Mac Format - May 2016
Issue 299 May 2016 @macformat
W K!
The UK’s best-selling Apple mag
Do more with
See what’s new in El Capitan
and put your pictures in iCloud
PLUS! Go further with Affinity Photo
Create the perfect home network
+ Make all your Apple devices cable-free
Bright ideas on how to
get the Apple-powered
home of the future… now!
iPhone SE
& iPad Pro
Say hello to the new
4-inch iPhone and the
best-ever iPad screen
iPad Pro
with uMake Pro
3D software
Rescue choppy
home movies
Crashproof your
Mac the easy way
Fix up iPhone videos fast
Take our ultimate health check
Game-changing tech from the world of Apple and beyond
The sleek design of
the printer fits in well
with Apple hardware.
Hold a HyperPhoto in front
of your iPhone and see it
in motion on the screen.
LifePrint brings the tactility of printed
photos to your online images and videos,
along with a sense of wonder as you
watch a static photo turn into a video.
The printer weighs 200g,
so it’s portable enough
to carry wherever you go.
Printable Live Photos
Watch your photo prints come alive with LifePrint
LifePrint prints out the photos you’ve uploaded to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social
networks – but so what? Well, it can also print videos. Called HyperPhotos, each one comes on
a small photo card similar to those you’ve been able to get developed on the high street for years,
yet it contains an augmented reality element. Point your iPhone’s camera at it and the video plays
on your phone’s screen, and you can share it on LifePrint’s social network. It’s like holding
a QuickTime window in your hand, and is a fascinating merger of photography old and new.
$149 (about £105) INCLUDES LifePrint printer, 60 sheets of LifePrint photo paper
WEBSITE WORKS WITH iPhone 5s or later @macformat
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 3
Turn to page 46
It doesn’t matter what Mac or
iOS device you use, you need the
internet for them, and your home
network is where you’ll spend
the most time connecting your
devices to it. Most broadband
connections and routers are free
from bad reception these days, but
with more and more devices being
connected in your home the strain
on your network has never been
greater, particularly with smart
home gadgets like multiroom speakers, thermostats and
IP cameras. That’s why we’ve uncovered some great ways
to maximise your home Wi-Fi network in this issue, so that all
your Macs, iPhones, iPads and internet-connected accessories
perform to their best at all times of the day.
Core to your online activity is iCloud, and this month we’ve
dived back into the Photos app to show you how to get more
from it in El Capitan and how it all relates to iCloud Photo
Library – something we hear a lot about from readers.
The cloud is one aspect of your storage, but your Mac’s
local drives are the main home for your files. In this month’s
project we show you how to maintain all your storage
devices so that you can minimise the threat of data disasters
in the future. Turn to page 62 to get started.
Finally, we saw the release of the smaller iPhone and new
9.7-inch iPad Pro in late March. Get the low-down on page 14,
and look out for full reviews of them next time.
Meet the team
Alan Stonebridge
Production Editor
Alan is delighted that the
latest OS X and iOS software
updates at last sync books
not bought from Apple to all
of his devices over iCloud.
Alex Blake
Commissioning Editor
Apple celebrated its 40th
anniversary on 1 April, and
it’s really making Alex feel
old. Wait, no it isn’t – he was
born in 1989!
Paul Blachford
Managing Art Editor
Paul’s finally got a 512GB
SSD on his four-year-old
MacBook Pro. “It’s so much
quicker!” So, no rush to
upgrade the rest of it then…
Seth Singh
Digital Art Editor
Seth is a changed man,
having tackled an obstacle
course this month. No Apple
Watches were harmed in
this. Art editors, however…
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 5
Issue 299
May 2016
The core Apple news you need to know about
Our top picks of the month for Mac and iOS
Amazing stats from the world of Apple
Discover the exciting and extensive
ways you can put your Wi-Fi
network to greater use
Going deeper into the hot topics of the month
The team’s views on the latest Apple tech
Build the smart home of the future today
Illuminate your abode with these bright ideas
Change brightness and colour with a few taps
Get spring-cleaning with a smart vacuum
6 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Do more with Photos @macformat
Issue 299 CONTENTS
Howard Oakley solves your Mac and iOS issues
Stop desktop difficulties dragging you down
Our verdicts on the latest hardware and apps,
including a sweet little portable speaker
Get help with picking your next piece of Apple
hardware and the best add-ons to go with it
Easy your app-fuelled anxieties with our fixes
Swipe away your touchscreen troubles
Turn to page 46
Get creative for your chance to win
an iPad and a great 3D modelling app
Head here if you’ve missed an issue
What’s coming in MF300, on sale 10 May
Have your say on all things Apple-related
Create groups that maintain themselves
Expand your knowledge with our tutorials
Inspiring ideas for
revamping old Apple kit
Blend two images to mimic a double exposure
Make receipts available on all of your devices
Improve the way your home movies look
Lay down an idea as soon as it comes to you
Beat performance issues to the punch
Our pick of the best of readers’ photographs
Apple kit given a modern makeover @macformat
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 7
What’s inside
The core Apple news
you need to know about
Our top picks of the
month for Mac and iOS
Amazing stats from
the world of Apple
The low-down on the
iPhone SE and iPad Pro
Adam Banks on digital
content’s shelf life
The team’s views on
the latest Apple tech
Contact us
Email your queries
and your questions to
Keep up to date by
following us on Twitter
Join the conversation
Mac Pro (Mid 2016)
Will WWDC 2016 be the time for a new Pro?
Apple’s March event saw no talk of updated Macs in any shape or form.
It’s now been more than two-and-a-half years since the high-end Mac first
appeared in its radically redesigned form. It’s well overdue an update,
and this summer could finally be the time for Apple to beef up the Pro.
We wouldn’t expect Apple to change the Pro’s casing. It was a major
industrial design success, and we’re far more likely to see changes that are
restricted to the computer’s internals, unless new colours join the line-up of
just black! Space Grey? Gold? Even Rose Gold? Well, nothing’s impossible!
But what about those internals? We haven’t got sales figures, so maybe
Apple has been in no rush to update things
if buyers are happy enough. But, as with any
computer, a gap of around three years soon
becomes a gulf in capability. Intel’s Xeon Skylake
The late 2013 Mac Pro uses
chips (E3 v5) are now here, so Apple may simply
Intel’s Xeon E5 v2 (Ivy Bridge)
have been waiting for their arrival. However, they
processor family. When it
are low on cache, so not ideal for multithreaded
launched, these were Intel’s
tasks. The older but highly capable Haswell chips
most powerful workstation chips.
of the E5 v3 range might fit the bill, and they
Skipping Haswell (v3) may not be
support DDR4 memory. It’ll be fascinating to see
an option if the Pro is to retain
where the Mac Pro goes next. Let’s look at those
a large cache in its processors.
potential specs in more detail…
Alan says…
I’m also eager to
see how OS X’s
graphics features
evolve in its next release
Code in El Capitan suggests
the next Mac Pro will have
a whopping 10 USB 3 ports.
We think this makes sense if the
new model gains Thunderbolt 3,
which uses a USB-C connector
but with 40Gbps transfer rates. @macformat
WE ASKED… With similar
components inside, which
size iPhone would you pick?
2% 32%
(6/6s Plus)
Log on and see next
issue’s big question!
Hot on the heels of the
tech giant’s latest moves…
Currently there’s 256GB PCIebased flash storage included in
both standard Mac Pro models,
with an option of 512GB for £240,
or 1TB for £640. We expect a
2TB top-of-the-line option will be
made available for £1,000.
2 @macformat
A move to Haswell processors
means moving from DDR3 to
DDR4 on the memory side of
things. That means up to 40%
reduction in power usage,
which could be just the thing for
improved thermals if the casing
design remains unchanged.
With Apple’s March event
lacking Mac announcements,
it could be swiftly followed
by another small event to
refresh the MacBook line-up.
Apple is to split storage of
iCloud data between Google
and Amazon. There’s also
talk of Apple building its own
infrastructure for increased
independence from its rivals.
The search engine giant is
reportedly developing an
iOS on-screen keyboard with
gestural input, similar to apps
like SwiftKey and Swype.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 9
could be high
93% ‘Optane’ in a
few years…
Apple’s spring event
kicked off with a look
at the company’s
commitment to
recycling and renewable
energy. Vice president
of environment and
social initiatives, Lisa
Jackson, stated that
Apple is just 7% shy of a
100% renewable energy
goal in its ‘operations’.
iTUNES 4.1
In October 2003,
iTunes expanded
beyond the Mac and on
to a far wider Windows
audience, signalling the
demise of jukeboxes like
the popular MusicMatch
to sync iPods with PCs.
Will new drive technology make your next notebook a speed freak?
acBooks could be set for a major
storage speed boost as early as
next year, after reports emerged
stating that Intel’s new Optane SSDs could
be included in MacBooks in 2017.
Optane drives contain 3D XPoint tech,
which allows data to be read and written in
small sizes far more quickly than on current
SSDs thanks to the transistor-less crosspoint
architecture of the drive. In practice, that
could mean speeds a thousand times quicker
than current NAND storage, and a more
durable device too. Optane would also be 10
times denser than the DRAM chips contained
in many computer models around today.
Extra! Extra!
Apple News
opens up to all
Apple’s fancy format to finally
make Apple News a great app
$23,700 A
Launched in 1983 at
a cost of $9,995, the
Apple Lisa sold only
around 100,000 units.
The equivalent cost
today, adjusted for
inflation, buys you nine
entry-level Mac Pros!
10 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Optane is reported to be making its way to
Apple’s MacBook range first, before coming
to PCs at a later date. Apple has often been an
early and enthusiastic adopter of advanced
technology in its machines, such as
Thunderbolt and switching to PCIe-based
flash storage in recent years, and Optane is
another innovation that will keep MacBooks
at the head of the portable computing pack.
It was also recently announced at the
Open Compute Project’s summit in San Jose,
California, that Optane is compatible with
the NVMe protocol used in the latest Retina
MacBook storage, so that’s one less obstacle
in the way of Optane-equipped MacBooks.
pple has opened up Apple News to
all publishers and bloggers who
wish to promote their stories on
the iOS-native platform.
When it first launched, the publishing
tools built in to Apple News were limited to
Apple’s official partners like the New York
Times and Wired magazine.
Now, these tools have been made available
to anyone who wants to publish and monetise
their content with Apple’s app.
Apple News Format allows for rich
content to be embedded in articles, and
enables content creators to access analytics,
and to monetise their content through iAds.
Soon many more media outlets will be delivering their
Apple News feeds in a richer Apple News Format.
Alternatively, publishers can submit RSS
feeds, which then push their content directly
to the Apple News app. The move comes at
a time when other large media players are
moving into news. From Facebook Instant
Articles to Snapchat Discover, many of
Apple’s rivals are seeing the value in
publishing and promoting news content.
MacFormat currently publishes stories
from its Tumblr blog on the Apple News app.
Watch these pages for future updates. @macformat
Apps & Games APPLE CORE
Our top picks
of what’s worth
watching and
playing this month
Superhot £17.99
[ MOV I E]
Gives ‘bullet time’ a whole new meaning
If you’re beginning to think
all first-person shooters are
alike, take a look at Superhot.
It’s a game where the central
mechanic forces you to think through your
moves step by step – and it’s not often you
hear that said about shooters.
The mechanic in question is this: time
only moves at a normal pace when you do.
