Apple iOS 15 now available. Should you upgrade right away? Maybe not.
In the past some iOS upgrades broke important things like Wifi or sometimes it broke some of your favorite apps.
Please break Facebook please break Facebook.
Okay, so maybe not. Developers were given ample access to the beta releases of iOS 15. Betas you may recall are pre-release versions of software that folks who are brave are often encouraged to try out.
But the new version of iOS comes out with new features such as ads for Ted Lasso saying you should watch it on Apple TV. And I admit I am a huge fan of this show. Everyone but the main character cusses like a sailor and that is rough but I love this show. Every episode except for the September 17th episode focused on Coach Beard has made me laugh out loud so many times.
Let’s talk about new features:
Focus is probably my new feature. Think of it as “Do Not Disturb” for the waking hours. You can tell your device which apps you want to allow to notify you while you are “Focusing” . I don’t know about you but there are games that send notifications that I could just not care about when I am supposed to be working. Okay, apps I need to not tempt me while I am working I should say. So with Focus, you can tell it what apps you want to allow while you are busy but can’t set your phone to Do Not Disturb.
The enhancements to Facetime are exciting. You can blur your background, group chat, schedule chats a la Zoom style. Share a link with your Windows and Android friends so they can join your Facetime.
And now there is SharePlay, which is a way to have watch or listening parties using Facetime and most apps on your phone. Say Apple+ to watch “Ted Lasso”. Or maybe sharing HBO Max viewing parties? And you can share your Keynote presentation if you really want to do business while using Facetime. Think of Facetime as Zoom Meetings Lite.
Apple Maps got a big upgrade though I think the screens look a little like the game Civilization IV. I prefer Google Maps but they have a new walking feature and I haven’t tried it yet as it is too new but it could be Apple Maps when you are on a walking tour is a better option than Google Maps in a metro area or a well visited location.
iCloud+ is now easier to share with family, also they have “Private Relay” that is kind of like VPN (virtual private networks) that allows you to private browse on Safari and potentially other apps. I will have to get back to you on that but so far only Safari seems to be involved.
Speaking of Safari, Safari on your mobile device will now allow extensions. You can use the Honey extension to find deals on your mobile device. There are other extensions as well. They also updated Safari on the Mac so you will be able to do Private Relay on the Mac as well.
If you are an Apple Wallet fan and your state allows it, you can store your driver’s license on your phone. Let’s hope they have it secured well or it could be the next big security story. You can of course store your Covid-19 Vaccine card as well if you happen to have one.
Should you upgrade?
Firsts, backup. To me Photos are the most important thing. If you use Google Photos or iCloud to backup your photos, do it before you update.
Make sure you have enough space for a 4 Gig install. Granted it will overwrite the old OS but you have to be able to download the new update before it installs
If you are brave, make sure your phone is fully charged before you start
Make sure you are on WIFI as it is too big to do via Mobile unless you have unlimited and true 5G.
Be sure you can afford to be without your phone for about 30 – 45 minutes
Chapter 1 Crap Crap Crap, change your passwords now Edition
So it was announced that a compilation of 8.4 billion email and password combinations were released to the wild, meaning your password has probably been leaked for some website. So basically hackers have been collecting password databases they have found and someone put all those databases into one big file and released it to the wild. So odds are really high that some site you use and haven’t visited in a while has been compromised. So change all of your passwords now, okay, actually after you watch subscribe like and comment on this show. Then and only then, go change all your passwords.
So let’s cover my rules for passwords: Never ever ever ever use the same password on more than one site. Example, your bank password should never be reused with your Starbucks password. Just saying.
Your password should be a royal pain in the butt to type. Seriously. It should contain a mix of letters both uppercase and lowercase, numbers and special characters. By the way, spaces are special characters. If you are insane, you can use unicode characters to really make hackers pull their hair out. I don’t recommend this as it is not happy fun times. Your passwords should be as long as you possibly can make them but some websites suck and are stuck at 8 characters which is a short enough password my eleven year old could crack it and laugh in your face while doing it. Never visit any site that doesn’t use https. Even if it is your grandma’s recipe website. Have her go to Let’s Encrypt and get an SSL cert. Seriously. Use two factor authentication. Or Multifactor authentication. This is a complicated topic that could use its own How-To so for now, we will let you slide if you use the two factor that sends you a text message. But if you are dealing with something really confidential, I suggest using Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator or an app like Authenticator+. If you are really paranoid, then I suggest getting Google Titan or YubiKey which is a USB dongle that has to be plugged into any device to allow you to use a hardware key to certify your login. Lastly you need a password manager. I don’t know about you but I have over a thousand usernames and passwords I have to keep up with. I have used Keepass in the past and that is a great program. I use a cloud drive and a very complex password to backup my password database so I can use the same app on mobile, PC and Mac. This is not a user-friendly way to do things. Because of my paranoia and because if I were to get hit by a bus my wife wouldn’t have access to a lot of stuff, I have moved to 1Password. I consider this the best product for keeping passwords that are private and passwords my family needs. You have to teach your family to have complex master passwords though to protect the vaults.
