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– the blonde byte –

Writer – Blogger – Technology Coach – Speaker

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April 2018

How to: Hide Files on Any Phone or Computer

 

 

 

By David Nield of Gizmodo

If you’ve got something you want to hide away, then you’ve got plenty of options on Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS—options that we’ll run through here. Even if the kids or a stranger should get access to your devices somehow, these files will stay hidden from view and locked away.

Before we get started, though, we should note that while the solutions below will provide a measure of privacy from a casual user who nabs your device, they aren’t all necessarily going to protect your files from a hacker or someone else with expertise.

 

Android

When it comes to files on mobile devices, those files are usually photos or videos—your other files are likely to be stored in the cloud, not on your device. To hide an image in Google Photos for Android, long-press on it then tap the menu button (three vertical dots) and pick Archive. The photo can still be dug out of the archive, but it does give your sensitive photos some level of protection from the casual browser.

If you’re on a Samsung phone, the default gallery app does a bit of a better job at keeping any photos or videos you want private kept safe. Select the photos and videos you want to hide, tap the menu button (three vertical dots), then pick Move to Secure Folder—enter the folder PIN, and the content gets moved over. No one else can get into that Secure Folder without the PIN.

For something a bit more comprehensive, try Keepsafe: It creates a PIN-protected digital vault on your phone for those photos and videos that you really don’t want other people coming across. Getting files into the vault is easy, or you can take your photos and videos from inside Keepsafe instead.

Also worthy of a mention is Vaulty, which works in a similar way but makes the process of getting photos and videos in and out of your digital locker even easier. Remember that if you’re using Google Photos as your gallery, you’ll still need to delete the originals, otherwise they’ll just get shown from the cloud (which the likes of Keepsafe and Vaulty don’t touch).

File Hide Expert covers any type of file and is very straightforward to use—it simply gives you access to the file and folder structure on your phone, lets you select the content you want hidden, and then hides it. The interface is rather rudimentary, but if you want something basic that works for any type of file, it’s a good option.

There is actually another trick you can use on Android using a file manager like ES File Explorer: Put an empty text file called .nomedia inside any folder with images you don’t want to show up in the default gallery app (though they’ll still appear in the file manager). In fact Android will ignore any folder that starts with a period. It’s a rather fiddly solution, but it might suit some of you.

IOS

The iOS file system is even more locked down than Android of course, so you’re unlikely to have files floating around that you don’t want people to see that aren’t photos or videos. There is the new Files app, that shows your iCloud Drive files (if you’ve got any), but there are no options for hiding files here.

You can however hide photos and videos from the iOS Photos app to keep them away from prying eyes that aren’t yours: Open the file in question, tap the Share button (bottom left), then choose Hide. That removes the photo or video from Moments, Years, and Collections, though someone could still browse to the Hidden album in the Albums section of the app, so it’s not all that secure.

We’ve already spoken about hiding photos and videos in Google Photos, and the process is the same for Google Photos for iOS. Tap and hold on one or more files, tap the menu button (three horizontal dots), and choose Archive. This hides the pictures or clips from the front screen of the app, though they can still be found from the Archive entry in the menu (and still show up in albums and search).

One other option is to put photos inside Notes (though this doesn’t work for videos). First you need to set up a password in the Notes section of the iOS Settings app, then you can open any note, tap the Share button (top right) and choose Lock Note. You’ll also need to remove the photo you’ve added from the main Photos app.

If you need to hide files from specific apps, your best bet is looking inside that app to see what options are available. Dropbox, for example, can be passcode protected from its internal settings screen: Tap Account then the cog icon, and choose Passcode Lock to prevent anyone from getting into your files.

We’ve come across a number of handy third-party options too, including Private Photos Calculator and Private Photo Vault, which protect your sensitive snaps and clips with a PIN code. You can capture photos and videos inside the apps, or import them from the Camera Roll, but if you take the latter option you also need to them delete the pictures from the iOS Photos app.

Windows

Windows has a file hiding tool built right into it, as you might already know: Right-click on any file or folder, choose Properties, then tick the box marked Hidden and click OK. That’s it—your chosen file or folder is no longer visible in File Explorer.

Unless the person who’s gained access to your computer is clever enough to display hidden files, that is. The setting can be toggled right from the View tab of the ribbon menu—the Hidden items entry on the right. You can set files and folders to be hidden from this menu too, via the Hide selected items button.

If you think that’s enough protection to foil any would-be lurkers—that they won’t know Windows well enough to display hidden files—then you’re already all set. On the other hand, if you want to take your hiding file techniques to the next level, you’ll need some help from a third-party app, and there are quite a few to pick from.

Of the ones we’ve tested, Wise Folder Hider Free impressed us the most with its ease-of-use and feature set. You can just drag and drop folders on top of the program interface, and they disappear from File Explorer as if by magic. A password is then required to get into the application. If you want encryption as well, you can upgrade to the Pro version for $19.95.

We were also impressed by My Lockbox, which is also available in free and Pro versions (the latter lets you protect an unlimited number of folders). Again, one password protects access to the program, and it’s perfect for just hiding a single folder away rather than a bunch of files or folders.

Another option is to wrap up all the files you want to hide away in a compressed archive, and then put a password on that archive that blocks unauthorized access. 7-Zip is one free tool that can do this for you, though someone else could still see and delete the archive unless you added one of the hiding options we mentioned above.

MacOS

When it comes to Mac computers, the cleanest and simplest native option is to use the Terminal app, which you can launch from Spotlight (Cmd+Space). Type “chflags hidden file-or-folder-path” then Enter to hide something, and “chflags nohidden file-or-folder-path” and Enter to bring it back. If you like you can type out the command then drag and drop a file or folder into the Terminal window before hitting Enter (just remember the path so you can bring it back).