So rather than running gung-ho into an arena
and blasting your way out, you can simply
stop moving and everything else will slow to
a snail’s pace. Fire your gun or take a forward
step and your enemies move too. It’s like a
strategy-FPS mash-up that is by turns frantic
and thoughtful depending on your game plan.
Throw in a highly stylised graphical aesthetic
and a risk-fraught, one-hit-death health bar
and you’re left with a game that will leave an
indelible mark on your psyche.
You must have
been under a rock on
Tatooine if you didn’t
know this was coming.
Unleash the Force!
[A PP]
[iO S A PP]
If you find text
overlays on maps
a bit annoying,
try this app instead. It’s a
Wikipedia reader that plots
interesting things in your
vicinity, using leading lines to
the content at the bottom of
the screen so as not to obsure
your map view. We love it.
Why you need it: Takes the
hassle out of using two apps.
What’s it best for: Discovering
interesting things around you.
The App Store
is full of fast and
furious twitch
games in the Super Hexagon
mould, but it’s nice to see new
ones still being developed.
Here you have to stay in your
circle, dodging blocks that fly
towards you. Stray outside
and it’s goodnight!
Why you need it: If you just
love a good twitch game.
What’s it best for: Short
bursts of gaming on the go.
The Thought Show,
from the BBC’s
World Service, looks
at the numbers behind the
news, reveals the true story
behind the social media buzz,
and offers a compact guide
to current affairs. Each 50minute programme is packed
with digestible facts.
Why you need it: Looking for
something new in news?
What’s it best for: Perfect for
enlightening your lunchtimes. @macformat
This app encourages
kids to solve problems,
rather than guess at the
answers. It has a helpful
assistant, and you can
create multiple profiles.
You’ve been able to
relive the widescreen
remaster of this classic
on iOS for ages. Now it’s
on the big screen too!
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 11
APPLE CORE Facts & Figures
The iPad 49.6
IN NUMBERS million
Apple practically invented the tablet, so it’s no wonder
few other companies have even had a look in. But how
has the iPad done its first six years of life?
£1.97 per year
If you were to fully drain and then
recharge an iPad Pro every day for
a whole year, this is the princely
sum it would cost you – less than
making a cup of tea every day.
Apple sold nearly 50 million
tablets in 2015, giving it the
largest slice of the tablet pie.
Samsung came in second with
33.5 million sales, according to
market analysts TrendForce.
The weight of the new 9.7-inch
iPad Pro, making it almost 300 grams
lighter than the first-generation iPad.
4 16.12 million
The number of iPads sold in the first quarter of 2016.
Although less than the 26.04 million sold in Q1 2014
(the record quarter for iPad sales), it marks a large increase over the 9.88 million sold in Q4 2015.
Samsung came in second with 33.5 million sales, according to TrendForce.
There’s no doubt that
iPad owners love to play
games, but a glance at the
App Store’s Top Grossing
chart reveals how much.
46 of the top 50 grossing
iPad apps on the App Store
are games – that’s 92%.
12 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
The share of the global tablet market taken up
by iPads in Q4 2015. That’s down from the crushing
90% iPads enjoyed shortly after their initial launch
in 2010, but up slightly from Q3 2015’s 20.3%
Learn vital statistics about Apple’s
new headquarters, Campus 2. @macformat
APPLE CORE Show Report
The iPhone SE comes in the same
four colours as the larger iPhone
6s, including Gold, Silver, Space
Grey and Rose Gold.
Kept in the (infinite) loop
The biggest news from Apple’s March 2016 event
he internet has been so awash
with Apple leaks for the last
few weeks and months that
nothing that was announced at
Apple’s ‘let us loop you in’ event
in March would have come as
much of a surprise. There was
a new 4-inch iPhone – but we already knew
there would be. There was a smaller, 9.7-inch
iPad Pro – but we already knew that too.
But while we had an inkling of what was
coming in the broadest sense, what about
the specifics? What will we be getting with
these shiny new products? Let’s find out.
iPhone SE
Perhaps the most interesting news of the
event was the launch of the iPhone SE. It’s
more or less an iPhone 6s squeezed into
an iPhone 5s chassis, so no skimping on
the specs here. You get the same A9 chip
and M9 motion coprocessor as you’ll find
in the SE’s bigger brother, but in a more
compact – and very popular – form factor.
There’s also the same 12MP iSight
camera, equipped with Focus Pixels for
improved autofocusing and True Tone
flash for more naturally-lit shots. Plus, the
ability to shoot Live Photos and 4K video
has come across from the larger iPhones.
It comes with Touch ID and Apple
Pay built in to allow you to pay on the
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro comes with similar specs to its
larger 12.9-inch cousin – and it gets a new colour, too.
14 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
go without using your wallet, while the SE
features 50% faster LTE compared to the
iPhone 5s, plus 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
Fans of smaller phones will see all this
as great news – there’s no longer an enforced
choice between a larger phone with more
up-to-date specs or a more comfortably sized
device with older components inside. If 4-inch
phones are your thing, the iPhone SE will be
right up your street.
9.7-inch iPad Pro
For months there was much speculation on
the release of an ‘iPad Air 3’ (we even debated
it in MF297’s Split View), so it was something
of a surprise when whispers emerged
before the launch event that Apple would be
announcing a smaller iPad Pro instead. And
yet that’s exactly what came to pass.
As with the iPhone SE, Apple has taken an
already successful formula (the iPad Pro) and
condensed it down into a smaller package. So
you get the same Apple Pencil support as with
the 12.9-inch Pro, and the same A9X chip and
M9 motion coprocessor too. Although the size
may be smaller, you won’t miss out on power.
In fact, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a couple
of things that the 12.9-inch doesn’t – for one
thing, it’s available in Rose Gold. It’s also got
a new True Tone display that automatically
adjusts the colour temperature and brightness
to match the ambient light wherever you are
to aid concentration and reduce eye strain.
Combined with iOS 9.3’s new Night Shift @macformat
iPhone SE>
> £359–439
> 16 or 64GB storage
> 4-inch Retina display
> A9 processor
> M9 motion
> 12MP still photos,
4K video
> Touch ID
9.7-inch iPad Pro>
> £499–839
> 32, 128 or 256GB storage
> 9.7-inch Retina display
> A9X processor
> M9 motion coprocessor
> 12MP still photos, 4K video
mode, which reduces
blue light output from
the screen at night, that
should result in a more
comfortable viewing
experience as you use
the device, especially
over longer periods.
There are a few
more notable distinctions between the two
iPad Pro models. Firstly, the 12.9-inch iPad
Pro supports fast charging – but you’ll
need a new mains adapter to benefit from
it. This uses the same 29W USB-C charger
that’s provided with the 12-inch MacBook,
and you’ll need to add a new Lightning
to USB-C cable too. Interestingly (and
a little frustratingly), the 9.7-inch iPad
Pro doesn’t support fast charging at
all. Secondly, the Lightning to USB 3
Camera Adapter that Apple launched
at the event runs at USB 3 speeds on
the larger iPad Pro, but only operates at
USB 2.0 speeds on the 9.7-inch model.
So why did Apple introduce a smaller iPad
Pro? Interestingly, one reason given by Phil
Schiller was to win over Windows users. The
new iPad Pro, he argued, is “the ultimate PC
replacement”, and is aimed at people using
older Windows laptops – as most iPad users
are converts from Microsoft’s operating
For the first time, Apple Pencil makes its way to a 9.7-inch
iPad, giving you a much more portable graphics tablet. @macformat
system. It has often been argued
that the iPad Pro is not a true
PC replacement, despite Apple’s
claims to the contrary, because it
is constrained by its iOS operating
system; we’ll have to see if these new devices
manage to shift the debate at all.
Watch bands
The Apple Watch also received some
attention, although not as much as we would
have liked. We were hoping for updates to the
hardware specs, but instead Apple announced
new bands and new colours for existing ones.
The biggest Watch news was the debut
of a new range of Woven Nylon bands
in a variety of vibrant colours such as
orange, pink and blue. Coming in a total
of seven different shades, the bands are
priced at £39 each.
Apple debuted new straps to existing
line-ups as well. The Sport Band collection
also saw a splash of brightness in the form
of a new yellow band. But it wasn’t all bright
colours, as Apple also toned things down a
little with a new Space Black Milanese Loop.
One more thing?
Apple Watch bands got a refresh,
with a new design and plenty of
new colours. Unfortunately, there
was still no news on a new
version of the Watch itself.
So while there weren’t any bombshells at the
launch event, there was still plenty of fat for
Apple fans to chew on – especially for those
who prefer smaller devices, who may now be
reassured that there are models for them in
Apple’s current and future plans. But Watch
and Mac users may have been disappointed,
and will have to wait until Apple’s next event
to see what Cupertino has been up to.
For further details about the latest Apple
hardware, see our Store Guide on page 104.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 15
Amazon’s victory over Nook in
the ebook market is a reminder
that, in the digital world, paying
for something doesn’t always
mean you get to keep it
Kindle or Nook? Ebooks were mostly one or the other, until,
in March, the book finally shut on Nook. With losses spooking
investors, the platform’s owner, Barnes & Noble, said it would
no longer sell Nooks or books in the UK. Users who chose it are
stuck with devices that can’t access new content. In short, it’s a
tick-tock trap for Nook book pickers tricked by fickle Nook
book backers – bad news for everyone but Dr Seuss fans.
The possibility of content becoming obsolete is older than
electronics. Around the turn of the 20th century, hand-cranked
wax cylinder recordings could only be played on the appropriate
machine, which in turn was useless for cylinders in the new
formats that often appeared. Anyone with a VHS tape collection
will sympathise. Today, it’s
not only innovation that
renders content unplayable.
Geoblocking is one example:
like UK DVD players refused
to show US discs, HBO makes
Brits wait to watch YouTube
clips of John Oliver. He’s our
comedian, dammit!
App stores brought a
more insidious risk: if an app is withdrawn by its developer,
you may find you can’t reinstall it from the cloud. Worse,
iTunes audiobooks came with this fail built in: they didn’t
show up in the Purchased tab of the Music or iTunes apps.
That’s recently been fixed, so you can redownload them if you
can access your iTunes account. Apple tries to ensure you don’t
lose this, using two-factor authentication to prevent you being
hacked, and an account recovery process if you mess that up.
Providers aren’t always so accommodating. Talking of
Amazon, shopper Greg Nelson found his
account blocked, as reported by the Guardian, because he’d
The possibility of
content becoming
obsolete is older
than electronics
16 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
returned too many items: about 10% of the 343
he’d bought. His gift card balance immediately
became worthless.
Can they do that? The Consumer Rights
Act 2015 requires that any potentially unfair
terms are clearly presented up front, but
Amazon’s policy is not – and might be
unlawful if it was, because it would limit by
implication the customer’s statutory rights to
return unwanted or faulty goods.
Again, this isn’t new. In a succession of
‘banning’ controversies, gamers were locked
out of their purchases for arbitrarily judged
infractions. In 2012, Electronic Arts’ Origin
platform and Valve’s Steam both revised their
policies after consumer campaigns. Amazon
seems to have no such plans.
Nook owners can still read their books,
if they followed emailed instructions quickly
enough. But there’s a deep irony in Nook
giving up just as Apple pays a $450m fine for
fixing the prices of ebooks to compete with
Amazon. Who’s the monopolist here?
