Making your TV viewing decisions easy


How To Make Your iPhone Look A Lot More Like Android

Kevin PerryComment

If you own an iPhone, chances are you genuinely prefer the feature set of iOS to Android, but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t appreciate having access to some of Android’s best features. This guide walks through setting up the best of both worlds. 

If you don’t want to go all the way and install Android on your iOS device, you still have plenty of ways to bring the best features of Android to iOS. Jailbreaking will really let you go all the way, but it’s definitely not required. Whatever your situation, here are the many ways of making your iOS device look and act more like Android.

Note: If you haven’t jailbroken your phone but you want to (or this post convinces you that you should), be sure to check out our always up-to-date guide to jailbreaking your iOS device.

Lock Screen Widgets

While customising your iOS home screen like Android isn’t really a viable option at the moment, you can do a lot to customise your iOS lock screen and even add widgets. While it may seem daunting at first, it’s actually really easy to do. Following ouriOS lock screen customisation tutorial, I was able to put one together in under 10 minutes. While you’re not going to have the simple flexibility of Android, you will have the ability to add practically anything you can imagine. The more CSS and JavaScript you know (or care to learn) the more you’ll be able to do, but you definitely don’t need any programming skills to make some pretty amazing alterations.






An Unobtrusive Notifications Bar

iOS does a lot of things very, very well, but if there were one place where it fails pretty miserably it’s how it handles notifications. No matter what kind of notification you get, be it SMS or an alarm clock, iOS gives you the same annoying blue dialogue box that interrupts whatever you’re doing. If you’re sick of notifications getting in your way, MobileNotifier is an excellent solution.

This is a jailbreak hack, so you’re out of luck if you’re sticking with a jailed device. If you need a reason to jailbreak, this is a good one.

MobileNotifier handles notifications similarly to the way Android does — by keeping them in an always-accessible drawer and by notifying you without interruption so you can continue doing what you’re doing. When you receive a text message, for example, a little bar will pop up top to let you know that you’ve received a notification. You can leave it up there for as long as you need and dismiss it (or act on it) whenever you want. To see all of your notifications (or to clear them), you just need to double tap the home button and you’ll see your notifications drawer (as well as multi-tasking mode). If you’d like to set up MobileNotifier (and you should), follow our instructions here.





Getting Google Apps

The official Google Mobile app is an obvious choice because it provides easy access to a pretty wide swath of Google’s features (including Google Goggles). You can also grab Google Latitude andGoogle Earth for iOS. If you want to start syncing your Google Docs, GoodReader is an excellent option (and absolutely worth the $US5 cost for all it can do). Finally, you may find you actually prefer Google’s mobile web apps over the native options, so be sure to load them up on your iOS device and bookmark them if you do. You can create a bookmark on your homescreen that acts just like an app, so it may really be a better alternative in some cases.













Enabling Google Sync

Apple’s never been particularly good at over-the-air sync, and they seem dedicated to keeping you tethered to iTunes for the rest of eternity. If you don’t like constantly syncing, paying for MobileMe, or just prefer to sync with Google in the first place, you can enable Google Sync on your iOS device to solve both of those problems.

Google Sync for iOS will let you push your contacts, calendars and mail to your iOS device and it’s really easy to set up. It’s almost identical to setting up MobileMe, except it uses the Microsoft Exchange protocol. Google Sync requires iOS 3.0 or higher, but iOS 4.0 or higher will let you add multiple Exchange accounts (so you’ll want to make sure you’ve upgraded if you need multiple Exchange accounts on your device). If you want to get Google Sync set up, Google has some step-by-step instructions to get you started. Once you have it up and running, you’ll have your Google data pushed and syncing over-the-air to your iOS device just like you would with Android.




Enabling the Wi-Fi Hotspot

Sure, if you’re running iOS 4.3 you can pay $US20 per month for a Wi-Fi hotspot on your phone, but if you jailbreak you can pay $US20 just once to get the same functionality. My-Wi is a $US20 application that you can purchase in the Cydia store and makes nearly every tethering option you can imagine a possibility on your device. All you have to do is search for it in the Cydia store, purchase it, and install it. From there you just launch the app, click the Wi-Fi symbol, and turn your hotspot on.





The Finishing Touches

As vain and trivial as it is, one of my favourite parts about the Gingerbread release of Android is theeffect you get when you turn off the phone. It looks like an old CRT television turning off, which is significantly more fun than the screen simply cutting to black. It’s strange to see Apple forgo the opportunity to smoothly animate between every state of iOS, but they’ve somehow neglected this one. Fortunately, if you jailbreak, you can install this effect very easily.

