Should You Upgrade to iOS 15?

Well… yes! We do recommend you upgrade to iOS 15, once it has been released on September 20, 2021. Usually with a major upgrade to iOS software we recommend waiting a few weeks or months until someone else(s) has worked out all of the bugs before taking the plunge to upgrade your devices. But Apple has really done their homework on this one. The beta testing process has been unusually gotcha-free. I’d have to say, this is the smoothest iOS upgrade in years.

Steps to upgrading to iOS 15

As usual, the first thing you should do is to make sure that your iPhone or iPad is fully backed up. You can do this either to your computer or to the cloud. You can check that under Settings:(Your Name):iCloud:iCloud Backup and choose “Backup now.” Alternatively, you can connect your iOS device to your computer and let it back up there.

Which iOS devices can get the upgrade?

Apple has a handy article that show exactly which devices can be upgraded.

How to Download and Install iOS 15

On your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings:General:Software Update. From September 20th on, you will see an option to upgrade to iOS 15.

What’s New and Notable?

  • Notifications have been redesigned in iOS 15, adding contact photos for people and larger icons for apps
  • Focus is a new feature that can filter notifications and apps based on what a user wishes to focus on at a certain time
  • Safari features a completely new design
  • The Maps app now offers a new 3D view in cities with significantly enhanced details, showing buildings, pedestrian crosswalks, bike lanes, and more. There is a new city-driving experience with added road details and improved Transit features, such as pinned favorite lines, notifications to disembark, and AR walking directions
  • iOS 15 brings voice isolation and Spatial Audio to FaceTime calls so that voices sound as if they are coming from where the person is located on the screen. FaceTime also supports Portrait mode and offers a new grid view to see more faces at the same time. SharePlay is a new feature that allows users to share media together in sync during a FaceTime call.
  • iOS 15 also introduces new privacy measures, such as processing Siri requests directly on the iPhone, and Mail Privacy Protection to stop senders knowing if an email has been opened and detecting a recipient’s IP address.

Where can I learn more:

MacRumors has a great article that outlines in-depth all the new features contained in this upgrade.

What if I’m unsure and want some help to do this upgrade?

Excellent! Contact Us and we’ll get you taken care of!

Reduce Your Email Load with Mute, Block, and Unsubscribe

Too Many Emails

Is your Apple Mail inbox filling up with ridiculous numbers of unread messages? The good news is: Apple has built features into the last couple versions of Mail—on the Mac, iPhone, and iPad—to help out. Here are three that you might find useful in different situations: mute, block, and unsubscribe.

Mute

To help you quiet a too-chatty conversation, Apple added the Mute feature to Mail. On the Mac, select the conversation and choose Message > Mute or click the Mute button in the toolbar. On an iPhone or iPad, touch and hold the message until you get a popover, then tap Mute. You can also swipe left on the message, tap More, and tap Mute.

Messages will continue to flow in, but if you normally get notifications of Mail messages, you won’t get notifications for the muted conversation. In Mail, a little bell icon with a slash through it reminds you that the conversation is muted. To unmute a conversation, repeat these steps, but pick Unmute instead.

Reduce Your Email

Do you never want to see those muted messages at all? You can discard them automatically. On the Mac, in Mail > Preferences > General, select “Archive or delete muted messages.” In iOS and iPadOS, go to Settings > Mail > Muted Thread Action, where you can choose between Mark as Read and Archive or Delete.

Reduce Your Email

The “archive or delete” wording may seem confusing, but Apple lets you choose whether “discarding” a message archives it (removes it from your Inbox) or deletes it (moves it to the Trash mailbox). On the Mac, look for that setting in Mail > Preferences > Viewing > Move Discarded Messages Into. In iOS and iPadOS, it’s a per-account option in Settings > Mail > Accounts > accountName > Account > Advanced, under Move Discarded Messages Into.

