How To Take Screenshots On An iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad

Writing guides like we do here at Techerator often involves screenshots of software, settings, or anything else pertinent to the article at hand.  We’ve previously covered taking screenshots of your Android device, but what about your iOS device?  Fear not, for that’s what I’m about to show you.

Taking a screenshot of your iOS device is quite easy and doesn’t involve the use of any extra software.  Once you are on the screen you wish to capture, press and hold the top Power button while simultaneously pressing the front Home screen button.

Your screen will flash and will make a shutter sound indicating the screenshot was saved. Screenshots are saved into the Saved Pictures folder in Photos.

That’s it!  Let us know if you have any questions by commenting below.

App Review: Logitech Touch Mouse for iPhone and iPod Touch

Readers, I have a confession: I am lazy. If I sit down to watch TV and lose the remote, I really hope there’s something good on because there is no way I’m getting up to push the button on the TV to turn the channel (how archaic, do I LOOK like I’m elderly?).

I recently got a laptop with HDMI output and a streaming Netflix account. The problem? Every time I want to pause, rewind, or change videos, I have to go over to my laptop and do everything from there.  But, no more!

Enter Logitech Touch Mouse app for iPhone and iPod Touch. This app uses your wireless network to turn your iPhone/iPod Touch into a wireless trackpad, complete with right, left, and center clicks, multi-touch functions, and a keyboard. Using my iPod and this app I am free to sit wherever I want and control my laptop, whether I’m across the room or just out of arm’s reach.

Basic trackpad with left, right, and center click. Keyboard icon on the bottom left, and settings and disconnect icons on the bottom right

Setting up Logitech Touch Mouse is super easy. First, download the app from the App Store (it’s free!). Next, on whatever computer(s) you wish to use the app with, go to logitech.com/touchmouse and download the Touch Mouse Server. Read the brief set-up information and install Touch Mouse Server, an icon should appear in your system tray.

Now open the app on your iPhone/iPod Touch. All of the computers with Touch Mouse Server running will be displayed.  Click the one you wish to control and push Connect.

This screen shows all the computers with Touch Mouse Server running. Clicking your computer will connect you to it.

From here, everything is pretty self explanatory. The click buttons are labeled “left”, “right”, and “center”.   Note: You may have to go into the settings to turn on the center button. The small icon on the bottom left will pop up a keyboard for inputting text.

Pushing the keyboard icon on the bottom left brings up a full keyboard.

There are a few items in the setting menu worth checking out such as tracking speed and scrolling speed.

You can access various option by clicking the settings icon (gears) on the bottom right.

Conclusion

This app is incredible, especially if you have a Home Theater PC (HTPC)  hooked to your TV. I have yet to find any problems or bugs in Logitech Touch Mouse, and the app is surprisingly responsive. With strong signal you will experience almost zero lag.

If you want to see more about installing and using Logitech Touch Mouse, check out the video below.

Review: Dropbox For iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad

If you don’t already have a free Dropbox account, this is something you need to do. Essentially, Dropbox is online storage that syncs to a folder on whatever computer you have it installed on. The program places a Dropbox folder on your computer, and whatever files you put in it are automatically uploaded to the Dropbox website and downloaded/updated in the Dropbox folder of any other computers you have it installed on.

The Dropbox app for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad works along with your existing account. Just download the app (it’s free) and log into your account. You are first shown a getting started PDF which tells you everything you need to know.

Using the Dropbox App

With the Dropbox app, you are able to view and share files that are in your Dropbox, as well as upload new files. The app supports a surprising amount of file types that can be viewed for images, music, Microsoft documents, PDFs, and a few more obscure file types. For a complete list see the image below.

I was very impressed with how the Dropbox app handled viewing files. In particular, the image quality of PDFs was not downgraded, making even small text perfectly legible. Viewing image files is much the same with no loss of quality. I was surprised to find that I could actually stream an .mp3 directly to my iPod without having to download it. It’s also possible to play movies, but they have to be encoded with some pretty specific settings and filetypes to play through the app.

