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24+ iOS 13 tips to help you be more productive

Apple says iOS 13 is now installed on more than half of the world’s active iPhones. I’ve been exploring the latest version of iOS since it was announced at WWDC 2019 and curated a collection of some of the tips I’ve found since then.

These should help you be more productive and efficient while on the go.

The new Undo

One of the most welcome improvements in iOS 13 is the transformed Undo/Redo function:

Undo: Swipe right with three fingers on the screen.

Redo: Swipe left with three fingers on the screen to redo that change.

Another great feature is Look Around, which delivers a Street View-like experience on your iPhone.

This isn’t available everywhere (yet) – when it is available you’ll see a binoculars icon. If you want to test it out, why not visit N. Tantau Ave in San Jose and scroll up the road to find a view of Apple Park?

Share your ETA

New to Maps, you can now let someone know your ETA.

Tap the location you are going to in the Maps app and look for the “Share ETA” item above the words Add Person. Tap the latter and your selected contact(s) will be sent your estimated time of arrival.

A new way to type

QuickPath lets you swipe your finger between letters without removing it from the keyboard – you’ll see a wooshing graphic to show you are writing and the iPhone will use AI to try to write the words you want to write. It’s an effective tool, once you get used to it.

Zip and unzip files

You no longer need a compression app on your iPhone; you can now zip and unzip files in the Files app:

  • Download the file to your device.
  • Tap and hold it to summon the redesigned contextual menu.
  • Tap Compress to create an archive of the item.

Automatic close

Are you someone who ends up with dozens of still-open websites in Safari tabs on your iDevice? Open Settings>Safari and scroll down to the Tabs section where you should select Close Tabs. You can choose to close tabs manually, or automatically after a day, week or month.

Colorful flags

Open an email, tap the reply icon, then tap Flag. You’ll find that you can now flag messages for later reference using any of seven colors, or tap the last choice to remove an existing flag.

Scan from inside Files app

I’ve mentioned this before: If you want to scan a document directly into your Files app, just tap the Ellipsis icon above Browse and choose Scan Documents.

You’ll find lots more new iOS 13 (and iPad OS) features here.

Not every change in iOS 13 has been welcome, however. For example, I still haven’t been convinced there’s much value in the intelligent recommendations row that takes prime space in the otherwise much improved Share pane.

Hidden iOS 13 talents

Each time Apple ships a new operating system, you’ll find a few new talents hidden somewhere inside of the software. iOS 13 was no different – for example, you can even set up a Bluetooth mouse as a pointing device in Settings>Accessibility>Touch.

Other less obvious improvements include:

Search Messages

While in Messages, just swipe down from the top of the display to bring down the search field and type your request.

Voice control

Voice Control is great, but it also means you can use speech-to-text in more places across the operating system. This is why you can now tap the small microphone icon to speak your search in any search field.

Edit video as easily as images

Tap Edit, and you’ll be able to rotate, crop and apply filters to videos. You can even rotate them.

Siri tips

Siri remains one of the best ways to get things done fast. The following tips are as old as Siri – and I still argue they aren’t used enough (which is why I’ve included them):

Change Settings

Use Siri to change Settings or System Preferences. Just trigger Siri and ask it to open the Setting or Preference you need – it can change some of them, too….

Open an App

Open any app by triggering Siri and asking it to open the app.

Open a website

Ask Siri to open the site you’re seeking.

Set a reminder

Siri can set a reminder to let you know to pick something up when you reach a location, so long as the location is named in your Contacts book. You might say: “Hey Siri, remind me to pick up some milk when I leave the office.”

You’ll find dozens more Siri tips here.

Tips to get things done

Many of us now use our iPhones to run our business, collaborate on projects and to get things done – but doing so means most of us spend a lot of time seeking out ways to work more efficiently when on the move. In 16+ iPhone tips to get things done faster, you’ll learn some less obvious iOS tools, including:

Fast response

Received a message and want to send a response fast? Just long press the message to open its preview and then slide your finger up the screen to find three quick responses you can use.

Call handling

A call comes in and you can’t take it? Tap Message on the incoming call screen and you can choose a text message to let the caller know you can’t pick up right now.

Maps control

Double tap to zoom in Maps. If you keep holding after the second tap you’ll be able to zoom in and out of the map just by moving that your finger up and down the screen.

Security improvements in iOS 13

There are multiple security improvements in iOS 13, including tools to:

  • Sign in With Apple.
  • Prevent robocalls.
  • Stop apps abusing information about your location.
  • Strip location information from images you share. You can prevent images carrying your location data in Privacy>Location Services>Camera
  • Bolster its Find My service, which now works slightly differently and lets you find your Mac, just like an iPhone.

You’ll find more details on the many security enhancements in iOS 13 here. And here are two tips collections written in 2018, which are still useful:  

You’ll also find many more tips here.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





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24+ iOS 13 tips to help you get things done

Apple says iOS 13 is installed on over half of the world’s active iPhones. I’ve been exploring it since it was announced at WWDC 2019 and thought some readers might enjoy a curated collection of some of the tips I’ve found since then.

The new Undo

One of the most welcome improvements in iOS 13 is the transformed Undo/Redo function:

Undo: Swipe right with three fingers on the screen.

Redo: Swipe left with three fingers on the screen to redo that change.

Another great feature is Look Around, which delivers a Street View-like experience on your iPhone.

This isn’t available everywhere (yet) – when it is available you’ll see a binoculars icon. If you want to test it out, why not visit N. Tantau Ave in San Jose and scroll up the road to find a view of Apple Park?

Share your ETA

New to Maps you can now let someone know your ETA.

Tap the location you are trying to get to in the Maps app and look for the ‘Share ETA’ item above the words Add Person. Tap the latter and your selected contact(s) will be sent your estimated time of arrival.

A new way to type

QuickPath lets you swipe your finger between letters without removing it from the keyboard – you’ll see a wooshing graphic to show you are writing and the iPhone will use AI to try to write the words you want to write – it’s an effective tool.

