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Tag: texting

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.

How Parents Can Take Control of Notifications on the Family iPad

If your children are starting to read iMessages on your iPad or iPhone that aren’t meant for them, it’s probably time to change the settings in your device. Here’s how…

So, my almost eight-year-old is playing Minecraft on my iPad in the living room, and he turns to me and says, “Mommy is writing me a message!”

“What?!”

I’m a little alarmed, because even though my wife wasn’t at home, she never uses electronic communications with our son and certainly not using something like Minecraft.
(You can probably guess that I’ve been thinking a lot lately about who he will be interacting with when he eventually engages in multiplayer video games online.)

I jump over to take a look.

Phew.

It’s a simple text message banner that popped up at the top of the iPad screen from my wife to me about camp plans for our second grader this summer.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the Minecraft platform.

The Early Taste of a Texting Stream
My wife referenced our son’s name in the text, which is why he mistakenly thought it was written to him.

Yes, he can read now, but he got confused by the style of my wife’s texting banter with me.
(Plus, it’s probably one of the first texts that he’s encountered.)

So, this wasn’t really a problem other than an iMessage to my iPhone also showing up on my linked iPad that my son happened to be using.

Ironically that feature is supposed to be a nice iOS bonus provided by Apple.
But it was clearly time to turn the option off on my iPad.

Our son doesn’t need to be privy to the Lester family texting stream…
(Well, at least… not yet!)

How to Turn Off Pop-Up Text Banners
Using iOS 11.3 –

  • Tap the ‘Settings’ gear icon
  • Tap ‘Notifications’
  • Tap ‘Show Previews’
    You’ll probably find that it’s defaulted to ‘Always’
  • Tap and change to ‘Never’

But that’s not all you have to do…

There is No Global ‘Off’ Switch
I decided to visit the Apple Store in Grand Central Terminal to gather a little more advice.

An Apple Genius told me that you also have to individually turn off each app from proactively trying to send you banner notifications on your device.
(He mentioned that detail to me several times. I imagine I’m not the only one who might be confused by the extra step.)

To ‘completely’ halt your iMessage banners…
While in Notifications, go down your list of apps until you find ‘Messages.’

  • Tap ‘Messages’
  • In ‘Allow Notifications,’ slide the little circle to the ‘off’ position

And that will finally get the job done!

Now, you’ve got to repeat this step for your other apps…

There are a few other settings to consider if you want to be a little less draconian about muffling your iPad or iPhone, but I was satisfied with hobbling my iPad to keep my young Padawan away from the constant buzz of the Net. My iPhone was providing that Borg-like public service to me quite sufficiently, thank you very much.
(I know I’m mixing my science fiction metaphors.)

But then I began to think about my own experience with my iPhone’s many chatty apps…

Less is More
After considering the issue for a moment, I decided that I was, in fact, being interrupted by way too many banners from apps wanting to share ‘critical’ news.

Perhaps I should take a few minutes to review all of them and silence the ones I didn’t want to hear from all of the time.

And that’s exactly what I did!

Of course, I kept ‘Messages’ fully activated, but I did turn off ‘Repeat Alerts’ from ‘Once’ to ‘Never.’
(I usually get it the first time.)

You Can’t Hide Your Child from the Connected World Forever
Now, I find that my iPhone is a little less ‘disruptive.’

My iPad shares nothing from the outside world with my son.

And I fully acknowledge that this is only the beginning.
It’s a long journey ahead for me and my boy.
(I know that as a parent, I can’t keep the ‘off switch’ activated forever…)

My son has asked for multiplayer mode in Minecraft for his 8th birthday… so he can play remotely with his friends.

To be continued…

Don’t Call Me

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how amazing the newest smartphone is. What’s important is can it actually connect you with the person you’re trying to reach? And that answer can unfortunately push you down a path of unnecessary simplicity.

Imagine this: It’s last night… 7:34pm. You’re holding onto your smartphone. You look down and see only one bar. But you go for it anyway…

“Hello?”

