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iCloud and Photo Sharing: This Changes Everything

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While it’s easy to snap lots of photos on vacation, your family and friends are just being polite when you bomb them with the entire collection. A greatest hits or best of is always the right choice!

With iCloud®, it’s now easy to create a shared album and to invite other iCloud users to subscribe to it. This makes it especially handy for viewing on an iOS device or Apple TV®. It’s also easy to create a public web page of photos that anyone can see, even if they don’t use any Apple® devices.

Here’s how:

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Hints and Hacks - Read Receipts in Messages

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As we covered last month, many services work seamlessly across multiple Apple devices. One of these is iMessage, Apple's secure messaging service. With iMessage, you can send unlimited messages to any other user who is also on iMessage. iMessage is accessed using the Messages App on either iOS or macOS devices.

When sending messages using iMessage, read receipts are automatically sent back to the sender when the message is delivered to and then read by the recipient. Read receipts are automatically enabled in Messages for iOS, but are disabled by default in Messages for Mac. With the latest versions of macOS and iOS, however, you can turn this feature off or on globally and then selectively choose who receives or does not receive a read receipt.

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Efficiency Gets a Helping Hand with Mac OS: Continuity

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Do you ever have one of those days where it seems like the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing? It’s hard to be productive, much less efficient, when you just can’t get your act together. Believe it or not, there’s an app for that. More specifically, there is a whole suite of apps that, combined, make up what Apple calls Continuity. With this software, the right hand is not only aware of what the left hand is up to, but can also anticipate its next move.

Continuity is aimed at the discerning user who owns multiple Apple products, and builds on the idea that you can do more when your devices work together. The suite includes Cellular Calls, Handoff, Universal Clipboard, Instant Hotspot, Auto Unlock, and Text Messaging. Each app uses a similar user interface across devices that makes switching between them seamless and blurs the lines between device-specific functions. Read More...

iOS: Hints and Hacks for the Apple Watch

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Our Hints and Hacks series is back with another installment. This time we’re taking a closer look at the Apple Watch and sharing some shortcuts to help you get the most from your watch.

Lost and Found
Let your watch come to the rescue when you can’t find your phone. All you have to do is swipe up on the watch display and locate the control panel screen all the way to the left of your “Glances” screens. Next, tap the big button on the bottom to make your phone ping. Hold that button and your phone will ping and light up. Reunited and it feels so good.

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iOS Tips and Tricks, Part 1

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Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a handy cheat sheet listing a few of the many shortcuts available to enhance your iOS experience? It’s your lucky day! We’ve put together a slew of tips and tricks that will have you slapping your forehead wondering how you managed to get through the day before you learned these little pearls of wisdom. And here’s some more great news: this is just Part 1 of our summer series on iOS Tips and Tricks. Check back next month for more. For all your Apple, Mac and iOS support needs, contact Cranston IT at 888-813-5558 or support@cranstoninc.com.

Manage a Group Chat
To add someone to an iMessage group chat, tap Details, then tap Add Contact. If you want to mute notifications during a lively exchange, turn on Do Not Disturb.

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Family Sharing Helps Families Get Organized and Connected

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Parents are used to hearing a few common phrases over and over again from their children. “I’m bored.” “There’s nothing to eat in this house.” “None of my friends have to be home so early.” Since nearly every young person everywhere has a cell phone, you can add “I can’t find my phone!” to the list. It may seem like these phones are permanently attached to their hands, but when they’re not being used for texting, snap chatting, and other forms of social media, these same cell phones have a tendency to be misplaced.

Family Sharing can help with this and many more challenges that families with multiple iPhones and devices have. This service makes it easy for family members to share music, books and App Store purchases without sharing accounts. And when one of those family members misplaces a phone, get help locating it with the Find My iPhone app that enables anyone included in the family group to search for the runaway phone.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what you can do with Family Sharing.

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Helpful Hints & Hacks Part 3

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How to Create Keyboard Shortcuts and Other Helpful Mac OS Tips
Do you know how to take screen shots or send and receive text messages on your Mac? These are just a couple the new tips and tricks we’ve got for you this month in our ongoing series on how to get the most from your Mac and Apple devices. For help with all of your Apple and Mac products, contact CranstonIT at 888-813-5558 or email us at support@cranstonIT.com.