Zip and unzip files

You no longer need a compression app on your iPhone as you can now zip and unzip files in the Files app:

  • Download the file to your device.
  • Tap and hold it to summon the redesigned contextual menu.
  • Tap Compress to create an archive of the item.

Automatic close

Are you someone who ends up with dozens of still-open websites in Safari tabs on your iDevice? Open Settings>Safari and scroll down to the Tabs section where you should select Close Tabs. You can choose to close tabs manually, or automatically after a day, week or month.

Colorful flags

Open an email, tap the reply icon, then tap Flag. You’ll find that you can now flag messages for later reference using any of seven colors, or tap the last choice to remove an existing flag.

Scan from inside Files app

I’ve mentioned this before: If you want to scan a document directly into your Files app, just tap the Ellipsis icon above Browse and choose Scan Documents.

You’ll find lots more new iOS 13 (and iPad OS) features here.

Not every change in iOS 13 is welcome, for example, I still haven’t been convinced there’s much value in the intelligent recommendations row that takes prime space in the otherwise much improved Share pane.

Hidden iOS 13 talents

Each time Apple ships a new operating system you’ll find a few new talents hidden somewhere inside of the software. iOS 13 was no different – for example, you can even set up a Bluetooth mouse as a pointing device in Settings>Accessibility>Touch.

Other less obvious improvements included:

Search Messages

While in Messages, just swipe down from the top of the display to bring down the search field and type your request.

Voice control

Voice Control is great, but it also means you can use speech to text in more places across the operating system. This is why you can now tap the small microphone icon to speak your search in any search field.

Edit video as easily as images

Tap Edit, and you’ll be able to rotate, crop and apply filters to videos. You can even rotate them.

Siri tips

Siri remains one of the best ways to get things done fast. The following tips are as old as Siri — and I still argue aren’t made use of enough. Which is why I’ve included them:

Change Settings

Use Siri to change Settings or System Preferences. Just trigger Siri and ask it to open the Setting or Preference you need – it can change some of them too…

Open an App

Open any app by triggering Siri and asking it to open the app.

Open a website

Ask Siri.

Set a reminder

Siri can set a reminder to let you know to pick something up when you reach a location, so long as the location is named in your Contacts book. You might say: “Hey Siri, remind me to pick up some milk when I leave the office”.

You’ll find dozens more tips here.

Tips to get things done

Many of us now use our iPhones to run our business, collaborate on projects and to get things done – but doing so means most of us spend a lot of time seeking out ways to work more efficiently when on the move. In 16+ iPhone tips to get things done faster, you’ll learn some less obvious iOS tools, including:

Fast response

Received a message and want to send a response fast? Just long press the message to open its preview and then slide your finger up the screen to find three quick responses you can use.

Call handling

Call comes in and you can’t take it? Tap Message on the incoming call screen and you can choose a text message to let the caller know you can’t pick up right now.

Maps control

Double tap to zoom in Maps. If you keep holding after the second tap you’ll be able to zoom in and out of the map just by moving that your finger up and down the screen.

Security improvements in iOS 13

There are multiple security improvements in iOS 13, including tools to:

  • Sign in With Apple
  • Prevent robocalls
  • Stop apps abusing information about your location
  • And a tool to strip location information from images you share. You can prevent images carrying your location data in Privacy>Location Services>Camera.
  • Apple has also made big improvements to its Find My service, which now works slightly differently and lets you find your Mac, just like an iPhone.

You’ll find more details on the many security enhancements in iOS 13 here.

Signing-off, here are two tips collections written last year:  

You’ll also find lots more tips here and here.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Microsoft Word for Android (and iOS) cheat sheet

Microsoft’s Word mobile app passed a milestone over the summer: the Android version has been downloaded more than one billion times, according to the Google Play Store. Apple doesn’t provide download figures on its App Store, but with more than 608,000 ratings, the iOS version of Word is clearly popular as well.

On either platform, the app lets you create and edit Word documents on your phone or tablet for free. Typing on a phone isn’t the most comfortable way to compose a long document, but the mobile app can be very handy for starting new docs or making quick edits to existing ones while you’re on the go.

The app has two requirements: First, you need to sign in with a Microsoft user account, which can be a free account (such as one for Outlook.com) or an Office 365 account, which you or your company pays a subscription fee for. Second, the app installs only on phones or tablets with screens that measure less than 10.1″ diagonally.

This guide walks you through the major functions of the Word app and shows you how to share your Word document with other people to collaborate on. We’ve focused on the Android phone interface here; if you have a very large phone or tablet your screen might look a little different but should work similarly. The iOS app also has similar features and functions; we’ll note where the steps for using it differ.

Editor’s note: At its 2019 Ignite conference in November, Microsoft announced a new Office mobile app that combines the functionality of its separate Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps. The all-in-one app has been unstable in our tests so far; until it’s out of beta, we recommend sticking with the current apps.



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Review: 4 business card scanning apps for Android and iOS

Throughout workdays, meetings and industry events, you probably collect a lot of business cards. But if you’re like many business professionals, you lack the time or motivation to type the information on them into your contacts. Why not let a business card scanning app can do the work for you?

Using such an app, you snap a photo of a business card with your phone’s camera. The app performs optical character recognition (OCR) on the photo to extract the information printed on the card and categorizes that info into fields (name, job title, phone number, email address, etc.). Some apps’ OCR software can even recognize languages other than English — a plus for today’s global business environment. These results can be added to your phone’s contacts app with a quick tap.

Additionally, these apps typically offer cloud storage (either their own or via a third-party service like iCloud or Google Drive) so you can access the contact data from anywhere. And many allow you to export the data as a vCard email attachment, to a CSV file, or even to CRM platforms like Salesforce, though you may have to pay for a premium account to do so.

It’s impossible for these apps to produce perfect results every time. At least occasionally, you’ll need to make edits, such as correcting the spelling of a business or a person’s name. How often you have to make corrections on the scanned results from any of these apps depends partly on how capable its OCR software is.

