What to know about ‘YiSpecter,’ new malware targeting all iOS devices

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 5, 2015

Just as all the hoopla surrounding the XcodeGhost attack appears to have died down, security researchers over at Palo Alto Networks have identified a new type of harmful malware.

Dubbed YiSpecter, it can install itself on both jailbroken and non-jailbroken iOS devices and is the first iOS malware that exploit Apple’s private APIs to implement malicious functionalities.

Here’s everything you need to know about this new type of attack, what Apple is saying about the malware and what you can do in order to protect your devices from becoming infected with YiSpecter. Read More


How to enjoy Apple Music at high bitrates on mobile data connections

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 2, 2015

Apple Music on iOS 9 includes a new option to stream your music at high bitrates over a mobile data network at all times. As you know, Apple Music defaults to high-quality streams on Wi-Fi.

With this new toggle, you can control your cellular data usage by enabling or disabling high bitrates when streaming or downloading music over your carrier’s cellular data network. Read More


iOS 9.0.2 fixed vulnerability that allowed Lock screen access to photos and contacts

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 1, 2015

iOS 9.0.2 has patched a potentially disturbing vulnerability which allowed malicious users who have access to your device to use Siri from the Lock screen in order to browse your photos and contacts.

According to Apple’ official iOS 9.0.2 release notes, the software has fixed the issue which allowed access to photos and contacts on a locked device by “restricting options offered on a locked device.”

The vulnerability was left unpatched in iOS 9.0 and iOS 9.0.1 and affected the iPhone 4s and later, fifth-generation iPod touch and later and iPad 2 and later. Read More


How to make your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad more secure with 6-digit passcodes

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

iOS 9.0.1 increases your security by defaulting to 6-digit passcodes on Touch ID devices. “If you use Touch ID, it’s a change you’ll hardly notice,” says Apple.

Compared to 4-digit passcodes which have 10,000 possible combinations, their 6-digit counterparts strengthen your security with one million possible combinations, meaning 6-digit passcodes will be a lot tougher to crack.

Non-Touch ID iPhones and iPads still default to less secure 4-digit passcodes, however. You can enable a 6-digit passcode with a quick trip to Settings, here’s how. Read More


Review: Password Chef—enjoy untethered password entry with recipes

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 28, 2015

The App Store offers several high-quality apps that help you create strong passwords for various services, manage your passwords and synchronize them between devices with ease, AgileBits’ freemium 1Password being perhaps the most popular one.

But there’s now a brand new password manager on the block which takes a clever approach to securing all your online accounts with strong passwords but without having to actually remember them.

How about re-creating passwords from recipes?

Welcome to Naranja Studio’s Password Chef, a novel $2.99 app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad which takes advantage of unique recipes to basically turn any site name into an easy-to-recall password, canceling the need for additional software or devices. Read More


New in iOS 9: ask Siri to remind you about things you’re looking at in your apps

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 24, 2015

Siri’s Proactive features in iOS 9 let you do so much more, and in a more intelligent fashion than ever before. In addition to suggesting apps, people, locations and more when you use Spotlight Search, iOS 9 also lets you ask Siri to actually create context-aware reminders for what you’re looking at on the screen of your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

Asking to be reminded about things you’re looking at in apps like Safari, Mail and Notes that you want to follow up on later can be a tremendous productivity boost.

The feature is a great time-saver when you cannot currently deal with what you’re doing right now, and would like to get reminded about it at a later stage, but are too lazy to create a reminder yourself. Here’s how it works. Read More


Apple lists top 25 apps infected by XcodeGhost

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 24, 2015

Apple today refreshed its official XcodeGhost FAQ webpage, listing the top 25 iPhone and iPad apps on the App Store that contain the widely reported though mostly harmless XcodeGhost malware.

In addition to WeChat, one of the top messaging apps in the world, Rovio’s Angry Birds 2 and China Unicom’s Customer Service app, most of the listed apps are distributed on the Chinese App Store only.

“If users have one of these apps, they should update the affected app which will fix the issue on the user’s device,” writes the company. “If the app is available on App Store, it has been updated, if it isn’t available it should be updated very soon.”

