Tips – Using Siri on your Mac

Ask Siri How Much Free Space You Have on your Mac

Just ask Ssiri-spaceiri “How much free space do I have?” Siri will answer the question with the overall remaining space. If desired, you can drill down further to see how your Mac’s storage space is currently allocated.


Use Siri to Open Apps or Web Pages on Your Mac

Just ask Siri to open an app rather than using Spotlight or your dock. Same thing for web pages. Basically, any website address Siri can understand, can be opened in your default browser.  Give the whole URL, i.e.: “Siri, open“.  Note that Siri can not close apps for you.


Posted in Siri | Leave a comment

Ask Siri to Spell a Word

Asking Siri to spell a word is my favorite feature of Siri on Mac OS 10 and iOS 10. Some say spell check has ruined a generation of spellers. Probably so, but I couldn’t spell well before computers so I can just enjoy the new feature without guilt.

Just think, you will never have to look up the spelling of broccoli or Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious again.

How do you use it?  With Siri open, just ask it how to spell a specific word. I find that it doesn’t work well on some names. For instance, when I asked it to spell Gravley, it offered web sites rather than just spelling my name. It’s my opinion that it works for names if the name is tied to someone famous, but that is just my experience.

Posted in Beginner Mac Tips, iOS 10, iOS Tips, Siri | 1 Comment

Explaining Digital Touch in iOS 10

Digital Touch

Digital Touch, a communication feature that was previously limited to watchOS, is now available on your iPhone. With Digital Touch, you can send friends and family drawings, heartbeats, fireballs, kisses, and more, all with just a few taps.

Sketches, taps, and other Digital Touch messages created on your iPhone are also viewable on the Apple Watch and vice versa. Here’s how to use the new feature.

Accessing Digital Touch

  • Open the Messages app.
  • Open an existing conversation or start a new one.
  • Tap the gray arrow to the left of the message field.
  •  Tap the icon that looks like two fingers over a heart.
  • Tap on the arrow on the right hand side to expand the Digital Touch window.

You can send taps and drawings by using the smaller Digital Touch interface that replaces the keyboard, but there’s more screen real estate to work with when it’s expanded to the size of the full iPhone display.

The Digital Touch interface supports several tap-based gestures to send various taps and icons, plus it allows for drawing with a finger and annotating short videos with the included video tool.

To draw with Digital Touch, just start sketching in the black Digital Touch box, visible both in standard view mode and full screen mode. When using the standard view, tap the small circle on the left side of the screen to see the different color options. In full screen mode, the colors are all available at the top.


TIP: To access custom colors, long press on any of the color swatches. It’ll bring up a color wheel with custom color options for more personalized drawings. 

TIP:  If your watch or the recipients watch is set on Airplane mode, the Internet connection is turned off. Mine seems to set to Airplane mode by itself sometimes. Swipe from the bottom up and turn off the button with the airplane symbol by tapping it.

The person who receives your Digital Touch drawing will see it drawn out in real time, just as you sketched it. If you make a flower, for example, it’ll play like a video, showing each petal drawn in succession.

When you receive a Digital Touch drawing in Messages, tap it and you can see it full screen.

Gestures For Digital Touch 

  • Single finger on the screen – Starts a drawing.
  • Single finger tap – Sends circular “taps” in the selected color. One tap sends one circle, and you can send multiples.
  • Single finger press – Sends a fireball. Hold down longer for a longer lasting fireball animation.
  • Two finger tap – Sends a kiss. Tap multiple times to send multiple kisses.
  • Two finger tap and hold – Sends a beating heart.
  • Two finger tap and hold, then a downward drag – Sends a heart that beats and then breaks in two.

TIP. Sending Digital Touch content can only be done on an iPhone running iOS 10 or an Apple Watch running watchOS 2 or 3, but it can be viewed on iOS devices running older versions of the operating system and on Macs in the Mac Messages app. 

Posted in Apple Watch | 1 Comment

Mr. Number Blocks Spam and Gives Reverse Lookup

I just discovered this app for my iPhone and I love it.  It’s called Mr. Number and it provides call blocking and Spam protection. It is made by Hiya Inc. and was released for iOS October 29, 2015. It works with iOS 7 and greater on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. It is free.


