How to Get Apple Music on iOS, OS X and Windows

How to Get Apple Music on iOS, OS X and Windows

Apple Music makes its big debut today on 3 main platforms iOS, OS X, and Windows. This signifies Apple’s official move into the music streaming business since its acquired Beats. The streaming service will offer a 3-month free trial & proceed to cost $10 a month following the trial. The highly talked about service will feature millions of songs in its library & focus on some other aspects such as radio through Beats One, Connecting fans & artists, and music curation.

All that said how do you go about getting Apple Music on your specific platform?

Android/Windows Phone:

Currently Apple’s rollout of the music service will be delayed till an unannounced date for said platforms. So you’ll have to hang tight if you want to try it out.

iOS:

For all iOS users be it iPhone, iPod, or iPad its as simple as an iOS update. Going into your Settings, General, and Software Update will prompt for an iOS 8.4 update that will be required to get the all new Apple Music app. After updating you’ll be presented with the new stock app that will allow you to sign up via your Apple ID or if your a previous Beats Music subscriber you can simply login through there importing all music, playlists, and so on.

OS X/Windows:

Mac users will have to run the update via iTunes to get access to the service. Specifically iTunes 12.2. At the time of launch iTunes servers are all over the place preventing many from updating. Be patient as Apple sorts out the update & pushes it across to all OS X users. The same can be said for Windows users, you’ll need to have iTunes on your PC & update it to the latest version once the server situation is sorted in order to get access to Apple Music.

Read more about my thoughts on the Apple Music service here & enjoy then newest player in the streaming game. With a 3-month free trial you’ll surely be able to test it out to see if it’ll take place as your new go to streaming platform & or replace services such as Spotify or Tidal.

Review: Phone Clean Pro

Review: Phone Clean Pro

Disclaimer: I’ve worked with iMobie in the past to provide giveaways of other software they also develop. However this review/post is in no way associated with iMobie. This software was purchased personally.

Phone Clean Pro is a utility provided by iMobie that allows you to clear up space on your iOS device be it iPhone, iPod, or iPad. By scanning for common junk files & temporary data allowing you to reclaim space on your drive. The major problem being it deletes data you don’t tell it to. Here’s my review & experience on why you should not buy Phone Clean Pro.

Video Review:

What it’s supposed to do:

So what does Phone Clean Pro actually do. The trial version offers a free scan feature while you’ll the pro to actually delete content.

You can scan, use the tools packed into the app, and restore iTunes backups of your iOS device (thankfully). Phone Clean Pro is meant to save a ton of space by deleting files from your device easily & all in one place. There are some tools packed in as well that allow you to optimize performance for both native & jailbroken iOS devices. Scan wise you have quick & deep option. Each scanning mode describes what you can specify for deletion and after the scan is complete you can then clean up your device…or so you think.

Note: Phone Clean Pro does backup your data before any deep cleaning

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What it did:

All of this is well & great however as mentioned above the big flaw here is a countless number of users have experienced deletion of files that you do not even specify. In my own testing I had it delete over 1,300+ photos & some videos from my camera roll. So it achieved its goal of freeing up space…just not the data I told it to delete. Luckily I keep constant backups of my data & had a restore point that I could jump to but still for an app that’s main feature is cleaning & deleting data you’d think it would get that part right.

I thought maybe just maybe I had a bad scan or something got corrupted. Nope, further research showed all sorts of people having similar issues. iMobie had the same robotic response to their Facebook feedback.

 

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Now the above images are just a sample of what I found from some very upset customers & rightfully so. The whole “rare” issue problem doesn’t seem to be so rare. The app clearly has been deleting key files for users without any permission whatsoever. Now I’m sure once in a blue moon it actually deletes only the data you set but the likely chance of it also deleting private data of yours without any acknowledgment to the user is a big sign to steer clear from this app.

Mind you in my own experience the app had deleted my data on my very first deep clean. My apps, messages, and other parts of iOS remained untouched however again my camera roll was completely wiped & while I could restore the data I had issues with albums, corrupted photos, and other issues. So to say I restored everything to 100% would be a lie.

