My iOS Device Journey

This…. this is my blog of my adventures with the magical world of Apple and it’s devices. My story of the journey of using, creating, and learning.

and so…. the great tale continues today with another episode in the “I can’t believe it” category.

Astute readers will notice something missing in the picture above – my Apple Watch! Pretty funny tan line hey? That’s what Band Camp and being outside all summer will do to you! The iPad is also an integral part of todays story!

Three years ago I purchased my first Apple Watch – like almost exactly three years ago! As soon as they were released I ordered my Series 2.

The watch has been an excellent addition to helping me make more efficient use of my time. I will wear it all the time. (and NOT just to prove my wife wrong 😉 )

I on purpose did not get a case to protect it. I wanted to see what it would endure. It has proven super durable! Many times I have hit it on a metal door frame and thought for sure it would have been busted but the watch always come out ahead!

Then about a month ago I looked at my watch while out in the sunlight and realized there was a crack all the way around the outside edges of the screen! I for the life of me could not remember doing something stupid like many times before. The only thing I could imagine was that in the process of taking it off to fly my drone it had gotten hit or something.

Then I read that Apple had started a screen replacement for Aluminum Apple Watch Series 2! There was an example image of what cracked screens looked like that were eligible and sure enough – looked exactly like mine! Guess I wasn’t the only one with a mystery crack on my AW screen!

IMG_2160
My Cracked AWatch Series 2 Screen

So today, after making a Genius Bar appointment,  I finally drove the 1.5 hours to the closest Apple Store to take it in.

We will come back to THAT visit in just a moment….

The second part of this story was that at school we had just purchased an iPadPro Gen3 for the Band Program because I figured it was long due time that I should not be using my personal device for school business and teaching. We’ve only had it about a week and I still have not put it in a case so I took the iPad with me so I could go buy a case one today.

Now… back to the Apple Store…

I walked in about 25 minutes early, checked in and went back to the table to wait. Hardly had I sat down then Genius Bar worker Karim came over and introduced himself. We went to the work table. I explained about the crack, he took a look, entered some info into his iPad and said, yup looks like we need to send this in. He stated that there didn’t look to be any point of impact and that sort of crack certainly fit the criteria. About five minutes later we were all done. Never once did he ask for a receipt, or ask questions about if I thought I knew it had happened or anything really! I knew I did not have my receipt, couldn’t find it but since I had blogged about getting the Apple Watch on this blog I had pulled that post up on the school iPad so I could maybe use that as proof of when I had purchased the watch. Never needed it! Karim was fast, efficient and super helpful! Exactly the reason Apple Stores are having such huge success!

As he wrapped up he asked if there was anything else I needed. I responded, “Nope, that was it! Thanks Man!” He then proceeded to point at the week old iPad Pro and asked if the crack in the screen was annoying me! I about fell out of my seat! I had been using the iPad in church just that morning – no crack! My 27 year old son had used the iPad right before I left for the Apple Store as did I  – neither of us noticed a crack! On the drive down to the store the iPad sat on my front drivers seat playing music. I was simply floored that there was indeed a crack and still have no idea how. Karim asked when I had acquired the iPad – I explained it was like brand new and I hadn’t even set up and down loaded all my apps yet! Without blinking an eye he stated that since it was a single hairline fracture he would replace it – I explained I hadn’t yet purchased Apple Care. He said no problem – BUT if it would have been a multiple line crack I would have been paying $650! Again, no questions from him about a receipt, proof of purchase or anything! A few minutes later a nice lady walked out of the back room handed him a box with a different iPad in it. Karim had me disable Find My iPad, then erase and reset all settings. I took the new iPad, signed in and literally 7 minutes later was walking out of the Apple Store a VERY satisfied and relieved customer!

Several things stick out in my mind:

  • BUY A CASE – I’ve had a TON of iPads and have NEVER cracked a screen! (Well, except that one I beat with my conductors baton while trying to get the percussion to keep a steady tempo in class – I’m STILL salty about that!
  • APPLE CARE – Buy it!
  • I can’t imagine having had a better experience in a different type of store!

Several other thought:

  • Make sure you write your passwords down for your Apple account  – your main account as well as your iPad unlock codes.
  • Make sure you disable Find My iPad ?BEFORE wiping a device
  • Create and actually use your free iCloud account/username!

These last three thoughts are not just from todays experience but from every time I set up a new device. As well as every time I help someone with their devices and accounts. I will be writing a couple of posts about several of these horror stories and the simple way people could have avoided their situations!

