Archive for Apple

My Apple Watch Band Collection – Fall 2019

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , on November 6, 2019 by itnerd

Earlier this year I posted an article on the Apple Watch bands that I use on a daily basis. Then I followed that up with another post this summer. Both posts proved to be very popular. Thus here’s an update as to what I am using at present. There are changes that I have made to my watch band collection since the summer. But what hasn’t changed is what I store my watch bands in. Which is the Twelve South TimePorter:

This has enough space to hold all my Apple Watch bands that I currently rotate through. Anything that I am not currently using gets popped into a box in my den. The big plus to the TimePorter is that you can put an Apple Watch charger in it along with a slim battery pack to allow you to charge on the go. You can even fold it up to a 45 degree angle to use it as a display stand which is a great use case for a hotel room.

As for the bands that I have on the go, here’s what I’m currently using:

Urban Armor Gear Nato Strap for Apple Watch

I really like this band because it goes with the sort of business casual clothing that I wear But at the same time because it is made of high strength nylon and has hardware made of stainless steel, I can use it to work out with. For example in our recent road trip to PEI this past summer, it was the only band that I wore as I could hike or cycle with it in the day, and go out to dinner with it at night. It also fits my Road ID for Apple Watch which gives me a bit of extra safety when I ride my bike for example. Plus it is super comfortable.

The Watch Strap Company Mesh Loop

When I want a add a bit of style, this is one of the bands that I go to. This Mesh Loop (The Watch Strap Company’s term for the Milanese Loop) uses stainless steel that is very soft and comfortable to wear. And it is very premium feeling and durable. Which is a good thing as The Watch Strap Company gear isn’t exactly cheap. But it’s very much worth it as it really ups my Apple Watch Game when I wear suits or business causal clothing.

Urban Armor Gear Leather Watch Strap For Apple Watch

IMG_1374

My wife got one of these leather watch straps from Urban Armor Gear and I was insanely jealous. That’s because it’s high quality Italian leather that feels super comfortable on your wrist and goes with pretty much any style of clothing. It’s also got stainless steel hardware that makes sure your Apple Watch stays on your wrist. That includes a snap that locks everything into place so that there’s no way the watch will come off your wrist. Thus I had to get one to not only up my Apple Watch game, but to also replace two leather bands that were not even close to the level of quality that the Urban Armor Gear band offers.

The Watch Strap Company Link Bracelet

Another band that is on my go to list when I need something more upscale is the Watch Strap Company Link Bracelet. This is another top shelf product from the company that has the look and feel of the Apple Link Bracelet without the Apple price. It’s a very premium feeling product and goes great with everything from suits or business causal clothing.

Nike Sport Band From Apple

fullsizeoutput_e55

A client of mine gave me two Apple Watch bands to thank me for coming to her rescue the day after my wife and I got back from our vacation in PEI. The first one was the Nike Sport Band from Apple which I will wear when I am doing something athletic like hiking or working out in the gym. One big plus is that it also fits my Road ID for Apple Watch which gives me a bit of extra safety should I feel the need to use it with this band.

Nike Sport Loop From Apple

fullsizeoutput_e56

The other band that this client gave me is the Nike Sport Loop from Apple. It has a reflective weave that gives you a bit of extra safety in lower light conditions. Plus sport loops are super comfortable to wear as you can get the exact fit that you need. I have also kind of jerry rigged my Road ID for Apple Watch to work with it. Thus this is my go to band when I ride my bike.

Urban Armor Gear Active Watch Strap

This is another go to band if I need to do something athletic as it will stay on my wrist no matter what I do, but it will feel comfortable the entire time I wear it. After all, if my wife was able to use this band to do an extreme trail running race and have the watch stay on her wrist, anything that I do should be a non-issue. This band is a total winner for Urban Armor Gear.

That’s my Apple Watch band collection. One thing that I have to say to those who have Apple Watches and want to have good quality upscale bands is that you should skip the really cheap bands on Amazon. Those ones from personal experience don’t have good quality materials and typically will not last all that long. Bands from companies like Apple, The Watch Strap Company, and Urban Armor Gear are examples of good quality watch bands that should be part of your collection.