Various third-party options will take care of the task for you as well. Hide Folders does exactly what it says on the tin, and you simply drag and drop in files and folders from Finder and then click the Hide button. Anyone who launches Hide Folders can see what you’ve hidden though, so you might want to add password protection, which is a $20 upgrade for the Pro version.

Secret Folder does almost exactly the same job, though the interface is a little cleaner and easier on the eyes. Again, you can simply drag and drop folders into the program window to hide them, then toggle the Invisible/Visible switch accordingly. The application costs $20, but a free trial is available.

Hider is a more comprehensive solution that’s again is priced at $20 and again lets you give the software a trial run for free. In addition to hiding selected files and folders, your data is also encrypted, and you’ve got some useful extras thrown in as well (like support for external hard drives). Files can be shown or hidden using simple toggle switches, with everything protected by a master password.

If it’s particular apps that you want to block, then Cisdem AppCrypt might fit the bill for you. You can specify apps (or websites) to password protect, so anyone who gains access to your Mac won’t be able to run programs containing information you don’t want seen. It costs $20 a year, with a free trial available.

Going back to photos, if all you want to do is hide images and video clips, you can use the same options (with the same caveats) as we talked about for iOS. From the Photos app, right-click on an image and choose Hide Photo. This removes it from the main photo stream, but considering the Hidden album is only a click away on the left-hand navigation pane, it’s not the most effective solution.

 

How do keep your private stuff private on your device(s)? Tell us in the comments below!

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Tips & Tricks: 11 Tips for Working on the iPad

 

 

BY FEDERICO VITICCI of MacStories

In a recent episode of Connected, we rounded up some of our favorite “iOS little wonders” and Myke was surprised by one of my picks: the ability to launch individual notes on iOS through shared links. The ensuing discussion inspired me to assemble a list of tips and tricks to improve how you can work on an iPad with iOS 11.

Even though I covered or mentioned some of these suggestions in my iOS 11 review or podcast segments before, I realized that it would useful to explain them in detail again for those who missed them. From keyboard recommendations and shortcuts to gestures and Siri, I’ve tried to remember all the little tricks I use to get work done on my iPad Pro on a daily basis.

After several years of being iPad-only for the majority of my work, I often take some of these features for granted. And admittedly, Apple doesn’t always do a great job at teaching users about these lesser known details, which have become especially important after the productivity-focused iPad update in iOS 11. I hope this collection can be useful for those who haven’t yet explored the fascinating world of iPad productivity.

Let’s dig in.

#1 Create Launchers for Notes

As I mentioned above, you can take advantage of Notes’ built-in collaboration capabilities (introduced in iOS 10) to create custom launchers that open individual notes directly.

Apple’s Notes app doesn’t offer a way to copy local URLs that reference a specific note. Thanks to note sharing though, you can create your own “URL scheme launcher” for Notes simply by sharing a note with yourself and using its iCloud.com URL as a personal note launcher.

Let’s say you have a note that you open multiple times a day. You’d like an easier way to open this note, such as a widget built using Launcher or a workflow. Open the note, tap the Add People button, then scroll the extension list until you see Copy Link. Tap it, then in the contacts dialog that appears enter either your iCloud email address or phone number.

Tap Copy Link in the top right, and you’ll have a link that can reopen the note directly. The note has been uploaded to iCloud.com to generate this link, but it’s only shared with yourself, so only you can see it. At this point, you can paste the note’s link in Launcher, Launch Center Pro, Workflow, or any other iOS automation app to turn it into a shortcut to reopen the note.

I use this system for dozens of notes that I frequently open in the Notes app. The only downside is that every time you tap on a note launcher, you’ll see a message that says ‘Retrieving’ – that means your device is checking with iCloud’s servers to see if the note on your device can actually be opened because it’s a shared one. In my experience, this dialog disappears in less than a second, and self-shared note links always work reliably. If you’re a heavy user of the Notes app and find yourself constantly opening the same notes, I recommend setting up some of these launchers.

#2 Trim Spotlight App Results

Whether you access it by hitting ⌘Space on a keyboard, swiping down on the Home screen, or via a dedicated physical key, iOS’ Spotlight search can be a powerful tool…once you’ve taken the time to trim down its list of included results.

I love Spotlight and use it a lot, but it requires time to be optimally configured to ensure its results are not polluted by unnecessary app data.

With iOS 9, Spotlight gained the ability to display results for documents and data contained in third-party apps. You can tap these results (or navigate them with the ↑/↓ arrow keys on a keyboard) to open them directly in the main app. The problem with Apple’s approach is that once an app is installed, its Spotlight integration is enabled by default.

If you find yourself searching for information with Spotlight and thinking that some of the results you see could be omitted, you can disable them and retain the ability to launch the app via Spotlight. To do this, go to Settings ⇾ Siri & Search, scroll to the app you want to disable for Spotlight results, and deactivate the ‘Siri & Search Suggestions’ toggle.

Once turned off, a second toggle called ‘Show App’ will appear; leave this one enabled to keep the ability to launch the app by typing its name in Spotlight.

 

 

#3 Take Edit and Share Screenshots Faster

I’ve repeated this process for all the apps I just want to launch via Spotlight and my experience has dramatically improved. Now when I type something in Spotlight because I’m looking for a document or message, only important apps I care about are allowed to display their contents in search results. It takes a while to disable search and Siri suggestions for every unimportant app, but it’s worth the time.

Lastly, here are some other useful Spotlight tips:

• If you’re using an external keyboard, you can press Return to immediately open the first (and most relevant) result brought up by Spotlight. This is perfect for turning Spotlight into a fast app launcher.
• You can use ↑-Return and ↓-Return to navigate between the first items of each Spotlight section (such as results from different apps).
• You can highlight different app icons on the same row by navigating them with the ← and → arrow keys.
• If the changes you make have no effect on the Spotlight results displayed by third-party apps, restart your iPad. Sometimes a hard reboot is necessary for Spotlight’s cache to clear.

