Mac Information

Apple Macintosh, iPod, iPad and iPhone news and advice in Dublin, Ireland


Steps for Upgrading to iOS 8

Here are our recommended steps for upgrading to the new operating system for your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, iOS 8.


1/ check if your device is covered- here are the devices which can install iOS 8:
iPhone: 4s, 5, 5s, 5c, (the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus comes with iOS 8 already installed)
iPad: 2, 3, 4, Air
iPad mini: mini, mini with Retina Display
iPod: touch (5th generation)

2/ update your device today before iOS 8 arrives- get your device up to the latest version of iOS 7 (7.1.2) in advance of the big move to iOS 8.

3/ update your apps- that number on top of your App Store icon- deal with it! Go into the App Store and install all of the waiting updates.

4/ backup your device in iTunes on your Mac. We strongly recommend backing up your device to your Mac, as this will mean you have a complete backup in case of loss, accident or theft. Run another backup before you are tempted to upgrade to iOS 8.

5/ clear your photos from the camera roll: yes while you are at your Mac, try to keep your camera roll slimmed down by importing your photos to iPhoto and then clear the camera roll after, when it confirms that all photos have been imported. Try not to let your camera roll reach into the 1000s!
Instead, sync your favourite photos back to your device by creating albums and selecting them in iTunes.

6/ restart your device- always good to have a fresh start.

7/ make sure you plug it into the power before upgrading- don’t update on battery power (ok you can technically do this as long as you have enough battery life left, but it is safer to plug it into your adapter or Mac during the update as it is a big download!).

8/ now go ahead and upgrade- it is quicker to do this on the device, so go to Settings -> General -> Software Update.
Once Apple release iOS 8 it will appear in this section. If you see a message saying you are up to date and on 7.1.2, then the new update has not been released yet. It should arrive tomorrow evening (17th Sept).

To check out some of the highlights of iOS 8, have a look at our earlier article..

Apple Press Event Update: new iPhone 6, ApplePay and the Apple Watch

Yesterday’s press event brought two new iPhones, a new Apple payment system and the rumoured Apple Watch. Here is a quick rundown…

Apple iPhone:

Apple’s new iPhone lineup will consist of 4 models: the current iPhone 5s and 5c, plus the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus-

iPhones 2014

The new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have larger displays than the 5s and 5c. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7 inch screen and the iPhone Plus comes in at 5.5 inches.

Both new models also come with a faster A8 chip, and better battery life. In fact Apple claim the new batterie will last over 50% longer. In some uses, the iPhone 6 Plus has double the battery life of an iPhone 5s.

One of the key differences will be the number of rows on the home screen- the 6 and 6 Plus fit 6 rows of icons compared to 5 on an iPhone 5s/c. This also applies to the apps- for example when using landscape mode in Mail, you can view your message on the right and a list of your emails on the left.

An unlocked iPhone 6 starts at €699, an iPhone 6 Plus starts at €799.(in the US, phones bought under contact will be $199/$299).

More details here.

Apple Pay:

Apple Pay will launch in the US first in October, and will allow for payments through your iPhone 6 using Touch ID, the fingerprint sensor on your iPhone.

It will be as simple as holding the iPhone near the store’s contact point with your finger resting on the home button- payment received!

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 23.12.52

Apple Pay will only be available on the iPhone 6 (and Apple Watch in 2015). Visa, MasterCard and American Express have joined the new system, and retailers such as Walgreens, Macy’s, Staples and Disney have all signed up.

Apple plan to spread this to other countries in the coming months.

More details here.

Apple Watch:

The Apple Watch was announced today but it is due to start shipping in early 2015 in the US (sorry- no Christmas presents here&hellipWinking. The Watch comes in three ranges:
- Watch: stainless steel cases, and a range of bands
- Watch Sport: aluminium case, colourful bands
- Watch Edition: gold cases, crafted bands and closures

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 23.44.34

There will also be two height sizes (traditionally seen as men and women’s styles) and a large range of bands, making the Apple Watch the most customisable of any Apple product.

In terms of features, you can read and send texts on an Apple Watch, make and receive calls, read emails, use Maps, view your calendar and reminders. There will also be lots of other Apps, from Apple and other companies.
But one of the main features is the health app- Activity checks you movements and records your walks, runs, and how often you have stood up from your desk to stretch! The back of the watch has sensors which can check your heart rate and give you feedback in the apps.

