iPhone Xs blog postings

iPhone Xs Postings

Earliest: October 3, 2018Latest: September 25, 2019Total: 51
September 25, 2019

Great Feature of iOS 13

Last week Apple shipped iOS 13. If you haven't upgraded - you should! There's a lot of cool features. In my option, the Best Feature of the new update is the Silence Unknown Callers:

i O S Phone Feature

Silence unknown callers

A new setting protects users from unknown and spam callers. When the setting is turned on, iOS uses Siri intelligence to allow calls to ring your phone from numbers in Contacts, Mail, and Messages. All other calls are automatically sent to voicemail.

No More Interruptions

With this feature enabled, you won't get interrupted by call centers trying to scam you by using spoof numbers.

This is very useful when you're shooting video - as your video won't be stopped because of these annoying calls!

This Really Works!

Missed Calls
Lots of Missed Calls!

Simple Steps to Turn This On

Here's how to enable it:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select Phone (or Search for Phone in the Settings section - select the result with the icon of a white phone and green background.)
  3. You may need to scroll to where you?ll see ?Silence Unknown Callers?
  4. Turn it on by clicking the control to the right. Green means it?s on!

No more Spoof phone calls!

One More Thing

If you have a home alarm service, such as ADT, make sure to put their phone number in your contact list. You don't want to miss those calls.

Simply call the alarm company and they will let you know what "caller id" number they use when they need to reach you.

September 18, 2019

Best iPhone XS Max Tips

This week the iPhone 11 ships which will mean that the iPhone XS Max is a legacy device. In fact, Apple is no longer selling the iPhone XS Max, only the iPhone Xr is left in that generation.

I thought I look back at the top ten iPhone XS Max post that I created over the past year. I have certainly learned a lot about the phone.

i Phone X S Max Quote

CNET has a great YouTube video about this is said just about every iPhone Event.

Top Ten iPhone XS Max Posts

In no particular order, here are my favorite iPhone XS Max posts:

  1. Portrait Mode - A look at some of the best ways to use the Portrait mode on the iPhone.
  2. No More Headphone Jack - The iPhone XS Max is the first phone device that I don't have a headphone jack. Some tips and tricks about headphone jack free.
  3. 802.11ac WiFi - Some information about the latest WiFi standards that Apple supports.
  4. iPhone Video Capture - Learn about the video capture capabilities and some cool tricks about transforming a video frame to a photo.
  5. True Depth Camera - Learn some tips and tricks about the FaceTime camera.
  6. Qi Charger - Wireless charging is very cool. But Is it the fastest way to charge the phone? Learn the power capabilities of the Qi Charger.
  7. Compass - Hardly anyone uses the compass. This post in March looks at how the Compass has changed from previous iPhone models.
  8. iPhone XS Max Microphones - Understand the locations of the microphones on the iPhone XS Max.
  9. A12 Bionic chip - Learn all about the capabilities of the A12 Bionic chip and how you can get the most benefits of the changes.
  10. Image Quality - A look at several popular third party photo apps and what features that they bring to the iPhone

End of the iPhone XS Max Series

With the new iPhone 11 officially shipping, I am going to end this series. I'll occasionally post useful information about the iPhone XS Max but not on a weekly bases.

September 11, 2019

iPhone 11

Last year I got the iPhone XS Max, which felt like a major upgrade since I skipped a release cycle. I went from an iPhone 6s Plus to the iPhone Xs Max.

It was exciting to listen to all the enhancements to this year's iPhone model - yes it's almost like listening to all the features of this years car model. I wasn't interested in getting a new phone, I was more interested in hearing what's new in this years model.

i Phone Line Up
Phil Schiller on the Apple stage showing the current Apple iPhone line up. The phones are a bit misleading as the iPhone 11 Pro is the same size as the iPhone 11.

Here's my thoughts on yesterday's Apple's announcement.

Six Things I Learned from Apple's Announcement

Arcade Service? - Everyone was waiting to hear about the features on the new phone, and Apple started the presentation talking about the new arcade service.

The Line Up - The new iPhone 11 collection comes in three models: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. I am thinking they did this so they could have a lot of features and still make it affordable for people that didn't need all the extras.

Wait iPhone 8? - The iPhone 8 is still being manufactured and being sold for 1/2 the price of this years line up. I am not exactly sure the logic behind that. This iPhone 6s was the last iPhone that had the audio jack. The iPhone 5s was the last one to have the old iPhone connector and is much smaller in size - which would be good for consumers looking for a lightweight phone.

