How to clear iPhone’s memory without a restart

Apple’s company line has been that with iOS’s excellent memory management, there is no reason for users to quit apps or restart to clear off memory that causes slow down. In reality we all know iPhone tends to slow down after a while. Restarting your device is not the only way to make it run smoothly again. Here’s a simpler trick:

How to clear iPhone's memory without a restart

1. Unlock your iOS device. This trick will not work when you’re on lock screen.

2. Press and hold the power button until the “Slide to Power Off” bar appears.

3. Press and hold the home button until your phone is back to the home screen.

That’s all. Your iPhone’s memory is now refreshed. 

Find free and public Wi-Fi hotspot using Facebook

Find free and public Wi-Fi hotspot using Facebook

Facebook is launching a new “Find Wi-Fi” feature in its iOS and Android app. This is good news for those Facebook users who travel a lot and requires free Wi-Fi.

“Find Wi-Fi” is located under “Apps” section in Facebook mobile app. You will be prompted to enable this feature when you first access it. One caveat is this feature requires “Always” location access. “This allows Facebook to build a history of precise locations received through your device. You can see or delete this information in your Activity Log”.

Facebook Find Wi-Fi depends on businesses to add to their Facebook Page if they have free Wi-Fi hotspot available. Thus it does not cover all available public free Wi-Fi.

Use Siri to read out WhatsApp messages

With version 2.17.20 update, WhatsApp has finally build the interface to Siri. This enables you to read out the last received messages in WhatsApp, send out WhatsApp message or make calls via WhatsApp, all through issuing voice commands to Siri.

Permission Required Use Siri to read out WhatsApp messages 

When you first ask Siri to read out your WhatsApp messages, Siri would prompt you to grant him/her permission to access WhatsApp data. You’re good to go once you answered “Yes”.

Use Siri to read out WhatsApp messages

Simply issue the command “Read my WhatsApp messages” to Siri to listen to your recent WhatsApp messages.

5 things Apple did not mention in WWDC 2017 keynote

5 things Apple did not mention in WWDC 2017 keynote

It was a jam packed WWDC 2017 keynote by Tim Cook and his team. Besides new version of iOS 11, macOS 10.13 High Sierra, watchOS 4 and tvOS 11, Apple also launches new update to iMac, MacBook and MacBook Pro, new iMac Pro, new 10.5” iPad Pro and new Siri-powered $349 smart speaker HomePod.

This WWDC also signals Apple’s inroad to being an AR (Augmented Reality) platform, there is an emphasis to GPU processing in its Metal 2 API. And high end iMac are now boosting GPU good enough for AR/VR play and production. In addition, Apple is making it easier for developers to add Machine Learning (ML) into their apps wth its Core ML SDK and Visions API.

Here are 5 things that Apple did not mention in its keynote:

1. iOS 11 does not run 32-bit apps

Apple has been displaying warning message in iOS 10 when you run a 32-bit app. Apple actually advised its developers to upgrade to 64-bit since mid 2015. In iOS 11, 32-bit games and apps will not run. Check out this post on how you can identify if your favourites apps are 32-bit.

2. New Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad

Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad

Kind of surprising to get a full-size wireless keyboard from Apple. Its $129.

3. New iCloud storage pricing

Apple has updated its iCloud storage pricing by increasing what you pay $9.99 per month for from 1 TB to 2 TB. The rest of pricing tiers remains unchanged.

– 5GB free
– 50GB $0.99
– 200GB $2.99
– 2TB $9.99 

4. MacBook Air is updated with faster processor

MacBook Air is not dead. The processor gets a speed bump from 1.6GHz to 1.8GHz.

5. MacBook Pro is still limited to maximum 16GB memory

One of the major complaints with the redesigned 2016 year end MacBook Pro is its 16GB configuration limit. This limit supposedly pissed a number of “pro” users to switch to use Windows notebook. The latest update to MacBook Pro is sticking to the 16GB limits.

20 tips from Apple on how to shoot on iPhone 7

20 tips from Apple on how to shoot on iPhone 7

Apple has a micro site that features a series of 20 videos on how to take the best photos using iPhone 7. These includes tips on how to take low-light photos, capture action shots, taking selfies with timer, capturing vertical panoramas etc. iPhone 7 is used in the videos but most of the tips apply equally to other iPhone models. Check out the site How to shoot on iPhone 7.

Notable: Amazon Alexa finally available on iOS; Chrome for iOS has a new Read Later feature; Netflix changes star rating to thumbs up and down

Amazon Alexa finally available on iOS

Amazon Alexa finally coming to iOS

When Amazon launches its smart speaker Amazon Echo in June 2015, it became an instant hit due mainly to its built-in Siri competitor Amazon Alexa voice assistant. There are third party iOS apps that allow you to interact with Alexa. Amazon is now bringing Alexa to iOS with the official Amazon app. You can now use it without buying any Amazon hardware.

You can use Alexa voice assistant to check the status of your order, do a product search, play music, start listening to Audible, check the news and weather etc. Check out Amazon iOS app [App Store Direct Link].

Chrome for iOS has a new Read Later feature

Chrome for iOS has a new Read Later feature

Google has updated its Chrome for iOS which comes with a brand new Read Later feature. The function is similar to Reading List in Safari except the articles in your reading list are saved on your device and you can read them even when you aren’t connected to the web. To add article to the reading list, tap on the standard share button on Chrome for iOS. On the popup menu, select “Read Later” Chrome icon to add the page to the list. [Direct link to Chrome for iOS on App Store]

Netflix changes star rating to thumbs up and down

Netflix changes star rating to thumbs up and down

According to Variety, Netflix is replacing its star rating for movie and TV review to simply just thumbs up or thumbs down. Based on user testing by Netflix, the simpler thumbs up/down got 200% more ratings than traditional star-rating feature. The changes is expected to roll out globally within the next month.