Increasingly, content is rented rather than
bought. Maybe we want it that way. Or maybe
we’ve come to suspect ‘buying’ no longer
means anything. If you pay to own something,
you expect to keep it, just like the books on
your shelves. Unless tech firms and the law
can do more to guarantee that, it’s hard to see
any future in paying for content at all.
Adam is Apple to the core, having
reported on the world of Macs since the
1990s. As a writer, designer, art director
and print production contractor, he
divides his time between the Northern
Powerhouse and the Creative Cloud. @macformat
“The FBI… are
pressing us to turn
back the clock to
a less-secure time
and less-secure
The MacFormat team debates the hot Apple
issues of the day, using their iPhones of course!
Apple exec warns of dire
consequences if the FBI
wins its case against Apple
Alex says…
Turn to page 46
Christian says…
There’s a huge market for 4-inch phones.
They’re a bit more ‘phone-like’ than larger
sizes in some senses. I always preferred
the back of the 5/5s than the 6 by a mile!
“It was beautiful,
artistically subtle
in a way that
science can’t
Jobs explains the influence
of calligraphy on the
original Mac fonts
“Apple’s green
bond reflects a
growing corporate
concern about the
economic impact
of climate change.”
Apple leads the way on
‘green bonds’ to help
finance green projects
“Thanks for
giving all of us
the ultimate
Tim Cook helps celebrate
Twitter’s 10th birthday
18 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
I felt the same way until I got a 6 Plus, which I fell in with
almost instantly. Now that I’ve been using it for so long,
I can’t imagine going back to a smaller iPhone… ever!!
Christian’s sure
the SE will be a
big hit for those
with ageing
iPhone models.
I never warmed to the Plus, but as a 6s user it might be
difficult to do all my tasks as effectively on a 4-inch screen.
What great specs and what a great price, though! 12MP
camera, 4K video recording and A9/M9 processors… wow!
I was really pleased to see Apple kit it out with decent
specs. Aside from the styling, it’s basically a 6s in a smaller
package, so that should seriously appeal to fans of smaller
devices… although I’ll stick with my 6 Plus for now.
Alex couldn’t
going back
down to such
a small screen.
It’s the perfect upgrade for many on older iPhones, but with
such great specs at the entry level, has Apple evened out
the iPhone line-up too much now?
That’s a risk, and it’s certainly confusing having so many
different iPhone models. But on the plus side, you don’t
need to compromise on performance if you want a smaller
iPhone any more, and that’s a really good thing.
NEXT ISSUE What do you most want from a new MacBook?
“Hey Siri what’s your best chat up line”
tap to edit
Is your name Bluetooth?
Because I’m really feeling
a connection. @macformat
Win an iPad Pro
Design an Apple Car in the
incredible 3D uMake app
and you could win Apple’s
12.9-inch iPad and more…
In association with
Rumours about Apple’s move
into the automotive industry
simply won’t go away. But, what
car would you like Cupertino to
make? Now’s your chance to tell
us! In association with uMake, the
amazing free 3D app for iPad, you
could win a year’s subscription to
the Pro version and an iPad Pro
to use it with! Simply download
uMake from the App Store onto
your iPad and mock up what you
think the Apple Car might look
like. MacFormat and uMake will
then pick a winning entry.
To stand a chance of winning
uMake Pro and an iPad Pro (Wi-Fi,
32GB), simply create your 3D
model in uMake and export four
transparent PNGs of it (using the
far-right option in the top toolbar).
Then send your design to us at with the
subject ‘Apple Car competition’.
By taking part, you agree to be bound by the Competition Rules:
Entries must be submitted to the place and in the format specified above by 12pm (GMT)
on 9 May 2016. Late or incomplete entries will be disqualified. Entries are limited to
one per individual. Open to all UK residents of 18 years old and over, except employees
of Future Publishing Limited (“Future”) and any party involved in the competition.
The winner will be selected by an independent judging panel at Future and uMake.
The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. The winner will
be notified by email or telephone. There will be one one winner entitled to an iPad Pro
20 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
and a year’s subscription to the uMake Pro software. The winner’s entry will be printed
in issue 301 of MacFormat. The prize is non-transferable and non-refundable. There is
no cash alternative. All entries will become the property of Future upon receipt and will
not be returned. You retain all rights you have in the copyright and other intellectual
property rights comprising your entry but, by entering the Competition, you grant
Future, its licensees and the Competition sponsor the right, free of charge, to republish
your entry in any medium or format. You warrant that the entry is entirely your own
work and not copied or adapted from any other source. @macformat
What’s inside
Shine a light (or 50) on
your smart home in one
of millions of colours
How to get the mood
just right in every room
all through the day
Essential kit to elevate
your abode from ‘home’
to ‘smart home’
Let there be light! And groovy
colours, and remote control,
and Siri too! The latest smart
lights can set the mood and
save you money
The smart home is
here – live the Apple
dream today!
ne of the first applications of smart technology
in the home was the development of intelligent
lighting systems that you could control using
an app on your smartphone or tablet.
The scoffers scoffed, of course – “Is it really so
hard to get up and turn a light switch on or off?”
Well, yes – just ask any parent of a teenager.
Having instant control of your lighting can
save you time and money by switching off
after the kids, and that’s just the start
of what you can do with the latest
smart lighting systems. You can
change the brightness and colour
to suit your mood, set an alarm to
wake you up in the morning, and
even control your lights over the
internet when you’re away from
home. You don’t have to spend a
fortune either, so here’s our guide
to the best smart bulbs and starter
kits to light up your life.
Contact us
Email your queries
and your questions to
Keep up to date by
following us on Twitter
Join the conversation
Get the latest
subscription offers at
Many smart lighting bulbs
and lamps let you to choose
the colour they emit. This
LivingColors LED lamp from
Philips doesn’t even need a
smartphone to adjust up to
six linked lamps at once.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 21
Get started with
Everyone needs light, and there are plenty
of smart bulbs and lamps available that will
brighten up your home and garden
here’s a plethora of smart
lighting systems available
these days, some of which
offer weird and wonderful
features such as built-in speakers, or motionsensors that can turn on the lights to scare
away would-be intruders. However, the main
advantage of smart lighting systems is that
they can save you money. The LED
technology used in modern smart bulbs is
very energy-efficient and long-lasting, and
the apps that control these bulbs allow you
to instantly turn the lights on or off in any
room, dim the lights to watch a film, or set
daily lighting schedules to suit your routine.
Many LED bulbs also allow you to choose
different colours, rather than plain old white
light, which is good for creating atmosphere
in the evenings, say. Most offer some sort of
remote control option when you’re away
from home, and some even offer Siri voice
control, too – which is kind of cool, even if it’s
not absolutely essential.
What is an LED
bulb anyway?
Incandescent light
bulbs were phased out
a few years ago, and
most people now
use halogen or CFL
(compact fluorescent
lamp) bulbs, which are
more energy-efficient.
However, smart bulbs
all use the latest LED
(light-emitting diode)
technology, which
is even more efficient
and can last up to
25 years. Smart bulbs
can do multi-colour
disco lighting, too!
Back To The Light
Most manufacturers make a variety of
different smart lighting products, ranging
from individual light bulbs to lamps and
22 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
flexible strip lighting that you can use in a
garden. But, when you’re getting started it’s
easiest just to buy one or two basic bulbs
that you can use in existing lighting sockets.
There are a number of options here.
The simplest smart bulb we’ve seen is the
Avea from Elgato (£40), which uses an iOS
app and a Bluetooth connection to control
brightness and colour settings. You can
control up to 10 separate lights with the Avea
app, but Bluetooth’s limited range means the
Avea lights will work best in one particular
location, such as a bedroom or dining room.
If you want to control the lights all over
your home then a Wi-Fi connection will
provide greater range, as well as additional
features such as remote control over the
internet. To handle that extra complexity
you’ll find that most Wi-Fi–connected lighting
systems require an additional network
adaptor, or bridge, that must be connected
to your router. Fortunately, it’s possible to
buy starter kits that contain a number of
bulbs along with any required adaptor for
quite reasonable prices, and you can add
additional bulbs to that as needed.
These kits start at around £80 for the
Nanoleaf Smarter Kit (two bulbs and an @macformat
Smart lighting APPLE HOME
Not all smart lighting
network adaptors are as
eye-catching as Nanoleaf’s
dodecahedron, but they’re
often discreetly compact.
Light bulbs
Light bulbs have their
jargon too. You’ll see
many bulbs described
as ‘E27’, which means
an Edison screw fitting
(popular in the US)
with a 27mm diameter
cap. Many European
homes use ‘B22’
instead – that’s a
bayonet fitting with a
22mm cap. Make sure
you buy the right one!
adaptor) and go up to £150 for the Philips
Hue Starter Kit (three bulbs and an adaptor).
Unfortunately, Osram’s Lightify Starter Kit
isn’t available in the UK, so you need to buy
its Lightify bulbs and ‘gateway’ separately, for
about £30 each. One exception to the need
for an adaptor is a company called LIFX, which
packs the necessary Wi-Fi tech into each bulb.
They are quick and easy to set up, but they’re
a bit more expensive than some of their rivals,
so the LIFX bulbs are perhaps best used
selectively in just one or two rooms where
you want to show off and make an impact.
Light Work
As you’d expect, the apps that control
these smart lighting systems all allow you
to turn your lights on and off from your
Most smart lighting
systems allow you
to create custom
schemes to suit
different activities @macformat
iOS devices, and you can also dim the lights
without having to install a special switch on
a wall. Most of them also allow you to group
lights together to create custom lighting
schemes for different rooms and activities.
However, there are quite a few differences
between these lighting systems too.
Elgato’s Avea app is big on multi-coloured
mood lighting, but has limited scheduling
Some smart lighting systems provide optional
remote controls that enable you to control them
even if your iPhone or iPad isn’t to hand.
Can I really
save money?
A standard LED light
bulb will cost you
between £5 and £10,
and consumes just
10% of the energy
that’s gobbled up by
old-style incandescent
light bulbs. In contrast,
the app-controlled
smart bulbs we look
at here cost more –
from £30 to £60 –
so it’s probably best to
start with two or three
bulbs (often available
in a starter kit) so that
you can control the
lights in your lounge or
main bedroom.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 23
Can I mix and
match bulbs?
Well, that depends.
Smart bulbs that
support HomeKit
should work together,
but that currently
limits you to Philips
and Nanoleaf. There’s
another compatibility
standard, Zigbee, that’s
also used by Nanoleaf,
Osram and a number of
other manufacturers.
However, Philips got
some stick recently
for tweaking its own
version of Zigbee to
actually prevent you
from using other types
of bulb with its kit.
Why do I need a
network adaptor?
Some smart bulbs
allow you to create
customised schedules
and colour settings
for dozens of different
bulbs, and support
features such as Siri
voice control. Your
iPhone won’t always
be in range to handle
all that information,
so the network adaptor
effectively acts as the
brain of your smart
lighting system.
25 years
The estimated lifetime of
an LED bulb when used for
around three hours a day.
The energy saving offered by
an LED bulb, compared to a
traditional incandescent bulb.
Lamps like this Avea Flare from Elgato (£90) enable
you to set all of your connected smart lights to suit
your mood, right from your iPhone or Apple Watch.
features. Nanoleaf’s app isn’t big on
scheduling either, and its bulbs only come
in white right now, but it’s one of the few
products that currently supports Apple’s
HomeKit and Siri voice commands.
Osram’s app goes to the other extreme.