Another factor affecting the results is image quality. The camera tool in many of these apps automatically enhances the image of a scanned business card (e.g., brightening it and straightening its alignment) to help produce better scan results through its OCR. Nevertheless, you should snap photos of the business cards in a well-lit setting.

We tested four business card scanning apps with versions for both Android and iOS. They are among the most downloaded and highly rated in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. With them, we scanned a variety of nine business cards: some with minimalist designs, some with more elaborate designs, and some with languages on them other than English (German, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish).

Which app was easiest to use? Which had the best features? And which produced accurate results the most frequently? Read on to find out.

ABBYY Business Card Reader

ABBYY can recognize 25 languages. As you target your phone’s camera at the card you want scanned, ABBYY’s camera tool shows a transparent rectangle overlay over the card. When the rectangle locks its positioning right over the card, the app automatically snaps a photo. (You can turn this off so that you snap the photo yourself by tapping a button.)

biz card scanning apps 01 abbyy IDG

ABBYY shows a transparent rectangle over the business card you’re scanning to help you position it. (Click image to enlarge it.)

In the app’s card editor, contact information that was extracted from the card is organized into fields that you can scroll through. Text in fields that ABBYY thinks may be errors is colored in red. You tap a field to edit it. When you do this, a close-up of the corresponding text in the photo of the business card is displayed along the top of the screen.

biz card scanning apps 02b abbyy IDG

Using ABBYY’s text editor. (Click image to enlarge it.)

Tiles with thumbnails of your scanned cards are placed on the app’s main screen. From here, you can search the fields of all your cards through a search box.

If you want to store your scanned data in the cloud for easy access from any device, you need to sign up for a free ABBYY Cloud account. Contact info from scanned cards can also be exported as a VCF file (a.k.a. vCard format), and you can send an email with your own vCard attached with a few quick taps.

The free version of ABBYY is ad-supported and lets you scan and save information for up to 10 business cards only. Upgrading to a Premium account gives you unlimited card scanning, automatic backup, no ads, and the ability to export your data to Microsoft Excel (in CSV format) or Salesforce CRM. You can alternatively purchase options such as ad removal or CSV export à la carte.

Test scan results

ABBYY’s OCR software generally did a good job scanning each of the nine business cards, only misreading a few characters from the batch. The photo of one of the English business cards turned out to be slightly out of focus (a “5” in an office address was incorrectly recorded by the app as an “S”), yet ABBYY managed to transcribe the rest of the card correctly.

Pricing

Trial version free for Android or iOS; in-app purchases from $3 for additional features; Pro version for Android $60; Premium subscription for iOS $8/month, $30/year or $60/lifetime; volume licensing available.

CamCard

CamCard requires that you register for a free user account in order to use it. Alternatively, you can log in with your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google account. The app recognizes 17 languages.

The camera tool in CamCard displays a rectangle in its viewfinder. Position your camera to frame this rectangle around a business card, then tap a button to snap a photo.

biz card scanning apps 03 camcard IDG

Like ABBYY, CamCard provides a rectangle overlay to help position the card. (Click image to enlarge it.)

If you have more than one card to scan, CamCard has a convenient option that lets you snap photos of every one of them first. After you’ve finished taking photos of all of them, CamCard then proceeds to scan them for their contact info one by one.

This app’s card editor displays the photo of a scanned card at the top of the screen. Contact information that was extracted from the card is placed below throughout a scrollable list of fields.

biz card scanning apps 04 camcard IDG

Editing contact information in CamCard. (Click image to enlarge it.)

When you tap a field box to edit it, the photo of the business card zooms in on the corresponding information that’s on it. (For example, when you edit a phone number, CamCard zooms in on that number in the photo of the card.) This zoom-in effect animates very smoothly.

Like ABBYY, CamCard displays tiles with thumbnails of your scanned cards on the main screen. You can search the fields of your cards from here via a search box.

Your contacts are stored both on your phone and in the cloud for access from any device, and you can create your own e-card and exchange it with other CamCard users, skipping paper cards altogether.

You can scan up to 500 cards with the free version of CamCard. With a premium account you get unlimited scans, no ads, and the ability to export contact info from your scanned cards to Salesforce, Google Contacts, or Outlook. Business plans include shared contacts, task assignments, integration with other CRMs, and other admin tools.

Test scan results

For some reason, CamCard didn’t acknowledge the city, state and ZIP code that were clearly printed on one business card, but it recognized and transcribed the full address on another card. Its OCR made some mistakes extracting from the German business card, and it didn’t recognize several Simplified Chinese characters. But for the other cards, its accuracy was close to ABBYY’s.

Pricing

Basic version free for Android or iOS; premium subscription $4.50/month or $47/year; team and business plans available.

ScanBizCards

ScanBizCards supports 23 languages, but not Simplified Chinese. The camera tool lacks a targeting graphic in its viewfinder to indicate if your business card is within focus or frame. You just aim and tap to snap a photo. Like CamCard, it does offer a convenient batch-scanning option.

biz card scanning apps 05 scanbizcards IDG

There’s no positioning rectangle when you photograph a card in ScanBizCards. (Click image to enlarge it.)

The card editor for ScanBizCards shows the photo of a scanned card along the top of the screen. Information extracted from the card is listed below, organized into fields that you can scroll through. Unlike ABBYY and CamCard, ScanBizCards doesn’t show the source area on the card photo in close-up when you tap a field to edit it.

biz card scanning apps 06 scanbizcards IDG

Editing contact info in ScanBizCards. (Click image to enlarge it.)

Also unlike ABBYY and CamCard, ScanBizCars doesn’t show tiles with thumbnails of scanned cards on its main screen for convenient access. You have to tap to open a screen that shows folders containing your cards. Next, you tap one of these folders to see thumbnails of the scanned cards inside it, and then finally you can tap a thumbnail to open a card.

You can search the fields of your cards through a search box that’s on the app’s main screen. There’s also a search box on the screen that displays all your card folders, and on any screen showing thumbnails of your cards inside a folder.

