¶ When You Should Upgrade to iOS 13 [UPDATED]

iOS 13 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, September 19th. But you should wait until September 30th 24th to update your iOS devices to iOS 13, if possible.

Why? Because Apple’s development cycle of iOS 13 has been, well, all over the map this summer. The betas over the summer have been particularly shaky, and it sounds like the public release of iOS 13.0 will have some hiccups in it. From John Gruber’s iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro review, regarding iOS 13:

I ran into a handful of bugs over the last week. One time Messages completely froze, and the phone started getting very warm. Force quitting Messages didn’t help — I had to power-cycle the phone to get Messages working again. Several times the keyboard in Messages went entirely white. I could actually still type, but I couldn’t see the keys I was pressing. With iOS 13.1 coming just 10 days after iPhone 11 units get into customer hands, I don’t see the point in belaboring this, but 13.1 needs to be a lot more stable than 13.0. 13.0 feels like a late stage beta.

The most notable sign that something was amiss for the initial launch of iOS 13 was right after iOS 13 beta 8, when Apple released iOS 13.1 beta 1. I noticed many of my developer friends scratching their heads over that one. Also, a number of features that had been pulled in the later iOS 13 betas had returned for the first beta of iOS 13.1.

On top of all that, when Apple announced iOS 13 would be available on September 19th, they simultaneously announced that iOS 13.1 and iPadOS would be available just 11 5 days later on September 30th 24th. iPadOS will never see a public release of 13.0, instead it will pass Go and collect a higher version number with 13.1.

Apple was put between a rock and a hard place. New iPhone hardware means that the new version of iOS needs to ship in tandem. And the full feature set of iOS 13 was running behind schedule. So they made a call — and I believe it is the correct call — to strip out the extremely buggy features, get 13.0 usable enough for the iPhone launch, and follow it up with a 13.1 release just over under a week later. I maybe would have held off on releasing 13.0 to existing devices and just have shipped it on the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, but I imagine watchOS 6 being tied to the iOS 13 made that unavoidable. People with existing iPhones will still buy new Apple Watches on launch day.

My Advice

I think the only reason you should endeavor to run iOS 13.0 is if you buy one of the new iPhones 11/11 Pro, or a new Apple Watch Series 5. For the former, iOS 13 will come pre-installed, and for the latter, it will have watchOS 6 and probably needs iOS 13 on the iPhone it will be paired to.

For everyone else with existing iPhones, just wait for iOS 13.1 on September 30th 24th. It is likely to be far less buggy, and will have more of the features initially promised for iOS 13. Finally, no matter when you upgrade your device, make sure you have a backup.

[UPDATE]: Apple has moved up the release date of iOS 13.1 and iPad OS from September 30th to September 24th. This article has been updated to reflect that.

¶ Twitterrific 6 for iOS Tailors Twitter Your Way

When my friends at The Iconfactory said that Twitterrific 5 on iOS was released 6 years ago and has had 86 free updates, I almost didn’t believe them. There’s simply no way Twitterrific 5 is 6 years old. Looking back at my own review confirmed its vintage.

Let’s put this in perspective. 6 years ago this site had a different name and domain, iOS 7’s new design language hadn't yet been revealed, and iPhones still had tiny screens.

Twitterrific has seen a lot of changes in that time. The design was completely overhauled for iOS 7 and tweaked frequently to stay fresh, features have ebbed and flowed as Twitter has given and taken away, and like a Phoenix from the ashes Twitterrific made its triumphant return to the Mac.

Today is the next perch in Ollie’s journey with the release of Twitterrific 6.0 for iOS. This new version of Twitterrific is CHOCK-full of experience enhancements that make Twitter usable and — dare I say — enjoyable.

Media Matters

A great deal of the improvements are related to media handling. Videos and GIFs now silently autoplay in the timeline and direct message threads. If they do contain sound, a speaker icon is shown so you aren’t surprised if you tap it. Also, autoplay can be disabled in the settings if you prefer that.

Image thumbnails now display at the photo’s native aspect ratio. If you like to add GIFs to your tweets, there is a new GIF button in the composer that integrates with GIPHY. I’m fond of the built-in filters for Reactions, Memes, and Swear Trek. Is that a buffet? Not for long.

Speaking of the composer, it’s media capabilities have been revamped. Now you can tap the thumbnail for attached media to see it larger and add accessibility descriptions — even to videos and GIFs. And you can swipe between multiple attachments to quickly add descriptions.

Twitterrific also embraces Twitter’s new ability to add media to tweets that contain quote tweets, as well as viewing said tweets properly.

Twitter Your Way

Twitterrific has always offered customizations to its experience, leaning heavily into one of its tag lines: Twitter your way. Version 6 continues that theme with three new home screen icon choices (Crow, Dove, and Neon — I have been loving Neon during the beta), five new themes (Dove, Akikiki, Puffin, Falcon, and Parakeet, twelve new “Olliemoji” iMessage stickers, a new font, and a few new display customizations.

