IPhone

You Can Now Clear Out Wasted Storage in the Twitter iPhone App

iPhone: Twitter has rolled out an update for the official Twitter app that solves the pesky problem of app bloating. Now, you can manually clear out the cache in the app.

A lot of apps on iOS have a problem where they bloat up in size over use, which can cause issues with those of us with 16GB phones. The best workaround I’ve found for this involves downloading a giant app to force iOS to clear the…

How to Stop People From Swiping Through Your Smartphone Photos

If you want to show somebody photos on your phone but don’t want them wantonly scrolling through the rest of your camera roll, there are a few clever tricks you can employ to ensure that they see what you want them to see…and nothing else.

Smartphones have become our take-everywhere, do-everything, all-in-one pocket computers that we manage (and record!) our entire lives on. Unlike handing somebody the little photo book from your wallet that we used to carry around, handing somebody your smartphone gives them access to your personal photos and more. And we’ve all handed someone our phone to show them one photo, only for them to start swiping through to look at everything else.

Rather than simply accept that, you can easily use these tricks to put a lid on rampant camera-roll-scrolling behavior and keeps their eyes just on the photos you want to share.

For Single Photos: Just Zoom In a Little Bit

This tip is a very low effort one, and best suited for showing someone a single photo on your phone while you’re there to supervise them.

On nearly all image gallery apps, including the default gallery apps on iPhone and Android, using the pinch-to-zoom function on a photo “locks” it into place. This locking mechanism isn’t intentionally intended to lock the user onto that photo, but is a side effect of how the activating the zoom function also activates the swipe-to-pan function so you can move around the zoomed in image.

Depending on the operating system and application the photo either stays locked until you zoom out or until you attempt to swipe multiple times—on the iPhone, for example, swiping on the photo bumps into the sides of the screen, and you have to swipe multiple times before it zooms out and resumes normal camera roll functionality.

The only thing kittens love more than yarn is pinch-to-zoom.

To take advantage of this unintended feature, simply pinch-and-zoom every so slightly on the photo (zooming even the tiniest amount will do the trick). Unless the person looking at the photo understands both the concept of pinch-zooming and that the reason their swipe left/right failed, then they’ll likely just scratch their head and hand it back to you. This is a perfect super low effort solution for those times that you’re handing your phone to, say, a relative who doesn’t get the concept of digital privacy (or that you’d even have racy or private photos on your phone in the first place).

Create Albums to Contain Groups of Photos

What about those times you want people to swipe through some photos, but not others?…

Chrome for iPhone Gets a Reading List for Saving Articles and Offline Reading

iPhone: One of the nicer features in Apple’s Safari is the Reading List, which gives you an in-browser place to save articles to read later. Today, Chrome gets that too.

Chrome’s feature is called Read Later and it works basically the exact same as the one in Safari. In Chrome, open up an article you want to read later, tap the three dot icon, then the share…

How to Add Extra Storage to Your Phone or Tablet with a Mobile Drive

You’ve been taking photos and videos, downloading documents, and installing apps like there’s no tomorrow. All of a sudden you realize you’re running out of room on your phone. What do you do?

Sure, you could use cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive to store files, but those require an internet connection to access your files. If you want to actually take files with you, there is a better solution.

Just like you’ve been using USB flash drives with your PC or Mac all these years, there are also flash drive-esque devices that connect to phones and tablets. After testing a few, here are some that we recommend:

  • The SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick is the most versatile, being able to connect to iOS devices, Android devices, and computers (either wirelessly or over its USB connection like a traditional flash drive). Put any files on it from your PC, and you’ll be able to read them using an app on your phone. The SanDisk software can also back up your photos and contacts, and secure any sensitive files you have on the drive with the SecureAccess software (which can only be protected and unprotected on your PC or Mac). And, of course, wireless drives don’t have to be physically connected, which is nice—though you will have to charge it.
  • The SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive is more like a traditional flash drive, but built for the iPhone and iPad. It plugs into the Lightning port on the bottom of your device so you can directly access files stored on it. Like the SanDisk Connect, it can back up photos and contacts, though it can also back up your calendar and social media. The iXpand drive can also protect individual files in the SanDiskSecureAccess vault directly on the drive using the iXpand Drive app.
  • The Leef iBridge 3 Mobile Memory Drive is similar to the iXpand drive, connecting directly to the Lightning port on your device. However, it has one unique feature: allows you to transfer files between the drive and a few of the more popular cloud services without having to copy the files on your mobile device first. The Leef iBridge 3 also allows you to protect your files, like the iXpand drive, but it protects the whole drive, not individual files.