Among various iPad-focused productivity enhancements, iOS 11 brought fantastic new screenshot features to quickly edit, share, and discard screenshots. What you may not know, however, is that you can make this workflow even faster on the iPad thanks to multitasking-aware cropping and keyboard shortcuts.

Unlike its iPhone counterpart, the iPad’s screenshot editing UI can recognize the edges of multiple app windows in a screenshot that was taken while in Split View or Slide Over mode. This means that if you take a screenshot while multitasking, then tap on the preview to edit it right away, the crop tool will automatically snap to the edges of a floating app in Slide Over or multiple apps in Split View, letting you easily crop just one app to share as a standalone image.

This special multitasking crop mode only works from the new screenshot editor of iOS 11; if you save a screenshot to the Photos app then edit it there, the crop tool will no longer recognize multiple apps captured on screen.

Furthermore, while iPad users have long been able to capture a screenshot by pressing the ⇧⌘3 hotkey, iOS 11 introduces ⇧⌘4.

This new shortcut takes a screenshot and immediately jumps into the editing UI, removing the need to tap on the floating thumbnail preview to open a screenshot.

Finally, the screenshot’s thumbnail preview is fully compliant with drag and drop and app extensions. After taking a screenshot (or multiple ones in a row), you can tap & hold the screenshot preview and drag it around to drop it into other apps such as Mail or Gladys. If you don’t want to use drag and drop, you can long-press the screenshot preview until the system share sheet appears. I do this all the time to instantly process screenshots with the Workflow extension.

#4 Consider a Smart Keyboard Alternative

 

For most people, Apple’s Smart Keyboard is a good (albeit slightly expensive) option to complement typing on the iPad with a physical keyboard. Its big advantage, of course, is that it uses the Smart Connector in lieu of Bluetooth, so you never have to worry about pairing and battery life. It’s also thin and light, making it an ideal choice if you plan on typing on an iPad that you’re frequently carrying around.

For all its nice perks, however, the Smart Keyboard also has some serious drawbacks – particularly for users who need to type on a large iPad Pro that usually sits on a desk.

Most notably, the Smart Keyboard is not backlit: unless you’re an extremely proficient touch typist, typing in dark environments will be a challenge as you won’t see the keycaps’ labels. The Smart Keyboard’s other big problem is its lack of additional function keys to activate system features or simulate physical buttons. When you use a Smart Keyboard, you’re more likely to be forced to reach out to the screen with your hand because iOS’ native keyboard shortcuts only support a subset of system functionalities.

Which brings me to my keyboard recommendation: if you want to use an iPad as a laptop replacement with lots of typing involved, you should consider a Smart Keyboard alternative. Whether it’s a Smart Connector-enabled keyboard (such as Logitech’s Slim Combo line), a keyboard case setup, or an external Bluetooth keyboard paired with an iPad stand, my suggestion is to get your hands1 on a backlit keyboard that offers good battery life, multiple levels of backlight illumination, and an extra row of physical function keys mapped to iOS system features and media controls.

For the past few months, I’ve been using a Brydge keyboard with my 12.9″ iPad Pro. This keyboard, besides being backlit and similar to a 2015 MacBook Pro keyboard in style and feel, comes with physical Siri and Home button keys that can be pressed to open the assistant and exit apps, respectively. The Siri key is effective when combined with Type to Siri (more on this below) and the Home key can even be double-tapped and long-pressed to enter the multitasking switcher or summon Siri.

Furthermore, the keyboard’s function row contains keys to control media playback and brightness (for both the system and the keyboard itself), show the software keyboard (useful to manually switch to the emoji picker), and lock the iPad. I’ve really enjoyed working on longform pieces with this keyboard – it’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to the dream of a real iPad laptop.

Brydge keyboards, unfortunately, are notoriously affected by quality problems that result in defective units that “drop” keystrokes. I know because I’ve been in that situation twice: I had to send my first two Brydge keyboards back to Amazon because it was impossible to type on them. I got lucky the third time. If you get a Brydge keyboard but it’s not working properly, and if you like the form factor, return it and repeat the cycle until you get a fully functioning one. Trust me – it’s worth it.

In addition to the Brydge keyboard, there are two other iPad keyboard setups I’ve tested over the years that I can safely recommend: Logitech SLim Logitech Slim Combo keyboard case. It’s bulky and made of plastic, but the case features an adjustable kickstand and has a Pencil holder at the top. The big advantage of the Slim Combo is that it uses the Smart Connector, just like Apple’s Smart Keyboard. The keyboard, which is backlit, replaces the Siri key with a dedicated Spotlight key. I used this keyboard for months before I moved to the Brydge.

Apple Magic Keyboard + Canopy+Smart Cover Even though it’s not backlit, I like the feel and reliability of Apple’s Magic Keyboard. I also appreciate that I can charge it with a Lightning connector instead of micro-USB like other Bluetooth keyboards. Studio Neat’s Canopy is my favorite solution to carry the Magic Keyboard around and prop the iPad up at a good viewing angle. When you don’t need to use the Magic Keyboard anymore, you can close the Canopy and go back to using the iPad with a Smart Cover attached. This setup is how I wrote my iOS 11 review last year, and I recommend it if you already own a Magic Keyboard.

While Apple should do a better job at integrating external keyboard controls with iOS’ system navigation (for instance, you still can’t control Split View and Control Center with the keyboard), using a good keyboard with iOS 11 can considerably improve your iPad workflow. Whatever you end up choosing, I suggest getting a keyboard that features additional function keys and is backlit. And if you decide to try the Brydge lottery: good luck.

#5 Use Favorites in Files App

As I argued in my review of iOS 11, the new Files app is the natural culmination of a new concept of file management that combines the traditional Finder model with an app-centric approach. While Files has a long way to go – in terms of stability, customization, and advanced integrations – I believe Apple has correctly identified the best path forward with this new app.