Pricing

After 86 free updates over 6 years to Twitterrific 5, there are naturally some long overdue changes to the app’s pricing to continue its development — sort of.

No matter what, all features are available for free, but are subsidized with banner ads from The Iconfactory’s own ad network. Users at the free tier will also see reminders for the next level of supporting development — subscriptions.

A monthly or yearly subscription (99¢ and $9.99, respectively) will remove the banner ads and subscription reminders during the length of the subscription. There are some scenarios where recent purchasers of version 5 or users of its Tip Jar feature get a grace period. The Iconfactory has a support article outlining the scenarios.

For those who are not fond of the current app trend of subscriptions there is, thankfully, a one-time “Forever” option priced at $29.99 USD. The quote marks around “Forever” are in the app’s official documentation, and I don’t think it means forever. I would assume it means the lifespan of version 6. Which, if that is the case, shouldn’t be a concern given the longevity of version 5.

Flying Into the Future

It's no secret to users of third-party Twitter clients that Twitter has been hostile to these apps over the past years. Yet a few bravely remain to make Twitter a more delightful place on the internet to connect at. The Iconfactory has poured a lot of love into Twitterrific for the past 10+ years, and it’s encouraging to see them continue to push the needle forward in the face of adversity.

I have no doubt that as long as Twitter continues to allow its existence, and it has a dedicated user base willing to put their money where their tweets are, Twitterrific will continue to soar for years to come. That may seem like a tall order, but the people at The Iconfactory have faced overwhelming odds in the past and persevered, and I know they can continue to do so — as long as we stand alongside them.

How to quickly fix sideways video clips on iPhone or iPad

Serenity Caldwell on iMore has a fantastic tip on how to rotate videos on an iOS device:

This one's easy to miss, but a must-have for filming fiends: iMovie for iOS is a free app for more complex video editing projects, but it also offers a quick-fix extenison in Photos for iOS. This extension lets you trim a clip, silence it, or add filters, text, or music — but it also lets you flip video with a gesture.

The rest of the article has a step-by-step guide worth checking out. This tip was news to me, but it’ll be invaluable for those times when my iPhone doesn’t orient itself before I hit record.

Iconfactory's Spooky Sticker Packs

Halloween has always been a favorite festivity of mine. My parents would go all-out for Halloween parties for me and my friends when I was a kid. I loved dressing up, gathering up a horde of candy, and going to local science museum which transformed into a haunted house every year. Halloween carries a lot of traditions for me.

One tradition I have come to appreciate over the years is when The Iconfactory dresses up its website to celebrate the spookiest of holidays. This year the gang has gone further by dressing up iMessage with a trick-or-treat bucket’s worth of Spooky Sticker Packs.

Ravenswood, Macabre, & Spook On

First up are Ravenswood, Macabre, & Spook On. These packs feature ghastly portraits from Ravenswood Manor, familiar faces of this frightening holiday, and spooky stickers that are eerily realistic with their peeled edges.

All three packs are 99¢ when purchased separately, or $1.99 when purchased in a bundle. As of this writing, the bundle was still in review with iTunes.

BoneHeadz

Have you ever wondered what lies beneath the yellow skin of the smiley emojis? BoneHeadz goes beneath the surface to reveal the horrors and hilarity underneath! This pack makes no bones about it and can be yours for 99¢.

Hack-O-Lantern

As I mentioned before, I love traditions around this time of year and there isn’t a tradition more well known than carving a Jack-O-Lantern. It is something my family does every year and it is a fond memory of carving out a pumpkin with my mom.

I don’t always get to see mom around Halloween, and now we can have fun long distance with Hack-O-Lantern. It’s easy as pumpkin pie to do: pick a pumpkin and get hacking with various carvings and accessories. Scooping out the guts of an innocent pumpkin will run $1.99, which is cheaper than going to the pumpkin patch.

Lore

I think I’ve saved the best for last. One of my favorite podcasts the past year or so has been Lore. Each episode is thrilling and draws you in deep right before…the end, mwahaha! Seriously, though, Lore is amazing and you should listen to it. The Iconfactory and Lore have teamed up for hunt of the peculiar with a special Lore sticker pack. The artwork is amazing and fits right in with the podcast, so be sure to get this pack for $1.99…before it gets you.

Wallpapers

Each of these sticker packs comes with an wallpaper for your iPhone. To get the wallpaper, scroll down in the sticker pack and tap the pack’s name, then Save Wallpaper. These wallpapers are the perfect decorations for your home screen.

Vanishing Like the Invisible Man

It’s worth noting that most of these sticker packs are limited editions. When October is gone, they will no longer be available to purchase. That said, when you purchase them, you can use them year-round, as they’ll still be available on your device and for re-downloading.

BoneHeadz and Lore will be "sticking" around all year long.

The Iconfactory is making all sorts of amazing Stickers for iMessage, so be sure to grab these limited edition packs, and check out their other packs, as well.

Pedometer++ 2.3

Today Underscore David Smith released an update to Pedometer++ that I've been waiting a while for. Thankfully, I've been beta testing it for a while.

