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📱💻 Finer Tech Newsletter ⌚️📺 Extra Big Sur Edition

📱💻 Finer Tech Newsletter ⌚️📺
📱💻 Finer Tech Newsletter ⌚️📺 Extra Big Sur Edition
By David Chartier • Issue #70 • View online
Alright folks, the Big Sur issue is here. While the visual overhaul might dominate a lot of discussion about it, there’s quite a lot new both over and under the hood. I also included a couple of iOS and watchOS tips in this issue, and of course some good links.
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💡 Tips
💻 Big Sur 101: Move Control Center apps into the Menu Bar
Control Center from iOS made the leap to macOS Big Sur. A unique feature is that, if you want dedicated access to one of its components, you can drag and drop it out into the menu bar.
Customize Control Center features in System Preferences > Dock & Menu Bar. Also, Apple now capitalizes ‘Menu Bar,’ which I think is new in Big Sur. It also recently started capitalizing Home Screen in iOS documentation.
💻 Big Sur 101: Messages gained a variety of iOS-only features
Lightning round time! Messages in Big Sur picked up:
  • Some iMessage apps: Click the app icon to the left of the text box for the Photos picker, Memoji, image & GIF search, and Messages Effects
  • Mentions in group chats: @ mention someone by first name, tap the suggestion that appears. This is a great way to let people disable alerts for all messages in a group chat, yet still get alerted for important stuff
  • Share name and photo with contacts. The prompt now appears at the top of conversations
  • Send audio messages: Tap the waveform icon at the right of the text box and start talking
  • Pinned chats: While also new in iOS 14 this year, it’s just nice to see a new feature land in both OSes at the same time for once
  • Threads in group iMessages: Another dual platform release. On a Mac, right-click a message or photo in a group text and choose Reply. Your message will be sent to the main chat, with a visual indicator of the message you replied to. Click that indicator to view the thread.
💻 Big Sur: FaceTime can recognize sign language, give that person prominence in group chats
This is a great win for accessibility, and likely a good use of all that machine learning, AI, flux capacitor tech Apple’s been baking in under the hood of its devices.
💻 Big Sur: Safari can import passwords, bookmarks, and history from Chrome and Firefox
Head up to File > Import From to get started. Now is probably a good time to mention how Google Chrome installs an invisible background process that significantly slows down your Mac even when you aren’t using Chrome.
💻 Big Sur: View a friend’s shared ETA in Maps
The Mac and iOS devices recently gave us the ability to share our ETA with Apple device users. Now in Big Sur, you can view that ETA in Maps.
💻 Big Sur: Home app can recognize people tagged in Photos, send custom alerts
If you have cameras linked to HomeKit, Home app can send a unique alert when it recognizes someone you’ve identified in Photos.
According to Apple’s explanation when setting this up, you can grant the Home app permission to access the People section of your Photos library, and that data is synced end-to-end encrypted only with your HomeKit hub.
To get started, open the Home app, click an existing camera, click the gear icon in the top left, and scroll down to Face Recognition.
💻 Big Sur: Photos can now rotate, filter, and crop videos
Our long national nightmare of needing an external app just to rotate or crop video is finally over. Now in Big Sur, you can double-click a video in Photos, click the rotate button in the top right, or click Edit to reveal more tools, including the dedicated Adjust, Filters, and Crop sections that appear in the middle of the toolbar.
💻 Big Sur, Reminders: In shared lists, assign tasks to people
Click a task in a shared list, then click the people icon that appears right below. Or click the info icon on the left for more detailed controls, and you can assign the task there.
I love the attention Reminders has received in the last few releases of macOS and iOS. I sure wish Contacts would get some of this TLC.
📱 iPhone can monitor your headphones for excessive volume
To help preserve your hearing, go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Headphone Safety, and flip on Headphone Notifications.
📱 Camera: How to reenable Burst Mode
In the iOS 14 Camera app, Apple removed Burst Mode as a default option for some unfathomable reason. Now, you can hold either volume button to shoot a video. Let go, and video recording stops.
To reenable Burst Mode, head to Settings > Camera, then enable Use Volume Up for Burst.
⌚️ Theater Mode: Avoid burning out your eyeballs by fading in your Watch’s screen
Scene: A dark living room, or perhaps an actual theater once this pandemic gets under control.
Your Watch is in Theater Mode, which prevents its screen from automatically turning on. Enabled from Control Center, because you’re a decent human being. 
And yet, you want—nay, need!—to check the time or the weather. The desire burns within you like a Mac running Chrome. But you know in your heart of hearts that, should you tap the screen, its glow would set the room ablaze. The duality of this struggle nearly tears you asunder.
A moment before you surrender to the unthinkable, you remember: you read the Finer Tech Newsletter, where you learned to ever so slightly turn the Digital Crown. Instead of bursting with light, the Apple Watch screen slowly fades in. Disaster averted. Eyeballs preserved.
End scene. 
Fade out. 
⌚️ Trigger a 3-second Camera photo
My new Funko Pop, as viewed through the Camera Remote app on Apple Watch
My new Funko Pop, as viewed through the Camera Remote app on Apple Watch
I thought this one had been there in the past. But considering I haven’t hung out with a group of friends in a while and I found it mentioned while doing research for this issue, here we go.
The Camera remote app for Apple Watch can trigger a 3-second timer shot. This should give you time to get in place or strike a pose. To enable this option, open Camera Remote on your Watch, then tap the (…) options button, then enable the timer at the top.
Bonus tips: Opening Camera Remote triggers the camera app to open on your iPhone. Conveniently, exiting the Remote on your Apple Watch also closes the Camera app.
🔗 Good Links
The iPhone 12 Pro Max: Real Pro Photography
Rooster Teeth is a big YouTube channel with a lot of shows, podcasts, and sub-channels. Sometimes they animate some of their conversations. They’re usually pretty funny.
Sugar Daddy Ratio - Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures
Sugar Daddy Ratio - Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures
How to Criticize with Kindness
A second video this week! Even if you don’t play Bloodborne or video games in general, I think this is a fantastic breakdown of an iconic boss fight and how its music was written to meld with the story and the fight itself.
Music Producer Dissects: Ludwig the Holy Blade (Bloodborne OST)
Music Producer Dissects: Ludwig the Holy Blade (Bloodborne OST)
🤩 Thanks for reading
How did you like this jumbo-length issue? Were the tips useful and bite-sized enough? Are there certain kinds of tips or apps you’d like to see here? Let me know what you think on MastodonTumblrMicro.blogTwitter, or email.
Did you enjoy this issue?
David Chartier

Quick productivity boosters for apps and Apple devices, served with a side of humor, links, and videos across culture, science, and more.

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