Reduce Your Email

Block

Muting is about conversations, not people. But what if you never want to see email from a particular person ever again? Perhaps it’s an angry ex-housemate, or someone who just won’t stop forwarding politically offensive memes. For such people, Apple provides blocking.

On the Mac, open a message from the offending person. Hover the pointer over their name, click the down-pointing arrow, and choose Block Contact. In iOS and iPadOS, tap the person’s name so it turns into a blue link. Tap it again to reveal their contact card, tap Block this Contact, and confirm your decision. Should you change your mind, repeat the steps and choose Unblock.

Reduce Your Email

All that changes immediately is that Mail puts a banner at the top of the message that says “This message is from a blocked sender.” However, Mail also provides a button or link to preferences that offer more options. On the Mac, they’re in Mail > Preferences > Junk Mail > Blocked. In iOS and iPadOS, you’ll find them in Settings > Mail > Blocked Sender Options. You can choose between leaving blocked mail in your Inbox or moving it to the trash.

Reduce Your Email

Note that we used spam senders as examples here, but for actual spam, you should instead use the Move to Junk command to mark it as spam and train Mail’s junk mail filter. Blocking is useful only for actual people, and it works only on specific email addresses. If someone can send from another address, Mail won’t know to block that address until you block it too.

Unsubscribe

It’s all too easy to end up on endless mailing lists these days. That may not be a problem if you find the messages useful and infrequent enough so as not to be annoying. But if you order something online and immediately start receiving two email blasts per week advertising new products, you don’t have to sit there and suffer.

What you shouldn’t do, however, is use the Move to Junk command to mark those messages as spam. If you have a legitimate business relationship with the organization, they’re not doing anything illegal by sending you email, and marking their messages as spam might mistrain Mail’s spam filter to catch related mail you do want. It will also hurt their deliverability rate unnecessarily, and while that’s not your problem, there is a better way.

Whenever Mail detects that a message is from a mailing list, it displays a banner saying so, along with an Unsubscribe link. Click or tap it, confirm your decision, and Mail sends an unsubscribe message from you to the mailing list server.

Reduce Your Email

Unfortunately, between mailing lists not providing the necessary details and Mail not being able to understand everything, this feature is a little weak. When it works, it’s great, but just because an Unsubscribe banner doesn’t appear doesn’t mean you can’t unsubscribe.

Whenever that happens, scroll to the bottom of the message and look for an Unsubscribe link. Click it to visit a website where you can sign off. Alas, as shown below, commercial mail from Apple itself seems to be exempt from Mail’s Unsubscribe banner, and the company has one of the less obvious Unsubscribe links out there.

Reduce Your Email

As helpful as muting and blocking can be, you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck from unsubscribing from mailing lists. Remember, you can always find those companies on the Web should you wish to interact with them again.

Wait, it’s all too much!

We agree!Contact us and set up an appointment and we can do all of this for you!

Excerpted from a longer article from Kibbles & Bytes from smalldog.com.

5 Things to Know Before Buying a Refurbished iPhone

Refurbished iPhones

If you’ve lost your cell phone or it stops working, a brand new replacement probably won’t be cheap. If you want to save money, buying a refurbished iPhone can be a great option.

But what exactly is a refurbished iPhone and what are the pros and cons of buying one? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about buying a refurbished iPhone, including how to protect yourself if you decide to buy one.

Let’s take a look at five things you need to know before you purchase a refurbished iPhone.

1. What is a Refurbished iPhone?

Many people think “refurbished” means old or second-hand, but that’s not always the case. 

A phone that has been refurbished could also have been returned to the retailer (or reseller) for one reason or another. In those instances, they typically come with warranties, but more on that later.

A refurbished iPhone typically has been reconditioned into working order and put on sale for a discounted price. It is common for many refurbished phones to be in perfect working condition but have superficial blemishes or knicks.

2. Should You Buy a Refurbished iPhone?

If you’re thinking about buying a refurbished Iphone, there are some things you need to consider. Here are a few:

Price

Of course, one of the most important things to consider is price. Are refurbished phones cheaper than their brand-new counterparts? Yes, they are.

