft down and keep working, then tap New Message below to resume drafting)

-AirDrop (not even new, but so useful for sharing files across devices quickly)

-scan a credit card to enter the info rather than typing it all yourself

-Siri taps into Shazam so you don’t have to pull up the Shazam app to figure out a song

-messaging details now include options to mute, share location, and quickly browse media you’ve sent to a person

-all kinds of photo editing options and even the ability to hide photos

iPhone 6 in pictures

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , , ,
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I’ve had my iPhone 6 for a week and a half now, but I’m already so used to it that I hardly recognize the iPhone 5. I’m absolutely loving it and I’m so happy with the whole experience. Here are some pics of it, along with a few side by sides with my old iPhone.

iphone 6 white box front of iphone 6 in space gray back of iphone 6 in space gray closeup of camera on iphone 6 in space gray iphone 6 power button on right side of phone iphone 6 volume controls on left side of phone empty open box of iphone 6 iphone 6 earpods and lightning charging cable and plug iphone 6 info cards from box collage of front and back of iphone 6 info card with basic instructions iphone 6 and iphone 5 in respective boxes with lids backs of iphone 6 and iphone 5 in boxes

iPhone 6 countdown

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,
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It’s almost time to order the newest iPhone and I can hardly wait!! I’ve been waiting eagerly for a year, ever since hearing about the 5S and knowing that the 6 would only be better. Now we’re getting close to that 12:01 PDT deadline. I’m going to bed and hope l wake up to my alarm. Should have slept two hours ago, oh well! I just need to get through one more intense day and I can crash.

[update] Well, I set an alarm for 2:40 EDT and then foolish lay there thinking I had time. I ended up falling asleep until about 3:27 and then scrambling to go order. First I tried the Apple Store app, but it said my product was unavailable. I suppressed panic as I tried the AT&T app (stuck on a landing page about how they’ll be ready soon) and then pulled up the website. Things kept freezing, error messages cropped up a few times, and I started over half a dozen times. Ultimately the best path seemed to be logging in to my AT&T account and then clicking the prompt there to check my upgrade eligibility. The pages there looked a bit different, but I chose my space gray 64 GB iPhone 6 and was able to check out with no further glitches!

screenshot of ordering process for iphone 6 at at&t wireless

I have an order confirmation page, but I don’t see an email confirmation yet and when I go back to my account, the line upgrade doesn’t seem to register (so in theory I could accidentally double-order if I tried the process again). I’m paranoid that this isn’t totally official and/or I won’t get my shipment next Friday when they first go out. The confirmation page has a spot for the date and it’s blank, though when ordering it specified the Sept 19th date. I guess we’ll just have to see if I am fortunate enough to get it on schedule. I sure hope my order is early enough in the queue! Still, I’m not feeling confident enough to sleep just yet.

part of confirmation message from at&t for iphone 6 order

Snagging an iPad mini retina

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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For the past year or so, I’ve been thinking about replacing my iPad 2. I’ve had it since 2010 and it’s bulkier and slower than I’d like. A few months ago, Target was offering $150 trade-ins plus a $50 gift card. That would make the iPad mini retina 16GB only half its original price! I should have sprung on the deal then, but I missed out and the next week they were offering the iPad mini with the same type of deal. I thought the difference between retina and not wouldn’t be a big deal, so I went to check it out. Unfortunately, the instant I looked at a non-retina screen, I could discern the pixels and it was more obvious to my eye than I had hoped. I set my resolve to get an iPad mini retina the next time I could get it at the $200 price point, with trade-in value and gift cards earned and whatnot.

Finally, on Saturday Panda and I got back from our trip and saw the Target ad for this week – $100 gift card for the iPad mini retina! Between that and my trade-in value around $100 for the iPad 2, I was ready to finally get my new device. Sunday morning, I went in prepared to trade in my iPad and get the mini retina. Then I realized that I don’t have to trade in my iPad at Target, which would give me $91 for it. Since I’m just getting a gift card back, why not go to the highest bidder? Best Buy is quoting $126 for the same one. I’ll certainly be able to spend that sort of money there the next time I get a laptop, TV, or other electronics. So I went ahead and bought the iPad mini I wanted at Target without trading in.

Today I went to Best Buy to trade in my iPad 2 and got that $126 gift card, as promised. I’ll be getting a smart cover for my iPad mini when I figure out which color I like best. I also went by Target again since the first time I didn’t put the full charge on my Target RedCard and I missed out on nearly $15 in savings from the 5% off I get with that card! I had thought that any portion of the charge made on my RedCard would result in 5% off the purchase, but it’s just 5% off the amount charged to the card. Makes total sense, and I should have known that. Good thing I checked my receipt and noticed it, or else that’s a nice meal’s worth of money I would have missed out on.

So now I proudly introduce to you my new gadget, in case you’ve never seen Apple packaging before. Ready for the unboxing?