Better Battery Life - One of the new features of the iPhone 11 Pro is the battery life. That seems to be a huge improvement in a year time. Adding an additional 4-hours to the life of the iPhone over last year is amazing.

Low Light Photos - iPhone 11 Pro supposed to have better low light capability. I would be interested in seeing how low light pictures are.

Whoa Multiple Video at One? - I was impressed with FiLMIC Pro demo of using multiple lenses to shoot video. I'll be interested to see if Camera apps come out with the ability to take multiple shots.

Final Thoughts

I am still very happy with my iPhone and use it every day. Pictures taken with the iPhone XS Max are so much better than the iPhone 6s Plus.

Looking forward to September 2020 to see what changes Apple comes up with. I am in no rush into replacing my device, just delighted to see all the technology improvements.

September 4, 2019

Live Photos to GIF

One of the cool features of LIVE photos is that you can create special effects from the image. You can create Loop, Bounce, Long Exposure.

The MBTA Seat
Live Photo with the "Loop" effect. (2MB GIF using the LP App)

What are LIVE Photos

Live Photos is when your phone takes a mini-video instead of a picture, and the device determines the best possible picture from that video. It's all automatic and takes a few seconds. For special effects, it's great for landscape photography. You can use the long exposure on a night picture of cars to get the headlight trail effect.

Converting a LIVE Photo to GIF

On the iPhone there are two popular Apps that help you convert a Live Photo to a GIF: LP - Live Photo to Video & GIF and ?Lively - Live Photo to GIF on the App Store. There are plenty of choices of converting Live to Gif on the Macintosh platform and the Internet.

A look at the setting options in the apps:

Option L P Lively
Setting Options for LP and Lively iOS Apps

Four Things I Learned with LP app

  1. There's no cost to using LP app.
  2. You can make Movies, GIF or extract frames from a LIVE image.
  3. The resolution is determined by the file size limit and the framerate that you select - your not able to select the size of the GIF.
  4. You can adjust the playback speed - The quality of the clip is determined at the framerate/resolution settings. In my test, it took a while for the preview to accept the changes that I applied with various settings.
  5. Every time you export you are met with an Ad. I don't see this as a big deal. You can always 'x' out of the Ad.

Four Things I Learned with Lively app

  1. Cost $2.99 to remove the ?Lively app.
  2. You can make Movies, GIF or extract frames from a LIVE image.
  3. There's only 2 possible GIF sizes: 300 x 225 (Small) and 500 x 375 (Big)
  4. You can adjust the speed of the clip - but not the quality of the GIF.
  5. You can enable extensions which allows you to use Lively when you export images from the Photos library. Lively can create GIFs from a bunch of images.

Which is the better one?

They are both good. I think if you do a lot of GIF conversions, your better off paying for Lively app. It is the number one app in it's category for a good reason - it's simple to use and the extensions can come in handy to quickly make GIFs or movies out of Live images.

August 28, 2019

Making a Picture Awesome

Check out this picture I took on my iPhone XS Max:

Cushing Park Framingham

Looks pretty cool.

The thing is, it didn?t start that way. This picture is actually a clip from a 4K video. I extracted a scene then touched up the image - all on my iPhone XS Max - in less than 3-minutes.

Checkout the Original Video

Here?s the original video on YouTube:

You can see the image in the YouTube preview. It looks dark and boring.

Steps to Create the Image

Here?s how I got it to work:

  • I took a 4K (30fps) video using ProCamera. ( I could have used Apple's Camera app, but was playing around with 4k features in ProCamera.)
  • After the video completed, I open the video using the ProCam app and edited it. I then scrolled around looking for the best scene and extracted the clip out.
  • I opened up Camera Plus 2 editor and selected the image. I selected the Lab category and the Clarify Pro option.
  • I then played around with the Intensity and Vibrancy Boost until It looked good.

Some Notes

  • You don?t need to have ProCamera, ProCam and Camera Plus 2 to make this work. They all have excellent image editing functionality.
  • The only ?must-have? app is ProCam, which I used to extract the clip from the video. The other apps don?t have the ability to clip a scene from a video file.
  • ProCam Color enhancing is powerful but maybe intimidating for some users. Camera Plus 2 has some nice predefined filters to help get this to work.

What I learned

I learned that I can extract any image from a video and touch it up to look awesome. It was really easy to do It also gives me more flexibility to decide what is the perfect shot for the situation.

August 21, 2019

iPhone Purchase History

One of the nice things about the DayOne App is the ability to add entries from the past. This is a good way to record entries to show up in the daily timeline.

With Apple?s new iPhone just a few weeks away, I thought it would be a good idea to record when I got my past iPhones. Each entry contains the device first photo and the location where purchased.

