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iOS 12 is cool, but is it worth the risk?
If you have an iPhone, your day-to-day experience is changing again. Apple released the Beta version of iOS 12, its new operating system which brings many new features that you may (or may not) like.
Beta versions of software and operating systems are released so that developers and other brave souls can put it through the motions and look for flaws, holes and other problems. Once the Beta testing phase is over, Apple will release the official final version to all users in the fall.
Among the most anticipated changes in iOS 12 are new Animojis. A tiger, T-rex, panda, and ghost are now included as animated characters you can use to send as iMessages. Also new in iOS 12 are Memojis which you can design to look like yourself. Users can create the Memoji by selecting hair color, style, face shape, skin type etc. I found it difficult to create what I think is a good representation of myself. The Memoji all look very young. Still, it is pretty cool to send an animated version of yourself with your voice as the message.
Screen time is a long-awaited feature for parents who want more control over how much time their kids are spending on their phone. With Screen Time, parents can see exactly what apps their kids are using and for how long each day. Parents can also set limits of time spent with an app as well as a daily time limit.
Notifications are easier to manage. Group messages can be swiped away all together rather than you needing to swipe to dismiss each individual message. You can add up to 32 people in a Facetime conversation. iOs 12 is also faster. This is especially helpful to people who still use older iPhones. iOS 12 will run on phones as old as the iPhone 5s so if your older phone is starting to run slow, iOS12 should help things move along.
There are other improvements to Apple’s Stocks app, Notepad, Apple Books and Do Not Disturb features.
But remember, iOS 12 is a beta version so it isn’t stable. Some people have reported having problems with the update. It is recommended you should not install iOS 12 on your primary smartphone or device and if you do download and install it, make sure you backup your phone to a computer before initiating the update. If something goes wrong, you’ll be able to restore the phone to the last backup.
Unless you just cannot wait until October for the update, it’s best to give it a few weeks and let Apple discover then fix any problems found by Beta testers.
To download iOS 12 public beta go to
and this is how to download it and what you should do if things go wrong
You may need psychiatric help.
Dad seems to be the one who records a lot of video from baseball and soccer games and dance recitals and vacations. If your dad is into video these gadgets will up his cinematic skills.
SANDMARC has a line of wide-angle lenses and filters for the iPhone. My choice is a wide lens kit that includes a case with a built-in lens mount. I keep my phone in the case and the lens nearby whenever I’m somewhere I think I might want to record video or take photos. Just twist the lens onto the case and you’ve got twice the field of view from the standard iPhone lens. It makes a big difference (literally and figuratively). Last weekend I was at Dodger Stadium to watch the Dodgers and Braves (the Braves won). When I shot video of players taking infield, I could fit only the catcher and about half the outfield grass. I was sitting on the 3rd baseline.
When I twisted on the SANDMARC lens though the entire field plus the scoreboard were in view. It certainly made for much better video with the crowd sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch. It also is helpful when you’re taking a photo of a large group of people. If you upload your videos to YouTube or Facebook viewers will notice a big difference. SANDMARC has these wide-lens kits for iPhones 7, 8 and X.
Taking photos and videos with your smartphone can be a little dangerous when you’re fumbling with the record or shutter button. It’s good to have something to hold on to besides the phone. There are many grips out there but the one I prefer is called “The LoveHandle”. This is a rubber-band type grip that attaches to any smartphone case and allows you to loop it around your fingers and maintain your grip on the phone no matter how awkward a position you happen to be in when you take the photo.
Any professional videographer will tell you that audio is just as important as video. Some might say it’s even more important.
The microphone on a smartphone is okay but to capture clear clean audio you’ll want to add an external microphone. That’s becoming easier to do with mics made especially for smartphones. RODE has several to choose from and I like the RODE XLR adapter. This plugs into the Firewire port of an iPhone and then attaches to a professional microphone. I use it with a Sennheiser shotgun mic to capture the best audio I’ve ever recorded from a smartphone.
The more video you shoot the less video you’ll be able to shoot with your smartphone because video files take up a lot of space. The Kingston Bolt is a USB flash drive that connects to an iPhone through the Firewire port. When you plug it in, photos and videos saved on the phone automatically transfer to the flash drive. Once that’s complete, the Bolt app will prompt you to delete the files from the phone to make room for more photos and videos.
Once those videos are on the flash drive, it’s easy to transfer them to another device or a computer. The Bolt also will transfer photos from the flash drive TO the phone. The Bolt is very small but comes with a keyring holder so it’s always nearby.
These gadgets are perfect Father’s Day gifts if your dad takes photos and shoots video with his smartphone.
Dad deserves the best gift this year. These are the best gifts this year.