What to do if your data was deleted:

While I can’t give you a definitive answer that’ll help everyone out there, here are some options. Try using iTunes to restore from a previous backup that PhoneClean made or you have made recently with your iOS device. This is usually the best course of action & can help salvage the deleted data. If you don’t keep regular backups & had no iTunes restore points you can try to invest in other software that restores iPhone lost data. Keep in mind iMobie also ironically offers this software, that choice is entirely yours. You may want to steer clear entirely & use other software.

You can also use software such as iExplorer to find old iTunes backups & manually comb through them to gain the data you want. For example grab just photos that were deleted & then sync them back to your iOS device.

Conclusion/Rating:

In a way this has been one of the easiest reviews to write in that I simply reccomend to all my audience & those who stumbled upon this wondering if it’s worth the paid edition the answer is simply no. This is a big fat DO NOT BUY warning post. Normally if I have any negative thoughts I don’t expand much further than that, however when my word can help others in wasting money & investing in tools that don’t work I’ll gladly take the time, risk, and money. There’s no use in me breaking it down pro/con style when the main feature & aspect of the app isn’t even working.

Rating: DO NOT BUY (Two Thumbs Down)

I’ve used iMobie products in the past with success & even hosted a giveaway with them. I think they make some decent mobile tools for iOS. However this is one of their products I can’t recommend to any of you who may read this. Save your money & spend it elsewhere or at that rate look for another solution or just stick to manually wiping data off & reading that usage menu to see what’s taking up the most space.

WWDC 2015 Recap & Thoughts

WWDC 2015 Recap & Thoughts

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2015 rounded up this morning with a flurry of announcements. Primarily all software based with updates from everything in their existing line of operating systems from iPhone to Apple Watch.  This was an event that focused on incremental updates & not major feature releases, however there were a great amount of things that will change how you use your iOS devices day to day.

Here’s a recap of everything that mattered from the WWDC event for developers & consumers alike.

Video Overview:

OS X 10.11 El Capitan:

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Their latest version of OS X is named after a rock formation within Yosemite. Known as El Capitan, yes thats really what they’re calling it. Aside from the name here’s a list of things El Capitan will bring to OS X.

  • Splitview
  • Mission Control Update
  • Spotlight Update
  • Native App Updates (Mail, Notes, etc)

Now the main aspects this OS update will focus on are “Experience” & “Performance”. With improvements made ever so slightly within the UI to make things easier to access & navigate. As far as performance enhancements go theres been a ton of updates under the hood to improve graphics performance with their all new Metal for Mac & other tweaks to improve everyday tasks. This update was all about stability & small enhancements here & there.

Splitview-

This is essentially window snapping & management brought over to OS X. Allowing you to easily snap apps next to each other for better viewing & multitasking.

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Mission Control-

The mission control window has been redesigned a bit to provide a cleaner overall experience. This allows you to navigate all your windows at a glance, split windows between multiple desktops, set apps to fullscreen, and more. This is what Mission Control should’ve been & focuses on doing everything under one feature.

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Spotlight-

Apple’s spotlight also received an update to allow for searching across more resources on the machine & web. It has also been updated to search within context to your files. So you can tell Spotlight to “Search for documents I worked on last week” for example which is super useful & makes it that much more convenient when your looking for a group/assortment of files.

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The rest of OS X received some incremental upgrades as well. Maps app got updated with transit directions, safari with some speed tweaks & other features like tab muting, tab pinning, and more. Notes app got a big overhaul incorporating all sorts of features from to-do lists, photo support, and more (essentially evernote).  Again this was an update that was incremental at the least yet game changing for some who’ve been waiting for some of these features. This isn’t a make or break update but at it’s free price point we can’t really argue. OS X El Capitan will be available in the Fall.

Developers can now get access via the developer program to start taking advantage of all the new features & API’s.