You can connect your Google Drive or iCloud account for online storage and access, or export a card’s contact information as a vCard or (on a limited basis) to your Salesforce, SugarCRM, or Evernote account. Unlimited CRM exports and admin tools are available with team and enterprise accounts.

Test scan results

Compared to the other three apps we tested, ScanBizCards made the most mistakes. It failed to transcribe correctly or recognize addresses and phone numbers on three of the business cards. In particular, its OCR struggled with email addresses and website URLs.

Pricing

Lite version free for Android or iOS; Pro version $1 for Android or iOS; team and enterprise plans available.

Wantedly People

As with CamCard, you have to register for a free user account (or sign in with your Facebook or Google account) in order to use Wantedly People. The app’s website says it recognizes more than 50 languages.

This app is designed to let you scan several business cards at once. You can take a single photo of up to 10 cards, and from that, Wantedly People extracts contact info from each one. (See the results below for how successful it was in our tests.)

biz card scanning apps 07 wantedly IDG

You can scan multiple cards at the same time with Wantedly People. (Click image to enlarge it.)

In its camera tool, when a business card is within focus of your phone’s camera, a pulsating circle appears in the viewfinder.  When you aim the camera at more than one card, a targeting circle appears over each card. Then you can tap a button to snap a photo.

Scanned business cards are stored in the Contacts section of the app as tiles. From this screen, you can search your cards via a search box.

biz card scanning apps 08 wantedly IDG

Editing contact info in Wantedly. (Click image to enlarge it.)

Unlike ABBYY, CamCards and ScanBizCards, Wantedly People doesn’t have a wide range of fields for contact info. It identifies only the most basic details on a business card: the contact’s name, phone numbers, fax, email, and physical address.

You can export contact info extracted from a business card as a vCard and store your contacts online with your Wantedly People account. From the Wantedly People site, you can download your contacts as a CSV file, but the service doesn’t integrate with Salesforce or other CRM tools.

Note that much of the Wantedly Site is in Japanese, but there is an English-language help center.

Test scan results

Wantedly People ignores any contact info (such as website URLs) for which it doesn’t have fields. Otherwise, its results were similar in accuracy to ABBYY’s and CamCard’s. And it was the best at handling the three non-English cards, transcribing the German, Simplified Chinese and Spanish characters and contact info on them with the fewest mistakes.

The multiple-card scan feature didn’t work well in our tests. From a photo of two cards that we snapped, the OCR results were worse compared to snapping photos of each card separately. In a photo of four cards and another of ten together, the errors increased exponentially.

The problem is that the phone’s camera may not be able to snap a photo of several business cards where each one is in focus. And the more cards you want to snap together in one photo, the more difficult it can be to get targeting circles to appear over each one in the viewfinder. How well this feature works could depend on how advanced your phone’s camera lens is.

Pricing

Free for Android and iOS.

Conclusions

ABBYY and CamCard shared similar accuracy in our tests, with a slight advantage going to ABBYY. CamCard’s free option is the one to look at if you only need to scan business cards occasionally and don’t need to export them. With just 10 scans offered before you have to pay up, the free version of ABBYY is only useful for evaluation purposes. (That said, you can purchase 50 scans with ABBYY for $4.) CamCard also has the better card editor, and its “batch photo” feature is convenient.

If you need to scan a lot of cards or export them to a CRM tool, you’ll need to shell out for a premium version of one of these apps. At $30 per year or $60 lifetime, ABBYY offers better value than CamCard’s $47-per-year subscription.

If a business card you want to scan isn’t in English and you don’t care about saving website URLs, give Wantedly People a try. Just don’t expect its ability to scan more than one business card in a photo to work as accurately as it does with a photo of a single card.

This article was originally published in August 2014 and most recently updated n November 2019.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.



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Facebook’s iOS ‘bug’ secretly filmed users. IT, take note.

News reports last week — subsequently confirmed by a Facebook executive’s tweet — that the Facebook iOS app was videotaping users without notice should serve as a critical heads up to enterprise IT and security execs that mobile devices are every bit as risky as they feared. And a very different bug, planted by cyberthieves, presents even more frightening camera-spying issues with Android.

On the iOS issue, the confirmation tweet from Guy Rosen, who is Facebook’s vice president of Integrity (go ahead and insert whatever joke you want about Facebook having a vice president of integrity; for me, it’s way too easy a shot), said, “We recently discovered our iOS app incorrectly launched in landscape. In fixing that last week in v246, we inadvertently introduced a bug where the app partially navigates to the camera screen when a photo is tapped. We have no evidence of photos/videos uploaded due to this.”

Please forgive me if I don’t immediately accept that this filming was an error, nor that Facebook has no evidence of any photos/videos being uploaded. When it comes to being candid about their privacy moves and the real intentions behind them, Facebook executives’ track record isn’t great. Consider this Reuters story from earlier this month that cited court documents establishing that “Facebook began cutting off access to user data for app developers from 2012 to squash potential rivals while presenting the move to the general public as a boon for user privacy.” And, of course, who can forget Cambridge Analytica?

In this case, though, intentions are irrelevant. This situation merely serves as a reminder of what apps can do if no one is paying enough attention.

This is what happened, according to a well-done summary of the incident in The Next Web (TNW): “The problem becomes evident due to a bug that shows the camera feed in a tiny sliver on the left side of your screen, when you open a photo in the app and swipe down. TNW has since been able to independently reproduce the issue.”

This all began when an iOS Facebaook user named Joshua Maddux tweeted about his scary discovery. “In footage he shared, you can see his camera actively working in the background as he scrolls through his feed.”

It seems as though the FB app for Android does not do the same video effort — or, if it does happen on Android, it’s better at hiding its stealthy behavior. If it is the case that this only happens on iOS, that would suggest that it might indeed be just an accident. Otherwise, why wouldn’t FB have done it for both versions of its app?