Version 2.3 is entirely focused around building a rich and robust integration between the Apple Watch and iPhone. Letting you track your steps and reach your step goal in a much more complete way. The update focuses around 3 main features: data sync, complications and a workout mode.

David has created a clever system that intelligently merges step count data between the Apple Watch and iPhone based on which device is giving the best data in a given moment. This is in contrast to how Apple does it, where the Health app goes by device priority, falling back to the second device in a list only if the first is unavailable.

In my testing, David's approach seems to paint a terrifically accurate picture of overall step data in a day.

The watch face complications can be nice, but I find I prefer other complications and still don't mind swiping up the app's Glance to get a peek at my progress.

Finally, Pedometer++ adds a workout mode as an alternative to the Watch's included Workout app. It works well, and the only thing I'd like to see added is a mileage goal, as I use that in the Workout app to receive a tap at the halfway point, so I know when I should turn around and head home.

Pedometer++ is free on the App Store and is ad-supported, but David includes a tip jar with varying price points in the settings to remove the ads. Any tip amount will remove the ads. I suggest going for the Amazing tip, because the app is just that good.

Encrypted iTunes Backups

With iOS 9's release just a few hours away, it seems like a good time to mention that it is always a great idea to make a backup (or two) of your iOS device. More than likely, the upgrade will go smoothly for you, but in the odd chance that it doesn't, you'll be glad to have a backup (or two) handy.

I actually take two backups. The first I do is an iCloud backup via Settings > iCloud > Backup. My iOS devices are also set to do an iCloud backup when they are charging and connected to Wi-Fi, so they tend to backup every night.

But my preferred backup before updating iOS or getting a new device is an Encrypted iTunes backup. By default, iTunes does not encrypt backups. You have to enable it in iTunes' preferences. While any backup is better than no backup, there are some advantages to the encrypted variety.

  • Your data is encrypted, which is always a good thing.
  • It is a more complete backup, as it includes:
    • Your saved passwords
    • Wi-Fi settings
    • Website history
    • Health data

I'll tell you right now, the saving of Wi-Fi settings alone is worth it, but I also think retaining your Health data is extremely worth it.

While iCloud backups save me day-to-day (and are also encrypted), I like the iTunes backups because if you need to do a restore, you'll save yourself a lot of time by doing it over the USB Lightning cable than over Wi-Fi with iCloud.

So go make your backups, and happy updating!

1Password 5.2 for iOS & 5.1 for Mac

Speaking of app updates, today we at AgileBits released a couple awesome updates for iOS and Mac today.

1Password 5.2 for iOS brought home the awesomesauce by adding a nifty Login Creator to help build Login items properly. It also added a Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) feature for Pro owners helping strengthen up security for sites that offer. Two-step verification is a great thing and 1Password is aiming to make it easy to use and understand.

1Password 5.1 for Mac focuses on sync — both behind the scenes and on stage. A lot of code was optimized to make sync the best it has ever been (iOS benefitted from this in shared code, as well) and the Sync interface in Preferences has been completely re-done to make setting up sync as easy as selecting a vault and choosing a service from a drop down list.

Both updates are free to existing owners of 1Password 5 on the respective platforms. Everyone on the team poured a lot of effort into these releases, so if you see any of us on Twitter, be sure to send an emoji high-five.

Twitterrific 5.9 — The Photography Update

Twitterrific is an app that is near and dear to my heart, as I have been using since day one of being on Twitter (nearly 7 years!). Over the years I have developed a wonderful friendship with some of the folks at The Iconfactory. As such, I've been a beta tester for a good long while, and the 5.9 update has been particularly difficult to keep quiet as I've just wanted to scream about its awesomeness from the mountains.

Yeah yeah, there aren't mountains in the Great Plains, so maybe just a small hill. I digress.

I love photos. Twitterrific 5.9 is all about photos. You can now add mutliple photos (up to 4) using Twitter's photo service, and you can view photos (even multiple photos) from just about any service you can link to. Best of all, Instagram photos now load in Twitterrific's photo viewer without having to load the mobile site.

Videos also get a nice treatment with an improved viewer with playback controls, as well as animated GIFs. My colleagues at work and I basically live off GIFs, so this is extremely welcome.

Twitterrific 5.9 is a free update in the App Store, and it really is the most delightful Twitter app out there. If you love simplicity without sacrificing features, you need to get acquainted with Twitterrific.

Be sure to check out The Iconfactory's feature overview video for Twitterrific 5.9, and either leave or update a review on the App Store.

How to Setup Medical ID with iOS 8's Health App

Friend of the site Stephen Hackett goes over the benefits of setting up Medical ID in the new Health app on iOS 8. My wife and I also set this up on our new iPhones almost right away.

I, for one, am very happy to see Apple offer an easy-to-access solution such as this for something that is so important. And because it is now available on every iPhone running iOS 8, I would guess it won't take long for many medical personnel to become familiar with Medical ID's existence.