It’s rather confusing, but is packed with
features, including precise colour controls,
scheduling options, and a remote access
Fun though it is, Siri
voice control isn’t the
most essential feature
in a lighting system
option for when you’re away from home.
LIFX offers a similar range of features,
and is also compatible with other types
of devices, such as the Nest thermostat.
Unfortunately, its HomeKit support is still
in the works for later this year.
Arguably, it’s Philips that wins on
points, providing just about every
feature offered by its various rivals,
including HomeKit and Siri support.
Fun though it is, Siri voice control
isn’t the most essential feature in
a lighting system, so it’s worth
looking closely at each type of
smart bulb to see which one suits
your home and budget.
Colour LED bulbs enable you to
set their hue from many millions
of colours and adjust brightness
levels, and some can cycle
settings for disco-like effects.
The number of smart bulbs
that can be controlled by the
Philips, Osram and Nanoleaf
network adaptors.
The number of colours and
shades that can be displayed
by colour-capable LED bulbs.
Think outside of the box that is your
home, because some smart lighting
can venture outdoors – though not
all portable lights are waterpoorf.
Smart lighting APPLE HOME
Smart lighting isn’t limited
to small bulbs and lighting
strips, as demonstrated by
Nanoleaf’s modular and
extensible Aurora panel
We recommend some of the best smart lighting kits to get you started.
Elgato Avea
LIFX Color 1000
Smarter Kit £80
Osram Lightify
CLA 60 £35
Philips Hue
Starter Kit £150
Something of an oddity,
Elgato’s Avea bulbs – and
Flare lamps – connect to
your iOS devices using
Bluetooth rather than
Wi-Fi. The app lets you
select different colours,
and includes atmospheric
lighting effects. However,
the 430lm brightness is
relatively modest, and
best for mood lighting.
LIFX Color bulbs have all
the Wi-Fi tech built into
them, so they don’t need
a separate network
adaptor. That does make
them a bit pricey, but
they’re quick and easy to
use, and include handy
options such as remote
access when you’re away
from home (but there’s
no HomeKit support yet).
The Smarter Kit is good
value and includes a
network adaptor and two
rather odd-looking black
bulbs. It works with
HomeKit, so it’s easy to
set up from iOS, and you
can control it with Siri.
Our only complaint is the
white-only bulbs, though
a colour one is coming.
Though you have to buy
Osram’s ‘gateway’ (£35),
the Lightify range isn’t
too expensive. We found
this colour bulb versatile.
HomeKit isn’t supported,
but the app provides
good colour controls,
scheduling options, and
easy-to-use remote
control away from home.
This is one of the more
expensive options, but
it includes three colour
bulbs and a network
adaptor, so you can play
with smart lighting in
several rooms. Its app is
feature-packed, including
colour selection and
scheduling, and HomeKit
and Siri are supported. @macformat
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 25
APPLE HOME Smart lighting
Many smart lighting systems are
controlled by a special network
adaptor, such as the Philips
Hue Bridge 2.0. These adaptors
connect to your router, and store
colours, schedules and other
settings for all your lights.
Once you’ve got the network adaptor,
you can buy additional bulbs
The Nanoleaf Smart Hub needs
an Ethernet cable to connect
to your router. Others, such
as Osram’s ‘gateway’ adaptor,
can connect using Wi-Fi, so
you’re able to place them in
any room in your home.
HOW TO Control lighting from your iPhone
Genius Tip!
When you turn off a
smart bulb using your
iPhone, the main wall
switch is still left on,
but the bulb goes into
standby mode and
reduces power
consumption to less
than 1W of electricity.
1 Let there be lights
Like most of its rivals, Osram’s Lightify app
lets you group lights in different rooms and
then control the lighting all around your home
with just a quick tap. Here we’ve created two
groups of lights for our lounge and bedroom.
26 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
2 Make a scene
Scenes provide custom effects for specific
activities, such as watching a film or waking up.
These circular controls provide quick access to
things like colour, brightness, and ‘temperature’
(soft, warm lights, or harsher, cold ones). @macformat
Smart lighting APPLE HOME
We’ve seen the light! Philips and Nanoleaf
demonstrate the potential of HomeKit and Siri
he smart bulbs from
Philips and Nanoleaf
are the only ones that
currently support
Apple’s HomeKit technology in iOS.
HomeKit is still a work in progress,
but one of its key features is the
ability to control your devices using
Siri voice commands.
If you’re at home and your
iPhone or iPad is on the same
Wi-Fi network as your smart
lighting, you can ask Siri
to “Turn off the lounge
lights”, or say to your
iPhone 6s without even
touching it: “Hey Siri, dim
the bedroom to 50%”. It’s a
particular kind of geeky cool when
you get it to work for the first time.
You can even use Siri commands
on your iPhone when you’re away
from home – although a third- or
fourth-generation Apple TV is needed.
When your iPhone and Apple TV are
both signed in to your iCloud account,
you can use Siri to control your lights
using a mobile internet connection
or a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Osram and
LIFX lights also provide remote
control over the internet in
their apps, but not with
Siri because they
don’t yet work
with HomeKit.
Giving voice commands
to HomeKit accessories
over the internet requires
an iCloud account and at least
a third-generation Apple TV.
Jargon Buster
3 Let’s go disco!
Tap those controls for detailed options,
such as this colour wheel, which allows you to
select precise hues for your lights. The infinity
‘loop’ symbol activates disco mode, which
cycles through colours at specified intervals. @macformat
4Rise and shine
More practically, you can set schedules
that turn your lights on and off automatically.
The alarm option steadily increases the light in
order to wake you gently, and it can even play
birdsong or other soothing noises.
Zigbee is a low-power
alternative to Wi-Fi that
allows lighting from
different manufacturers
to communicate. Osram
and Nanoleaf support it,
so you can mix and match
their bulbs in your home.
You could use Osram’s
colour bulbs for mood
lighting in your lounge,
and a cheaper white
Nanoleaf in your kitchen.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 27
Indoors or outdoors, here’s the tech you need
to create your new smart home
Momit Home
Starter Kit £99
For even
more smart
home advice
See page 46
The very first edition of Apple
Home (see MF296) looked at the
money-saving potential of smart
thermostats. We talked to Momit
back then, but the Spanish company has only
recently started selling its offerings in the UK.
You can begin at quite modest cost with
Momit’s Home Thermostat Starter Kit. At just
£99, it’s one of the most affordable smart
heating kits we’ve seen so far. Its Wi-Fi
connectivity lets you control the thermostat
using the Momit app on your iPhone or iPad.
This includes quick on/off controls, as well as
scheduling options so you can adjust your
home’s heating to suit your daily routine.
The Home Thermostat also includes a
‘presence sensor’ that can automatically turn
off the heating if it can’t detect anyone moving
around your home. When you’re out and
about, the ‘geolocation’ feature can track the
GPS location of your phone to follow your
movements and turn on the heating when it
sees that you’re heading home.
Make it even smarter
The Home Thermostat is available in a number
of different colours to suit your home decor,
and once you’ve installed the starter kit you
can buy additional thermostats for £59 each
to control the heating in specific rooms, or on
separate floors of your home. There’s also an
optional extension kit (£29) that allows you to
take the thermostat control off the wall and
28 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
The Home Thermostat
displays basic status,
while the iOS app shows
usage stats that can
help you save money.
put it in your bedroom or
lounge for extra convenience.
The company also makes
a second model, called the
Smart Thermostat, which
costs £149. This version has
the same features as the
Home Thermostat, and
adds a colour LCD with
touchscreen controls and
a number of different display options.
The Smart Thermostat also includes an
ambient light sensor, which helps it to tell
when you’ve turned the lights off and gone
to bed at night. Unlike the Home Thermostat,
which requires the gateway that’s part of the
Starter Kit in order to join your network, this
model can connect over Wi-Fi on its own.
Momit says its thermostats are compatible
with most domestic heating systems, and that
you can install them for yourself in less than
half an hour. However, if you’re a bit worried
about fiddling with wiring, it can send an
engineer to install the kit for another £79.
The Home Thermostat
can turn off the heating
if it doesn’t detect anyone
moving in your home
Momit’s other, even smarter model
connects directly to your network. @macformat
Yale Linus £TBA
Yale makes a number of
semi-smart locks that are
primarily designed to work with
its own security systems, but
the recently announced Linus – named after
founder Linus Yale – plays a bit better with
other types of tech too. The Linus smartphone
app will allow you to
control the lock over
the internet when
you’re away, so you
can let your kids in
if they forget their
keys, and you can
receive alerts as
people come and
go. You can also
create PIN numbers
for a neighbour or
relative, so they
can open the lock
in an emergency.
Unfortunately, Yale
is keeping the price
under lock and key
at the moment.
D-Link Home Music
Everywhere £25
There are a number of wireless
adaptors that allow you to
connect an existing set of
speakers to your home
network, but most of them need their own
apps to control music streaming, and may not
work with Apple’s own Music app. However,
D-Link’s Home Music Everywhere supports
Apple’s AirPlay tech, so you can send music
to it from iTunes on your Mac, the Music app
on your iOS devices, and many other apps
with no problems at all. It can also be used to
extend the range of your Wi-Fi network, and
at just £25 it’s considerably more affordable
than Apple’s AirPort Express (£79).
Samsung Powerbot Essential Wi-Fi £475
Coming down to earth a bit after
last issue’s somewhat bonkers
Internet Fridge, Samsung has
updated its Powerbot range
of robotic vacuum cleaners. As the name
suggests, the Powerbot Essential Wi-Fi
now includes Wi-Fi connectivity, so you
can put your feet up and guide it
around the floor with your iPhone.
The companion app also allows you
to create schedules for automatic
cleaning, and the Powerbot even
includes a built-in camera that
allows it to avoid obstacles and
store a map of each room to
improve its cleaning routine.
NEXT ISSUE @macformat
Leave your old mower in the shed and
smarten up your garden for summer…
You can’t move at
the moment without
someone trying to slap
a virtual reality headset
on you. Facebook’s
Mark Zuckerberg wants
us all to put 360° VR
selfies on the social
network, and Samsung
is now giving its Gear
headset away for free
with its latest Galaxy
smartphones. All we’ve
had from Apple so far
is Tim Cook’s recent
comment that VR is
“really cool”. We know
Apple has hired several
engineers and even
bought companies with
VR experience. But, as
always, the company
prefers to maintain
complete secrecy until
it’s got a product that’s
actually ready to ship.
In the meantime,
there’s always Google
Cardboard. This cheap
and cheerful kit lets
you make a cardboard
headset that uses your
smartphone as a screen
for VR apps. Originally
developed for Android
phones, there’s now a
Cardboard app for iOS,
and some interesting
apps from companies
such as the New York
Times, and Otherworld
Interactive’s creepy
horror game, Sisters.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 29
Many of us have used Wi-Fi and other
wireless tech to get online for years, yet it
can do so much more around your home
or office. Rob Mead-Green explains
how to make the most of it…
New network device
Authentication failed
Connected -Streaming
30 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016 @macformat
ver since Apple introduced
AirPort in 1999, it has been
at the forefront of wireless
technology, making it easy to
shuttle files back and forwards between all your
devices cable-free. It’s hard to imagine using a
Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch without it.
Wireless technology hasn’t stood still in the
years since then. The original AirPort brought
us the IEEE 802.11b networking standard with a
theoretical maximum bandwidth of 11Mbps, and
since then we’ve had 802.11g (54Mbps), 802.11n
(600Mbps), and now 802.11ac (1.3Gbps), found
in all new Mac and iOS devices.
