How I fast charge my iPhone

Here’s a trick I learned a while back.

There are times I want to fast charge my iPhone. By the way, I’m still using my iPhone 7 Plus. The 5W charger that comes with most iPhones is not able to fast charge and it’s also not able to charge other devices like my iPad.

Now, here’s the trick. Most iPads come with a 12W charging block. So to speed up charging on my iPhone I use my iPad charging block. According to Apple charging your iPhone with the iPad charger block won’t harm your iPhone.

Next time you want to speed up the charging time on your iPhone give this a try.

Gmail design update for iOS is rolling out soon in the App Store

I abandon Gmail a few years ago but I’m sure many of you who read my blog are using it. That said, Google has announced that its mobile apps for iOS and Android are being updated to bring them in line with the design changes and new features that are now available on the web. My last experience with Gmail on mobile was disappointing at best so I’m sure this is welcome news for you Gmail folks.

Nikolus Ray
Product Manager – Gmail

This update is part of a larger effort to make G Suite look and act like a family of products, designed in the Google Material Theme with ease-of-use in mind. We’ve already updated the web experiences for Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and most recently Google Docs and Sites. In the coming weeks, you’ll see the new mobile design in Gmail on Android and iOS, with more G Suite mobile apps to follow later this year.

Apple products are getting more expensive

I’ve been thinking about Apple’s pricing a lot lately. It’s reached a point where I’m not going to be able to afford to update my Apple hardware as often as I would like.

My Apple devices are getting dated but for now, I won’t be upgrading to any new devices. I’m going to have to use my existing hardware until it becomes unusable. Instead of having an iMac, MacBook, iPad, and iPhone as I do now I’ll be more selective in the future. For example, my iMac is a late 2013 non-retina. It’s getting dated. It’s stuck on Sierra. I love it but when it fails I won’t be replacing it. Instead, I’ll use my 2015 MacBook for all my computing needs. I just can’t justify the cost of owning two macs anymore.

I’ll also be sticking with my iPhone 7 Plus for now. It works great and does everything that I need for it to do. At a $1,000 plus a new iPhone Xs model isn’t in my budget.

I’ve got a feeling I’m not the only one feeling this way. Here’s a Washington Post article that does a nice job of laying Apple’s price hikes and what you should do if the price of Apple loyalty is getting hard for you to swallow.

Geoffrey A. Fowler and Andrew Van Dam, writing for the Washington Post

Apple has never made cheap stuff. But this fall many of its prices increased 20 percent or more. The MacBook Air went from $1,000 to $1,200. A Mac Mini leaped from $500 to $800. It felt as though the value proposition that has made Apple products no-brainers might unravel.

What we learned: Being loyal to Apple is getting expensive. Many Apple product prices are rising faster than inflation — faster, even, than the price of prescription drugs or going to college. Yet when Apple offers cheaper options for its most important product, the iPhone, Americans tend to take the more expensive choice. So while Apple isn’t charging all customers more, it’s definitely extracting more money from frequent upgraders.

What we see is a reflection of a new reality for consumer tech. Most Americans who want a smartphone, tablet or laptop already have one and aren’t interested in changing to a new system. Without big subsidies from phone carriers and as product innovation slows, we also don’t mind holding on to these products for three or more years. Apple, hoping to charge more every time we do buy, is changing how it gets money from us. So we need to change how we think about its value.

But the specs hardly matter. As any member of the Apple tribe will profess, it’s selling far more than sexy hardware. It’s an Apple-only operating system that works with all its other Apple-only stuff, like iMessage and iCloud — a (mostly) happy trap that’s hard to leave. You’re buying access to all those Apple Stores and customer service, not to mention Apple’s aggressive stance on privacy.

The paradox is that many Apple customers think they must have the latest, trained by Apple marketing to future-proof ourselves. So this year, instead of buying a year-old iPhone 8 at a discount or an iPhone XR (a much less expensive compromise to the top iPhone XS), many customers are skipping out on an upgrade altogether.