Inputting information and browsing is done using voice (Siri), the Digital Crown on the side (looks like the button to wind a classic watch) or by touching the screen. The Watch will also vibrate or make sounds to alert you to messages and reminders.

The Apple Watch requires an iPhone 5 or above, and pairs with the phone to give it its internet connection.

More details here.

U2 have launched their new album, "Songs of Innocence", and it is free to everyone with an iTunes account!

Here are a few key dates:
Sept 12th: orders will begin for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in the US and UK
Sept 17th: iOS 8, the new software for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, will be available as a free download form Apple
Sept 19th: iPhone 6 and 6 Plus go on sale in the US and UK
Sept 26th: orders will begin for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in Ireland
October: there will be an iOS update to launch Apple Pay in the US
October: Apple are likely to release OS X Yosemite, the latest operating system for the Mac
Start of 2015: the Apple watch will go on sale in the US

Hope this helps to give you a good summary of what’s coming later this year and in 2015.

Apple Press Event on 9th September: What to Expect

Apple announced their 9th September press event last week and there has been much speculation on what will be announced. Here is a rundown of what we expect to see:


- the one certainty is the iPhone 6: Apple have released new iPhones in the Autumn for a few years now, mostly as they need to rollout them out to all countries before the busy Christmas buying season.
- screen size: the rumours of a larger screen version seem to make sense, but not for all models. There is likely to be a top-end, larger screen version, but also a version with the same screen size as the 5s and 5c. Screen size is a personal choice, and not everyone will like the larger screen. But it does seem like the iPhone range has matured enough to introduce various models, as Apple did with the iPod in the 00s. Back then, there was just the click wheel iPod, until Apple broke out the models to introduce the mini, then nano and shuffle, followed by the iPod touch. As the iPhone matures there is likely to be this type of break-up of the range, and not just a choice of storage sizes and colours.
- iOS 8 is almost certain to be discussed too, with a launch date announced. It will be introduced with the new iPhones and will come installed on the new models. We expect iOS 8 to be a free download to current iPhone and iPad owners before the end of September. We think it is unlikely to be available on the 9th September. It is more likely to ship at the same time as the phones, possibly two weeks after the press event.
- we still think that there will be two “new” ranges of iPhone, matching this year’s 5s and 5c ranges. Although the 5c does not get as much publicity as the 5s, we still think it has been a success for Apple. Plus we have seen more and more 5c models around, possibly as it has taken a bit longer to filter through to consumers.
- we don’t expect to see OS X Yosemite released next week, and it may not be mentioned at the event. This press event is likely to focus on iOS 8, the iPhone and possibly iPods. It is not a Mac event.
- speaking of iPods, this is a crucial landmark for them. If there is no mention of the range, and if no other iPod announcements before Christmas, then we can say that the iPod range is no longer a focus for Apple. At one time iPods were one of the major product lines, but with the iPhone and possibly a wrist based device, its place it in doubt.
- speaking of wrist gadgets- this is the one to watch. If Apple announces a wrist (watch is the wrong word) device, this for us sits on the iPod’s patch Imagine a wrist device with Bluetooth headset; this becomes the new high end iPod. We don’t expect the iPod range to disappear any time soon- Apple have even been slow killing off the click wheel iPod, but we do think it will continue to slip down the pecking order and simply be maintained.
- Apple also knows how to spread announcements out, so we don’t think that iPads will be launched next week. New iPhones and a wrist device is enough for one day. But we do expect iPads before Christmas, possibly at a second event in October.
- we also expect bumps for the MacBook Airs soon (and Mac minis!), but this is not a Mac event.
- Apple TV: This is a slow burner for Apple as they have focussed on content over the last few years, and the hardware has only received two revisions since its launch in 2007 (2010, 2012). We hope to see a new version, and it would fit nicely into the Christmas market..

eFibre for Kilmacanogue- not in 2014?

As many readers of this site know, we have been following the broadband rollout in Kilmacanogue for many years. We eventually received “next generation” broadband in 2012, and although slow to roll out, it was a welcome change to the terrible speeds (or no speed) which we had suffered up to then.

In 2013 eircom had scheduled Kilmacanogue on their eFibre map, but this seems to have been removed some time at the start of 2014. It originally stated that the Kilmacanogue exchange would received eFibre at the start of 2014, which gave us great hope that after the last debacle, the eFibre rollout would keep up with other parts of Dublin and Wicklow. But today, if you look at the eFibre map, there is a noticeable gap, and no stated date for Kilmacanogue:


We have contacted eircom to see if they can explain why the gap has emerged, and what the future plans are. We will update you if we get any news on the future rollout for the area. .