As for iOS vulnerability — note that Rosen didn’t say that the glitch was fixed or even promise when it would be fixed — it seems to depend on the specific iOS version. From the TNW report: “Maddux adds he found the same issue on five iPhone devices running iOS 13.2.2, but was unable to reproduce it on iOS 12. ‘I will note that iPhones running iOS 12 don’t show the camera, not to say that it’s not being used,’ he said. The findings are consistent with [TNW’s] attempts. [Although] iPhones running iOS 13.2.2 indeed show the camera actively working in the background, the issue doesn’t appear to affect iOS 13.1.3. We further noticed the issue only occurs if you have given the Facebook app access to your camera. If not, it appears the Facebook app tries to access it, but iOS blocks the attempt.”

How rare it is that iOS security actually comes through and helps, but it appears to be the case here.

Looking at this from a security and compliance perspective, though, is maddening. Regardless of Facebook’s intent here, the situation is allowing the videocamera on the phone or tablet to come alive at any point and start capturing what is on the screen and where the fingers are positioned. What if the employee is working on an ultra-sensitive acquisition memo at that moment? The obvious problem is what happens if Facebook is breached and that particular video segment winds up on the dark web for thieves to purchase? Want to try explaining that to your CISO, the CEO or the board?

Even worse, what if this isn’t an instance of a Facebook security breach? What if a thief sniffs the communication as it travels from your employee’s phone to Facebook? One can hope that Facebook security is fairly robust, but this situation permits the data to be intercepted enroute.

Another scenario: What if the mobile device is stolen? Let’s say that the employee properly created the document on a corporate server accessed via a good VPN. By video-capturing the data while typing, it bypasses all security mechanisms. The thief can now potentially access that video, which offers images of the memo. 

What if that employee downloaded a virus that shares all phone content with the thief? Again, the data is out.

There needs to be a way for the phone to always flash an alert whenever an app attempts access and a way to shut it down before it happens. Until then, CISOs are unlikely to sleep well.

On the Android bug, other than accessing the phone in a highly naughty way, the problem is very different. Security researchers at CheckMarx published a report that made it clear how attackers could sidestep all security mechanisms and take over the camera at will.

“After a detailed analysis of the Google Camera app, our team found that by manipulating specific actions and intents, an attacker can control the app to take photos and/or record videos through a rogue application that has no permissions to do so. Additionally, we found that certain attack scenarios enable malicious actors to circumvent various storage permission policies, giving them access to stored videos and photos, as well as GPS metadata embedded in photos, to locate the user by taking a photo or video and parsing the proper EXIF data.This same technique also applied to Samsung’s Camera app,” the report said. “In doing so, our researchers determined a way to enable a rogue application to force the camera apps to take photos and record video, even if the phone is locked or the screen is turned off. Our researchers could do the same even when a user was is in the middle of a voice call.”

The report drills into the specifics of the attack approach.

“It is known that Android camera applications usually store their photos and videos on the SD card. Since photos and videos are sensitive user information, in order for an application to access them, it needs special permissions: storage permissions. Unfortunately, storage permissions are very broad and these permissions give access to the entire SD card. There are a large number of applications, with legitimate use-cases, that request access to this storage, yet have no special interest in photos or videos. In fact, it’s one of the most common requested permissions observed. This means that a rogue application can take photos and/or videos without specific camera permissions, and it only needs storage permissions to take things a step further and fetch photos and videos after being taken. Additionally, if the location is enabled in the camera app, the rogue application also has a way to access the current GPS position of the phone and user,” the report noted. “Of course, a video also contains sound. It was interesting to prove that a video could be initiated during a voice call. We could easily record the receiver’s voice during the call and we could record the caller’s voice as well.”

And yes, more details make this even more frightening: “When the client starts the app, it essentially creates a persistent connection back to the C&C server and waits for commands and instructions from the attacker, who is operating the C&C server’s console from anywhere in the world. Even closing the app does not terminate the persistent connection.”

In short, these two incidents illustrate stunning security and privacy holes within a huge percentage of smartphones today. Whether IT owns these phones or the devices are BYOD (owned by the employee) makes little difference here. Anything created on that device can be easily stolen. And given that a rapidly increasing percentage of all enterprise data is moving to mobile devices, this needs to be fixed and fixed yesterday.

If Google and Apple won’t fix this — given that it’s unlikely to impact sales, since both iOS and Android have these holes, neither Google nor Apple has much financial incentive to act quickly — CISOs must consider direct action. Creating a homegrown app (or convincing a major ISV to do it for everyone) that will impose its own restrictions might be the only viable route.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





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iPhone users: Do you love or loathe Quick Share in iOS 13?

I know lots of people who rely on iOS 13 and iPad OS for their business, but they aren’t necessarily getting much from using the QuickShare feature, so why is it there?

What’s wrong with QuickShare?

QuickShare is that first row of names you see when you open up the Share pane from within almost any app in iOS 13.

It is populated by the names of people you have most recently communicated with by Messages and nearby AirDrop shares.

However, the way the Share sheet works is that the far more useful Apps panel, which productivity workers are more likely to need is knocked down the screen, while the potentially even more useful scrolling Actions list is hardly visible at all – you have to scroll to get to it.

So, if I want to take a webpage, tap print, and spread my fingers in order to very quickly create a PDF and then share that with multiple people using an app, I need to scroll down the display to find the tools I need.

It adds friction to what should be a relatively straightforward process.

That’s not the only problem. If you make a lot of calls and send lots of messages as part of your day job, then the QuickShare item quickly becomes useless.

The people and names offered by the feature soon become unwieldy – and given the fast flow of business communications, irrelevant.

I’ve also encountered quite a few people who actively don’t want that list of names to be made visible.

One talent agent friend of mine hates it, as when she tries to share items on her iPhone any person, she happens to be near can see the celebrity names and numbers she has on her device. While we all know the iPhone is the most private and secure mobile device money can buy, it’s still enough to raise concerns about privacy.

‘If you don’t like the feature, you can turn it off’

Apple is usually good about keeping people at the centre of the experience. These days you can even delete most of Apple’s pre-installed apps – but you can’t switch off QuickShare.

