How to Transfer Files from iPhone to Mac

If you’re an Apple user through and through, one of the biggest benefits you get to enjoy is the seamless integration of all of their products.

You can send iMessages from your computer as well as your phone, Facetime friends from both devices, and transfer files easily between them. If you want to back up the items on your phone to your Mac but aren’t sure how, all you need to do is choose from a few simple processes. 

Technology Can Fail

You might be wondering what point there is in backing up your iPhone files to your Mac when your phone is the device you carry with you every day. The reality is that you’re much more likely to lose your phone than your computer, and if you haven’t transferred your files, you could lose them, too. 

Plus, you’re likely to have a lot more available storage on your Mac than your iPhone. The bottom line is that storing files somewhere other than just your phone adds another layer of safety, and you can never be too prepared for a crash or loss. 

Transfers Made Simple

There are a few different methods for transferring files from your iPhone to your Mac. These are to utilize iCloud, transfer through iTunes, download a third party transfer app, or AirDrop the files. 

iCloud is a self-explanatory option (and one you’re probably already using as an Apple fan), but if you’re more concerned with transferring files between actual devices and not on the cloud, AirDrop is a great option. This simply requires you to turn on the function on both devices, connect them to the same network, then select which files you want to transfer. 

Apple makes it easy to back up your files to all of your associated devices, and it’s a smart security measure you should take if you don’t want to lose out on your items.

How to Prevent Apps from Auto-Updating on Android

An integral part of the digital world is that it’s constantly changing and evolving.

This translates to relatively frequent updates on your apps, which can bog down your phone’s system or take up storage that you’d like to dedicate to other things. If auto updates have you feeling frustrated, why not just disable them?

A Frequent Bind

The most successful apps release updates to their software every 1-4 months. This is a minimum of 3 updates every year, but that could skew up toward a dozen updates a year—and that’s per app. If this sounds like a lot, that’s because it is; if your apps are updating automatically, you may not even realize that you’re losing storage to these new, bulkier releases. 

Don’t find yourself surprised by the updates you’re constantly finding to your apps. Instead, disable auto updates so you can pick and choose which apps you want to update. 

Controlling The Clutter

Whatever your reason for wanting to slow the constant stream of updates on your Android, you’ll be able to achieve that goal with a few simple changes to your settings. 

To keep your Play Store apps from updating, go to Google play and tap the icon in the upper left hand corner of three stacked lines. Choose settings, and then “auto-update apps.” A menu should pop up that allows you to opt out of auto updates. 

Once you’ve gone through this process, you’ll be able to pick and choose which apps update and when they do it. You should be able to have as much control as you want over your device, and disabling auto updates gives you just that.

How to Prevent Apps from Auto Updating on iPhone

Every once in a while, an app updates and completely changes the way that it functions.

There have been some pretty high profile cases of social media apps like snapchat updating, receiving awful reviews, and rolling back to an earlier version. If you’d prefer to let developers work out the bugs of a new update before you install it, disabling auto updates is probably a good idea. 

The Master of Your Domain

There are all sorts of reasons you might have an aversion to apps updating automatically. Some of these reasons are better than others, but the bottom line is that it’s your phone, so you are allowed to decide when you want your software updated. 

Apple was only trying to make your life easier by rolling out automatic updates, but if you’re ready to say, “thanks, but no thanks,” here’s how. 

Unhooking from The Update Train

Disabling automatic updates on your iPhone isn’t difficult, if you know where to look. Rather than hunting around to find the right feature, follow these simple steps. As you may have guessed, the trick to turning off this function lies in your settings. 

Once in your settings, navigate to iTunes & App Stores, where you should see a switch labeled “Updates.” All you have to do is toggle that switch to the off position, and you won’t have to deal with any more auto updates for your apps.  

A little bit of caution is never a bad thing, and if you’re the type of person who likes to sit back and wait to hear the reviews on an update before you install it, disabling auto updates is probably the right move for you.

How to Prevent Apps from Auto-Updating on A Mac

Staying up to date with your computer’s apps is usually a great idea, but it can become a hassle in certain situations.

Since you probably don’t buy a new computer every year, you may find that newer versions of apps don’t integrate properly with your Mac, or that they take up too much of your already-limited space.

Whatever the reason you have for wanting to stop auto updates, it’ll only take a few minutes to accomplish. 