802.11ac brings more than just a huge boost
to transmission rates. It’s also more robust over
longer distances and when passing through
walls and other obstacles, so you’re less likely
to experience dead zones around your home.
Most wireless devices uses different parts
of the radio spectrum, typically either 2.4GHz
or 5GHz. 2.4GHz is the most common and
crowded in terms of Wi-Fi traffic, while 5GHz is
still relatively unused. The good news is that
802.11ac routers such as the latest AirPort
Extreme can simultaneously broadcast in both
bands, with the 2.4GHz one offering a slower
yet more compatible connection for your older
hardware to use, making it easy all of your
devices to get online.
The other good news is that while there are
other Wi-Fi standards on the horizon, including
802.11ax with up to 10Gbps transfers, 802.11ac
is still relatively new, so your Mac, iOS devices
and AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule equipped
with it should last you a good few years yet.
Music streaming >
> You should have no problem
streaming music around your
home. Songs from the iTunes
Store and Apple Music use
around 256Kbps (Kilobits per
second), while higher quality
Apple Lossless tracks – an
option for importing your own
CDs – use more bandwidth.
Video streaming >
> Video can be intensive on
bandwidth. Netflix suggests
download speeds of 3Mbps
for SD video, 5Mbps for 720p
HD video and 25Mbps for
Ultra HD per stream. How
smoothly video streams also
depends who else is using
your network and your setup.
Video conferencing >
> If you love chatting face-toface, count on using similar
bandwidth as for streaming
video. Skype, for example,
recommends 300Kbps for
video calling, 500Kbps for
higher quality, and 1.5Mbps
for HD video. FaceTime needs
1Mbps for HD video.
> If your Wi-Fi has trouble reaching every
corner of your home, you’re not alone.
It could be because your home is on
multiple floors, or because there are
numerous walls between the device
you’re using and your Wi-Fi router.
One way to fill in these ‘not spots’
is to use an 802.11ac router such as the
latest model of AirPort Extreme (£169, or AirPort Time Capsule
(from £249), which boast beamforming
technology and better antennae to help
your Wi-Fi network reach further by
targeting the signal towards 802.11ac @macformat
devices for a stronger signal. Another
option is to extend the reach of your
network using a Wi-Fi extender, such as
Apple’s AirPort Express (£79).
A third option is to use powerline
technology, which shuttles data around
your home over your home’s electrical
wiring. Devolo’s dLAN 1200+ac (£160, comprises two powerline
transceivers; you connect one to your
broadband modem and a power socket
at one end, and the other where you
want to get internet access. Handily, it
also includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi as well.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 31
Make your home
truly wireless
It’s easier than ever to take control
of every aspect of your home – and
you can do it all cable-free
Thermostats >
> Manually switching the
heating on and off, up and
down is so last century.
Thanks to devices such as
the Netatmo Thermostat
and Hive Active Heating
(£250, you
can do it from your iPhone, iPad
or Mac instead. Netatmo’s version
Clever monitoring of your
uses Apple’s HomeKit technology
heating needs and energy
( to monitor and set
use could save you money.
your heating using partner apps for
iOS, while the Hive Active Heating sensor lets you take charge
of your heating and hot water using iOS and your Mac. The
Nest Learning Thermostat (£134, can even
tell when you’re at home and adjust your heating accordingly.
All of them allow you to monitor your energy use too.
Smart security >
> If you want to know what your pets are up to when you’re out
and about, or you want to see who is at your door, there’s a
growing range of wireless smart security cameras and home
monitors available that enable you to do just that. One of our
favourites is the Netatmo Welcome Face Recognition Home
Camera (£200,, which automatically
activates when someone passes in front of it. It can even send
an alert to your iPhone, iPad or Mac when it sees someone it
doesn’t recognise. It’s capable of recording 1080p
Full HD video and even has a night-vision mode,
so you can stay safe day and
night. The FLIR FX Outdoor
Wireless HD Video Camera
(£220, is
also able to let you know who’s
at the door.
32 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Multiroom speakers >
> Being able to pipe music all over your home used
to be the preserve of the very well heeled, but now,
thanks to Wi-Fi technology, pretty much all of us
can afford to do it. There are dozens of great
multiroom sound systems available. One of the
most popular comes from Sonos (,
a pioneer in this area. Its latest systems are now
compatible with Apple Music, with prices starting
at just £169 for a single Play:1 speaker. All you have
to do is add more speakers in each room where
you want to enjoy music, and then control them
using the free Sonos Controller app, which is
available for Mac, iOS and other devices. You can
Wi-Fi makes it possible to
stream music around your
home at relatively low cost
achieve similar results using rival systems, such as
Yamaha’s MusicCast tech ( is built in
to a whole range of audio systems, from single
speakers to micro hi-fi systems and even home
cinema soundbars, and it’s compatible with music
streamed in Apple Lossless format. Prices start at
£180 for the WX-030 (
Sonos recently added
Apple Music support
to its system.
Media streaming >
> One of the great things about
wireless networking is that it frees
up all of your stuff so you can enjoy
it anywhere, whether it’s music,
movies, TV shows or photos. The
obvious place to start is the new
Apple TV (from £129), but there are
plenty of other options available,
ranging from the inexpensive
Google Chromecast (£30,
1QTMyuX) to the Roku 3 HD (£94, The best 4K
Ultra HD option at the moment is
Amazon’s Fire TV (£80,
1QTN7ol), which gives you easy
access to catch-up services, such as
BBC iPlayer, as well as Amazon’s
wealth of TV and movie content.
Some smart lighting lets
you change its colour to
suit your activity, whether
that’s hosting a dinner
party or watching a film.
Smart lighting >
Google Chromecast is more affordable than Apple TV, though not all iOS apps work with it.
Smoke alarms >
> Protecting you and your loved ones is easier than
ever, thanks to a growing a range of smart smoke
alarms that can tell you what’s going on at home even
when you’re not there. Nest Protect (£90,
1LBnk1P), for example, can detect both fast and slow
burning fires using two different wavelengths of light
to detect smoke during the device’s 10-year lifespan.
It immediately alerts you via its companion iOS app
in the event of a problem. Its Pathlight feature lights
your way as you pass by – handy if you need to get up
to go to the loo during the night.
Nest Protect provides an
early warning about smoke
in a friendly voice, rather
than a shrill initial tone.
Health Gadgets >
>Another burgeoning area where
networked devices are coming into
play is health and fitness. Devices
such as the Fitbit Aria (£99, fitbit.
link/1LBw3Bj) keep tabs on your
weight, body mass index (BMI)
and body fat percentage, sending
details to the free Aria companion
iOS app. The Withings WS 50
Smart Body Analyser (£130,
1LBwECV) works in a similar way
and even gives you up-to-date
weather reports and air quality
levels every time you step on the
scale. You can also use wireless
smart gadgets to help you track
your sleep. The Beddit Smart Sleep
Tracker (£100,
uses Bluetooth to send sleep data
to your iPhone and Apple Watch,
while the Emfit QS (€299,
1LBxFLq) does the same using W-Fi.
Wi-Fi is great for health
gadgets too like this smart
scale from Withings.
> Smart lighting systems enable you to create
lighting settings for relaxing or entertaining
at home, and you can program the lights to
switch on and off automatically throughout
the day. Starter kits for Philips’ Hue system
start at £60 ( and can be
extended as your budget allows to control
up to 50 individual lights possible. White and
coloured bulbs are available, and there’s a
HomeKit Upgrade Bridge (£50,
1LBq9zZ) for existing Hue users who want to
control lights using Siri. Elgato’s Avea system
(from £40, works in a similar
way, with a whole range of bulbs and lights to
pick from, including a wireless, rechargeable
battery-powered light called the Avea Flare
Philips’ Hue system can
control up to 50 lights
around your home
(£90), which is suitable for outdoor use. All of
them can be controlled using your iPhone,
iPad or even Apple Watch.
You can take charge of outdoor lighting,
too. Netatmo Presence (£TBC,
is a light and a camera that can automatically
illuminate the way to your door and keep an
eye on visitors by sending live video to your
iOS device. It can store its recordings on a
MicroSD card or a personal server.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 33
Wireless gear
for your Mac
Peripherals, networks and much more
kit can be used without plugging it in
hile many of the new smart gadgets available
in our homes have been designed to work with
the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch – often using
HomeKit – the Mac is far from being neglected.
Apple, of course, sells its own wireless devices, both in terms
of Bluetooth peripherals such as the Magic Keyboard, Magic
Trackpad 2 and Magic Mouse 2, as well as its AirPort Extreme
and AirPort Extreme Time Capsule wireless routers. Then there
are initiatives such as AirPlay and AirPrint. AirPlay, of course,
enables you to send music to compatible speakers, and video
to Apple TV, while AirPrint enables you to print wirelessly from
your Mac (or iOS device) to a huge range of compatible printers.
There’s a list of those at
There’s also a huge range of wireless devices
that enable your home and your Mac to be
smarter still – from the Netatmo Weather
Station, which enables you to become your
own local weather forecaster, to wireless networkattached storage (NAS) drives, which you can use to
store all of your files and then enable anyone in your home
to get cable-free access to them.
Each of Apple’s latest Bluetooth
input devices has an integrated
battery, which can be fully
recharged in two hours.
Magic Trackpad>
Magic Mouse>
Quickly open
Notification Cente >
Contextual actions>
Mission Control>
Smart zoom>
> Swipe two fingers inwards
from your trackpad’s right
edge to reveal Notification
Center. It’s quicker than
clicking its menu bar icon.
> Want a word’s meaning, to
add a detail a contact, or to
check if a time suits your
schedule? Place the pointer
over the item, then tap three
fingers for contextual help.
> Though it’s smaller than
the Magic Trackpad, the
Magic Mouse isn’t incapable.
For example, double-tapping
two fingers on its surface
opens Mission Control.
> Need to take a closer look
at a document or web page?
Turn on ‘Smart zoom’ in the
Mouse preferences pane,
then double-tap the mouse’s
surface to zoom in or out.
Mission Control>
App Exposé>
Swipe full-screen apps>
Swipe between pages>
> If you organise windows
across multiple desktops,
you can access Mission
Control to manage them by
swiping up with three fingers
on your trackpad.
> You can see all windows
open in the current app by
swiping downwards with
three fingers. (You’ll need to
turn on this gesture in the
Trackpad preferences pane.)
> If you’ve set up multiple
desktops or are running
several apps in full-screen
mode, switch between them
by swiping two fingers left or
right on your Magic Mouse.
> Whether you’re browsing
the web using Safari, a
simple swipe with one finger
left or right across the Magic
Mouse will take you to the
next or previous page.
34 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016 @macformat
Canon Pixma MG7750 >
£160 >
AirPrint >
> The days when your Mac
had be physically connected
to your printer to be able to
print anything are long gone,
and it’s all thanks to the
growth of Wi-Fi and Apple’s
AirPrint technology.
To take advantage of this,
you’ll need to ensure that your
printer is AirPrint-compatible –
see – then
connect the printer to your
Wi-Fi network.
Switch on the printer and
you should see it appear in
System Preferences > Printers
& Scanners if you’re running
OS X El Capitan. It should also
appear as an option whenever
you tap the Share icon in the
majority of iOS apps and
choose Print from the bottom
row of the Share sheet.
