Guide to the stock iOS Music app via @idownloadblog

Here is a nice guide to the stock iOS Music application by’s Jeff Benjamin.  Those who are interested in getting more mileage out of their iPhone or iPad as a music player should give this article a read.  Below is an excerpt.  Click HERE for the full article.

The Music app is a stock application that comes preinstalled on all iOS devices. It’s the primary way for playing music on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. With iOS 7.0, a new feature was baked into the stock Music app called iTunes Radio. iTunes Radio is an ad-supported service that allows users to browse more than 250 curated stations. Users can also create and build their own stations, which feature Pandora-like customization over time.

The stock Music app has endured significant changes over the past few years. The Music app was once exclusively relegated to the iPod touch, with iPhone models offering an “iPod” app as a means to play music and watch videos. Eventually, with the advent of iOS 5, the iPod app was broken-up into separate Music and Video apps for the iPhone line, unifying the stock Music app presence across all iOS hardware.

While there are many ways to play music via third-party apps on iOS, the stock Music app is the only music application that’s closely integrated with iTunes and allows you to use the iTunes Match iCloud-hosting service. There may be benefits to other apps like Spotify, but no app is as tightly intertwined with the rest of iOS as the stock Music app. With that in mind, please take a look inside, as we break down the many facets of this ever-growing and ever-changing stock application…

Jeff Benjamin,

Install Mavericks Tutorial: Mac OS X 10.9

For those of you who were waiting to upgrade to Mavericks, the “.1” release is out (Mac OS X 10.9.1) the 10.9.2 release is now current as of 14 April 2014 (and 10.9.3 is likely coming soon).  Clients have been asking, so here is a short-hand tutorial for installing Mavericks. As always, check to make sure the applications you rely on are ready for Mavericks, and if in doubt, wait!  For those concerned, the 10.9.1 release addressed issues with Gmail mail account syncing.  I think it’s a good time upgrade, assuming the business-critical applications you use are Mavericks ready.

See this suite of articles from MacWorld for in-depth recommendations, advice and information about preparing for, installing, and using Maverics: Installing OS X 10.9 Mavericks: Our complete guide

Below is my short-hand tutorial for clients who use a SuperDuper! bootable-clone backup system. If you don’t use SuperDuper!, then replace your own backup system in this tutorial. If you don’t have one, it’s time to get one! Please contact us for a consultation.

– go to the Apple Menu in upper left of your screen > Software Update
– App Store will open to software update.
– install all updates to your CURRENT SYSTEM, do NOT download and install Mavericks (10.9) yet EVEN IF PROMPTED TO DO SO.
– restart
– log in with the shift key held down (if you have automatic login enabled, then you will need to log out from the Apple Menu and then log back in with the shift key held down)
– open Disk Utility
– choose your internal hard drive on the left menu inside the Disk Utility window
– choose Verify Disk.
– if it finishes and says “Disk appears to be OK,” then continue

*** If it finds problems with the disk, say ok, and contact me — you will need to boot from the Repair Partition and run Disk Utility again to Repair Disk. ***

– choose Repair Permissions
– shut down, and let the computer sit for a minute
– start up, and log in with the shift key down (if you have automatic login enabled, then you will need to log out from the Apple Menu and then log back in with the shift key held down)
– go to the Apple Menu (upper left) > Software Update
– if there are any more updates to your current system, install them.
– if there are no updates to your current system, then it’s time to
– backup via SuperDuper!  Allow the backup to finish, and shutdown (most will have SuperDuper! set to shutdown automatically. In this case, just boot normally after SD! has shut the computer down).
– login with the shift key held down.
– now, it’s time to Install Mavericks:
– go to the Apple Menu > Software Update. There may be a banner at the top of the Updates window that says “free upgrade to Mavericks” if so, click it. If not, go to > Featured on the top left of the App Store window, Mavericks will be featured on the right and/or bottom. See picture at the end of the post.
– click on Mavericks wherever you find it
– click instal
– the file will be around 5.3GB, so it will take some time to download, depending on the speed of your connection.
– follow the prompts to instal Mavericks.

Installation will entail:

– an initial install preparation phase of around 15 minutes or less

– then it will say to Install the software the computer needs to restart.