The ‘Favorites’ feature of Files’ sidebar is a great example of how it aims to combine classic folder-based navigation with apps. The Favorites section of the sidebar lets you pin frequently used folders for quick access. However, rather than being limited to iCloud Drive, you can mix and match favorite locations from iCloud and third-party file providers that show up under the ‘Locations’ area of the Files app.

I take advantage of Favorites in a couple of ways. In the Files app, I’ve enabled Dropbox, DEVONthink, iCab, and Working Copy as file providers. This allows me to browse the contents of the apps from Files and therefore manage their documents with the system’s drag and drop framework (which is available for every location in Files). More importantly, because third-party file providers are treated as native locations just like iCloud Drive, my Favorites section now contains folders from multiple sources. In addition to a handful of iCloud Drive folders, I have quick access to a shared folder in Dropbox, a repository in Working Copy, and a group from DEVONthink. This helps me use Files as a centralized location for all my documents, which I can retrieve with a couple of taps.

For the past few weeks, I’ve also started saving documents that I need to act upon and then delete in a temporary “inbox” in Files that is pinned at the top of my Favorites. If there are any PDF receipts of screenshots I need to process and discard, I can open the first folder in my Favorites to get instant access to those items.

I named this folder ‘* Temp Files’ so that it’s automatically sorted at the top of my iCloud Drive’s main view. This way, the folder is also displayed at the very top of Files’ extension when saving documents from other apps. If I need to save a PDF displayed in Safari, I can invoke the ‘Save to Files’ extension, save the document in the ‘* Temp Files’ folder, and act on it later once I’m back in the Files app.

#6 Get URLs of Mail Messages

 

Did you know that iOS, just like macOS, supports referencing individual messages in Mail with a message:// protocol? And that this feature, which first appeared in Mac OS X Leopard’s Mail in 2007, can only be controlled by iPad users on iOS thanks to drag and drop and third-party apps?

If you’re on an iPad and use Apple Mail, try this: pick up a message from Mail’s inbox and drop it into a note in Apple Notes. You’ll notice that the message gets saved as a link, which you can tap to instantly reopen the message in Mail.

The beautiful aspect of these Mail links is that they keep working even if the message they reference is archived or moved to another folder. Mail’s message links are ideal for task managers and note-taking apps where you may want to save email messages as todos for later.

Unfortunately, unlike macOS and its AppleScript support in Mail, there’s no easy way to copy these Mail message links on the iPad. If you use drag and drop with Notes, you can long-press the link to open a menu that lets you copy the URL you can paste elsewhere.

Alternatively, you can use the shelf app Gladys to save an entire email message and only export its URL component to other apps on your device.

By now, even though Apple never officially documented support for message:// URLs on iOS, a few third-party developers have figured out how to take advantage of those links to integrate their apps with Mail. In my opinion, Things offers the best implementation of the feature: when you drop a Mail message in the app, it is saved with its subject line and a tappable link that reopens the message in Mail.

I wish Apple provided an official API for apps to integrate with Mail; until that happens, individual message links are a good workaround to turn emails into tasks and notes in other apps.

#7 Install Custom Fonts

 

Whenever I share screenshots of my Numbers spreadsheets or Pages documents, readers ask how I was able to install San Francisco Mono on iOS. The simple truth is: iOS, unlike macOS, doesn’t offer a built-in solution for manual font installation, but it can be done through third-party apps and custom profiles. Even better: custom fonts you install on your iPad will be available in any app that uses iOS’ native font selection controls.

The app I’ve been using to install custom fonts on iOS for years now is AnyFont. After copying multiple font files into AnyFont with the ‘Copy To…’ menu in the share sheet, you can select them, confirm that you want to install them, then follow the onscreen instructions to install a custom profile in the Settings app that contains the fonts you want to use. It’s a guided process that requires absolutely no coding or other advanced skills. Once the fonts are installed, you’ll be able to select them in any standard font picker on iOS. You can try this in apps such as Numbers, Pages, Pixelmator, OmniGraffle, or Drafts. As long as the app features a native font picker, you’ll see your custom fonts.

I keep dozens of custom typefaces on my iPad and I’ve installed them all using AnyFont. It couldn’t be easier, and I like how this system lets me personalize my typing experience depending on the app I’m using. If you have a library of fonts that you want to move to AnyFont (or an alternative such as FondFont), I recommend keeping them in a folder synced with Files through iCloud Drive for convenient access on iOS.

#8 Use Text Replacements

 

Once you have your iPad set up with an external keyboard you’re comfortable with, it’s time to start using text replacements. This feature is supported by the default software keyboard too and is typically used for simple abbreviations, but I’ve grown to use it a lot with my Brydge keyboard as a lightweight TextExpander replacement that works in any app.

Besides obvious shortcuts for my name and address, I’ve set up text replacements for a variety of text strings I usually type or search for on my iPad:

• File names for documents or folders (in the Files app) I frequently find via Spotlight;
• Templates for email messages or tweets I send on a regular basis;
• Emoji I frequently type;
• Unicode characters that would otherwise require a dedicated app on iOS (such as the keyboard command characters in this story);
• Tag and project shortcodes for my task manager;
• Entire sentences that are expanded in Type to Siri to control HomeKit devices or save data into SiriKit-compatible apps.

I’ve become so accustomed to writing and working with apps on my iPad using text replacements, iOS feels broken when I use a device that isn’t logged into my iCloud account and doesn’t have my shortcuts. The functionality of Apple’s text replacements pales in comparison to what you can achieve with TextExpander, but their system-wide integration lets you save time in places where TextExpander will never be available.

#9 Tap and Holding Safari

 

There are several interesting and useful shortcuts hidden behind tap & hold gestures in Safari for iOS. It can be tricky to commit them all to muscle memory, so here’s a list of my favorite long-press shortcuts in Safari.

