Instagram shows your last activity status

For better or worst, the latest Instagram update brings a new “Show Activity Status” feature which you’d normally find on chat apps. Accounts that you follow or anyone you message will now be able to see when you were last active on Instagram.

Show Activity Status is turned on by default. If you have privacy concern about broadcasting when exactly you’re using Instagram, you might want to switch it off.

Open the Instagram app, go to the Account tab, and tap on the Settings icon next to the “Edit Profile” button.

Scroll down to look for “Show Activity Status” and tap to switch off the settings.

With this feature disabled, you also won’t be able to see the activity status of other people.

Batterygate: Apple apologizes and offer $29 battery replacement for iPhone 6 and newer models

By now you should have heard about the on-going controversy of Apple purposely and secretly slow down old iPhone. Apple introduced new power management feature in iOS 10.2.1 to slow down iPhone in order to avoid unexpected device shutdown when the battery is old and unable to delivery energy load.

This power management feature is implemented in iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. And it will likely make its way sometimes in the future to iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. Performance is restored to normal when you replace the aged battery with a new one.

Apple has addresses our concerns in a letter to customers. Apple says that it would never “intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.” Die-hard Apple fanboys will gladly accept the apology. A number of furious you might already be preparing lawsuit against Apple. Law suits against Apple are starting to accumulate, and is spreading to other countries such as France and South Korea.

Apple should have more clarity on that power management feature in the first place. It is doing damage control by reducing out-of-warranty battery replacement fee from $79 to $29. This is a world wide programme starting end January 2018immediately to December 2018, price varies by country and is for iPhone 6 and later models. Apple will also release an iOS update in early 2018 to let us see more info about the health of device battery.

So is it stil a good Apple?

Updated: Apple has announced on 30 December 2017 that the battery replacement programme is available immediately instead of starting in late January 2018.

Apple begins automatic rollout of High Sierra to older Macs

If you’re running macOS 10.12 Sierra or earlier, and do not wish to upgrade to macOS 10.13 High Sierra, be careful as Apple is now downloading High Sierra update automatically to your Mac in the background, making it all too easy to upgrade inadvertently.

This is a change of behaviour from Apple. In the past, only minor changes or security updates are forced into users like that. Apple explained this change in its support article:

If you’re using OS X El Capitan v10.11.5 or later, High Sierra conveniently downloads in the background, making it even easier to upgrade your Mac. When the download has completed, you receive a notification indicating that High Sierra is ready to be installed. Click Install in the notification to get started.

If you want to install High Sierra later, just dismiss the notification. Install it at any time by opening the file named Install macOS High Sierra from your Applications folder, Launchpad, or Spotlight. Or delete the installer by dragging it to the Trash. You can always get it again from the App Store.

Please note that this ‘convenience’ imposed by Apple is an automatic download of a 5.21 GB Installer in the background. Apple does not bother if you have limited disk space or bandwidth for the download. This could cause users some extra telco fees without them agreeing.

Please note that even if you’ve configured your Mac to prevent downloading updates in the background, the High Sierra Installer will still be forced into you.

If you’re not ready to upgrade to High Sierra, you may want to search under the Applications folder and remove the large “Install macOS High Sierra” file.

macOS High Sierra, together with iOS 11, are the most unpolished releases from Apple in recent years. It is advisable to upgrade to them when their .2 versions are released. Wait for macOS 10.13.2 High Sierra and iOS 11.2.

There is an app to hide the notch in iPhone X

There is an app to hide the notch in iPhone X

The notch in iPhone X is dividing Apple fans. Some even go to the extend saying that Steve Jobs will never approve such design. If you dislike the notch like many others but must get the iPhone X anyway, you might want to give the Notch Removal app a try.

Before you spend the $0.99 for the app, do realize that the app merely add a black bar to your selected picture that you can then assign as wallpaper in Settings app. So the notch will remain visible when you’re running an app.

How to improve battery life on iPhone in iOS 11

iOS 11 is probably the worst iOS release in recent memory when it comes to draining your battery on your iPhone. Even in point release iOS 11.1, it’s still drawing battery quickly. Here are some tips to help to improve battery life.

Check Battery Usage

Find out if there is any app draining unusual amount of battery. Go to Settings app > Battery, under Battery Usage, tap on the clock icon to display detail info. Is there any app that you rarely use but is using up large percentage of battery life? The app might have bugs that cause such behaviour. Contact the developer or remove the app.

