Home Blog Page 2

7 most common problems with the iPad and how to fix them

0

Ever since its introduction, the Apple iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Mini, iPad Air, and the previous editions of the tablet proved to be one of the most popular devices available, continuing to maintain its stronghold in the ever-growing tablet market. Through every subsequent generation and changing form factors, the growth and market share of these tablets have continued not only in the US, but across the world, by combining a premium build quality and design with a software experience that is appreciated by many.

Unfortunately, as is the case with most mobile technology available today, the iPad is not without its flaws. Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the common issues that plague iPad owners, and offer potential solutions on how to fix them.

Disclaimer: Since a lot of these issues are related to the latest iOS version, they will apply to almost every iPad iteration. The iPad is still a great tablet, and in all likelihood, you will not face any of the problems stated below.

Having problems charging your device? Check out our guide to iPad charging problems.

Problem #1 – Occasionally slow and laggy keyboard

Users have occasionally come across a keyboard that lags while typing an email or using iMessage. Any iPad running iOS 8 and above can make use of third-party keyboards, but this issue persists even then.

Potential Solutions

  • Guided Access, an accessibility mode, sometimes interferes with some keyboards. Go into Settings – General – Accessibility – Guided Access,  and make sure that the button is off.
  • Go to Settings – iCloud – Documents and Data, and turn it off. If the issue goes away, you should be able to turn this back on again without the problem coming back.
  • You can also try resetting all settings by going to Settings – General – Reset all Settings.
  • Adding or removing third-party keyboards is now possible by going to Settings – General – Keyboards. Swiping a keyboard name to the left will reveal a delete button. Tap on “Add New Keyboard…” for other available options.

Problem #2 – Interface orientation stays stuck to landscape or portrait

Some users have found their iPad user interfaces to remain stuck in either landscape or portrait mode, without switching when the device is rotated.

Potential Solutions

  •  Tap the power button to turn the display off, and press it again to wake it up again. If that doesn’t work, press and hold the power button and the physical home button for 15 seconds to restart the tablet.
  • Go Settings – General – Use Side Switch, and check to see whether it is set to “Lock Rotation” and turn it off.
  • If this happens when using a particular application, double tap the home button to open the multitasking screen, and slide the app window up.
  • You can also try resetting all settings by going to Settings – General – Reset all Settings.

Problem #3 – Performance issues, crashing, and random rebooting

Older generation iPads can face issues with performance following updates to macOS, or switching from the old iOS version to the latest macOS. Slowdowns, freezing, and random rebooting can seem to occur. This issue is regularly seen on most iPad problems lists.

Potential Solutions

  • While all the animations and transitions may look good, older hardware may have a difficult time keeping up. Reducing animation and transition effects may help alleviate any problems with performance. Go to Settings – General – Accessibility – Reduce Motion to reduce animations, and Settings – General – Accessibility – Increase contrast – Reduce transparency to reduce transparency.
  • When a slow down is evident, double tap the home button and close all the apps running in the background by swiping the windows up.
  • If crashing and random rebooting are the problems, a rogue application may be the issue. Try uninstalling them one by one, and reinstalling them carefully.
  • There is also the nuclear option which can make the most difference: a complete, factory reset. Go to Settings – General – Reset – Reset all Settings and Content but be warned you will lose your apps and data not backed up

Problem #4 – Connectivity Issues

One of the more common iPad problems that users face have to do with connecting or maintaining a connection to a Wi-Fi network, Bluetooth pairing, and for the devices that support it, cellular network issues.

Potential Solutions

  • If your Wi-Fi connection keeps dropping or doesn’t connect, try restarting the router by turn it off for 30 seconds, and then turning it back on. Then, go to Settings – General – Reset – Reset Network Settingsand add the information from scratch.
  • If pairing your iPad with a Bluetooth device is an issue, go to Settings – Bluetooth and turn it off, and back on again
  • For data connectivity issues, go to Cellular – Cellular Data and turn it off and on again.
  • If these problems continue, go to Settings – General – Reset and Reset All Settings.