One way the Dropbox app is different from the normal Dropbox is that you have to pick what files you want to sync to you device with the “Favorite” option. This is done because of the relatively limited space available on and iPhone or iPod, since automatically syncing and downloading your entire Dropbox could fill your device with unwanted files and strain your data plan if you have an iPhone.

To favorite a file and download it for offline viewing, simply select the file from your Dropbox App. When you’re viewing your file, click the star icon at the bottom of the screen to add the file to your favorites.

Back at the Dropbox home screen, click the Favorites button on the bottom left which will bring up the files you selected. If there is a yellow (!) icon next to the file, it means the file has been updated and needs to be re-synced to get the current version. To the right of the file will be a green circle with a down pointing arrow. Clicking this will download/update the file on your device.

Here the file is favorited but not yet downloaded to the iPod.
The file is now updated and downloaded to the iPod

Easily transfer files from your device to Dropbox

As I was writing this article, I was trying to figure out the best way to get the screen captures from my iPod to my computer and, lo and behold, the answer was my Dropbox app. By clicking the + symbol at the top right of the main Dropbox screen, you can upload any files currently in your photo/video album into your Dropbox account. From there they will be placed into your online storage and any computers you’ve installed Dropbox on.

You can also share the link to any of your files by clicking the bottom left button while viewing a file.

Conclusion

All in all, this is a fairly useful app if you already use Dropbox (which, as I said before, you should).  If your iPhone/iPod Touch has limited memory capacity and you find yourself low on space, you can use this app to easily unload any pictures you might have taking up space while still being able to view them just as easily.

Make sure to check out the rest of our great articles about Dropbox!

Keep Your Phone Secure with Auto Lock

phone-autolock

While we’re generally protective of our wallets/purses (none of us would be caught dead leaving a wallet or purse unattended for more than a few minutes), we’re much more careless about another item we carry with that contains a great deal of personal information – our mobile phones.

Before the advent of smartphones, losing your phone just meant somebody could call your mom and text dirty things to your friends.  Not anymore- with modern phones, a person can now typically access your social networks, emails, bank accounts – everything.  Is that something you’re willing to risk to a random passerby at a restaurant or bar?

One easy way to keep your personal information secure is to protect your phone with a password or PIN.  In this guide, I’ll show you how to do this with an iPhone (and iPod Touch), BlackBerry, and Android-based mobile phone.

phone-iphone-autolockiPhone and iPod Touch

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Touch General.
  3. Enable Auto-Lock.  The shorter the delay, the more secure your phone will be.
  4. Scroll down and enable Passcode Lock.  You then need to create a 4-digit PIN number to unlock your device.
  5. (Optional) You can set your device to require a passcode after a certain amount of time has passed by touching the Require Passcode button.  Longer times make the device less secure, but it can save you from having to enter your passcode every time you turn on the device.  I recommend a maximum delay of 15 minutes.
  6. (Even more optional) If you really want to be secure, you can set the device to erase all data after 10 failed login attempts by enabling the Erase Data button.

phone-autolock-androidAndroid OS (2.0)

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Touch Location and Security.
  3. Enable Require pattern.

Unfortunately, the standard Android OS doesn’t allow you to specify a delay before the passcode is required – but no worries, the Android Market saves the day.  You can purchase an app called AutoLock from the Android Market ($0.99) which allows you to set a delay before the passcode is required.

AutoLock also integrates with the Locale app which can set your phone to automatically lock based on the time of day or your GPS location.

BlackBerry

  1. On the Home screen, click the Options icon.
  2. Click Security Options.
  3. Click General Settings.

    Note
    : If you are running BlackBerry Software version 4.0.2 or earlier, click Options and then Security.
    Note: If you are running BlackBerry Software version 4.6 or later, click Options and then Password.
  4. Change the Password field to Enabled.
  5. Display the menu and click Save.
  6. Type the new password and click Enter.
  7. Type the new password again and click Enter.

To enable a delay before the password is required on your BlackBerry:

  1. On the Home screen of the BlackBerry smartphone, click the Options icon.
  2. Click Security Options.
  3. Click General Settings.
  4. Set the value in the Security Timeout field to the amount of inactive time the phone is permitted before it is locked automatically.
  5. Display the menu and click Save.