Apple has pulled many of the infected apps and said it’s working closely with developers to get impacted apps back on the App Store. Read More


Pixelmator gains 8K resolution and iOS 9 support, including iPad multitasking features

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 23, 2015

Pixelmator, the tremendously popular Photoshop replacement available for both iOS and OS X platforms, today gained an update which adds several new features on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices.

For starters, Pixelmator 2.1 for iOS is now fully compatible with iOS 9 (in fact, it’s now an iOS 9-only app) and supports Slide Over and Split View iPad multitasking modes.

With Split View on compatible iPads, customers can use Pixelmator and any other app at the same time. More importantly, the app now opening and editing images in 8K resolution. Read More


Apple to offer local Xcode downloads in China, posts official XcodeGhost malware FAQ

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 23, 2015

The XcodeGhost malware couldn’t have arrived at worst time for Apple as the company prepares to launch its iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus tomorrow. The company has already removed the App Store apps infected by the malware, which has been found to inject its payload into apps compiled with compromised copies of Xcode that were distributed on non-Apple servers in China.

Wednesday, the Cupertino firm has confirmed plans to mitigate the threat by hosting local Xcode downloads within China. In addition, Apple has posted an XcodeGhost FAQ webpage on its Chinese website detailing the XcodeGhost malware and how customers might be affected by it. Read More


How to silence all Siri audio feedback when your iPhone’s mute switch is turned to silent

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 22, 2015

Starting with iOS 9, you can now shut Siri up as easily as turning the mute switch to silent. Prior to iOS 9, Siri would not respond to the state of the ringer switch.

Indeed, how many times did you wish you could chat with Siri in the middle of the night but didn’t out of fear her loud voice might wake up your significant other?

As it turns out, a quick trip to the Settings app on iOS 9 and a couple of taps is all it takes to tell Siri to honor the state of your ringer switch. Read More


How to disable pop-up character previews when typing on iPhone keyboard

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 22, 2015

iOS has always displayed the traditional pop-up character preview when a key is pressed on the virtual keyboard. In iOS 9, there’s a new setting to control that behavior.

In addition to turning the keyboard back to all caps, iOS 9 lets you disable pop-up previews when pecking away on your iPhone or iPod touch keyboard.

If you’re concerned that someone might be looking over your shoulder as you’re typing in sensitive information on your iPhone, here’s how you can disable character previews. Read More


Why iOS 9’s Facedown detection doesn’t work on iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPad and iPod touch

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 21, 2015

Facedown detection stands as one of the underrated features in iOS 9’s rich arsenal of power-saving tactics designed to help extend your run time by up to an additional hour.

Facedown detection avoids turning the display on when a notification comes in and your phone is put facedown. But as it turns out, Facedown detection doesn’t work on all devices compatible with iOS 9 and there is a good explanation for that  why. Read More


New in iOS 9: a more detailed upload indicator in stock Photos app

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 20, 2015

Apple’s streamlined Photos app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad has not gained major new features in iOS 9, unlike Photos for Mac whose upcoming OS X El Capitan release contains several new features that didn’t make it into the inaugural version of Photos for OS X last fall.

But there’s one tiny refinement in iOS 9’s Photos app that I think will delight people like myself who rely on iCloud to keep their photos and videos synchronized across their devices: a more detailed upload progress indicator. Read More


How to quickly locate a specific setting on iPhone and iPad with iOS 9

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 18, 2015

As Apple continues cramming new features into iOS, the Settings app has slowly but surely gotten populated with a bunch of toggles for customizing different aspects of your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, so much so that it can feel a little overwhelming to normals and non-techies.

And with an ever-growing array of different settings to choose from, it’s getting harder to find the exact one you need, especially considering that Settings is among the most frequently used stock apps.