Mr. Number icon

I personally never answer any call that has an 800 number and no name identifier. But, they call back, over and over. It’s all automated. Now, the first time I get a call like that I can do a reverse look-up and then block it, or just block it.

When I get an unwanted call I write down the number and then open Mr. Number. I look it up or just block it and it retains a list of my actions.


If you have this problem then by all means check out the app.

NOTE:  I forgot something important when I wrote this. You have to actually turn on Mr. Number in Setting before it blocks the calls for you. Select Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification. You should see the icon for Mr. Number. Be sure you move the button to turn it on. It doesn’t happen automatically.

Posted in iOS Tips, iPad Tips, iPhone Tips, Mr. Number, Review | Leave a comment

Two More iOS 10 Tips

The first tip tells you how to take a photo while in the Messages app and including it within your message. The second allows you to check the time your message was read and how to prevent the receiver from doing the same.

Take a Photo While in Messages

Enter the text of your message as you normally would, but don’t tap the arrow to send.

On the left of the message field are three small icons. one is a camera icon. Tap on it and a small window opens that lets you take a photo. Frame the shot in the viewfinder. Tap the white button at the bottom of the window when you are ready (see white arrow in image below) and it will become part of your message. Note that the image appears above your text. When you are ready to send, tap the green arrow and you are done.


Check the Time Messages Were Read

To see what time a message was sent or received, drag the speech bubble to the left. The speech bubble is the box in which each set of words is set.readtime

You ca
n turn this feature on and off on a per conversation basis. Tap the “i” icon at the top of any conversation in Messages and you will see a new Send Read Receipts switch you can toggle off or on.











Check the time a message was received/read


Click on the “i” icon and toggle Send Read Receipts off/on


Posted in iOS 10, message tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cool Additions to iOS 10

iOS 10 is full of new options and cool stuff. (Stuff is a technical description.)

Messages, in particular, has new options and I’m including two of them today. The first lets you substitute an image for a word. The second lets you include a live action background.

Replace Text With a Special Emoji

You can now automatically replace text with an emoji.

  • Type your message — Happy Birthday Jack. Hope it is a great day.
  • Tap the emoji button at the bottom of the screen.
  • Words with available matching images will turn gold.
  • Hold down a word and you will be given a choice of images. Choose one and it will replace the word. If there is only one option, it will automatically replace the word.
Sample of adding a special image.

Sample of adding a special image.

Add a Special Background or Bubble to your message.

If you want to send your message with more impact, the animated bubble option or one of the five effect options will be fun to use.

  • Write your message and before hitting the blue arrow to send it, tap and hold that arrow button down.
  • Click on Bubble and you will be presented with four different options: Slam, Loud, Gentle, and Invisible.
  • Click on Effects and choose from five live action backgrounds.
 Sample of a Live Action Background in a message

Sample of a Live Action Background in a message

I’ll add more iOS 10 tips as soon as I can.

Posted in iOS 10, message tips | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

New Features For Audible Books

I love to read books and never pass up a chance to read, even if I only have time for a few pages. That, of course, is much easier now that we can read e-books on almost all our Apple devices.

In addition to e-books, we can also enjoy audible books which are recorded and downloaded for listening pleasure. There is, of course, a charge for each book. There are several audible book services, but one stands out for me.

A couple of years ago I discovered .Their readers are professional actors who can do multiple voices and I think their library of books numbers in the thousands. Many times a book will be released on at the same time it is released in a written form.

Now that I have had to go back to work I don’t have as much time to read as I would like. However, I can take advantage of the long drive to work each day and listen to a book while I drive. (I haven’t heard a single used car ad in my car in years.)

I’m bringing this up to point out a new feature on that I love. There is a sleep setting now. No longer do I have to fall asleep listening to a book only to spend a half hour or so the next day figuring out where I was when I went to sleep.

Here is how it works.

On the top right corner of your book you will see three dots.


Click on them and you will see a list of new options.


Choose Sleep Timer and select your time preferences.


That’s all there is to it, but the ease of use does not diminish the usefulness of the feature.

If you have never listened to an audible book check out or one of the other available services.

Posted in, audio books | Leave a comment