Conclusion

Following these tips should greatly increase your security and privacy in the event that your mobile phone is stolen or misplaced.  Have any other tips for protecting your mobile phone, or password protection for different phones?  Share them with us in the comments!

How to Use 2D QR Barcodes to Quickly Share Information

qr-codes-thumbI was recently introduced to QR Codes, which are a type of two-dimensional barcode that can store large amounts of information encrypted in a graphic.  This graphic can be scanned by devices like cell phones to quickly retrieve the data, so it’s great for sharing contact information, text, or URLs.

Scanning QR Codes with your mobile phone

There are several QR Code apps available for mobile phones, but most of you will be interested in:

Functionality for these applications is about the same – open the application and use your phone’s camera to scan the barcode.  I’m using Barcode Scanner for Android in this guide, and it gives you different options depending on the type of barcode you’ve scanned (so if you scan an email address it lets you send an email to that address or add it to your address book).

qr-codes-appIf your phone doesn’t have an application for scanning QR Codes, you can use the simple ZXing Online Decoder to scan a URL or upload an image.

Creating your own QR Codes

If you want to create your own QR Codes, check out the QR Code Generator.  This site lets you create codes for calendar events, contact information, email addresses, phone numbers, URLs, SMS messages, text strings, and even geographic locations.  All you have to do is fill out the form, choose the size of your image, and click the Generate button.

qr-codes-generator

QR Codes are a great way to quickly share data and I think we’ll see a lot of these popping up on business cards in the future.  Know of some good QR Code scanning software?  Share it with us in the comments!

qr-codes-card

Apple’s App Store Hits One Billion Downloads

app_storeAt approximately 2pm on April 23rd, 2009 the 1,000,000,000th application was downloaded from Apple’s App Store since it first launched only nine months ago.  Although the App Store has had its fair share of problems (and it seems that developers are still getting stuck in the application approval process), this statistic is a significant milestone for the company.

Which applications do you like the most?  Some of my favorites are Tweetie, Pandora, and Air Sharing.  Share in the comments!

[via Apple]

How To: Use Your iPhone/iPod Touch as a Wireless Flash Drive

airsharingOne of the most useful applications I’ve used for the iPhone/iPod Touch is Airsharing ($4.99, app store), which allows you to use your device as a wireless flash drive.  Not only can it store (and view!) files wirelessly, it also works on Windows, Mac, Linux and even through a web browser.  If that wasn’t enough – Airsharing also includes helpful instructions on how to setup and connect to your device for your specific operating system.

Airsharing Initial ScreenThe initial screen in Airsharing displays a list of files and folders on the device, as well as the IP address of your device which can be used to view and upload files through your web browser.  Airsharing is capable of viewing many different types of files, including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, PDFs, and images which is extremely useful for viewing files on the go.

To protect your data, Airsharing comes equipped with security options such as password protection as well as sleeping after a period of inactivity.  Airsharing also offers the option of keeping your device password-free, which is convenient if you’re using it exclusively on a secure private network.

Connecting to your device via a web browser is as easy as entering the provided IP address into your location bar, but for a more permanent connection method you can use the included instructions (accessible via the ? button) to mount the device as a network drive.  I found this very to be very practical when transferring multiple files because the browser-based uairsharing31ploader only allows one file transfer at a time.

Do you have any suggestions for expanding the storage uses of your iPhone/iPod Touch?  Share them in the comments!

Flashreview: Power Support Anti-Glare Film for iPhone/iPod Touch

filmIn this day and age, you don’t buy electronics (especially touchscreen electronics) without investing into some form of screen protection.  For  devices such as the iPhone or iPod Touch, screen protectors can also improve the responsiveness of the device by improving the screen’s traction.

The product: I stumbled upon Power Support’s Anti-Glare Film for the iPhone/iPod Touch, which is available from Power Support USA as well as the Apple Store.  This product boasts a “custom-fit film that will reduce the visual impacts of glare and finger printing while providing scratch protection”.  Included in the package were two anti-glare films (one for the front and another for the back) as well as a pre-installation film which was for removing dirt and dust from the screen. Continue reading “Flashreview: Power Support Anti-Glare Film for iPhone/iPod Touch”