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Use Siri, multiple Reminders lists to add items to AnyList for iPhone and iPad

AnyList for iPhone and iPad is my preferred, shared grocery and shopping list app. It builds a library of the items you add, so re-adding them the next time you need them is a simple tap. It can also optionally be location-aware, share lists with others, handle quantities, and much more.

One of my favorite AnyList features is its Siri and Reminders integration that goes a step beyond what I’ve seen in most other apps. If you switch it on, AnyList duplicates your lists in Reminders. Where most other apps allow you to pull in items from a single Reminders list, AnyList can watch for new items in all of your Reminders lists that have a doppelgänger, then add them to the corresponding list in AnyList.

Check out my screenshots in this post. I can say things to Siri like “add spinach to my Groceries list.” Siri adds it to that specific list, and AnyList gobbles it into my Groceries list. But I can also say “add Cliff bars to my Costco list,” and Cliff bars finds its way to that corresponding list in AnyList.

Bonus points: when AnyList imports items like this, it deletes them from Reminders; you’re not stuck with Yet Another Inbox to constantly clear.

Bonus bonus points: this all works great with Siri on Apple Watch.

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📱💻 How to close all Safari tabs at once

Safari for iOS and Mac has a quick shortcut for clearing out all your tabs, except the current one you’re viewing, and starting fresh.

📱 – Tap and hold on the tabs button (the two overlaid squares), a “Close [X] Tabs” option will appear

💻 – Command-Option-W, or hold the Option key and go to File > Close Other Tabs

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Photos can search for people, places, and things

Photos for iOS and Mac can seem deceptively simple, but it hides a fair amount of search (and editing) power. For example, you can search on any of your devices for something like “water” or “California,” and it will return results for that thing or that place.

If you’ve trained Photos to recognize some of the people in your photos, you can search for them too.

You can learn more about how this works on iOS and on your Mac. Note that, when it comes to identifying people, the faces you identify unfortunately don’t sync between devices.

[via OS X Daily]

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How to bypass Google AMP links with Opener for iOS

I don’t like Google AMP’s “accelerated mobile pages.” It feels like yet another land grab to take over yet more of the web, eVern more tracking our activity without our permission, and they’ve never even felt faster to me than the original (mobile) webpage. Google AMP also interferes with or flat-out breaks some apps or features, like Safari Reader.

There may be other ways to disable or work around AMP. But thanks to Joe Ortiz, I learned that one of my favorite iOS utilities, Opener, has the option built right in.

At its core, Opener allows you to open links in the apps of your choice. It quickly became a must-have for me.

For example. Say you want to open a Twitter link from a blog post, or a YouTube link someone shared with you. If you tap those links, they’ll open in either their respective native apps (if installed) or a tab in Safari. Opener allows you to quickly open that Twitter link in Tweetbot (or Twitterrific, or many other supported Twitter apps), or that YouTube link in ProTube, a much better YouTube client that adopted things like Split View and Picture in Picture on iPad virtually on day one.

Opener even allows you to set a default browser, of sorts. If you choose a browser other than Safari in Opener’s settings, you can use Opener’s sharing extension to open every link in that other browser.

As for Google AMP, Opener is aware of these links and, by default, will bypass AMP and take you to the original, true URL. Just trigger its app extension on a link, choose to open it in your browser preference, and AMP is kicked to the curb.

This makes me happy, and I thank its developer, Tijo, Inc., for making this such an easy process.

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iOS offers to reinstate your fingerprints if you disable, reenable Touch ID

If you turn off Touch ID, it appears that iOS will still keep your fingerprints in the secure enclave. If you reenable Touch ID, iOS will ask if you want to reinstate your old fingerprints. This is a good timesaver, especially if you added multiple fingers, as you won’t have to go through the Touch ID setup anymore.

In order to ensure they’re your fingerprints, you’ll have to enter your passcode, presumably the one set when they were added to the device.

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Writing Links: Apple Watch App Dock tip, roundup for Mac Observer

I published a couple pieces for Mac Observer this week, delving into my deepening appreciation for the Apple Watch:

If you're curious about the Apple Watch's advantages as a device for quick-action app experiences, I encourage you to check out these pieces. WatchOS has come a long way, and I now like my Watch more than ever.

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Apple Watch faces for work, play, music, and every occasion in between

I wear my Apple Watch seven days a week, but recently realized that I do so for different reasons throughout the week. These days, it’s with me at least as much as, if not more than, my iPhone, so I decided to explore how I can make my Apple Watch even more contextually useful for each day’s tasks. After experimenting with the new watchOS 3 faces features, and getting a pair of AirPods, I’m getting the urge to break into song.

Context

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A whole new world

In watchOS 3, Apple added the ability to quickly swipe between multiple Watch faces. After playing with this effortless switching, I realized that it feels like swiping between pages of apps on an iPad or iPhone.