Chapter 2 Apple WWDC 2021 Announcements
So WWDC is Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference where they announce all of the cool stuff Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory has been dreaming up for your phone, iPads, Watches, and Macs. Basically what changes they are making to software that runs Apple devices and how developers out to get use to it already. Sometimes they sneak in a device but not this time. Too soon after the iMacs were released. Speaking of iMacs and Macs in general, you really should watch my video review about the M1 Mac Mini. I lost my mind and if you are patient enough to watch the really short video to the end, you get to see an unboxing video gone wrong. Seriously and maybe a YouTuber on edge. After this video go and watch it. Seriously I had a lot of fun making it and I hope you will have a lot of fun watching.
Bonus points if you subscribe and comment after you watch it. I really want to hear what you think about it.
So the fun stuff, Facetime for Android. What!?! Okay, sort of but not really but yes really. Apple realizing that the rest of the world was sort of missing out on the whole Facetime thing and Zoom and Google Meets and even Microsoft Teams were agnostic as far as OSes, Apple did the next best thing and said, okay soon when iOS 15 comes out for iPhone and Monterey comes out for Macs, Facetime will allow Apple users to send a link to other non-Apple focus to join Facetime via a browser and the Apple user will have to approve each user as they attempt to join. Kind of like Teams and Zoom do now. Not as good as an iMessage app for the rest of us but a good start. Oh and Facetime is going to get video and music sharing so you can watch your favorite videos with friends.
iCloud will get cooler. So if you have an iCloud subscription you will get new features. First you will be able to use a burner email address so you don’t have to use your real email address when you know the company or person you are emailing is probably just going to spam you anyway but you really wanted to get that free eBook or enter that contest. So you will get temporary email addresses to send with so you can protect your identity a little more. Next, Apple is going to offer a VPN (virtual private network) called Private Relay. It isn’t completely like VPN but it will secure you when you are using your wifi in public places by routing all your traffic through some relays to prevent others from snooping on your traffic. You will almost feel better checking your bank account while on wifi at Starbucks but I still say you just shouldn’t. Seriously. And if you are among the small few who have given HomeKit a try, their version of Smart Home devices, if you have at least 200GB of iCloud storage, you can store all of your video from your security cameras that support HomeKit in the cloud.
Chapter 3 Fastly Why couldn’t I get to some of my favorite sites today?
So while most of us were sleeping this morning in the US, a company named Fastly was having issues and it was affecting things all over the world. For example, you couldn’t get to the United Kingdom’s Government home page. Or if you are a Reddit fan, you probably couldn’t get to a lot of stuff there either this morning, the NY Times, Wired Magazine and even Spotify.
Today’s word of the day is CDN (acronym for content delivery network). Basically think of it as a collection of servers all over the place that store images and other data websites server up. It is an attempt to make sure their websites seem fast as that picture of Kim Kardashian that you just clicked on came from a server 500 miles away instead of 5,000 miles away. Basically it is an attempt to make sure the content you download is closer to where you are so that websites seem fast. It does this through load balancing, caching, and DNS tricks as well as locating servers all over the world.
Two other major CDNs you may have heard of are Cloudflare and Akamai. If any of those puppies are down, the Internet sucks a little more. It was Fastly’s turn today and a technical glitch that has yet to make the press as I am talking about it caused a kerfuffle, which is a word I always wanted to use in a sentence.
And now for a new segment I am going to call Stupid Smart Assistant tricks. Tonight Alexa dazzles us with her knowledge of pop culture.
It all started when Google gave me a free Google Mini. Wait?!? So now I can ask Google anything in any room of the house without my phone? I was excited. But then I wanted to know what else I could do with it.
Alexa, can you tell me a “yo mama” joke? Alexa, what happens if you step on a Lego? Alexa, do aliens exist? Alexa, I’ve got 99 problems. Alexa, how was your day? Alexa, how high can you count? Alexa, what is the value of pi? Alexa, what do you think about Cortana? Alexa, is your refrigerator running? Alexa, why is six afraid of seven? Alexa, do you have any pets? Alexa, do you believe in ghosts? Alexa, are you blue? Alexa, I like big butts. Alexa, why did the chicken cross the road? Alexa, how much do you weigh? Alexa, can you give me some money? Alexa, my name is Inigo Montoya. Alexa, do you know Siri? Alexa, I am your father. Alexa, do you know the muffin man? Alexa, how old are you? Alexa, testing 1, 2, 3. Alexa, what do you want to be when you grow up? Alexa, are we in the Matrix? Alexa, surely you can’t be serious? Alexa, where is Chuck Norris? Alexa, do you like pizza? Alexa, are you married? Alexa, can you sing in autotune? Alexa, do you love me? Alexa, give me a kiss. Alexa, make me a sandwich. Alexa, what do you want to be when you grow up? Alexa, what’s your favorite color? Alexa, will you marry me? Alexa, can you tell me a Star Wars joke? Alexa, can you talk like Yoda? Alexa, can you rap? Alexa, who is on first? Alexa, winter is coming. Alexa, beam me up.