What Apple Watch bands do you use? I’d be interested in hearing from women with Apple Watches as seeing as I have put forward a collection for men. Thus I figure that many women would be interested in what women use. But male users should join in on the conversation as well by leaving a comment and sharing their thoughts.

 

 

Apple Called Out By Many Including Tumblr CTO Because Of Serious Background App Management Issues In iOS 13.2

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 1, 2019 by itnerd

I’ve been saying for years Apple has a serious software quality issue that they cannot seem to fix. And its reared its head again with reports from sites like MacRumors and iMore that background app management in iOS 13.2 is horribly broken. What you’ll likely see if you have an iPhone running iOS 13.2 is that an app that gets tossed into the background will be force quit and have to restart. So if for example you were playing a YouTube video on the YouTube app and you toss it into the background to answer a text message, and then you go back to the YouTube app, YouTube will be force quit and you’d have to start the video over.

Here’s a video from Aaron Zollo of Zollotech that shows this in action:

In other words, the iPhone doesn’t multitask anymore. And that’s an #EpicFail in 2019. So much so that the CTO of Tumblr Marco Arment has called out Apple on this, oddly enough on Twitter:

That’s not subtle. But he’s right. While I won’t use the colorful language that he’s used, Apple’s software quality is horribly broken. As in Apple cannot hide this and make excuses for it anymore. Apple really needs to admit that they have a problem on this front, then get serious about fixing it so that they can go back to the days when stuff “just works” rather than what we have now which is a train wreck next to a dumpster fire.

Given the state of play when it comes to Apple’s software quality, or lack of it, no wonder iOS 13 is considered the buggiest release of iOS ever.

Is iOS 13 The Buggiest Version Of iOS Ever?

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 29, 2019 by itnerd

iOS 13 since it was released on September 19th has seen a rapid rate of updates to it. More than I have ever seen for an Apple OS in the 30 or so years that I have been following Apple. I illustrated this via a Tweet last night:

This Tweet got 21 likes as I type this. But it also got this reply:

And this reply:

So, that made me ask if iOS 13 was the buggiest iOS release ever. Well, I can say that iOS 13 did not get off to the best start. It shipped the day before the new iPhones came out (more on that in a moment) and it was insanely buggy and bordering on unusable. It was the source of a lot of anger online towards Apple as a result. Promised features were pulled shortly before the release. And in an unexpected move, iOS 13.1 went into beta BEFORE iOS 13 was even out to the public. That was the big hint that iOS 13 was a train wreck next to a dumpster fire. To top it all off, Apple moved the release of iOS 13.1 up by a week. I’m assuming that they did that because of how bad iOS 13 was.

So from what I just wrote above, you can surmise that iOS 13 was rushed out the door so that Apple could ship the new iPhones. I admit that’s a cynical view of things. But there’s no other logical explanation as to why Apple would ship something that bad out the door, then quickly shipped an update less than a week later. If you accept that Apple is likely still smarting from the drop in iPhone sales over the last year, this then seems very plausible. In other words, Apple clearly made a decision that shipping new iPhones was more important than shipping a mobile operating system that worked.

Now iOS 13.1 was actually usable unlike what Apple released the week before. But it was still buggy. In my case, I noted bugs in Mail and Apple CarPlay. But there were many other bugs that users saw. Many, many other bugs. But since iOS 13.1 appeared, Apple has been releasing updates at a rapid rate. You can see from my Tweet above how quickly they have been releasing updates as some of them only days apart. And things have improved at a marginal rate. This continued all the way up to yesterday’s release of iOS 13.2 which had a ton of bug fixes in it that Apple actually admitted to. And so far in the less than 24 hours that I have had it on my iPhone, it’s the best iOS 13 release yet. Though the bar was pretty low on that front.

