iDevice Screens: These go to -11


Do you use your iPhone or iPad after lights out? Are you, or your partner, disturbed by the light emitting from the screen—even on the lowest brightness setting? Justin Searles, writing at Medium, has the solution:

How-to make your iPhone Dimmer than Dim

I followed the steps in Justin's simple tutorial and now my iPad is ready for bedtime with a simple triple tap on the home button. Come sunrise (or Jeff-rise—whichever comes last) another triple tap restores the screen to all its bright glory.

Now if I could just get the morons misguided folks using their phablets in movie theaters to dim down…

↬ Dave Mark at The Loop, How to make your iPhone dimmer than its dimmest setting


Not so big after all: Sizing up the Apple Watch


Critics of the unreleased Apple Watch, many and legion, seem quick to call it big and clunky. I had a little time on my hands, and decided to so some investigative research.

Apple has released some sizing information and various Apple Watch sizing templates are available online. I downloaded one from Ryan P. Mack. Next I went hunting for my digital caliper (a device for making precise measurements) and failed to find it—must be in my toolchest at the Hack Factory. No worries, the analog caliper in my rigging bag sufficed. Finally, I pulled the (average sized) Bertucci field watch, my EDC (every day carry) timepiece, from my wrist. The Bertucci isn’t the smallest, thinnest watch I’ve owned, but it isn’t the bulkiest either. (Obviously) I find it to be an acceptable size for everyday wear.

Image comparing actual Bertucci watch to PDF print of Apple Watch Dimensions

Here’s my watch compared to the Apple Watch PDF. The caliper is set to the relevant dimension of the Bertucci watch

The larger Apple Watch case is 42mm tall. Using press images and videos, Ryan estimates that the width of the watch is 37.65mm and the thickness is 10.44mm + a 1mm “bump” for the heartrate sensor. My current watch case is 48mm tall, 39mm wide and 11-12mm thick in round, analog numbers.

Criticizing the styling of the Apple Watch is valid, that’s after all a matter of taste, but calling it “big” or “clunky” seems inaccurate. For all practical purposes, I’m wearing an Apple Watch sized timepiece today and (most) everyday.

I’m planning on ordering a 42mm model in Black Stainless Steel, watch band TBD—ultimately I’ll be tying my own. What’s your choice? Let us know in the comments.

iPhone Buyer beware: Check the Activation Lock status


Buyers of used equipment are often concerned about purchasing hot goods. Moral questions aside, when it comes to iPhones you want to be certain that the device isn’t Activation Locked—this prevents it from being used until it’s unlocked with the rightful owner’s Apple ID credentials. Apple now provides an iCloud portal where you can you enter a device’s serial number or IMEI to check its lock status.

I entered my iPhone’s Serial Number here…

…and confirmed that my phone is locked.

You’ll have to use a desktop browser, Mobile Safari won’t work. At this time the tool is targeted at desktop browsers. If you want to access the site using Mobile Safari (iOS 8) you’ll need to jump through extra hoops:

Go to and use the Request Desktop Site feature:

To access this, give a gentle pull down on the menubar to see two new choices: Add to Favorites and Request Desktop Site. Tap the latter and the page will reformat, usually presenting itself in desktop glory.

ᔥ Macworld | Get to know iOS 8: Five convenient new tricks in Safari

Once you’re viewing the desktop version, type into the URL bar.

Do as we say…


Most of the early adopters amongst us have already taken the plunge and updated their devices to iOS 8. This post is for the rest of you. The cautious ones. Those who sit on the sidelines and watch the lab rats early adopters bleed. Take joy from my struggle, but heed its lessons. In my excitement to play with the shiny things, I ignored a few cardinal rules — rules that I often hear myself preaching to others — and but for the grace of the universe I could have found myself in a bit of a pickle.

Unless you're compelled to update, it might be wise to wait a week or so and let the early adopters bleed!

My first mistake was failure to manually initiate a backup on either of my devices. Truthfully, this isn't something I give much thought to on iOS as the iCloud backup system has proved flawless in my experience, but a more cautious person would have pushed a fresh backup to the cloud. Doing an additional, local backup to a computer is probably overkill but wouldn't be completely over the top. If you ignore all the rest of the rules at the very least:

Back it up!

I didn't update my apps before updating the OS. Again, this wasn't a deal breaker (and I initiated the Update All process shortly after iOS 8 was installed) but this was another oversight that could have worked out badly.

Update your Applications before updating your Operating System!

Did I mention I was anxious to play with the new stuff? I was working (for the man) all day and wasn't able to initiate the updates until I got to the Hack Factory for the wednesday night open house. As soon as I sat down I whipped out my iPad and impulsively started the update. Once that was in progress I immediately pulled out the iPhone and started its update.

Update one device and see how it goes before updating the rest of them!

The update process on the iPad was (finally!) complete. I was running through the set up process and was prompted to log in to my iCloud account. Naturally, my iCloud account requires two factor authentication. I have three options for authenticating. I can send an iMessage to my iPad (which was “stuck” on a set up screen), send an SMS message to my iPhone (which was offline downloading a software update) or enter the recovery key securely stored in Password Wallet on my iPhone, iPad and MacBook. (The MacBook wasn't immediately available to me, it was at home.)

I ducked the bullet on the that one. Once the iPhone update was complete I was able to send the SMS message back to itself. The updater automatically recognized the incoming message and authenticated my iCloud ID. After that I used the phone to authenticate my ID on the iPad. In retrospect, I also could have skipped the initial iCloud setup on my iPad and then manually configured iCloud using iMessage (which in my case uses a different Apple ID) to receive the authentication PIN.

Understand the process — and — Think it through!

“Why didn't you just skip the initial set up, open Password Wallet, copy the key, and manually initiate the iCloud login from settings?” Great idea. I tried. Unfortunately, the version of Password Wallet I had installed was crashing as soon as I entered my wallet password. To make matters worse, the iOS 8 compatible version was stuck in the App Store approval process.

Check compatibility of mission critical apps before updating!

In my defense, there was no report of the then current Password Wallet's incompatibility with iOS 8 at the time I was plowing through this—only the notice that the new version with iOS 8 support had been submitted for approval a week earlier. That being said, it would have been prudent to confirm compatibilty.

No News ≠ Good News!

The silver lining is that sometime late Thursday/early Friday the updated Password Wallet App dropped. I was only without (iOS) access to my passwords and keys for a day. I didn't quite duck the bullet, but it only grazed me. I'm having a few shakedown glitches with iOS 8 but for the most part I'm up and running. That being said,

Do as I say, not as I do!


iOS 8 is here


iOS 8 was released by Apple around noon today. You can upgrade using iTunes or use the Over-The-Air upgrade.

You can check out SnapGuide’s collection of tips and tricks for iOS 8 here.