Customize AssistiveTouch in iOS 9

If you use AssistiveTouch, you’ll pleased to know that in iOS 9 you can customize the top menu and add two more icons to the AssistiveTouch menu.

Customize AssistiveTouch in iOS 9

On the Settings app, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch > Customize Top Level Menu… By default, six buttons are shown on the AssistiveTouch menu. Tap on the “+” or “-“ button to add or remove the number of buttons. You can add up to a total of 8 buttons.

How to customise AssistiveTouch in iOS 9

Tap on any of the button to change. A menu will pop up for you to select the action to associate with the button. If you’re unhappy with any of the editing you’ve done, tap the Reset… button to get back the factory default settings.

Ask Siri to identify a song

Ask Siri to identify a song

Instead of opening app such as Shazam or SoundHound, you can ask Siri “what song is this” to identify a song. This is handy especially if you’re driving, and is faster than using app. Internally Siri is using the technology from Shazam to give you the result. 

How to disable “Hey Siri” on iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

How to disable

On the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the M9 motion coprocessor is build within the main A9 processor. As a result, “Hey Siri” can be always on, ready to listen to your command. With previous iPhones, “Hey Siri” is active when power is plugged in.

Sometimes, “Hey Siri“ can be activated unexpectedly in embarrassing situations. You can temporarily disable “Hey Siri” by placing your phone face down.

To switch off the always on “Hey Siri”, go to Settings > General > Siri. Simply turn off Allow “Hey Siri” switch to disable “Hey Siri”.

Watch out for your mobile data usage with Wi-Fi Assist in iOS 9

iOS 9 has a brand new cellular settings called Wi-Fi Assist which is turned on by default. It has good intention. When Wi-Fi Assist is on, iPhone will detect when you have weak Wi-Fi signal, and automatically switch over to a cellular connection.

This is great to ensure your online experience doesn’t suffer. But it might cause you to incur large mobile data usage unexpectedly. If you do not have an unlimited mobile plan, watch out for your mobile data usage or go ahead to disable Wi-Fi Assist.

Go to Settings > Cellular. Scroll down all the way to the bottom for the Wi-Fi Assist switch. Tap to turn it off.

Watch out for your mobile data usage with Wi-Fi Assist in iOS 9

A reminder for early Apple Music adopters

A reminder for early Apple Music adopters

If you’re an early adopter and signed up for Apple Music on its launch day, this is a reminder that the three month’s free trial is ending on September 30. Apple Music membership by default is set to auto-renew. You’ll be charged the monthly subscription automatically once the free trial ended. If you intend not to continue using the streaming service, check out this post on how to turn off auto-renew for Apple Music subscription on iOS devices or Mac.

Safari ad blocker requires 64-bit iPhone and iPad

iOS 9 comes with the capability to block ads when browsing using Safari. To start blocking any ads, you install one or more ad blocker apps from the App Store. However you need iPhone or iPad with 64 bit processor. 

Apple A7 is the first 64-bit processor for iOS devices. At the minimum, you need iPhone 5s, iPad mini 2 or iPad Air in order to run ad blockers. On older devices, ad blockers are listed on the App Store but you’d get a “This app is not compatible with your device” error when you tried to download.

Safari ad blocker requires 64-bit iPhone and iPad

It is easy to see why Apple chooses to restrict ad blocker to the more powerful iOS devices. Ad blocker contains rules that instruct Safari on what to do while it loads a web page. One example of the rule could be to “remove ads when visiting”. The more ad blocker you installed (and depending on how many rules each one contains), Safari requires more CPU time to process the rules each and every time you view a web page.

Apple has designed an efficient ad blocking capability thus the performance penalty is negligible when running ad blockers. 

It is early days as more ad blocker apps are expected to swamp into the App Store. If you have any recommendation, feel free to highlight your favourite ad blocker in the comments below.

Apple posted XcodeGhost questions and answers page

Apple posted XCodeGhost questions and answers page

Malware creators are an ingenious lot. Apple has build iOS and the App Store as bullet proof as possible, but then came XcodeGhost. Instead of hacking iOS directly, this time hacker planted malware into Xcode, the tool used by developers to build and submit iOS apps to the App Store. Apps that are build with infected Xcode are said to transmit account information including passwords.

The incident first appeared in the China market last week, where developers in that country often obtain Xcode not directly from Apple, but from non-official sites for faster download speed. Several high profiles app such as WeChat, DiDi Taxi and even Angry Birds 2 are affected.

Apple has stepped up its effort to counter the spread of XcodeGhost. It worked with infected apps’ developers to release clean update, and has removed the rest of of known infected apps. It has published a XcodeGhost Questions and Answer site which list all known infected apps. If you’re using any of them, just update to the latest release and you will be fine.

In addition, Apple has also publish guideline and steps to developers on how to validate the integrity of their version of Xcode. It is also working to make it faster for developers in China to download Xcode from official site. Check out XcodeGhost Questions and Answer for more detail.

How to search settings in iOS 9

New in iOS 9 is the ability to search for settings. On the Settings app, slide down on the main screen to reveal the search box. Type your search text to display the search result. Tap on the listing to go directly to the particular settings screen. The search includes third party apps that store their preferences in the Settings app.

How to search settings in iOS 9

This is a feature that should have been in iOS since the beginning. It is a pain to remember or poke around where a particular preference is located in the Settings app. Finally there is no more time wasted fishing around aimlessly for a setting location.

How to switch back to all uppercase keyboard in iOS 9

Before iOS 9, the onscreen keyboard is fixed with all uppercase characters, irregardless if the shift/caps lock key is on or off. iOS 9 changes the keyboard by displaying lowercase or uppercase characters reflecting the status of the shift/caps lock key status.

It take times to get used to this new “what you see is what you tap” keyboard, and is something you need to adjust to since this will be the default behaviour going forward. But if you’d like to revert back to an all uppercase keyboard again, you can change it using Settings app.

Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Keyboard. Turn off the switch for “Show Lowercase Keys”. This is not recommended unless you find the lowercase keys too small to read properly.

Turn off show lowercase keys for onscreen keyboard in iOS 9

Better battery management in iOS 9

Apple has optimized iOS 9 for better battery usage, and can extend battery life for an additional hour on iPhones under normal usage. Some trick is deployed to get more juices out of the battery. When the iPhone is placed facedown, iOS 9 uses the ambient light and proximity sensor to determine that the screen is not visible, and will stop the screen from turning on. Any incoming notification will not light up the screen.

iOS 9 also comes with a new Low Power Mode that can add up to three hours of battery life. When under Low Power Mode, iOS 9 reduces battery draining features. Network activity will be limited, automatic mail fetch is disabled, background app refresh and downloads are turned off and screen brightness are reduced. Low Power Mode also reduces the CPU speed so it drains less battery. Benchmark suggests the performance hit can be as high as 40% while on Low Power Mode.

iOS 9 Low Power Mode

iOS 9 will prompt you the option to turn on Low Power Mode when the battery level is at 20% and again at 10% if it is not on. If you missed the low battery alerts, you can switch on Low Power Mode under Settings > Battery.

For the first time in iOS, you can tell which app is taking most of the battery life. Visit Settings > Battery to view the usage details. Pay attention to app that is rarely used but is taking up the top spot.

Better battery management in iOS 9