Tag Archives: apps

Time for iOS device spring cleaning: How to replace your old apps with new ones

If there was ever a good time to spring clean your iOS devices, this weekend would be it.

First of all, the week started out with world backup day on Monday. Just last week Apple reported that 85 percent of devices are now running iOS 7 but by my count 49 percent of apps in the app store have not been updated yetWithin just 72 hours of its release, 18 percent of devices jumped on to the 7.1 update. Perhaps they were looking for a little crash relief. That, and it is spring after all.

If you did update to the latest iOS version, and are still experiencing some difficulties that none of your attempts to reset your device have remedied? Then perhaps it is time for a fresh start.

Getting stuff off your device

 

Getting stuff off your device

Photos and videos - Before you start erasing and resetting your device, it is always a good idea to copy your photos and videos off of the device first. On OS X you can use iPhoto, Aperture or the Image Capture utility to safely remove your photos. On Windows you can use Windows Explorer or the Windows Photo Gallery. This takes care of items in your Camera Roll, but what about all your other files?

iTunes File Sharing - Apps that you use on your device may allow you to access their content by through File Sharing from within iTunes on your Mac or PC. Simply attach your device via USB, launch iTunes and click on the Apps tab associated with your device. On the bottom of the screen you will see a section titled File Sharing. Here you can select each app one at a time and manually offload all of their shared content.

Third-party tools - As for all of the other stuff you may want to copy off of your device, consider using either Ecamm’s PhoneView for OS X, DigiDNA’s DiskAid for OS X or Macroplant’s iExplorer for both OS X and Windows. All three apps can copy your contacts, voicemail, call lists, music, movies, and other data on your iOS device onto your Mac. Using such an app was how I have been able to backup and restore my Minecraft worlds.

iCloud and iTunes backups - It is also a good idea to perform one final backup before you start over. With iCloud backups you can perform your backups from almost anywhere. Unfortunately you cannot access the backup files. When you perform a backup using iTunes, the backup files are stored locally on your Mac or PC. Using tools like addPod’s JuicePhone for OS X, or Macroplant’s iExplorer (mentioned above), you can browse and extract files from your devices’ iTunes backups.

Erase all content and settings

Erase all content and settings

Don’t restore from backup - To truly start over fresh, after performing the Erase all Content and Settings operation from within the General settings, you would not restore from either an iCloud or iTunes backup. Instead you will set up your iOS device as a new device. Just keep in mind that this will remove all data from all apps as well as the apps themselves.

Choose a different device name - In order to keep a lifeline to the backups you have stored in iCloud, you will need to name your device differently. This can be done on the device from within the About section of theGeneral settings on the device. If you name your device the same name as it was before, then you will likely overwrite your previous backup. Sometimes it is a good idea to retain a backup for a few days following a reset. Keeping multiple backups however does come at a cost, and that cost is iCloud storage space.

Review your iCloud storage - All iCloud accounts come with 5GB of storage space for free. To check how much space you are currently using go to the iCloud section of the settings and tap on Storage & Backup for iOS, if you are on OS X click on the Manage button from within the iCloud settings of the System Preferences, then Manage, and finally for Windows launch the iCloud Control Panel app in order to click on the Manage button. What you will see in addition to how much space your backups take is how much space other apps are using. For any apps that you are absolutely sure you will not be using anymore, you can remove their data from iCloud.

Replacing old apps with new ones

Replacing old apps with new ones

Apps not on this device - Within the App Store on iOS, you can access all of your prior purchases from theUpdate tab. By scrolling down, you will reveal a search bar at the top of the screen that you can use to search your list of purchased apps. Searching within the purchased apps section of the iOS app store is limited to the name of the app only. Not the developer’s name, not any keywords that the developer has set, and certainly not the description. Once you find the app you are looking for you can download it onto your device by tapping on the cloud with an arrow pointing through it.

Hide the bad apps - As you begin to add apps back onto your device, you may come across a few apps that you regret purchasing, and have vowed that you would never install again. For such apps, you can hide them from your previous purchase list. You will first need to log on to your account from either the Mac or PC version of iTunes. Then go to the Purchases section of the iTunes Store and select the Apps tab. Mouse over the icon of the app you want to hide and click on the little “X” in the top left corner. This is of course reversible from within your account settings, just in case you suffer from ‘hiders’ remorse.

Version history and reviews - Before you rush to add your old apps back on to your device, consider looking at how often your favorite apps have been updated. At the bottom of the app’s description you will see a section titled Version History. If the app has not been updated in the last year, check the recent reviews and see if anyone has been having issues with the app on iOS 7. It may surprise you how many apps have fall into this category. Of the 2,313 apps in my personal iTunes library, only 1,176 have been updated since iOS 7 was launched. And Looking at data from 148apps.biz, 383,602 of the 1,539,342 apps that have been available on the app store are no longer active.

Becoming an app shopping genius - With the announcement of iOS 7 in June of last year, Apple pulled the Genius feature from the app store. A feature that attempted in part to find apps similar to the ones you already own. What you can do instead is take a look at the Related tab within the apps description on the store. If that does not produce a list of comparable apps worth trying, you can turn to online services like AppShopper,AppAdvice and apptap to help find a good replacement for your outdated app. Even with their help, app discovery is still a big problem facing the App Store.

