HOW TO define your own iOS custom ringtone

Nowadays most people mostly uses the default ringtones coming in the iOS, being most of them pretty good. But for all those who would like to have a more customized ringtone, and don’t want to pay twice in iTunes for the song and the ringtone, it is possible to make your own in few and easy steps.

You only need to follow these steps in your iTunes program (PC or Mac version):

1) Open your iTunes (PC/Mac) and choose the song from which you would like to make your own ringtone. As it must be 30 seconds maximum length; we will have to crop it, so listening several times to choose the section of it which you like more.

2) Now, right-click on the song, select ‘Get Info’, and then select the ‘Options’ tab. There, you will see Start and Stop timing settings, and it is there where you will select/define the begin and end time position (in seconds) for your custom ringtone. Once selected, click ‘OK’ to close the window.

iOS_ringtone_1

3) Next step will be to create an AAC version of the song, which is pretty easy as you only need to right-click on it and select ‘Create AAC Version’. Then, you will have two songs with the same name, but one of only 30 seconds length; which I recommend you to change its name as I did in this example to don’t confuse it with the full length song:

iOS_ringtone_2

And before continuing, you can de-selecting the ‘Start’ and ‘Stop’ settings in the original song to listen it fully next time.

By the way, if you get an error due your song still has DRM protection on it (as it was purchased before 2009 in old iTunes), you can follow this Apple tutorial to get the free-DRM version.

4) To be able to use it as ringtone, we need to find the file and rename it. On Mac you can select ‘Show in Finder’, and in PC you can right-click on the song and click on ‘Show in Windows Explorer’:

iOS_ringtone_3

Then, with a simply right-click on the file, and selecting ‘rename’, you can change its file extension from .m4a to .m4r.

iOS_ringtone_4

5) And as final step, you do a double left-click on the ringtone file, and your custom ringtone (with .m4r extension) will be automatically added to your iTunes Tones library:

iOS_ringtone_5

Then, it is ready to be added to your iPhone/iPad next time that you synchronize them. Pretty easy! 😉

HOW TO easily recalibrate your iPhone6 HOME button

Even a Second generation of Home/Touch ID button has been introduced since iPhone5s, some users still have sometimes little issues with it, arguing wrong or bad behavior and usually forcing them go to nearest Apple Store to get some quick Genius technical support.

TouchID

It is true that with its launch release 1st gen at 2014, there were some initial complaints from first users, but since the last two years, Apple has improved significantly the HW and SW fingerprint recognition of it.

As you can see, although quite small (taking into account compressed technology on it), it’s not a simple push button, but a quite complex electromechanical embedded component composed by a 500ppi resolution capacitive sensor, which can scan sub-epidermal skin layers and offers 360° readability:

iPhone6_TouchID

Actually, it’s not always necessary go to an Apple Store or send it to Apple Repair Service, as you can first try the following re-calibration procedure.

The process is quite straightforward:

  1. Launch one of the native iOS8 apps from your iPhone6; let’s use newest Health app.
  2. Keep the app open, then push the Power button until the shutdown slider appears.
  3. Once there, and keeping always pressed the Power button, push and keep pushing the Home button until the iPhone screens turns off.
  4. Now, only wait until the device reboots and try yourself again if the behavior of the Home button improved.

If it didn’t improve as you expected, maybe the issue is slightly worse; you can also try to carefully clean the Metal ring border of the Home button just in case some dust accumulated on it could be blocking the pushing mechanism.

Then, if none of these tips worked, you could need to bring it to an Apple Official Repair Service; remember to check first if it’s still inside official warranty period; also something easily to check in the Apple Warranty Status official web.

HOW TO Improve your WiFi coverage simply reorienting your router

Nowadays, all of us relies on wireless connectivity everywhere we go: at home, at office, at school, and also at shops and streets while we are walking.

WiFi_Radiation

It is true that for wireless cellular coverage there is not so much that we can do to avoid what are called as “Dark Spots“, as we cannot change the topology of the mobile cellular data network, only move ourselves in the street to find out the best place with higher cellular reception looking the coverage bars changing in our smartphone.

But our home, the situation is different. Most of the times we lose 2.4GHz/5GHz wireless coverage or simply we don’t get the maximum throughput from our WiFi routers simple because they are not in the ideal location by few inches, or even by wrong orientation (remember that most of the regular current market wireless routers have embedded antennas instead of external whip antennas, so you cannot change the antenna orientation neither their angle if you don’t simply re-orient the whole router, which in fact is what we are proposing your here).

Well, in the following video you will be able to see a simulation of the WiFi RF signals propagating inside an apartment example, and how moving slightly the router which transmit them, you can reach further rooms or far corners of it:

It shows you as slightly moving few inches your wireless router (represented as the Bottom-Right GREEN DOT) from its position/orientation, you can reach even the further rooms and Dark corners WiFi coverage areas in your apartment.

Of course, each one of us has a different appartment floorplan, and thanks to WiFi Solver FDTD, an Android app developed by Jason Cole, you can also upload your own floorplan on it and simulate the coverage at home.