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iOS 9:

Another update that wasn’t focused on a huge UI overhaul or series of features. Rather it focused on the “foundation” of iOS. Performance, battery life, and ease of use across the mobile OS. The main updates here feature wise being

  • Built-in Apps
  • iPad Multitasking
  • Intelligence (Proactive)

News Apps-

Apple has added an all new native app to iPhone, iPod, and iPad lineup is the “News” app. Essentially Apple’s take on Flipboard. You can sign up choose the  stories/sources that matter to you & have Apple take that & provide you with a super visual news experience.

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Just like OS X the new version of iOS has received its share of updates to native apps like Notes, Maps, and the Passbook app has been renamed to “Wallet” to accompany its support for Apple Pay & your various cards.

iPad Multitasking-

The iPad has finally received the software updates its been needing to make it an ever more powerful device. True multitasking has been brought to some of the iPads. I say some as the main split feature is limited to their “iPad Air 2″.

Slide Over is the ability to essentially slide in from the side another app while your still within lets say your browser. Essentially a way to respond to messages, access Twitter, and so on without leaving your main app. This provides a much more fluid experience while multitasking & is accessible across all current versions of the iPad from the Mini’s to Airs.

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However the Split View feature which allows for side by side apps to be ran simultaneously is only available on the latest iPad Air 2. This could be due to the demand for hardware or Apple just trying to promote this feature across their top tier tablet.

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Last but not least is the PiP or Picture in Picture feature which will allow iPad users to watch videos & media freely across iOS while using other apps or just on your home screen. This can be done with video media, FaceTime, and so on by simply tapping the Home button while media is playing.

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Siri (Proactive)-

Apple wanted to beef up the intelligence aspect of iOS, allowing it to have more context of how you use your device & what you want to see/use. As they claim a “smarter way to do just about everything.” Siri now has the ability to search through a wider range of things within your device & have more contextual understanding.

You can ask Siri things such as

Show me photos from California last January” 

Remind me about this” while within an app.

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The spotlight feature within iOS has been redone as well. Adding in better search functionality & a UI update to showcase “Siri Suggestions” people you contact frequently, apps you use most, and a “Nearby” section to find food, drinks, etc around you. Siri begins to live up to its assistive nature by doing more & more things automatically based on things you receive such as e-mails etc. For example receiving an e-mail for an invitation will automatically create email & events for your calendar. Plugging in your headphones to iOS 9 also recognizes you may want to finish something you started listening to earlier.

So subtle but convenient updates to how Siri works & interacts with you based of your daily usage.

Getting back to the foundation Apple really wanted to focus on the core aspects of iOS.

Security, performance, and convenience such as battery life. Across the OS apps and other key pieces of technologies have been sized own to reduce battery usage whenever possible. Essentially a low power mode. Turning off sensors when the device is not being used & so on. This coupled with all the new features make a great incremental upgrade from iOS 8 plotting a lot of the bugs & providing a better experience starting at the foundation.

On top of all this developers have access to a whole slew of API’s. Carplay, Home Kit, HealthKit, Swift 2 improvements and more are all great things that developers can tap into with the latest release.

Swift 2 Apple’s programming language released last year has made big leaps & bounds and to continue that growth Apple in a shocking move made it Open Source for all developers no matter their platform to take advantage off.

WatchOS 2:

Apple Watch has received it’s first update software wise since its release. The biggest update being its support for native apps. Developers now have a SDK that will allow them to develop apps without the need to depend on the iPhone to send over “App logic”. This will provide a faster experience & better one at that for App developer and of course users.

The main updates here being

  • Watch Face Updates
  • Complication Updates
  • Time Travel

Slight software updates came to the Apple Watch most of which we should’ve seen at launch. The more visual side being the watch faces they’ve added from photo based wallpapers to time lapses created by Apple you can use as your watch face for a more customizable experience.

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Complications are little tid bits of info displayed across your watch face. With this update you get access to even more info at a glance such as flight times, battery life for your car specifically (VW e-Golf) and a couple other widgets you add to customize your watch face that much more.

Time travel is another feature being integrated into WatchOS to essentially jump forward in time to see relevant information. You can see whats ahead on your schedule, news headlines that occurred, and even your electric car battery life span estimated throughout the day. All by turning your digital crown.

