How to Use the Panorama Camera to Take Amazing Panoramic Pictures with iPhone
The Panorama camera is one of the better features of iOS 6, it makes taking incredible high-quality panoramic pictures ridiculously easy without adding any additional apps to your iPhone. The feature is currently limited to iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 users, and if you haven’t used it yet here’s what you’ll want to do:
Using the Panoramic Camera on iPhone
Open Camera (from the lock screen is the fastest way)
Tap “Options” at the top, then tap “Panorama” from the menu
Tap the camera button to start taking a picture, then move slowly while keeping iPhone stable as the panoramic image is drawn
Finish by reaching the end of the panoramic guide line or by tapping the camera button again
There is virtually no wait time while the final picture is rendered as a result of how Apple basically “paints” the picture live as the panorama is taken.
Tips for the Best Panorama Photo Results
Hold steady and aim to center along the provided line
Move slowly horizontally to allow for lighting adjustments as image pans
Tap an area of neutral lighting for the initial exposure, avoid exposure lock in dramatically varied lighting situations
If you do end up with artifacts and/or regions of black pixels, use Crop directly on iPhone to clean them up instantly
Once Panorama is active, moving slowly and holding steady to “paint” your panoramic photo gives the best results. If you move too quickly the camera won’t have time to adjust properly to lighting changes, and artifacts can appear on the final image either in the form of black pixels for areas that are missed or out of the guide line, or in the form of chunky transitions. You can see an example of the chunky transition artifacting that can occur from a quick motion at the far right corner of this otherwise very nice sample panorama image from an iPhone 5.
Panoramic pictures are stored in the Camera Roll as usual, and you can email or send them through messages as you’d expect. If you want the highest quality version of a panoramic image, you’ll need to connect the iPhone to a computer and transfer the photos by USB, otherwise it will be automatically compressed and reduced in file size and resolution down to somewhere between 5000×1000 and 8000×2000 to save data usage and make it reasonable to open on iOS devices and in email. The original panoramic photos are gigantic, coming in around a whopping 20,000 x 4000 pixels, so be prepared for iPhone storage space to disappear rapidly if you take a lot of these.
Finally, if you have an iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, or you want to take panoramics with an iPod touch or iPad, an excellent third party app called Dermandar is available for $2 on the App Store.
09-29-2012 12:44 PM
Secure browsing on iOS in Safari or iCab Mobile
A friend who values her privacy asked: "How do you delete Google search history on an iPhone?" There are two ways to do this, the first of which is to go to the Settings app, scroll down to 'Safari' and then click the 'Clear History' button as shown above.
The second can be done from inside Safari itself. Tap the 'bookmarks' icon on the toolbar, then select History (note: if you don't see 'History' tap on whatever button is shown at the top-left until you see 'Bookmarks' at the top of the screen), then tap 'Clear.' This might be easier to understand visually, so here are some screenshots:
Private Browsing in Safari
Mobile Safari now has a 'Private Browsing' option to prevent history items, searches, cookies, and form data from being stored.
Private Browsing is great for short web browsing sessions, but what if you want to be able to keep your history and cookies and bookmarks but not allow anyone who uses your iPhone or iPad to be able to access them?
You can't do that with Safari, but you can do it with iCab.
iCab Mobile: Everything Safari does, and much more
iCab Mobile (AKA iCab) is a US$1.99 app that continues to be my browser of choice on my iPad and iPhone. I reviewed iCab last year, but let me focus on some of iCab's privacy features here.
iCab offers Private Browsing, of course, but it also offers many more privacy controls than Safari, such as the ability to delete history, cookies, saved form data, HTTP Auth credentials, databases, and local storage. You can also set it to automatically delete history, cookies, databases, and/or local storage when quitting the app.
As if that wasn't enough, you can password protect the entire application, so anyone else who launches the app is unable to see your bookmarks, history, or anything else. Once password protected, it's possible to enable a 'Guest Mode' to let someone use iCab but still keep your information protected.
In my opinion, iCab is also better at everything else you use a browser for.
iCab sync bookmarks, filters, search engines, and/or settings using iCloud. It lets you change the Browser ID (User Agent) which can be handy for sites that restrict access to certain kinds of browsers or automatically redirect mobile browsers to a stripped-down version of the site. You can download files right to iCab, and then either store them in iCab or open them in other apps. You can even upload those files to Dropbox. Images can be saved from websites directly to Dropbox.