So I guess you could make an argument that based on the above that iOS 13 is really really buggy. And you might be right. But I do not know if you could objectively say that it is the buggiest iOS release ever as nobody outside Apple would have the data required to confirm or deny that. Now to Apple’s credit, they are fixing bugs as fast as they can. And that’s a bit of a departure for Apple as this company has been known to do the exact opposite. But having said that, Apple should never have been in the position to be throwing updates out to the public as fast has they have been. Especially seeing as this is a company that is supposedly known for having the best user experience when it comes to their products. Clearly they are still dealing with the issues that I’ve raised in the past. If they were smart, they’d take my advice as to how to fix that as the current state of play is not good to say the least.

Speaking of the current state of play, I also posted this last night:

Anyone want to place a bet on whether that happens?

Adding The Apple TV To My Roku TV Was “Interesting”

Posted in Commentary with tags , on October 16, 2019 by itnerd

Yesterday the Apple TV app for Roku devices was released. Since my wife and I have a fair amount of Apple gear in our home, and we have a TCL TV that is powered by Roku, we decided to add the app to our TV.

Now downloading the Apple TV app was straightforward based on the instructions provided by Roku.:

  • Press the Home button on the Roku remote.
  • Scroll up or down and select Streaming Channels to open the Channel Store.
  • Select Search Channels.
  • Begin entering Apple TV. If you don’t get the result, your device may not support the channel.
  • When you see the channel, use the directional pad on your Roku remote to highlight Apple TV.
  • Press the OK button OK button on Roku remote to view details.
  • Select Add Channel.

The next part was to start the channel up and add our respective Apple IDs to the channel so that we could buy, rent, or use purchases. That’s where things got “interesting.” Here are the instructions provided by Roku. And because I am the tech guy in the relationship, I went first in terms of doing the following:

  1. Launch the Apple TV channel.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select Accounts.
  4. Select Sign In.
  5. Two sign-in options appear on your TV.
    1. Choose Sign In On Mobile Device to sign in using your smartphone. You can either navigate to activate.apple.com and enter the code displayed on your TV, or scan the QR code that appears. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the sign in process.
    2. Or, you can choose Sign In On This TV and enter your Apple ID directly on your TV screen using your Roku remote.
  6. If you do not have an Apple ID, select Create an Apple ID. You can either navigate to activate.apple.com and enter the code displayed on your TV, or scan the QR code that appears. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the sign up process. You will be signed in automatically once you are finished.

At step 5 I chose option “a” and scanned the QR Code using the camera app on my iPhone. That opened a browser which required me to enter my Apple ID and password. At that point a notification popped up on both my iPhone and Apple Watch asking me to confirm that I was actually logging in. I did so, then it asked me to enter a six digit number. Now this is Apple’s two factor authentication which is meant to protect your Apple ID from being taken over by someone who wants to buy music or movies, or just make your life miserable. I memorized the six digit code and tried to enter it. Except that it didn’t recognize the code. So I sent myself a new code and tried again. And got the same result. This time I thought about it and the light bulb came on. Because I was signing up on my iPhone, I was clearing the notification which must be clearing the code that it was sending me which in turn made it invalid when I entered it. So I sent a third code to myself and this time I used my Apple Watch. I noted that the notification popped up on both my iPhone and Apple Watch, but disappeared off of my iPhone when I started to interact with it on my Apple Watch. This time I was successfully able to enter the code and my Apple ID popped up on the TV.

I thought at this point I could declare victory and have a beer. But fate had other ideas as the Apple TV app then promptly crashed and I was forced to reboot the TV to get any amount of control on it. When I got back into the Apple TV app after the reboot, my Apple ID was not present and I had to go through the above process again to add it.

#Fail

After doing that I exited the Apple TV app and re-entered the app to confirm that my Apple ID was still there. At this point I could deem this a success. Then I had my wife go through the same exercise. And in the interest of science I didn’t tell her about my experience. Unsurprisingly she ran into exactly the same issues with dealing with Apple’s two factor authentication that I did. After talking her through that, she was successful in terms of adding her Apple ID.

