iOS Tip: Open a Safari Link in a New Page With a Gesture

Did you know that you could do a two-finger tap on a link in Safari to launch it into a new browser window? If you didn’t, you aren’t alone.

There really isn’t any need for detailed instructions for this tip. If you have a link that you want to follow in Safari, say for a Google search, then just simultaneously tap with two fingers to launch it in a new browser window. Opening each link in a new tab is my go-to for Internet research so I can easily keep up with and refer back to the original search page.

It can be easy to get your fingertips off a bit when pressing, which will just take you straight to the link in question. As long as your fingers hit the link at the same time, you should be good.

Free up Space on your iPad/iPhone

Running out of space on your iPhone or iPad? You could run out and buy a new one with more storage -- and a bigger price tag -- or you could take some time to free up some space for the things that you want to carry with you.

Before you start going hog-wild and deleting apps from your home screen, I suggest you take a few breaths and slow down. Indiscriminately deleting stuff is a fast track to losing data that's important to you.

Rather than deleting apps from the home screen, I suggest you head over to Settings > General > iPhone/iPad Storage and from there take a look at the apps you have installed, how much space they take, and when you last used that app.

Tapping on an app gives you options. Some apps, such as Music, allow you to delete specific data.

You can also use Offload App, which deletes the app but keeps the documents and data. This can be handy for large apps such as games that you might want to delete temporarily but keep the data so you can revisit it again.



It should be easy to move the cursor in text on an iPad or iPhone—just tap where you want the cursor to go, or press and hold until the magnifying circle appears over the cursor and then slide it around. In reality, it can be fussy and annoying because our fingers are a lot wider than the cursor itself. Starting in iOS 9, Apple came up with a better solution—trackpad mode—and in iOS 12, it was extended to devices that lack 3D Touch.

In trackpad mode, you turn the onscreen keyboard into a virtual trackpad. Just as on a Mac laptop, moving your finger around the virtual trackpad moves the cursor in the text above. How you use trackpad mode differs slightly between the iPad and iPhone.

Trackpad Mode on the iPad

On an iPad, open any app that allows text input, like Notes, and bring up the keyboard. Touch the keyboard with two fingers, and you see the letters disappear from the keyboard as it switches to trackpad mode. Immediately swipe your fingers (or just one, you can lift the other up) around to move the cursor within the text. Or, for the new approach, touch the Spacebar and pause briefly to switch to trackpad mode.

You can also select text in trackpad mode. If you start with two fingers, instead of swiping immediately after entering trackpad mode, pause with your two fingers down briefly, which causes iOS to switch to selecting text. Then move your fingers around to change the colored selection. If you start with one finger on the Spacebar, position the cursor where you want it and then tap anywhere on the grayed-out keyboard to start selecting.

For easier selection of chunks of text, put the cursor in a word, let up, and then tap once with two fingers to select the word around the cursor, twice to select the sentence, and three times to select the entire paragraph. To expand or contract the selection, keep your fingers down and drag the selection cursor. To deselect text, tap once on the keyboard with two fingers.

You can use trackpad mode even if you have an external keyboard attached. Tap in a text input area, place two fingers anywhere in it to engage trackpad mode, and then move your fingers to reposition the cursor (again, you can lift one finger up after you start). To select text, put the cursor inside a word, release your fingers, and tap once to select the word, twice for the sentence, and three times for the paragraph.

Trackpad Mode on the iPhone

Before iOS 12, trackpad mode on the iPhone worked only on models that supported 3D Touch, which prevented use on the iPhone 6 and earlier and the iPhone SE. iOS 12 added another approach, which is good because 2018’s iPhone XR also lacks 3D Touch.

To engage trackpad mode on an iPhone that supports 3D Touch, press firmly on the keyboard with one finger—you’ll feel the iPhone’s Taptic Engine simulate the feel of a click. Keep your finger down to move the cursor around. Apple’s new approach to invoking trackpad mode works on all iPhone models—touch the Spacebar and pause briefly to switch to trackpad mode. In either case, if you need more room, you can move your finger off the keyboard image right onto the text.

