Facial Recognition in iOS 10


One of the big delightful features in iOS 10 is the automatic tagging and organizing of photos into Faces and Memories. I’ve been giving these features a workout over the past few betas, and I think I’ve had enough time to at least talk about Faces in iOS 10 beta 3 (a.k.a. Public Beta 2).

The way that iOS starts to recognize faces is when the device is plugged in and on Wi-Fi — for most people this will mean while the device is charging on the bedside table as you sleep. This gives the device a solid few hours to cast its magic on your photos and start to group photos together into like faces.

You’ll find all of these faces in an album called Faces (surprise!). But this isn’t really like the albums you’re used to on your iPhone. Unlike other albums on iOS, the only way to add new content to Faces is to use its special menus to select and approve people that iOS has recognized for you.
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(5) Battery Saving Tips for your iPhone

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My iPhone is my lifeline to the world.  I use it for work, I use it at home.  It’s my wallet, my reference guide, my music collection, and everything in between.  As a result, the battery takes a hit.  Even with the most recent iPhone available running the most advanced battery technology available, it never seems to be enough.  So what, besides complaining, can we do to extend our iPhone battery life without having to stay connected to a cord all day?  Over the years I have found a handful of useful tips that have served me well.  Here they are, in no particular order.

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Thoughts on Music in iOS 10: Audio Fingerprints and New UI

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On the surface, Apple Music seems like such a promising service. It’s baked right into the music app I was already using, and because it’s part of the OS, I don’t need to wait for developers to integrate it with Siri. It already works. I tried Apple Music out for a good half a year, but decided to return to Spotify earlier this year.

One of the biggest reasons for doing so was how cavalier Apple was about replacing the album versions of my songs with the live versions from concerts. I really hated this, because I often vastly prefer the cleaner sound in album versions, and there was seemingly no way to get my old music back without quitting the service. However, I heard some good news from The Loop this week that this might be changing for the better, thanks to audio fingerprints.

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Quick Look: Gboard for iPhone

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It took a while for me to try Google’s Gboard because third party keyboards took a while to really become usable on iOS. Fortunately, the iOS 10 beta has been much better with third party keyboards, so I’ve been able to give Gboard a real shot over the past few weeks.

The biggest feature of this keyboard is its direct access to Google search. You can bring up a mini search bar from right within the keyboard in any circumstance, regardless of what app you’re in.

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Apple Maps Favorites Improved in iOS 10

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I’ve wanted to use Apple Maps before, but it took a few years before it was really a practical option in the city of Toronto. The first few years, Apple’s 3D view made the city look post-apocalyptic because it hadn’t fully rendered all of the buildings yet. The gas station near my parents’ place looked like it was two blocks away from its actual location. However, I’ve always thought the biggest flaw of Apple Map was the way it handled Favorites (I’m spelling the word the American way because that’s also how Apple Maps does it…even in Canada).

I mark Favorites for two reasons: so I can easily identify awesome restaurants and useful businesses on the map, and for mapping out exciting places in a city I’m going to travel to. I’ve based this behaviour on years of Google Maps usage, where you can “Save” a location and have it show up as a yellow star on the map. These saved locations are always visible, and this makes a lot of sense to me. It makes the digital map a lot more personal — the cartographic equivalent of scribbling in the margins.

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Quick Look: dbrand iPhone 6S Skin in Matte Black

After years of using Gelaskins as my go-to iOS decals, I decided to give the dbrand iPhone skins a try. All of the dbrand skins are applied in the same way, but they’ve got a wide variety of colours and textures. You can get faux wood, faux carbon fibre, and plain colours as well.

I first ordered one in Matte White because I liked the idea of a super-clean iPhone 6S Plus with a matted grip, but when the skin arrived, it really wasn’t what I had expected. The matte white wasn’t very reflective, but the texture wasn’t grippy at all. For whatever reason, it seems like a matte white just doesn’t have the same texture as a matte black. I had first learned this when ordering a matte white case years ago, but remembered my lesson when the first dbrand skin arrived.

Luckily, dbrand’s customer support was very accommodating and offered to send me a matte black skin, free of charge. A few days later, I received in the mail, pulled out a hair dryer, and started to install the skin.

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How to Manage the Privacy Settings on your iPhone

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Privacy is quite the buzz word these days.  We all want it, but do we really know what to do to keep our personal information safe from prying eyes?  It’s our responsibility to manage our own information.  We cannot rely on corporate America to do it for us.  If you’re receiving services that allegedly protect your personal information, you must ask yourself what the tradeoff is.  Nothing is free.  Our information is extremely valuable to companies and aids them in providing additional services that equate to dollars.  If we truly want privacy, how do we achieve that on our iPhones?

In addition to actively controlling the information we share on our electronic devices, it is important to consider the manufacturer directly responsible for designing and maintaining the operating system.  What’s their track record with regard to customer privacy, and how do they manage your information?  Do they keep it completely anonymous, or are they actively and openly farming information indiscriminately?  For their part, Apple has made this process easier for us by adjusting many of the iPhone’s default settings to safer modes out of the box.  With safeguards like this in place we are forced to acknowledge, and give permission to apps the first time they require information from us that is considered private.

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