• Bookmarks. Tap & hold to quickly add a new bookmark or add the current webpage to Reading List.
• Plus button. Reopen recently closed tabs.
• Tabs icon. Brings up a menu to close all tabs or the current tab only, plus options to create a new tab or a new private tab.
• Address bar. By default, a long-press here brings up a Copy button to copy the current URL. With a URL or text in the clipboard, you’ll also see options for ‘Paste and Go’ or ‘Paste and Search’, respectively.
• ←/→ arrows. Preview browser history in a contextual menu.
• Safari Reader (text icon on the left side of the address bar). Display settings to always use Safari Reader on the selected website or for all websites.
• Refresh icon. Open menu to request a desktop version of the website or reload the webpage without content blockers.
• Links inside webpages. Tap & hold and wait for the link to lift up to start drag and drop; alternatively, let go of the link after it’s lifted up and you’ll open a standard contextual menu.

#10 Type to Siri

 

I’ve written about Type to Siri at length in an iPad Diaries column, but I want to repeat my recommendation here as I believe the feature dramatically alters Siri’s role on the iPad. With iOS 11, Siri gained support for an Accessibility option called Type to Siri that lets you text, rather than talk with, the system’s built-in assistant. The feature can be enabled in Settings ⇾ General ⇾ Accessibility ⇾ Siri, and it retains all the functionality you’re used to having in Siri, only in text form.

If you work from an iPad connected to an external keyboard, I think you should give Type to Siri a try – especially if your keyboard has a dedicated Siri key that directly opens the assistant’s UI. Besides obvious commands such as simple calculations or currency conversions, you can leverage Type to Siri and combine it with text replacements to perform advanced actions such as saving data into SiriKit apps or controlling HomeKit devices. For example, I set up text replacements as “sentence templates” for Siri to create a task in a specific list in Things; I have a shortcut to set my air purifier to 20% speed; I even created an abbreviation to save a note in Drafts’ inbox without opening the app – perfect for random thoughts that I don’t want to forget.

Normally, interacting with Siri or asking it to save information in third-party apps is a laborious and time-consuming process that feels like an interruption. With Type to Siri and text replacements on the iPad, however, Siri feels more integrated with the system and lends itself to being invoked more often and performing more advanced actions. Type to Siri made me reconsider Siri’s role as a productivity-focused enhancement that complements my iPad workflow.

#11 Open Documents from the Home Screen

 

Despite being one of the highlights of Craig Federighi’s iOS 11 demo from WWDC 2017, I often receive emails and tweets from readers who either just discovered this feature or aren’t sure about how it works.

In iOS 11, document-based apps can show you recently opened documents on the Home screen when you long-press their icons. The same gesture that would initiate drag and drop for other icons on the Home screen displays a “widget” for apps that work with documents.

This means that apps such as Bear or Trello will not show you recent files; document-based apps like Numbers, MindNode, or PDF Viewer, however, because they implement the native file browser in iOS 11, will bring up a menu of recently opened files on the Home screen.

The menu is useful in a couple of ways. Just like a widget, it can be expanded to show you more documents in additional rows. Then, you can either tap a document to reopen it in the app, or you can pick it up and use drag and drop to export it to another app.

Drag and drop is particularly useful in this instance if you find yourself sharing the same document over and over with the same app or the same people and want to save a little bit of time when doing so. Instead of navigating into the app that contains the document to find it, you can just press the icon, pick up the document from the Home screen (or even the dock) and drag away. If the file is stored in a cloud service, it’ll be automatically downloaded and sent as an offline copy when you drop it.

The impact of iOS 11 on my everyday iPad usage has been profound. While not without its fair share of problems, I don’t miss the days of iOS 10 and I have fully embraced the changes brought by iOS 11 to multitasking, file management, and inter-app communication. iOS 11 is a powerful new foundation for the iPad platform, and one that I’m still optimizing to my needs.

If you already work on the iPad as your main computer, or if you’re planning on doing so in the near future, I hope these tips will help you save a little bit of time every day.

Weekly Round Up 4/27/18

 

 

This really isn’t news…
Tech has no moral code. It is everyone’s job now to fight for one


Damn, China. Way to raise the bar….?

China turns to tech to monitor, shame and rate citizens


Can’t afford not to be these days…

How a News Junkie Stays Plugged In: Newsletters and Her Kids

 


So cool…

Paralyzed 34-year-old man completes London Marathon using Israeli tech

 


Because something has to give…

Why Big Tech is Plotting an Invasion of the Healthcare Market

 


Nerds Unite!

Workers of Silicon Valley, It’s Time to Organize

 


I’d pay to watch this on PayPerView…

Apple, Facebook feud as tech faces heat in D.C.

 


Which is why I have a job…

Apple has become an HR issue for enterprise IT

 


Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall for that one?

Apple’s Tim Cook Meets With Trump in Oval Office

Tales from the Orchard: Apple’s Cook to Meet With Trump Amid U.S.-China Trade Tensions

 

 

 

By Mark Gurman of Bloomberg.com

-Cook attended Tuesday’s state dinner for France’s Macron
-Apple CEO has urged China and U.S. to settle trade differences

Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook will meet with President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday as the company looks to head off a brewing trade war between the U.S. and China.

The sit-down between Cook and Trump will take place in the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon and be closed to the press, according to the president’s official schedule released by the White House.

The Trump administration’s decision to pursue tariffs on as much as $150 billion in Chinese goods has stoked trade tensions with Beijing that could affect Apple’s business in Asia. The company’s sprawling production chain is also centered in China.

Last month, Cook told attendees at a conference in Beijing that he hoped that China and the U.S. could resolve their differences on trade.

“The countries that embrace openness do exceptional and the countries that don’t, don’t,” he said. “It’s not a matter of carving things up between sides. I’m going to encourage that calm heads prevail.”

A trade war could place Apple in the Chinese government’s cross-hairs. A Communist Party newspaper last month listed the iPhone maker among the American companies that would be “most damaged” if a trade war erupted.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment after regular business hours.

Cook was among the guests on Tuesday evening at the first state dinner of Trump’s presidency, a formal fete for French President Emmanuel Macron. The Apple chief was accompanied by Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment and government affairs and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama.