2014-07-06 10.51.20

2014-07-06 10.53.03

2014-07-06 10.53.31

2014-07-06 10.53.43

Glad to see they had an info card instead of the whole pamphlet printed.

Glad to see they had an info card instead of the whole pamphlet printed.

Of course the plastic part is far more interesting to her.

Of course the plastic part is far more interesting to her.

2014-07-06 10.57.41

Just enough for one hand to hold.

Just enough for one hand to hold.

Trading in that old iPad... farewell!

Trading in that old iPad… farewell!

How to store your lightning charger

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , , , ,
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For awhile, I’d given up on using the charging cable for my iPhone 5. It started to come apart and I had to tape it at the end near the lightning head. It would only work at certain angles and I had to either hold it in place or very delicately position it with the phone on a surface. So, I bought another charger from a third party, which I loved. Unfortunately, it wore down over time too and stopped working recently. I started using my Apple-made cable again, but it was always a precarious situation and I could never be sure my phone was charging.

Finally, this weekend I was talking to Panda about it and he mentioned the possibility of getting it replaced. I figured I have nothing to lose, might as well try, right? So while his brother was in town, all three of us went out to the mall and found a guy at the Apple store. When I showed him my cable, he started to tell me about how normal wear and tear is not covered on the warranty and since mine was all taped up, he couldn’t replace it. He said he personally goes through them all the time (um, that’s not saying anything good about your product…) and then he shared some tips on how to preserve your lightning charger and minimize wear on it:

1. Always ensure the cable is straight when plugged in, both on the end plugging into your device and on the USB end. The connection to those areas are the weakest, and consistent bending causes them to rip.

2. Make sure you pull the cable from the firm plastic head and not the actual cable. This will reduce strain on the cable.

3. Never loop your cable a few times to store it, since this bends the ends. Instead, fold it over twice, then loosely knot that, as shown in the picture. This keeps the ends from bending, once again protecting the weakest points.

example of recommended way to store lightning charger cable as shown by apple store rep

Did you know this is a better way to store your cable?

Now this is all fine and dandy, but why didn’t they explain it to me when I got my device? It’s kind of too late now. Panda’s brother immediately asked to speak to the manager and as we explained to him how the tips were helpful (but way too late), I suggested that this is the type of thing they as an organization can educate us on when we buy a device. Panda asked whether the fact that my issue is not covered in the warranty was outlined, so the manager pulled up the agreement and looked for where it said that. It was pretty ambiguous with language about normal wear and tear (which means what, exactly?) and he must have been in a helpful mood, because he decided to replace my cable *this one time* (they always say that).

Luckily, some persistence (and getting to the right person who could actually make an executive decision), a peppering of questions, and a polite but disappointed demeanor seemed to do the trick for us. I got my new cable, no other questions asked, and now I am better educated on how to take care of it. Hopefully, you’ve now learned something that will help you from damaging your cables too!

iOS 7 review

laelene Posted in reviews,Tags: , , , , ,
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I’ve been running iOS 7 for about two weeks now and it’s been quite a change. Overall I really enjoy it, but there are definitely some issues that need to be worked out and new things to get adjusted to. Here are some of the highlights:

ios 7 geotargeted reminders feature with ability to change geofence radius

Geotargeting with the radius of your choice! Anywhere from 328 to 7.92 million feet, haha. I wished for this back when iOS 5 came out and now I have it!

ios 7 new ringtones list

New, more gentle and pleasant ringtones.

ios 7 new visual look and feel

Liking the new graphics – simpler, cleaner, brighter.

collage of ios 7 photo collections, new multitasking look, and safari tab browsing

New organization of photos into collections, more useful multitasking view with easy swipe to close, and better view of Safari tabs. All nice changes, but take some getting used to!

ios 7 new control panel feature

The Control Panel makes it easy to get to useful features. Finally, convenient access!

ios 7 weather app with sunset and sunrise indicators

I like knowing when sunrise and sunset are.

ios 7 block caller option

Being able to block callers will be helpful.

ios 7 text message times visible on right

If you pull to the left on the text messages, you can see the time of each, thank goodness.

ios 7 correct siri's pronunciation of words feature

It’s great to be able to correct Siri’s pronunciation.

ios 7 inclinometer feature

The compass now offers a hidden feature: inclinometer! Now you can figure out what perfectly balanced is.

And a few things that aren’t so great:

ios 7 new cleaner keyboard

For some reason the new keyboard is different enough to make my typing worse.

ios 7 multitasking feature

The apps keep having to reload when I move between them. I thought they were supposed to work in the background…

ios 7 lock screen with new keypad design

The screen fades too fast and I never tap it in time. Of course when I tried to get a screenshot of it fading I got the full brightness instead, but you get the point.

Have you updated to iOS 7? What do you think? Or what’s keeping you from making the change?

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