How to generate PDFs from print preview with 3D Touch

iOS has a hidden feature that allows you to generate PDF file from the print preview screen. Yes, PDF export is built into iOS and you do not need to install additional app. Unfortunately this feature is available only on iPhone with 3D Touch.

When viewing a page on Safari or working on a document in Notes app, tap on the Action/Share button and select the system Print function. This will open the print preview page with print options on top half of the screen.

How to generate PDFs from print preview with 3D Touch

Press on the preview image (3D Touch) to bring out a Quick Look preview of the PDF file. You can then share the PDF, save to Dropbox etc from the Quick Look screen by using the standard iOS share extensions available on your phone.

Quick and dirty way to bypass content blocking using Google Translate

Quick and dirty way to bypass content blocking using Google Translate

Google Translate does not just translate words and phrases. You can use it to translate a web page. The translated page is hosted under Google’s domain, and this effectively makes Google Translate a quick and dirty web proxy.

One side effect, benefit or loophole (depending how you look at it) of this service is that you can use it to access content that is block by your school or company. If you encounter the error “The page you have attempted to translate is already in English”, try to set the target language to your second language or any random language. 

As Google Translate is not intended to be a real web proxy or VPN, not all sites will work. And some images and videos will not load. But it is a quick way to gain access to blocked content if you have no other better options.

Use TextEdit as plain text editor in macOS

If you’re looking for a plain text editor in macOS, you can use the TextEdit app that comes with the operating system. TextEdit’s default file format is rich text. But you can change it to use plain text.

Use TextEdit as plain text editor in macOS

Go to TextEdit > Preferences and change the Format settings to “Plain text”. That’s it.

Some people likes to keep their notes in plain text format rather than rich text, as plain text file can be easily open in all computer systems and there is no worry of format obsolescence.

You can also use a plain text editor to remove text formatting from documents and web pages. Copy the rich text from Notes, Pages or web page into the clipboard. Then paste it into plain text editor to remove all formatting. 

How to clear all notifications with 3D Touch in iOS 10

iOS 10 has added the ability to clear all notifications at once. Unfortunately this feature is only available for iPhone that is capable of 3D Touch. 

How to clear all notifications with 3D Touch in iOS 10

Swipe down from top of screen to bring up the Notification Center screen. Use 3D Touch to press on the “x” icon on left top corner of a notification. You will be presented with an pop up option to “Clear All Notifications”. Tap on it to see all your notifications removed from the screen.

Turn off Safari’s AutoFill in iOS 10

Safari in iOS 10 comes with AutoFill feature that offers suggestions for your personal info when you fill out web forms. This is handy to some but you might find it gets in the way. 

Turn off Safari AutoFill in iOS 10

To disable Safari AutoFill goto Settings > Safari > AutoFill. You have the options to turn off Contact Info, Names and Passwords, and Credit Cards. Toggle off the switch for whichever ones you don’t want to show up when filling web form.

Switch to Extreme streaming quality if you pay for Spotify Premium

One of the benefits of subscribing to Spotify Premium plan is the ability to enjoy higher quality music streaming. However you have to manually adjust this streaming quality settings.

Spotify premiun quality

Go to “Your Library” tab and tap on the Settings icon on top right. Look for “Streaming Quality” and tap to switch to Extreme which is the highest quality at 320kbit/s. You might also want to adjust the “Download quality” settings on the same page to Extreme.

Please note that the better streaming quality imposes higher Internet bandwidth. Do watch out for your usage if you’re under limited Internet plan.

Adjust flashlight brightness in iOS 10

In iOS 10, you can adjust the brightness of the built-in flashlight if you have a 3D Touch capable iPhone. That rules out all iPads, iPhone SE and all iPhones prior to iPhone 6s.

Adjust flashlight brightness in iOS 10

Activate Control Panel by swiping upward from the bottom of the screen. Instead of tapping on the Flashlight icon, press on it with 3D touch. A menu will pop up with 3 options: Low Light, Medium Light and Bright Light. Tap to select your desired brightness. 

How to prevent automatic downloading of macOS Sierra

To encourage more people to upgrade to macOS Sierra, Apple has enabled automatic downloading of macOS Sierra via the App Store app. Thankfully it won’t install the upgrade without your approval.

This auto download feature uses the existing software update feature of App Store app. It won’t download macOS Sierra if your Mac is low on storage or you have an older unsupported Mac. 

You can disable automatic download if you have no intention to upgrade. Go to System Preferences > App Store, and uncheck “Automatically check for updates”.

How to prevent automatic downloading of macOS Sierra

Unfortunately this will also disable all updates including security updates. You will need to remember to do the updates manually. 

How to opt out of iOS beta updates

When you joined to receive either iOS 10 public beta or developer beta, Apple installed a system profile on your iPhone so that you can receive OTA (Over-The-Air) updates whenever there is a beta release.

If you no longer want to use beta release, you will need to remove the profile in order to receive iOS public updates. On Settings app, go to General > Profile and look for “iOS Beta Software Profile”. Tap “Delete Profile” to remove it from your iPhone.

Settings ios beta software profile

Now when you visit Settings > General > Software Update, iOS will only present you the latest public release. You might still see a beta version of iOS listed, which was downloaded before you remove the profile. To manually remove the downloaded iOS beta, go to Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage. Look for “iOS xx.xx.xx” and remove it from the list.

Read the fine print from Apple if you’re buying the Jet Black iPhone 7

Read the fine print from Apple if you're buying the Jet Black iPhone 7

Apple launches iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus with two brand new colors, the glossy Jet Black and matte Black. The Jet Black model is featured prominently by Apple and is the most popular color judging from the shipping date of preorders. 

The new iPhone 7 do not look very different from its predecessor. You need to get the Jet Black model if you want to let people know that you bought a new phone. There must be a large group of iPhone buyers who wants to stand out. And Apple marketing knows it pretty well as there is no 32GB option for the Jet Black model. Apple wants you pay for the higher margin 128GB or 256GB model if you want the Jet Black iPhone 7.

iPhone Jet Black has a high gloss finish, looks gorgeous but is extremely susceptible to fingerprints and smudges. So much so that Apple has a foot note fine print to warn you about it:

The high-gloss finish of the jet black iPhone 7 is achieved through a precision nine-step anodization and polishing process. Its surface is equally as hard as other anodized Apple products; however, its high shine may show fine micro-abrasions with use. If you are concerned about this, we suggest you use one of the many cases available to protect your iPhone.

What’s the point of having a shinny looking Jet Black iPhone 7 covered in a case? If you can’t stand scratches on your phone, it may be better to get the matte Black model.