“It’s Barrett.”

“Who?”

“Your husband!”

“I can barely hear you.”

“We just landed.”

“What?”

“Jus w ntd you kno tha I can’t m do mak ak fo bap rit.
…I’ll tell you more later.”

“What?”

“Bye.”

Click

Deep down, we all know the wonders of technology are only as good as the weakest link.

Welcome to the World of Words
Still, smartphones connect us in ways unimaginable only a few years back.
That you can talk with and sometimes see your loved ones from almost anywhere is two parsecs shy of science fiction. And now, with the prospect of augmented reality becoming a regular part of the user experience… that’s mind blowing.

So, it’s ironic that email and especially texting continue to maintain their dominant roles during smartphone use. As a result, the near lost art of writing has experienced an amazing renaissance.

In fact, it’s absolutely the new normal.
I know that so many of you would regularly pass on the rigors of a phone call when you can ‘more easily’ text someone.

It’s generational.
I don’t mean to generalize, but younger folks don’t dig talking on the phone so much.

Ring, Ring
That’s so weird.
Aren’t we genetically wired to communicated via voice?

Of course, I love the art of the phone call. It provides plenty of emotional context, which is absent throughout the act of texting.
(Though using emojis does help.)

And think of all that incessant back and forth of an email chain, often over the course of hours or days. A 30-second phone call would get the same results.

And remember, your highly-evolved smartphone is not as limited as your grandfather’s Ma Bell indestructible monster. With mobile video enabled technologies like Skype and Apple’s FaceTime, you can enjoy the purity of non-verbal communication cues to help you stay totally in sync with your phone buddy. It’s almost like being in the same room.

Why wouldn’t you want to reach out and touch someone?

Well, there’s one problem…

What Did You Just Say?
If you don’t have access to a strong connection, the value proposition of a phone call falls apart pretty quickly…

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how frustrating it is having a conversation with someone on a spotty cell connection.
Understanding one out of every three words just doesn’t cut it.
And adding video into the equation is immediately hopeless.
You get the first video frame or two, and that’s about it.
Then the call crashes.

Conversely, getting a simple text out into the ether over a mediocre connection feels downright glorious.

Keep it simple. Get it done.
The pleasantries can wait till next time…

The Frustration-Free Moment
Our nationwide cellular networks still have their holes, even in metropolitan areas.
And calling from inside thick tall buildings or moving metal cars doesn’t help much.

The truth is…
Smartphones can’t yet mimic the magic of a Starfleet communicator on the prescient ‘Star Trek.’
(You can’t really have a crystal clear conversation from inside a Horta’s cave with your starship in standard orbit above Janus IV.)

There are limits…

Texting is Bulletproof
So maybe millennials are onto something. Maybe this explosion of texting is not about shunning basic human interaction.
(Though I think that’s a part of it.)

It’s about efficiency.
And accuracy.

Transferring simple words in easily-sent data packets.
And if there’s a sliver of a bar of coverage… the text will probably get through.

What’s so bad with that?

Just the Facts, Ma’am!
So, as much as I still love making an old-fashioned phone call, I’ve got to admit that when you’re on the go, texting is the clear leader for straightforward communication.
(As long as you’re not driving!)

When you just care about getting the facts across, it takes all the frustration out of the equation.

Sure… you’ll lose all the personal touches of a phone conversation.
But how hard is it to interpret a smiley face emoji?

The truth is… these days, I text all of the time.

And sometimes… do I prefer sending a text rather than having to spend a few minutes on the phone with someone?

Guilty.

My Mind to Your Mind
There’s no foolproof way to ensure 100% accuracy when communicating with someone from any distance beyond 4-6 feet.
(And even that’s not always perfect)

But it’s ironic that in a world overflowing with communications technologies, we often feel more disconnected than ever.

The power of those little, silent digital words can only accomplish so much.

Until we master the Vulcan Mind Meld, we’ll have to struggle along as best we can.

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