HOW TO create and assign custom vibration alerts on iPhone

This is a hidden but very useful and fun iOS feature which allow you to create personalized vibration patterns for incoming messages and Calls.

iOS_Custom_Vibrate

The setting is a little bit hidden inside the iOS Settings, but you can find it easily following these steps:

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on Sounds.
  3. Under the Sounds and Vibration Patterns section, choose on which one would you like to use a custom vibration, for instance tap on Ringtone.
  4. Then, scroll up to the top of the screen and tap on Vibration, just above the regular ringtones section.
  5. Now, scroll down until Custom and  tap on Create New Vibration.
  6. So, here you will be able to make your own custom Vibration pattern, only tap the center of the screen in the sequence you want the vibration to be. (You can also hold your finger down for a continuous vibration, and Lifting it up will create a pause on it).
  7. Once done, tap on Stop to finish.
  8. You can now play it, and if you like it, only tap on Save to finish the creation process.
  9. Finally, go back to previous settings screen and assign it as your vibration custom pattern for the alert that you wish.
  10. Congratulations! It’s done, now you have your own custom Vibration Pattern. 😉

Moreover, you can assign your new Vibration custom pattern to any of your contacts, just tap Edit and then tap Vibration on them.

How to import to MAC/Windows the iOS edited images without losing the changes

This has been a big debate for many users since Apple introduced the first image editing feature in their native iOS Photo app (or Camera roll). At that time was on iOS6 and the first tool was for ‘Cropping’ the shots made with native camera.

iOS8_Photos

Nowadays, with iOS8, we can further edit our shots directly from Photos app with much more filters and even HDR, but the thing is that changes made on the images will be lost once they are imported/synchronized to OS X or Windows PC because those changes are not permanent applied to the pictures but stored in a sidecar file based on Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP), and with AAE extension.

So, if you want to import your pictures, the official feedback from Apple is to use a proprietary application installed in your computers which can support that sidecar XMP, and they are the following as examples:

  • iPhoto 9.5 or later
  • iPhoto for iOS
  • Aperture 3 or later
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements

The problem is that most of them are discontinued, or are very expensive Professional photo/video editing tools and with features which a regular user only looking to import their pictures doesn’t need at all.

Moreover, it seems that for Apple, this is not a ‘bug’, but a ‘feature’, so it will pass long time before it is changed, if it is changed at all in the future (something that I really doubt today).

After long research I found a couple of very useful workarounds (each one with PRO’s and Drawbacks):

  1. First one is based on open every single edited photo (one-by-one) with a thirty party dedicated iOS photo editing app and re-save it without adding any extra modifications. This will create a copy in your Camera Roll with the XMP/AAE changes already applied on them, so later you will only need to delete the original photos and import the re-saved versions.
  2. Second option is to use some kind of transferring files iOS app to send your Camera Roll photos to your computer, but keeping the modifications stored on the sidecar AAE file, which is the tricky part, because the thirty party transferring app must support that.

For both cases I find out an app which really makes an excellent job without impacting the Quality neither Compression ratio in the Photos stored JPG images:

1) Darkroom – Photo Editor (free): This Photo editor makes a perfect job opening native edited photos and re-saving the photos to keep the changes, it is incredible fast and it has a very small app size (which makes it faster). Moreover, in case you could need it, it can also edit your pictures and has very nice features/filters, Bergen Co. developer studio made a very good job (remember that the app is 100% add-free; with only “Curves” extra-photo editing feature as possible In-App purchase if you wish; but you don’t need it for our case).

Of course, this is more tedious than a direct transfer, but it is a fully free solution, and works!

DarkRoom

2) Photo Transfer App ($2.99): This is a wireless transfer iOS app that will allow you to transfer wirelessly all your Photos app modified photos (and videos) without losing the changes neither quality to/from your computer. You can do it with a free MAC/PC dedicated application, or even directly from your web browser (which I tried and works flawlessly well). I must to admit that ERClab, LLC. studio made a wonderful job and this app is really what you were looking for; but in this case it is not free.

PhotoTransferApp

Anyhow, I don’t find the price excessive at all, in fact it is a real worth for your iOS device app collection because the app works smoothly, the company provides very good support and it solves flawlessly this “lack feature” that iOS has today up to version v9.3.2 (and only Apple knows until then as it began since iOS6 and remains).

I don’t recommend anybody to invest hours and hours surfing inside Apple Store to find the perfect Photo Editing and/or Transfer app (as I deeply did) only to save a couple of bucks (if that could be the case, because maybe there is not any better transferring app available as far as I know); but use any of these those approaches based in my long research and deep trial, which works awesome well!

Before I finish, it is true that some colleagues firstly recommended me to use intermediate Cloud web-based solutions as ‘iCloud’, ‘Dropbox’,…, or sending me every single picture first by e-mail and then re-downloading them to my computer; but that was not what I was looking for, and also more tiring than any of these two approaches presented here.

I hope you find it as useful as they were for me 😉