But worry not, my friends. iOS 9 addresses this customer pain point by implementing a dedicated search field within Settings for quickly finding a specific setting on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Read More


How to switch iPhone and iPad keyboard from lowercase to UPPERCASE keys in iOS 9

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 18, 2015

iOS 9 has brought out some important keyboard enhancements aimed at boosting your typing efficiency and productivity on iPads. In addition, the look and feel of the keyboard has been refreshed with the new San Francisco typeface and lowercase keys commonly found on Android keyboards.

Lowercase keys not only affect Apple’s stock QuickType keyboard, but other keyboards that use a Shift key to switch between uppercase and lowercase letters. Should you, for any reason, dislike lowercase keys and would like to switch back to all-uppercase design, you can do so easily with just a few taps. Read More


How to monitor batteries of connected devices with iOS 9’s new Notification Center widget

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 18, 2015

iOS 9 promises to extend your iPhone’s battery life even further with features like Low Power Mode, which reduces or disables non-essential features when the battery falls below twenty percent to help your iPhone’s battery charge last longer. But wouldn’t it be great if you could monitor battery status of other devices connected to your iPhone, like your Apple Watch and Bluetooth accessories?

Now you can, thanks to Apple’s new Notification Center widget. Here’s how to turn it on and enjoy battery readouts of your Apple Watch and wireless accessories such as Bluetooth headsets right from the Lock screen. Read More


How to prevent Spotlight from searching certain apps on iPhone and iPad with iOS 9

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 17, 2015

iOS 9 sports an easily overlooked yet significant enhancement to Spotlight, permitting you to search and discover content buried deep within the apps on your device right from Spotlight’s search field on the Home screen.

This was made possible because the iOS 9 SDK gives developers the tools to expose content stored inside their apps to the operating system in order to make it searchable and linkable within Spotlight.

But as you install apps from the App Store that support Spotlight, they get automatically added to Spotlight, whether you like it or not.

And with too many apps feeding their content to Spotlight, the feature shows the tendency to run slower than usual due to indexing. Of course, not each and every app needs to be searched this way.

In fact, it might be prudent to turn off ones that pollute your search results and make Spotlight run slower than usual. In this tutorial, we’re going to explain how you can selectively exclude content from specific apps from surfacing in Spotlight search results. Read More


How to save your iPhone battery even further with Low Power mode on iOS 9

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 16, 2015

Among the numerous performance-enhancing techniques employed by iOS 9 is a special battery-boosting feature, aptly called Low-Power Mode.

When enabled, Low Power Mode extends your iPhone’s battery life even further with up to three additional hours of run time before you need to charge your iPhone again.

Apple says Low-Power Mode “pulls switches you didn’t even know existed” and these switches basically optimize your iPhone for power efficiency by throttling down its processor and shutting down a few non-essential features like automatic downloads, fancy visual effects and more.

This tutorial covers enabling and using Low Power Mode on iOS 9 while briefly touching upon other battery-saving tactics that iOS 9 employs. Read More


Apple releases iOS 9 user guides for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 16, 2015

Following the release of iOS 9 earlier today, Apple has now posted matching users guides for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad on the web. These new iPhone and iPad user guides for iOS 9 are available as free downloads from the iBooks Store.

The guides cover the basics of iOS 9 and focus on stuff like stock apps, various user interface improvements and new features such as enhanced Spotlight with Proactive search, 3D Touch on the new iPhones, the new News and iCloud Drive apps, side-by-side multitasking features on iPads and more. Read More


How to improve network performance on your iPhone and iPad with Wi-Fi Assist on iOS 9

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 16, 2015

There’s nothing more annoying than seeing your iPhone getting stuck on weak Wi-Fi signal. We’ve all been there before: the iPhone latches onto a poor Wi-Fi connection and forces you to waste time manually switching to cellular data in Setting.

At long last, iOS 9 solves this incredible annoyance in one fell swoop with a new feature called Wi-Fi Assist, which basically tells your device to switch away from weak Wi-Fi connections and hop on cellular instead.

It’s tremendously convenient and works like magic: you don’t have to do anything on your part other than enable Wi-Fi Assist. This tutorial will teach you how to take advantage of Wi-Fi Assist and avoid disruptions when you’re browsing the web in Safari or using your favorite apps. Read More

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