This is what I was able to gather:


Some of the information came from memory. Others cane from receipts from Apple or Verizon on when the devices were activated.

I was able to find the photos using Google Photos. I just needed to know the date of purchase.

DayOne Journal Entries

DayOne is a great application to record memories. It?s a great way to recall important dates in the past. You can tag old entries to help remember when the event occurred.

August 14, 2019

Mystery Green Dot

On some of your pictures you may notice a small green dot. This appears at random locations in pictures - that is in some pictures it's on the bottom right and other pictures you may see it on the top left.

Example Issue

Blue Dot
It might be hard to see, but after seeing in a number of photos, it can stand out.

Whats Going On

This is not a defect of the camera or a scratch on the camera lens.

The green dot occurs because of the angle of the light coming into the camera. This usually occurs when taking pictures of light such as sunrise, sunset or a street light that occurs in the picture.

Apparently this has occurred in every iPhone. I have noticed that this has occurred more often using the iPhone XS Max.

I have also encountered this problem on videos too. It's more visible since the blue dot moves around.

How to Avoid the Dot

I usually don't notice the green dot until I look at the picture long after it was taken. Well too late to make adjustments.

Now that I know how/when the dot occurs - the presence of bright light shining directly in the camera, I can tilt the camera so the dot doesn't appear.

In addition, I'll be sure to look out for the presence of the dot on the screen when I am taking pictures in certain situations.

Fixing the Issue Post Production

It's easy to remove the dot in Affinity Photo using the Inpainting Brush Tool, or using PhotoScape's Spot Healing Brush - located in the Tools section.

August 7, 2019

Haunted Mansion Camera Case

Dress up your iPhone XS Max with a Haunted Mansion look for the 50th birthday.

Four Places to find Haunted Mansion iPhone XS Max Cases


Amazon has a lot of great design choices from various vendors. Pay attention to the shipping time as some may come from cheap outlets from overseas.


There are some creative design options on Etsy. I like some of the styles and layouts - clearly some haunted mansion fans here.

Red Bubble
Red Bubble

This site has the most selection from one vendor. Great designs and styles to choose from.

Shop Disney
Shop Disney

Disney doesn't offer than many design choices. But these are the official designs - so if you want to stay "official" this is the shop for you.

Three Reasons Why You Should Not Get them At the Parks

  • Cost - If you buy it at the parks you'll be paying a premium than if you get it online. Everything is expensive at the parks.
  • Selection - they have a very limited selection at the various locations around the park. Buying online will give you a lot of design options to pick from.
  • Opportunity - Do you really want to spend time at Disney looking for something that you could get online? Aren't you better off enjoying the park or getting something that can't be purchased online - such as items in the Crystal Arts store on Main Street USA.
July 31, 2019

Photo with a Window Screen

Taking a picture through a window screen can be tricky using the standard iOS camera app. Most times it will focus on the screen leaving the background blurry.

Using the ProCam App, I can remove the screen from the photo focus.

The easiest solution is to use ProCam where you can easily adjust the focal range - and lock it in. That way you can get multiple shots of the outside through the window screen.

July 24, 2019

iPhone User Guide

Nobody wants to read product manuals. But if you're on the train with nothing else to do -It doesn't hurt to read some of the documentation about your iPhone. You may learn some cool trick about your phone.

Just remember to download the User Guide before you start your travels.

i Phone User Guide

Six Reasons to Download the Guide

  • Learn a cool photo trick - You may know that you can set the filter of a photo when you take it. For example, make it more Dramatic or Mono then take the picture. But did you know that you can change or remove the filter in the Photos section.
  • Portrait Lighting Effect - You can learn what each effect does.
  • Bust Mode Photos - When editing the Burst mode photos, the gray dots below the thumbnails mark the suggest photos to keep.
  • Measure Tool - Learn all about how to measure dimensions with the iPhone. There's a simple step by step directions on getting started. The measure tool is useful if you don't have a tape measure available.
  • Apple Wallet - Learn how to add Passes, Tickets, Reward Card, Student ID card and more.
  • Health and Fitness App - Apple can recommend third party apps based on your Fitness activity. Learn more on the "Collect health and fitness data on iPhone" page.

How to get the iPhone User Guide

Open up the Books apps, click on search and then search for iPhone. As of this writing, you'll want the iPhone User Guide for iOS 12.3.

You can also get to the iPhone User Guide for iOS 12.3 via the Apple Store Link. This book can only be viewed on an iOS device, and it's Free!

There are other iPhone books available, I would recommend starting with the Apple Book first.