On 3D Touch iPhones, to select a word, relax your finger pressure slightly without removing it from the screen, and then press again. It’s quite similar to the feel of clicking on a MacBook trackpad. You can even double-press—again, with a slight relaxing of the finger first—to select the current sentence and triple-press to select the entire paragraph. Keep dragging after selecting to select more text by the word, sentence, or paragraph.

When using the Spacebar approach to invoking trackpad mode, you can still select text. As on the iPad, position the cursor where you want it and then tap anywhere on the grayed-out keyboard to start selecting. The two-fingered tapping on the normal keyboard that works on the iPad doesn’t work on the iPhone, unfortunately.

Trackpad mode takes a little getting used to, but it’s so much better than the previous selection methods that it’s worth making yourself practice until it becomes second nature.

iOS Tip 199 - Audit privacy settings periodically

There are many permissions that can be granted to apps, such as access to the camera, the microphone, your contacts (why does Google Maps need my contacts?), and your location.  It’s a good idea to keep track of which permissions you’ve given to which apps, and revoke any permissions that are not strictly needed. For example, if you posted a photo to Twitter once, but you aren’t likely to do it again, it would be a good idea to remove the right to look at your photos from the Twitter app.

In Settings, scroll down and tap on Privacy. Here resides the master list of all permissions and which apps you’ve granted them to. Go through all of them periodically, and revoke any permissions that you don’t think a particular app needs.

iOS Tip 198 - Screen Shot Mark Up

Open the app you want to screenshot and go to the exact screen you want to capture.  Press and hold the Power button  and click the Home button at the exact same time for a brief moment.  A preview  will appear in the lower left hand side of the display.
You  need to tap on it if you want to edit the screen capture, otherwise it will disappear after a few seconds.
Your screenshot will still be saved to your camera roll as normal.

Beware “iCloud Breach” Phone Scam

There's  a new phone scam targeted at Apple users. The automated message claims to be from “Apple Support Care” and warns that your iCloud account has been breached and that you should stop going online.  It then tells you to press 1 to be connected to Apple Support.

This is just another form of the classic tech support scam, and if you get such a call, hang up immediately.

The best defense against this sort of intrusion is carrier-level call blocking, since then the spam calls never even make it to your iPhone.  AT&T offers the AT&T Call Protect app and service, and T-Mobile offers Scam Block.  Both are reportedly quite good but you must sign up for them manually.

For those on other cellular networks, there are a variety of call-blocking apps that integrate with the call-blocking capabilities of iOS 10 and up. These can identify calls as coming from spammers or even block them right off, based on information from crowd-sourced databases. This approach works better than blocking the numbers manually yourself, since spammers are unlikely to use the same number twice when calling you, but they do reuse numbers across multiple people. So if five or ten people report a particular number as bad and then it’s used to call you, these apps can know to identify or block the call.


iOS Tip 190 - Cleaning Your iPhone or iPad

It’s all too easy to get your iPhone or iPad dirty with ink, lotion, makeup, dirt, food, and oil.  If your device needs cleaning resist the urge to spray it with window cleaner, rubbing alcohol, or ammonia, even worse, to scrub it with baking soda or borax. That’s because all iPhones have oleophobic—oil repellent—coatings on their glass surfaces that make it easy to wipe off fingerprints. You don’t want to remove that coating any faster than it will wear off normally.  Cleaning products will strip it quickly. Instead, Apple recommends a soft, lint-free cloth such as you would use for glasses or camera lenses.

By the way, though the iPhone 7 and later have some level of dust and water resistance it’s important to avoid getting moisture in the openings—most of the time, a lens cloth should be all you need. While this does seem like common sense, it’s still good to remember that even though these items are glass, they are still electronic devices, and care should always be taken when cleaning them.

iPhone Battery Replacement Program

Effective immediately Apple will replace the battery in your iPhone 6 or newer device for $29, regardless of battery health.

This program runs through December of 2018.    We can do the replacement at Capitol Macintosh; total cost with the battery and labor is $69 before tax.  You should make an appointment for the service which takes about an hour to do.

