The hidden method for deleting apps on your iOS device

Have you ever been on your iOS device (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, or iPad mini) and gotten a message that you do not have enough storage left for the app you want to download? What do you do? Well, that message is your indicator to start deleting apps, and preferably the big ones that take up a lot of space on the device. (I also suggest purging any apps you have not used in the past thirty days. You can always reinstall them, but you will find you won’t miss 99% of them.)

There are two ways to go about deleting your apps. You can use the “regular” way of long-pressing an app icon until they all start to jiggle with the “x” on the corner. Touch the x to delete the app. The problem with this method is that you have no idea how much space these apps are taking up and how much space you are freeing on your device. You could delete ten apps but only free up 5 MB. That won’t be much help.

The better, hidden way

The second method is the hidden method for deleting apps. If you open the Settings app and choose “General” followed by “Usage” you will be presented with a screen that has a section called “Storage” at the top. In that section you will see a list of apps on your device and how much space they are using. This list is only a partial list of your apps. Scroll down and tap “Show all Apps” to see the complete list.

Once you are on this list, tapping an app will give you a screen where you can delete the app. As you delete apps you can track your free space at the top of the list.

IMG_0385

You might also notice apps in the list that you have already deleted. This is data left behind from those apps and I have found it to be several hundred megabytes in some cases. You definitely want to get that space back.

Another benefit of deleting apps this way (besides seeing how much storage they are using) is that it is a lot easier and faster to find apps you want to delete. There is no hunting through pages and folders for apps. They are all right there in one clean list.

Of course if deleting apps doesn’t give you the free space you need it is time to delete videos and music. However, that is another article.

Ask Techerator: Can I copy photos from my iPad to an external hard drive?

As the popularity of Apple’s mobile devices like the iPad continues to increase, consumers are looking at ways to replace their personal computers for an iPad. This frequently raises a question: Is there a way to connect an external drive to the iPad to transfer photos?

The short answer is no you cannot directly connect an external drive to your iPad; however, I have listed some alternatives below.

Option 1: Syncing to computer

The easiest way to store photos from iPad to external drive is to transfer the files to your computer first. Before setting up syncing, make sure the latest version of iTunes is downloaded. You can change your sync options at any time.

How to sync via USB

  1. Connect the iOS device to your computer using a USB cable.
  2. For Mac users select iPhoto, on the left hand side you should see the iPad listed under device. To Import select the photos and select import.
  3.  On a Windows PC the autoplay window will pop up when the iPad is plugged in. Click “Import Pictures and Videos using Windows”. Select Import.
A few other ways to transfer photos to PC is by using iCloud or Dropbox.

Once all photos have been synced to your PC you can then plug-in your external hard drive to copy them over.

Option 2: Connecting to external hard drive

As mentioned above there is no direct connection between the iPad and external drive. However, currently on the market there are a few wi-fi drives that can be used in conjunction with the iPad.

Kingston Wi-Drive

Image Credit: Kingston

As an external hard drive, the Kingston Wi-Drive supports both PCs and Macs and iPad’s out of the box, but its performance is about the same as a USB flash drive. The downfall is that it is about $60 for only 32 GB of storage.

Access to the drive is done over the 802.11 g/n protocol, just like your typical home wireless hub and can be shared with 2 people. This device is a great way to add storage to your iPad, but with the small amount of storage it is not a great long-term storage option.

Seagate GoFlex Satellite

If you are looking to transfer our photos from iPad to eternal drive without using a PC, then the Seagate GoFlex Satellite  is the best option. It has a built-in wireless-N access point (with a 150 ft range), to which up to three wireless devices can connect.

For the best experience you will need to download the iPad app Go Flex Media. The app can also download selected content from the GoFlex Satellite drive onto the iPad so that you can access them without having to use the drive, or when the drive is out of battery. The downloaded content can only be played and viewed via the GoFlex Media app, it can’t be integrated into the iPad’s library.

Image Credit: Seagate

The GoFlex comes with 500GB of storage space for about $160, which is more expensive than the Kingston drive, but offers a substantial more storage space.

Conclusion

While you cannot directly attach an external drive to the iPad to copy photos, you do have a few options to perform this task. If you have a better method of getting photos over to an external drive feel free to leave a comment below!

Dropbox: Going Beyond Storage

Dropbox

Do you use Dropbox? If you don’t, you really should give it a look. If you do, chances are you aren’t using it to its full potential.

