Use Google or Wikipedia for search in Siri

Siri’s default search engine is Microsoft Bing. There is no option to change the default to use other search engine such as Google or Yahoo!.

Use Google or Wikipedia for search in Siri

You however can say “Search Google for” to get Siri to use Google to search for the results you want. For example ask Siri to “Search Google for Captain America”, and Siri will launch Safari and display the search results for “Captain America”. Similarly you can say “Search Wikipedia for” to search for entry in Wikipedia.

iOS is keeping your Frequent Locations by default

There are many apps that use the iOS location services. Apps such as Maps, Camera, Weather, App Store, Safari or even Dropbox. If you’re using at least one such app for location specific info, you have Location Services enabled on your iOS.

When Location Services is turned on, by default Frequent Locations is enabled. Frequent Locations is an iOS system services that record “places that you frequently visit in order to provide useful location-related information”.

To locate this settings, go to Privacy > Location Services on Settings app. Scroll all the way to the bottom and locate System Services > Frequent Locations.

iOS is keeping your Frequent Locations by default

For each frequent location in the History list, tap on it to display a map and detail timing of when you visited the place. You can clear this history if you choose by tapping on “Clear History”.

These Frequent Locations info is cached in your iOS devices. If you have “Improve Maps” settings switch on, these location info will also be accessible by Maps and other Apple apps such as Reminders. This is to allow Apple apps to give you more useful location-based info. It is anyone’s guess if Apple is storing these info on their server. If you’re not comfortable with these info available anywhere, just turn off the switches for “Frequent Locations” and “Improve Maps”.

How to hide notifications from appearing on your Mac’s lock screen

Notifications are part and parcel of computing life on the OS X. Starting with OS X Mavericks, notifications even appear on the lock screen of your Mac. This is unfortunately the default behaviour. Notifications can be rather personal especially for those coming from Calendar, Reminders and FaceTime, and are not something you want on your lock screen especially for a Mac in public, office or school.

To disable notifications from appearing on the lock screen, go to System Preferences > Notifications. Select an app and uncheck “Show notifications on lock screen”.

How to hide notifications from appearing on your Mac lock screen

You will need to manually uncheck this box for every OS X app that sends out notifications. Yes you read it right. There is no global switch to turn it off for all apps at once. Lets hope Apple build a global toggle for next version of OS X.

Background apps are draining your iPhone battery (and what you can do about it)

iOS has not been generous when it comes to allowing apps to run in background. The reason is obvious, apps running in the background are a drain to battery life, and short battery life is still a concern for iOS devices. Prior to iOS 7, only music apps and location based apps are granted to run in background. Apple expands the ability for apps to run in background in iOS 7 by introducing Background App Refresh feature.

Apps that take advantage of Background App Refresh can refresh themselves in the background. Apps running in the background can check if new content is available, download the content, and make available new content immediately when you launch the app. Apps can also schedule background refreshes based on your location. App refreshes in the background can also be triggered by a push notification.

Apps that implements Background App Refresh does not have the liberty to run in background at will. iOS 7 learns about your usage pattern of the app and tries to predict when an app should be updated in the background. App background refresh is normally schedule at times when your device is plugged into a power source, connected to Wi-Fi or being actively used.

With more and more apps taking advantage of Background App Refresh, some of you have noticed that the iPhone’s battery life is draining a little too quickly lately. There’s a simple fix by adjusting two simple settings.

Background apps are draining your iPhone battery and what you can do about it disable background app refresh

First, go to General > Background App Refresh on Settings app. Turn off those apps that are not essential. 

Background apps are draining your iPhone battery and what you can do about it disable location services

Then, go to Privacy > Location Services. Similarly turn off those apps that are not essential.

To have maximum benefit to your iPhone’s battery life, you should have as few apps in the above two settings turn on. Facebook for iOS has been reported to tax the battery life heavily via background jobs. Disable it for Background App Refresh and Location Services if you’re a Facebook user.

How to mute Gmail inbox conversations

Email Reply-All conversations can be a nuisance at times, especially when it is a thread that just won’t die or you have no interest in the thread. Wish you could shout out loud “Please stop replying to all!!”? If you’re using Gmail, you can silently drop out of the conversations using the “mute” feature.

When you mute an email conversations in Gmail, all new messages to you in the thread will bypass the Inbox and will be archived. To mute, open the email thread, click on the More button on the message toolbar. Select Mute from the drop down box.

How to mute Gmail inbox conversations

You can also use the Gmail keyboard shortcut m to quickly mute conversations.

Muted messages are not marked as read and are searchable. Type is:muted into your Gmail search box to find all muted conversations.

To unmute a thread and join back the conversations, simply click the More button and select Unmuted from the menu.

Mac Desks

Mac Desks

Finally a site that showcases Mac desktop for you get inspirations for your next home deco. Head over to MacDesks.com for a picture gallery that is dedicated to Mac desktop. The best part is you can submit your own desk.

Keynote updated to support animated GIFs

Keynote updated to support animated GIFs

Right on the heels of Office for iPad release, Apple has updated iWork for Mac, iOS and iCloud with numerous new features and bug fixes. One of the highlight as least for us is the support of animated GIFs in Keynote. Finally.

Use App Store “Near Me” when you are visiting new cities

Use App Store Near Me when you are visiting new cities

App Store app in iOS 7 comes with a “Near Me” tab that will list the apps that are popular based on your current location. Apple emphasis this feature by position it at the center of the navigation tabs. You might question how this feature could be useful until you’ve visited new cities. When you’re in an unknown location, the “Near Me” listing will often be time saver by turning up popular local transport and tourist information apps.

Type ‘/’ to quickly enter folder path in Open File dialog for OS X

In OS X, all open file dialog box comes with a shortcut that allows you to enter the folder path of the file. Just type ‘/‘ and a “Go to the folder” sheet will drop-down to let you enter the folder location manually. 

Type / to quickly enter folder path in Open File dialog for OS X

This “Go to the folder” sheet even comes with a tab-completion function that will autofill the folder name when you press the tab key. For example, to go to “/Applications” folder, enter “/Ap” and tab and it will auto-complete to “/Applications” for you.