If you replaced your battery at $79 before Apple's announcement, you may be able to get a refund by contacting Apple support.

iOS Tip 189 - Not Enough iCloud Storage

Before you pay Apple for more Cloud storage check and see what’s using up yours.  On your iOS device go to Settings, Tap your Apple ID account at the top of Setting, Tap iCloud, Tap Manage Storage and review what’s using yours.

If you don’t need some some of the information Tap on it and select Delete.  Once done you can NOT get this information back.   

One of the biggest users of data is iPhone backups (personally I back up to my computer).  Another data hog is photos and videos.  If you have them already in iPhoto or Photos you can safely delete them.

If you just need cloud storage the one of the best rated and least expensive is Backblaze, you can try it for free:  Backblaze


When you’re unboxing your new iPhone (or iPad), it’s time to think about how you’ll move your digital life from the old iPhone (or iPad) to the new one.  If your old device is running iOS 11, you can use Quick Start, a new iOS 11 feature that makes the transfer easy. Just turn on the new iPhone, set it next to the old one, and tap Continue when asked whether you want to use your Apple ID to set up your new iPhone (or iPad). An animation appears on the new device for you to scan with the old one, similar to pairing an Apple Watch to your iPhone. Once you’ve done that, follow the rest of the instructions to enable Touch ID or Face ID and then restore your data and settings from your most recent iCloud backup (you can update the backup first if necessary). Leave the two devices next to each other while data is being transferred, and if possible, keep the new one plugged in and on Wi-Fi after setup so it can download your apps, photos, and music from Apple’s cloud-based services. That’s all there is to it, your new device now has the same information and settings as your old one.

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iOS Tip 187: Use the One Handed Keyboard

How to Use the One Handed Keyboard on iPhone

The latest iOS versions support one-handed keyboard mode for iPhone. One Handed Keyboard shifts the touch screen keys over on the screen to the left or to the right, so that it’s theoretically easier to reach the keys with a single thumb. This keyboard feature can be particularly helpful for users who have the larger iPhone Plus and iPhone X models and find them challenging to type on one handed.

You will need a modern version of iOS for iPhone to have this feature available, anything beyond iOS 11 has the capability. The iPad does not have one handed keyboard support.

You can quickly switch into and out of One Handed Keyboard mode on iPhone, here’s how it works:

    1    Access the keyboard anywhere on the iPhone as usual, whether in Messages, Mail, Safari, Notes, etc does not matter
    2    Tap and hold on the Emoji icon in the lower left corner of the keyboard (it looks like a little smiling face icon)*

    1    When the pop-up keyboard menu appears, tap on the keyboard icons to shift into the equivalent One Handed Keyboard mode:

  •       Left: keyboard shifts to the left, if you type with your left thumb this is likely what you’d use
  •       Center: the default iPhone keyboard, centered and not shifted over into One Handed Mode
  •         Right: keyboard keys shift to the right, if you want to type with your right thumb this is probably what you’d use

    3    One Handed keyboard will be enabled, shifting the keys over to the left or right side of the screen depending on what you chose

iOS Tip 186: Print Webpage Articles Without Ads

How to Print Webpage Articles Without Ads from iPhone or iPad, and Safari

This tip is focused on printing articles from Safari in iOS with an iPhone or iPad.

To try this out you’ll obviously need an iOS device with an internet connection, and an AirPrint compatible printer.

This method works to strip down a web page or article in Safari to just focus on the content (text and pictures in the article), which you can then print out as a simplified clutter free version of an article. This process works the same on iPhone and iPad, here’s all you need to do:

  1.   Open Safari and head to the web page article you want to print out
  2.   Tap the Safari Reader button in the link URL bar at the top of Safari, it looks like a series of lines atop one another, this will enter into Reader mode in Safari for iOS
  3.  Once in Reader mode, tap the Sharing action button, it looks like a little box with an arrow flying out of it
  4.   From the Sharing action options, choose “Print”
  5.   Adjust your printer options as necessary and choose the “Print” button to print the article or web page from Reader Mode, stripped of any ads or other content

That’s all there is to it, the resulting printed web pages or articles should simply include the article text, and related article images – nothing else.