Problem #5 – Safari keeps crashing

Many users have found the Safari app closing unexpectedly, especially when multiple tabs are open, or even while attempting to open more another tab.

Potential Solutions

  • Go to Settings – Safari and tap on “Clear History” and “Clear Cookies and Data.”
  • If this issue becomes too much to handle, a factory reset may be the only solution. Make sure that you back up any important data, and then go to Settings – General – Reset – Erase All Content and Settings.
  • Using a third-party browser such as Google Chrome or Opera may help.

Problem #6 – Camera application crashes

Some users have found the camera application failing to load, or crashing while in use.

Potential Solutions – 

  • Double tap the Home button, and swipe up the Camera app and any other app that uses the camera to close them. Start the app again to see if it is now working.
  • Go into Settings – General – Restrictions and check to see whether the camera app is allowed.
  • Resetting the settings may help. You can do so by going to Settings – General – Reset – Reset All Settings. 
  • A rogue third-party application that uses the camera may be the culprit. You can try deleting these apps one by one to see if the issue is fixed, or performing a factory reset being careful about what you install.

Problem #7 – iPad activation error

ome users have come across an error message stating that “the iPad could not be activated because the activation server is temporarily unavailable.” While this generally occurs when setting up a new device, quite a few users have faced this problem after using their iPads for a while. This is one of the iPad problems that happen only with the cellular data-capable versions of the device.

Potential solutions:

  • There is a workaround that has worked for some users. Remove the SIM card from the tray, and perform a hard reset by pressing down and holding the home button and the power button simultaneously until the device restarts. Re-insert the SIM card and the issue should go away.
  • For some users, the issue was related to the SIM card itself. Simply replacing the older SIM card with a new one should fix the problem.
  • If you are having issues with setting up cellular service on your iPad, a useful guide is available here.

Need to know how to use Siri? Here’s your ultimate guide

0
Despite our dependence on mobile devices, tech giants such as Microsoft and Google now boast that we’ve moved from a “Mobile First” world to an “Artificial Intelligence First” world. Previously, all we heard about was devices and apps. Now the big talk centers on the cloud, services and intelligent assistants. That includes Siri, the popular AI-powered virtual assistant residing on all Apple devices. We explain how to use Siri to get the most out of Apple’s assistant.

For starters, our guide is based on iOS 12 and MacOS Mojave. Note that because Apple provides various means of accessing Siri across its devices (including the Apple HomePod), we’ve included the full list. For example, the iPhone X doesn’t have a Home button but instead enables you to access Siri via the Side button on the right. Meanwhile, the latest iPod Touch sports the vanilla Home button while the second-generation iPad Pro has the built-in touch sensor. That said, you’ll see variations across devices.

Also keep in mind that Siri requires a connection to the internet. That’s because the assistant needs a connection to Apple’s cloud even if you’re asking Siri to load local content. If it doesn’t have access, you’ll see/hear messages that “I’m having trouble connecting to the network” or something similar. That requirement may eventually change, but currently Siri’s thought process resides on Apple’s servers to translate your speech and determine the action needed to fulfill your request.

Now let’s get started with our guide on how to use Siri!

How to activate Siri

To actually use Siri, here are the methods for every Apple device:

iPhone

  • Simply say “Hey Siri.” (Untethered for 6s or newer)
  • Press and release the Home or Side button.
  • Press and hold the Home or Side button for longer requests.

iPad

  • Simply say “Hey Siri.” (Untethered for iPad Pro or newer, iPad 5th Gen or newer)
  • Press and release the Home button.
  • Press and hold the Home button for longer requests.

iPod Touch

  • Simply say “Hey Siri.” (Tethered only)
  • Press and release the Home button.
  • Press and hold the Home button for longer requests.