The only downside to using iCab is that Apple does not allow any browser except Safari to be set as the default browser, so any web links clicked in other applications like Mail will continue to open in Safari. In practice that doesn't bother me too much, because Safari is a very good mobile browser. If I want to open a page from Safari in iCab, I can do one of two things: I can tap on the URL and change the "http://" or "https://" to "web://" or "webs://" -- which opens the current page in iCab -- or I can install the Open in iCab bookmark.
iCab Mobile also supports x-callback-url which helps iCab interact with other iOS applications. If you don't know what x-callback-url is, don't worry about it, but if you do know what it is, you'll be glad to know iCab supports it.
To some people, spending two bucks on a browser when Safari is free sounds like wasting money. To me, spending two bucks for a much better browser is a complete bargain. iCab is the 3rd-party app that I use most often on my iOS devices, and it continues to be improved at a much faster rate than Safari.
Use a Song as the Alarm Clock Sound on iPhone, iPad, and iPod
If you’re tired of the existing alarm clock sounds and ringtones, you can now select individual songs to be the alarm clock sound played by iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
Open “Clock” app and tap on “Alarm”
Either hit the + button to add a new alarm, or tap “Edit” and pick an existing one
Tap “Sound” and scroll to the very top, then tap on “Pick a song”
Find the song you want in the iTunes music library and tap on it
Tap “Back” then tap “Save” to have the song as that alarms sound
You’ll probably have noticed that each time you tap a song it starts playing a preview of the song from the beginning, and that’s exactly how the song will play when the alarm goes off.
This is an easy way to set the mood for your wake up, and though it’s not necessarily as repetitive and annoying as some of the clock sounds, the entire song will play on repeat until you wake up and either hush the iPhone or turn the alarm off.
Before iOS 6 the iPad didn’t include a Clock app at all, so obviously this feature is only available to iOS 6 onward.
Email Photos from iOS the Easy Way
Emailing photos from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is easier than ever from iOS 6 onward, because you can now attach pictures right from the mail composition screen, here’s how:
Tap and hold in the body of a mail message
Tap the right arrow button, then tap “Insert Photo or Video”
Find the picture to attach in Camera Roll, tap it, and send the email as usual
By repeating the process, you can attach multiple images to the email. Realistically, sending out a group of photos is quicker directly from the Camera Roll because you can easily select multiple images and compose an email directly from Photos.
Overall this is a really nice improvement. With prior versions of iOS, the process of attaching photos is based on using copy & paste and using multitasking to switch between Photos and Mail. Of course that still works in the newest iOS versons too, but the direct insert method outlined above is quite a bit faster and easier to explain.
iOS Mail Now Searches Inside Gmail Attachments
Google has started to index the contents of your e-mail attachments, and you can now search on them in the Gmail interface. This is new, and pretty great.
But if you’re using the iOS Mail app to wrangle your Gmail accounts, it works there too. I discovered this in the process testing out the browser version and — as you might expect — Apple’s version is both more elegant and less useful.
Just tap the shortcut icon you have inevitably had to save on your iOS home screen to launch Gmail, thanks to Mail’s crappy search. Then use this syntax in the search box:
That’s it. The search will return messages which have your term (in this case “kumquat”) inside their attachments. This works with PDFs, Word and other office files, RTF files and others.
This will of course work anywhere that Gmail’s web interface works. But if — as mentioned — you use Mail on your iPhone or iPad, then just tapping the search term (Kumquat) into the search box will find any message that has the term inside its attachment.
This, as you can imagine, is huge. But there’s more. You can also narrow a search to a specific file format like this:
kumquat has:attachment filename:rtf
This only works in the browser though. In Mail, using anything in the search box other than search terms returns nothing. Unless you have a mail containing an attachment containing the term “filename:rtf,” I guess.
There are some other caveats. You need to navigate to the “All Mail” mailbox for a specific Google account and then search from there, not the universal inbox view. But still, it’s a lot better than switching out to Gmail, and you can preview the attachments in-line.
Access iCloud Tabs from iPhone & iPod touch
Thanks to Safari in Mountain Lion and iOS 6, all open browser tabs are accessable between your Macs and iOS devices through iCloud. Getting to those tabs is easy enough on a Mac and iPad, where clicking the cloud icon opens a list of available tabs, but on the iPhone and iPod touch it’s just slightly hidden:
Open Safari and tap the bookmarks icon
Tap “iCloud Tabs” to list all tabs from other devices with the same iCloud account
Tap any link to open it in on the iPhone or iPod touch
Opening an iCloud Tab on a new device will not close the tab on the source machine, no need to worry about losing a page.
Making a new tab available from iCloud Tabs on the iPhone, iPad, or other Macs, is just a matter of opening a new web page on any of the devices logged into the same Apple ID.
iCloud Tabs make it really easy to continue reading somewhere where you left off, or just to check out a web page later when you have more time or while on the road. Combined with the new full screen Safari mode on iPhone and iPod touch, the web is better on the go than ever before.