I will leave you with a picture of the iPadPro screen the way I set it up when it was fresh booted today vs after installing the iOS 13 beta and downloaded a bunch of apps.

YUP – Even though iOS13 is almost certainly like two days away from public release I could not bear the thought of not having to go back to iOS12 even for just a couple of days! There are significant improvements in iOS13 and I have come to rely on those improvements!

Home Screen Before
Home Screen Before Full Set-up
Home Screen After.PNG
Home Screen AFTER Set-up

iOS13 Tip#4 – Pin Widgets to iPad HomeScreen (well…. this is REALLY iPadOS)

iOS13 vs iPadOS – These tips will all be highlighting new ways we will be able to use our OS’s to improve our productivity/creativity! iPadOS is an enhanced version of iOS13 which is technically for iPhone and iPod. iPadOS has features that will never be available on the smaller screens.

Remember those nifty Widgets on your iPad? What? You never use them because you forget they are there?

NEWSFLASH – Now you will notice them! Someone at Apple REALLY, REALLY, REALLY believes we should be using these little tools and have found a way to put them in our faces all the time! (or not – you don’t HAVE to do this but I think we ALL want to be more productive right?)

Use Widgets right from your home screen! In fact… pin two of them right there to ALWAYS be visible!

iOS Tip#3 – 18 Slots now available in iPad Dock! (Well… iPadOS)

Now we will be able to hold even more apps in our iPad Docks.

Why you ask?

To make us more productive! BUT – when we want to use the new iPadOS features available like SlideOver with multiple apps we NEED more apps in the dock! Because it’s easier to get apps into that SlideOver and SplitScreen mode.

The iPad dock will now hold 15 of your selected apps/folders and 3 recents for a grand total of 18 slots! Notice I did not say 18 apps. Using folders we can put an absurd amount of apps in the dock now!

iOS13 Tip#2 – Fast Forward/Rewind Videos in the Photos App Tip

When I opened the Photos app there were some wonderful amazing things going on in there!

One thing freaked me out though – where did the timeline go while watching a video so I could fast forward/rewind quickly!?!?!?

Well… never fear! It’s still near! Just a Tap away will let you Nap in peace Today!

 

 

iOS13 Tip#1 – Dragging files from the New Download Manager in Safari

So I’ve been a seriously stupid person once again – It seems I just can’t resist!

I’ve gone and loaded up the public betas of iOS13 and iPadOS on my iPhone and iPad.

Several things have really struck me and I plan on making a few short tips on YouTube to show you some ideas of how the new features are going to be useful and possibly even boggle your mind!

Tip #1 – The new download manager in Safari

Safari now downloads files into it’s spiffy new download manager. From there you can drag files like PDF’s out into other apps!

Apple says this about the Download Manager “Check the status of a file you’re downloading, access downloaded files quickly, and drag and drop them into a file or email you’re working on. You can even download files in the background while you get work done.”

Watch the YouTube video linked below to see this in action as I download a PDF I need for Sunday morning worship team from SongSelect and into ForScore. ForScore by the way has fantabulous support for Drag and Drop and if you have NOT used Drag and Drop (from iOS 12) then you SHOULD be!

Music Apps, Battery Life and the never ending “kill app” discussion on iOS

I’m forever seeing students swiping away and force quitting the apps on their iPhones. When I ask why they state, “It saves the battery!”

My research has shown that unless you are dealing with audio apps this force quitting is not needed.

Is if you are using audio apps then it is ALWAYS a good idea to force quit your apps upon finishing with them. Even I forget this though. Today on my way out of the theater from seeing the new Robin Hood movie, which I throughly suggest, I looked at my phone battery and it was pretty near dead! Couldn’t believe it as I’ve hardly used it today!

Upon arriving home and digging into the battery report I realized I had been messing around with Korg Module and left it running. Oops….. 66% of my battery gone just because I had a music app on with background audio turned on. Background audio is pretty much a necessary feature but you do need to keep the realities of its use in mind!

If you have never done this force quitting apps it is easy on an iPhoneX running iOS12, simply swipe up from the bottom and then swipe those apps away! If you are using an iPhone with a button then double tap the home button and swipe up on the apps.

