About Steffen Reich

I'm an Apple enthusiast by all measures, but that does not keep me from calling a spade a spade when it's needed. Living in Melbourne, Australia. Follow me on Twitter @melbsteve !

How to see the full history of songs Siri has identified for you

by Steffen Reich on Mar 27, 2017

For quite a while now, Siri has been able to listen to and detect music playing from nearby sources courtesy of the integration of the wildly successful app Shazam. It has also become a lot smarter and seamless in terms of the process, and a quick request as simple as Hey Siri, what’s that song? will often yield the answer you were looking for.

A popular issue with this? Well, use the feature on numerous occasions and so long as you are not blessed with a razor sharp memory, song information of multiple tunes identified will quickly bleed into one irretrievable mess. Especially the day after or even later. So what can we do to review all song requests ever hurled at Siri on your iPhone? Luckily, there’s a tab for that! Read More

 

Speed up or slow down iTunes playback for podcasts, audiobooks, and music with Speed-Up

by Steffen Reich on Mar 24, 2017

Still enjoying iTunes despite the beautiful mess it has become on macOS? If the answer is yes, perhaps listen up for this one. Every once in a while, seemingly low-key and low-price apps pop up in the market, claiming to have identified an imperfection or gap in Apple’s software, and in the next breath promising the fix for it. Some of these apps are superfluous to the user for the simple reason that the touted feature is already in place in Apple’s mothership software (in some shape or form), other apps are gimmicky or overly flawed.

Speed-Up for Mac firmly sits in the opposite camp, the one where ostensibly small apps are extremely wholesome and deliver on the promised goods. So what does it promise you ask? Put simply, to speed up or slow down your iTunes playback, an option otherwise notably absent on macOS. If this sounds surprisingly succinct or sober to you, that’s because it is.

Speed-Up treasures simplicity over bells & whistles, and is probably worth a look if you have ever caught yourself wishing for a speed lever in the thick of an Audiobook or Podcast session on your MacBook. Read More

 

How to teach your iPhone or iPad to recognize people’s faces

by Steffen Reich on Mar 22, 2017

Organizing one’s photos by date or occasion is by far the most common methodology in photography, and of course why wouldn’t it be? The simple fact of the matter is that a chronological structure of photos satisfies most search requests because you pretty much know immediately where to look for a certain snapshot. With that said, more unconventional efforts such as accumulating every single photo taken by the beach or all shots of your family ever snapped, quickly render the chronologic album structure rigid and dated.

More than ever with iOS 10, Apple is trying to alleviate the issues outlined above by giving prominence to more forward-thinking photo organization algorithms, including improved facial recognition software to detect recurring faces in your photos. The result of which is the capacity of machine learning and smart album creation on the basis of the identified individuals. If this sounded grossly techy, let’s put it in plain language: with a little bit of your help, your iOS-powered device is capable of both learning who’s in your photos and filing away pictures old and new in one joint album for your reminiscing pleasure.

Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about teaching your device of choice the names of the subjects in your photos. We’ll also explore how to help your iPhone identify additional photos in case auto-recognition fails, and everything else necessary for a much more intelligent way to organize your photo library in the future.

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How to turn off notifications for specific podcasts

by Steffen Reich on Mar 20, 2017

We are currently disassembling Apple’s Podcasts app here on iDB, turning over every rock in iOS to help you make the most of what the seemingly basic app has to offer. After walking you through automatic downloads for your favorite shows earlier this week, we’re back with another slick little trick designed to cut down unwanted notification clutter perpetrated by the app.

Because notwithstanding your fondness for the dozen podcasts you love to zap through, collectively they sure can generate a bevy of notifications on your iPhone. Speaking from experience, the crux of the matter is that some of these notifications are much more hotly anticipated (e.g. surprise releases) than others (daily shows), which means neither leaving all podcasts notifications activated nor fully switching them off is going to genuinely cut the mustard for most users.

If you have made it this far, you will already have an inkling that there is luckily enough a much more satisfying middle way. And thankfully, you called it right. The square, purple icon on your Home screen itself holds the answers we need when it comes to selectively dumping the episode-drop notifications. So in the interest of a tidy Notification Center and minimal maintenance efforts, here’s how to remain in control of podcast notifications by toggling off the ones that have been bugging you for too long.

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How to enable automatic downloads for your favorite podcasts

by Steffen Reich on Mar 16, 2017

Podcasts, especially our very own shows of course, are great. They can be the perfect medium to shorten car journeys or just keep your brain engaged at home, the gym or in any other place you fancy spending a significant amount of your time. 
If you’re an avid listener and follow our (or other) shows on Apple’s own Podcasts app, you will in all likelihood have made your fair share of experience with one of the major caveats of excessive podcast consumption: it eats up your mobile data quick, often times quicker than playing a bunch of your favorite tunes on Apple Music instead.