To get the effect, simply search Cydia for TV Tube Sleep. You’ll need to first pay $US1 to purchase the tweak, but then you’ll be able to install it. Once installed, Cydia will ask to restart Springboard. Once Springboard has restarted, you should be able to see the effect any time your device’s screen shuts off.


iPhone 101: How to Take a Screenshot on Your iPhone

Kevin PerryComment
This tip isn’t exactly a new feature, as it’s been around since day 1 of the iPhone, but it is a handy one that I get asked about quite a bit. If you have something on your iPhones screen that you want to take a picture of to send to someone, just click the Home and Power/Standby button at the same time and release quickly. If you did it correctly, you will hear a camera noise and your screen will flash white briefly.


This will place a screen resolution image into your camera roll that you can now email or upload. This comes in handy for bragging about that latest Doodle Jump or Peggle score, or showing off your current playlist or song choice to your Facebook or Twitter followers.

iPhone 101: How to Send Your Location to Someone Using Maps

Kevin Perry3 Comments
If you’ve ever tried to give someone directions to where you are in a strange city, you know that the task can be a daunting one. Even if it’s in your home town, telling someone else how to get where you are might not be easy if they’re unfamiliar with street names and such. Thankfully the Maps app that ships on your iPhone has the ability to grab your location and send it right to the person of your choice. Here’s how.

First, find you location in the Maps app. To do this, launch Maps and tap on the small arrow in the bottom left corner. This will pinpoint your location as indicated by the glowing blue dot in the center of the screen. This can take a minute or so so be patient. It’s also more accurate outdoors where there is GPS reception.

Once the dot shows up, tap on it to see your current address. Then tap on the blue arrow on the right to have it take you to the page which displays the address and some options for what to do with it.

To share the location, tap on the Share Location button at the bottom.

Then simply choose an email address or MMS number to send the location to and shoot it off. When the recipient gets the message they’ll be able to tap on a link to it and be shown the location in their Maps app. They can then use the app to get directions to your location.


YouTube will have AirPlay support in iOS 4.2

Kevin PerryComment

by Jay Hathaway (RSS feed) Nov 2nd 2010 at 1:30PM


A couple of weeks ago, AirPlay support for YouTube videos mysteriously disappeared from beta versions of iOS 4.2, the latest update to Apple's mobile OS. That meant users couldn't stream YouTube vids from their iPhones and iPads to their desktops and AppleTVs. With the release of the iOS 4.2 golden master to developers yesterday, though, AirPlay is back in the YouTube app, and it's better than ever.

AirPlay now has its own set of controls in the multitasking bar, just like the iPod app. That means you can control your streaming music and videos without leaving your current game of Angry Birds. Aside from YouTube and iPod, AirPlay also works in Safari and iFiles. Don't be alarmed if you can't stream to your AppleTV yet, though. Apple still needs to release an AppleTV software update, which should come out around the time iOS 4.2 is available to the public.

[via MacStories]


10 Essential Websites for iPhone Photographers

Kevin PerryComment

iPhone photography is a growing medium, akin to Lomography in its cult status and the way it champions light-hearted, lo-fi, everyday shooting and off-beat effects.

Like any good burgeoning artistic movement there are already a bunch of brilliant online resources aimed at iPhoneiPhoneiPhone

photographers offering great galleries, talent showcases, app reviews, exhibition news and more.

Read on for 10 great sites from around the web that we’ve bookmarked for iPhone Photographers and photo-lovers alike. Your favorite not on this list? Please share any other great iPhotography sites you like in the comments below.

1. Pixels at an Exhibition

This site describes itself as a “gallery of the most beautiful and ground-breaking iPhone art on the web and home to an ever-increasing number of visionary pioneers in the exploration and development of this nascent and vibrant new medium.” With a daily pic to inspire you, easy browsing by category or a tag word cloud, featured artists and exhibition news, iPhotographers will find lots to like on this site.

2. iPhoneogenic

Run by Edgar Cuevas, an iPhotographer in his own right, iPhoneogenic is a lovely site to visit. Described as “a place for highlighting the iPhoneographer,” it offers enlightening interviews with iPhotographers from all over the world that sometimes include interesting how-tos on certain techniques. It’s always a fascinating read.


EYE’EM is about more than just iPhotography — it’s a hub dedicated to mobile photography as a whole, where “creative minds from all over the world unite to share their images and create a unique stream of mutual inspiration and creative expression.” You can browse through pics, follow photographers you like, search by location and tag words, comment on photos, and share images. You can also jump into the fray by creating your own stream.

4. iPhoneography

Glyn Evans’ great iPhoneography blog covers iPhone photography and videography with app news and reviews (including great info on app updates), photographer showcases, news from the iPhotography community around the world and more. There’s also a user forum for discussions on the topic where you can post questions and help others with answers.