Using An RSS News Reader and Blogs To Give Students Feedback on Assignments

 

Mr Reader Header

Mr Reader largeI have to say that one of the most used apps on my iPad is my RSS news feed app. It is through my RSS news feeds that I can follow an absurd number of websites, blogs, news updates and almost anything on the web that I am interested in. I used to go visit a small handful of sites every day hoping for the latest exciting news about various topics. That list grew too large and RSS is my answer to saving time!

I have settled on using MrReader Small IconMr. Reader (the best $3.99 you will spend in the app store!) finally after trying out about every one that is out there. To the right you see a screenshot of what that looks like when a student has posted their assignment.

Mr Reader ScreenIf you are note familiar with RSS News Feeds let me explain a bit – IF you have a website that is frequently updated then you simply add the address to that website into your RSS news feed. Then whenever there is an update they will show up in your news feed – no need to go check, no need to check to find no update and it when it does show up you will only see a small portion of the article allowing you to quickly skim over things you are not that interested in!

The really exciting part of using RSS news feeds as a teacher is using them to help me teach better! I now have all my 8th-12th grade students posting assignments to WordPress Blogs. We don’t do anything huge usually but as all students are required to write in ALL classes at our school, the blogs help me fulfill that requirement. More importantly it allows me to give immediate feedback as students do their work all without ever touching a pile of papers!

Mr Reader AnnotatedHere is the process…

1)Students create a blog at wordpress.com (free and easy!) They then email the link to their blog and I copy it, then paste it into the Mr. Reader iPad app. I also give it a better name so I know which blog goes with which student and ALSO assign it to the Student Folder. (I made you a nifty little video below so you can see that process as sometimes it is easier to see these things so go watch the video!)

2)I then give them an assignment like – write a reflection on our last concert/rehearsal/guest clinician.

3)They then write the reflection as a blog post on their own time OUTSIDE of rehearsal! I’ve found that most of my students can do it on their own devices – a huge advantage of using WordPress because their are mobile apps kids can download or the blogs can be accessed through most any device that has a web browser.

4)As soon as they post their blog entry I start seeing them show up in Mr. Reader.

5)I then leave comments giving them feedback about their work. Students can choose to post those comments so anyone can see what I have said or they can choose to keep my comments hidden.

6)Last step – enter grade in school grade book. I hardly ever make these worth a ton of points but if they are not in the grade book students don’t have the incentive to get them done usually.

CONCLUSION:
If you want your students to write more, have a place to turn in compositions (they take picture and upload to their blog) or a place where it is easy to pass on feedback to them then this is a no-brainer! The process of getting students signed up for a WordPress takes one day in the computer lab. The process is simple and even 8th grade kids have no trouble doing this with your help of stepping them through it.

Even without having students writing blogs – I can not imagine not using an RSS News Reader to keep up on the days events! Seriously, this app allows me to work through 180 or more website updates every day. Because of the nature of the RSS feed coming through as a summary, it is so easy to skim over what I need to skip and focus on the important news!

VIDEO:

Here is the video I promised…. and as always, if you have questions, please leave me a comment below! (which will then show up in my Mr. Reader news feeds and I will get back to you soon as I can!)

Save Time In Front Of Class With LaunchCenter Pro for iPad

Teachers all understand the importance of saving even a few keystrokes, a few seconds, in front of a class of middle students! The more that technology takes a back seat in a lesson plan the better off we all are. If the tech isn't bringing attention to itself but the students learning is front and center then the tech is in the right place.

That means that we must become very comfortable with the tech we are using, we can not be stumbling and fumbling to make things happen. It also means that any shortcut we can use to get technology working faster and smoother is a good idea.

Launch Center Pro for iPad and iPhone has a simple mission statement that fits the above criteria…. “Launch actions, not just apps!” Think about it…. Why do we launch an app in the first place? We launch apps to do things. That means that once the app launches we then start tapping more buttons to do that “thing”.

I message parents frequently but I usually wait until after class…. What if I could speed that task up and send a message faster? Would I communicate even more?

I like to tweet about exciting learning taking place in class but opening the camera, then taking a picture, then opening Twitter to send the tweet is quite a few steps. What if I could do all of that in one step? Would I spread more news about the learning going on in class?

What about taking attendance…. Open Safari, open bookmarks then finally tap the website for school attendance. How about jumping right there?

Well if those sort of thoughts entice you to rethink your use of tech then you need to take a look at Launch Center Pro… There is the iPad version and then the iPhone version.

Here is the first line from their website…., “It’s like speed dial for everyday tasks. Launch Center Pro saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.”

