Is this iOS 11’s most annoying change?

iOS 11 app update screen on an iPad

For the most part, I’m really liking iOS 11, especially on the iPad. I like the steps it has taken towards unifying with OS X, while still remaining very usable on smaller screens.

However, there is one, tiny thing that really irritates me.

Most apps have changed, new fonts, more spacing, and to be honest less is shown on the screen at a time as a result. This looks nice but in my opinion lowers the usability, particularly on smaller screens like the iPhone.

One of these apps, the one that my ire centres around, is the App Store itself.

You might have noticed that much of the App Store has been redesigned. For the most part, it’s fine. However, there is one piece of information about each app on the update screen that has now been virtually hidden: the size.

Previous versions of the App Store showed the size of each app prominently on the update screen along with the version number and update button.

The iOS 10 App Update Screen
The iOS 10 app update screen showing the size.

This is a vastly important piece of information because it determines when and where I will run the app update. A large app of 200mb+ I would only run if I know I’m going to be on wi-fi for long enough to install it. On the other hand, if it’s 40mb or smaller, it’s not a big deal if I use some mobile data on it. The same goes for installing a new app. While the placement on the app pages hasn’t changed, it used to be more readable.

Now though, it’s not shown on the app update list at all, so you have no choice but to make the extra tap to enter the app information screen.

The new iOS 11 App Store updates screen without app sizes.
The new iOS 11 App Store updates screen without app sizes.

Given its prominence on the update screen previously, I would have expected it to at least be easy to find on the app page.

iOS 11 app update screen on an iPad
The new iOS 11 app update screen on an iPad, also without app sizes.

In fact, though, it isn’t anywhere in the data shown when you open the app information screen.

An iOS 11 App update above the fold
An iOS 11 App update above the fold

You have to scroll almost the whole way to the bottom to get the actual app information, including its size, and this is the only place the size is shown.

The iOS 11 App update screen after 1 full scroll
The iOS 11 App update screen after 1 full scroll

Now, a decision that could be made in a glance requires 3-4 taps just to get the data needed to make that decision. Instead, I have to wade through lots of useless data and images. Not to mention, I now have to load all that unnecessary data. It’s a waste of mobile data and slows things down, especially if the connection is already slow. It might not matter on a high-speed connection, but for those without that luxury, it is a big deal.

The app information on the iOS 11 app update screen
The less-readable app information on the iOS 11 app update screen, right at the bottom

Some of that data is useful if it’s the first time installing an app, or if you aren’t really sure if it’s the right app. To be honest, though, I rarely look at any of that info. Almost every app I download, I get from the search screen directly without going into the app information screen.

The more readable iOS 10 app information
The more readable iOS 10 app information

When updating apps though, I certainly don’t need to see screenshots of it, I don’t need a video, I don’t need to know that it’s also available on other devices. I certainly don’t need the description or highlights, just what’s new is sufficient. I also don’t need to see expanded reviews, and definitely not before the actual app information. All of this waste of space would be ok to be after the app data, but it really just slows things down and makes the useful information harder to find. This was a flaw in iOS 10 as well, if you went into the app information, but it wasn’t necessary to do so since you could see the file size on the update list screen.

What do you think? Do you find this as annoying as I do or is it just me? Let me know in the comments below.

My Macbook Battery is Swollen, What’s Going On?

The swollen battery pack of a Macbook Pro

It’s a common problem with ageing Macbooks. In fact, every single Macbook I’ve ever owned has had this problem, some more than once.

It starts out with what seems like a bit of a bulge under the front of your Macbook. Soon the trackpad starts to have problems. Sometimes it seems like you can only press it when you apply pressure at the correct angles. Soon that bulge gets bigger and you can’t press the trackpad at all.

Read moreMy Macbook Battery is Swollen, What’s Going On?

How Do You Move Apple Photos to Dropbox or an External Hard Drive in OS X El Capitan?

A good question.

I recently needed to move my iCloud connected Apple Photos library to an external hard drive as it was taking up too much space on my laptop. Since I was doing that anyway I decided to also put it in my Dropbox so that I could get an extra backup of it as well.

If you just move the library and then delete it, Apple Photos tends to not like you too much. Apple has made it possible to move the location fairly easily though, you just need to do the steps in the right order. Here is the process I used.

Read moreHow Do You Move Apple Photos to Dropbox or an External Hard Drive in OS X El Capitan?

Need to add an external hard drive to your Mac Time Machine backup?

I’ve moved my Dropbox onto an external hard drive because it’s just too big to store all the files I use regularly on my local hard drive. However, I like to keep a local backup in addition to the Dropbox backup, so I wanted to add it to my Time Machine which has more than enough room for the extra drive. Here’s how I did it in 50 seconds.

Read moreNeed to add an external hard drive to your Mac Time Machine backup?

Why I Stopped Sleeping With My Phone (and other tech)

When I switched from a Blackberry to an iPhone I quickly noticed a difference between silent mode on the Blackberry and ‘silent’ on the iPhone. In fact, when my iPhone was on silent mode, it still dinged every few minutes when new emails came in. Suffice to say my first few nights involved a lot of waking up.    

Read moreWhy I Stopped Sleeping With My Phone (and other tech)

Creating an iOS App Using The Alarm

I’ve got an idea for an app that will use the alarm and push notifications associated with the alarm on an iPhone and ultimately an Apple Watch. So I’ve been reading up a bit on how to approach that. The below links look promising so far and I plan to experiment with them. We’ll see how I go!

