Improve Speed and Accuracy of Touch ID

I just learned a sweet way to improve Touch ID on an iOS device. This trick appears to actually increase the fingerprint information saved to your device, which results in both faster unlocking and the ability to increase the area of your fingerprint that Touch ID recognises. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode
  2. Ensure you only have one copy of each finger added. (I used to add my right and left thumbs twice to improve recognition. There is no need for this now due to this trick.)
  3. When the fingerprint you want to improve is added, simply rest that finger on the sensor as if you’re unlocking your device. You’ll see its name pulse grey to confirm recognition.
  4. Keep doing this, imagining the sensor taking a picture of your fingerprint each time it pulses grey. 

You can prove this trick works by immediately trying the very bottom of your fingerprint and seeing that Touch ID fails to recognise it. If you then try the centre of your finger and slowly work your way down, it will add the necessary data in steps until it detects your finger.

In typical Apple fashion, this advanced feature is only there if you’re looking for it. I’m glad it’s been discovered and I’m even more happy that I no longer need my thumbs added twice.

Create iPhone Ringtones on Your iPhone

If you’re anything like me, you bought GarageBand for iOS as soon as it was announced. It was initially iPad-only. Did you realise the app is now universal? If you’ve got an iPhone, you can install it there for free, too.

On top of that, here’s the guide for using GarageBand on your iPhone to create ringtones… for your iPhone. This is something I can get behind.

33 Expert Tips and Tricks For iOS 6

I learnt a few things whilst reading this. You might, too.

I especially like the Guided Access section on the second page: got any non-tech-savvy friends or relatives and want to stay in contact with them? How about an iPod touch or iPhone with FaceTime and Guided Access enabled? The possibilities are almost endless.

iTunes: Keeping Track of What You Preview

The Official Apple blog “Inside iTunes” is a good resource for finding semi-obscure tricks and tips to really dig your nails into the more advanced features of OS X’s media player.

Did you know, for example, that every song you preview in iTunes — either on the desktop or on iOS — is saved, so you can go back and check it out later? Preview a song on your iPhone, then when you’re back home and in front of your Mac simply head over to the store and decide if you want to buy it.

This is but one example of major convenience provided by The Apple Media Ecosystem. This convenience is why I’m finding myself buying almost all my music there, even though I’m somewhat of an audiophile and music nut.


More Siri Gold

As a quick addition to my “Efficiency with Siri” piece last week, here’s another case where Siri can accomplish something not otherwise possible on iOS: informing how many days have passed since a given date.

To Siri: “How many days have passed since 28 June 1992?”

A WolframAlpha card is displayed with the number of days I’ve been alive. As I described in my piece last week, obtaining this number to copy—if you wish to work with or manipulate the result without transcribing—is possible albeit fiddly:

First, install the free WolframAlpha Viewer app and the paid WolframAlpha app. Then, once Siri presents the answer to you, tap the WolframAlpha icon in the bottom corner of the displayed card. You’ll be taken to the result in WolframAlpha’s app. In order to copy the result, tap the small, double arrow next to the result you wish to copy, then tap the result itself. The result will be copied into the search field at the top of the WolframAlpha app. From there, it’s simple to just select and manipulate it.

Slogging Through RSS

Gabe, proprietor of the always-wonderful Macdrifter, has a neat description of the ways he puts RSS to work. I suggest reading the entire article for some sensible tips which might just help you out.

Like all technology, it’s important to ensure it’s working for you, not the other way around. It’s easy to become a slave to RSS, reading everything presented to you like some sort of zombie. Stop it—that’s unhealthy. My favourite part of the article was this optimistic sentence:

The best amateur writing is happening right now on the web.

I think Gabe is correct in this assessment; I certainly feel the websites I read regularly are of a very high standard. Because I know so much great writing is “out there”, I sometimes give myself unrealistically large amounts of reading to wade through. The tricks in this article will help if I ever become overly saturated with words.