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Tag: iPhone

How to Use an Apple Watch as a Remote to Snap a Better iPhone Photo

If you should come upon an amazing vista and desire a picture of yourself using your iPhone’s rear-facing camera, you can use your Apple Watch as a remote viewfinder to frame the shot. Here’s how.

I’ve often found when using my iPhone’s camera that one of my biggest challenges has been framing enough of the environment into a selfie pic. This has been especially difficult when I’m also trying to jam several people in. Sure, capturing all of the faces is hard enough, but if you can’t see where everyone is, the picture has limited value.

Of course, the solution is to move the iPhone to a distance beyond your arm’s length, which will get you the wider shot. But then, it’s not a selfie anymore. Well, not exactly. Let’s call it an ‘extended selfie.’

But how do you take the picture if you can’t touch your iPhone?

Camera Remote App
If you also have an Apple Watch, you can use it as a remote for your iPhone’s camera. The Apple Watch’s native Camera Remote app essentially controls your iPhone’s camera and offers a convenient 3-second countdown after you tap the shutter button. That should give you plenty of time after your look down at your Apple Watch and tap it to then look up at your iPhone’s camera in the distance.

Easy Activation
To turn on your Apple Watch’s Camera Remote app, you can simply proclaim to your iPhone, “Hey Siri, take a picture.” Or if it’s too noisy around you, you can also tap the app’s icon on your Apple Watch’s screen.

The Value of Using a Remote Viewfinder
This Apple Watch app can control the front or rear-facing iPhone camera. So that means you can take advantage of the better quality of your rear-facing camera for your extended selfie. That’s because even though you can’t see your iPhone’s screen when using the rear camera, you can still frame the shot using your Apple Watch. It effectively becomes a remote viewfinder.

Removing Yourself from the Picture
Using the Camera Remote app also opens up plenty of photographic options beyond selfies. If you’re able to position yourself far from your iPhone (but close enough to maintain the Bluetooth connection), you can erase your presence from the environment. And that should allow you to capture more natural moments.

Bring Along a Tripod
All of these options will give your iPhone photography a lot more flexibility. That said, you should also bring along a tripod. Propping your iPhone up against an object to get the right angle can be a really difficult and potentially risky exercise for your iPhone.

I know that using a tripod doesn’t exactly match up with the spontaneity of pulling your iPhone out of your pocket to take a quick shot. But a little Joby tripod with an iPhone grip should fit easily enough into any bag or backpack.

Shooting Beyond the Distance of a Selfie Stick
Yes, using a selfie stick can also help to get the shot you want. But performing this remote Apple Watch trick will offer even more opportunity to create a really great photo.

Just be careful not to put your iPhone in harm’s way… now that you no longer maintain physical contact with it. (I’ve have a tendency to do that with my cameras.)

To date, I’ve been successful protecting my iPhone while using it as a camera and found that using my Apple Watch as a remote viewfinder is a nifty tool to enhance my iPhone’s photos.

How iCloud Photos Saved my Family’s iPhones

If your iPhone is running out of storage, it may be because it’s housing too many photos and videos. Here’s why iCloud Photos can help.

My wife and I have been happily shooting and collecting thousands of photos and videos on our iPhones over the years. But there’s a problem. We’re running out of storage on our devices.
(As we upgraded from one iPhone to the next, the digital files simply ported over, and our huge visual libraries kept on growing.)

On one level, it’s nice to have access to every photo and video you’ve ever taken on a smartphone. But it’s entirely impractical. It’s way too many files, and more importantly, any iPhone probably can’t handle that much content without being overwhelmed with the storage need.

Sooner or later, your iPhone will become hobbled. And when you find yourself deleting apps to try to free up precious memory, you really know you’ve got a problem.

Yes, I’ve been there. You need a better solution.

Fortunately, Apple’s got one.

iCloud Photos
To access more storage, you have to look to the cloud. You simply activate Apple’s iCloud Photos, and all of your photos and videos will sync to your iCloud account and across all of your other Apple devices.

How does this help your iPhone? Well, just be sure that “Optimize iPhone Storage” is checked in the settings for your iCloud Photos. That’s the magic step.

When you activate this setting, your iPhone will generate and hold onto smaller versions of your photos and videos while the full-resolution versions live in iCloud.

With just the compressed versions of your photos and videos on your iPhone, you’ll suddenly have a whole lot more available local storage.

Plus, you’ll have all of your media backed up in iCloud.

There is a Cost
Of course, there’s a price for this iCloud ‘upgrade.’ (The measly 5GB you get for free will barely cover a week’s worth of content.)

50GB costs 99 cents/month, and 200GB is $2.99/month.
(2TB goes for $9.99/month, but that’s much more data than your iPhone can generate.)

Before your turn on iCloud Photos, you’ve got to upgrade to an iCloud plan that will cover your needs.

I decided to go with the 200GB plan and share it with my wife’s iPhone through Apple’s Family Sharing feature.

No Finish Line
iCloud Photos is a simple solution to solve for the problem of your ever expanding library of photos. Paying a few bucks a month to activate this capability is definitely worth it.

But simply maintaining a disorganized library of imagery over the years isn’t going to do you any favors. You’ve got to eventually go through your photos… choose the best ones, organize them and then delete the rest.

You need to do the work and curate your best images. Otherwise, they’ll get lost in your sea of countless photos.

Sure, they’ll be safely stored in iCloud. And your iPhone will have more storage.

But that shouldn’t be the end of the story.

Good luck as you continue this life-long photo and video project!

How to Add a Missing Person to a Group Text from your iPhone

Feeling left out because of that group text you weren’t on? Don’t worry. There’s an easy way to get you back into the chat. Here’s how.

Have you ever sent out a group text from your iPhone, only to realize moments later that you’ve forgotten somebody? Or how about receiving a group iMessage and noticing that a friend has been unintentionally left off. Is it possible to correct the error and add in the missing person to your ongoing chat?

It certainly is.

For those who may be rolling your eyes right now, please feel free to stretch your own boundaries and compose your next multi-dimensional group text to a parallel universe. However, if you tend to face more earthly-based technical conundrums, and you’re currently jostling your head to shake loose the answer just outside your consciousness, I certainly understand. (It’s how I spend a fair amount of time.)

So, I’ve got a refresher for you. At first glance, it may not seem that obvious, because the ‘Add Contact’ button is hidden.

Here’s how to uncover it:

It’s Buried in the Info Icon
In your iPhone’s Messages app, tap on the text that requires more people in your reply.

  • Then, tap on the face circles representing the existing group. Your action will open three more options to tap on: ‘audio,’ ‘FaceTime’ and ‘info.’
  • Tap ‘info’ on the top right.
  • You’ll then see the current list of people. On the bottom of the list, locate ‘+ Add Contact’ in an inviting blue color.
  • Tap ‘+Add Contact.’
  • Then, simply type the new name and tap ‘Done’ on the top right.

The Answer is Also in the Details
If you’re instead using the Messages app on a Mac computer to respond to a group text, it’s even easier to make the fix:

  • Select the message.
  • Click on the blue ‘Details’ on the top right.
  • Click on the blue ‘Add Member’ under the list of member names.
  • Then type in the new name to add into the chat.

Voilà!

Whoops
Group chats have become such a common part of our texting and email experience. It’s certainly an effective communications tool as long as ‘replying to all’ continues to convey relevant information to all.

And of course, you’ve got to make sure that ‘All’ is actually a complete list of the intended recipients. Replying to ‘Almost All’ can tend to create future problems.

As texting is often done on the fly, it’s always a good idea to double check your list of names.

Then, all will thank you.

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