Quickly Switch Between Open Windows
Pull out this little trick at the next office party and everyone is sure to dub you the local Mac genius. To quickly switch between your current application and the application you had open last simply press ⌘+Tab. If you have more than two applications you want to switch between, hold ⌘ and hit Tab multiple times to cycle through your programs. ⌘+~ (the tilde key above Tab) will switch between windows in your current application.

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Helpful Hints & Hacks Part 2

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Last month we offered some tips and tricks to help you get the most from your Mac and Apple devices. This month we’re adding to the list with part two of what will be a continuing series of insider information and easy Mac hacks you may find useful. For all your Mac and Apple needs, contact CranstonIT at 888-813-5558 or send an email to support@cranstonIT.com.

Rip Music from Video Files
Sometimes you just want the killer beats without the video that goes along with it. Your Mac has built-in tools that let you extract the audio from a movie clip or video so you can listen to it on your iPod or iPhone. Just open the clip in QuickTime Player (in the Applications list in Finder), then click File > Export and select Audio Only from the Format drop-down list. This will create an .m4a file that you can use with all Apple devices and computers. You can then import it into iTunes by double- clicking the new file.

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Helpful Hints & Hacks for getting the most from your Mac

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Just when you think you know all there is to know about using the features of your Mac OS, a new operating system is released with more options and enhancements. Never fear, the CranstonIT gurus are here to shine the light on a few tips and tricks that may have flown in under your radar. The list below is just the tip of the iceberg. We can help you become the master of your Mac and all of your Apple devices. Not ready to jump up to expert level? No problem, we’ll get you set up and take care of the hard stuff, too. Contact us at 888-813-5558 or send an email to support@cranstonIT.com to learn more.

Add Your John Hancock to Documents (Hurry! Do this before cursive writing becomes extinct.)
In OS X 10.7, Preview gained the ability to add your signature to documents. To get started, go to the Signatures tab in Preview's preferences and then click the +. Now, sign your name in black ink on a small piece of white paper and hold it up to your Mac's webcam. Line it up and click Accept (making sure the 'Save this signature' option is checked if you want to use it in the future). Next, open a document you want to sign, pop up the Edit Toolbar and click the signature icon (it looks like an S on a line next to a tiny x). Draw a box to add your signature on the form. You can scale and reposition it afterwards, too.

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Seek and You Shall Find – Four easy tricks to improve your search results

Ever try to find a needle in a haystack? Finding the results you need in a Google search can be a little like that when you consider that Google has upwards of 48 billion web pages indexed. That’s a lot of pages to search and sort and you might be wasting a lot of time digging through a giant haystack of useless search results.

Be Descriptive

As a general rule, the more descriptive you are in your search terms, the better. If you start out too broad, narrow the results by adding descriptive words. For instance, if you do a search on 1968 cars for sale, you’ll find over 21 million results. However, search for 1968 Ford cars for sale and you’ve greatly narrowed your results. To help you more effectively enter search terms, imagine you are describing what you’re looking for to a friend. Would you tell a friend that you are looking to buy a car built in 1968 or would you say want to buy a 1968 red Ford Mustang convertible? It seems like such a simple thing, but sometimes it’s easy to forget the obvious.

The Importance of Pluses and Minuses

Suppose you’ve got a business trip to Chicago coming up in a few weeks. The last time you were there, you had dinner at the most amazing rib joint, but you cannot remember its name or exactly where it is located. A quick Google search of rib restaurants in Chicago yields over one million results including many lists of where to find the “best barbeque” in the Windy City, but not exactly the answer you seek. You think a little harder and remember that the place was more like a tavern than a restaurant. Search again, but this time add the word “tavern” with the plus (+) sign in front of it (+tavern) and suddenly your search is narrowed to just 41 results, with the top listing being Twin Anchors Restaurant, the home of the heavenly ribs you remember. The plus sign in front of the word tavern helps narrow the results dramatically, offering a quicker path to your search destination.

The minus sign can also be a big help with your search. Let’s say you want to make some cookies to take to an office party. Baking is not your favorite thing to do, so you need a recipe that’s easy, but does not include nuts because one of your coworkers is allergic. Type in the words easy cookie recipe, but add the word nuts with a minus sign in front of it (-nuts) and you’ll have your pick of nut-free recipes to try.