For example, the iPhone 11 debuted in 2019. On Apple’s website, a 64GB iPhone 11 costs $599.

Scratches

When considering whether to buy a refurbished phone, you should expect some minor scratches or marks. Reputable online sellers will disclose such information in the product description.

If scuffs and other marks are something you’re not comfortable with, buying a refurbished phone is not for you.

Accessories

A major factor in buying a refurbished iPhone is whether you’ll be able to find accessories you need that may not come with your refurbished phone. 

Some pre-owned devices are sold without a charger or other add-ons. That means you may have to spend additional funds to get these items. Before you purchase, you should make sure the accessories you need are available.

3. What Types of Refurbished iPhones Can You Find?

I have seen iPhone models going back to the iPhone 5 as refurbished. As of this writing, I don’t recommend going any older than an iPhone 8, as older models will not be able to run the most recent version of iOS, the software that runs iPhones. With older iPhones/older versions of iOS you risk less stability, less functionality, and way less security.

4. Where To Buy Refurbished Phones

Some people think only second-hand businesses sell refurbished phones. But that’s not true: Apple’s own refurbished program offers the same warrantee as brand new AND you can buy AppleCare+ as if it were new.

But there are other places to buy refurbished phones. Here’s a list of top refurbished phone retailers:

SellersSample ModelsDetails
AT&TiPhone XR, iPhone 11AT&T sells used phones under its “Certified Pre-Owned” label online and in stores
AmazoniPhone 8, XR, 11Amazon Renewed comes with at least a 90-day guarantee on its products.
VerizoniPhone 11Verizon’s “Certified Pre-owned” phones are guaranteed to be “100% functional”
Best BuyiPhone 8 PlusAll refurbished phones come certified by the Geek Squad, the retailer’s tech support staff
WalmartiPhone XRComes with original accessories and a 90-day warranty

Aside from those retailers, there are numerous sites online that sell reconditioned phones. Reputable dealers include:

5. How To Protect Yourself Before You Buy a Refurbished iPhone

Make Sure the Seller Takes Returns 

You don’t want to get stuck with a dud. Before you buy a mobile device you’ve found on Amazon or any other site, make sure you can return it.

Get a Warranty (Typically 90 Days)

What separates the good refurbished phones from the others is the warranty. No warranty, no deal.

Not only does a warranty protect you in case the phone is defective, but it allows you time to test the phone (more on that in a bit).

Buy Only From Reputable Sellers

If you choose to buy a refurbished phone from a reseller in a marketplace site like Amazon or eBay, make sure you only buy from vendors with a 98% or higher seller rating.

Make Sure Your Refurbished Phone Is Working Properly

Once you get your phone, there are some tests you’ll want to run to make sure it’s functioning properly. Phone tester apps will run diagnostics on your device. Here are some free ones:

For iPhone:

Some Final Thoughts

Now that you know that there are some pretty nice refurbished phones out there, do your due diligence to find one you like. 

And remember, a refurbished phone doesn’t mean it’s defective or even that it used to be. 

People may return phones because they don’t like the color or trade it in for new ones. (And, yes, sometimes they are sent back due to being defective).

The retailer or manufacturer will typically repair the phone and run diagnostics to make sure it works like it’s supposed to. While many refurbished phones aren’t shipped in the manufacturer’s original box or package, they sometimes come with the standard accessories as if they were new.

If you’re thinking about buying a refurbished phone, the more research you do on the front end, the more comfortable you’ll feel about the process and product.

Buying a refurbished phone is a great way to save money on a mobile device.

Wait – I Need Help!

Yes, that’s what we’re here for. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help you with every aspect of getting a refurbished iPhone, including transferring all of your data to the new phone.

Portions of this article excerpted from a longer article from clark.com.

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iOS 14: Is It Time to Upgrade Yet?

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