Waking Up to Updates

If you work on your computer daily, you probably have your fair share of files stored there. You probably also have a whole crop of apps that were once necessary for your projects that you haven’t touched in ages. The problem is, your Mac can’t differentiate between the apps you like and the ones you don’t, so it auto updates all of them. 

To avoid wasting space on unnecessary apps, you can turn off auto updates and manually choose to update the apps that you use regularly.

A Quick Switch

There are a couple of ways to prevent your apps from auto updating. You can either make the switch directly from your system preferences, or you can navigate to the app store and update your settings there. 

To turn off auto updates from system preferences, navigate to your app store settings. There, you can simply uncheck the box that says it will search for automatic updates. To disable this setting in the app store, go to your preferences within the store and uncheck automatic updates. 

Changing your preferences this way will only take a few minutes, and it will free you from losing storage to unnecessary apps.

How to Switch to Dark Mode in Safari on A Mac

Do you ever find that after a long day of staring at your computer screen your eyes feel irritated and tired?

That’s likely due to something called blue light which is emitted from computer screens, but manufacturers have been taking steps to prevent that kind of discomfort, and you can even avoid it while browsing the Internet on your Mac.

Dark Mode Saves The Day

Dark mode essentially just refers to a display setting that changes the dominant color on your screen from white to a darker, more subdued hue like black or charcoal. Though it was generally thought up as a way to reduce glare for those using their computers at night, dark mode can also reduce strain when you use your Mac during the day. 

While Apple allows you to change your computer’s overall scheme to dark mode, you can also take it one step further by switching Safari to dark mode as well. 

Easy on The Eyes

You never think about the way that your browsing is impacting your vision until the damage is already done. Even if you haven’t yet noticed strain on your eyes due to the stark display of your browser, why not be proactive and avoid it from ever happening?

To switch Safari to dark mode on your Mac, the first step is to switch your entire computer to run in dark mode. This can be found in your general display settings very easily, just click “dark” under “Appearance.” If you have Safari set as your default browser, the setting will also trickle down there. 

If Safari isn’t set as your default browser, you’ll need to open it, click “develop” near your bookmarks, then select “dark mode” from the Experimental Features section. 

One way or another, this will allow you to browse Safari in dark mode; you might just be surprised by what a difference this display makes for your comfort. 

How to Set Parental Controls on Your Devices

The Internet is like the Wild West when it comes to information, images, videos, and all other kinds of content—there are very few rules.

While this fosters a great deal of education and connectivity, it can also mean that your children are able to access content that’s not suitable for their age, which is why parental controls exist. 

Different Levels of Control

Maybe you’re less concerned with what your child might see online than with how long they spend on electronic devices; maybe you simply don’t want them getting on one particular site. Whatever the level of control you’re looking for, parental controls are highly customizable and can fit your needs. 

If you’ve been meaning to set up parental controls but haven’t been sure how to go about it, don’t worry—it’s not as complicated as it seems. 

Setting Your Boundaries

The modern household has many, many different devices within the reach of children. The most obvious way to set parental controls is by addressing them on each device individually. Remember to set these controls on your phones, gaming consoles, television, and browsers. For the most part, a quick glance around your settings should reveal built-in parental control options. 

If you’d rather cut the problem off at the start, you can set up parental controls to filter to every device on your network. The easiest way to do this is by using Open DNS and setting up controls to filter directly through your router. That way, any device connected to your router will experience these controls. 

You don’t need to worry every time your child picks up their tablet or gets on YouTube, you can control the situation from a distance and rest a little easier.

How to Send Self-Destructing Confidential Emails from Gmail

How often have you sent an email with sent an email containing sensitive information, and later wished it wasn’t just sitting in someone’s inbox for who knows how long?

There are a number of reasons you might want to retroactively delete an email, or add another layer of security, and Gmail’s confidential feature allows you to do that. 

Steps Toward Security

Though it should be noted that a public server like Gmail can’t promise total security, the added measures of confidential mode go a ways toward protecting you and your information. There are all sorts of precautions available in this mode, but one of the biggest is the ability to set an expiration date which will cause an email to self destruct. 

If you’re corresponding with an insurance company and don’t want your social security number lingering around in their emails, for example, you might want to set your message to expire within a week, and setting up this self destruction will only take a few extra moments. 

Setting The Deadline

Adding an expiration to your email is shockingly easy, but the process will vary slightly depending on whether you’re using the desktop version of Gmail or the app

On your computer, simply go to compose a new email. Across the bottom of the screen, you should notice a number of icons. One of them will look like a lock with a clock in front of it—click on that and you’ll be prompted to set an expiration.