5. The Best Camera

Chase “the-best-camera-is-the-one-that’s-with-you” Jarvis’ worldwide hub for mobile photography is the sister site to the app of the same name, with photos from iPhotographers globally uploaded via the app. Viewing a real-time stream of these images is great fun but you’ll get the most out of this site if you post your own content thanks to the great management and sharing options that are available.

6. Life in LoFi

Life in Lo-Fi is the iPhoneography blog of Marty Yawnick, a freelance graphic designer and iPhotographer. Yawnick offers his readers app news and reviews, links to relevant articles of interest he spots around the web, curated Flickr showcases, some of his personal photography and regular promo code giveaways.

7. iPhoneArt

A relative newcomer, iPhoneArt’s aim is “to build a grassroots mobile art community where professionals, beginners, and developers alike can share and discuss all forms of mobile art.” Despite being in its early days, user-generated content has helped create a huge gallery of more than 6,000 photos. The site includes a “Studio Talk” forum, a robust app review section and the option to sign up to create you own online gallery with a unique username-based URL.

8. The Big Hipstamatic Show

Fans of the titular app should definitely look up its sister-site: The Big Hipstamatic Show. The guys behind Hipstamatic run regular contests for best photos under certain titles. The current contest, for example, is “Fields.” You can view the leaderboard to see the hot contenders or view past entries for a wonderful showcase of iPhotography.

9. iPhone Photo

“Gently” curated by Caleb Kimbrough, iPhone Photo is a very simple site offering an online showcase of what Caleb considers “the best user submitted iPhone photography.” Dating back to July 2009, it’s an eclectic collection with some strong photography.

10. FlickrFlickrFlickr


No, we haven’t gone mad. We know everyone (and their dog) is well aware of the world’s largest photography site, but besides being a place to upload your own pics, it’s a really good resource for iPhotography inspiration, artist discovery and app research.

Many iPhotographers will name the apps they’ve used for specific photos, giving you an idea of what the different photographic options can produce. Did you know there are more than 30 million iPhone photographs on Flickr? You can browse pics by camera model or head for one of the iPhoto groups — there are tons of them and some amazing photography to enjoy.

50 iPhone Apps for Web Designers & Developers

Kevin Perry2 Comments

With a wonderful form factor, design, and functionality, the iPhone is a fantastic gadget for web designers and developers alike. You’ll be pleased to know that a huge range of software is available to make the iPhone (or iPod touch) a perfect companion.

We’ve hand-picked a selection of 50 fantastic applications. To give you a taste, the software covered will allow you to choose a color scheme, detect a font, update your website, manage a database, plan your to-do list, track time, bill a client, write a blog post, or view website statistics.

You’ll be amazed at what an iPhone is capable of!



  • CliqCliq – A gorgeous interface with photo extraction, palette saving and email support. Thoroughly impressive.
  • Palettes – A productivity tool for creating and maintaining color palettes. You can grab colors from photographs, websites, or add them manually.
  • ColorExpert – A similar app, capable of suggesting a colour scheme based upon a photograph or a chosen shade.
  • Brushes – A powerful painting app with an advanced color picker, several realistic brushes, and extreme zooming. Great for throwing down a few colors for ideas.
  • ColorSplash – Quickly and easily give photographs a dramatic feel by isolating a particular section of color.
  • HEX RGB Colors Guide – Easy reference to HEX and RGB color codes – really useful.


Fonts & Typography

  • FontShuffle (App Store) – A simple app for browsing and searching a database of different fonts.
  • WhatTheFont – Take a picture of a font and have it uploaded to the web and analyzed in seconds to discover it’s name. Surprisingly accurate.


Coding & Development

  • FTP On The Go – Allows you to log in to an FTP server, edit and modify files. Incredible functionality for an iPhone!
  • PHP Cheat Sheet (App Store) – A simple collection of PHP syntax to offer a refresher course in the language.
  • PHP Ref (App Store) – A quick reference “for all standard 5149 PHP functions”. Very thorough.
  • RegEx Cheat Sheet – A pocket guide for regular expressions, something we all need a hand with from time-to-time.



  • iMy – A full MySQL client for the iPhone for running custom database queries, saving of queries and exporting of results to Google spreadsheets.
  • MobileCan – A full PostgreSQL client for the iPhone for running custom database queries.
  • MySQL Cheat Sheet (App Store) – A guide to the inner workings of MySQL in your pocket.
  • Wireless Database Viewer – Another tool for viewing various types of database on your iPhone. Apparently it supports MS Access, MS Excel, Oracle, SQL Server, FoxPro, dBase, and any ODBC compliant database.