Apple Watch

  • Simply say “Hey Siri” after tapping the screen.
  • Raise the watch to your face. (Series 3 or newer)
  • Press and hold the Digital Crown. (Keep pressing for longer requests)

Mac

  • Simply say “Hey Siri.” (15-inch MacBook Pro 2018, 13-inch MacBook Pro 2018 with 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, iMac Pro)
  • Press the Siri Icon. (MacBook Pros with Touch Bar)
  • Click the Siri icon on the menu bar or Dock. (MacOS Sierra or newer)
  • Press and hold the Command Key and Space Bar.

Apple TV

  • Hold down the Siri button on the remote.

HomePod

  • Simply say “Hey Siri.”
  • Press the top. (Hold for longer requests)

CarPlay

  • Simply say “Hey Siri.”
  • Hold down the voice-command button on the steering wheel if compatible.

AirPods and headsets

  • Double-tap the outside of either AirPod.
  • Hold down the center button or call button on third-party headsets.

General settings

If you haven’t already enabled Siri when you received and set up your device, you can find the settings for Apple’s virtual assistant here:

Settings > Siri & Search

After navigating to this area, you will see three toggles, depending on the Apple device. This is what you’ll see on the iPhone X and the latest iPod Touch:

Here is the second-generation iPad Pro:

Note that for iPhones older than the 6s, all iPod Touch models, older iPads and Macs, the “Hey Siri” listen feature only works when they’re plugged into a wall outlet (aka tethered). That’s mostly to prevent Siri from draining the battery while she/he lurks in the background, silently waiting for your command.

Obviously, you can mix-match these settings, depending on your needs. The hands-off verbal command is definitely useful but can be problematic if you have more than one active Apple device in the listening area. For instance, you may want Siri to set a timer on your Apple Watch, but your iPhone picks up on the command. In this case, you have two Siri instances obediently awaiting instructions. This fix would require you to disable the “Hey Siri” voice activation on your phone and enable the Side/Home button option.

Change Siri’s voice and language

Apple’s devices ship with the American female voice by default here in the States, but you can switch over to a male voice. Even more, either gender can have an AustralianBritishIrish or South African accent. Go back and you can set the preferred language although don’t expect to address Siri in English and get a response in Japanese (although that would be fun).

The shortcuts:

  • Change Siri’s voice: Settings > Siri & Search > Siri Voice
  • Change Siri’s language: Settings > Siri & Search > Language

Change how Siri provides feedback

Siri’s voice feedback is set to “Always On” by default, meaning Siri will provide voice feedback whether you use the Home/Side button or speak the “Hey Siri” command. But there are two other options to control when Siri provides verbal feedback if you’re not keen with the “always on” aspect:

Control with Ring Switch: This really only applies to the Ring Switch and Home/Side Button. If you turn the Ring Switch to mute and press the Home/Side Button to activate Siri, the assistant won’t respond with a voice. But if the Ring Switch remains in mute mode and you say “Hey Siri,” you’ll receive voice feedback. You’ll also get voice feedback through headphones, CarPlay and Bluetooth devices.

Hands-Free Only: This option is similar to the Control with Ring Switch option, only you’re not required to move the Ring Switch to silent mode.

Siri and the Shortcuts

The next section regarding Siri deals with suggestions. Apple’s assistant runs quietly in the background to learn your everyday tasks and be more helpful throughout the day. Thus, when you perform a search, Siri will suggest options that tie into your activities. If there are specific apps you open each day, Siri will suggest apps that will be just as useful. That said, you have three toggles you can switch on and off:

  • Suggestions in Search
  • Suggestions in Look Up
  • Suggestions on Lock Screen

These suggestions tie into the suggested shortcuts you’ll see at the top of the Siri & Search panel. For instance, if you set a timer for 20 minutes every day, you will see a suggested shortcut. Simply touch the “+” icon and then tap the big red button to create a customized phrase. In this case, we said “reading time” and saved the command. The next time we say “Hey Siri,” it will be followed by the “reading time” phrase. You can even create a shortcut that will navigate you home (“go home”), create a blank email to a specific contact, send a static loving message to your spouse and more.