Rearrange Order of Mail Accounts and Mailboxes Easily in iOS 6
Have multiple inboxes and different mail accounts set up on your iPhone or iPad? Changing the order of your mailboxes is easier than ever from iOS 6 onward, you don’t even have to go into Settings anymore. Instead, just do the following right from the Mail app:
Tap “Edit” then drag mailboxes as desired
Tap “Done” when finished
This is a great change for those of us who manage multiple inboxes, since it allows you to keep your most important mailboxes on top.
Managing a ton of email is never fun, combine this with VIP lists in OS X and iOS and it gets quite a bit better though. As long as the same mail accounts are used with iCloud, the VIP lists will sync from the Mac out to iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, and vice versa.
Manage eMail Better with VIP Lists and VIP Notifications in OS X Mail App
It seems everyone is overwhelmed by email these days, with every inbox piling up humungous lists of messages that are usually not too important. If you’re tired of the email onslaught and use the Mac Mail app as your email client, you can use the VIP feature to better manage your mailbox. Senders tagged as VIP get pushed to their own VIP inbox, helping you overlook all the crud and get straight to the important stuff. Going a step further, you can also set Mail app to only trigger a notification when a message comes from a VIP sender.
Tag Important Senders as VIP
Open any mail message from a recipient to tag as VIP and click the little star icon next to their name and email address
Repeat for other important senders
Now that you have a list of people you actually need to hear from and reply to, look under “Mailboxes” to see an exclusive inbox just for VIPs. By default though, you’ll still be notified when everyone sends you emails, so next up you’ll want to change that to only notify you when you get a message from a VIP sender.
Receive New Mail Notifications Only From VIP Senders
Pull down the Mail menu and open “Preferences”
Under the “General” tab, look for “New message notifications” and pull down the menu to select “VIPs”
Close out of Preferences
Now new email alerts will only trigger when someone marked as VIP sends you a message.
Use the VIP list strategically to mark only the most crucial people to respond to and you’ll find the noise level of your inbox is dramatically reduced. Whether it’s your boss, important (and direct) coworkers, crucial business partners, close family members, the key point is to be discriminatory in who is marked and who isn’t, letting you focus on what’s important. You can always check your generic inbox after work is over or during your lunch break and sort through the rest of the email hooplah.
Another strategy to deal with email onslaught is to set up a unique account for generic web signups, mailing lists, newsletters, and other less important updates that you’d still like to receive, helping to insure your primary productive inbox doesn’t get inundated. The myriad of free webmail providers make this simple, and Gmail, Yahoo, and even the new Outlook.com can all be setup in Mail app.
You’ll need to be running OS X 10.8 or later to take advantage of the VIP inbox, yet another reason to upgrade to Mountain Lion if you haven’t done so yet.
Activate Siri Directly from the Earbuds
Siri is more useful than many realize, and one of the best ways to use Siri while on the go is through your earbuds or earpods, the classic white headphones that come with all iOS devices. All you need is Siri enabled and then connect the earbuds to your iPhone or iPad:
Press and hold the center Earbud button for a second or two to activate Siri
Now you can use Siri as usual, without ever having to look at your iOS device.
This is a perfect solution for using Siri mostly hands-free while driving or riding a bike, whether it’s checking for new emails, launching apps like Pandora, or what other great uses you find. Best of all, this works not only with Apple’s newest Earpods, but even the oldest earbuds, as long as they have those buttons that also control music and take pictures, you’re good to go.
Put Newsstand Into a Folder with StifleStand
If you don’t use the Newsstand app in iOS there isn’t much reason to keep it around on the home screen, but for whatever reason Apple has made it impossible to move into a folder. A past bug let you move it, but that’s been patched with more recent versions of iOS.
Now for the good news, a new tweak lets you dump the Newsstand icon back into a folder, if you don’t mind a few caveats: first, once Newsstand is in the folder it’s basically unusable because it will crash, and second, you’ll have to connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to a computer and launch an app to put it into a folder in the first place. If you’re ok with those limitations, grab StifleStand and connect your iOS device to your Mac or PC, which will dump Newsstand into a folder called “Magic”.
Get StifleStand for Mac or Windows
Moving Newsstand out of the folder makes it usable again, but StifleStand will have to be ran again to put it back into a folder. Not exactly convenient, but until Apple gives the native ability to move Newsstand around at will, it’ll do.
This app made the rounds recently, but it was originally limited to Mac users. Now with a Windows version available, anyone can finally hide the Newsstand icon. Thanks to MacStories for the discovery.
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