While AirPrint is wonderful,
it can’t perform miracles: you
will still need to physically
replenish your printer’s paper
and ink when it runs out!
You may want to download
and install additional printing
and scanning software that’s
often provided by hardware
manufacturers, which may
offer additional functionality
that’s not provided by AirPrint.
However, printing using the
means provided by Apple’s
tech should be fine for the
majority of cases.
Other wireless gear >
> If you own an iMac or Mac Pro, you
probably already own an Apple-made
Bluetooth keyboard, mouse or trackpad,
but if you don’t – or you fancy upgrading
whatever alternative you have – then their
recently upgraded successors are well
worth a look. The Magic Mouse 2 (£65, is now lighter, has an
improved foot design and comes with a built-in rechargeable
battery, while the Magic Trackpad 2 (£109,
also has an integrated battery, an edge-to-edge glass surface and,
crucially, includes four pressure-sensitive sensors that bring Force
Touch to desktop Macs. The Magic Keyboard (£79, apple.
co/1R2Vfg6) has scissor-action key mechanisms for smoother,
faster typing and, again, a built-in rechargeable battery.
If you’re feeling creative, consider a graphics tablet like
Wacom’s Intuos Pro
1R2Wa08), which
includes a wireless
kit so you can work
cable-free. Its stylus
offers 2,048 levels of
pressure sensitivity,
while also offering
a wealth of different
brush, pen and pen
Modern graphics tablets talk to your Mac without a cable. nib styles. @macformat
> Produce premium-quality photo prints in seconds
with this AirPrint-compatible printer and scanner.
Mac apps are included, and a free
Canon Print Inkjet/Selphy app
for iOS (
enables you to scan
documents directly to
your iPad or iPhone.
Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless >
£499 >
> Treat your Mac and your ears to some top-quality
sounds with this brilliant AirPlay speaker. It belts out
a healthy 50W per stereo channel, plus another 50W
via its built-in subwoofer.
AirPlay means it
works seamlessly
with your iPad and
iPhone, too.
LaCie Fuel 1TB hard drive >
£130 >
> Armed with enough storage for 500 movies, LaCie
Fuel is a portable hard drive with its own rechargeable
10-hour battery and Wi-Fi router built in too, making it
ideal for use at home or on the
go. As it’s AirPlay-compatible,
you can even use the drive to
stream media to your Apple
TV – and it works with your iPad,
iPhone and Mac, of course.
Netatmo Weather Station >
£169 >
> This gizmo keeps tabs on humidity,
temperature, and air quality, and the
results are presented beautifully on
iOS, or on a Mac using Temps (£1.49,
Mac App Store). Add the optional rain
and wind gauges (£69 each) to monitor
those conditions, too – great if weather
forecasts fill you with hollow laughter.
Momentum Wireless >
£290 >
> Whether you’re playing a movie,
music or a game, these headphones
are built for comfort and high fidelity,
with noise-cancelling tech to filter out
most background sounds, they also
feature Bluetooth so you can listen
without being tethered to a device.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 35
Improve your network
Make your network work smarter, faster
and more reliably with these handy tips
our wireless network
should work pretty
reliably most of the
time, especially if
you use an AirPort Extreme
or AirPort Time Capsule.
Nevertheless, there are things
you can do to make it work
better, faster and more reliably,
and to make it more secure.
Your first port of call for
working with Apple’s AirPort
hardware is AirPort Utility, which
is found in /Applications/Utilities
on a Mac and a free add-on for
iOS devices (
This app shows your current
base station’s setup and how
you’re connected to the internet.
Open it, select your device’s icon
in the network map to reveal
details about its configuration,
and click Edit to make changes.
One of the best things you
can do to speed up your network
is to make sure your base station
is using the fastest possible
connection speed. If you own the
latest 802.11ac AirPort Extreme
and a suitable Mac (most 2013 or
newer models) or iOS device (at
least an iPhone 6, iPad Air 2,
iPad mini 4 or an iPad Pro), then
802.11ac radio mode offers the
best mixture of speed for newer
devices that connect at 5GHz
and backwards compatibility for
older ones in the 2.4GHz band.
With an older 802.11n model,
switching it to 5GHz will give you
the fastest data speeds, but not
all of your devices may work with
that, which is an issue if the base
station doesn’t do simultaneous
dual-band broadcast. You can
switch modes in AirPort Utility >
Wireless > Wireless Options.
Learn self-defense
You should also secure your
network by employing Wireless
Protected Access (WPA), which
What router do
you really need? >
Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
will give you a modem-router to get you
online when you sign up, and many to
these come with Wi-Fi built in, making it
easy for you to get online or shuttle files
around your home without plugging in.
The problem, sometimes, is that some
of these free modem-routers offer only
basic functionality and may not always
work happily with your Mac. So, features
such as Back To My Mac may not work
as expected, for example, and the Wi-Fi
network that’s broadcast may not support
the faster 802.11ac protocol that the latest
Macs and iOS devices are capable of using.
Tune in to better Wi-Fi
The antennas in 802.11ac routers, such as
the Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream AC1900
(£150, support
beamforming, which enables your router
to actively direct Wi-Fi signals towards
your connected 802.11ac device, making a
reliable and robust connection more likely.
The latest AirPort Extreme is a great
example of this. It contains three internal
antennas for broadcasting its network in
the 2.4GHz band and another three for
simultaneously broadcasting in the 5GHz
band, helping your devices to latch on to
the best one. Most third-party routers use
external antennae for the same job.
Also consider how many people in your
home or office actually need Wi-Fi access,
and whether you want to be able to share
other devices; AirPort Extreme’s USB port
lets you can share a printer or storage, too.
36 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016 @macformat
offers 128-bit encryption. Most routers
now offer WPA2 Personal and WPA2
Enterprise security, enabling you to
set passwords between 8 and 63
characters in length. You should aim
to make your password as long as
possible and contain a mixture of
uppercase and lowercase letters,
numbers and even symbols. If you
enter the network’s password on an
Apple device that’s connected to your
iCloud Keychain, the password will
sync to others that use the keychain,
so you’ll only need to enter it once.
While hiding your network’s name
from broadcast might make it seem
more secure, its presence is still
Hiding a network’s
name doesn’t really
boost security, and it
can hit performance
Speed testers >
OS X has built-in help to diagnose those instances
when your network connection doesn’t work.
evident to a knowledgable sniffer.
Apple’s Wireless Diagnostics tool also
advises that it can cause performance
and reliability issues for devices.
Finally, if your wireless network
has trouble reaching areas of your
home, you can extend its range using
another AirPort Extreme or an AirPort
Express. Open AirPort Utility, select
the device you want to use to extend
your wireless network, then select
Network Mode > Extend a Wireless
Network. Further instructions can be
found at
Need to find out how fast your
internet connection is? Browse
to or download the
service’s Speed Test app for iOS
devices (free, Speed Test & Wi-Fi
Finder (free,
and Speed Test SpeedSmart
(free, for iOS
are worth a look too.
For something quirkier check
out Architecture of Radio for iOS,
(£2.29, which
provides a real-time visual
representation of all the mobile
masts, Wi-Fi networks and GPS
satellites around you.
Understand network analysis >
Find out what’s going on with your network by using Spotlight to search for and
open Network Utility, which offers important tools for diagnosing connections
The Info tab
The first tab in Network
Utility shows attributes of
your connection to your
local network and offers
basic data transfer statistics.
Use the pop-up menu to
check details of a different
network interface, such as
Ethernet or Wi-Fi. @macformat
The Ping tool
Having trouble connecting
to the internet or another
device? Enter its IP address
or web address in the box at
the top of this tab, then click
the Ping button. If you see
lots of packet errors in the
results, that means your
connection is timing out.
The Lookup tool
Want to know more about
where communications are
coming from? Provide this
tool with an IP address and
it’ll try to convert it to a
domain name – handy if an
email header includes the
former and you want to
know more about its source.
The Whois tool
Want to find out who owns
a particular website? Type a
domain name into the box at
the top of the Whois pane for
details. This will give you the
registration details of the
domain, but it’s important to
know that many site owners
anonymise their information.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 37
your network
Why isn’t my Bluetooth
connection working?
If you’re having problems connecting your
Mac to a Bluetooth keyboard, mouse, speakers
or some other peripheral, first check Bluetooth
is enabled on both devices, then go to System
Preferences > Bluetooth to pair them again.
To do that, delete the device’s existing pairing
from the list of devices (if it’s there), then switch
both your Mac and the device into pairing mode
(you may need to read the device manufacturer’s
instructions for how to do this). When the device
reappears in the list, click Pair next to it. It should
then connect successfully. To do this on an iOS
device or Apple Watch, go to Settings > Bluetooth.
The process is then the same as on the Mac.
Why isn’t Wi-Fi working?
Your Mac, iPad and
iPhone should normally
have very few problems
connecting to your
Wi-Fi network, but when
problems crop up, fixing
them is relatively easy.
The first thing to check,
of course, is that Wi-Fi is
activated on the device
you’re using. On the Mac,
look at the Wi-Fi icon in
the menu bar – the bars
that it’s comprised of
indicate signal strength;
the more darkened bars
there are, the stronger the
signal is. If you can’t see
any bars, several are grey,
or there’s an exclamation
mark showing, Wi-Fi on
your Mac is switched off,
the signal from your
router is weak, or you’re
38 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
experiencing some other
problem, respectively.
Click the icon for a list
of nearby networks that
are broadcasting their
name. For additional info
about the network you’re
using, such as whether it
can reach the internet and
reception info including
transmission rate, hold å
when you click the icon.
You can run a diagnostic
from here, and generate a
report for a pro to look at.
The Wi-Fi icon has an extra mode
that reveals fine connection details.
Why won’t my Movies won’t
email send?
play properly
It’s most likely one of your
passwords or email settings
is wrong, but it may signify
a problem with your Wi-Fi
network or your internet
connection, or the mail
server may be down.
To identify the culprit in Mail,
choose Window > Connection
Doctor, look for red dots next
to the listed servers, and
check the Details column for
affected rows. The Network
Diagnostics button here tests
your internet connection.
Movies should stream
perfectly across your
network, even when using
an older AirPort Extreme,
so check your connection.
If your Mac is connected in
the congested 2.4GHz band,
nearby devices may cause
interference. Open AirPort
Utility, choose Wireless >
Wireless Options and select
Automatic for the radio
channel. If possible, switch
to using, or simultaneously
broadcasting, at 5GHz. @macformat
Why does my Wi-Fi signal
keep dropping out?
If your Mac or iOS device
keeps losing its Wi-Fi
connection, it could be
because you’re too far
away from your router.
Try moving closer to the
router’s location to see if
that solves the problem.
If it does, consider either
relocating your router to
a better place or extending
your Wi-Fi network’s range
using a network repeater,
such as an AirPort Express.
You should also make sure
you have the latest version
of iOS and OS X installed,
as previous versions of
both have been known to
have Wi-Fi issues.
Why can’t I connect with Wi-Fi?
If you’re having trouble connecting to a network
that’s existed for a while, try restarting the router or
switching Wi-Fi on and off again. If you’re still having
problems, go to the Network pane in System Preferences
and make sure Location is set to Automatic. If that fails
to resolve the issue, click the Advanced button, then
remove the Wi-Fi network you’re having problems with,
then try connecting to it again. Also, ensure ‘Remember
networks this computer has joined’ is checked.
Why can’t I
print things?