OS X Yosemite Coming to the Mac- Here Are the Highlights...

The second part of last week’s event covered the Mac.  
As with iOS, Apple is now launching a new operating system for the Mac once per year.  
The new version is called OS X 10.10 Yosemite and here is a run down of the highlights:

1/ New Design:
The first thing which will strike you is the look of OS X Yosemite- the font used in all of the menus has changed and the Dock and icons are also new.  

Here is an example of the new look for the Dock:

Here is an example for the new folders and files:

Here is how the top left of a Safari window now looks- with a slim, refined set of buttons:

Here is an example of the translucent menus with their new (thin) font:

2/ Notification Centre:
The Notification Centre has been expanded and there will now be a “Today” view, showing all of your events and reminders for the day.  This means that you can glance at your day with one click, without having to launch the Calendar app:

3/ Phone Calls and SMS:
One of the coolest features is the integration between your iPhone and Mac.  If you receive a call when sitting at your Mac, a notice will pop up on your Mac screen asking you if you wish to accept or decline the call.  If you accept, you can speak to the person through your Mac speaker/microphone, without having to take the phone out of your pocket/bag.  Also useful if the phone happens to be charging in another room!

Under iOS 8, any call coming in to your iPhone will ring on your iPhone (!), Mac, iPod touch or iPad.  So you can answer or decline that call on any device.  

As we saw earlier in iOS 8, you can also read and reply to your SMS messages on your iPhone, iPad, iPod or Mac.  Up to now you could only do this with the blue iMessages- but under Yosemite you can send green SMS text messages.

4/ Handoff:
With the new handoff feature, when you return to your Mac you can click on a button to carry on what you were just doing on your iPad or iPhone.  So if you were in the middle of an email on your iPhone, clicking the Handoff button will bring that email up on your Mac where you can continue to work on it.  This works both ways- for example, continue to work on a Pages file on your iPad if you have been working on it on your Mac. 

5/ Hotspot:
Hotspot mean that your Mac can connect to your iPhone and use its data connection.  This is great if you are out and about with your laptop- just use the hotspot feature to allow your Mac to connect to the internet through the iPhone.  No fiddling around with settings.

6/ Mail:
In the Mail app under OS X Yosemite, you can edit and fill out PDF forms inside an email message- great when someone sends you an attachment and asks you to mark changes or complete a page.  

This includes signing a PDF, so you can read the PDF and add your signature without having to leave your Mail app.

7/ AirDrop and iCloud Drive:
With the new version of AirDrop, you can send a file between your devices- for example you can take a PDF from your Mac desktop and drop it over to your iPhone.  No more emailing a file to yourself! You can just drag and drop this over to your iPhone or iPad.

As with iOS 8, iCloud Drive comes to Yosemite and you can arrange all of your files in your iCloud Drive from the Finder.  Think of this as Apple’s version of Dropbox- you can make folders and drop your files into them, then head off and access these on your iPod, iPhone or iPad.


A couple of footnotes:

- OS X Yosemite will run on any Mac which can run the current OS X 10.9 Mavericks.  
- As a run of thumb, this is any Mac from about 2008 onwards.
- OS X Yosemite will be a free upgrade.

For a 30 second preview of the look and feel of OS X Yosemite, have a look at this Apple video:

Dr. Simon Spence / 2014.

Apple's New iOS 8 Coming This Autumn- What to Expect...

Last week Apple gave a preview of the next version of iOS 8, the software which runs your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.  Apple releases a new major update once per year and iOS 8 will be the big upgrade for 2014-5.

So what is to come this Autumn…

1/ Messages:
The Messages app is getting an upgrade, and you will be able to see all of your text messages on your Mac, iPhone and iPad, both iMessages and SMS messages.  
Up to now you could only read and send (blue) iMessages on your iPad and iPhone.  But this is changing so that you don’t miss (green) messages from your Blackberry or Android friends.