What is that supposed to mean? Well, Dropbox is for more than just storing and synchronizing files across your various computers and devices. You can use it to do a whole lot more.

Curious? Then read on.

DropTunes

A few months ago, Amazon came out with Cloud Drive and Cloud Player. They’re an interesting duo. Cloud Drive lets you store files online, and you can store any MP3s that you buy from Amazon in Cloud Drive. With Cloud Player, you can listen to those files anywhere.

But who needs them when you have Dropbox? By combining Dropbox with a free service called DropTunes, you get just about everything that Cloud Player offers.

DropTunes is an online media player that connects to your Dropbox account. All you need to do is upload some music files to Dropbox, log into DropTunes, navigate to the Dropbox folder that holds your music, and click Play.

DropTunes in action

DropTunes has two interfaces: Flash and HTML5. Using the Flash interface (which is the default), you can only play MP3s. Using the HTML5 interface, you can music in the following formats: MP3, Ogg, Wav, and m4a.

TextDrop

Everyone takes notes. We all jot down ideas, quotes, snippets of information, URLs, to do lists, all of that sort of thing. But the way in which we do it is kind of inefficient — everything is scattered across devices or in paper notebooks or on scraps of paper. TextDrop eliminates all of that, and makes what you’re jotting down available to all of your computers and devices.

TextDrop is simply a Web-based text editor that works with Dropbox. You just connect the two, and start typing. When you’re done, you can save what you’ve written in any folder in Dropbox. It’s that simple.

Writing with TextDrop

But TextDrop isn’t just for notes. You can use it for just about anything you write. I haven’t run into a size limit for notes, or anything else. In fact, the skeleton of this post was written using TextDrop.

DropPages

Ever wanted to create your own Web page, but didn’t want the hassles of learning HTML (the language Web pages are written in), buying a domain, and paying for hosting? DropPages helps get rid of those headaches.

Setting up Dropbox and DropPages to play together takes a bit of work. First, you need to create a folder in Dropbox that will act as your domain — for example, scottnesbitt.droppages.com. Then, go to the DropPages site and download a theme. The themes are the basic designs for your Web site, which come in a zip file. Extract that zip file into the Dropbox folder that you created.

From there, share the folder with this email address: server1.droppages.com. You can learn more about the whole process here.

It takes a while before your Web site becomes active, but eventually you’ll get something like this:

A site made with DropPages

The only drawbacks to DropPages are that 1) there aren’t that many themes available, and 2) to modify the pages in a theme you need to learn Markdown, a simple way of adding formatting to content for the Web. Luckily, Markdown is fairly easy to learn.

Final thoughts

Dropbox is for a lot more than just storing files. And the apps that you just read about are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to extending the power of Dropbox. You can find a list of more here.

Do you use Dropbox? What services and utilities, if any, do you use with it? Share your favorites by leaving a comment.

How To: Find Large Files On Your Hard Drive With WinDirStat

Have you noticed that you hard drive space has decreased and don’t know what files are taking up the space?  If so, you can use WinDirStat to help find those large files taking up space on your drive.

To start, download WinDirStat from http://windirstat.info/.  You can select either the installation download or the standalone executable.  When first running the program, you are asked to select the location that you wish to analyze: All Local Drives, An Individual Drive, or An Individual Folder.  Once the location has been selected, click Ok to begin the drive analysis.  When the analysis has completed, your screen will look like this:

WinDirStat
WinDirStat

Now that WinDirStat has analyzed your hard drive, you can review the largest blocks in the diagram.  The largest blocks are large files.  By left clicking on a block, it will show the file name and location in the tree above.  If the file is taking up space and can be deleted, you can simply right click the file name and delete the file.

You can also left click a folder in the tree and it will highlight the space that the folder takes up, as shown below:

WinDirStat
WinDirStat

Once you have found the files that you wish to remove, and have removed them, it is important that you empty your Recycle Bin to make sure that all files were deleted.

If, after running WinDirStat, you were not able to find the cause of your low disk space, I would recommend running CCleaner to check for any temporary files that may be taking space.  [Checkout our guide on CCleaner here.]

Important final note: It is important to pay close attention to the files that you are removing so as not to remove any system files.  Removing critical files could cause you system to become inoperable.

What has been your experience with WinDirStat?  Is there another program that you would recommend that will do the same task?  Let us know by commenting below.