Now what we perhaps should have done to make our lives easier was not to use the QR code method, but instead go to activate.apple.com and enter the code displayed on the TV instead. That may have yielded better results. I will test that shortly and update this post with the results. But as it stands, using a mobile device to connect your Apple ID to the Apple TV app on Roku appears to only work when you have multiple devices handy. In our case the iPhone and Apple Watch. That seems to be a bit of an oversight that really needs to be corrected as it truly makes the on boarding experience frustrating. Which means that people might give up and not want to use the Apple TV app on Roku. My advice to Apple and Roku is to look at this and see if this could be improved.

A Follow Up To My Story On Optimized Battery Charging

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 9, 2019 by itnerd

When I last wrote about optimized battery charging in iOS 13, I explained how the feature works in theory and my observations about the feature. At the time, I noted the behavior that I was seeing and the fact that the feature had not turned on for me yet. A couple of days ago, I noted this:

fullsizeoutput_e49

If you look at the charge pattern, it charged to 80% between 10PM and midnight. It stayed that way until about 3AM when it started charging to 100% which ended at just around 5AM roughly. So at that point, the phone was ready to go for when I woke up at 6AM. I also noted that it doesn’t always do this. For example, today I woke up to find that it did normal charging and not optimized charging. So I am assuming that this is still a work in progress.

Another data point is that I have been observing my wife’s iPhone XR to see if I see similar behaviors to my iPhone XS. As I type this, even though the feature is turned on, it has made no attempt since iOS 13 has been installed to do any sort of optimized charging. That’s weird. It would be nice if Apple provided better documentation on how this feature worked so that there’s way less guesswork on my part. But all Apple provides is this document on the feature which really doesn’t help to explain the behaviors that I am seeing.

I will continue to monitor this and provide my observations on this feature.

What You Should Do Before Upgrading To macOS Catalina….. And Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade Just Yet

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 4, 2019 by itnerd

Apple is expected to release their latest OS which is macOS Catalina sometime next week. Before we go on, here’s a list of what macOS Catalina will run on:

  • 12-inch MacBook
  • MacBook Air, 2012 and later
  • MacBook Pro, 2012 and later
  • Mac mini, 2012 and later
  • iMac, 2012 and later
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac Pro, 2013 and later

If your Mac isn’t on this list, you’re out of luck. But assuming that it is, here’s some tips on what you might want to do before you pull that trigger and upgrade. And a couple reasons why you shouldn’t.

  1. Don’t Upgrade… At least not yet. Part I: macOS Catalina has a major new change to it. It only supports 64-bit apps. Which means apps that you might depend on won’t work because they are 32-bit and not 64-bit apps. That alone is a great reason to sit this one out. Or at least sit it out until your apps get updated. Which means you have to check to see if you have any 32-bit on hand. Here’s how you do it:
    1. Select About This Mac
    2. Select System Report
    3. In the left menu, scroll down to software and select Applications
    4. Click and drag the lower right corner of the screen to expand the window, so that the 64bit apps column appears.
    5. Click 64bit apps, to sort the apps. Anything that has a “NO” needs to be upgraded. Thus you should pester the app vendor for an 64-bit version (app vendors have been told that this was happening since 2017 so they should have been ready for this) or find an alternative.
  2. Don’t Upgrade… At least not yet. Part II: The other reason why you shouldn’t upgrade is that Apple’s initial releases tend to be buggy. But they get better after they release an update or two. So you may want to wait until at least the first update hits the streets before making the jump.
  3. If you Must Upgrade, Make A Backup: Needless to say, making a backup of your current setup is vital before upgrading. That way you have a way to go back to where you were if things don’t work out. There’s plenty of backup solutions out there from Apple’s own Time Machine to third party utilities such as Carbon Copy Cloner that can be used for this purpose.
  4. Upgrade Your Software BEFORE You Upgrade: You should ensure that all your application software is up to date before you pull the trigger on upgrading. Ditto for the current version of macOS that you’re using. That will reduce the risk that something might go sideways during the upgrade.
  5. Run Disk Utility BEFORE You Upgrade: The last thing I would do is boot of the Recovery Partition and run Disk Utility to verify the volume that you plan to install the upgrade on. It likely wouldn’t hurt to do a permission repair as well.