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Windows and Windows Phone app stores have reached 400,000 apps

Windows Windows Phone App Stores 400000 Apps

Microsoft hasn’t quite managed to close the app gap between its own app stores and the behemoths that are iOS and Android, but the company has made significant progress over the past several months. Neowin came across the sign you see in the image above at the Microsoft Build Developer Conference on Wednesday, proclaiming the latest milestone of the Windows app stores: 400,000 apps between PCs and mobile devices.

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Amazon Fire TV apps include Netflix, Hulu, ESPN

In Amazon Fire TV is the company’s first look at a real dedicated piece of hardware for the living room. Using a quad-core processor with “dedicated GPU”, this device is … Continue reading
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Xbox One SmartGlass beta apps bring TV controls to Android, Windows and Windows Phone

Microsoft only just revealed it would test new TV remote features on the Xbox One and its associated SmartGlass apps, and Windows Phone Central points out that right now anyone can give them a try. All you need is one of the game systems and a device…
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HTC doesn’t see One (M8) optimization for benchmark apps as cheating

HTC One (M8) Benchmark Tests Cheating

After various reports and reviews revealed that HTC’s new One (M8) smartphone may be cheating in some benchmarks – the phone boots performance when certain benchmarks are detected – the company has confirmed to CNET that it indeed handles benchmark apps differently than regular apps, although it said it doesn’t see this as cheating.

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Google clamps down on Android apps with deceptive ads

Google has issued revised rules for Google Play apps in its continuing effort to stay one step ahead of nefarious developers. This time, the primary target is apps with pop-up ads that spoof a system, service or app notification and trick you into…
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Study shows iOS apps crash more than Android

Android has mostly caught up to iOS in terms of the number and quality of apps available, and it might have eclipsed it in another regard: App stability. According to Crittercism’s Mobile Experience Benchmark report, apps are about twice as likely to crash on iOS as they are on Android.

Crittercism Android

Not surprisingly, the study shows that newer versions of Android and iOS offer more stability than older ones. KitKat, Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich, for instance, showed a 0.7-percent app crash rate, while apps crashed 1.7 percent on the older Gingerbread OS. The same is true for iOS. The latest iOS 7.1 has a 1.6-percent app crash rate, while apps on iOS 7 crash 2.1 percent of the time. iOS 6 is even higher at 2.5 percent.

As someone who primarily uses an iPhone but tests plenty of Android devices, I find this somewhat surprising. Anecdotally, I definitely experience more crashes on the Android phones I test, but then again, I mostly just tend to run the same apps over and over again on my iPhone, which brings less variability to the mix.

Crittercism Apple

The study also shows that gaming apps have the highest crash rate, at 4.4 percent, while e-commerce apps tend to crash the least, at 0.4 percent. That makes sense, since games tend to be much more resource intensive and are becoming fairly complex on mobile devices.

The report also breaks down app stability by certain devices. The Samsung Galaxy S4, for instance, is shown to experience fewer crashes than either the Galaxy S3 or the HTC One. For iOS, the iPhone 5 is the most stable device, followed by the iPhone 5s. The iPad 2 experiences the highest number of crashes, likely because it runs the oldest hardware.

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Amazon is offering huge deals on Android apps

Free Amazon Appstore Android Apps Deal

In celebration of the Amazon Appstore’s third birthday, the giant retailer is offering users huge deal son apps, giving away $ 50 worth of Android apps for free for two days only, AndroidGuys reports. The 16 apps, which regularly retail for anywhere from $ 0.99 to $ 12.99, will be available free of charge to users starting Friday, March 21st through Saturday, March 22nd.

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iOS 7.1 is out: Compare your benchmark scores with these apps

When a major update comes out for an operating system that affects a number of devices you own, it can be beneficial to add a round of benchmarking to the routine task of updating. This way you can check and see if things are performing at the level they should be. Especially when an update like iOS 7.1 comes along and targets one or more devices by claiming to contain enhancements that will increase performance as this one does for the iPhone 4.

The following will go over some of the established benchmarking apps available to iOS devices, where to go online to compare your results and some general recommendations as what you can do if your device is not performing at the level it should be:

Real-world scenario vs. ideal situations

Ideally when running a benchmark the goal is to establish the optimum score possible by configuring a device to perform its absolute best. To do so you will typically want to restore the device to its factory settings and start tweaking some of the OS settings prior to running the tests. This technique is best applied when comparing different hardware configurations or versions of the device’s firmware. There are plenty of sites that do this sort of testing when each new device or major update is released.

More often than not, what most people really want to do is see if their particular device is performing at or near its optimum level based on the way they use it each and every day. If this is the case for you, then download and run through a couple of the following test suites without changing anything and see what results you get.

iOS Benchmarking Apps

iOS benchmarking apps

Geekbench 3 ($ 0.99 Universal) is primarily a CPU-based benchmarking tool that will rate the performance of your processor. It is multicore aware and capable of performing both 32 and 64 bit tests. A series of integer-based as well as floating-point tests are run in addition to some memory-based tests. The resulting score can be uploaded online where all test results are searchable.