Get A Visual On Your Hard Drive with Disk Space Fan

As your computer gets older, chances are that your hard drive will be filled with many unused and unnecessary files.  If you’re starting to run out of space on your hard drive, it can often times be the result of old “junk” files piling up.  A great way to get your computer back into shape is to delete some of those files (especially the large ones).

Disk Space Fan is a free program available for Windows that scans your storage devices and shows a visual representation of your files.

When you first open Disk Space Fan, you are asked to select the storage device you want Disk Space Fan to analyze.

Disk Space Fan scans your drive and will generate a graphic to represent file and folder sizes, as shown below.

Not only can Disk Space Fan scan and analyze a complete drive, but you can set it to only scan a specific folder and display the corresponding graphic.

You can right-click on a section of the fan visual to display an options menu.

Disk Space Fan is available as a free download.

How To: Check Your Hard Drive Health With A Linux LiveCD

Previously, I wrote a guide on monitoring your drive’s status with S.M.A.R.T. tools from a running system [see Check your HDD’s S.M.A.R.T. Status].  Although these programs work well for checking the live status of your hard drive, you may run across a situation where you cannot boot the operating system to access these programs.

If you system does not boot, it may be necessary to use a boot disc to check the S.M.A.R.T. status of your hard drive.  This is easily done with a Linux LiveCD such as Knoppix and a program called smartctl.  Although almost all versions of Linux come with this utility preinstalled, I recommending using Knoppix for booting your system, as it tends to have better out-of-the-box hardware support, especially for older hardware.

Important Note: For reasons unknown, the smartctl utility is not included in the newest version of Knoppix 6.0.1.  For this reason, it is necessary to use Knoppix 5.3.1 DVD or Knoppix 5.1.1 CD/DVD.

Download Knoppix 5.1.1 LiveCD via FTP.

Download Knoppix 5.3.1 LiveDVD via BitTorrent.

The Process

Once you have downloaded and burned the LiveCD ISO image, insert the disc into your CD/DVD drive and boot from it.  Unless there are hardware problems, your computer will automatically boot to the KDE Linux Desktop.  If you are not able to boot, enter failsafe at the Boot: prompt.  The KDE desktop looks like this:

Knoppix 5.3.1 Desktop
Knoppix 5.3.1 Desktop

When the desktop is shown, select the terminal icon as shown below.

knoppix-terminal-icon

Type the following command to check the first hard drive on the system:

smartctl –all /dev/hda | less

This will check the S.M.A.R.T. attributes of the hard drive and display then on the screen in scrollable form.  A description of the common attributes can be found here.

When you have reviewed the S.M.A.R.T. attributes of your drive, you can simply press q to return to the terminal input.  Type reboot at there terminal to reboot the computer and eject the LiveCD.

How often have you used a Linux LiveCD to help diagnose your computer?  Is there another Linux program or LiveCD that you use to check your hard drive S.M.A.R.T. status?  Let us know by commenting below.

How To Check Your HDD’s S.M.A.R.T. Status

As your hard drive begins to age, the chance for failure and resulting data loss increases.  Today’s hard drives feature a monitoring system called Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology or S.M.A.R.T. for short.  With S.M.A.R.T. and the appropriate software, it is possible to keep updated on the status of your hard drive and the important data that resides on it.

To check the S.M.A.R.T. status of your hard drive, there are many programs that are available.  The two programs that I have found to be most useful and user-friendly are:

Speedfan S.M.A.R.T
Image from almico.com
  • Speedfan
    • Although S.M.A.R.T status is a secondary feature of Speedfan, it offers the date in an easy to understand webpage format.  You can also view and control fan speeds and temperatures of your motherboard.  Attribute stats must be check manually.
  • HDD Health
    • HDD Health provides the same S.M.A.R.T. attribute information as Speedfan, but runs in the system tray and constantly monitors for problems.  If a problem does occur, HDD Health will warn you.

There are several attributes that makeup a S.M.A.R.T. status.  It is important to know what each one means for the health of your hard drive.  A good description of each status is available here.

Knowing the S.M.A.R.T. status of your hard drive is not an alternative to backups.  Having up-to-date backups is the only way to fully protect against hard drive failure.

Do you check the S.M.A.R.T. attributes of your hard drive?  Which attributes do you watch the most?  Are there other programs that you use to check S.M.A.R.T. attributes?  Let us know by commenting below.

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!