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Developers have more access throughout the watch hardware as well to integrate into their new native apps. Taking advantage of things like the Taptic Engine, Digital Crown, Accelerometer, and more.

 

Apple Music:

Last but not least Tim Cook saved the classic “One more thing…” line for their all new music streaming service announcement. The Apple Music service has been talked about in anticipation ever since they’ve bought Beats music.

The idea is to be an all-in-one music service behind their popular iTunes service they already offer. The service tries to focus on 3 aspects Music, Radio, and Connect.

Music- This is the streaming aspect of the service allowing you access to millions of the songs they already have in their library for you to stream. Built with recommendations, what’s new, and ways to of course discover new music.

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Radio- Is Apples take on a 24/7 radio station backed by Beats. This will include music, interviews, and other cultural events surrounding the music industry. The main idea here is the star power behind this radio station. As Apple has taken the initiative to higher host Zane Lowe to run the show alongside a variety of widely known artists & figures to help DJ for the radio station.

This is nothing new obviously. Online radio has existed even in the 24/7 format however this is Apple trying to tap into the music culture aspect & if that means hiring the big public figures to draw hype then so be it.

Connect- Last but not least is Apple’s second attempt at connecting fans to artists they love & listen to. Remember Ping? It’s okay Apple doesn’t blame you if you don’t. Anyhow the idea here is to provide on top of all this a platform for artists to provide exclusive content & directly interact with their fan base. Allowing you to comment, share, like on your artists updates. Directly from the source. Again nothing groundbreaking this will depend on the artists adoption of this service & how they take to the platform.

This directly competes with Spotify & new services like Tidal which also focused on the star power aspect. While Apple doesn’t have the best track record with music/social networks they do own the biggest market place for music. That alone in conjunction with the deals & lets be honest money they can throw at this can easily transform this into a force to reckon with. However as of now to me they’re focusing more so on the artists & names to draw attention versus the music. Unless they can acquire deals & more exclusive music/features that Spotify doesn’t have then they won’t be able to stick out.

The service will start at $10 a month & offer a decent $15 monthly family plan for up to 6 members! However as of launch Apple service will come out June 30th & provide users a free 3 months to test out the service. So no harm in trying it out if your new to the streaming space or simply want to see how it stacks against the competition. It’s obviously still very early stages to see how they continue to roll with this & how far it’ll get.

However its no doubt Apple wants this service to be widely available & used. Apple Music will be available across all platforms by the end of this Fall season.

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That about wraps up everything from WWDC 2015 event. It was definitely a lengthier event as they had a lot of ground to cover & while it was a packed event we saw more of what can be called gradual & incremental updates across their whole lineup. Of course this is nothing to be dismissed as these updates will definitely hold users over whether they have the latest iOS devices or older generations. Apple focused more on the foundations of the software in this case updating & implementing the core aspects of the software in order to provide a better experience not necessarily a new one. If anything these updates for iOS or OS X and so on provide a foundation in themselves for the next major release in the year to come.

What was your favorite announcement developer or consumer wise from the event? Anything your excited to see rolled out or try once Fall comes about. Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Parental Control Tips for iOS

Parental Control Tips for iOS

My thanks to Curbi the makers of an amazing parental control app for iOS for sponsoring the web safety series of content. Curbi allows you to monitor, block, and curb your children’s iOS devices easily and safely. Ensuring the most priceless of things peace of mind with your kids on the internet. Try out Curbi today!

Nowadays kids everywhere have iOS devices be it their parents, siblings, or even their own. So its important to ensure their safety on the device to prevent any trouble, wrongful spending, or just general safety. Here’s a rundown of some iOS tips you can use on any current iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Video Overview:

 

1. Restrictions

iOS allows you to actually restrict you kids access to the device. This is highly useful in that you can tailor specifically what they can or can’t access. A great example of this being app-store purchases this prevents them from spending on your iTunes account and can save you countless dollars from kids who are purchasing things without knowing any better.

This is achieved by going to Setting-General-Restrictions

 2-Guided Access Mode

GAM or Guided Access Mode allows you to actually lock the iOS device to one app. Normally this is used on devices within the apple store or presentation devices. However using this to lock kids to one app can be highly beneficial. It has the ability to prevent tapping in defined areas of apps or even set a time limit usage.