What do think of Tim Cook’s extracurricular activities? Sound off in the comments below!

WIT: How Women Of The French Tech Movement Are Turning France Into A Startup Nation

 

By Melissa Jun Rowley of Forbes.com

When former French civil servant turned venture capitalist Fleur Pellerin was in business school in France during the ‘90s, the dream career of her fellow graduates was to be a consultant at one of the top firms or work for a major corporation like Unilever or L’Oréal. But today she says students want to create their own businesses. 

“The entrepreneurial mindset and spirit is much more present in the younger generation in France,” Pellerin shares.

This is part and parcel of the French Tech movement Pellerin architected when she worked in Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s government as Minister of SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy in 2012.  Since then, French Tech has been breaking new ground for French entrepreneurs in France and abroad. The initiative brought 320 startups to CES 2018 and has built 32 entrepreneurial communities around the world.

After 15 years working for the government, Pellerin transitioned into the tech startup world and founded the VC firm Korelya Capital, the primary manager of the K-Fund 1, which is investing €100 million in the high-tech industry in France and other European countries. To date, Korelya Capital has invested in six companies, including Devialet, the French speaker company, which has also been invested in by Jay Z. 

What A Difference A Movement Makes

“All the ingredients and the talent to have a great innovation ecosystem in 2012 were already there,” shares Pellerin. “But this initiative [French Tech], taxation of federal gains, and creating crowdfunding helped the development of some businesses. The main outcome is that now French startups know they belong to a movement called French Tech.”

If President Emmanuel Macron has anything to say about France’s place in the global startup landscape, the best is yet to come. He has proposed slashing wealth tax in a further bid to attract investors and boost tech business. And that’s not all he’s setting forth. For the next five years, the French government is poised to spend €1.5 billion ($1.85 billion) to support research and development in artificial intelligence with the goal of catching up to the current AI leaders, China and the US. 

Catching up seems to be a key incentive for French Tech, and not by just a few years. 

“What struck me most when I was minister in charge of digital and innovation was that whenever I traveled around the world France was famous for its wine, Chanel bags and foie gras, but not for its tech,” says Pellerin. “And you know, whenever people mentioned French high-tech things it was always the high-speed train or the rockets, as if the innovation drive in France stopped in the 18th century.” 

Five years ago, Pellerin says nobody thought of France as an innovative country. But now she ’s seeing interest in Asia to invest in French tech startups. She attributes this to France’s strong engineers converging with the country’s creative industry, including cinema, design and 3D animation.

Nurturing Women Founders

Korelya has been investing in startups for one year and has met with more than 250 companies however, less than 10% are founded by women.

“I’d love to invest in companies founded by women, but the problem is there are so few,” says Pellerin. “I might have a bias because my focus is on technology companies, and most of the founders are people with engineering backgrounds. The proportion of women in top engineering schools is low. This probably explains why you have fewer women founders in the digital tech ecosystem. Out of the six companies in my portfolio, one is founded by a woman.” 

Fortunately, there are many groups bringing more women into the French Tech ecosystem, such as StartHer, Girls in Tech Paris and Paris Pionnières. 

With a membership comprised of 50% women and 50% men, Paris Pionnières is the most inclusive incubator in Paris. They’ve come a long way. When the organization launched in 2005, there were only three incubators in Paris at the time.

Paris Pionnières currently runs three startup programs. One that’s exclusively for women is a bootcamp designed to help women “release their entrepreneurial spirit,” as well as test and pitch their startup ideas.

“We’re having great impact in Paris, but in other parts of France the situation is not so good,” says Paris Pionnières managing director Caroline Ramade. “In other parts of the country, 10% of startups are founded by a woman. We also need to scale the ambition internationally.” 

 

With Community Comes Confidence

Audrey-Laure Bergentha is the president of French Tech in her region in the south of Lyon. Her startup Euveka created the first robot able to instantly produce any human being’s size and shape to support the fashion industry, sports, security, and film in the mass customization revolution. The technology is so intelligent it’s able to replicate the body’s aging process, as well as how a woman’s body changes during pregnancy. 

“We [startups] have strong support by the government,” says Bergentha.”

If we are small we can feel big and strong because we have a lot of help, mentoring and advising. The French Embassy brought us to the American market. They’ve also helped us find funding.” 

Bergentha and her team mentor young women entrepreneurs. When asked what she shares with these aspiring female founders she said: “I tell them not to be afraid as I’ve been. It took me too many years to have confidence in myself. I don’t want them to be as slow as I have been. I was my worst enemy because I had no images to refer to, and the way a woman builds a business is totally different than the way men build businesses. I am lucky now that I have two women mentors that have helped me build my vision and have trust in myself. Our [women’s] main problem is lack of confidence.” 

Viva La French Tech Visa

As part of French Tech’s mission to lure talent into the ecosystem, the initiative created the French Tech visa to encourage foreigners to develop their startups in France. The visa is good for a year and places recipients in the incubators of French Tech partners.

France’s Station F, the largest startup campus in the world, is one of them. Home to 1,000 startups and several incubators including its own, the Founder Program, the organization’s management team is 60% women. Additionally, 40% of Founder Program startups are run by women. 

As for the inclusion of women in industries outside of the tech sector, Pellerin is hopeful.  

In 2011, France’s parliament gave final approval on a law forcing large companies to reserve at least 40% of their boardroom positions for women within six years.

“The law was criticized when passed, but now proving to be very efficient,” says Pellerin. “These sort of initiatives create an environment and mindset that will impact all the other sectors.” 

All the French wine, Chanel bags, and foie gras in the world can’t top that. 

How do you feel about the steps thses women have taken to close the Gender Gap in France? Sound off in the comments below!!