  • You can’t edit it.
  • You can’t set it to contain just your most useful contacts.
  • You can’t relegate it to the lowest row on your iPhone so you can easily ignore it.
  • You can’t remove it.
  • You’re stuck with it.

QuickShare is a noise terrorist stealing prime screen real estate when you reach for the precious Share menu. That you cannot adjust it suggests you are not in full control of your iPhone. I see it as the iPhone equivalent of Microsoft’s deeply annoying ‘Clippy’ Office Assistant.

I realized it was time to call time on QuickShare when a friend of mine attempted to AirDrop images with me this morning.

“What is this list of names,” she asked me, knowing I have a little knowledge about such things. “I hate it, it gets in the way – I don’t want to see all those people there, and I don’t know why it’s there,” she said.

She was only saying what I’ve ended up thinking.

The users don’t like it

I know she isn’t alone. Hand on heart I’ve received enough feedback on this feature to believe it to be among the least popular changes in iOS 13.

It gets in the way, reduces the iPhone owner’s feelings of personal autonomy, and reminds us of just how much data our devices gather about us, generating privacy fears.

Such fears may be surfaced in unexpected ways.

Imagine how an abusive spouse might demand to review those connections in order to monitor those who the person they bully communicates with?

People subject to abusive relationships of any kid (with spouse, colleagues, even governments) don’t always have the agency to refuse such access.

Yet the information is there, clear to see, in the QuickShare menu.

The thing that makes it most abrasive is that you as a user can’t edit the contents of or disable this feature. After all, who needs it? You can start a phone call faster by asking Siri to dial your call than using QuickShare.

Not only this, but…

Sharing isn’t really what the Share pane is for

I don’t really see the Share menu as a place for sharing items with other people (though sometimes I use it for that), but as a place for sharing items between apps to get productive tasks done.

I’d like the power to switch this feature off. Or, at least some way to relegate it to the forgotten zone at the bottom of the Share pane where all those useful Shortcut workflows you’ve lovingly crafted currently hide.

Apple doesn’t need to eradicate QuickShare. I can’t help but imagine the feature has been introduced to form some kind of platform for future enhancements, so even though few people like it now, it may one day become something we can’t live without.

Perhaps.

It’s over to you, really. I can write what I like, but what do you think of QuickShare? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Do you even use it?

Please let me know on social media below.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Salesforce announces new iOS enterprise apps

One year since Apple and Salesforce joined forces to make it easier to use the CRM platform with iOS, the two companies have announced new apps and a new SDK.

Swift, Siri, SDK and more

With around 80% of Fortune 500 companies making use of Salesforce, the move to introduce better iOS support on the CRM platform was pretty much inevitable as enterprise adoption of iOS hit critical mass.

Last week’s JNUC 2019 was a great illustration of just how far Apple has come in the sector, with some of the biggest names in enterprise IT now using iOS, and Apple tech used at every single Fortune 500 firm.

These days, Apple support is an HR issue: You can’t attract new staff if you don’t support the platforms, and you certainly won’t retain them. 

When it comes to Salesforce, hundreds of companies across the globe have used its tools to bring iOS support, including The Home Depot, P&G and University of San Diego.

The importance of the partnership is also reflected in news that Apple CEO, Tim Cook, will join Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff to speak at Dreamforce 2019 on November 19 at 1.30pm PT.

So, what’s happening?

What’s new is that Salesforce has redesigned its Salesforce Mobile app and has also introduced the first-ever Trailhead GO learning app for iOS and iPadOS.

It has also introduced a Salesforce Mobile SDK developers can use in order to build and deploy native apps for iPhone and iPad on the Salesforce Platform.

What Apple is saying

“Working together, Apple and Salesforce have helped hundreds of businesses and millions of developers transform the way they work,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s VP Product Marketing for Apps, Markets and Services in a press release.

“With brand new Salesforce Mobile apps exclusive to iOS and iPadOS, and an enhanced SDK that supports the latest advancements in Swift, Apple together with Salesforce offers customers strong privacy, powerful multitasking and the best user experience in business on iPhone and iPad.”

What’s Salesforce saying?

“With Salesforce Mobile, Salesforce and Apple are empowering sales, service and marketing professionals on the go to deliver game-changing customer experiences, powered by AI,” said Bret Taylor, Chief Product Officer, Salesforce in a press release. “And with Trailhead GO, millions more learners can now skill up for free, anytime and anywhere, to learn in-demand skills and fill the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

What’s new in the Salesforce Mobile App?

Along with a better UI, the now available Salesforce Mobile App now includes an AI called Einstein.

This AI tries to identify patterns, predict outcomes, provide guidance and to support increasingly automated workflows based on the data generated by the app.

The idea is that the AI inside the Salesforce Mobile App can make teams more productive while supporting provision of increasingly personalized customer relationships.

The app also offers support for unique iOS features, including Siri shortcuts and Face ID, so tasks, notes and CRM updates can all be committed by voice alone.

Bridging the training gap

Salesforce has also improved its training offer for users with the introduction of its iOS-only Trailhead GO app, which provides access to Salesforce’s free online learning platform used by millions of workers worldwide.

The app provides anytime access to over 700 training modules including Apple-specific items such as Get Started with iOS App Development.

The app was built on Swift using Salesforce’s Mobile SDK and supports Handoff, Split View and Picture-in-picture modes. You should be able to find it in your local app store.

Developers, developers, developers

Perhaps the most important news is the introduction of an enhanced set of developer tools in the form of the Swift-optimized Mobile SDK.

This adds support for iOS 13, including Swift UI and Package Manager, for easier compiling and distribution of code.

Salesforce claims the SDK will enable over six million developers working with its platform to build and deploy apps for Apple’s mobile devices.

The company hasn’t said if it plans to use Catalyst to unify its Apple apps around iPad apps exported to the Mac, but with Office 365 (and Outlook) available on iOS the temptation must be there. Outlook and Salesforce are close companions, after all.