The new Messages app will also allow you to send short voice messages- you tap the microphone, speak your message and then send that recording through the app:

You will be able to share your location with your text message friends- you might be at an event and wish to show the other person where you are to meet up with them.  You can choose to do this for a temporary period, such as an hour:

2/ New Design:
Some of the changes in iOS 8 will make life a bit easier.  When you receive a text or email on your iPhone it appears at the top of the screen for a few seconds (banner notification).  Under iOS 8, you can tap and send a quick reply, without having to move out of the app you were in.  Right now under iOS 7, you have to move over to Mail or Messages to type a response, interrupting what you were working on.  This quick response feature will mean less moving back and forth between apps:

At present, double-prssing your home button brings up the multitasking screen, showing all of your open apps. Under iOS 8 you will also see a contacts bar at the top of the screen, with your favourite people and recent contacts.  One tap on a face will allow you to call, text or FaceTime that person- a handy way to get to your favourite people more quickly, without having to switch over to your Contacts app first.

iOS 8 will bring a new way to type, with predictive text!  It learns the kinds of phrases you use and will offer suggestions for words which fit into the sentence you are typing:

A new line above the keyboard will offer suggested words which iOS 8 thinks you are about to type next.  Tap one to add it to your message, email etc.  iOS 8 will also recognise the phrases you might use in the Messages as opposed to what you say in Mail- it tries to learn the differences and offer the appropriate words depending on the app you are using.

Apple have also opened up the keyboard to other developers- if you don’t like the iPhone typing method, you can swap the iOS 8 keyboard for another company’s version!  It will just be a matter of installing a new keyboard app.  This could help people who come to the iPhone/iPad but are more familiar with another method of typing, such as on a Blackberry device of Android.

Spotlight searches get an upgrade too- searches will search inside the content on your device (as it does today) but it will also search the web.  Pulling down the icons on your home screen brings up the Spotlight box and under iOS 8 it will find results from internet sites such as Wikipedia:

3/ Family Sharing:
Apple have finally come up with a method to share apps, music, movies between family members.  Up to now each person needed to have their own account and credit card or they attempted to share one Apple ID (which invariably ended in a mess!).  Under Family Sharing, children have an “ask to buy” button which sends a message to their parents’ device.  The parent then has the option to allow the purchase or block it:  

The feature allows allows for shared calendars, locations and photo albums between up to 6 family members.

4/ Photos:
The new iCloud Photos feature under iOS 8 allows you to place all of your photos into iCloud storage, where you can then access any of your photos from your iPhone, iPod or iPad.  
This would mean less syncing between your iPhoto on your Mac and your iOS device.  It will also mean less space being used up on your iPhone or iPad as the photos are stored on the cloud and only downloaded to your device when required.  

Each iCloud account has 5GB of storage, so it is likely that you will need to pay for more storage to take advantage of this feature.  Apple have price tiers for this- an extra 20GB will be $1 per month, 200GB will be $4 per month.  

The Camera app in iOS 8 has new filters and a new Time Lapse video feature.  

5/ iCloud Drive:
The new iCloud Drive will work a lot like Dropbox.  You will be able to browse through all of your files, rearrange them and open them on your iPad or iPhone.  You can also start a Pages, Keynote or Numbers file on your iPhone and then pick up your iPad and carry on editing that document.  

This new file system means you can browse through all of your files in one place, whereas up to now you had to look for them inside the appropriate app, such as only seeing your Pages files inside the Pages app. 


A couple of footnotes:

- iOS 8 will not run on an iPhone 4.  It will only work on a 4s, 5 and 5s, and presumably the new iPhone 6 which is likely to arrive in the Autumn.  
- it will run on any iPad except for the original iPad 1.
- iOS 8 is a free upgrade.

Dr. Simon Spence / 2014.

Apple's new ad- Your Verse

Apple seem to be on a bit of a roll at the moment with its adverts. The two recent pieces are some of the best advertising from Cupertino in the last few years.

Check out the new advert, called Your Verse, which is narrated by Robin Williams:


New Mac Pro

Apple have launched the new Mac Pro, and it is now available to buy on the Apple Store. I’m not sure how many sales we are going to see in our business- it is likely to be a niche product, far more niche that the old PowerMac and Mac Pro lines. At one time all professionals would buy a top line Mac and shun the iMac. But with improvements in chips speeds and these being passed down the line to all machines, the iMac is a consumer and a pro choice. Our own choice is a 27” iMac with a MacBook Air, as the iMac provides all the speed we need and the MacBook Air provides portability.

What the Mac Pro offers is power and external expandability and it will come as welcome news for certain high end video editors.

Check out the advert, as it might be the closest you get to one of these specialist machine: