artyline converts sketches to interactive prototypes

The latest advancement of AI continues to offer us a whole new way to experience our digital lives. We’ve seen how Google predicts traffic delays & bus crowdedness, well, thanks to AI. We’ve also seen how YouTube enables you to virtually try on makeup and help you with your purchases decisions, thanks to its immersive AR Beauty Try-On.

With millions of power users’ growing appetite for anything automated, it’s not difficult to imagine a future where mundane, routinary tasks are being kept to a minimum. And fact is : it has already begun.

One of the coolest finds we’ve come across is Artyline, a free iOS & time-saver app that converts hand-drawn sketches into digital equivalent in realtime. All you have to do is to give a good scan on your sketches and you’re done.

Not everyone will appreciate this app, but such an app comes in handy if you’re an app developer or designer who wants to skip NinjaMock or any online mockup tools to quickly visualize your ideas.

Why Artyline is such a great app

The trouble with hand-drawn sketches is that it can potentially be misunderstood by most clients who normally aren’t adept in UX design elements. So whether it’s a simple app or not, the best way to present your idea and get their approval is to give prototypes as realistic as possible.

Excel Gets OCR Support, Lets You Snap Tables and Convert Into Editable Spreadsheet

With Artyline, generating prototypes is as simple as scanning your sketches and you immediately get an interactive version of our mockup. Think of it as an additional team member in your UX / design department where design sketches drawn from whiteboard or paper are quickly converted to digital formats. So you’d come well-prepared when meeting your client to discuss the next big app.

Artyline limitations

Because Artyline is powered by AI, it has a limited set of training to recognize basic shapes and transform them into design elements. Good thing is Artyline has this easy-to-follow guideline to make your sketches more recognizable by their AI.

Pro Tip: Use markers instead of writing pens. Don’t use pencils as they’re too illegible to recognize by Artyline scanner.

Artyline is still in its infancy and got tons of areas to improve especially in the execution side. However, I can’t easily denigrate an app idea this good just because of those hiccups. So, we are still impressed.

Give your app designs workflows an upgrade. Get this iOS app while it’s free. Thank me later!

Download: Artyline [Apple App Store]

Finally, An AI-Powered App That Transforms Sketches Into Interactive Digital Prototypes in Realtime

best ad blocker for ios - block facebook and youtube video ads

The release of Content Blocking Extensions on Safari back in iOS 9 days was met with excitement among iOS users, who've seen the barrage of ads assaulting their iPhone screens from time to time.

With Content Blocking Extensions finally supported on Safari, iOS users now have complete control over the level of privacy-invading adverts and trackers they are willing to tolerate.

While we do believe ads are necessary nuisance to skip paywalls and keep everything free online, some web pages are just plain annoying, deliberately degrading user experience by bombarding us with ads and popups.

If you're just as fed up as me and want to block ads on iPhone including those pesky Facebook ads and YouTube ads that's cluttering your iPhone screen, then, read on!

Meet Wipr: the Best and Last Ad Blocker You Need for iOS — Blocks Facebook and YouTube Ads Too

Forget about Adamant, Purify, or Crystal. Those popular content blockers on iOS just don't make the cut. I had an unpleasant experience with those apps that I decided to completely remove them for good. And not too long ago, some of those well-advertised apps even caught receiving $$$ from big-time advetizers in exchange of whitelisting their ads.

Wipr is heaps better than them. It works just as promised without compromising your iOS browsing speed. And it's regularly-updated list of trackers ensures all ads, trackers, cryptocurrency miners, EU cookie and GDPR notices are all blocked.

One thing I appreciate about Wipr is this bold promise of transparency:

"No one can pay to unblock ads. There are no acceptable ads. Wipr only answers to you."

Which means, no single advert gets whitelisted.

Wipr works in Safari (for now)

You can best appreciate Wipr if you regularly use Safari on your iPhone. It's tough on ads and gives you speedier browsing experience. One reason why a website takes ages to load is because of multiple trackers and adverts competing a slice of attention from you as user.

With Wipr, not only can you save precious data but websites now load significantly faster.

Block ads on Facebook and YouTube

Wipr also blocks Facebook and YouTube ads on iPhone's Safari. If you primarily use Safari to access web pages like Facebook and YouTube, Wipr is a must. I've long uninstalled YouTube and Facebook apps in an attempt to limit the amount of time I spend on these apps. But if I needed to quickly see Facebook updates or binge watch on YouTube, I just turn to Safari.

How To: Watch YouTube, Netflix on Sticky, Floating Window While Keeping Other Apps Opened

Wipr sets you back around $1.99, but it's worth your money considering that you can now permanently block ads on iOS, including that on Facebook and YouTube ads. (Download Wipr)

How To: Block Ads on iOS, Including Facebook Ads and Youtube Video Ads (iPhone & iPad)

If for some reason you want to restore that crucially important text message on iPhone that was deleted by accident or maybe you've bricked your phone and wanted to recover those important text messages, chances are you'll immediately hop back to your computer and look for backups to restore.

But what if you don't always have a scheduled backup and you desperately need to retrieve that lost text message?

Fret not! As dodgy as it may sound, you can fully recover deleted text messages on iPhone even if you don't have a backup. And best of all, you don't have to spend a penny to restore those deleted precious text message data.

How it's possible to recover text messages on iPhone

When you permanently delete a message on your iPhone, you're not actually deleting the data itself. What iOS' Message app does is it only removes the indexing file.

So you can imagine your actual SMS data still sits inside your iPhone's internal memory and can be fully restored even if that message is deleted.

iPhone Message Recovery: A FREE Text Message Recovery Tool for iOS That Actually Works

Everyone, meet iPhone Message Recovery. It's a tiny piece of app currently available for Mac that lets you recover accidentally deleted text messages on iPhone at no cost. I was told Windows version is in the works, so maybe a little wait is required for Windows users.

I nearly had to shun and skip this tool thinking maybe this is yet another garbage app that secretly installs malware instead of delivering the promised iPhone text message recovery as advertised. But the entire install file is just below 15MB so me being too skeptical had to give it a go.

To my surprise, iPhone Message Recovery actually works like a charm! After just a few scans, the app was able to recover my deleted text message and lets me preview those deleted text messages! Sweet.

Here's how to restore deleted text messages on iPhone without backup

  1. Download and install iPhone Message Recovery for Mac (14.6MB). It's FREE, no sign-ups needed.

  2. Launch iPhone Message Recovery on your Mac, it should prompt you like this

  3. Once installed, connect your iPhone to your Mac. It should automatically detect your iPhone

    There are two sources for text message data recovery: Device or Backup. Be sure you're selecting Device mode.

  4. Click Next, it should immediately start the scan. Analyzing your iPhone data can take a while, so wait for a few mins and do not disconnect your iPhone.

  5. As soon as you're done with the scan, the app prompts you this:

    If you're recovering just standard plain text message, just toggle Messages and click Next

  6. Let iPhone Message Recovery app do its thing and wait until you're taken to this screen

    You'll notice that two striked-through items being the deleted text messages. And see how I can easily preview them even if they're deleted inside my iPhone.

Wrapping it up

iPhone Message Recovery is not your typical dodgy data recovery app you've come to know from other data recovery apps. It's a fully functional data recovery app for iPhone that brilliantly recovers lost text messages data and even recover iMessage's photos and videos attachments in one go.

How To: Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone without Backup for FREE

The older we get, the less time is spent on quality slumber. Blame it to the corporate life' stress, household responsibilities, or maybe that's just how adulthood simply works?

That's why we always try to snatch that much-needed naps whenever we can, whether on a bus or a train.

So, if you're among those millions of nine-to-five warriors who commute your way to work, or you're a backpacker with long trips to the countryside, here's a neat trick how to sleep off your commute without worrying about missing your stop. Let your phone automatically alerts you when you're about to enter your destination just in time.

What you need

  • IFTTT app (available on Android, iOS)
  • Mobile data connection

For the uninitiated, IFTTT (short for If This, Then That) is a powerful web-based service that lets you perform actions based on user-defined triggers. We call these actions as “applets”. IFTTT works like Zapier but much easier to use.

Let Your Phone Alerts You When You Arrive At Your Destination

The goal here is to create an IFTTT applet that notifies you when you arrive at your destination. To do this, we'll use both Location and VoIP Calls services. Here's how to get started:

  1. Install IFTTT app (iOS, Android), and sign-up.
  2. Create your first applet by going to My Applets tab and click on + icon top right.
  3. Now, you'll be asked to define the trigger and action, like this:

  4. Tap on this and search for Location > You enter an area and specify the area you want to be notified.

  5. Once done you'll be taken back to step 3 where you create an action. Just tap that and search for VoIP Calls service where you can fire Call my device action, as seen below:

  6. Save your applet and ensure your IFTTT is running in the background. You're done.

    Use IFTTT As A Spy App: Secretly Copy, Collect iOS Photos on iPhone, iPad (No Jailbreak)

While Google Maps' previous update already has a push notification that alerts you when you're approaching your stop, I find it too unreliable to be honest. A VoIP call works better, ensuring you get off the bus or train just in time.

Long Commute? Get Power Naps and Get A Phone Call When You Arrive At Your Destination

Not everyone has the time and skill to generate a simple 2-3 minutes social video for Facebook or Instagram. Stitching your video clips and adding music can be all easy to achieve on iOS, but adding styled, custom text? It can be bloody difficult feat especially for a non-techie person who easily gets intimidated by video editing apps.

iOS' built-in video editing app iMovie doesn't make the cut either. Their “Add Text” overlay functionality is just plain boring, unusable. iMovie is decent enough in combining your clips with nice transitions and custom audio background but not in adding custom styled text.

The hunt for Canva for video

I had this interesting challenge last week where I needed to add a few texts to my travel videos. And me being a non-multimedia person, I'd rather do it straight on my iPhone and totally skip the headache of editing them with Adobe Premier or Quik, which for me are all complicated to use.

With that said, I had to check out and try nearly almost all video editing apps on iOS that allow me to add a text overlay for my videos. Some are very promising but one app that really stood out: Vont.

What is Vont?

Vont, currently available on iOS, lets you add highly customizable text overlays to videos. You have the flexibility to choose your own font or use Vont's font collections, change font sizes and colors. And the best part? It lets you insert multiple text overlays to any given video timeframe.

New AI-Powered Apps Help You Generate Captions, Hashtags for Instagram

And the fun doesn't stop there. Vont also lets you add transitions to each text overlay, giving you full control how you want your text enters the viewport.

Here's Vont in action:

It's easy to imagine Vont as Canva for videos. First off, Vont interface is so neat and it's a delight to use, almost similar to Canva.

For the uninitiated, Canva is a must-have app that lets you create professional-looking photos and banners for all your social media needs. Its suite of pre-made layouts makes it easy to create graphics, cards, flyers, invitations, and posters straight from your iPhone or iPad.

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The true strength of Canva lies in its ability to let anyone — with or without design experience — generate professional-looking visuals for their marketing needs.

Now, if you're looking for Canva for video alternative offering the same editing experience, then, you've got to check out Vont.

Vont: Canva for Video Alternative that Lets You Easily Add Custom Text to Videos (iOS)

Microsoft just rolled out an update to their spreadsheet editing app Excel that allows you to point your phone's camera into printed tables and turn them into editable spreadsheets.

The update is made possible by artificial intelligence (AI) trained to recognize characters and detect datasets inside printed tables before finally importing them as spreadsheets. If you're familiar with how Google Translate app works that translates words in realtime when you point your camera to a foreign text, you can expect the same capability with this update but for printed tables.

The update is first available on Android, but iOS should expect the roll out in the coming days.

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Excel is not the first app that gets AI treatment from Microsoft. A few weeks ago, Microsoft-owned Skype also gets AI-assisted background-blur support that smartly obscures your often messy, distracting background.

Satya Nadella's helm at Microsoft continues to deliver the much-needed disruptions and innovations. And with its billions of cash being pumped into their Machine Learning (ML) department, we can expect few more nifty advancements in AI in the next few years.

Excel Gets OCR Support, Lets You Snap Tables and Convert Into Editable Spreadsheet

Since the release of Apple's ARKit back in 2017, we've seen how it stirred the pot of curiosity among app developers wanting to deliver a whole new level of user experience.

Online retailers like Lacoste for instance now employs AR app to let customers virtually try on shoes. IKEA also has an AR app where customers can visualize how a piece of furniture fits and looks in their homes.

Augmented Reality isn't only disrupting retails. Right now, we're also seeing cool AR apps that virtually take you to other places around the world.

One of those apps that caught our attention is Portal: Learning with AR. It's a fun app best played with kids that let you explore the world at your fingertips.

Currently available in iOS, Portal: Learning with AR lets you create portals where you can walk right in and experience a different world (virtually of course). The portal is quite immersive; you can interact and walk around.

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Portal: Learning with AR is one basic Augmented Reality app that proved fun and useful. You can let your kids or students visit ancient medieval Rome or a green energy field.

LINK: Portal: Learning with AR

This Augmented Reality App Lets You Create Your Own Portal, Teleport to New Places (iOS)

Unless you're on an unlimited data plan and your phone still has gigabytes of extra space at your disposal, you can skip this guide now. However, if you are a heavy WhatsApp user under a throttled, capped data plan and notice that sudden drop of available phone storage space, then, this guide is for you.

In this article, we will show you how you can save precious data and free up some space on your iPhone or Android by restricting WhatsApp from automatically downloading shared photos, videos, and documents on your phone. WhatsApp by default automatically downloads photos or videos being shared within the app so you get the best possible user experience. But if that UX feature means exhausting our data plan fast while shrinking our storage space, then, we don't want that.

Save Data and Space - Restrict WhatsApp from Automatically Downloading Photos and Videos

The process is easy, you just need to go to WhatsApp Settings tab and just fiddle around those toggles and checkboxes.

For Android:

  • Navigate to Settings > Data and storage usage.

  • Just scroll down and under Media auto-download, tap on When using mobile data. It should bring you a dialog. Just uncheck Photos, Audio, Videos, and Documents.

  • Do the same process for When connected on Wi-Fi and When Roaming options.

For iOS

  • Go to Settings > Data and Storage Usage
  • Tap Photos and select Never option to stop downloading photos automatically

  • Do the same for Audio, Videos, and Documents

You're done!

WhatsApp Web Now Lets You Watch Shared YouTube, Facebook Videos Within the App

Restricting WhatsApp from automatically downloading photos or videos is one simple action that can save you both space and data.

How To: Prevent WhatsApp from Automatically Downloading Photos, Videos

WARNING! The SMS spy applications detailed below are intended to be used only for private and legal purposes. They cannot be used for violating anyone's rights, spying or other illegal purposes. User of any of these spying software takes all responsibility for using these applications in any illegal use cases.

Tired of cheating husband? Do you ever suspect your wife or girlfriend is making an affair? Do you suspect your kids are secretly buying stuff they're not supposedly getting? Ever wondered who's that someone trying to interact with your daughter? If yes, then, a remote SMS monitoring spy app for Android or iPhone is all you need.

Below are some of the best and free and paid SMS monitoring apps that you can install on your iPhone, Android and even Symbian and Blackberry device. These remote SMS monitoring mobile apps allow you to remotely spy and monitor text messages, SMS of your cheating husband, kids without their knowledge.

Use IFTTT As A Spy App: Secretly Collect iOS Photos Taken on iPhone, iPad (No Jailbreak)

Best & Free Remote SMS Monitoring App For Android, iPhone

  1. SMS Replicator Android Secret Spy App - Spy, Read Someone's Inbox

    SMS Replicator, one of the most controversial applications for Android, does almost the same with SMS Monitor. It automatically forwards another copy of every successful text message, SMS sent. This SMS spy app works well with Android and can be used to spy on your girlfriend/boyfriend or kids or simply for fun. Simply grab the phone while they are taking bath. Download and install SMS Replicator for Android, configure it with your number. Once done, the app will run in the background and it will forward incoming messages to you.

    Secret SMS ReplicatorIf successfully installed, this SMS remote spy app for Android has no icon so it is impossible to find on phone and will run on its own. The only way to reveal the app is to text the phone with your secret password. Just text "000" to the phone to open the secure settings and choose the forwarding number.

    In my test, it really worked like a charm and felt that uncomfortable feeling of guilt of being able to monitor whoever I want to track. So please use it at your own risk.

    SMS Replicator, being a controversial Android app, cannot be downloaded on PlayStore so you have to look for it on Google or other file hosting sites. I previously hosted it at 110mb.com but apparently the hosting site is already unavailable, and I don't have backup :( Sorry about that.

  2. Mobile Spy - The most advanced, next generation remote SMS spying software for iPhone

    UPDATE: I originally wrote this article back in 2011 so I can no longer vouch if Mobile Spy still works for iPhone, considering the often-updated, walled ecosystem of iOS. However, you can go give it a try, request a demo and see if it's what you need.

    However, the closest alternative I can think of to somehow monitor your kids is to use IFTTT and track every single snap without them knowing (no Jailbreak required). Follow this guide how you can Use IFTTT as a spy app to secretly copy, collect iOS photos on iPhone, iPad.

    Mobile Spy Mobile Spy is your ultimate solution for remote mobile spying needs. This is a subscription-based app, with great handset support, and comes with advanced remote monitoring functions.

    Mobile Spy uses the Internet capabilities of your phone, records your text and call activities, and logs your GPS locations. All data are then quickly uploaded to your Mobile Spy account so that you can monitor the activity of your cheating husband or kids via web. To download, visit Mobile Spy website.

    Remotely Lock, Password-Protect Your Lost/Forgotten Phone Via SMS

    Your two timer husband is less likely to make the same crime again if you install SMS spying/monitoring app on his phone. If you manage a business, your employees are less likely to abuse their SMS privileges.

  3. SMS Monitor - Get instant copy for every SMS, text message sent and received by your husband or kids

    This is one of my favourite apps back in Symbian days (Nokia) so if you have old Symbian device lying around, you can use below's app. Otherwise, you can skip this part.

    SMS MonitorSMS Monitor is a powerful tool for remote sms-monitoring. It was purposely created for security audit and parental control. You'll be able to read every single text message/SMS being sent and received.

    SMS Monitor Key Features:

    - the app secretly sends incoming and outgoing SMS from mobile phone where it is installed to an admin number (you)

    - all messages would be sent in hidden mode

    - application is not shown in phone menu (there's no way for them to jon and uninstall)

    - the app does not keep copies of SMS in sent and reports folders

    - the app is not shown in Task List

    Free SMS Bombing Apps To Send Multiple Messages All At Once

    SMS Monitor perfectly works on any s60v3 and s60v5 Nokia Symbian handsets. Download, sign and install the app called SmsMonitor.v1.0.sis, just google it. Remember to install the app to your kid or husband's phone (of course, do it behind closed doors). After installation the application starts in hidden mode. To prepare it for work, just grab another phone -- your phone (not necessarily Symbian) and text "set admin" (without quotes) to your kid or husband's number. The message should be received and deleted automatically. If successfully installed, you should receive all inbound and outbound SMS/text messages being sent or received by your husband/kid.

If you know any other remote SMS spy app, please email me (or comment below) and I will update the list.

How To: Remotely Spy, Monitor SMS Text Messages on iPhone, Android (UPDATED)

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed to play that awesome YouTube channels containing your favorite music covers straight from your iPhone or iPad? Well, probably, not once.

While consuming those eargasmic treats and performances from your favorite artists is a straight-out simple to do on YouTube's official iOS app, you'll be forced to keep the YouTube app opened or else video playback will stop as soon as you exit or open another app.

How To: Download Specific Parts, Portions Of YouTube Videos

YouTube makes money through ads. So it just makes sense for them to disallow video playback in the background on iPhone or Android to maintain the ad impression count. In the current YouTube iOS app, there's no background playback support and it's always impossible to continuously enjoy YouTube videos while you're busy browsing Safari or chatting a friend on Messenger.

However, if you really need to play YouTube in the background on your iPhone or iPad while giving you the freedom to open other apps, here's a simple trick.

How to add background playback support to YouTube on iPhone, iPad

The quickest way to continuously play YouTube in the background on iOS is to play it in Opera Mini.

Once you have Opera Mini installed, just launch that browser and go to youtube.com and search for your video or you can simply paste the video URL in the address bar.

As soon as your YouTube video begins to play, click the iPhone's home button to exit the app, which normally pauses the media playback. Next, bring in iOS' Control Center and hit on the Play button to continue YouTube's media playback.

You should be able to continue to audio-stream that YouTube video, as seen below:

This trick works well even if your lock screen is active or you open other apps. And the best part? It can auto-play succeeding videos as long as you enabled auto-play in the video player and iPhone's Background Refresh is turned on.

How To: Watch YouTube, Netflix on Sticky, Floating Window While Keeping Other Apps Opened

YouTube, being the second largest search engine in the world, hosts a staggering 5+ billion of videos as of 2018, ranging from user-generated tutorials, guides, music videos, movie trailers and more. With that figure, it's easy to see why the video platform snags a whooping 500+ millions of views daily on smartphones alone.

Easiest Way To Play YouTube in the Background on iPhone, iPad + Auto Play While Keeping Other Apps Opened

The availability of advanced camera capabilities on iPhones truly brings a surprising level of creativity amongst unorthodox filmmakers, inspiring them to skip the traditional, costly production of filmmaking.

Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh’s High Flying Bird probably is the latest from this trend, pushing the limits of iPhone being the new medium in filmmaking. Currently streaming on Netflix, Soderbergh's High Flying Bird once again proved that you don't need the most expensive pieces of equipments to produce high-caliber, full-length films.

Below is a short list of five top-rated Netflix films you won't believe shot on iPhone:

High Flying Bird (2019)

Shot on: iPhone 8

Currently streaming on Netflix, High Flying Bird is an American sports drama film that portrays the sour reality of NBA players and the politics (and drama) they're beholden to. High Flying Bird is the second film in a row by Soderbergh, starred by Zazie Beetz, Melvin Gregg, Sonja Sohn, Zachary Quinto, Glenn Fleshler, Jeryl Prescott, Justin Hurtt-Dunkley, Caleb McLaughlin, Bobbi Bordley, Kyle MacLachlan and Bill Duke.

Unsane (2018)

Shot on: iPhone 7 Plus

Another film shot entirely on iPhone from director Steven Soderbergh, Unsane is a psychological horror film that tells the story of a woman who is convinced she has a stalker and later questioned her own sanity after she was confined to a mental institution against her will.

Starring Claire Foy, Unsane was shot entirely on iPhone 7 Plus in 10 straight days.

Tangerine (2015)

Shot on: iPhone 5S

Tangerine is a 2015 award-winning comedy-drama film directed by Sean Baker that follows a transgender sex worker who discovers she has a cheating boyfriend. The film was shot entirely on iPhone 5S, earning it a sweet spot in film making history.

I Play With the Phrase Each Other (2014)

I Play With the Phrase Each Other is not your typical film. The film was built entirely on conversations and phone calls, creatively enhanced by the technical aspects of iPhone filmmaking.

How To: Watch YouTube, Netflix on Sticky, Floating Window While Keeping Other Apps Opened

I Play With the Phrase Each Other earned the viewing public's nod and won the Special Jury Prize at Slamdance in 2014.

Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

Shot on: iPhone 4S

Searching for Sugar Man is an Oscar award-winning documentary film that tells the story of two die-hard, South African fans of Rodriquez. Rodriguez was a Michigan-based artist whose music had never achieved success in the US but unbeknownst to him he was a huge star in South Africa. Sadly though probably because of the lack of fame, Rodriguez was rumored to be dead, inspiring the two Cape Town fans to embark on their quest to find out whether or not the rumored death holds water.

Searching for Sugar Man wasn't entirely shot on iPhone. It was only toward the end of the filming when director Malik Bendjelloul ran out of money and decided to use iPhone with the help of 8mm Vintage Camera app to finish the job.

What made these movies stand out was not the story itself but how they are made.

5 Top Rated Netflix Films Shot Entirely On iPhone

Near Lock, one of the coolest iPhone apps in the App Store, has just updated their iOS app with full Siri Shortcuts support.

For the uninitiated, Near Lock lets you automatically lock/unlock your Mac when you're near your computer without even touching it. It uses proximity sensor to detect your iPhone's distance and automatically lock your computer if you're away. Once you're near your workplace, Near Lock automatically unlocks your Mac.

Near Lock is really one powerful app that saves you time while keeping all prying eyes at bay, whether at home or at your workplace. You don't have to touch your machine to lock your computer for a quick break or type your password to log back in to your computer.

Now, an even more powerful Near Lock is here with full integration to Shortcuts, a Siri feature introduced last year.

How To Text Blast in iOS - This Shortcut Lets You SMS Bomb Any Number from iPhone

But why bother asking Siri “Lock my Mac” or “Unlock my Computer” when iPhone can automatically lock/unlock your computer when you're near? Isn't it a counterproductive to automation action we expect?

Well, the shortest answer is: Near Lock sometimes miscalculates your iPhone's distance to your Mac. It cannot sometimes automatically unlocks your Mac even if your iPhone sits just beside your computer. And it randomly locks your Mac while you're in the middle of something even if your phone remained just beside your Mac.

Using Siri Shortcuts to Lock, Unlock Your Mac with Near Lock

The unreliability of Near Lock's proximity sensor-based locking/unlocking makes Shortcuts integration a welcome addition to its feature packs. By simply asking Siri “Lock my Mac” or “Unlock my Mac”, that's already a nifty productivity hack.

Here's How To Use Siri To Automatically Lock or Unlock Your Computer

  1. Download and install Near Lock on your iPhone.
  2. Download and install its Mac App. This tiny app simply works as a connector between your iPhone and Mac.

  3. Turn on your Mac's bluetooth and launch Near Lock on your Mac for pairing (you only need to do this once).
  4. Turn on iPhone's bluetooth and open Near Lock on your iPhone. It should instantly scans your computer to pair. Once your Mac is found, it prompts you to enter your Mac's password. This is a one-time setup too.

  5. Now that your Mac and iPhone are successfully paired, click on that tiny Mac icon.

  6. It should bring you this.

    Remember Near Lock's proximity-based auto locking/unlocking unreliability so we will not use that. Leave that un-toggled/disabled as seen above.

  7. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Near Lock > Siri & Search > Shortcuts and define your own Near Lock shortcuts or you can pre-made shortcuts to lock / unlock your Mac.

Send Automated, Scheduled Message on iPhone - No Jailbreak and Third-Party Apps Required

You're done. You can now just say "Hey Siri, lock my computer" or "Unlock my Mac". Here's Siri locking and unlocking my Mac in action:

How To: Automatically Lock, Unlock Your Computer with Siri

DISCLAIMER: This is my first Shortcuts created for the sole purpose of demonstrating how powerful Shortcuts is. With the right mix of macros, it is now possible to text blast any phone number using your iPhone. Please use it at your own risk.

Have you ever thought of pranking your friends by SMS bombing them with unlimited number of text messages? Or you constantly receive text scams and you just wanted to return the favour by text blasting them?

Send Automated, Scheduled Message on iPhone - No Jailbreak and Third-Party Apps Required

Whatever your motivation is, it's now possible to text blast straight from your iPhone with ease.And no need to jailbreak or install a risky, third-party app.

Here's what you need for SMS Flooder for iPhone

  • A Shortcuts app by Apple (requires iOS 12.0 or later)
  • An unlimited SMS subscription from your telco

Here's how to text blast on iPhone - a free SMS bomber for iOS

  1. Add this SMS Blast / Bomber Shortcut
  2. To text blast a phone number, simply go to Shortcuts app library and click on SMS Blast / Bomber

    Clicking on that Shortcut prompts you to add recipient

  3. Add total number of SMS to send

  4. Add your custom text message

Now let the Shortcut do its thing in the background. Go get some popcorn and binge watch on Netflix while you pester that nasty spammer in the background! :D

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I'll probably go to hell for creating such Shortcut, but I find it fun to prank those spammers who keep on sending unsolicited messages.

How To Text Blast in iOS - This Shortcut Lets You SMS Bomb Any Number from iPhone

A once in a lifetime moment unfolds just in front of you. Maybe it's a comet, or that rare humpback whale joyfully leaps out of the water.

So you decided to take your iPhone out and capture that moment. But by the time you've slide your finger to launch your camera app, the whole thing is over. It's gone!

Well, we've all been there. Thanks to our often walled iOS where launching an app can sometimes take five seconds or more.

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And that's exactly what Apple seeks to solve. In the future iteration of iPhone, you can snap just about anything as it happens in front of you even without sliding your finger or unlocking your phone.

Soon You'll Be Able to Snap Photos without Unlocking Your iPhone

Apple recently filed a patent that automatically activates its built-in camera app without even interacting or sliding your lock-screen. The patent describes multiple detection methods which can detect an intent to capture a photograph or a video.

This works by detecting the movements of a device using sensors such as the iPhone’s accelerometer, which can pick up movement, speed, and direction.

New iPhone App Automatically Captures a Photo of Anyone Who Touches Your iDevice

Apple pretty much sums up the inspiration behind this technology. It says:

Mobile devices often include a user’s sensitive personal information… or installed applications that provide quick access to the user’s private data [so] a user often locks these devices using a password or his biometrics.

While this locking capability protects the user from identity theft, having to take the time to enter a password or biometrics to unlock the device may not be desirable when the user requires quick access to an application.

For instance, if the mobile device is locked when the user wishes to capture a fleeting moment on camera, the user may miss the opportunity to do so since he has to take the time to enter his password or biometrics to unlock the device as well as locate and activate the camera application.

Sliding your finger to bring the camera app is one thing. But pointing your device directly to the object while lock screen is active is another thing.

Apple's New Patent Gives iOS Quick Access to Camera, Bypassing Passwords & Biometrics

As what ultra-minimalist Steve Jobs famously once said, we “improve by removing more”. That's one of the guiding maxims of Apple that helped propel its way to greatness in the techno-wizardry scene.

Now, if you're convinced with that guiding principle of Apple, why not apply that same ethos into how you consume your music and movies?

I'm talking about those classic wired surround speakers & subwoofer systems sitting on your desk right now and all its tangled wires glory. While this wired speaker system works just fine, why not free yourself from all these clutter and get that simple joy of wireless you deserve?

How To: Remotely Control Apple Music on Computer, Mac Using iPhone, iPad

If you have a good old non-wireless loudspeaker lying around in the corner, don't throw that just yet. The truth is you can make it "cool" again by repurposing and turning it into a wireless Bluetooth speaker so you can wirelessly fire up your favorite Spotify playlist from the comfort of your fingertips.

Play Music On Your Wired Speaker System Wirelessly from Your iPhone, Android

Step 1 Get your preferred Bluetooth Audio Receiver from your favorite shop like Amazon. I scored a decent Bluetooth Receiver from Lazada for only Php 330.00 ($7). Sweet.

Step 2 Do the one-time setup. These Bluetooth Stereo Receivers usually have this simple setup:

  1. Plug in your speaker's 3.5mm stereo jack into the Bluetooth device
  2. Pair your Bluetooth Audio Receiver with your iPhone, Android or any Bluetooth-enabled devices

You're done!

You can now listen to your favourite music from iTunes or Spotify while you can freely move around.

Image source: nerdtechy.com

How To: Make Any Wired Speaker Into Wireless Bluetooth Speaker for Less than $7

Since its debut, Apple Music has seriously got some mixed reviews both from critics and fans alike. Some discontented Apple fans called it “a nightmare” while others lauded it as a refreshing and a nearly perfect music app.

And if you are one of those Apple fanboys who are convinced that Apple Music is the best music app in the planet, then, you don't want to miss out this one cool interoperability feature of iOS and OSX: wirelessly control, play Apple Music on your PC/Mac using your iPhone or iPad as a remote.


DokRemote: Remotely Control Your iPhone, iPod Music Player Via Web Browser

Spotify Connect is one sought-after, premium-only feature of Spotify that lets you control the music from any phone or tablet using the Spotify app. And if you're looking for Spotify Connect alternative for Apple Music, then, good news is you too can have the same wireless convenience at no cost!

Play Apple Music Through Your Speakers, Mac or Apple TV Using iPhone, iPad as Remote

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to remotely control music playback active on your PC, Mac using your iPhone or iPad as a wireless remote.

Step 1 Download and install Remote on your iPhone or iPad

Step 2 Once installed, enable Home Sharing on your iPhone. You'll be asked to login using your iCloud account. You should see something like this:

Step 3Turn on Home Sharing in iTunes on your computer or Mac. Go to File > Home Sharing > Turn On Home Sharing. Once enabled, your Remote app on your iPhone should automatically retrieve all your music collection and display them on your iDevice.

Use IFTTT As A Spy App: Secretly Copy, Collect iOS Photos on iPhone, iPad (No Jailbreak)

Step 4 Let's test it. Browse through your iTunes library on your Mac and play whatever playlist/albums you've got. As soon as you hit the play button, your iPhone should automatically pick the track actively playing your Mac, as seen on the video below:

You're done! You can keep the music flowing on your Mac from anywhere in your house using your iPhone or iPad as remote.

Works flawless on my iPhone 5 (iOS8.4) and Mac (Yosemite).

Caveats

Apple's official Remote app for iOS only allows you to choose music you've added on your library. The app can't let you search for new songs in the cloud just like what you normally do on Spotify Connect.

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How To: Remotely Control Apple Music on Computer, Mac Using iPhone, iPad

Learn how you can use IFTTT as an iOS photo spy software to secretly copy every single picture taken on your spouse or kid's iPhone, iPad. Automatically get a backup of every iOS photo including selfies, n*des and other inappropriate snaps.

WARNING: The author shall not be held responsible or liable for any misuse of the app detailed on this post. The method outlined below can get you in serious trouble. Do it at your own risk.

Been fiddling around with IFTTT few days ago and I accidentally discovered that you can actually use IFTTT iOS app as a FREE spy app to secretly collect, monitor every single iOS photo being taken on your spouse or daughter's iPhonE, iPad. Good news is: the process is no rocket science and you don't have to spend a penny nor you need to jailbreak your iOS device to accomplish this.

For the uninitiated, IFTTT (If This, Then That) is a massively popular web automation service that allows you to automatically perform certain actions based on your conditions (or triggers). IFTTT termed them as recipes, and there are plenty of recipes flooded out there that should help you save time by automating certain asks. One good example is you can get SMS alerts from specific email addresses, or you can let your device to automatically send screenshots to your email.

Remotely Get a Copy of Every Single iOS Photo Taken on iPhone Without Getting Caught

Step 1 Compel your target to install IFTTT. Sure it won't be a problem as IFTTT has hundreds of awesome recipes up its sleeve. If you know your partner's iTunes account, then, that's a bonus as you can install the IFTTT straight away.

Step 2 Once you've successfully installed IFTTT, best to burry it in the Utilities folder or anywhere that's least accessed.

Step 3 Enable Background App Refresh for IFTTT. This ensures that all new photos are uploaded to IFTTT server when online. Go to Settings > General > Background App Refresh

Step 4 Disable IFTTT's iOS Notification to ensure your target won't get notified every time the recipe runs. Go to Settings > Notifications, select IF and turn off Allow Notifications slider.

Step 5 Create a new recipe with the following trigger and action:

TRIGGER: Any new photo (under iOS Photos channel)
ACTION: Send an email (under Gmail channel)

See video walkthrough below.

Be sure to save your new recipe and you're good to go!

Now, every time a new photo is added on your target's phone, you will automatically get notified via email including the link of the newly added photo, as seen below:

Caveats

a) The target's iPhone or iPad should be connected to the internet for this remote photo spying method to work. Not necessarily connected all the time but should be connected once in a while so IFTTT can push new photos to their server.

b) Data delivery is a bit delayed.

I don't want this recipe to be called as an exploit but rather a heaven-sent functionality you can use to spy on anyone's iPhone and be in the know what your daughter, girlfriend or wife is up to.

Use IFTTT As A Spy App: Secretly Copy, Collect iOS Photos on iPhone, iPad (No Jailbreak)

It appears that the clock timer app in the latest version of iOS is finally working. So if you're wondering how you can add that sleep timer functionality on your Spotify or Apple Music on your iPhone or iPad, then, watch the video below and see how it's done:



This trick also works on other music player or podcast apps like Pandora, Rdio, etc. It basically kills whatever media playback active on your iPhone or iPad once the timer's up.

Use iOS Clock Timer App As Music Sleep Timer for Spotify, Apple Music, etc

Remember the Software Data Cable for Android I mentioned before? That was really a clever tiny piece of  app that every Android user should install. Why? Well, you better see my previous post about it here: How To: Transfer Files From PC To Android Phone Via Wi-Fi (And Vice Versa).

If you ever wished you could do almost the same thing on your iPhone or iPad and make your life a LOT easier, well, then, you've got to check out PushBullet.

PushBullet is your Swiss Army Knife for anything wireless


As a long-time Android user who just switched to iOS, I hate it when moving files & information from my computer to iPhone is such a difficult feat. The same frustration you get when you copy contents from your iPhone to your Mac or Windows PC. And that's the problem that PushBullet is trying to solve.

What is PushBullet

In a nutshell, PushBullet makes it really easy to send files, ebooks, links, and virtually any  media files from one device to another. Whether you're pushing files from your Windows computer to your iPhone, iPad or Android, the process is absolutely painless. All you have to do is to right-click the file or link and select the destination device and voila, you can instantly go right to that file/link by tapping on the notification you get on your Android or iDevice. And no, you don't have to be in the same wireless network to make PushBullet works.

Browse, Access Your Photos From Your iPhone, iPad To Your Computer Over Wi-Fi

And if you have an Android device, you can even automatically “push” all your calls and SMS alerts to your computer so you  won't miss important calls and text messages even if your phone is on silent mode or in another room. Unfortunately for iOS, PushBullet doesn't have this feature yet. But given the more open iOS8.0+ architecture, I believe this feature is currently in the works (check out the paid app Notifyr for iOS, it works almost the same).

Why is it useful?

PushBullet's homepage already has a detailed information on how it works and how it becomes so handy, but allow me to point it out here.

With PushBullet, you can easily:
  • Send files from your mobile device to your computer with one click (or the other way around)
  • Receive calls, SMS and other phone notifications straight on your computer

And if you're on Android, there are whole lot more you can do with PushBullet like being able to reply text messages straight from your computer.

Final Verdict:

PushBullet is a simple yet powerful push notification service designed to make all your internet-connected devices “work” together. It's a godsend  web service that you will surely appreciate especially if you're dealing with multiple devices. PushBullet is currently available for iOS, Android and as a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. There's also an unofficial paid app PushPal for Mac users.

Transfer Large Files Between iPhone and Other iDevices Over Existing Wi-Fi Network

LINK: PushBullet

Must-Have: PushBullet Makes Your iOS, Android and Computer "Work" Together

Drop Photosynth,  AutoStitch Panorama, Cycloramic, or whatever panorama-making apps you used to worship and obsessed with.

Here comes another revolutionary app that will change the way you document, snap your precious travels or events in your life. Think this is another boring Instagram or panorama-shooting apps? That's a big NO.

Bubbli is the next big thing -- here's why (link)



Meet Bubble, a brand new app (currently available for iPhone & iPad) that allows you to create a beautifully stitched, dynamic spherical photo. What I mean with dynamic spherical photo is that the resulting photo is complete with encompassing sides, top, and bottom of the entire scene around you - including sound. Bubbli termed this technology as bubbles.

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Adding to that 3D multimedia feel is the Gyroscope-guided image navigation, where you can virtually span around the image by changing your device's position and orientation. The result? Not just an ordinary 360-degree shot or the streetview-like images of Google Maps; it's a visually stunning, immersive three-dimensional experience straight from your iPhone/iPad.

Demo Bubbles

Let these featured bubbles do the talk (best viewed on your sensor-enabled iPhone/iPad):







Still not impressed? I don't think so. The first time I used the app it got me thinking Bubbli is the next billion-dollar app Facebook or Google will soon snatch. It has all the potential to become the next Instagram or Snapchat and even beyond that.

Using Bubbli

As with any advance photo-snapping apps, there's a bit of trickery you need to acquaint at first. Right after you launch the app, you'll be greeted with a welcome screen with an intro video, detailing what Bubbli is all about and why it's different from standard Panorama.

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The app then serves you a sample bubble, demonstrating you how to get started. Here, you can tap "next" to proceed with registration, which is required so you can store your Bubbles online. I advise you to go download the app and browse through the manuals/demos built into the app. It got a decent collection of video demos on how to capture a perfect spherical photos.

Bubbli Features

Notable goodness of Bubbli includes: the ability to share your bubbles on social media sites. It also got "Featured" section, displaying a grid of public bubbles published by Bubbli users. You may tap on any of them to explore.

The Bad

My only problem with Bubbli is that it consumes quite a lot of resources (at least in my case). Maybe app like this is naturally a resource-hogger? But thinking of how game-changing & revolutionary the idea & the execution of this brilliant idea, I think this is forgivable.



DOWNLOAD: Bubbli

Bubbli Is A Jaw-Dropping App That Lets You Create Streetview-Like, Responsive Spherical Images (iOS)