This works because Safari mode strips out webpage data that is not directly related to the core content of the web page in question, and by printing from there rather than the regular webpage view, you can print out a simplified version of the article.

By the way, you can also use this trick to save simplified webpages as PDF files.

You may already know this, but Reader Mode has a lot of other great uses as well. You can use Reader Mode on iPhone to make a webpage mobile friendly or easier to read, you can use it to change the appearance of articles and make text bigger, change font faces, adjust colors, and much more.

iOS Tip 185 - Bogus "Critical Alert" Message

Microsoft has discovered a scam site tha's targeting both Apple and Microsoft users.

Instead of scary dialog boxes, the site plays an audio message to warn users about a supposed "critical alert from Apple support". The message reads:

"Critical alert from Apple support. Your mac(phone) has alerted us that your system is infected with viruses, spywares, and pornwares. These viruses are sending your credit card details, Facebook logins, and personal emails to hackers remotely. Please call us (number given)  immediately on the toll-free number listed so that our support engineers can walk you through the removal process over the phone. If you close this window before calling us, we will be forced to disable and suspend your Mac device to prevent further damage to our network. Error number 268D3."

This is entirely bogus and you can IGNORE it.  If you can’t get rid of the message turn your phone (or computer) off and restart it.  On your iPhone you can also go to Settings, Safari, “Clear History and Website Data”.

iOS Tip 184 - Language Translater

Think of Siri like your personal translator, it’s super easy to use on iOS:

    1    Summon Siri on the iPhone or iPad by using a button press or Hey Siri voice command
    2    Tell Siri “Translate (phrase) into (language)”, where language is either Spanish, French, German, Italian, or Mandarin Chinese

Siri will instantly translate the phrase into the language specified. The translation is immediately spoken aloud, and also written out in text on the phone. Additionally, there is a little play button next to the translation to play the spoken translation again, so you can easily repeat the translated phrase too.

The key is to tell Siri specifically at the start of the command either to “translate” or ask “how do you say”, followed by the phrase and the language. If you simply tell Siri a phrase and then follow it up with “in (language)” it will not work properly. For example if Siri starts trying to search the web for something you asked, you didn’t make the right request, or Siri interpreted you wrong, or you’re speaking to it wrong.

Not all major languages are supported yet;  currently Siri only can translate between English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Mandarin Chinese.

Requirements for Siri translation is that the iPhone or iPad be running iOS 11 or later and has an active internet connection, either cellular or wi-fi.


iOS Tip 183 - Assistive Touch

AssistiveTouch floats a small menu on your display (which you can move about on the screen to wherever suits you) that allows you to carry out gestures such as pinching or multi-finger swipes with a single finger, offers quick access to a variety of functions, and even allows you to activate Siri without pressing the Home button.
There are three ways to activate AssistiveTouch:
    •    Tap Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch, then switch on AssistiveTouch
    •    Tap Settings > General > Accessibility > Accessibility Shortcut and then activate AssistiveTouch
    •    Ask Siri: "Turn on AssistiveTouch"

iOS Tip 182: The New Control Center


 In iOS 11 the Control Center has been reduced from the two or three pages in iOS 10 to
 a single page in iOS 11.

AND you can now customize Control Center to a certain extent in Settings >
 Control Center > Customize Controls. Most notably, you can add a
 variety of Apple-provided controls.
Although you can remove a few default controls, others are fixed:
 the networking platter, the media platter, Orientation Lock, Do Not
 Disturb, Screen Mirroring, Brightness, and Volume.

iOS Tip 181 - Edit Screenshots

In iOS 11 there's been a change totakingsScreenshots.  If, like me, you take a lot of screenshots in iOS, then you will no doubt have seen the change in the way this works. Now when you take a screenshot, a preview appears in the lower left hand side of the display. You only need to click on it if you want to edit the screen capture, otherwise it will disappear after a few seconds.
Your screenshot still be saved to your camera roll as normal.