The iXpand and Leef iBridge 3 drives should both fit over most cases. We tested them on an iPhone 7 Plus with a Speck Presidio Grip case and it fit just fine. They may not fit as well with some of the thicker cases, such as OtterBox cases. The iXpand drive is a bit more flexible than the Leef iBridge 3 drive.

NOTE: We’re mostly focusing on iOS in this guide, since Android phones are much more versatile. If your Android device supports USB on-the-go (OTG), you can use any old flash drive just by plugging it in using a USB OTG cable. You can read more about that process in this article. You can also use a USB-A-plus-USB-C flash drive like this one. If your Android phone does not support physical USB connections, the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick should work well with Android too.

In this guide, we’ll walk through the process of using all three of these devices to store and read files on your iPhone or iPad, as well as back up photos or other files if you want to free up space. There is more you can do with these drives than we discuss here, and we’ll provide links to help pages so you can learn all about using your new drive.

How to Use the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick

The SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick is a flash drive that works not only with your computer, but with your phone and tablet as well. It runs its own wireless network, so you can connect to it wirelessly. That means it can be in your pocket, purse, backpack, or anywhere within about 150 feet with a clear line of sight while it’s connected to your device.

The SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick provides up to 256GB of extra storage, and the prices range from about $25 for 16GB to about $200 for 256GB, as of this writing.

Charging the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick and Connecting It to Your PC

Before we get started with the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick, plug the drive into your computer or a USB adapter and let it fully charge. This might take up to two hours.

While the drive is charging, download and install the appropriate app for your device: Connect Drive for iOS or for Connect Drive for Android. We’re going to show you how to use the drive and the app on iOS, but the process is the very similar on both. If you’re charging the drive in a USB port on your computer, you can also use the charging time to copy any photos, videos, or other files you want to access on your phone to the drive. Copy files just like you would any other flash drive.

Once the drive is fully charged, turn it on by pressing the power button on the side of the drive.

The LED on the top of the drive blinks white to indicate the drive is on.

Connecting the SanDisk Connect to Your Phone or Tablet

To connect to the drive on Android, open the Connect Drive app and select the Wi-Fi network that your drive creates.

If you’re connecting the drive wirelessly to a PC or Mac, connect to the drive’s Wi-Fi network just like you would connect to any other Wi-Fi network. Then, open a browser and go to http://172.25.63.1/myconnect/. You should see the files on your drive in the browser window and you can manage the files right in the browser.

iOS is a bit different. To connect to the drive, you have to go through the Wi-Fi settings for your iPhone or iPad, not in the Connect Drive app. To do so, tap “Settings” on the Home screen.

On the Settings screen, tap the “Wi-Fi” option.

Under Choose a Network, you should see the SanDisk Connect drive listed with unique code of six numbers and letters after it, identifying your specific wireless stick. Tap on “SanDisk Connect” in the list.

The SanDisk Connect drive moves up to the top of the screen with a checkmark beside it.

You are now connected to your drive. Open the Connect Drive app and swipe left to go through the introductory screens. On the last screen, tap the “Get Started” button at the bottom.

The initial screen of the Connect Drive app displays with some helpful hints to get you started.

Accessing Files on the Wireless Stick

Files on the wireless stick can be accessed directly on the drive. Open the Connect Drive app and you’ll see all the files and folders on the drive. To open or view a file, simply tap on the file. If the file is in a folder on the drive, tap the folder to open it and then tap on the file. For example, to view a photo on our drive, we tap the Photos folder to open it…

…then we tap on a photo in the folder.