  • http://www.raywenderlich.com/32960/apple-push-notification-services-in-ios-6-tutorial-part-1
  • http://apigee.com/docs/app-services/content/tutorial-push-notifications-sample-app
  • http://code.tutsplus.com/tutorials/setting-up-push-notifications-on-ios–cms-21925

Ironically Macca’s just released a new app that has a lot of similarities to what I am envisioning. Also some key differences.

D-Link DUB-1312 USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter on Mac OS X

If you are like me, and find it frustrating that you can only connect two Thunderbolt devices (unless they are daisy-chained) to your Macbook Pro, even on a 15″ one, you have two external screens, but you want gigabit ethernet, so you either have to sacrifice a Thunderbolt port and second display, or fork out for an expensive display that can be daisy-chained. Or alternatively, find a HDMI capable external display to use the HDMI port, or a Thunderbolt dock that has built in gigabit ethernet. All viable options, but none is really cost effective while maintaining dual external displays.

I personally think it is crazy that Apple have not made their USB ethernet adapter USB 3.0 and gigabit ethernet capable. I do understand that when there is a Thunderbolt one it may not be necessary for everyone, but for me. It’s nuts. I either have one screen, or I have 100mbit ethernet. Neither of these is ideal either.

Enter the D-Link DUB-1312 USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter.

D-Link Dub1312 Box

Read moreD-Link DUB-1312 USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter on Mac OS X

Switching Video Cards on Your Macbook Pro

If you have a unibody Macbook Pro in the 15″ or 17″ models, then you probably have two video cards. In the case of my Macbook Pro, I have an nVidia 9400m and an nVidia 9600m GT. By default the 9400m is enabled. For the most part this is perfectly fine for my usage, but sometimes the extra power of the 9600m GT would be really great, especially when I don’t need to worry about the battery usage, such as if the power is connected. I always wondered how to switch video cards though once I realised that it didn’t do it automatically.

I finally got round to looking up how to actually do it, as there is nothing obvious in the System Preferences about it.

Turns out, you just need to go into your System Preferences, then hit the “Energy Saver” button to be taken to the Energy Saving settings.

OS X Energy Saver Settings Pane
OS X Energy Saver Settings Pane

The graphics option

By default the “Graphics” option is set to “Better battery life”, however as you can see from the screen shot on the right, I am now running on the “Higher performance” setting.

This option is in essence asking, no do you want to use the lower power graphics card, the nVidia 9400m (Better battery life), or do you want to use the higher power graphics card, the nVidia 9600m GT (Higher performance).

To me, this seems a bit unclear, and I have to wonder why it is worded this way and why it is even in this section. To me it seems like it should be perhaps in the display settings section.

Upon thinking about this more though, it does make sense. I’m only thinking display settings because on Windows, the display settings show what graphics card is running what display. In OS X though, Apple aren’t trying to say, hey we’ve got two graphics cards here, they are trying to say, you have two options to make either a big difference in your battery life, or a big difference in your performance. This is especially the case with Snow Leopard as it allows the graphics card to be used more for general purpose computing with OpenCL. So, it really does come down to a matter of energy saving, not what hardware is being used to give those savings.

Log out to change your graphics settings
Log out to change your graphics settings

Log out

Wait, what?

That’s right, when you want to change the graphics setting, you have to log out. This is an unfortunate design issue as it means that you have to close everything down before you can change it over. Fortunately it’s not a full reboot, it just logs you out and back in. Still though, it would be nice to just be able to select the alternate option and have it happen automatically without needing to do anything further.

I realise that particularly with OpenCL there are going to be some issues with switching graphics processors on the fly, but I see no reason why it couldn’t be enabled, take over new jobs, switch the old jobs to the new processor and then switch the old processor off, it could involve some screen flickering while the controller is switched but surely that could be done?

Does it make a difference?

Yes, it absolutely does. The 9600m GT results in a much faster experience, especially when using a virtual machine as well.

As for battery life, there is a difference here as well, it seems to me to be between half an hour and an hours difference depending on what you are doing.

Activity Monitor System Memory Meanings

Ever wondered what all the different memory types are that are shown in the pie chart at the bottom of the system memory tab in your Mac OS X Activity Monitor? If you’re used to the memory usage information that Windows shows, then the OS X descriptions might be a bit confusing. The reason for this is because there are actually more types of memory shown.

OS X System Memory Activity Monitor
OS X System Memory Activity Monitor

OS X Memory Types

  • Free
  • Wired
  • Active
  • Inactive

In Windows all you see are what is free and what’s in use.

So what are these two extra types of memory that OS X shows?

Free Memory

This is exactly what it sounds like. Free memory is memory that hasn’t been written to yet. This will generally be at it’s highest straight after you turn on your computer.

Read moreActivity Monitor System Memory Meanings

Get More Out of Your Apple Magic Mouse

Something else I got this Christmas is an Apple Magic Mouse. This is the latest generation of mouse from Apple, and it is an absolutely fantastic device! Just turn on Bluetooth on my Mac, turn on the mouse, tell the Mac to find Bluetooth devices, it straight away detects the mouse and pairing is just a matter of a couple of clicks. From there it works perfectly! Note that it does need Mac OS X 10.5.8 or higher.

Click on the photo to see full size on Flickr.
Click on the photo to see full size on Flickr. Released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.

Read moreGet More Out of Your Apple Magic Mouse