iPhone Not Charging Reliably? Clean Its Lightning Port with a Toothpick

If you’re plugging your iPhone in regularly but getting low-battery warnings when you shouldn’t, consider the possibility that something is preventing your iPhone from charging successfully while plugged in. If there’s no lightning bolt badge on the battery icon when the iPhone is plugged in, that’s a sure sign that no power is reaching the device. Another hint that failures could be happening intermittently would be a lack of charging in the Last Charge Level graph in Settings > Battery when you know the iPhone was plugged in. Luckily, the solution is often easy. Take a wooden (not metal) toothpick and gently poke around inside the iPhone’s Lightning port for pocket fuzz. You’d be amazed how much crud can end up in there. If cleaning doesn’t solve the problem and you use only a single Lightning cable to charge, try another one.

(Featured image by Adam Engst)

Apple Introduces New iPhone SE Starting at $399

Four years after the release of the original iPhone SE, Apple has introduced a second-generation iPhone SE with aggressive pricing that starts at just $399. Whereas the original model used the svelte, easy-to-hold iPhone 5s case design with a 4-inch screen, this new iPhone SE repurposes the larger iPhone 8 design with its 4.7-inch screen. But Apple didn’t just rebrand the iPhone 8. The new iPhone SE sports several important updates that make it a compelling purchase for the price, including a new processor and eSIM capability.

Most notably, Apple upgraded the iPhone 8’s A11 Bionic chip to the faster, more capable A13 Bionic chip that powers the latest iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models. Apart from pure speed, the A13 Bionic provides additional computational photography capabilities. Even though the iPhone SE has only a single rear-facing camera, unlike the multiple cameras on the backs of the iPhone 11 models, it still supports iOS 13’s Portrait mode and all six Portrait Lighting effects. The A13 Bionic will also likely increase the quality of iPhone SE photos beyond what the iPhone 8 could do with the same physical camera.

There are two additional changes of note from the iPhone 8, one good, one less so. On the positive side, Apple added eSIM capability, which makes it possible for an iPhone SE to support two cell numbers, each with its own carrier and plan. That’s primarily helpful for those who frequently travel overseas. Less welcome is the switch from the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch to Haptic Touch, which simply registers long presses with haptic feedback. But all of Apple’s 2019 iPhone models moved to Haptic Touch, and iOS 13 supports Haptic Touch well, so it’s not much of a loss.

Other important specs from the iPhone 8 that remain unchanged include:

  • Touch ID: The new iPhone SE continues to rely on the classic Touch ID sensor embedded in the Home button for unlocking and authenticating. In a time when we may be wearing masks a lot, Touch ID may be more welcome than Face ID.
  • 4.7-inch display: The iPhone SE’s screen is smaller than the 6.1-inch and 5.8-inch screens in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. But it’s still a Retina HD screen with True Tone—few people will notice much of a difference in quality.
  • Cameras: The iPhone SE’s rear-facing camera has a 12-megapixel sensor with optical image stabilization, and it can record 4K video at up to 60 frames per second. The front-facing camera is 7 megapixels and supports 1080p video at 30 fps.
  • Battery life and charging: Battery life should be similar to that of the iPhone 8, so you should be able to go all day on a charge. If you do need to top up, the iPhone SE supports fast charging, and it’s also compatible with Qi wireless charging pads.

What makes this second-generation iPhone SE compelling is its pricing. For a 64 GB model, the price is $399. 128 GB costs $449, and 256 GB is $549. In comparison, you’d pay $200 more for 2018’s iPhone XR, $300 more for the current iPhone 11, and $600 more for today’s iPhone 11 Pro. Those phones may have Face ID and take better photos, but it’s great that Apple is finally offering a budget-friendly iPhone once again.

Some people will be disappointed with the size of the new iPhone SE. Yes, it’s a lot smaller than the iPhone 11, and a bit more pocket-friendly than the iPhone 11 Pro, but it’s significantly beefier than the original iPhone SE. If you were hoping that Apple would bring back an iPhone for those with smaller hands and smaller pockets, sorry.

The new iPhone SE will be available for pre-order starting on Friday, April 17th, with deliveries and store availability starting a week later on April 24th. For the body color, you can choose black or white, or you can go for the bright red PRODUCT(RED) version, the proceeds from which will go to help the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response through September 30th.

(Featured image by Apple)


Social Media: Looking for a new iPhone that won’t break your budget? The new iPhone SE is basically a souped-up iPhone 8 for $300 less than the iPhone 11. Read more at:

MacBook Air Update Features Magic Keyboard, iPad Pro Gets a Trackpad

In a widely expected update, Apple has introduced a new MacBook Air that replaces the much-maligned butterfly keyboard with the new Magic Keyboard. The MacBook Air also gains faster processors, enhanced graphics, and more storage options, all for $200 less than before.

Apple also threw back the curtains on an updated iPad Pro that will be compatible with a new iPad Pro-specific Magic Keyboard that includes a trackpad. The iPad Pro is available now, but the Magic Keyboard won’t ship until May.

MacBook Air Gains Magic Keyboard, Faster Performance, and Other Enhancements

In an effort to eliminate the hated butterfly keyboard from the Mac line, Apple has released an updated MacBook Air that features the scissor-key Magic Keyboard introduced last year in the 16-inch MacBook Pro. That keyboard has received highly positive reviews, and we’re happy to see it appear in the MacBook Air. (Look for a new model to replace the current 13-inch MacBook Pro soon as well.) The Magic Keyboard includes 12 function keys as well as a Touch ID sensor, but no Touch Bar.

Apple significantly improved the MacBook Air’s performance by providing a choice of 10th-generation Intel Core processors, including the model’s first quad-core processor option. The base level 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 is probably pretty slow, but upgrading to a 1.1 GHz quad-core i5 is only $100 and a 1.2 GHz quad-core i7 is just $250.

Graphics should be noticeably speedier as well, thanks to the switch to Intel Iris Plus Graphics. The MacBook Air can now drive a 6K display too, if you have a Pro Display XDR.

Apple also doubled the base level of storage to 256 GB, and you can increase that to 512 GB ($200), 1 TB ($400), or 2 TB ($800).

Minor enhancements include True Tone technology for more natural images on the 13-inch Retina display, “wide stereo sound” for the speakers, and support for Bluetooth 5.0.

As welcome as all these changes are, the best news is that Apple simultaneously dropped the MacBook Air’s price. The entry-level model now starts at $999, and it’s available to the education market for just $899.

iPad Pro

We were waiting for the Magic Keyboard to come to the MacBook Air, but we had no inkling that Apple was going to add a trackpad option to the iPad Pro. It will come in the form of the new Magic Keyboard, due in May, and will require iPadOS 13.4, slated for late March. Apple says it will be easy to use, with the pointer transforming to highlight user elements appropriately as the user moves their finger across the trackpad. What it won’t be is cheap, at $299 for the 11-inch model and $349 for the 12.9-inch model. (The second-generation Apple Pencil and an updated Smart Keyboard Folio remain available.)

The other unexpected change in the new iPad Pro is the addition of the new LiDAR Scanner. LiDAR (light detection and ranging) is a way of measuring distance with reflected laser light. It’s commonly used in self-driving cars, but Apple is instead using it to beef up the iPad Pro’s augmented reality (AR) capabilities. It offers existing ARKit apps instant AR placement, improved motion capture, and people occlusion. Apple also uses it to improve the Measure app. We can’t help but think Apple is testing the technology for future AR goggles.

Less surprising improvements include a new processor—Apple’s custom A12Z Bionic chip—and a dual-camera system that combines a 12-megapixel wide camera and a 10-megapixel ultra-wide camera that zooms out two times to capture a much wider field of view. The iPad Pro also now boasts five microphones for capturing audio and four speakers that automatically adjust to any orientation.

Pricing for the iPad Pro itself hasn’t changed. The 11-inch model starts at $799, with the 12.9-inch model at $999. Both come with 128 GB of flash storage, up from 64 GB in the previous models, and you can buy more storage: 256 GB (add $100), 512 GB ($300), or 1 TB ($500). Cellular connectivity costs an extra $150.

Mac mini

Last and indeed least, Apple announced that the standard configurations of the Mac mini now have twice as much storage as before. That means the $799 configuration comes with 256 GB and the $1099 configuration comes with 512 GB. 1 TB and 2TB configurations remain available, and there are no other changes.

(Featured image by Apple)


Social Media: Here’s some good news! Apple has introduced a new MacBook Air with a better keyboard and faster processor for $200 less. And there’s a new iPad Pro with trackpad support. Seriously! Check out the news at:

 

Use macOS’s Guest Account to Protect Your Privacy from Temporary Users

We’ve all had it happen. “Can I use your Mac for a minute to check my email?” The answer can be “Yes,” but to keep people from poking around on your Mac, have your visitor log in as Guest. To enable the Guest account, go to System Preferences > Users & Groups. If the lock at the bottom left is closed, click it and enter your admin credentials. Then click Guest User in the list, and select “Allow guests to log in to this computer.” To switch to the Guest account, go to the Apple menu and choose Log Out YourAccountName to access the login screen. Your guest can then click the Guest User icon, at which point they’ll have a clean account to work in. When they log out, the account—including any files they created or downloaded—will be deleted, thus protecting their privacy as well.

(Featured image by Apple)

Apple Issues Voluntary Recall for Certain 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro Units

Heads up! If you’re using an older 15-inch MacBook Pro—the version with lots of ports that predates the current Thunderbolt 3 models—Apple has started a recall program to replace batteries that could explode and catch on fire. (We’re not kidding.) The affected MacBook Pro models were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017. To find out if your 15-inch MacBook Pro is affected, enter its serial number into Apple’s recall page. If it is included in the recall, shut it down and stop using it immediately! Contact Apple for a free battery replacement, and if you need any assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

(Image courtesy of Apple)

8 Steps To Save Old Family Albums

I’ve heard one too many stories of people bagging up their old family photos and albums and tossing them to the curb. It hurts my heart to see the years of family history and knowledge that these photos provide in the mix with old coffee grounds, rotting roses or last week’s tuna casserole.

The myth that future generations won’t care about these old photos prompted the mass disposal of truly invaluable family photo albums. However, in the ever-evolving digital age, old printed photos of our ancestors or relatives have become a prized treasure in the lives of young people. Photographs tell us where we came from and help give many a sense of identity. To best preserve your family’s history, here are eight ways to take care of those images and keep them out of the trash.

 

 

Store Safely

1. Store Safely. To start, I highly recommend simply placing your photo albums in archival-safe plastic bags so that the natural elements, most commonly dust and sunlight, don’t get to your photos. (More on the further organization of your photo albums later.)

If your photos already rest inside photo-safe plastic sleeves or are stuck to acid-free scrapbook paper, you don’t need to worry about taking them out of these albums. They are safe, and these plastic bags provide additional protection to your albums when they’re stored.

 

Beware of old albums
2. Beware of old albums. If your photos are in so-called magnetic albums, take them out as soon as possible! The chemicals used in these albums are highly detrimental to photos. These albums, in fact, are not magnetic but instead use an adhesive on a page in which you sandwich a photo between a sticky coating and a plastic sheet. The culprit of destruction is the highly acidic glue, which causes photos to yellow and makes them very difficult to remove.

 

Remove stuck photos (if you can

 

3. Remove stuck photos (if you can). So how do you get these photos out of the dreaded magnetic album? First, I don’t recommend using anything resembling a knife. This practice risks further damage since just one slip could slice through an entire photo.

Instead, use dental floss. Just lift one corner of your photo and gently saw the dental floss back and forth underneath until it becomes unglued. If a photo is especially difficult to peel off the sticky paper, you can use a hair dryer to heat up the glue and melt it into compliance.

Keep in mind that if the photos in these albums are more than 60 years old, the damage has likely already been done and taking them out could cause even more irreparable harm. Consider the magnetic album to be the final resting place for antique photos.

 

Jot down details
4. Jot down details. Preserving the written knowledge is just as important as preserving the actual photos. Make sure to note dates and corresponding info as you peel photos out of albums. It’s important to know the timeline of these photos as well as who or what the subjects are.

You can use index cards to record this information until you can provide a new home for your photos, or use an archival pencil to write information on the back of the photos themselves. If you find additional documents that are crucial to the story behind a photo, like notes, birth certificates or newspaper clippings, keep them with the photo so that you can place them side by side in the new album.

 

Create a digital backup.

 

5. Create a digital backup. Before putting your photos in a new nonmagnetic photo album, consider scanning them. Doing so will guarantee access to your history should an accident or the natural progression of time destroy the original prints. Once they’re scanned, you have the option to create digital scrapbooks that you can share with family and friends.

 

Compile your photos in a safe album

6. Compile your photos in a safe album. Today you have many choices for photo albums. You can still purchase traditional styles that allow you to place the actual photo in a photo-safe sleeve or a scrapbook album. If you have digitized, you photos you can easily create a digital photobook.

 

7. Make albums accessible. If you’re someone who prefers to flip through photo albums often, you can always display them around the house. Consider making a digital photo album with the scans and storing the original photos in a safe place. Bookshelves are common places to store your albums. If they’re in sight, I can guarantee that family members will find them and crowd around the photos to laugh and revel in a shared history.

 

Frame a few
8. Frame a few. Don’t forget to display some of your favorite photos! You can them hang in frames around the house, and they will undoubtedly become a favorite conversation starter. I recommend printing out the scanned version of these photos and then keeping the originals stored safely in a photo album. Poisonous UV rays are likely to creep through windows and shine upon the photos you have on display, so keep the originals safe.

If you take the steps necessary to properly preserve your family history today, future generations will also be able to take part in the joy and revelation that comes with untangling the mysteries of the past. Not only is it amusing to look back on the ludicrous trends and hairstyles, but these photos also provide a sense of connection to our past and our future. Our personal family histories connect us to the people who came before us and make sense of the world we are living in now.

 

Bio: Cathi Nelson, author of Photo Organizing Made Easy; Going from Overwhelmed to Overjoyed, is the founder of APPO (Association of Personal Photo Organizers), a membership organization dedicated to helping thousands of entrepreneurs from around the globe build successful photo preservation and organizing businesses.