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 turn off HomePod’s status lights altogether

A closeup photograph of the HomePod's touch-sensitive surface displaying Siri orb graphics, with a male's index finger pointed at the speaker's top

Due to its lack of screen, HomePod's means of expressing itself are limited to the pulsating, colorful dot on its slick top surface. Design and implementation of the expressive light undoubtedly make for a masterclass in giving an inanimate speaker an air of personality.

While we do have a detailed breakdown of which of HomePod's lights exactly mean what, what we have not done yet is call attention to the fact that the lights can also be shut down entirely - and no, I'm not talking about pulling the plug from the power outlet.

The time is now for a ‘style over substance’ year for Apple Watch

It is far from controversial to conclude that it took Apple almost three years to nail the engineering of Apple’s first wearable: cramming in and fine-tuning batteries, processing and cellular chips and so on and so forth. We were all there along the ride and we can all (provided you have worn a Gen 0 model before) attest to the enormous advancements made over the years. 

How to share screenshots even faster on iPhone and iPad

Not too long ago, taking screenies on your iPhone was still infuriatingly slow and long-winded. The overhauled screenshot process finally graced us with iOS 11 and has therefore been as overdue as it has been a resounding success. In fact, it’s easily one of my favorite features when it comes to the that software update: take the screenshot, hit the thumbnail in the corner, edit if needed and send it to whoever, all without having to leave the app you’re currently using or clogging your Camera roll.

It’s 2018, the year where HomePod will become a thing, like it or not

When Apple late last year sheepishly announced the delay of HomePod until further notice, my impression of the unfolding news coverage and social media feeds at the time was that the fallout had been remarkably tame considering that for presumably many, a brand new Apple product had just been removed from its sure place under the Christmas tree.

How to adjust the earbud audio balance on iPhone and Apple Watch

My reason for having to adjust the audio balance came in the form of a fateful rendez vouz between my AirPods and the washing machine. Not to flog a dead horse, but when I recovered my wireless earbuds from the pants that had just been treated to an hour of thorough and hot washing, I quickly had the unsettling hunch that the fresh and clean look of my AirPods had come at a heavy cost.

How to apply live filters to your camera with one simple swipe

Once in a while you pick up something new about your iPhone by complete accident, which subsequently makes you wonder what other untapped secrets are waiting to be discovered under your screen's shiny surface.

Mind you some might think of the following trick as minute, simply because it is in certain respects. By the same token, it will also be relevant enough for others - especially those of you using larger iPhones - to explicitly call attention to it. And if Apple does not want to talk about some of their nifty hidden shortcuts, we'll happily do their bidding!

Here is how to apply filters to your camera as you go, without having to readjust your grip and scramble to reach the top right filter icon in your camera view first.

How to apply filters to your camera with one simple swipe

1) Open your iPhone's Camera app.

2) As you are zeroing in on the subject, flick your thumb upwards anywhere on the live camera screen. This is not tricky by a long shot, however make sure to do it in one quick motion as opposed to resting your finger on the screen first and then swiping up. The latter can accidentally trigger the focus auto lock function or cause unwanted exposure changes instead.

3) On the filter selection you just pulled up, select your favorite view by swiping left or right to activate and superimpose the filter on your camera.

4) After you have made your choice, the filter bar can be discarded in the same fashion it was invoked: this time simply swipe down on your camera screen! Done.

That's it, you're now taking photos that have a little more oomph to them and - best of all - without having to dislocate your thumb or get your other hand to hit the filters button in the top right corner of the screen. Again, this little gem is not a complete revelation, however it might get you to play around with live filters again, which has to be worth something!

Give it a go, tell your friends about it and let us know in the comments whether or not you were familiar with this gesture before!

How to view all photos, sketches and documents stored in your Notes app

Not too long ago we highlighted the sometimes overlooked ability to pin your notes in iOS 11. In the same vein, Notes has been updated with another low-key tab that can greatly upvalue the app experience.

If you know where to look, you can pull up a dedicated view for all attachments embedded into Notes, arranged by file type and date for quick access and extraction.

The use for such feature should not require a lot of explaining, so let's dive straight into the how:

How to pin notes in the Notes app

We’re over the hump for another year. The shiny 2017 iPhones have been released and as has the software for the next 12 months. With the excitement slowly reverting back to normal levels, it is a good time to peel the attention-stealing layers off the new offerings and explore features arguably more low-key, however inarguably still valuable.

One of such instances can be found in iOS 11’s overhauled Notes app. On the whole, Notes has been a major beneficiary of the 11th iteration of iOS with document scanning abilities, new formatting options and much more having been added to the application in September.

Amongst the flurry of additions, a feature almost reprehensibly underreported, and by extension probably underused by today’s large iOS 11 user base, is the ability to pin individual notes the same way you are capable of pinning, let’s say, emails for lack of a better comparison.

If you are a regular user of Apple’s Notes - and why wouldn’t you since this has become a formidable note taking app - or if you haven’t given it a try yet, bear with us and learn below how to pin notes in order to do a better job of organizing your stack of notes.

How to pin notes in the Notes app

1) Open your Notes app.

2) Select and open the notes folder you want to pin existing files in or in which you want to create and pin a new file.

3) In this example I’m creating a new note first.

4) Once done, return to the list view of all your notes. By selecting the top left back arrow.

5) Here’s the killer gesture you’ll want to incorporate into your daily Notes use: swipe the note to the right until the orange pin starts showing. Either keep swiping all the way until it locks into place by itself, or swipe only until the the pin icon shows on the left hand and then tap it once to confirm.

6) Done. You’ll notice a new section called Pinned and a grey line to separate notes pinned atop and the remainder of the note body. You can pin as many notes as you like up here.

7) To unpin, simply repeat the swiping gesture from the left to the right. Simples!

That’s it, folders aside, this is by far the best way to organize your busy notes app, especially if it’s filled to the brim like mine has been for years.

Have you been making use of this little gesture all along or is this a gotcha moment for you? Either way, don’t forget to utilize it from here on, it’s just too good to swipe left on it.

Is the Face ID discussion warranted or a secret case of Apple envy?

Whenever a significant new technology is incorporated into mainstream mobile phones, such upgrade should naturally be fair game for scrutiny and critique. Conversely, if by objective standards the new arrival clears all bars, I can think of two reasons why it feels critical to acknowledge the innovative work done by its originators: because for one that credit has been hard earned and - looking at the bigger picture - sowing doubt about a feature that will inevitably saturate most phones in the market is only going to needlessly unsettle the consumer in the long run.

Runners Map lets you easily share and discover running routes

Tracking and mapping your runs to a T is something most of us runners do, mainly because it provides valuable insights into your training progress. At the same time, there is something to be said about archiving runs for posterity and having the ability to review and show off older running tracks. The likes of Nike+ or Runtastic - i.e. the big players in the game - have recognised the immense potential of route tracking years ago and beefed up their apps accordingly.

The future of iPhone starts in November, is iPad X to follow suit?

It’s all but certain that some visual cues of iPhone X will eventually trickle down to the iPad line. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior,and it certainly doesn’t take lots of mental gymnastics to recall at least a few moments where an iPhone feature (hardware or software) pioneered the way for its bigger iPad cousin to follow.