The photo displays directly in the app. You can also tap the right arrow icon at the bottom of the screen to start a slideshow using all the photos at the same level (the root of the drive or in the same folder). The Connect Drive app supports viewing .bmp, .tif, .tiff, .jpg, .png, .xbm, .ico, and .tga images.

You can stream videos to up to three devices from the drive the same way. Simply tap on a video file to play it directly in the Connect Drive app. The Connect Drive app can play .wmv, .avi, .mkv, .mp4, .mov, .flv, .mpg, .rmvb, .m4v, and .ts video files. (Note that some DRM-protected content cannot be played, however.)

You can also play music files in the form of .mp3, .wav, .m4a, .aac, and .ogg, as well as view Microsoft Office documents (.doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, and .pptx) and PDF files.

Backing Up Photos and Videos from Your Device to the Wireless Stick

To save room on your device, you may want to transfer some of your photos and videos from your camera roll to the wireless stick and access them directly on the drive.

NOTE: Photos and videos are the only types of files you can officially transfer from your device to the drive. However, the Connect Drive app is added to the iOS share sheet, so you might be able to transfer files from other apps to the drive using the share sheet if those apps support it. For example, we selected a video in VLC and then used the share sheet to copy the file to the Connect Drive app, which automatically copies the file to the wireless stick. You can also transfer photos and videos (up to 10 files at a time) in the camera roll using the share sheet instead of the Connect Drive app. Select them in the camera roll, tap the Share icon, and then tap the Connect Drive icon on the share sheet. Then, choose where on the drive you want to paste the files.

To use the Connect Drive app to back up photos and videos to the drive, open the app and tap the plus icon at the bottom of screen showing the contents of the drive.

The first time you copy files, the Connect Drive app will ask permission to access your photos. Tap “OK” on the dialog box that displays. You’ll then see the photos in your camera roll. You can also click the Albums button to access other albums.

Once you’ve located the photos you want to back up to the wireless stick, tap on those photos. Then, tap the “Select Destination” button at the bottom of the screen.

Now, you’re prompted to select a destination on the drive. You can select any existing folder by tapping on it, or you can tap “New Folder” to create a new folder to contain the copied photos. Once you have selected your destination, tap the “Copy Here” button at the bottom of the screen.

The app displays the status of the copy process. You can pause the copying of a photo, cancel the process, or hide the progress screen.

When the photos have been copied, the following dialog box displays. Click the “OK” button to close the dialog box.

If you’d rather back up your entire camera roll, you can tap the menu button in the upper-left corner of the main screen and head to “Camera Roll Backup”. You can set it to back up manually or automatically.

Connecting to the Internet and Use the Wireless Stick at the Same Time

When you connect your device to the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick, you give up your normal Wi-Fi connection, so you won’t be able to access the internet. You can get it back, though—you just have to re-connect to your normal Wi-Fi network through the Connect Drive app.

Tap the hamburger menu button in the upper-left corner of the screen.

Tap “Internet Connection” on the slide-out menu.

Click the “Next” button on the introductory screen.

How to Enable iTunes Parental Restrictions on a PC, Mac, or iPhone

Whether your kids use iTunes on a Mac, Windows computer, or on their iPhone or iPad, you probably don’t want them accessing inappropriate adult content. This can be accomplished using parental restrictions.

How to Enable Parental Restrictions on iTunes for Windows and macOS

To set up parental restrictions on iTunes on the desktop, head to iTunes’ preferences—you can do this by going to Edit > Preferences on Windows, or iTunes > Preferences on a Mac.

Then, click on the Restrictions tab in the preferences.

To change the restrictions, you will need to click the lock icon in the bottom left corner.

On Windows, make sure your child is using his or her own user account and that they do not have administrator privileges. This is important because no password is needed if you or anyone else is using iTunes with an account that has administrator rights. Plus, you will want to set up your child’s iTunes separately from yours.

On a Mac, you need to enter your system password to proceed regardless of the account but again, you should make your child uses their own account so you can apply restrictions to their iTunes player separately from yours.

Let’s step through each Restrictions section individually and familiarize you with them.