My PC can’t
see my Mac
Why can’t I connect
to the internet?>
AirPort Extreme doesn’t have a built-in broadband
modem, which means you’ll need to connect it to a
third-party modem by Ethernet cable to get online.
If AirPort Extreme is working properly – or you’re
using a third-party broadband router for both Wi-Fi
and internet – open your web browser and enter the
router’s IP address and sign in to its admin tool using
either the settings supplied by the manufacturer or
your ISP. In most cases, restarting or resetting the
modem should fix the problem. It’s also worth
checking the hardware has the latest firmware
installed. If you’re still having problems, your ISP’s
service may be down. Go to the relevant support
page on the ISP’s website on a device with mobile
internet access, such as your iPhone, or call your ISP.
Why can’t I see my AirPort
Disk over the network?
If you have an AirPrintcompatible printer, check
you’re connected over
Wi-Fi and that your
printer is switched on.
Also ensure you’re using
a Wi-Fi radio mode your
printer is compatible with.
You can switch your AirPort
Extreme’s radio mode by
going to AirPort Utility >
Wireless > Wireless Options.
You can always switch back
to a different setting once
you’ve finished printing. @macformat
If you use a combination
of Macs and PCs at home
or at work, getting them to
talk to each other is a fairly
painless process. To access
files stored on your Mac from
your Windows computer,
go to System Preferences >
Sharing > File Sharing, click
Options and make sure that
‘Share Files and Folders using
SMB’ is checked, and then
enter the account password,
if prompted, to authorise this
change of settings.
You can easily share all
kinds of files across your
network by connecting
an external USB drive to
the port on the back of
your AirPort Extreme.
If you can’t see it or
access the files for any
reason, check it’s properly
connected and powered,
as well as unencrypted
and formatted with either
a Mac OS Extended, FAT16
or FAT32 file system.
In AirPort Utility,
choose Edit > Disks and
ensure the drive that’s
attached shows up there.
Also make sure Enable
File Sharing is selected.
In Finder’s sidebar, the
disk should appear under
Shared. (Check ‘External
disks’ is on in Finder’s
sidebar preferences.)
If not, choose Go >
Connect to Server from
the menu bar, then enter
your AirPort Extreme’s
IP address (look it up by
selecting the base station
in AirPort Utility), then the
username and password
to access the disk, and
choose the disk from the
available volumes.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 39
Share media across
your network
Save family buying their own copies of things
our Mac is probably
stuffed to the gills with all
sorts of media. A few easy
steps is all it takes to make
them available to other people.
Let’s start with iTunes. Open its
preferences and click Sharing, then
turn on ‘Share my library on my local
network’ to allow streaming of all
kinds of media to other computers
running iTunes, optionally restricted
with a password. Click the ellipsis then
Edit at the top-left corner of iTunes,
and turn on Shared Libraries. Switch
libraries using the new icon there.
Home Sharing does the same job,
but also allows media to be copied
between the libraries of up to five PCs
or Macs. This requires Home Sharing
to be enabled on each computer: go to
File > Home Sharing > Turn on Home
Sharing and enter your Apple ID.
Another option for streaming
music is to pay £21.99 for an annual
subscription to iTunes Match, or at
least £9.99 per month for Apple
Music, then go to iTunes >
Preferences and turn on iCloud
Music Library. After your library
is matched to Apple’s own, and
tracks Apple lacks are uploaded,
you’ll be able to enjoy your music
on all of your devices. You’ll need
an internet connection to stream,
unless you pre-empt a lack of
access by downloading things.
Share your purchases
What if family members want to
share your purchases but your
Mac is unavailable? In System
Preferences > iCloud, click Set Up
Family and invite them to join.
They can then click their name
at the top of iTunes, followed by
Family Purchases, or go to the
Purchased tab and tap My Purchases
in iTunes, iBooks or the App Store on
their iOS device. Not all items are
eligible to be shared this way, though.
HOW TO Share files with Emby>
1 Install and set up
Install Emby Server ( on
your Mac and Emby on your iOS device
( Open the Mac app
and set a username and a password.
Emby’s interface should open in Safari.
40 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
2 Sync your media
Choose movies and other media to
share. Pick Library on the left, then Add
Media Library. Emby works with most
kinds of media, stored almost anywhere
on your Mac. Now wait while Emby syncs.
3 Enjoy everywhere
Open Emby on iOS and you should
see what you’ve shared. Emby also works
with DLNA-ready devices, including
Smart TVs. To stream from your Mac to
a DLNA device, select it in the DLNA tab. @macformat
Mobile options
Set up Personal
Hotspot in iOS 9
Away from your Wi-Fi?
Think about getting
connected another way
here are going to be times
when you need to get online
and using your own home or
office network simply isn’t
an option – like when you’re
commuting or visiting friends, say.
One option is to tap into the thousands
of free or paid-for public Wi-Fi networks.
Or you can add a mobile data allowance
to your existing phone contract,
possibly with tethering to share it with
your Mac. Another option is to use a
Wi-Fi or USB dongle with your Mac.
All of the UK’s major mobile
networks (see below) offer a range of
connectivity options, from Pay As You
Go and rolling data plans to full-on
mobile contracts. None are particularly
generous, so you’re not going to want
use them for a TV binge, but when you
absolutely have to get online they can
be good option. Prices range from
£6–£55 per month, depending on how
much data you need. The best Wi-Fi
dongles also enable up to 10 people to
connect at the same time.
1 Turn on your hotspot
On your iPhone (or iPad with a mobile
data connection), go to Settings > Mobile
Data > Personal Hotspot and switch it on.
You can connect using Wi-Fi (and the
password shown here), Bluetooth or USB.
Many contracts limit the amount
of data you can share over your
iPhone’s Personal Hotspot.
What are my mobile hotspot options?
24 months
24 months
500MB £6
24 months
Huawei 4G Pocket
Hotspot Plus
24 months
Most affordable ZTE MF730M (3G)
24 months
1 month
1 month
12 months
2 mini Pocket
Most affordable Osprey
Hotspot (4G + Wi-Fi) 1GB
Most data
Osprey 2 mini Pocket 50GB
Hotspot (4G + Wi-Fi)
Most affordable Huawei 4G
Most data
Most data
Huawei E5573
(4G + Wi-Fi)
Most affordable Vodafone
Most data
Vodafone R216
(4G + Wi-Fi) @macformat
2 Enter your password
On your Mac, click the Wi-Fi icon in
the menu bar. Your iPhone should be
listed as an available network. Choose it,
then enter the Wi-Fi password shown on
your iOS device, then click Join.
3 Surf, surf away
You should now be able go online
with your Mac just as you would when
connected to regular Wi-Fi. Your iOS
device’s status bar is now blue, and shows
how many devices are using the hotspot.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 41
Wireless in your car
Whether it’s maps, music, voicemail or weather, in-car tech is
getting smarter all the time. Here’s how to get online on the road
hanks to GPS, mobile
broadband and initiatives
like Apple’s CarPlay, cars
are becoming as smart as
our homes. Most of the world’s car
makers have signed up to CarPlay
(you can see a comprehensive list
at and there’s a
growing number of aftermarket
infotainment systems from companies
such as Alpine, Kenwood and Pioneer.
CarPlay effectively turns your
car’s existing infotainment system
into an extension of iOS, giving you
easy access to favourite apps such as
Music, Maps, Podcasts and Messages.
You can even ask Siri to read your
messages to you, and you can dictate
replies in return.
You don’t just have to use iOS’s
default apps either. There’s a growing
number of third-party apps that are
CarPlay-ready, including Spotify,
Audible and iHeartRadio, and apps
developed by car makers themselves.
Right now you’ll need to use a
wired connection to your car or
aftermarket system, but Apple’s
developing a wireless solution too.
It first introduced the idea of this in
a developer build of iOS 8.3, and then
talked about it at WWDC 2015. It still
hasn’t announced anything concrete
as yet, but once it does, and you have
compatible hardware in your car,
you’ll be able to use CarPlay without
a cable, possibly over Bluetooth or
Wi-Fi. You may still want to plug in
your iPhone to charge it, of course.
One of the best things about
CarPlay is that it’s been designed with
driver and passenger safety in mind.
Eventually you won’t need to keep a spare
Lightning cable handy to use CarPlay features.
It not only gives you easy-to-access
touchscreen access to the iOS apps
you want to use, but it’s also able to
use the knobs and buttons on your’s
car infotainment system to access
certain features. Now that’s smart!
Wireless gadgets for your car >
EE Buzzard 2 >
£59.95 >
> Plug this gizmo into
a 12V power socket
and your passengers
will be able to enjoy all
their favourite music,
movies and games
while you travel. @macformat
Huawei 4G
In-Car Wi-Fi >
Netgear AirCard 790S >
£9.99 upfront, £17
per month, 24-month
contract) >
> This mobile hotspot allows up to 15
different Wi-Fi devices to connect to its
802.11ac network
to share the same
3G or 4G data
connection. Ideal
for in-car use.
> This 12V adapter gives
you 10GB of mobile data
per month and lets up to
10 devices connect to it.
£185 >
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 43
The future of wireless
We want our networks to be fast, reliable and available in ever more
devices, but can technology keep up? Let’s look into our crystal ball…
s wireless tech becomes
faster and more readily
available, we’re finding a
growing number of uses for
it, from being able to shuttle 4K video
around our homes to controlling our
heating, lighting and more. Thanks to
initiatives like the Internet of Things,
even more of the devices we use every
day, from cookers to vacuum cleaners,
will become connected, so our hunger
for bandwidth is only going to grow.
The problem is we may be already
getting close to choke point. The Wi-Fi
Alliance predicts there’ll be 38.5 billion
connected devices by 2020. Providers
in the US, at least, have already begun
ringing the alarm bells about the lack of
available radio spectrum. Luckily there
are a few technologies on the near
Li-Fi uses light to
transmit data up
to 100 times faster
than Wi-Fi
horizon that will be able to meet this
challenge head on.
The first is 5G mobile technology.
Currently undergoing trials, this
promises minimum data transfer
rates of 50Mbps wherever you are,
and up to 1Gbps in places like homes
and offices. The Next Generation
Mobile Networks Alliance (
has already produced a white paper
on the subject – with the aim being
to implements the technologies
for 2020 onwards.
See the light
Then there’s 802.11ah, also known
as Wi-Fi HaLow. It’s a low-power
Wi-Fi standard, which aims to use
the largely untapped 900MHz
band and is perfect for all those
Internet of Things appliances.
Another interesting technology
is Light Fidelity (Li-Fi), which uses
visible light to transmit data. Li-Fi is
more secure than Wi-Fi and up to 100
times faster. Rumours suggest Li-Fi
could be coming to future iPhones.
Apple has already patented technology
that will allow its cameras to capture
light data, and references to Li-Fi have
already been found in iOS.
An iOS jailbreaker revealed
references to Li-Fi in Apple’s
mobile OS, could it join
traditional Wi-Fi soon?
Wireless power: What you should know >
If you’ve been casting a
jealous eye over the wireless
charging capability of the new
Samsung S7 smartphone,
you’re not alone. Sit it on a
compatible charging station
or pad and you’ll be able to
witness the magic of
electromagnetic energy
transfer being used to fill up
their batteries. So, why not
the iPhone? @macformat
One possible reason is that
there are simply too many
competing technologies out
there and Apple is waiting for
the industry to settle on a
standard it feels confident
using. That looks more likely
now with the formation of the
AirFuel Alliance (,
which aims to do exactly that.