The new Salesforce Mobile SDK 8.0 with support for Dark Mode and Swift UI is expected to be available later this year, with additional features optimized foriPadOS expected to arrive in a 2020 release.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Cortana can now read emails out loud in Outlook for iOS

Microsoft is pushing ahead with plans to position Cortana as a personal productivity assistant in the office with new features announced at Ignite this week. 

While Cortana was initially launched as a consumer voice assistant to compete with the likes of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, Microsoft has increasingly targeted it for duties in its portfolio of productivity tools.  With Play My Emails in Outlook for iOS, Cortana can now read emails aloud to users and update them on their work schedule, Microsoft said, offering a hands-free way to catch up on emails while on the go.

Cortana starts off with a summary of how many new emails a user has gotten in the past 24 hours, with an estimation of how long it will take to read them all. The AI assistant will also highlight any changes to their diary and potential schedule conflicts for that day, thanks to integration with Outlook’s Calendar app. 

In addition to reading the content of emails, Cortana will explain how long they’ve been sitting in a user’s inbox, and provide additional information such as identifying the sender or whether an email contains attachments, links and embedded files. 

Microsoft said that using Play My Emails is more like a conversation with a personal assistant than a basic conversion of email text to audio. Users say “Hey, Cortana” to interrupt the readout and give simple commands or to dictate an email response using the assistant’s natural voice and language recognition. It is also possible to skip messages, flag emails for later reading or archive them. 

Cortana in Outlook for iOS Microsoft

In addition to reading emails out load, Cortana can explain how long they’ve been in a user’s inbox  and provide additional information about each message.

“Accessing core productivity apps such as email and calendar using voice commands can have a significant impact in productivity and underlines how voice can redefine how we interact with technology,” said Raúl Castañón-Martínez, a senior analyst at 451 Research.

He argued that the capabilities unveiled at Ignite should boost Cortana’s credentials as a personal productivity assistant – an important differentiation that sets it apart from other intelligent assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant. 

Given the popularity of its productivity applications – Office 365 now has 200 million monthly active users worldwide – Microsoft has the clout to help popularize voice assistants in the workplace. 

“A key challenge for a wider adoption of voice user interfaces in the enterprise has been integration to business applications and data sources; this entails secure access and some form of user and device authentication,” said Castañón-Martínez. “Microsoft is well-positioned to tackle this challenge, given its market leadership in productivity and collaboration and its trajectory as a provider of enterprise software applications.”

Play My Emails is available now in the Outlook for iOS app for users in the U.S., though it may take a few weeks to roll out to all users. The feature is slated to come to Android devices in the spring of 2020, said Microsoft, and there are plans to add functionality designed for Microsoft’s Surface Earbuds later on.

In addition, Cortana will soon be able to send a daily briefing email that includes a summary of upcoming meetings and relevant documents, as well as the ability to to set up meetings with the new Scheduler feature. By “cc-ing” Cortana into an email, users can ask the AI assistant to book a phone call or find a meeting room and will be presented with a series of options based on each user’s availability. A meeting invitation will then go out to all participants.

Scheduler is now in preview and will be generally available early next year. 

In addition, Microsoft has added a masculine voice option for interactions with Cortana; users can access the option from the Outlook app’s settings. 

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.



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New Microsoft Office App for iOS and Android Combines Word, Excel, and PowerPoint – Review Geek

New Microsoft Office App
Microsoft

If you’re among the millions of people who get Microsoft Office work done on a smartphone sometimes, you will soon be able to access Word, Excel, and PowerPoint from the same app on your device instead of opening them separately.

In the interest of making mobile productivity more efficient when using Microsoft Office on a phone, the software suite has received an update that brings all of your Office documents together in one place. Along with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the new Microsoft Office app will provide easy access to Sticky Notes for saving quick thoughts, along with various mobile-oriented capabilities such as using your camera to scan documents.

You can also get recent and recommended documents stored in the cloud on your device and search for documents across your organization if using a work account. By combining all of these features into the same mobile application, it should reduce the need to switch between apps, and Microsoft says it will save storage space on your phone compared to having multiple separate apps installed.

The “Actions Pane” is another noteworthy addition. It provides quick access to tasks you might typically encounter on a mobile device such as creating PDFs with your camera, signing PDFs with your finger, scanning QR codes to open files and links, transferring files from your phone to a computer, and sharing with other nearby mobile devices.

You can get these features by updating your Office mobile app to the public preview that launched today for Android and iOS. The app can be downloaded for free and you just have to sign in with a Microsoft Account. Microsoft notes that Apple’s TestFlight program for preview software limits the public preview to 10,000 users, so you may want to hop on that sooner rather than later if you’re interested in trying the software on your iOS phone.

Note that the new Office app is only available for phones, with support for tablets coming later. As for the existing mobile apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Microsoft says it will continue to support and invest in the separate apps for everyone who prefers using those instead of the new all-in-one app. The company encourages everyone to submit feedback for the new Office app by going to Settings > Help & Feedback.

Source: Microsoft





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iPhone Storage Full? How to Create Free Space on iOS

Depending on whether you get the base model or the Pro, the latest iPhone models come with a maximum of 256GB or 512GB of storage. Why, then, do we still need to solve the “iPhone Storage Full” problem?

The usual culprits are photos, 4K videos, games, and other digital hoarding habits. You can’t upgrade an iPhone’s storage. That leaves you with three choices—buy a bigger phone, get more cloud storage, or create free space on your iPhone.

The first two don’t work if you want to free up space right now. So let’s look at the ways to free up storage space with a bit of iOS jugglery.

Note: You should make a backup of your device with iTunes before you do anything major, like deleting photos or videos. We cover this below.

Get Familiar With iPhone Storage

Newer versions of iOS have a dedicated iPhone Storage feature. It’s an improvement on the earlier Storage and iCloud Usage section. To find it, go to Settings > General >iPhone Storage.

Here, you get a quick view of the storage space available on your device. The list of apps is ordered by the amount of storage each occupies. iOS suggests space-saving steps such as auto-deleting old messages, erasing large message attachments, and storing messages directly in iCloud.