Organize & Plan

  • OmniFocus – Brings task management to your fingertips, and has a powerful location feature for letting you know what needs doing in your immediate vicinity!
  • Things – Sync with the desktop version and manage your tasks in the coolest to-do list around.
  • Google Calendar – Check your Google Calendar schedule from anywhere, with various views for displaying appointments.
  • iBlueSky – A brainstorming application for getting ideas out of your head and into your iPhone.
  • Bento – A fantastic personal database on-the-go, capable of managing any information you throw at it.


Time Tracking & Billing

  • Jobs – Creating time sheets has never been simpler – add a job name, then press play to start tracking. Powerful, with no fluff.
  • FreshBooks for iPhone – Track time on the go, then bill your clients. It’s as simple as that. Fully integrated with FreshBooks.
  • Daylite Touch – A business productivity manager designed as a companion to Daylite on the Mac.
  • iTimeSheet – Quickly record your daily activities, noting down which tasks took up various amounts of your time.
  • TimeJot (App Store) – A time-based journal for exercise, meditating, or – most appropriately – tracking time spend on different clients, projects, or jobs.



  • BlogPress – A rich text editor, landscape editing, photo uploading and posting to multiple types of blog software.
  • WordPress – The official WordPress iPhone app, for writing drafts and publishing on-the-go.
  • iBlogger – A slightly confusing interface, but compatibility with a wide range of blog software.
  • Pingle – A client for the Ping.FM social networking aggregator service, updating your status in several places at once.


Website Monitoring

  • Ego – A delicious looking app for tracking Google Analytics, Twitter followers, RSS subscribers and Google Analytics.
  • OSCStats (App Store) – Useful for checking statistics and sales for an OSCommerce system.
  • Network Utility – Monitor server status and perform ping, portscan and WHOIS lookups from your phone.
  • Analytics App – A dedicated application for monitoring Google Analytics data, with a range of different views.
  • Mint Stats (App Store) – A simple tool for viewing a summary of visitors through a Mint installation.



  • Rulerplus – Lets you take measurements quickly and easily, and can be extended to make a longer ruler. We all know size matters…
  • Scale Rule – A simple caliper for estimating the scale and size of an object.
  • Caliper – Multi touch control for moving upper and lower caliper jaws simultaneously. Imperial and metric supported.
  • RulerPhone – A clever take on a ruler application which uses any credit card to provide a means for offering scale.


File Sharing

  • Air Sharing – Mount your iPhone or iPod touch as a wireless drive on any computer, drag-and-drop files, and view them on your device.
  • Files – Allowing you to store and view files on your iPhone, secure access with a password, and view all major file types.
  • ReaddleDocs – Capable of grabbing documents from almost any source you can imagine: computers, web sites, email attachments, MobileMe iDisk, online file storage apps and even other iPhones.
  • Quickoffice Files – A simple way to view Microsoft Office documents on your iPhone.
  • ZumoDrive (App Store) – A basic application for accessing your Zumo Drive remotely.


Other Utilities


  • Full Screen Web Browser (App Store) – A good app to bear in mind when you want a full-screen browsing experience.
  • NetNewsWire – One of the simplest native iPhone apps for keeping up to date with RSS news. Vital for any self-respecting designer!
  • Reader (App Store) – Another good application for subscribing to various sources of RSS news (including Google Reader).
  • Tweetie – A very popular iPhone Twitter client for keeping up-to-date with friends and colleagues.
  • Twitteriffic – The original and, with new features in v2.0, arguably the best Twitter client in the App Store. Free for an ad-supported version.
  • QAsvn (App Store) – Ending on a technical note, QAsvn allows you to monitor a subversion repository for changes.

FreeAppAlert Notifies You When For-Pay iPhone Apps Become Free

Kevin Perry1 Comment
 There are thousands and thousands of iPhone applications, but you hardly have time to keep up with their pricing changes, let alone new releases. The FreeAppAlert web service will keep you updated. You can set up FreeAppAlert’s site to notify you via email, twitter, or RSS about the newest free iPhone apps, including those making the jump from behind a pay wall. If you don’t want to be bothered with notifications, you can browse the site by date when you’re in the mood to stock up on new apps. If you find a gem in the archives, make sure to throw a link in the comments to share the wealth. Visit - FreeAppAlert

There are thousands and thousands of iPhone applications, but you hardly have time to keep up with their pricing changes, let alone new releases. The FreeAppAlert web service will keep you updated. You can set up FreeAppAlert’s site to notify you via email, twitter, or RSS about the newest free iPhone apps, including those making the jump from behind a pay wall. If you don’t want to be bothered with notifications, you can browse the site by date when you’re in the mood to stock up on new apps. If you find a gem in the archives, make sure to throw a link in the comments to share the wealth. Visit - FreeAppAlert