This can be enabled by going into Settings-General-Accessibility-Guided Access 

3-App Solution

Overall these built in iOS tips are great tips packed into the OS that most parents may be unaware of. They’re great ways to control the experience of your child and limit or prevent harmful usage on the iOS devices. However all of this can be achieved even easier within an app solution. Curbi for example does all of the above from restrictions, time limits and even more but a simpler package. Furthermore the benefits of Curbi extend in that it monitors your children’s usage tracking information and reporting it to you even when your away.

You can’t always monitor your kids usage and actions on a device let Curbi handle that for you. Check out our overview post we did on the service for more info on setup. Overall these tips provide a safer experience for you and your young kids be it on their own device or yours.

Curbi Overview: Parental Controls for iOS Devices

Curbi Overview: Parental Controls for iOS Devices

My thanks to Curbi for sponsoring the series of content we’re running on web safety. Curbi provides a great application/service to manage your kids iPhone, iPad, or iPod easily. Allowing parents to Curb, Block, and Monitor your kids activities. Use it to make sure that they’re safe & more importantly give yourself peace of mind knowing Curbi has you covered in the complex world that is the internet.

Video Overview:

 

I often get asked about tips on parental control on iOS. Parents/viewers asking how they can manage certain sites, filter material, or overall monitor their children’s usage. There’s some solutions built in but not to easy to find & most services out there just make it to complicated. That is until I found out about Curbi & now its easily the best parental control app for iOS that I can recommend.

Curbi is all about providing parents the ability to manage & control their kids iOS device usage & safety. It does this a seamless & easy way that anyone can set it up. The service focuses on 3 areas Curb, Block and Watch.

  • Curb: Your child’s use of social media & time wasting apps
  • Block: Adult & inappropriate content
  • Watch: Your child’s internet access with detailed reporting from Cubi

Setup:

Setup is super simple. That’s one of the best things about Curbi, parents can easily set this up without any complex installs to jump through. There’s a simple 2 step process to go through after setting up your account that involves installing 2 profiles on the iOS device you want to monitor. This takes literally a couple of minutes & then from there on out you can monitor the activity via the web or their Curbi app.

From there you hop into the dashboard & get detailed reports in multiple areas & can setup rules dependent on your kids and what you want blocked/curbed.

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There are 3 elements to Curbi worth breaking down. The rules, restrictions, and monitoring.

Rules:

Curbi allows parents to do define rules for their children. This means you can setup content filtering & time based restrictions for your kids. A good example would be if they had a bedtime you can define a rule blocking internet access at a given time on setup on schedule. So cuts out earlier on weekdays & later on the weekends. You can easily filter out specific content on that can be browsed on the device as well. Things like social media sites, sex related sites, and or gambling sites. Giving you complete control on how you want to define the rules for your children.

Restrictions:

Restriction wise you can easily define restrictions for your kids devices. This is very useful for young children in which you can deactivate In-App purchases off the app-store saving you any future issues or unwanted charges.

Monitoring: 

Another aspect is monitoring the device in general. Get detailed reports of your kids usage as far as where, when, and how long they’ve been accessing certain media. This provides a great breakdown of your kids activities on a day to day basis & you can see what they may be wasting time on.

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Pricing:

Curbi offers a free 14-day free trial for users to test out & see if its right for them. Beyond that it’s only $7.00 a month to provide full protection for your kids. Really at the end of the day what your paying for here is peace of mind which in itself is priceless.

With the subscription you get access to the following:

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Sign up here

 

At the end of the day Curbi answers the many questions & concerns parents have about the internet & their children’s activities on it. Looking at where they’re spending most of their time, how much time exactly are they on their iOS devices, productive usage vs non productive and so on. All while offering a service that is super simple to use & setup. No hassles or loop holes to jump through just straightforward technology that works. Allowing parents all the controls & access with the ability to access it on their mobile devices or on the web.

Check out Curbi today & start providing a better and safer environment for your kids today.