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Feb
01

The Hidden Controls in the iPhone’s Camera App

The Hidden Controls in the iPhone’s Camera App

The beauty of the iPhone camera is that it combines the ease of use of a point-and-shoot camera with the image quality of a DSLR. To take a picture, you simply open the Camera app, frame your shot, and tap the shutter button. Simple, but what’s happening behind the scenes is anything but. The iPhone captures multiple images at once, concentrating on variables such as exposure, focus, tone, highlights, shadows, and more. It then merges all that data to produce what it thinks is the best possible image. Impressively, all this computational photography happens in real-time with no perceptible delay. (That said, iOS 15 provides a Prioritize Faster Shooting option in Settings > Camera that adapts—and presumably reduces—the image quality when you rapidly press the shutter multiple times.)

Despite all this automation, Apple still provides numerous manual controls you can employ to take photos the way you want. These controls are hidden, though, so you’re excused if you haven’t noticed them or have been frustrated looking for them. (“Where is that dratted Timer button? It must be here somewhere!”)

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Jan
03

Change Your Pointer Color in macOS 12 Monterey

Change Your Pointer Color in macOS 12 Monterey

Some people find it hard to find the mouse pointer at times, particularly on a large screen or when working in Dark Mode or in apps with dark interfaces. You’ve long been able to increase the size of the pointer generally and also zoom it temporarily by shaking it, but in macOS 12 Monterey, Apple now lets you change the color of the pointer. That could be a boon to those who have trouble seeing it otherwise. Go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Display > Pointer, click the Pointer Fill Color box, and choose a different color in the color picker. You can also choose a different Pointer Outline Color if that’s helpful. After customizing it, if you decide you prefer the old black-and-white version, click the Reset button.

(Featured image by iStock.com/tahir_duran)

Jan
03

Set Custom Text Sizes on a Per-App Basis in iOS 15

Set Custom Text Sizes on a Per-App Basis in iOS 15

In previous versions of iOS, you could change the systemwide text size to make all apps—at least those that support Dynamic Type—display text at larger or smaller sizes. (Most people who use this feature want the text larger so it’s easier to read with aging eyes.) In iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, however, Apple lets you adjust the text size on a per-app basis, so you can increase it only for those apps where it really makes a difference for you. First, make sure Text Size is showing in Control Center by going to Settings > Control Center, and if it’s not in Included Controls, tap the green + button for it under More Controls. Then, while in an app where you want bigger text, invoke Control Center, tap the Text Size button, move the vertical slider to the desired setting, and then tap the App Only button so the setting affects only that app, not all apps.

(Featured image by iStock.com/SandraMatic)

Jan
03

Giving Away a Mac Running macOS 12 Monterey? Try Erase All Content and Settings

Giving Away a Mac Running macOS 12 Monterey? Try Erase All Content and Settings

Before macOS 12 Monterey, if you wanted to sell, trade in, or give away your Mac, you had to boot into Recovery, erase the internal drive with Disk Utility, and reinstall macOS to ensure that the new owner would get a fresh start and couldn’t see any of your data. In Monterey, Apple has made the process much easier for newer Macs that use Apple silicon or that are Intel-based with a T2 security chip. Open System Preferences, and from the System Preferences menu (yes, it has menus), choose Erase All Content and Settings. You’ll have to enter an administrator username and password to enter the Erase Assistant. It suggests you back up to Time Machine before erasing, and if you’ve already done that or don’t want to, click Continue. Verify everything that will be erased on the next screen and click Continue. Finally, log out of your Apple ID when prompted to complete the erasure.

(Featured image by iStock.com/wildpixel)

Jan
03

Plan for the Future by Establishing a Legacy Contact

Plan for the Future by Establishing a Legacy Contact

Have you heard the expression “hit by a bus”? It’s a somewhat macabre attempt to inject a little levity into planning for the unthinkable event of dying without warning. No one expects to be hit by a bus, but people do die unexpectedly in all sorts of ways. That’s terrible, of course, but it’s also incredibly hard on that person’s family, who suddenly must deal with an overwhelming number of details. Many of those details revolve around the deceased’s digital life—devices, accounts, passwords, subscriptions, and more.

We strongly encourage everyone, regardless of age or infirmity, to think about what your family would want and need to do with your digital presence in the event of your death. The ultimate guide to this topic is Joe Kissell’s book Take Control of Your Digital Legacy, although the current version is a little out of date and is slated for updating in 2022.

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