App of the Week: The best Apple Pencil apps that aren’t for drawing

 

 

By Charlie Sorrel of Cult of Mac

You have a new iPad, and you have a new Apple Pencil. Time to learn how to draw, right? Not necessarily. Just like a regular pen or pencil, there are ton of other things you can do with an Apple Pencil. You can write, of course, but you can also play games, compose musical scores, do coloring in books, edit photos, and even play the Apple Pencil like a musical instrument.

Let’s take a look at the best non-drawing apps for Apple Pencil.

Why Apple Pencil?

The Apple Pencil is the best iPad stylus you can get, because it and the iPad’s screen talk to each other. All other styluses are just proxies for your finger, stubby pens with conductive rubber tips that pretend to be a flesh finger. The Apple Pencil, on the other hand, can register different pressure levels, so pressing harder draws darker, and it can make a different line depending on how you tilt the pencil (like slanting a pencil to use the wide side of the lead to color in).

But most useful is the fact that it’s not your hand. When an app detects the Apple Pencil, it can ignore all touches from your hand. This lets you lay the side of your palm on the screen to write, draw, or whatever, and you’ll never make an errant mark by mistake. It’s called “palm rejection,” and it’s probably the feature that does the most to make it feel like you’re drawing on paper.

The result is a combo that brings the immediacy of pen and paper to many apps, and not just drawing apps. Let’s check out the best Apple Pencil apps available.

Edit photos with Affinity Photo

 

Apple pencil works with many photo-editing apps, but Affinity Photo is one of the most powerful, and works great on the new Apple Pencil-compatible iPad. It also uses all of the Apple Pencil’s sensors — tilt, pressure, and angle.
Even a simple bullet list of what it does would be too much for this post, but if you’re looking for an alternative to Photoshop for the iPad, then this is the app you want. You can select, retouch, edit, and add real-time effects all with the Apple Pencil, and the app also plays great with iOS 11’s new Files app, so you can drag and drop single or multiple images right into the app.

Price: $19.99
Download: Affinity Photo from the App Store (iPad)

Take notes with GoodNotes

Apple’s own Notes app is already a great companion to the Apple Pencil, but if you want something extra, try GoodNotes. GoodNotes is like a pro version of Notes app. It will recognize your handwriting as you write, so you can search on it in the future.

It can also turn your handwriting into regular, editable text. You can drag-and-drop documents, notes, images, and texts in and out of the app, and you can annotate PDF documents that you’ve opened with the app. Goodnotes can also sync with the Mac version of the app.

My favorite feature is one of its simplest: custom stationery. The app comes with plenty of different kinds of paper to use as backgrounds to your pages. You can also add your own. I have a custom paper for noting guitar chords, for example.

Price: $7.99
Download: GoodNotes from the App Store (iOS)

Write music with Leadsheets

Leadsheets is a music composition/notation app. It presents you with a page of music staves, and you just draw notes onto them. The app’s “compoze” engine recognizes the notes you’re writing, and turns them into standard musical notation. Want to tie two notes together? Just draw a line across the top of their tails.

You can also add chords, set the speed, time signature, and so on. And the app can even play back the result to you.

There are more sophisticated music notation apps for the iPad, but I like Leadsheets because it is so easy to use. If only it could also do guitar tabs, I’d be using it all the time instead of paper.

Price: Free with in-app purchases
Download: Leadsheets from the App Store (iOS)

Play a violin with Pen2Bow

Pen2Bow turns the Apple Pencil into a violin bow. You saw it back and forth, or round-and-round, on the iPad’s screen, and it turns the gestures into music.

Surprisingly, you can squeeze a huge amount of expressiveness from the little white stick. It just depends on how hard you press on the iPad’s screen, how fast you move it, and even the angle at which you tilt the thing.

You can also use Pen2Bow with musical instruments that aren’t usually bowed, because the app can act as a MIDI controller for any other music app. You can get super-expressive with the electric guitar, for example, or try it out on a piano.

Price: $7.99
Download: Pen2Bow from the App Store (iOS)

Drawing with Linea Sketch

OK, let’s add in one drawing app, just because it’s too good to miss. Linea Sketch is a killer drawing app that has everything you need, and nothing you don’t.

Quick sketches are Linea’s turf. It launches fast, and you can be working on a new canvas in seconds. The interface is minimal. It’s all right there, obvious and simple, instead of requiring multiple menus just to switch colors. It supports layers, and generates tints and shades of the currently-selected color, for instance. It also offers plenty of neat touches. For instance, you can use your finger as an eraser anytime, without having to select it as a tool.

Linea really is the best app for quick sketches, but it also makes for a surprisingly sophisticated painting app.

Price: $4.99
Download:Linea from the App Store (iOS)

 

Mark up PDFs with… Files app?

The fastest way to mark up a PDF is in Files app.

Given the number of PDF apps for the iPad, it may seem odd that I’m picking the native Files app here, but it’s the one I use. To mark up a PDF in Files app, you just start drawing on it. That’s it! There’s no need to enter an edit mode, or anything like that. Just tap the Apple Pencil onto the PDF you’re viewing in Files app, and you will draw a line. If you need to switch to a different pen, or change color, or add fancier markup, tap the little Markup icon at the top right of the screen.

I use this all the time for annotating PDFs I have scanned from paper. For instance, my guitar teacher writes out a lot of musical notation during lessons, and I use Files app and the Apple Pencil to mark out sections of songs, or to add notes of my own.

Not just for drawing

The Apple Pencil is a fantastic tool, and now that it’s compatible with all new iPads not just the iPad Pro, we can hope that the range of apps will increase. I’ll admit, my Apple Pencil sits in the pencil jar with my other pens and pencils a lot of the time, but for some tasks, nothing else will do.

Do you have a favorite app to use with the Apple Pencil? Tell us about it in the comments below.

How to: secure your iPhone and iPad Lock screen

 

 

By Peter Can of 9to5Mac

One of the things Apple touts is its focus on user privacy, and that commitment shows throughout the company’s ecosystem, all the way down to what is visible and not visible on a user’s Lock screen.

