The Right Way to Archive Photos from the Photos App

If you're using a Mac, there's a very good chance that you are using the built-in Photos app to manage your precious photos and videos. It's a great, easy-to-use tool for those countless photos and videos that you take on your iPhone, iPad, SLR and even scanned photos.

Over time, your Photos library is likely to grow, and if you're like me, it will get pretty large, pretty quick. These growing libraries are like trees... they need to be pruned every so often to keep them at a manageable size. There's the wrong way to do this pruning (a.k.a.: archiving) and the right way. In this post, I will walk you through the steps I take to archive my photos the right way.

Posted on May 18, 2016 and filed under How To, Mac, Opinion.

Quickly and Easily Recover Deleted Notes

The built-in Notes app in OS X and iOS is a great way to gather and organize your thoughts. It can be especially powerful when used in conjunction with the Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro (even without the Apple Pencil, the drawing features are very useful).

If you're like me, you know it's a good idea to tidy up once in a while by deleting notes that you know yo won't need anymore (quick drawings, reminders to yourself, etc). A quick swipe on the note and tap on "Delete" is all it takes to delete notes. Because it's so easy to delete, however, you may find yourself deleting notes that you didn't want to delete. There's a quick and easy way to recover those deleted notes.

Posted on May 16, 2016 and filed under How To, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Mac.

Pro-level Image Editing Without Breaking the Bank

There are certain apps that I use al the time. I mean ALL the time. Mail, Calendar, Safari, etc are some of the ones that you would expect, but one that you may not expect (for someone who does what I do) is PhotoShop. It's an incredibly powerful (and versatile) image-editing tool that allows you to do some really amazing things. The problem is, it can be expensive. It can be hard to justify the cost when the average user wouldn't use more than 20% of what it can do.

There are a lot of PhotoShop alternatives available on the market, but there's really only one that I would (highly) recommend for Mac users...

Posted on April 22, 2016 and filed under Design, Opinion, Mac.

How to Use Split View in OS X El Capitan

When OS X El Capitan (10.11) was released in September, it came with some really great improvements. One of those improvements was a way to use two apps at the same time in a way that both apps are easy to view and are both seemingly in the forefront. Apple calls this Split View.

While it's easy to use Split View once you know how to use it, it can be a little confusing at first because it's not as intuitive as you would think. In the spirit of helping to improve your personal productivity, I thought I would show you a few simple tricks.

Posted on April 21, 2016 and filed under How To, Mac.

Enhancing OS X Voice Dictation

I love it when I come across super cool tricks in OS X that are also super easy to use. Enhanced Dictation is a feature that certainly fits that criteria.

Voice Dictation was originally introduced to OS X with Mountain Lion (10.8), and has been improved over time. To use Dictation, you simply press the Fn (Function) key twice, speak what's on your mind, then press the Fn key again to let the system know that you are done (read more about how Dictation works here). There were two problems with Dictation when it was first introduced: 1) it would only work if you were connected to the Internet (bad news for frequent travelers) and 2) it would only allow you to speak your mind in short blurbs... up to 30 seconds. After that, it cuts you off. Enter... Enhanced Dictation!

Posted on April 19, 2016 and filed under How To, Mac.

Reader Question: Using your iPhone as a Speedometer

I receive questions from readers like you all the time, and I love it! The question I received that prompted this post was one that I hadn't really been asked before, so it was worth a post. The question is this: "I am an avid cyclist and am looking for an easy way to track my speed and distance using my iPhone, which is already attached to my handlebars for music and texting. Do you have any recommendations?"

My first thought was, why not use a Garmin or other devices that are specifically designed for sports like cycling? But if you already have you're iPhone mounded to your handlebars for music and texting, I have just the app for you!

Posted on April 18, 2016 and filed under How To, iOS, iPhone, Opinion.

Use an iMac as a Secondary Display

On my desk, I have a MacBook Pro with an external Thunderbolt display. I have the two connected so that I can drag windows from my laptop's screen to my external screen. It's really slick. Next to my Thunderbolt display, I have a newer model iMac. While it's nice to have a second Mac for testing, etc right next to me, it would be nice to be able to use that as a third screen for my MacBook Pro on occasion.

Believe it or not, it's not only possibly, but it works great! It's called Target Display Mode and all you need is a Thunderbolt cable to go between the MacBook Pro and iMac. Here's how it works.

Posted on April 15, 2016 and filed under How To, Mac.

Troubleshoot Mail Issues with Mail Connection Doctor

Apple's built-in mail application (appropriately named Mail) is a fantastic email client for many reasons. The biggest advantage is the searchability that it offers. In addition to incredible searching, Mail also has some really nice tools built-in for troubleshooting account access issues (incorrect password, error in the settings, etc).