Some of the Apple default apps will let you delete data from here. For instance, you can delete songs from the Music app, clean all website data from Safari, and review personal videos before you delete them.

But this screen is also important because it lets you target each app and act on them in two ways: offloading and deleting.

Offload or Delete Apps

Tap an app on the list at Settings > General > iPhone Storage to view detailed info about its storage usage. At the bottom, you can choose one of two options: Offload App and Delete App.

  • Delete App removes the app and every bit of its data. It is the same as uninstalling the app from the home screen.
  • Offload App deletes the app’s core files, but keeps your personal data. This is useful for heavier apps (like PUBG Mobile) when you plan to use the app soon but need the space now. It lets you just remove the app; your important data will be there when you reinstall the app later.

Go down the list to pick the lowest hanging fruits. For instance, select the apps you use rarely and can safely offload or delete. You can make a choice according to your needs.

If you don’t want to do either, then go to the individual apps and delete unnecessary files that they save. For instance, you might erase large iMessage attachments or remove some downloaded songs from Spotify.

Delete games you’ve completed, as game files eat up a lot of space. They’re sometimes more of a space hog than photos and videos, which we will nix next.

Delete Photos and Videos

Videos and photos take up a lot of space on most people’s iPhones. You can take a few steps to clear them and make extra space:

  1. Enable iCloud Photos


    The iCloud Photos Master Guide: Everything You Need to Know for Photo Management




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    to upload your photos and videos to the cloud and save space on your device.
  2. Copy photos and videos from your iPhone to your computer and use the computer as a primary backup. Then delete them from your device.
  3. After you clean up your photo stream, remember to empty the Recently Deleted album in Photos as well.
  4. Select and delete old Live Photos (and photos taken in Burst Mode). The three-second moving pictures can take up a lot of space. You can disable Live Photos altogether, but we wouldn’t suggest this as they help create wonderful memories. Plus, you can also convert them into GIFs and videos.

If you shoot a lot with your iPhone’s Smart HDR option enabled, there is no need to save the normal photos along with the HDR copies. So…

Take Only HDR Photos

Tack-sharp iPhone photographs taken with High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode come at a price. Your iPhone saves two copies of the image in your photo library—the “normal” image (without HDR) and its HDR counterpart, which is a succession of three photos taken at different exposures.

You can choose to disable the HDR mode by turning off the Smart HDR switch under Settings > Camera. You should also avoid tapping the HDR icon in the Camera app.

Alternatively, you can save space by not keeping the normal photo. To adjust this:

  1. Go to Settings on your iOS device and tap Camera.
  2. Toggle the Keep Normal Photo switch to the off position.

Wipe Browser Caches

In theory, browser cache acts as a speed booster, as the browser does not have to load every element of the page again. But temporary files from the numerous websites you visit every day can add up and clog your iPhone’s storage.

Here’s how you can clear Safari’s cache and free up a bit of space:

  1. Tap the Settings app on the iPhone home screen.
  2. Go down the menu and tap Safari.
  3. Within the list of Safari options, tap Clear History and Website Data.
  4. In the confirmation box, tap Clear History and Data (or Cancel if you change your mind).

If you have Chrome installed…

  1. Tap on the Chrome app to open it.
  2. Select the three-dot menu at the bottom-right. Go to History > Clear browsing data.
  3. In the next screen, select what you want to remove or keep. Then tap the red button to start the cleaning process after the confirmation popup.

Manage Your Messages

SMS, iMessages, and unattended spam messages can add up over time. You can limit the number of messages that get stored by automatically deleting them after some time.

  1. Go to Settings and scroll down the list to Messages.
  2. Drill down to Message History.
  3. Choose either 30 days or 1 year instead of Forever.
  4. Click Delete on the Delete Older Messages confirmation popup.

Optimize WhatsApp

Instant chat apps like WhatsApp and Telegram are sneaky space predators. Their daily use consumes a fair amount of space, which can add up fast. Let’s optimize WhatsApp storage and get back some space on your phone. There are several ways to do this:

  • For the nuclear option, uninstall WhatsApp and re-install it to start from a clean slate.
  • For a selective option, tap on each contact and go down the Contact Info to select Clear Chat.

But if you want to be more surgical about it, then you can see how much storage each message thread is using. Launch WhatsApp > Settings > Data and Storage Usage > Storage Usage.

Use the list of your contacts to find the total storage size of each thread. Tap on any of these contacts and take action on that specific data by hitting Manage at the bottom.

For instance, clearing videos, photos, GIFs, and stickers while keeping documents can save you a lot of space.

Use External Storage With iOS 13

iPadOS and iOS 13 have added external storage support for iPhone and iPad. Though it is more useful for your workflow on an iPad, phone users can also plug in a flash drive and use it with the revamped Files app.

Most thumb drives and memory card readers with built-in Lightning connectors


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should work fine. You can use the extra space to store music, video, and photos using the drive’s additional storage. Then put the Files app to work as a media viewer.

Apple says the exFAT, FAT32, HSF+, and APFS formats are supported. NTFS is not.

Clear the “Other” Space With a Backup and Restore

Resetting your phone is a nuclear option, but it can also be the quickest way to start afresh.

Even if you don’t do this, it’s always a good idea to keep your iPhone data backed up to your computer


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. You should always use your computer as a primary backup for heavier files like photos and videos, and not rely on your iPhone’s storage.

A backup allows you to reset your device and start from scratch with a better plan to re-organize your device. Resetting your phone is also the handiest way to reduce the Other data you will spot on the iPhone Storage screen. It is a holding area for cache files of all kinds, especially those from streaming services.

iPhone "Other" storage space

The Solution to a Space Crunch on Your iPhone

It’s not fun juggling content here and there for a few spare gigabytes. Next time, you should buy an iPhone with more space if you like shooting photos and videos, playing games, or saving music to your device for offline enjoyment.

Otherwise, learn these iPhone photo management tips


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as a core skill before storage space becomes a problem.



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