 

 

iPad and Cloud Issues with photo uploading…. Got any ideas? (UPDATE)

So I’ve run into a weird issue that I did not expect to have and I can not find the answer. Let me tell you what is going on and maybe someone out there can help me figure out what I am doing wrong!

I have taken photos of student compositions using my iPad. I then went into iPhoto and edited them – just basic stuff like cropping and rotating a few where I did not catch the fact that the camera had not automatically rotated. Then I wanted to upload those photos to the cloud – I started with Box because I have a ton more space there. First of all, I was amazed at how quick the photo’s uploaded AND they uploaded in the background which allowed me to do other things on my iPad while that was processing. So I was pretty happy UNTIL I went to my laptop to rename the photos with the student names. Upon looking at the photos I realized that the unedited versions had uploaded! EVEN THOUGH I COULD CLEARLY SEE THAT I WAS SELECTING EDITED VERSIONS TO UPLOAD!

I thought maybe that it was an issue with the Box app so I repeated the process with DropBox and THE SAME THING HAPPENED!

After thinking about things for a while I thought that maybe the edited versions were only in iPhoto and that I had uploaded from the camera roll  (even though I could clearly see that the pictures I was selecting were the edited versions) So I checked in iPhoto and found that I could select the edited photos then tap on the “Open In” button and there was a “Save To Camera Roll” option – Of course I still can not figure out WHY I had to do this from iPhoto because upon viewing my Camera Roll (from the camera app) I could see that all the edited versions were sitting there!

UPDATE….. Finally at 1:30 in the morning I gave in and hooked up a cable (gasp… I know, I know!) Seriously though, I hardly ever hook my iPad up to my laptop with a cable! BUT it did solve this issue – In iPhoto on the iPad, I selected all 90 something pictures and used the “Share To iTunes” option. Then I went into iTunes on my laptop, found the apps tab for my iPad, scrolled down to the iPhoto app and downloaded the folder of shared pictures from iTunes. Wa, La… there were all the edited versions of my photos!

Here is a video to show you the problem I’m talking about!

Using My iPad as a Teacher for Scheduling – Vital Tool!

Calendars 5 Promo Screen

 

One of the reasons we buy an iPad is to make our life easier and more efficient…. Ok, you got me…. that’s what we tell our pocket book!

 

No seriously though, the iPad should be used to make our life better! One of the areas we music teachers have to deal with is scheduling, our personal calendar, our work calendar and our performing group’s calendar. There are several apps to take care of those details. I’m sure we all started with Apple’s Calendar app, it’s right there when we buy the iPad and it’s free! I’m here to tell you though that if you are still using that app alone you need to make a change!

Calendars 5Readdle’s Calendar 5 is an awesome replacement. Here’s one of the reasons why…

As I was talking with my student teacher and trying to come up with words of wisdom, one topic that popped to mind was that we should discuss how I have started scheduling events for work. The biggest one part of that is the trick of using repeating events to my advantage. Many of the events we music teachers do are things that happen year after year or month after month. I started putting these events into my laptop years ago to automatically pop up next year. This way I don’t forget and I don’t even have to take MORE time out of my personal life to think about this stuff. The reminder pops up next year and I take care of it. Simple.

THE PROBLEM

Repeating events are not as easy to handle on the iPad though and I hate having to grab my laptop to create them. Thankfully Readdle’s Calendar 5 came along and made my life easier! I’ve been using that app since it came out as the replacement for Apple’s Calendar – better looking interface, integrated task manager, it has natural language input, plus it easily syncs with Apple’s Reminders/Calendar apps or to my iPhone/Laptop.

The problem I came across this weekend though was that I wanted to schedule an event the last monday of every April. I could not find a way to make it happen! In frustration I used Twitter and tweeted to Tim Cook, Readdle and Flxibits (makers of another fantastic calendar app – Fantastical 2). Out of the three companies I actually received a response back from Readdle! This is another reason I love using the iPad – many of the developers of these apps will contact you personally and help you figure things out. Plus, if the capability is not currently there, many will find a way to integrate in future updates of the app!

So after sending four tweets back and forth – The nice lady helped me realize that there is indeed a way to schedule such an event that occurs on the last monday of April every year! I am so very excited! In fact, so excited that I even made a YouTube video of how to do this….. (See below!)

TO WRAP UP

Use your calendar to your advantage! Don’t continue to “try” to remember what has to be done – use repeating events!

YOUTUBE VIDEO