You Can Quote Me on That

Another very useful search trick is to add quotation marks around specific words critical to your search criteria. Let’s take the example of the cookie search again. You’ve searched and found quite a few easy recipes that do not have nuts in them, but it’s the middle of summer and you don’t want to heat up your house by turning on the oven. No bake cookies seem like a good idea. Adding the words “no bake” in quotes to your search will yield you a list of easy no bake cookie recipes without nuts. Refine those results even further by adding (+) or subtracting (-) anything you want.

Don’t waste your time trying to find a needle in a haystack. Save yourself lots of frustration by refining your search terms to get targeted results. When in doubt, DASQ (describe, add, subtract, quote) it out.
To learn more about improving your search results and for all your Apple needs, contact Cranston IT directly at 888-813-5558 or support@cranstonit.com. Read More...

Do I need to pay for additional iCloud storage?

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When it comes to storage, most of us fall into two camps: those who save everything because you never know when you might need it, or those who get rid of anything that hasn’t been used recently. Determining whether you’re a pack rat or a minimalist can help determine how much iCloud storage you need. Typically, most of us don’t really have any idea how much space our photos, songs, video clips and other forms of data consume until we receive a message on our phone or iPad telling us that a backup cannot be completed because we don’t have enough storage space.

If you’re the kind of person who wants to memorialize every seashell you saw on the beach during your summer vacation, you may need to purchase more storage space to back up all those photo memories. Conversely, if you like to keep things simple, you may be paying for more storage than you need.

This is where it helps to understand iCloud storage a little better.

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Mavericks Feature: Dictation - Hands Free Typing

What if I told you that I’m typing this sentence using nothing but my voice? Well, I’m actually using my voice and the handy new dictation feature that comes with the Mavericks operating system. With the many amazing new features that Mavericks offers, its easy to over look some of the less showy improvements. Dictation and Enhanced Dictation are two truly remarkable innovations that will change the way you type. Read More...

Integrate Google Maps into your FileMaker database

We have numerous clients using FileMaker Pro databases to manage their business.  Sometimes these databases are used to schedule crews and salesmen. Being able to visualize where your crews or salesmen are going is a huge asset in a scheduler’s arsenal. We are able to integrate Google Maps directly into your FileMaker database to help you see where your employees are.

With the integration of ProMaps, the locations of your projects, contacts or any other needed address records are beautifully displayed so that you can keep track of all that is going on in your company’s business abroad.  Mapping also allows scheduler’s to see exactly where crews and salesmen are at any given time, allowing them to easily add in additional appointments.  Read More...

OSX Mac - Drag 'n Drop Printing from your Dock

Have you ever wanted to print out a quick copy of a file?  You have to find the file, open the program, open the file and then print the file.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could print a file without having to go through all those steps?  With this pro tip you can make printing documents as easy as “drag and drop”.

When you’re printing, the printer icon appears in your dock, but after the job is completed the icon disappears. We need the printer icon to stay in the dock, even when the printer is not being used.  Follow these steps to add the printer to your dock. Read More...

Sharing Moments with PhotoStream

Photo Stream is one of the innovative features Apple has cleverly built into it’s products. With the help of this handy feature, you can seamlessly view all of your latest snap shots on any one of your devices, no matter if they were taken with your iPhone, iPad, or stored on your desktop. Enable Photo Stream in your device settings, allowing your pictures to upload to your Photo Stream automatically. Maybe one of the of most exciting features of Photo Stream, is that it allows you to easily share your photos with your family and friends. Read More...

Managing Your Mail

Confused by email mailboxes and storage options in Apple Mail? It’s actually pretty simple. You can keep your email in three different places: on the server, in local mailboxes in Mail, or in a saved archive on your computer. Where you choose to store your messages will depend on how easily you need to be able to access them, how important they are, and how long you want to keep them. Read More...

Making Life Easier w/ Reminders in OS X Mt. Lion

A basic review over the features and capabilities of Reminders. Reminders is an easy to use yet powerful tool for accomplishing tasks, and it comes with MacOSX Mountain Lion.
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Resolving Dropped WiFi Connections on Mac OS X

Having problems with you WiFi connection? Check out this video for some settings you can change on your Mac to help improve your wireless connection.
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Using Mountain Lion's Mail VIP Folders (Tutorial with Video)

Have a VIP in your life? With Apple’s newest operating system, Mountain Lion, you can automatically keep copies of that person’s messages in a SmartFolder in your Mail program. This will eliminate the need to search multiple folders for specific messages you may need in the future. It also eliminates the need to manually drag messages into folders. Read More...
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