Don’t Miss Out on App Updates

After updating iTunes to version 12.7, I am sure that you have noticed that there is no section to update or install apps in iTunes. The only way to gets your apps updated is via the App Store in your iPhone.

iOS 11 Home Screen.png

Figure 1 : iOS 11 Home Screen indicating the App Store [1]

Follow the procedure given below to check for any available app updates on App Store on iOS 11:

 

  1. Tap on App Store on the Home Screen.
  2. Tap on “Updates” at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Pull the screen down using one finger or two fingers until you see the spiky circle appears.

 

 

 

App Store Updates Screenshot with gesture.PNG

 

If there are any updates available, they will be listed and you can get them updated by tapping on Update All.

 

References:

[1] 9to5Mac. 2017. iOS_11_Homescreen | 9to5Mac. [ONLINE] Available at: https://9to5mac.com/2017/06/05/ios-11-preview-first-look-at-apples-latest-mobile-os-gallery/ios_11_homescreen/. [Accessed 05 October 2017].

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Apple MacBook Pro 2017 : A Laptop for Professionals but not for Gamers

The 2017 lineup of Apple MacBook Pro’s was launched at WWDC and everyone was super excited but for me, this excitement soon faded away after checking the specifications out. Yeah, I know, bummer, right? As shown in Figure 1 given below, there are no physical changes in the new lineup but the internal hardware has been beefed up a bit. Anyway, let’s check the new specifications out.

MacBook Pro lineup.jpg

Figure 1 : Lineup of 2016/2017 Apple MacBook Pro’s [1]

Processor

The new MacBook Pro’s come with the 7th Generation Intel Kaby Lake Processors, which are said to have a boost in performance with greater clock speeds when compared to the previous generation (Skylake processors). The in-built GPU can handle encoding and decoding of HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) format, which means that 4K videos will be handled effortlessly.

7th-generaion-of-intel-core-processors

Figure 2 : 7th Generation of Intel Core Processors [2]

RAM

The RAM has not changed from the 2016 models even though a lot of people (including myself) thought that there would be a model with 32 GB of RAM for 2017. The 2017 models have LPDDR3 RAM with capacities of 8 GB and 16 GB with clock speeds of 2133 MHz. Even though the laptops manufactured by Apple’s competitors use DDR4 RAM, Apple had decided to stick to LPDDR3 due to low power consumption. Meh, you get 16 GB of RAM : That’s good enough for me.

Storage

The base model (13 inch) contains 128 GB of flash memory while this can be configured to 512 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB. I do not think that 128 GB of flash memory is enough for all files these days as there are now 4K video, which require a lot of space to be stored in the hard disk. One can argue that portable hard disk drives and cloud storage are now available for cheaper prices but what is the point of paying a huge sum of money only for a laptop with 128 GB !

Graphics

Alright. Here comes the moment that the gamers have been waiting for : Graphics. All MacBook Pro’s are equipped with Intel Iris Plus 600 series graphics. The 15 inch models consist of AMD Radeon Pro 555 and 560 graphics chips which have GDDR5 memories of 2 GB and 4 GB, respectively. These chips are good for gaming in 2012 but in 2017, people prefer getting higher frame rates to obtain a more realistic effect. They could have at least incorporated AMD Radeon 570 or 580 chips, which have greater capacities of video memory and higher memory bandwidths.

AMD Radeon Pro 500 series

Figure 3 : AMD Radeon Pro 500 Series Specifications [3]

 Check the video given below for the gaming performance on a MacBook Pro with Radeon Pro 560 graphics chip :

Gaming on the new MacBook Pro 15″ 2017 [4]

This is what I feel about the new MacBook Pro lineup. Feel free to comment on your views of the 2017 lineup.

 

 

References :

[1] Gizmodo Australia. 2017. Apple MacBook Pro (2017): Australian Review | Gizmodo Australia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2017/01/apple-macbook-pro-2017-australian-review/. [Accessed 25 June 2017].

[2] Redmond Pie. 2017. Intel Unveils New Kaby Lake 7th Gen Core Processors Destined For Future Macs | Redmond Pie. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.redmondpie.com/intel-unveils-new-kaby-lake-7th-gen-core-processors-destined-for-future-macs/. [Accessed 19 January 2017].

[3] VideoCardz.com. 2017. AMD announces Radeon Pro 500 series – VideoCardz.com . [ONLINE] Available at: https://videocardz.com/press-release/amd-announces-radeon-pro-500-series. [Accessed 27 June 2017].

[4] YouTube. 2017. Gaming on the new MacBook Pro 15″ 2017 – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzbuCI3tIJ0. [Accessed 27 June 2017].

Item Not Available : How come?

A few days ago, after syncing some tracks in to my iPhone, I wanted to play them but they were greyed out and I simply could not play them because I got an error message in the Music app stating “Item Not Available” but I could play them perfectly on iTunes. Crazy, right?

Basically, the reason for this is that the location of the file has got changed during the time of syncing (for some weird reason). Well, there is a simple way to fix this problem and today, I am going to share it with you.

iPhone - Item Not Available

Figure 1 : Item Not Available on Music App [1]

Here’s how to get this issue resolved :

  1. Find the tracks that are not syncing with the Apple iPhone in iTunes.
  2. Right-click on the track and then click on “Delete From Library”.
  3. Next, click on “Delete Song” and then on “Move to Trash”.
  4. Open “Trash” and move the deleted files to any location (eg. Desktop).
  5. Finally, add the tracks to iTunes from that location by double-clicking on the files and sync them with your iPhone.

 

After following the steps given above, you should notice that the tracks are now playable on your iPhone.

Enjoy !

 

References :

[1] Quick Fix: Music Won’t Play on iPhone/iPod/iPad – iMobie Inc.. 2017. Quick Fix: Music Won’t Play on iPhone/iPod/iPad – iMobie Inc.. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.imobie.com/support/my-music-on-ipod-iphone-will-not-play.htm. [Accessed 13 March 2017].

Does Safari Take Time to Load Webpages? Here’s a Fix !

Have you ever noticed that even though your network connection is quite fast, it takes ages to load webpages in Safari? Now, people will argue that it is the Safari browser which causes all sorts of trouble but this is not quite true. For example, Chrome for Mac uses a lot of RAM than Safari and hence the performance can be slow. Next, people will say that the extensions are the culprit. However, extensions such as Adblock Plus are quite useful when it comes to blocking most of the unnecessary ads on webpages.

Let me show you how to make Safari run as it is meant to be using some simple steps. Firstly, let’s see how to clean the cache and cookies:

  1. Install a cleaning app such as CCleaner (I have used CCleaner for this procedure) and make sure Safari is not running.
  2. Open CCleaner and on the “Cleaner” tab, under “Safari”, check “Internet Cache” and  “Cookies”. These need to be definitely checked but other ones can also be checked if required.
  3. Then click on “Run Cleaner”
ccleaner-window

Figure 1 : CCleaner Window


The next few steps involves tweaking Java settings.

  1. Open “System Preferences” and click on “Java”.
  2. When the “Java Control Panel” opens, “General” tab.
  3. Then, click on “Network Settings…”.
  4. Finally, when the “Network Settings” window is opened, select “Direct connection” instead of “Use browser settings” and click on “OK on both “Network Settings” and on “Java Control Panel” windows.
  5. Quit “System Preferences”.
java-control-panel-and-java-network-settings

Figure 2 : Java Control Panel and Network Settings windows

When you open Safari again, you will surely notice the difference in loading speeds of webpages. Hope this helps.

This One’s for Apple : Make the MacBook Pro “Pro” Again

Although the latest MacBook Pro was a hit among some people, most of the Apple fan boys were quite upset with certain features of the flagship device, which was released last year. These include, removal of the legacy USB-A ports, including a graphics card that would not handle 1080p resolution in games and a heavy price tag. I’m going to share some of the possibilities for the 2017 model of the Apple MacBook Pro that the users would love to expect.

Processor

During CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Intel introduced the 7th generation processors for the future MacBooks.

7th-generaion-of-intel-core-processors

Figure 1 : 7th Generation of Intel Core Processors [1]

Although Apple rushed to release the new MacBook Pro last year, they should have waited for the new processors to be released by Intel, so that the users could feel that their product is truly revolutionary. Well, for the Mac lovers who have a bit of patience, it is quite possible that the 2017 models will feature the 7th generation processors (codenames Kaby Lake), which are said to be quite power efficient. Though Ryzen processors, which are manufactured by AMD (the main competitor of Intel), made some waves during this year’s CES, it is very much unlikely that these would be equipped in the new MacBook Pro.

RAM

The current models have 16 GB of RAM, which seems to be an ample amount, some users have complained that this amount is not sufficient for complex tasks. According to Apple, only 16 GB was used as the maximum possible amount of RAM because battery life could be reduced with greater amounts of RAM. According to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, there is a “high-end 15-inch model” with 32 GB of RAM which could be released later this year with desktop class RAM with “emerging memory technology like LPDDR4 or DDR4L” [2].

Graphics

The 2016 MacBook Pro comes with AMD Radeon Pro 450,455 or 460 dedicated graphics chip, the latter being a component for the custom built machine. If you recall, the high-end Mid 2013 15-inch model was equipped with a 2 GB nVidia Geforce GT 750M with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory. Radeon Pro 450 and 455 have 2 GB of VRAM and this is not sufficient for playing games on high definition with high quality today. However, Apple would argue that the MacBook Pro is meant for professionals but a “Pro” laptop should be targeted to the gaming community as well. Both 2012 and 2013 models were equipped with nVidia chips and then Apple moved to Radeon chips by AMD in 2014 and has been using them ever since. According to an article by Apple Insider, there is a possibility that the 2017 models could feature nVidia chips again [3]. I am not quite sure about the agreement between Apple and AMD to provide graphics chips for future Macs, so it is also possible that the 2017 model could feature Radeon Pro 500 series as the dedicated graphics chi. At CES 2017, a Radeon RX 570 graphics card had been spotted with 8 GB of VRAM [4]. Also, it would be better if the basic model consists of a graphics chip with 4 GB of VRAM rather than 2 GB.

Storage

The basic amounts of storage of the 2016 models are 256 GB and 512 GB. These days, people download movies with 1080p quality and hence 256 GB is clearly not an option for the modern world. Also, if Windows 8.1 or 10 is installed by creating a Bootcamp partition, there will be less space for the Macintosh HD partition. Of course there are external hard drives as a viable solution but who would like to spend money on another peripheral storage device after already spending enough money on a laptop that is quite expensive? Therefore, models with 1 TB of storage have to be made available without making the buyers to spend more for an upgraded storage option.

Ports

Since the 2016 model featured only four USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) ports (15-inch model) and one headphone port , it is very much likely  that Apple would stick to USB-C boasting  about the versatility of the port with the help of adapters.

usb-c-to-usb-adapter

Figure 2 : Apple USB-C to USB Adapter [5]

If that is the case, it would be nice if at least one USB-C to USB-A adapter is included in the box (like the lightning-to-3.5 mm adapter that comes with the iPhone 7), considering the fact that most flash drives, mice and Apple’s very own iOS devices have USB-A data cables, without making the users buy adapters separately as the laptop itself has a heavy price tag.

Price

The basic pre-configured 13-inch model, which features a dual core Intel Core i5 processor costs $1,499 while the 15-inch model, which features a quad core Intel Core i7 processor costs $2.399. These laptops are quite expensive when compared to the ones that are manufactured by competitors such as HP and Dell with outstanding specifications. Therefore, a drop in price is highly essential.

 

After reading this article, I would like to request my fellow readers, who are potential MacBook Pro upgraders, to hold their horses as the release of the 2017 variants is not far away and the devices will have best value for money, hopefully.

 

References:

[1] Redmond Pie. 2017. Intel Unveils New Kaby Lake 7th Gen Core Processors Destined For Future Macs | Redmond Pie. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.redmondpie.com/intel-unveils-new-kaby-lake-7th-gen-core-processors-destined-for-future-macs/. [Accessed 19 January 2017].

[2] AppleInsider. 2017. Apple to offer 32GB of desktop RAM in top-end 2017 MacBook Pro, 16GB for 12″ MacBook. [ONLINE] Available at: http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/01/16/apple-to-offer-32gb-of-desktop-ram-in-top-end-2017-macbook-pro-16gb-for-12-macbook. [Accessed 19 January 2017].

[3] AppleInsider. 2017. Nvidia working with Apple on graphics for ‘revolutionary’ new Mac products. [ONLINE] Available at: http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/09/26/nvidia-working-with-apple-on-graphics-for-revolutionary-new-mac-products. [Accessed 19 January 2017].

[4] Wccftech. 2017. AMD Radeon 500 Series Mobility is an OEM-Rebrand of 400 Series. [ONLINE] Available at: http://wccftech.com/amd-radeon-500-mobility-rebrand-rx-570/. [Accessed 21 January 2017].

[5] Apple. 2017. USB-C to USB Adapter – Apple. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MJ1M2AM/A/usb-c-to-usb-adapter. [Accessed 21 January 2017].

AAC : A Format that is As Good As mp3

A few days ago after updating the firmware of my Apple iPhone to iOS 10.2, I noticed that the storage capacity has decreased to 11.82 GB. As a result, I was getting the “Storage Almost Full” pop-up on my phone. I had only 0 kb of available storage. This is one of the nightmares of an owner of a 16 GB iPhone but there is a workaround for this.

In the iTunes library of my computer, most music files are in MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3) format with a bit rate of 320 kbps. These consist of high quality audio and hence take up a lot of space if synced to an iPhone. For a compromise between file size and sound quality, all music files can be synced into the iPhone with AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format. If you listen to an AAC audio file with a low bit rate (eg. 192 kbps), you can barely experience the difference in quality between that and an MP3 clip with 320 kbps bit rate, unlike an mp3 file with a low bit rate because the sound quality of an audio clip with a bit rate of 128 kbps will be very poor. However, I would not recommend AAC files with 128 kbps because the beats of certain songs cannot be heard the way they are meant to be heard.

screenshot

Figure 1 : iTunes Window indicating the position of the check box which has to be ticked for conversion of audio files

Here’s how you can sync all your music files in AAC format with a low bit rate while keeping the audio files as they are in your computer:

  1. Open iTunes and connect the iPhone to the PC / Mac.
  2. Click on “iOS device” button on iTunes
  3. In Summary page, check “Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC” and select “192 kbps” from the drop-down menu.
  4. Finally, click “Sync”.

Here is a handy tip : You can gain some extra free space if you perform a Backup and Restore after syncing the music files in AAC format. More information on how to do this can be found in the following link : Storage: “I’m Out” !

I managed to get about 2.5 GB of free space after performing these procedures, thus making more room to install apps. Hope this helps.

No AHT? No problem !

If you have a Mac, which was shipped with OS X Lion, you might have wondered that pressing  the “D” key right after the pressing the power button will not load Apple Hardware Test (AHT), in case if you wish to identify any issues in hardware of your Mac. Click on the link given below:

Using Apple Hardware Test – Apple Support

Here, it is stated : “Some Macintosh computers that shipped with OS X Lion and later support the use of Apple Hardware Test over the Internet”, but notice that the correct key or key combination that is needed to be pressed in order to initialise AHT is not given.

Let me explain how to perform the AHT over the internet.

  1. Power the laptop on. Make sure that there is an active internet connection
  2. Before the grey screen is appeared, press D and ⌥ (alt). Then the screen given below should appear. Don’t be alarmed by the terms “Internet Recovery” as that is the nomenclature given to the internet-based AHT.
internet_recovery

Figure 1 : Internet Recovery

Finally, follow the on-screen instructions. These will be the same as the ones given from Step 3 onwards, which are provided in the link above.

Hope this helps.

 

Let’s Get Your iTunes Library Organised

Have you ever noticed that a few tracks in your iTunes library, which belong to the same album have got organised as if they are from two different (yet identical) albums? (By identical, what I mean is that the details such as “Album Artist”, “Album Title” and even “Album Artwork”). Today, I will show you how to get this solved.

Screenshot of iTunes 12.4

Figure : Screenshot of iTunes 12.4 in full screen running on Mac OS X

First, make sure that your computer is running the latest version of Apple iTunes (The current version is 12.4.1). If the issue persists after updating, please follow the procedure given below:

  1. In iTunes, locate the tracks that belong to the same album but have been organised into two separate (yet identical) albums.
  2. Delete each track from the identical albums. When deleting tracks, click on “Delete Song” and then on “Keep File”. This will make sure that the files remain in the computer without their details (such as “Album Artist” and “Album Title”) getting affected.
  3. Click on “File” and then on “Add to Library”.
  4. When the Finder (in Mac OS X) or File Explorer” (in Windows) opens up, locate the files that need to be added.
  5. Finally, select the files and click on “Open”.

 

After following this, you will notice that the tracks have now got organised into the same album.

Hope this helps.

Storage: “I’m Out” !

You connect your Apple iPhone or iPad to your computer and open iTunes to sync some new music or to update the iOS version. On the storage row, you find that there’s an awful amount of “Other” storage, maybe even a bit more than 1 GB or even worse !

Other storage

Figure 1 : “Other” storage on iPad or iPhone [1]

What is this “Other”? Other contains files that iTunes cannot categorise such as contacts, messages and emails. That’s not all. It can also contain corrupted files.

I am going to share how to reduce this “Other” storage and hopefully reclaim some of the lost storage in your iPhone or iPad. It is not necessary to restore your iOS device by downloading the most recent version of iOS. However, try it if the procedure given below fails.

  1. Connect your iOS device to the computer using the lightning connector (or USB cable for models before iPhone 5) and open iTunes
  2. Click on the “Device” icon (The one which looks like a phone) in iTunes.
  3. In order to avoid losing of your precious data that is stored in your iOS device, back it up to your computer by selecting “This computer” radio button under “Backups” and click on “Back Up Now”
  4. Disconnect your iOS device from the computer.
  5. In your iOS device, tap on Settings>General>Reset>Erase All Content and Settings and tap on “Erase iPhone” or “Erase iPad”. Wait for the iOS device to restart.
  6. When the Set Up screen gets displayed on your iOS device, connect your iOS device to the computer using the lightning connector (or USB cable) and open iTunes.
  7. Follow the steps given in this link to restore your iOS device : Restore your device from an iCloud or iTunes backup.

Notice that the “Other” storage has been significantly reduced and your lost free storage in your iOS device has been reclaimed.

Hope this helps.

 

References:

[1] Stack Exchange. 2015. Ask Different. [ONLINE] Available at: http://i.stack.imgur.com/9hEZT.jpg. [Accessed 19 May 2016].

 

 

 

Error 9006 : What a Waste of Time and Data? [Fix]

Recently an update for iOS devices (i.e. 9.2.1 for iPhone and iPad) was released and I clicked on the “Update” button on iTunes. The operating system was downloading smoothly and when only 1 GB was left to be downloaded (usually an update is around 2.22 GB), I got an error message similar to the one given below:

itunes-9006-error-resolve

Figure 1 : Error 9006 in iTunes [1]

No big deal, right? My internet connection was working perfectly but I restarted my router and performed the updating process again. Again the error message popped up when the remaining volume of the update was 1 GB. What a waste of time and data?

Without being disheartened, I did some research on the web and found out this issue could be a result of third party security software installed in your computer (Mac or PC). For example, I have AVG AntiVirus installed in my Mac.

anti-virus-logos

Figure 2 : Some popular antivirus software [2]

The first step was to turn “Realtime Protection” off.

avg-antivirus

Figure 3 : Realtime Protection in AVG AntiVirus for Mac [3]

Check if the issue has been resolved. However, this was not helpful, so AVG was uninstalled.

Finally, the update was successful. I know that uninstalling and reinstalling your antivirus software could be a bit inefficient but it seems to be the only way to get the problem solved.

If the issue still persists, try connecting the USB data cable, which was provided with the iOS device, to a different USB port of the computer and download the software update via iTunes. I know this sounds absurd but it would surely fix it.

Alternatively, try to update the iOS OTA (Over-the-Air) by following the procedure given below:

  1. In your iOS device, tap on “Settings”.
  2. Next, tap on “General” and then on “Software Update”.
ios-9-upgrade-ota-01

Figure 4 : Updating iOS via OTA [4]

Hope this helps.

 

References:

[1] 5 Ways To Fix IPhone Error 9006 – TechnoBezz. 2016. 5 Ways To Fix IPhone Error 9006 – TechnoBezz. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.technobezz.com/5-ways-fix-iphone-error-9006/. [Accessed 27 February 2016].

[2] Computer Flu – Anti Virus Setup – Blaby, Enderby, Countesthorpe, Narborough, Whetstone, Huncote, Broughton Astley, Cosby, Wigston. 2016. Computer Flu – Anti Virus Setup – Blaby, Enderby, Countesthorpe, Narborough, Whetstone, Huncote, Broughton Astley, Cosby, Wigston. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.computerflu.com/2-anti-virus-setup.htm. [Accessed 27 February 2016].

[3] AVG enters Mac anti-malware market with AVG AntiVirus for Mac Free. 2016. AVG enters Mac anti-malware market with AVG AntiVirus for Mac Free. [ONLINE] Available at: http://betanews.com/2013/12/13/avg-enters-mac-anti-malware-market-with-avg-antivirus-for-mac-free/. [Accessed 27 February 2016].

[4] How to Upgrade to iOS 9 Using OTA. 2016. How to Upgrade to iOS 9 Using OTA. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.iskysoft.com/article/upgrade-to-ios-9-ota.html. [Accessed 27 February 2016].