How to scan QR codes using browsers on iOS

There are a number of QR code reader app on the App Store. Most QR codes are nothing more than a link to a website address, thus it is convenient if mobile browser has QR code support built right in. This would mean one less app on your iPhone. 

Mobile Safari and Firefox do not support the scanning and reading of QR code. QR reading and scanning however are built-in feature for Chrome, Opera Mini, Puffin Browser and UC Browser.

For Opera Mini, the QR scanning option is available when you start typing in the address bar. Tap on the QR button on the keyboard toolbar to access the QR scanner.

QR scanner in Opera Mini

For Puffin Browser the QR scanner button is conveniently located on the right end of the address bar.

Puffin Browser QR Scanner

Similar to Puffin Browser, the QR scanner button on UC Browser is located at the end of the address bar.

UC Browser QR Scanner

Chrome is not making its QR scanning feature obvious to use. You can not access it from within the app. Instead the QR option is available when you 3D Touch the Chrome icon on the home screen. On the 3D Touch menu that pops up, tap on “Scan QR Code”.

3D Touch to access QR Scanner in Chrome

For those using an iPhone without 3D Touch, you can access Chrome’s QR scanner by using Spotlight search. On the home screen, pull down the Notifications screen or Search screen to access the Spotlight. Key in “qr” on the Spotlight search to let spotlight display the list of apps and documents with “qr” wording.

Using Spotlight to access Chrome QR Scanner

From the Spotlight result list, look for the Chrome icon with the text “Scan QR Code”. Tap on it will bring you directly to Chrome and launching the QR scanner.

It’s a good habit to turn on your iPhone using the Lock/Power button

Good habit to turn on your iPhone using the Lock Power button Today View

Ever since Apple redesign the iOS lock screen by removing the swipe-to-unlock gesture, you merely just need to press the Home button to wake and unlock the phone automatically using Touch ID. At times the Touch ID unlock the phone too quickly that you’d miss the Lock screen completely. 

Lock screen can be useful for quick glance at the time and date. Swiping right on the Lock screen will get you to the Today screen where you can place some useful widgets such as latest stock price and currency rates.

Swiping to the left will get you quick access to the camera. It is this convenience that you might want to consider to get in the habit of pressing the Lock/Power button to wake your phone to the Lock screen. Give it a try, it might saves you time if you use the camera a lot.

24 Siri commands that you can use

24 Siri commands that you can use

Admit it, Siri at times can be frustrating when it does not answer your question. Or It just simply point you to a website or wikipedia page. We all like Siri to get super smart, until then it is good to learn about some specific commands that Siri can answer.

  1. “Read my last message” – read your last text message.
  2. “Text Jon Snow where are you now” – send a text message to Jon Snow.
  3. “Show me my last email” – display your last email.
  4. “Take a picture” – launch camera app.
  5. “Download Facebook” – launch App Store and search “Facebook” for you.
  6. “Open Twitter” – open Twitter app.
  7. “Remind me to bring my charger tomorrow at 9.30 am” – add a task to reminder
  8. “Wake me up in 9 hours”, “Wake me up at 8am” – to set alarm.
  9. “Timer 5 minutes” – to set timer.
  10. “What’s on my calendar for Monday” – to check calendar agenda.
  11. “Play Nine Inch Nails” – play song or album in your music library.
  12. “How many calories are in a banana” – substitute “banana” with any fruit you have in mind.
  13. “What’s 150 dollars in pounds” – convert currency.
  14. “How many ounces in one litre”, “How many inches in a meter”, “What’s 200 Fahrenheit in Celsius” – various convertor. 
  15. “What’s Apple stock price” – list stock price.
  16. “What’s ETA to Avenue 5” – list the estimated time to reach Avenue 5 from your current location.
  17. “What song is this?” – then point your iPhone to a song playing to identify the song.
  18. “Any good Japanese restaurants in the area” – get a list of restaurants nearby. 
  19. “What movies are playing in the area” – get movie listing.
  20. “What’s Morse code for Titanic” – find out the Morse code.
  21. “Do beatbox” – for some fun.
  22. “What is zero divided by zero” – for some classic Siri reply.
  23. “Toss coin” – to get tail or head.
  24. “Bye” – to quit Siri without pressing the Home button.

Thats certainly not all Siri could do. Ask Siri “What can you do” to find out more commands.

How to disable System Haptics on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

How to disable system haptics on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Taptic Engine was first introduced in iPhone 6s for 3D Touch. For iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the Taptic Engine supports the Home button, which is no longer a physical button. In addition, Apple has enhanced the Taptic Engine to introduce subtle vibrations for various system functions.

These new System Haptics are everywhere, for example when you slide open the Notification Center, you get a subtle tap as the sliding reaches the bottom of the screen. System Haptics are also available when you use Pinch to Zoom, Sliders, Switches, pull open Spotlight etc. 

System Haptics can be a delight to use. You can turn it off if you find it annoying. Go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics. Scroll all the way to the bottom and turn off the “System Haptics” switch.

Disable System Haptics on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Please note that disabling System Haptics does not turn off all vibrations such as for 3D Touch or incoming phone calls. These other vibrations are not under System Haptics and is managed independently.