Disable Background App Refresh

Background app refresh is useful for apps that needs to get your location such as taxi app Lyft. Or for apps that need to refresh their content while you sleep, for example news app. It is recommended to allow background app refresh only for important apps.

Go to Settings app > General > Background App Refresh and switch off usage for non essential apps. Better still, turn off the feature completely to save more battery juice.

Use Still Wallpaper

Avoid Dynamic and Live wallpaper as it uses GPU power. Just use plain still wallpaper.

Disable “Hey Siri”

You can wake up Siri by saying “Hey Siri”. This feature uses battery as it is listening to you for this instruction all the time. Disable the Listen for “Hey Siri” switch under Settings app > Siri & Search.

Hide AirDrop

Hide AirDrop if you’re not using it. AirDrop is a service running in the background that watches for other AirDrop peer services nearby. There is no direct switch to turn this feature off, but you can hide it from appearing. Go to Settings app > General > Restrictions. Enable Restrictions and turn off “AirDrop”.

Hiding AirDrop is unlikely to kill off the background service. But this will prevent AirDrop from activating when you’re viewing the Share/Action Sheet and will help to reduce some battery usage.

Disable Location Services

Go to Settings app > Privacy > Location Services and turn off services for non essential apps. For those apps that you allow the use of your location, make sure the “Always” option is NOT selected.

Disable App Store Automatic Download

Automatic Download is convenient feature that will download apps you purchase from other devices, or any app updates automatically to your iPhone. It also uses battery for its background check. Disable it under Settings app > iTunes & App Store.

Setup Reduce Motion

All those fancy animations and transitions affect battery life. You can reduce them by enabling the “Reduce Motion” switch under Settings app > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion.

Enable Auto-Brightness

Screen is the major source of battery drain in a phone. Enable Auto-Brightness feature will allow you to optimise the screen brightness based on your environment. The switch is under Settings app > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations.

Reduce Screen Auto-Lock Time

Another useful screen related settings is display auto-lock. It is under Settings app > Display & Brightness > Auto-Lock. Reduce the duration to save some battery. Always remember to switch off the display manually if you select the “Never” setting.

Turn off App Store Video Autoplay

Find those app promo videos interesting or annoying when you’re using the App Store app? You might want to turn them off to save some battery. Go to Settings app > iTunes & App Stores > Video Autoplay.

Fetch Email Manually

This is an age old method to save battery life if you’re using the iOS Mail app. Go to Settings > Accounts & Passwords > Fetch New Data. Turn off “Push” method. Under Fetch section, setup to fetch “Manually”. Mail will then be fetch when you’re using the app. If you rely on Mail for alerts, consider fetching less regularly at “Hourly”.

Desperate times require desperate measures. Until Apple put their acts together to give us a better iOS or an iPhone with 2-days battery life, you’d be better off to trade some inconvenience instead of a phone out of battery.

Reduce system animations in iOS 11

If you’ve been using iOS for a few years, you might notice that Apple has tuned up system animations up a little in iOS 11. This is Apple saying it has a brand new animation library and want you to take notice.

Some people might find the animation annoying. Good thing is there is a setting for you to reduce the motion.

Goto Settings app > Accessibility > Reduce Motion and turn on the “Reduce Motion” switch. You will notice opening and closing apps are now almost instantaneous. Try it out, you might prefer the less motion setting.

Use iOS Restrictions to hide system apps

iOS Restrictions is build for the use case when you want to restrict usage of phone features when someone else is using your phone. It is very useful for example to restrict “In-App Purchases” while your kid is using your phone for some games.

You can however use Restrictions for yourself by hiding unused system apps from the home screen. For example to reduce web browsing time or you use primarily other browser, you can hide Safari. If WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger is your video chat apps, you can hide the FaceTime app. Or hide the Podcasts app and use one from third party developer. Sometimes disabling “In-App Purchases” for yourself is a good choice when self-control is not enough.

To use it, go to Settings app > General > Restrictions. Tap “Enable Restrictions” to switch it on, and iOS will prompt you for a passcode to access this settings.

Simply turn off the switch to disable the feature you want. Not all Apple apps are available for you to disable. If you like your home screen tidy, go ahead and hide some unused apps and features.