With the release of iOS 12 arrives Apple’s first-party Shortcuts app. This stacks a huge plethora of shortcut options on top of what Apple provided in its latest operating system, extending shortcuts out to third-party applications and services. However, Apple’s Siri-related suggestions include taking a photo with just your voice (although just tapping the camera icon is quicker), turn on Do Not Disturb until you leave your current position and more.

Is Apple’s iOS still easier than Android?

0

It used to be easy to recommend Apple’s iOS products to my non-techy friends and family as an easy, intuitive operating system. Android, my OS of choice for years, on the other hand, had a steeper learning curve and customization options that could be un-welcomed by some.

My thoughts have changed this week as I’ve helped my parents set up their new iPad (from 2,000 miles away).

The Easy iPad

’ll never forget hearing my parent’s excitement about the iPad when they first saw it in an Apple store in the spring of 2010. They quickly bought one for themselves. They also got one for me. While I enjoyed using it, I sold mine long ago as my need for it diminished and my need for a full computer dictated my usage. But their original iPad is still with them and has been used for thousands of hours and traveled tens of thousands of miles around the world.

The beauty of the iPad, and what allowed them to make it a part of their lives so quickly, was its ease of use. Opening the box for the first time, they were greeted by a black slab of glass with no user manual and no real learning curve. For two non-tech people in their 60s, the simplicity of tapping the thing they wanted and having it delivered more than lived up to the promise of the technological revolution that Apple’s advertising would have us all believe.

Over the past few months, though, that original iPad has begun its slow walk toward relegation. Surprisingly, the battery still holds an impressive charge, and the screen and back look brand new under their protector and case. But, it hasn’t gotten a software update for years (still running some version of iOS 5!). The Safari browser will now only load some pages some of the time, and Google has now labeled it an ‘Unsafe Device’ which has prompted a security warning to be sent to my mom after trying to check her mail this week.

As my mom’s need for reading a lot of PDFs and taking notes in her continuing education classes has increased recently, it has become clear that the now eight-year-old iPad simply is not up to the task.

Last week, they bought a new iPad (2017).

The Complicated Nexus

In 2015 I knew that the original iPad that my parents were using was starting to slow down. Even then, there were complaints of some websites not loading, or loading and then crashing, as the outdated version of Safari no longer supported plugins.

Because I’ve long been an Android user and knew that long-distance trouble-shooting should be reasonably easy for me, I got my Dad a Nexus 7 (2013) for Christmas. It’s feather-like weight, pure Android interface, and steep retail discounts made it a great gift. I also knew I would be able to keep it updated past Google’s scheduled OS releases with Cyanogen (now Lineage OS) – a task I will be performing next month when I visit home. This gift was not particularly well received. Despite my comfort with Android, the operating seemed foreign and alienating to my parents, who had been looking at the same iOS screen for five years.

While I was disappointed in the device’s lack of use, I could also understand it to some extent. Android was second nature to me, but not to my folks. The app drawer alone was a sticking point. While I enjoy having only a few home screen widgets and my top four of five apps displayed, this type of setup meant for him that other apps were hidden, even if it was only one tap away. I worked with the extra real estate of the tablet screen to get my dad his most needed widgets (news, weather) and nearly all other apps he would need right on the home screen. I demonstrated swiping to Google news feed for all the sports, news, stocks, and weather info that I had preloaded for him. But still, the familiarity of the iPad was too much of a draw, and he ended up using that much more often than the Nexus.

Interestingly, as my mom (who is more tech-adventurous) began to mess around with the Nexus more, she began to appreciate some of its abilities (video calling, the addition of my family subscription to Google Music, and it’s portability over that of the iPad became highlights for her).