Follow along as we walk you through how to make the most out of your iPhone or iPad’s Lock screen.

How to secure your iPhone and iPad Lock screen

1 Head to Settings > Face ID (or Touch ID) & Passcode. You’ll need to enter your device’s passcode.
2 From there, scroll down until you see Allow Access When Locked.
3 By default, everything will be on. Now choose which options you’d like to disable access to when your device is locked.

Personally, I like to disable everything other than Siri, especially with Face ID on the iPhone X. By doing so, nearly every action on the Lock screen is not possible without authenticating with a passcode or Face ID. I keep Siri on to allow for “Hey Siri” on the Lock screen.

One thing I would like to see is the ability to disable the camera on the lock screen or perhaps a way to disable actionable notifications unless the device is unlocked.

For more help getting the most out of your Apple devices, check out our how to guide as well as the following articles:

How to turn off Airplane Mode and Do Not Disturb mirroring with iPhone and Apple Watch
How to create custom vibration pattern ringtones for iPhone
How to set up Apple Pay on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, or Mac
How to report phishing attempts and other suspicious messages to Apple
How to back up your Apple Watch
How to enable ‘Calls on Other Devices’ like iPad or Mac
How to enable Wi-Fi calling on iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch
How to clean your dirty AirPods and charging case

Weekly Round Up 4/20/18

 

To echo yesterday’s article, Apple should start it’s own school…
The Classroom of Tomorrow Takes its Cues From Tech Startups

To be honest, AR freaks me out. I had to stop watching WestWorld for just that reason.
Tribeca Film Festival has everything a geek could wish for

 


I’m starting to sense a theme with these festivals…

How 3 Brands Brought Tech to Life at Coachella

 

And Apple’s gonna spend the next 5 years playing catch up…
Tech’s Hollywood Takeover: Amazon Reboots ‘Citizen Kane’ and ‘E.T.’ Studio

Finally, some good news about tech this week…
What’s tech got to do with political activism? Everything.

 

Can’t wait to see what Comey’s Memos say about this…
Facebook, Microsoft, and other tech companies pledge to never help governments launch cyberattacks

 

Can they not go one day without being in effin’ the news?!
Facebook Really Wants to Bring Back Its Face-Scanning Tech in Europe. Problem Is, It Might Be Illegal.

 

I did!
How To Get A Career In Tech Without A Technical Degree

Tales from the Orchard: Apple should open a university that’s free for everyone

Corporate profits are at an all-time high. Student debt is at an all-time high. It’s time for Apple to help out.

By Scott Galloway of Wired.com

Apple’s ability to create low-cost products and sell them at premium luxury prices has landed them with a cash pile greater than the Russian stock market and the market capitalisation of Boeing and Nike combined. The big question is whether Apple has an obligation to spend this enormous pile of cash? And, if so, how?
My suggestion: Apple should launch the world’s largest tuition-free university.

The company has roots in academia and its brand foots really well with creative services and education. But, ultimately, I also think this idea is an enormous profit opportunity.

How can Apple make it tuition-free as well as profitable? It needs to “flip” the current funding model, by making it tuition-free for students and by charging companies to recruit there. At the moment, companies go to universities and think of them as their giant HR departments. The reasons are obvious. Universities are great at screening applicants, picking smart people, ensuring they can work in groups and that they are emotionally stable. Universities aren’t in the business of educating, as much as they are in the business of granting credentials to its students. Apple would be very good at attracting the best candidates. And in exchange for access to those students, corporates would be willing to pay a lot of money.


Corporate profits are at an all-time high. Student debt is at an all-time high. So we need to flip the model and put the costs of education on to the corporation. Apple could also deploy a bidding system, similar to what Google and Facebook do in advertising, where corporations bid to have first access to the very best students.

Apple is already 60 to 70 per cent there. It has the brand and it would attract incredible applicants. What makes a quality school? Sure, it’s the faculty, but mostly it’s the brand’s ability to attract the best and brightest. As long as the best and brightest apply to your programme, you’re going to have the best and brightest faculty.

As long as you have the best and brightest faculty, you will have the best recruiters showing up, who will pay the most. And as long as you have the recruiters who will pay the most showing up, you get the best and brightest applying.

Apple would immediately get several million applications. Or enough applications where they can have an outstanding faculty. And then, by offering free tuition, they can place competitive pressure on my colleagues to start offering tuition at a lower price.

This is desperately needed because currently we have this cartel that makes OPEC look cuddly and socially conscious.



I work with one of the best faculties in the world – and I think two-thirds could leave and not be missed. Now, does that mean they should be fired? No. But does it mean that they should be making as much money as they do, without the same competitive pressures that everyone faces in the marketplace? Of course not. This just translates into outrageous tuition fees which kids finance with debt. Which means they get houses later; which means they start families later; which means they take fewer risks – it’s a drain on the economy.

So, I think a healthy dose of this tech-inspired efficiency and competition would be a great thing for academia. Today, we currently have the wrong attitude. We turn away people and take pride in our exclusivity. It’s like a homeless shelter bragging about the people it doesn’t let through the door. The whole mentality is screwed up.

Apple Stores could be used as campuses for the Apple University. The stores are in highly dense, populated areas; they’re not used after hours and they’re already starting to give some classes.

Alternatively, what if Apple had taken their space ship and turned it into a university? What if they said it was a university from the hours of 6pm to 10pm? And what if they said that three per cent of its 150,000 employees that have credentials as being the best and brightest in the company become the adjunct professors in this university?

With Apple’s profits, I believe it could start the equivalent of the University of Texas, the University of California or the Michigan state system – but ultimately, I think it could start the largest free-tuition system in America. It would be good for society, it foots to their brand and I think it would be wildly profitable. What it would really come down to, to make all of this work, is execution.

As told to WIRED consulting head Tom Upchurch

How do you feel about an Apple sponsored university? Sound off in the comments below!

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