For most of us, two ways of dealing with the potential assault on our data plan come to mind. One of them entails manually downloading your selection of podcasts in the morning somewhere between breakfast and your morning commute, while the other one is basically dealing with it by not dealing with it, i.e. putting it on hold until you have entered the next safe Wi-Fi zone.

Luckily, next to two choices equally dissatisfying, iOS offers a third, proper solution in the shape of auto-downloads. To find out more about the setting, where to find it and how to customize it for each of your podcasts, check out our walkthrough below! Read More

 

Apple wants to zero in on ‘Pro’ segment, but what about the large majority?

by Steffen Reich on Mar 14, 2017

In a statement warmly welcomed by us internet folk, Tim Cook recently proclaimed “you will see us do more in the pro area.” In our circles, this is unquestionably good news, as we all foster an insatiable appetite for new innovations, be that on a hardware or software level. More pro is great, however I invariably had to spare a thought for the average, not-so techy Apple customer.

I’m talking about the type of customer that after owning their iPhone 6S for more than a year, still has little concept of what 3D Touch does. Or how about the one that loves their new MacBook, but will gaze at you with a stunned expression when you introduce them to Force Touch on their trackpad. This is by no means meant to sound snarky or patronizing, because as a matter of fact, I don’t blame them for not knowing – I blame Apple for failing to take everyone along for the ride due to poor communication.

Shifting up the ‘Pro’ a notch in the future sounds great, that said how do you straddle the line between pleasing us tech-warriors and not entirely overwhelming a large majority of users, a majority already only privity to roughly half of the juicy features on their devices? Apple needs to find some cogent answers to this issue, and rather than creating a two-tier system in their hardware sold (labelling only some products ‘Pro’), I contend that software could be the key.

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How to recover deleted photos on iPhone and iPad

by Steffen Reich on Mar 13, 2017

What’s done is done, right? Well, not always. While some actions have irreversible consequences, deleting your photos on iPhone or iPad thankfully does not have to be one of them. Provided you’re quick enough, recovering any of your photos deleted by accident or mistake is a breeze, so long as you know where to look.

If you have found yourself in the unenviable situation of rifling through your photos before, frantically trying to suss out whether or not you have off-handedly binned important photos, this tutorial could be a valuable lesson for you!

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Neverthink takes cues from TV era, plays videos in place of programs

by Steffen Reich on Mar 8, 2017

If you sampled a bunch of people and asked them about their favorite downtime activities, chances are there would be a fairly even split in numbers between respondents choosing a good book over other forms of entertainment and those drawn to the audiovisual media instead. Folks of the latter segment know best for themselves where to get their daily dose of videos from, but places such as Netflix, Youtube or Hulu are generally speaking a solid bet. Internet empowered services aside, there is credible chatter that in the shadows of society, some renegades continue to resort to a traditional TV set for their spate of mindless diversion.

Whether you find yourself all too often hunting for new videos to watch during lunch break or you identify with the dwindling TV crowd, a brand new app called neverthink could be for you. That’s because it marries the old-fashion convenience of always-on programming with the excitement of the sometimes mercurial internet. Neverthink wants you to never again think about what videos to dig up next and their way of going about it is unique enough to potentially strike a chord with you. Read More

 

The best sleep tracking apps for Apple Watch and iPhone

by Steffen Reich on Mar 6, 2017

Tracking your sleep routine can often lead to insights into all sorts of habits or quirks detrimental to a good night’s sleep. Before Apple Watch, apps promising to analyze your nightly resting patterns and devise remedies to improve on them were already plentiful. Yet after the release of the wrist-worn gadget, a new surge in the category ensued for its ease of use on watch and enhanced precision in measuring body movements at night.

In order to single out the creme de la creme of applications, we have put through their paces both standalone sleep trackers on iPhone and an array of apps requiring the assistance of Apple Watch.

No matter if you rock iPhone and Apple Watch together or solo, find out below which sleep trackers are worthwhile your time and money.

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Vidicast lets you broadcast live videos to your friends in iMessage

by Steffen Reich on Feb 23, 2017

Sometimes you cannot help but feel the iMessage App Store still owes us a couple of unique entrants to wholly justify its establishment last year. Games and stickers aside, the depth and breadth of the store leaves a lot to be desired and must-have iMessage extensions are few and far between. With that, it is always refreshing to welcome a new aspirant to the ranks that sets out to shake things up a little by bringing genuinely new functionalities to your keyboard. Vidicast, a video broadcasting app operating autonomously inside iMessage, does just that.

The iMessage application is best synthesised as a cross of any video broadcasting feature on the most popular social networks today (Instagram, Facebook, etc) and FaceTime. When hooked up, it provides the recipient of the iMessage invitation with a one-way live video stream, which then can be responded to in real time. The ambition of Vidicast is bold, bold enough in fact that one should be willing to give it some rope in regard to early days hiccups. Before you whizz to your iMessage App Store, here’s what you need to know about Vidicast’s attempt to break the mould of iMessage app extensions. Read More

 
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