But still, as I would help her navigate some of the more complex settings and options to help her get the most of what she needed out of the Nexus, even I realized that Google’s way of doing things just is not for everyone, and it was almost always harder than on that original iPad.

The New iPad

Enter, the new iPad. My mom was very excited to get the new device, but that excitement quickly dampened. At the store, she spent nearly two hours with the salesperson working to get it set up. For some reason, this involved taking some unnecessary steps, including creating a new email address, creating a new iCloud account, and some circular conversations about whether to set it up as a new device or not.

Once she got home, I was able to help her fix these issues (using Hangouts’ video chat on the Nexus!), and we were able to get her real email set up, get her properly signed in to the right iCloud account, and begin working through navigating the Pages app. But then she asked me why she couldn’t download PDFs.

For two hours, I worked to help her get the PDFs she needed for her classes. At the end of that time, I was only somewhat successful. It took another two hours with friends of hers who use iOS exclusively to help her get things squared away. This process should have been easy, but a combination of quirks got in the way. For one, the source website didn’t communicate well with the latest iOS update. For another, the iPad forces the default use of iBooks as a PDF viewer. There was also a hidden menu system for downloading a link as a PDF and sending to various sources (iBooks, a printer, or other apps).

Indeed, on my Android phone or the Nexus, one taps a PDF link on a website, the file automatically downloads and opens in Android’s dedicated PDF viewer or the default app of your choice, and you can easily find it again in downloads.

Now some of this confusion may merely be because neither my mom nor I have evolved with iOS. Neither of us has used a new iteration in 4 years since her last iPad was updated (iOS 5), and I am sure that if she had bought a couple of new iPads in the eight years, these processes would have been learned in small steps throughout iOS updates. But this just highlights the beauty of the original iPad that seems to have been lost since that original tablet was released.

Part of this may also be that my mom is now doing more advanced things with this iPad than she did with the original. Similarly, the new iPad can do more things thanks to advancements in the tech under the hood. Nonetheless, there seems to be a steepness to the learning curve that simply was not there in the original unit.

Case in point: if she had never picked up an iPad before, and this was her first time using a tablet (just like back in 2010), she would have no idea how to do anything intuitively.

The old ‘ease of use’ argument may not hold up anymore

Ultimately, I think that for a person who has used iOS for several years, and especially the newer versions, a switch to Android may still be a bit rough at first. But with the enormous improvements in Android over the past few years, that transition period may be much shorter than it would have been when Google’s OS was first hit the tablet scene.

I would venture to guess that the main issue for an iOS-to-Android convert would be in having to learn the Google ecosystem after (presumably) having been a part of the iCloud world. For example, my mom is now navigating iCloud settings and functions to help her manager her PDFs; meanwhile, as I work through this process with her, my brain is constantly thinking, ‘Between Drive, Docs, and Keep, everything you are asking to do would be done already on Android.’ Neither is right or wrong; they are just different ways to get to the same point. But between the last week’s hassles and anecdotal stories from her long-time iOS-using friends who get frustrated that every new version of Apple’s operating system presents new abilities – but also new frustrations – my mom is regretting the iPad purchase.

The new iPad will still get plenty of use I am sure, and they will both come to learn its ins and outs. Still, a part of me keeps thinking that maybe all my mom needs is a nice external keyboard for the Nexus, and that the Android world is no longer quite so complicated compared to iOS.

Obviously everyone’s experience with iOS and Android is going to be different. That said, in 2018 Android and iOS have evolved considerably to the point where they both have different complications and advantages. It’s no longer a world where “iPads are for ease of use,” and Android is simply “for power users”. |

For us tech nerds it might be high time we stop instantly recommending Apple as the choice for those that “want something simple and easy to use”. What do you think, do you feel that Apple’s iPad (and iPhone) lineup is still super user-friendly or has the ease of use gap lessened between the world’s two biggest mobile platforms?