– after it restarts, it will take somewhere between 25-40 minutes in the final phase of installation 

– when it boots up after installation, it will ask you to log in with your Apple ID and will setup your new installation
– when your desktop has appeared and the computer has finished booting,
– log out from the Apple Menu at the top left, and
– log in the with the shift key held down
– go to apple menu in upper left > Software Update
– App Store will open to Software Update.
– install all updates
– restart
– log in with the shift key held down
– open Disk Utility
– choose your internal hard drive on the left
– choose Verify Disk.
– if it finishes and says “Disk appears to be OK,” then continue

*** If it finds problems with the disk, say ok, and contact me — you will need to boot from the Repair Partition and run Disk Utility again to Repair Disk. ***

– choose Repair Permissions
– restart
– log in normally (no shift key held down)
– use normally
– do NOT back up to the SuperDuper! clone for a while. Backup to a different hard drive if possible, or if not, do not back up at all for a while (a week? or more?). We need to keep the old backup in case there were issues with the upgrade and install.

App Store Featured Mavericks

Tutorial: manually backup your iOS device to your computer via iTunes

It is a good idea to backup your iOS device frequently, especially before upgrading software. iCloud backups are great, but they require a steady internet connection, as well as requiring the device to be in a certain state. One can backup to iCloud manually by initiating a backup in Settings > iCloud > Storage and Backup, but the beauty of iCloud backups are that, in the best case senario, they happen automatically. As many clients have found out the hard way, In order for iCloud to backup automatically, your iOS device must be:

  1. plugged into a power source
  2. asleep (turned off, but NOT fully booted down, that is to say, do NOT “slide to power off”)
  3. connected to a Wi-Fi network

Even if you are consistently backing up to iCloud, I suggest that you backup to your computer periodically, especially before a software upgrade.

The following diagrams document how you can easily backup your iOS device to your computer via iTunes.

For those of you who view your iTunes library with the Sidebar left-side menu bar, it will look like this (or you can choose to Show Sidebar in the View menu to follow these directions):

Backing up your iOS device to your computer via iTunes

How to manually backup your iOS device to your computer via iTunes. Click on the image for a full-size (readable) image!

For those of you who do not view your iTunes library with a Sidebar visible, it will look like this (in two steps):

Manual backup no sidebar 1

Manual backup no sidebar 2

How to backup you iOS device to your computer manually with iTunes. Click on the images to view larger (readable) images!

As you can see from the diagrams, there are three steps:

  1. Choose your device either in the left side-bar or on the upper right corner if your sidebar is hidden.
  2. Once you have chosen your device, go to the Summary tab
  3. Choose “Back Up Now” in the Manually Back Up and Restore” settings area.

And, that’s all there is to it! Here’s a video tutorial in case the screen shots above aren’t clear:


Using iOS 7: some resources

Here are some good resources for those who have just upgraded to iOS 7 and are looking to learn more about its new features.

TUAW’s Don’t Panic Guide to iOS 7. A good place to start if your first response is to panic. Don’t panic! Read this!

The Best iPad Tips and Tricks [Updated for iOS 7]. This is a good rundown of the basics, applicable to all iOS devices running iOS 7.

The best hidden features in iOS 7. Here are some very useful, little-known features of the new system. My favorite: you can now block a caller!

How to stop iOS 7 from destroying your iPhone’s battery life. If you are finding poor battery performance after upgrading, read this article!

Feel free to comment with your favorite articles about iOS 7 usage, tips and tricks! And contact us if you are having trouble.


iOS 7 upgrade tutorial

Many of my clients have asked me if it’s time to upgrade to iOS 7. As it is a “.0 release,” we have to expect that there will be bugs and some applications you might use will not be updated and may run poorly (crashing) or not at all.  That said, most of the applications I use on a daily basis seem to be running fine on iOS 7.

Here is what I advise my clients to consider and do before upgrading:

  1. ONCE YOU JUMP, YOU CAN’T COME BACK. There is no down-grading back to iOS 6.x once you install iOS 7. (There are potential exceptions to this if you have saved your SHSH blobs with Tiny Umbrella, etc, but it’s best to consider the jump permanent.) Thus, one must make sure one’s ready to jump! So….. 
  2. The first thing I suggest my clients do is to check with their system administrators to see if all business-critical applications they run on their iPhones and/or iPads are iOS 7 ready and tested on their business networks. Seek the advise of your admin about upgrading — will you loose critical business functionality? Will your admin be able to support you if business-critical apps don’t function correctly?
  3. Make a list of the most important applications you use on a daily basis — for most users, a top-10 or top-20 list should suffice. These are the apps that you just couldn’t live without.
  4. Then, check these applications out on your computer in iTunes > iTunes Store. Check the Info about these applications and see if they are iOS 7 compatible. You might have to click “…More” in the lower right had corner of a text block under “Description” or under “What’s new in version xxx” to see the full list of changes. You are looking for something that mentions “compatibility with iOS 7.”
  5. If you don’t find info on iOS 7 compatibility for your most-used apps in iTunes, search the web for the developer of the app in question, and see if there is info on the company blog or other company support site. Feel free to contact the developer for more info. It’s important to know that your most used apps are compatible with the system before you update. You don’t want to be kicking yourself later and loosing productivity because you updated at a moment when critical applications you use were not ready.
  6. Software update on your Mac. Go to the apple menu and choose “Software Update.” Install any updates the App Store / Software Update has for your machine. This update will include iTunes 11.1, if you have not already downloaded and installed it. You will need iTunes 11.1 to install iOS 7 on your compatible iOS devices.
  7. Update all apps in iTunes. Go to iTunes on your computer, and choose Apps, and go to the Updates tab on the top menu bar on the right. Choose Update All apps.  
  8. Sync your iPhone/iPad/iPod. Plug your phone into your computer and sync. Do not update the software yet! It may start a sync automatically, or you may have to press Sync on the bottom right. 
  9. Open iPhoto, and import all photos from your device. 
  10. Manually backup your phone to your computer. You may have it set so that your phone automatically backs up to iCloud, and this is fine. But before you update your OS, I suggest you backup your phone to your computer. It’s best to hold a local backup before a major software upgrade.  Choose your iPhone in the list of devices in iTunes, and then go to the Summary tab, and choose “Back Up Now” in the section titled “Manually Back Up and Restore”.
  11. STOP. Quit all applications. Log out, and log back in with the Shift key held down. 
  12. Backup your computer, ideally with SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner, to make a bootable clone of your computer at this moment. This will include backups of your iOS device you just made.
  13. Boot up / restart your computer. 
  14. Now you are ready to start the iOS 7 upgrading process
  15. Plug in your compatible iOS device, and let it sync to iTunes if it does so automatically.
  16. If it prompts you with a dialog box that says “new software is available for you device,” you can now choose “download and install.” 
  17. If it does not prompt you with a dialog box, then choose your iOS device in the list of devices, and go to the Summary tab, and on the top right inside the Summary window, click “Check for Update.” 
  18. Once it finds the available iOS 7 update, click on Download and Update Now. It is advisable to update your device from iTunes rather than on the device itself. You can update from the device, but I would suggest updating from iTunes on a computer.
  19. THE UPDATE WILL TAKE TIME TO DOWNLOAD! Depending on your internet connection speed, this could take between 20 minutes and 2+ hours — each iOS 7 software update package is more than 1 GB. 
  20. If you have clicked Download and Update, then leave your device plugged in to the computer and it will start the updating process automatically.
  21. When the Latest software, iOS 7.0, has been installed on your device, it will ask you if you want to restore it from a backup of your device or set it up as a new device. I usually use major software updates as a time to do spring cleaning, so I set it up as a new device and go through and choose what apps I really want on the device, the ones I actually use regularly. Then I choose the music again. And the photos again. And the videos again. I do all of this instead of just blindly taking what I had had before. I always end up with at least 30% more free space on my device, and this is good! All of this takes time, however. It takes time to choose the apps, to organize them on your home screens / pages / folders, and it takes time to sync them. The same goes for the music and pictures. But it starts you off with a clean slate! If you don’t have the time, you can just restore from your most recent backup of your device, which will be offered to you in the drop-down list.
  22. After you have chosen to set up your device anew, then this last moment of syncing won’t take too long. *Note: If you restore it from a backup, it will do it’s syncing at this point, and this will take a while, especially if you have lots of music, apps, photos, etc. You’ll have to just let it do it’s thing.
  23. Especially if you have set it up as a new device, it is at this moment I would suggest manipulating the syncing Options inside the Summary tab at the bottom of the Summary window, before you start determining music and photos and apps. These are the settings I suggest:  
  24. AUTOMATICALLY SYNC WHEN THIS PHONE IS CONNECTED > up to you. I do not keep this checked, I prefer to sync manually and have control over when my phone syncs (because sometimes I charge from my computer and do not wish to sync at that moment). But this is pure preference.
  25. SYNC THIS iPHONE/iPAD OVER WIFI. Also personal preference. I keep this box unchecked myself. 
  26. SYNC ONLY CHECKED SONGS AND VIDEOS. I keep this box unchecked
  27. PREFER STANDARD DEFINITION VIDEOS. I keep this box checked
  28. CONVERT HIGHER BIT RATE SONGS TO 128 kbps AAC. I keep this box checked
  29. MANUALLY MANAGE MUSIC AND VIDEOS. I keep this box unchecked. Now, this will prompt you with a dialog box which will say all music will be deleted from this device and replaced with music from this iTunes library. If you are setting up your device as a new device, then there is no music on it anyway, so there is nothing to loose. However, after you uncheck this box, you’ll need to go to the Music tab and change the settings — by default, it choose to sync your entire music library, and this will likely be much too large to fit on your device. You do NOT want to fill every last MB of space on your phone with music! Ideally you should have at least 20% free space on the phone for it to run as fast as possible. So, inside Music tab choose “Sync Music” and then below “Selected playlists, artists, albums and genres.”
  30. Go through each tab and make sure you are syncing only what you want: 
  31. Apps: choose the apps you want, and you can arrange them on screen and pages and folders right from iTunes. Folders can now hold more apps than before, you can have multiple pages of apps in a folder! This is nice for the clutter-conscious.
  32. Choose Apply or Sync on the bottom right after you make changes in each tab. It will sync, maybe take a long time depending, and then you can make more changes.
  33. Go through each top-menu bar tab and determine what you want to sync. Apps, Tones, Music, Movies, TV Shows, Podcasts, Books, Photos. Apply changes after you make changes in a given screen. 
  34. Photos. It’s a good practice to make albums in iPhoto and drag photos you want to sync to your device into those albums. then, in iTunes / Device / Photos, choose only those albums that contain photos you actually will use on the device. 
  35. Sync again at the end. 
  36. Finally, backup your device again in the Summary Tab > Manually Back Up Now.  This will give you a new backup after all your hard work setting up your newly updated iOS 7 device!

Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns before, during or after the upgrading process! 

Apple Mail: move a message via keyboard shortcuts

Matt Gemmell wrote a great blog post on how to move messages in Apple’s Mail application in Lion, MacOSX 10.7, using keyboard shortcuts. For those of us who seem to live in, this saves a whole lot of time and mousing around, which usually ends in some misplaced emails if you’re moving quickly. The application add-on Mail Act-On by InDev Software gives a much fuller implementation of mouseless, customizable rule-activation, but if you just need move message to a few favorite mailboxes, has the capability built in now.

This functionality in Mail for OSX Lion is built around “Favorite” mailboxes. To see a visual list of your current “Favorite” mailboxes in Mail, select a message and then go to the Mailboxes menu and browse in the menu items Go to Favorite Mailbox and Move to Favorite Mailbox. By each entry you will see a keyboard shortcut, starting with “⌘1” (in the Go to Favorite Mailbox submenu), which will by default be your Inbox. You can rearrange these by moving, dragging, and dropping mailboxes to your Favorites bar, just below your Toolbar, just above your messages. If you don’t see your Favorites bar, go to the View menu and click on Show Favorites Bar, the second to last menu item. (If the menu item says “Hide Favorites Bar, then the Favorites Bar is already shown, look just above the message list window to find it.)  Once you have arranged your Favorites mailboxes in the order you would like them, you can: 

Move a message to a Favorite mailbox in three easy steps:


  1. highlight the message (either by clicking on it or using the arrow keys to navigate to it)
  2. hold down the control (⌃) and command (⌘) keys
  3. press the number associated with the Favorite mailbox you want to move the message to


You can find the number associated with each of your Favorite mailboxes by looking in the Mailbox menu > Move to Favorite Mailbox submenu. The keyboard shortcut will be listed by every mailbox. Once you arrange your mailboxes in order of priority (by dragging them on the Favorites bar left or right or off of it or onto it from your Mailbox list), you will quickly get used to the shortcut to move a message to a frequently-used mailbox.

Happy mailing!

Force Empty Trash: use the Option key

Have you ever tried to empty trash and have it grind forever, sometimes waiting to count the items, sometimes getting halfway done and showing a partial blue bar? This often happens when you’re trying empty windows-based items, say off a USB memory stick or the like. We usually try “Secure Empty Trash” first, but this often takes a long time and doesn’t solve all the pesky trash emptying problems all the time. So, here’s the trick:

Option key. Hold down the option key while you choose “empty trash” from the file menu, and it will force empty trash, even with pesky items that don’t want to go away.

Did it work? Leave a comment!