GFXBench 3.0 (Free Universal) is an OpenGL ES 3 based benchmarking tool that will also rate the performance of your graphics processor. You can even perform battery life tests, but these take a little more time and setup and are not typically included when running all tests. You can instantly compare your results to other devices on the device without having to review an online report. Result history is stored on the device and online when you set up a free account.

Futuremark 3DMark (Free Universal) uses a test suite known by the name of Ice Storm to perform a series of OpenGL tests. It has three modes of testing, a normal mode that uses 720p graphics, an extreme mode that use 1080p graphics, and an unlimited mode. Once the test has completed, you will be able to compare your results from within the app to not only what your device score should be, but also other devices as the test is a cross-platform test.

PassMark PerformanceTest Mobile (Free Universal) is a well-rounded benchmark test suite that combines CPU Storage, 2D and 3D tests all in one. At the end of the test you are asked to submit your results to PassMark where they keep tabs on submitted results and update a series of online reports based on the averages taken from submitted results.

Comparing your results

After running any one of the benchmark tests mentioned above, you can follow up by comparing your test results online to see how your particular device compares to similar devices’ results. Each of the different benchmark sites have their own way of sharing results. Geekbench and GFXBench for instance will allow you to create an online account where you can save your device’s results online for future reference. Here is a list of each site’s iOS results:

iOS Online Benchmark Results by Device

Optimizing for better test results

If you do find that your device’s benchmark score does not quite match up to the performance results uploaded by others you do have some performance tuning options before running the tests again:

Turn off the network - Provided the benchmarking app you are running can perform in a disconnected state,placing your device into Airplane mode will not only power down all of the radios on your device, but will also inhibit the device from checking the network for updates and changes. Receiving a phone call or FaceTime invitation would not be good for the test.

Force all apps to close - Apps that you have launched previously are actually still considered to be ‘running’ in a suspended state and can receive notifications that will ‘wake them up’ to perform certain tasks in the background. By forcing all apps to close, you effectively shut them down and they no longer will be able to perform their background activities.

Reduce background interference - Spotlight searchnotifications, and background app refresh can each have a an impact on how well your device performs. To control how much of an impact this can have, you can selectively turn on only the items you want spotlight to search for (Settings > General > Spotlight Search), select only the important apps you need to be notified by (Settings > Notification Center > Include), and finally allow just the apps you really want to update automatically (Settings > General > Background App Refresh).

Create at least 25 percent free space - Apps, photos, music, movies and books all take up space on your device and can affect the performance of your device. The general rule is to plan on keeping approximately 25 percent of your storage free in order to optimize performance. This has to do with the way that memory works and the fact that writing to a free block of memory is faster than reading, modifying and writing back to a partially free block of memory. In the General settings under About, simply divide the “Available” number by the “Capacity” number to see how much free space you have.

Reset some but not all settings - What you want to do only as a last resort is Erase All Content and Settingsas that will wipe your device clean. Instead, you can be more selective as to what settings you decide to reset. Using Reset All Settings will not delete any of your apps, media files or data, but it will remove all of the configurations you have made on the device. This includes network settings as well as email account settings.

Wait until the device is cool to the touch - Performing any benchmark task right after running a CPU intensive task can push the device to run a little hot. Even running multiple successive tests in a row can heat things up a bit. When things get too hot, the device may slow down its performance or even cause the screen to go black in extreme cases.

Power the device off and back on - One of the catch-all fixes to a wide variety of issues that you can run into with your iOS devices is to simply restart your device. Simple press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on the top of your device until you see the “slide to power off” control on the screen. You may be amazed at how often this simple fix works.

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Strava unifies running and cycling apps; adds new audio updates, social features

Fans of Strava on both Android and iOS should be happy today as the exercise tracking app got a huge update — Strava 4.0 — on Thursday. The software adds a number of social features, gains audio updates at various points during a route segment and paying subscribers can now track miles on shoes, bicycles or other equipment.

Strava 4.0 Activity Feed

While adding the new features, Strava has combined its running and cycling software into a single app with version 4.0; helpful for those that cross-train. And it has made the software useful in more countries, now supporting 11 languages in this version including Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Traditional Chinese.

On the social side, Stava’s new activity feed shows Instagram photos taken during exercise and also has one-touch buttons for sharing activities to Facebook, Path and Twitter. When working out with others, activities are automatically grouped for all involved. Maps of routes will also appear so you can see where your friends are working out.

All of these features are included in the free version of Strava, but premium subscribers ($ 6 a month or $ 59 a year) gain some extra benefits in the app. Audio data for a workout segment start, halfway point and finish are included. And premium users gain the ability specify the equipment used in a workout. Since running sneakers start to break down after a certain number of miles, this is a feature I look for in all of my exercise apps. The premium subscription also provides detailed historical charts and analysis of your efforts.

Strava 4.0 is available now in the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store.

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