The question is: How far can Apple’s latest and greatest prices stretch? “Apple is becoming aggressive, perhaps overly so, in pricing the top- of-the-line models of its products,” says Rafi Mohammed, a pricing strategy consultant. And that is “putting its loyal relationship with its core customers at risk.”

In 2014, Americans waited about 24 months to upgrade their phones at national carriers, according to BayStreet. Now we’re waiting almost 36 months. People will ride their iPhone 6S until its wheels come off.

“I could see it going to four years” for phones, says industry analyst Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies.

So what should you do if the price of Apple loyalty is getting hard to swallow?

Instead, you might ask: How many Apple products do you really need?

Beyond that, it’s about recalibrating our upgrade urge. Apple devices really do last a long time, all the more so with the inexpensive battery replacements Apple is offering through the end of the year. If your iPhone breaks, used ones available on eBay can still work great for far less money.

Or: Before buying the new thing following one of Apple’s launch events, wait a month until the buzz settles. If the product doesn’t still seem very revolutionary, it’s a safe bet to save your money by holding on for another year. Or four.

My 2019 Must-Have iOS Apps for iPhone and iPad

This article is an annual tradition: towards the end of December I summarize My Must-Have iOS Apps for iPhone and iPad that I will be using for the next year. This is always among my most popular posts. I’m sharing my 2019 must have apps in hopes you’ll discover a new app or two that will improve your workflow or make you more productive.

During 2018 I tried a lot of different apps. Some I liked and switched to, others I tried and didn’t like and stayed with what I’d been using. Having the right app for the right task on the right device is key to my productivity.

You can find My 2019 Must-Have Mac Apps here.

My iPhone and iPad setup:

My iPhone is a 32 GB Silver 7 Plus. My iPad is a 2017 9.7” with Retina display with 128 GB of storage.

Here’s my software and what I use it for:

Safari
Safari is my browser on iOS.

Mail.app
Fastmail IMAP works flawlessly with the stock mail.app.

Messages
Messages is for messaging with my friends and family.

Things 3
Things 3 is for task management and reminders. I love the simplicity of how it works. I wrote an article about it here.

Fantastical 2
Fantastical is my calendar app. It’s where I keep all my appointments and some reminders.

Bear
Bear is my notes and lists app. I’ve been a pro user since the inception of the app. It’s beautiful to work in, search is excellent and I’ve never had a sync issue.

Drafts
Drafts is my multi-purpose writing and note taking app. I use it as the first stop for most everything I write and use its extensibility to send it anywhere. It has a customizable keyboard, which allows me to add one button actions. Then there are an array of export actions once I finish creating. I’ve written about how I use Drafts here.

Ulysses
Ulysses is the app I use to write my stories. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it since it went subscription. During the year I tried other writing apps but none compares with Ulysses. I do most all my writing on my Mac so it’s rarely used on my iPhone and iPad other than for a quick add to one of my stores or for the share sheet.

Copied
Copied is my cross-platform clipboard history manager. I’ve written about it here.

Day One Journal
Day one is for keeping a life log of things that go on in my life.

Reeder
Reeder is my newsreader for my Feedly RSS feeds.

Tweetbot
Tweetbot is for reading my Twitter feed.

Instapaper
Instapaper is my read it later service. I wrote an article about my Instapaper workflow here.

Overcast
Overcast is where I listen to podcasts.

1Password
1Password is my password manager.

Launch Center Pro
Launch Center Pro is for launching actions in a single tap.

PCalc
PCalc is my stock calculator replacement. I use it for its additional features and customization.

Scanner Pro
Scanner Pro allows me to scan paper documents into PDFs that look clean and professional.

TunnelBear VPN
TunnelBear is my VPN for security on public WiFi and web browsing privacy.

Garmin Connect
Connect is for recording and tracking my cycling and running activities.

Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1 privacy-first DNS service is now available as an iOS app

I’ve been using Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1 DNS service on my Mac since reading a post by Kirk McElhearn on the Intego Mac Security Blog about the service. The service was introduced April 1st of this year and is designed to be faster than traditional DNS services and more private which is what got my attention.

There are a number of things to explain here. First, DNS, or domain name system, is the system that acts like a sort of phone book on the Internet. Instead of having to remember a numerical IP address, such as 96.126.119.191, you can type intego.com to go to the Intego website. There is a huge directory that records the correspondence between these numerical addresses and domain names to facilitate Internet usage, and to make it easy to move a domain from one server to another.

Most people rely on the DNS server provided by their ISP or phone company. By default, your Macs and iOS devices look for this DNS server, which is either specified in your router, or in the server your iPhone connects to, in order to perform this address translation. But you don’t need to use this DNS server; you can use any one you want. In many cases, ISP’s DNS servers may not be the fastest ones, and this can have a big effect on your Internet usage. For example, if a web page is made up of multiple elements, that are not all hosted on the same server, your browser has to request these elements at a number of servers, and each different domain name requires a new request.

In addition, some ISPs may record the metadata of your Internet activity, or the requests you make: the websites you visit, the servers you connect to, and more.

Now, months after announcing its privacy-focused DNS service, Cloudflare is introducing an iOS app. Having had a good experience using 1.1.1.1 on my Macs I didn’t hesitate to install the iOS app on my iPhone and iPad. I’ve been running the app now for several days and it has been working great and definitely seems to be faster.

For instructions on setting up 1.1.1.1 on your Mac visit this page using your Mac and scroll down to Setup on Mac. For iOS, you can download the app from the App Store, or to set it up manually visit this page using your iOS device and scroll down to Setup on iOS.

iOS 12 keyboard trackpad on iPhone or iPad

Having a trackpad on my iPhone and iPad comes in really handy for moving the cursor around in a document versus trying to tap the cursor where I want it.

If you’re not using the trackpad feature you should give it a try. Here’s how:

If your device has 3D Touch – which includes most iPhones since 2015’s iPhone 6s – you can hard press the keyboard whenever it’s present onscreen, turning it into a makeshift trackpad. If you have an iPhone SE or iPhone XR with iOS 12 -both of which lack 3D Touch -you can now long-press the spacebar to invoke the same trackpad.

Via appleinsider

iOS Safari content blockers

Ben Brooks has published his test results for Safari content blockers. Since I’ve been thinking about a different blocker I found his testing to be helpful. Up until today, I’ve been using the original 1Blocker which is now called Legacy since 1Blocker X was introduced several months ago. By the way, 1Blocker X is Ben’s overall number one pick.

My concern has been whether the developer will continue to update the Legacy app?

So after reading Ben’s evaluation I’m switching over to BlockBear his second choice overall but his first choice for those who don’t want to tinker with the settings and that’s me. As a side note, I also use TunnelBear VPN by the same developer.

Safari Content Blocker Evaluations – 9/26/18 Edition

I ran another round of content blocker testing for Mobile Safari in order to take a look at which ones are the ‘best’ right now. To be fair: it’s really hard to find these content blockers on the App Store now, so I grabbed the ones which looked the most popular to me (top lists, and top search results) and then did the testing to see which was the best.

BLOCKBEAR

My overall rating on this was: quick, not perfect. If I needed to tell a non-technical friend or family member which content blocker to use, this would be the content blocker I would tell them to use. The setup is “cute” and dead simple. The entire app is dead simple actually, and it worked pretty well overall. No customization, but it does have whitelisting if that family member keeps having trouble with a site.

And it is fast, as it is tied for the fastest of the group. It’s not what I recommend for most people who regularly read this site, as I suspect you’ll want the features of 1Blocker X. That said, I can understand why you would use this. It’s simple and easy. And that you can whitelist from the share sheet in Safari, only makes it an even better pick for those who want ease of use.