  • Disable: iTunes is awash with content—Podcasts, Internet Radio, Apple Music, etc.—so you can disable each media type you do not want your children to access. That said, you can still allow access to iTunes U (educational content) even when the iTunes Store is disabled.
  • Ratings for: This option lets you choose the ratings system for the country in which you reside. This then will apply to movies and TV shows, provided the country actually uses a ratings system or one different from the United States’ system. Apps do not appear to be affected by…

How to Configure a Proxy Server on an iPhone or iPad

When you configure a proxy server for a Wi-Fi network, your iPhone or iPad will use it when accessing that network. This is sometimes required to access the Internet on a business or school network, for example. Your network traffic will be sent through the proxy you configure.

Generally, you’ll use a proxy if your school or work provides it to you. You could also use a proxy to hide your IP address or access geoblocked websites that aren’t available in your country, but we recommend a VPN for that instead. If you need to set up a proxy for school or work, get the necessary credentials from them and read on.

Head to Settings > Wi-Fi to access proxy settings on an iPhone or iPad. Tap the name of the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to. Scroll down and you’ll see the “HTTP Proxy” option at the bottom of the screen.

By default, the HTTP Proxy option is set to “Off”. This means your iPhone won’t use a proxy at all when connected to the network.

To enable automatic proxy detection, select “Auto”. Your iPhone will use the Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Protocol, or WPAD, to see whether a proxy is necessary on the Wi-Fi network and automatically configure your proxy settings if one is required. This feature is often used on business and school networks. If your current network doesn’t provide proxy details using the WPAD protocol, your iPhone or iPad won’t use a proxy, even if you select “Auto”…

Student Uses iPhone Spyware to Film Phone Thief, Turns Footage into Documentary

When film student Anthony van der Meer‘s iPhone was stolen, it understandably freaked him out. After all, we keep all sorts of personal information and photographs on our phones, and once it was gone, a stranger had access to all of it.

He couldn’t help but wonder what sort of person steals phones, and what happened to his after it disappeared from his possession.

And, since he’s a clever millennial film student, he decided that he needed answers to his questions.

Some Ways to Speed Up Your Smartphone

Much like computers, smartphones can start to slow down after years, or even months, of use. However, there are some ways to keep your iOS and Android devices running as good as new until you have to upgrade. Here are eight simple ways to speed up your smartphone.

1. UPDATE YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM.

If your smartphone is running slower than usual, then your operating system (or OS) might not be up-to-date. Having the latest version of iOS or Android on your phone is the best way to ensure it works at its zippiest. Just make sure your phone is connected to Wi-Fi and backed up before you update your phone’s software, and make sure that your phone can handle it. Newer operating systems might not be optimized for older or lower-cost phones.

iPhone: Go to “Settings,” then “General,” and then “Software Update.”

Android: Go to “Settings,” and then “About Phone.” Tap “System Updates” or “Software Updates” at the top of the screen to check if you have any Android updates.

2. REDUCE MOTION AND ANIMATION.

Animations might look cool when transitioning from one app to another, but they can really slow down your phone, as they use up space and resources. Disabling animations on both Androids and iPhones can be tricky, but it’s worth it to make your device run faster.

iPhone: On iPhones, there is a setting to reduce motion by going to “Settings,” then “General,” and then “Accessibility.” If you have yet to update to iOS 9.3.2 (there are probably a few of you out there) there is a convoluted way of disabling all animations, but that bug was patched in later updates.

Android: Your phone has to be in developer mode to disable animations. To do so, go to “Settings,” then “About Phone.” Find “Build Number” and continuously tap the option until you’re granted “Developer Mode.” Go back to “Settings” and “Developer Options” to find “Window Animation Scale,” “Transition Animation Scale,” and “Animator Duration Scale.” Set all three options to “Off.” Then you might need to restart your phone (although this has been known to create glitches, so be careful).

3. GET RID OF WIDGETS.

If you’re an Android user, stop using widgets on your home screens. While widgets are useful for quickly giving you info at a glance, they are serious data hogs. Many widgets constantly refresh in the background to find new information and updates, so if you don’t need it, you should probably delete it.

4. STOP USING LIVE WALLPAPER.

Live wallpaper is a fun feature to show off your new smartphone, but much like widgets, they eat…