On the app, go to compose an email but tap the three dots in the upper right hand corner; there you can choose confidential mode, which will allow you to set an expiration. 

Once you’ve set your parameters, the email will automatically destruct after your time frame, then you won’t have any security concerns after sending confidential messages.

How to Lessen Your Smartphone Notifications

Lessen Your Smartphone Notifications

Imagine you interviewed for your dream job a few days ago, and you’ve been anxiously awaiting an email updating you about whether or not you’ve been chosen.

Your phone dings and lights up, but instead of an email from your would-be boss, it’s a notification from an app you haven’t used in weeks. Don’t open yourself up to this kind of disappointment—cut down on the number of notifications you receive instead. 

Push Notifications Push Users Away

Only about 18% of smartphone users find push notifications helpful in any way, and just one weekly notification from an app can lead up to 10% of users to disable notifications or uninstall an app. 

Android automatically opts users in to push notifications whereas iPhone does not, bringing the average number of smartphone owners who receive push notifications to around 68%; but what if you’re receiving too many of these notifications? How can you cut back on them?

Simple as The Flip of A Switch

Just because you’re sick of your phone going off with a useless notification every five minutes doesn’t mean you have to cut the cord completely—both iPhone and Android operating systems will allow you to broadly update settings so you can receive notifications silently, or simply as a banner if that’s what you’d prefer. 

Of course, you can also update app preferences individually. Say you want to get a notification when someone tags you in a photo, but not when a friend posts a photo for the first time in a while—that’s all customizable. Alternatively, you can turn off all push notifications and only see app updates when you actually click into that app.  

Luckily, both major operating systems know that too many notifications is very bad indeed, so a quick sweep of your settings is all it should take to declutter your phone’s screen.

How to Use Your Smartphone to Keep Track of Important Documents

The world is driving toward a paperless future, but there’s still something to be said about the official and immobile nature of physical documents.

The problem with such documents is that they can easily be lost, but you’re much less likely to misplace your smartphone, which makes it an ideal place to store your most important documents. 

Too Many Papers to Keep Track 

Between birth certificates, insurance documents, social security cards, wills, and any number of other important items, keeping track of all of your important documents can become a headache. Of course, you will sometimes need to have the originals (like when you’re getting a driver’s license), but other times copies will suffice (like when you’re getting a passport).

Rather than placing all of your faith in the hope that you won’t misplace that one file where you keep all of your important documents, outsource copies to a secure location stored in your smartphone. 

Safe Out of Sight

You know the future has arrived when you don’t even need a scanner to create “scanned” versions of documents and save them as PDFs using only your phone. That’s exactly the case today, and it’s the first step in storing important documents on your smartphone. 

If you’re comfortable saving apps directly to your device’s system or accompanying cloud, simply seek out a scanning app. Many high quality ones have free versions, and they’re extremely easy to use. 

If you’d rather have an extra line of defense, download an app that will encrypt your files. You can either import your scanned documents, or use this new app to take photos directly. 

Once you’ve done this, your smartphone will be fully equipped with copies of your most important documents, and you can rest easier knowing that your entire life isn’t housed in a single container.

How to Clear Your Browser History

Every site you visit leaves a little breadcrumb trail in the form of your browser history, and though clearing your history may be viewed as a move to cover up activity, it’s actually just a smart practice for Internet security, and it’s an easy one to take part in. 

Keep It Clean

Clearing browser history isn’t just something done by those who are ashamed of where they’ve been—it’s a simple and quick way to keep your data secure in part of what’s called browser hygiene.

Many browsers hold on to passwords and cookies, allowing sites to have information you might not be comfortable with relinquishing. 

No matter which browser you prefer, clearing your history should only take a matter of seconds, and leave you feeling better protected. 

Cashing Out Your Cache and Cookies

How you clear your browser history will vary slightly depending on what device and what browser you’re using. 

On a computer, you’ll simply want to navigate to your browser’s history settings and click “clear history.” Depending on the browser, you may have to check boxes to ensure that all data is cleared, or select a time frame from which you want the history cleared. 

On a handheld device, the instructions are largely the same. You’ll want to click the icon that leads you to settings, find the privacy section within your settings and once again choose clear history. 

The exact process will look a little different for every browser on every device, but a good rule of thumb is to click the history tab if you’re on a desktop, and click the privacy settings if you’re on a phone. 

Once you’ve taken care of this simple precaution, you can rest a little easier that your data isn’t on display.