At this point you should be good to go. Key word being SHOULD. Upgrading an operating system isn’t a trivial process. But if you take these steps beforehand, you should reduce the risk of any issues. Or you can take my first suggestion which is to wait a bit. Then follow the rest of my advice.

Optimized Battery Charging In iOS 13…. What Is It?

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 1, 2019 by itnerd

One of the things that iOS 13 brought to the table for iPhone users is this:

EFJYJ_-XoAEobKQ

So what does this feature do? Before I get to that, let me explain why this feature exists.

As lithium-ion batteries are charged and discharged, the chemical structure in them breaks down. Over lots of charge-and-discharge cycles, they become unable to hold as much charge or deliver as much power all at once. This can cause issues like unexpected reboots or the iPhone may slow down. In short, you might see the sort of issues that became known as #BatteryGate which caused a huge PR and legal problem for Apple not too long ago.

You can check to see what state your battery is in via going to the same place that you find Optimized Battery Charge. Just look for the maximum capacity percentage. As a rule, a normal battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 500 complete charge cycles when operating under normal conditions. A charge cycle being a complete discharge and recharge. If you battery is approaching 80%, you should consider getting a new battery.

So what Apple has done is figured out a way to lengthen the life of the lithium-ion batteries in iPhones by figuring out your usage patterns via the machine learning capabilities on your iPhone, and using that information to figure out how to charge the battery to give you a 100% charge right when you need it. Specifically, the iPhone is charged at full speed up to the 80% mark. Charging is then stopped at this point. Then based on the machine learning that it has done, the last 20% is charged just before you need to use the phone. That’s important because what really hurts the battery is the need to continuously top it up to stay at 100% as it is constantly being charged over several hours overnight. That’s why Optimized Battery Charging can make such a difference to iPhone users as it will increase the life of your battery, which means your iPhone will last longer.

In my case, this feature was off when I first looked at it. But my research indicates that after the install of iOS 13 it should be on by default. Thus I cannot explain why it was off in my case. But I suspect it might be a bug as various parts of this feature were broken in iOS 13. But they were fixed in iOS 13.1 according to the release notes. Thus if you want to really leverage this feature, you should ensure that you are running iOS 13.1. 

Now in the interest of showing you how this works, I am currently using this feature. And based on what I have researched, it may take me a few weeks to fully illustrate how it works as it takes about that long for the machine learning on your iPhone to learn your habits to predict when you will need to have your phone charged and ready to go. But I do have some early observations. After installing iOS 13.1 on Tuesday September 24th I charged my phone as normal. I kept an eye on what it was doing via this method:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Battery

When I did that on the morning of the 26th I was presented with this graph:

IMG_1280

This is what the phone did from a battery perspective over the last 24 hours on Wednesday from just before noon to Thursday just before noon. The relevant portion is the green graph from roughly 10PM when I went to sleep. The phone started to charge and then stopped when it hit 80% just around midnight. This apparently is “normal” for this feature. It then stayed there until 6AM. Which meant that I started off the day with an 80% charge. I then went about my day without charging and went to bed around 10PM where I had about 20% of a charge left. This repeated itself until September 28th when I saw this: 

IMG_1287

It’s started charging to 100% consistently. From here, I expect it to keep doing this until it gets to the point where it can predict when you need the phone. And at that point the phone will start charging in a different manner. I will do a follow up post on that.

Finally to either turn on Optimized Battery Charging or to check to see if it is on, you can do the following:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Battery
  3. Tap on Battery Health.
  4. You’ll see the option for Optimized Battery Charging.

One last thing. When optimized battery charging is active, as in it has learned enough about your behavior to predict when you will need your phone, you will see a notification on the Lock screen that gives you the time when your phone will be charged. If you need to have your iPhone fully charged sooner, you can touch and hold the notification and then tap “Charge Now.” That’s handy if you need to use the phone outside of the hours that the iPhone thinks that you will need it.