Is Apple trying to drive us mad?

If you’ve got an iPhone and at least one other Apple toy, such as an iPad or a Mac, then you may have noticed recently that when your phone rings there’s a cacophony of sound emanating from all your Apple goodies.

This is a feature of the new Mac Yosemite operating system signed in with the same Apple ID as an iPhone running IOS 8 and/or an iPad signed in with the same Apple ID as an IOS 8 iPhone.

So, your phone rings and then your Mac and iPad ring as well. You can then answer the call on your Mac or iPad (using the inbuilt speakers and microphone). The question I must ask myself is “why?”

Maybe you like this feature or maybe, like me, you think your Apple technology is coming on a bit un-necessary. I can just imagine some smarty-pants at Apple saying “ooh, look what we can do” (to which, of course, all present will reply “cool”). At the risk of sounding (as usual) like a 21st century Victor Meldrew, I have to ask the hypothetical question “why on earth would I want my computer and my tablet to ring in unison when my phone rings?” After all, if there’s one piece of technology that I’m more likely to have within reach than any other it’s my mobile phone.

Luckily, it’s easy to change the settings so that life goes back to how it used to be – back in the days when you didn’t nearly jump out of your skin every time the phone rang.

So, here’s how to restore sanity on your Mac:

  • Open the “FaceTime” program on the Mac
  • Click on the “FaceTime” option in the top menu (see Figure 1)
  • Click on “Preferences”
  • Uncheck the box next to “iPhone Cellular Calls” by clicking on the tick (Figure 2)
  • Close the open dialog box and FaceTime
  • Relax
FaceTime Menu

Figure 1

FaceTime Preferences

Figure 2

And here’s how to do it on your iPad:

  • Go to “Settings”
  • Tap on “FaceTime” in the lefthand column
  • On the righthand side, slide the switch against “iPhone Mobile Calls” to the left
  • Close Settings
  • Relax
iPad FaceTime Settings

Figure 3

You might be wondering – as I did – whether this new feature of sending and receiving voice calls to and from iPads and Macs means that you can now create and send text messages from these machines. I looked for this feature as I’ve still not got used to the cramped keyboard on iPhones and would much rather type on something else. Alas, you can’t. There are still only two ways of sending text messages from an iPad:

  • Use the inbuilt “iMessages” app (which only works if you are texting to another Apple device)
  • Get a third-party app (which means your text will appear to have come from a phone number other than your own)

So, all you smarty-pants at Apple, for your next cool trick…

Have you noticed that nobody ever has problems any more – just “issues”?

If you have updated an iPhone or iPad to the latest version of the operating system (IOS 8), you may have noticed that it becomes alarmingly warm and that the battery life has shortened considerably.

IOS 8 - Automatic DownloadsThis may not a problem at all. It may just be IOS cleaning up after itself following the update. It could also be caused by your apps automatically updating themselves following an operating system update. To check whether apps are automatically updating (and to change that setting if desired), go into Settings, iTunes and App Store, scroll down to Automatic Downloads, and check/change the Updates item. The other items in Automatic Downloads, by the way, enable/disable automatic downloads onto this device of any content that you have downloaded onto another of your IOS devices.

It could be that everything settles down after half an hour or so and that battery use returns to normal. If it remains very warm, it may help to re-boot the phone by depressing the power button (on top of the phone) and the Home button simultaneously until the screen goes blank and the Apple symbol re-appears.

If battery drain is still a problem after a re-boot, then have a look at whether apps are refreshing themselves un-necessarily when they are open but running in the background. To do this, go to Settings, then General, then Background App Refresh. I had a couple of dozen apps refreshing themselves in the background that didn’t need to. I’ve now reduced this to just podcast downloads, Google maps, and Bus Checker that are allowed to update their content while I’m not actually using them.

IOS 8 - Location ServicesAnother thing you can try (especially if you are concerned about privacy and having your location reported back to apps un-necessarily) is to turn off any location services that you don’t need. Go to Settings, Privacy, Location Services, and either turn off the app’s access to your location or turn it down so that it only accesses your location while you are actually using it. I was very miffed, by the way, to see that the London A-Z app insists on ALWAYS having access to your location when the app is loaded – even if it’s running in the background. Is my location being constantly tracked and reported on? I don’t know, but I try to remember to close the app when I’m not using it. This is a pity, because this app is one of my most important – travelling, as I do, to see computer support clients all over London.

You may have heard that the first release of IOS 8 caused some users problems in cutting the phone off from the telecomm provider. Quite a problem, and it serves to illustrate that no matter how carefully an operating system is tested before release, bugs are still probably present when the version is released for general use. So, if you do have any issues that crop up after a major update to the operating system, then keep checking for a few days that you are keeping up to date with the latest version as you may be experiencing a bug that has been fixed in the very latest version. To do this, just go to Settings, General, Software Update. You will then be advised whether you are up to date.

IOS 8 - Background App RefreshWhile on the subject of checking for the latest release of a new IOS version, there have been many reports that IOS 8 may run slowly on iPhone 4’s and on iPad 2’s. There are reports that this will be addressed in version 8.1.1. See the Ars Technica blog, for instance.

I’ve had my (nearly) new iPhone 5 for about ten days now and I must say that it’s nice to be using an iPhone again. My Sony Xperia (running Android) was a pretty good, mid-priced phone (except that T-mobile gave it to me for free AFTER I’d agreed to renew my contract – odd!), but it never really compared to the smoothness of an iPhone, and synching music to it via iTunes is just soooo much easier than manually copying files. I hope this doesn’t mean that I’m becoming an Apple Fanboy.

PS: if you’d like know more about battery life on Apple devices, see this Apple webpage on maximising battery life and lifespan.

© 2011-2017 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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