Now, I’m also the type of person who organizes my app pages by task or context. Page 1 is my most important personal + work apps, page 2 is for my photo, video, and music hobbies, page 3 is strictly work apps, and so on. Once I combined these two ideas, things started to click.

I got my Apple Watch in its early days, and my go-to face has always been an info-dense (for a watch, anyway) dashboard of my day’s events, tasks, and physical activity. I was looking for a way to be more present and cut down on how often I have my phone in my pocket or hands. This face was a great solution.

Around the beginning of December 2016, I decided to add a “relax mode” Watch face. It uses one of the new animated jelly fish backgrounds with only a clock and Drafts complication for quickly dictating ideas to revisit later. In the evening or on weekends when I had little-to-no work to finish, this “no work stuff allowed” face would serve as a nice on-demand reminder that it’s chill time.

After my standard work-based dashboard face, this was my second purpose-built Watch face. It worked great and made me think about Watch faces as the new app pages – quick access to a few apps for related tasks. Now that faces are so easy to switch between, what other occasions, tasks, or purposes could use a Watch face?

The Setup – Watch faces as the new app pages

It was easy to go down the rabbit hole, separating my days or even portions of them into all kinds of categories and “modes,” for lack of a better word. But I eventually settled on a few general purposes for which I think an individual, customized Watch face might be useful. Here we go, in order of appearance in the gallery below from top left to bottom right.

Music – The perfect AirPods companion for me

I love my AirPods, they go everywhere with me now. Pro-tip for pants people: the case probably fits in that little change pocket just above your right pocket.

However, I’d say around 50-60 percent of the time, I’m listening to a playlist I created or something I’m exploring from Apple Music, which means spurts of skipping. Since I’m trying to keep my phone in a pocket or, ideally, my bag or on the shelf at home more often, I realized I could create pretty quick access to media controls with a Watch face.

I didn’t expect to turn this music dashboard into what is technically now the first Watch face in my lineup, but there it is. Now I can quickly swipe a couple times to control my AirPods music without digging out my phone or fumbling with other app controls.

There’s a catch here, though, and I might have to tinker more. The music complication in the middle of this Modular face doesn’t have controls, it’s really just a nice big tap target for me to open the Music for Watch app and then start controlling stuff (tip: to quickly get back to your Watch face from an app like this, double-press the crown). I’ve considered adding a smaller complication to other faces, and maybe I simply don’t need this one. We’ll see.

Ultimately, I wish I could have one of two things. The first, and my preference, is an update to the Watch Control Center to give it multiple pages like iOS 10 added for iPad and iPhone. Also like iOS 10, it could remember the last page I picked, so swiping up on my Watch during a good music session could always display media controls.

Failing that, I could also go for a mini-music dashboard Watch face, or at least the complications we could use to build one. It could display the current thing playing and controls right on the face; no switching away from the clock to other apps. With the popularity of AirPods and how well they go with a Watch (iPhone not necessarily required), I wouldn’t be surprised if this arrives soon. Yes, I’ve submitted this idea to Apple’s feedback and bugreporter sites.

General purpose – Modular face

My standard face that I’ve had practically since day one with watchOS 1. Like my first iPhone and iPad app page, this is quick access to some basics for most days: date, Timepage in the middle (my new favorite calendar app), Drafts, Activity, and Weather Underground.

Work – Modular

This feels self-explanatory. Todoist in the upper left, Timepage again in the middle, then Drafts, Hours for time tracking, and AnyList in case there are errands I can run during my day. I’d prefer to have Trello in the lower right, but they don’t have a Watch complication yet. Hopefully soon.

Personal – Modular

A face for non-work personal days of errands, friends, and chores around the house. Timepage in the upper right, Todoist in the middle, then Drafts, AnyList, and Activity. I feel like I want to tinker with this one more, maybe replace Activity with something else. But for now it’s pretty good.

Activity – Analog

I deleted most of the default faces, but kept this one. On the (gradually more frequent) days where I exercise, I like having quick access to a dashboard of the health apps I use. Right now I use a mix of Apple’s workout tracking and RunKeeper, though I’m getting really unhappy with the latter. Details aside, I love having this big colorful view of how much exercise ass I’m kicking.

Relax – Motion

This is the chill out face I mentioned earlier, and in some ways my favorite. It isn’t just the pretty video—I love having an always-available dashboard, of sorts, which reinforces the idea that right now is my time, and I can do whatever I want.

Relax 2 – Photo Album

I sync my favorite photos from Apple Photos to my watch. This face is just an alternative for relaxing, and the only one that doesn’t have Drafts. I sacrificed it in the name of having a more complete view of my photos.

A work in progress

This is new territory for me, so I’ll continue to tweak my Watch faces and replace apps or switch faces altogether. Overall though, I’m really happy, as I feel like I’ve unlocked a new level of Watch usefulness. I hope some of these ideas can do the same for you.