If you can’t send or receive email on your Mac, you can use Mail Connection Doctor to learn more about the issue. Mail Connection Doctor checks the status of your Internet connection and each of your email accounts.

Posted on April 12, 2016 and filed under How To, Mac.

Create a Screencast of Your iPhone or iPad

I love teaching people, including showing off new tricks and ways to improve their efficiency on their iPhone. There is a huge amount of power contained within these devices, and quick training sessions can help to unleash that power for the end-user. The problem is that it can be challenging to do this when you are remote. You can only go so far with, "Tell me what you see on your phone now".

In today's tech tip, I am going to show you an easy way to create a video screencast of your iPhone. Creating screencasts is a great way to really convey what it is you are trying to show off. Just like a screen recording of your laptop, a screencast of your iPhone is a video recording of exactly what you see on your iPhone's screen. This is super handy for training opportunities and helpful when showing off your favorite apps. Powerful? Oh yeah!

Posted on April 11, 2016 and filed under Design, How To, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Mac.

Don't Let Phishers or Malware Ruin Your Day With These Simple Online Safety Tips

Hackers and scammers are often looking for ways to steal email addresses, passwords and data. With that information, they can easily 1) get access to the information in your sensitive accounts, 2) use these accounts to pretend to be you and attack others in your address list and 3) send spam to you or your contacts, thus spreading the damage to others. The way that they steal your information can be either be simple or very sophisticated. Either way, we all need to be extra careful of what we click, or where we use our email address and passwords.

In this post, I will give you several common-sense tips for improving your online safety and avoiding phishers and malware.

Posted on April 8, 2016 and filed under Opinion.

The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy

We all have data that we would really be upset if we lost. Photos, videos, tax returns, training manuals... the list goes on. The point is, this is stuff that's important to us, for one reason or another. Some rely on this data to run their business, while others rely on it to remember the "good ol' days" and share those memories with loved ones.

Because this data is important to us, it's important that we take care to safeguard it and protect it from loss, damage, corruption and theft. It's so important to me, that I could spend a full day talking about how to properly backup data in lots of different scenarios. In the interest of your potential boredom, however, I will cover just one simple concept here that can hopefully encourage you to re-think the way you are backing up (or not backing up) your data right now. I call it the "3-2-1 Backup Strategy".

Posted on April 7, 2016 and filed under How To, Opinion.

10 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Apple Watch

The Apple Watch has been out for a while now, but there is a huge wave of new Apple Watch owners, thanks to the Christmas season. For those whoa re new to using the Apple Watch (and even those who are more seasoned), this post is for you!

I’ve been using the Apple Watch since Day 1, and love it! It’s great for exercise, relaxing, checking social media, texting… even controlling your Apple TV! In this post, I will go through my top 10 Apple Watch tips. Here we go!

Posted on April 6, 2016 and filed under How To, Watch.

How to Create Your Own TrueType Font in Minutes

Having your own personalized font is more than just cool or fun, it can be useful. Many years ago, I had a professional typeface designer create my own font for me, and I called it "Kevin's Hand". I still use it all the time for filling out forms, writing personalized notes and more. While super-useful to have, to cost a pretty penny to create (around $400, if I remember correctly).

What would you say if I told you that you can create your own custom font in a matter of minutes using your iPad, and that it would cost you less than $10? I know, right?! And what if I told you that this font could be used on your iPhone, iPad and even your Mac? It's all true. Read more to find out how.

Posted on April 5, 2016 and filed under Design, How To, iOS, iPad, iPhone, Mac.

Let your iPhone or iPad read to you

Wouldn't it be nice if we all had a personal assistant? Someone who can read us our emails, text messages, web pages and even make us a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day?

Well, this tip won't help with the hot chocolate, but it will help with reading your emails, text messages and web pages. The iOS Accessibility section of Settings (Settings > General > Accessibility) is full of interesting and useful features. This specific feature will allow us to have iOS read back any text we have selected.

Posted on April 4, 2016 .

How to Use Bluetooth Devices WIth Your (4th Generation) Apple TV

The Apple TV is an amazing (and necessary, in my opinion) companion to any TV or projector. My rule of thumb... never install a new display without one! You probably already know all about the Apple TV App Store, games, watching video, listening to music and viewing your Photos library, but did you know that you can connect various Bluetooth devices to your Apple TV to make it even more powerful?

In this post, we'll walk through how to pair Bluetooth headphones, keyboards, controllers, and more with your 4th generation Apple TV.

Posted on April 1, 2016 and filed under Apple TV, How To, Opinion.