Another issue is that wireless
charging technology isn’t all
that wireless: devices still have
to be in touching distance of
their chargers to work. There
are technologies out there
though, such as WiTricity
(, which may
one day enable devices to be
charged wirelessly from up to
several feet away.
After the 3.5mm headphone jack,
will wireless charging spell the end
for the iPhone’s Lightning port?
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 45
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MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 47
What’s inside
Make effective use of
contact info by setting
up automated groups
Your new-look guide to
getting more from
your Apple kit
Learn how to blend
two images to create a
double exposure effect
Keep track of your
online orders across all
of your Apple devices
Improve the colour and
quality of your home
movies with VideoGrade
Lay down song ideas
on your iOS device to
develop fully later on
Keep your drives in
fine fettle to fend off
performance problems
Understand iOS gestures
A tap is a brief contact of
(usually) one finger on your
device’s screen.
Swipe means move one or
more fingers across an item
or the screen, then let go.
Pinch means move two
fingers together or apart,
usually to zoom in or out.
To drag is to move a finger
across the screen to scroll
or pan around content.
A flick is like swiping, but it’s
quicker, and is often used to
scroll content more quickly.
Touch and hold means lightly
rest your finger on an item
and wait for a reaction.
Master Mac keyboard shortcuts
When you see a shortcut like
ç+å+C, hold all but the
last key, then press that one.
≈ means the Control key,
labelled ctrl, and shown as ^
in shortcuts in the menu bar.
ç is the Command key,
which is also labelled cmd.
ß is the Shift key, which is
typically just labelled shift.
å means the Option key,
labelled alt or opt.
∫ means the Delete key,
which deletes to the left of the
insertion point. Press ƒ+ ∫
to delete to the right.
† is the Tab key, which shifts
the focus between some
controls in windows and web
forms. Turn on Full Keyboard
Access in System Preferences
to jump between all controls.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 49
Get smart with Contacts
Use contact information more effectively by setting up automated groups
30 minutes
How to work with
Contacts to track
information about
friends and colleagues.
OS X 10.11.
Details in Contacts.
An iCloud account.
Smart Groups
can help to
ensure email
reaches all the
right people
The idea of creating groups of
digital objects is as old as the
Mac, but manual organisation
can be time-consuming and
inefficient. A cleverer method is to use
so-called ‘smart’ collections, such as Smart
Folders in Finder, Smart Playlists in iTunes,
or Smart Mailboxes in Mail.
In the Contacts app, this idea is realised as
Smart Groups. Rather than manually adding
people to a group of contacts, Smart Groups
are populated according to which of your
contacts match conditions you specify. Their
contents even update as you change details
stored about people. So, if you have a Smart
Group based on a surname and add a new
contact with that surname, that person will be
added to the Smart Group automatically.
In fact, Smart Groups can contain multiple
conditions, each looking at different bits of
information attached to your contacts. So, as
well as someone’s name, a Smart Group might
check company names, the domain name of
company websites, cities and much more.
Along with the aforementioned group that
could be used for contacting family, you could
create one based on a location, or for each of
your contacts at a specific company.
This is particularly helpful in Mail. When
you type a group’s name in the To field and
press ®, the group’s name is replaced by the
contacts in that group, which you can amend
as appropriate for the message you’re writing.
Using a Smart Group means there’s less
chance of someone being missed out, because
the recipients will be based on current info
stored in Contacts. Even within the Contacts
app, Smart Groups can be useful for quickly
working your way through a specific list of
people you need to call or send something.
Smartly plug information gaps
In the walkthrough, we provide ideas for Smart
Groups that can save you time. In some cases,
we’ll be working with the app’s Note field,
which allows you to add arbitrary information.
When doing so, try to be consistent. If you use
this field to list people’s children, say, don’t
prefix it with ‘Children:’ in some contacts and
‘Kids:’ in others, because you’ll have to search
for both in a Smart Group’s conditions. Also, to
differentiate Smart Groups from normal ones,
and to speed things along in Mail, consider
adding a character to the start of every Smart
Group’s name, such as ‘@Surname’ rather than
plain old ‘Surname’. Craig Grannell
HOW TO Make your first Smart Group
1 Get started
Ensure that the Groups sidebar is open
(if it isn’t, choose View > Show Groups or
press ç+1). You’ll see existing groups
from your iCloud account, below which
will be the Smart Groups section only
if you’ve already defined a Smart Group.
50 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
2 Create a Smart Group 3 Make complex matches
Choose File > New Smart Group.
In the sheet that appears, name the
group, then use the controls below to
select an attribute and specify a value,
and how contacts must match the two
in order to be included in the group.
Click the + to the right of the rule to
add an extra criterion. On doing so, a new
pop-up menu appears above the list of
criteria. Use it to determine whether the
Smart Group should match all or any (at
least one) of your specified conditions. @macformat
Manage contacts like a pro APPLE SKILLS
HOW TO Use notes with Smart Groups
1 Think of an attribute
Select a contact and click the + under
its details on the right. Note the extra
fields that are available to add to it. Think
of a way you’d like to group people that
isn’t addressed by these fields, then click
inside your contact’s Note field.
2 Add it to the Note field 3 Group by note contents
We’re going to create a group for
MacFormat magazine. For each contact
we want to include, we add to the Note
field ‘Magazine: MacFormat’ (without
quotes). You can type anything, but be
consistent with wording and grammar.
Make a Smart Group, set it to check
the Note field contains the same text you
used in step 2, then click OK. You could
adapt this to group friends who also have
children to make the task of sending out
party invitations easier, for example.
HOW TO Be more organised
1 Maintain a birthday list
Calendar can provide birthday alerts,
but a Smart Group in Contacts provides
a potentially longer overview of what’s
coming up. Create one that checks for
‘Birthday is in the next’ and a duration
that suits how much warning you need!
2 Unearth missing details 3 Recall where you met
It’s easy to end up with an address
book that isn’t that useful. Create Smart
Groups to list contacts lacking important
details (email addresses, phone numbers,
or both), then get cracking with filling in
the missing information.
If you acquire contacts at speed,
use the Note field to state where, when
and why you met someone. Periodically
create a Smart Group that finds contacts
that lack this information and use it to
prune your records accordingly.
What about iOS?
How to (sort of) get Smart Groups on iOS devices
For reasons known only to Apple, Smart Groups don’t sync to iOS, and you can’t
create Smart Groups on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, either. A workaround for
the former problem is to copy items from a Smart Group into a regular one on
your Mac, which will sync to iCloud and be accessible on iOS. However, there is
a way to make and edit Smart Groups on iOS: go to in Safari, tap the
Share icon, choose Request Desktop Site, then sign in and tap Contacts. Your
iPhone must be in portrait orientation to see the + at the bottom of the sidebar. @macformat
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 51
Creating a
mask allows you
to make parts
of your image
invisible without
deleting data.
This may end up
your best friend:
you can undo a
vast number of
steps, letting you
roll back and
correct mistakes.
Make extensive
use of layers
to experiment
with different
mask types and
blending modes.
Image choices
Use images that
complement each
other. Here, the
landscape works
with its urbandwelling subject.
Create a double exposure
Use the isolated subject of a photo to make an awesome dual-image effect
At least an hour
How to work
with layer opacity,
graduated masks, and
adjustment layers.
Affinity Photo
OF 5
Make great landscapes
using graduated filters.
52 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
If you followed last month’s
tutorial on isolating a photo’s
subject (and practiced a bit),
you’ll have a handful of images
with fine-tuned, precise cut-outs, but what
can you do with them? Subjects against white
backgrounds have their uses in publishing, but
for digital artists they can be the first step in
the creation of striking digital art.
The double exposure takes its name from
film: a frame of film would be exposed, then
exposed again, instead of being wound on. The
result: a merging of the two frames, often with
unpredictable and beautiful results. In the age
of digital, merging two frames is easier and
more controllable than ever, and with care you
can produce provocative, fascinating images
that blend subjects, themes, places and more.
At its most basic, a digital double exposure
requires two images. Add both to one Affinity
Photo document as separate layers and
reduce the opacity of one of the layers. The
result will be cluttered and lacking contrast,
so we’ll get rid of your subject’s background
and experiment with blending two layers.
The first thing to do is isolate your
subject. Often, the best results will come
if you can shoot a subject against a plain
white background. This is often impractical,
so use paths and selection refinement tools
to cut your subject out. As you’ll see in the
walkthrough, creating a new layer with a mask
when you’ve finished will give the best effect.
Experiment with aesthetics
One useful approach is to vary which parts
of your subject are transparent. If a double
exposure has a human subject, say, you’ll
often want your subject’s face unadulterated
by your background layer. Create a layer mask
and drag the gradient tool from the top to the
bottom of your image. Make the point nearest
your subject’s face transparent by setting its
opacity to zero, and the background will gently
fade away, leaving things uncluttered.
Otherwise, all that’s left is for you to
carefully select your images. Two pictures
that demonstrate a theme can work well,
such as wildlife shots juxtaposed with urban
landscapes, or strong portraits of people
combined with elements of where they live.
If any digital photography technique rewards
creativity and experimentation, it’s this one.
Affinity Photo guide APPLE SKILLS
HOW TO Combine two images to striking effect
1 Outline your subject
2 Find a background
3 Layer up
4 Graduated masks
5 Tweak the gradient
6 Move the background
Using the path tool and the ability to
refine your selection – as seen in last
issue’s tutorial – to isolate your subject.
Create a new layer with a mask rather
than deleting your background. The mask
should sit at the top of all your layers.
Select your subject’s layer, then click
the Mask Layer button at the bottom of
the Layers panel. Press g to select the
gradient tool. Drag from the area of your
subject you want to be more opaque to
where it should be fully transparent.
Find a complementary image for
your main subject: open it, press ç+A
to select it, then ç+C to copy it to the
Clipboard. Switch to your main image and
press ß+ç+n to create a new layer,
then ç+v to paste your background.
Click the gradient in the toolbar.
Select the left point and set its opacity to
zero. Set the right point’s colour to white.
You can drag the points at the end of the
gradient’s line to change its length, and
the bar in the middle can be moved too.
Drag your background to the bottom
of the list of layers to put it behind your
subject. You should now be looking at
your subject, isolated on a chequerboard
background. The next step is to make
your background show through.
Now that your background shows,
you can move it around to create the
most pleasing composition. Select your
background in the Layers panel and
press v. You can now drag your
background around, or resize it.
7 Add a plain background 8 Turn layers on and off 9 Export
If you save your image as a JPEG,
the app will automatically apply a white
background to your image. If you save to
a format that supports transparency,
such as PNG, first add a new layer, filled
with white, at the bottom of the stack. @macformat
Affinity Photo facilitates further
experimentation. You can create as many
alternative backgrounds, using different
gradient masks, as you like. Uncheck the
box next to a background layer to make it
invisible so you can try something else.
When you save as a JPEG, all your
layers will be merged, so it’s worth first
saving a layered version in the app’s own
file format. Be warned that this may take
up hundreds of megabytes. For all other
uses, choose File > Export.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 53
Save web receipts to iCloud
Keep track of your online orders across all of your Apple devices
20 minutes
How to add a PDF
workflow to OS X’s
Print dialog that
saves documents to
your cloud storage.
OS X 10.10 or higher
You can create
that separate
personal and
work receipts
54 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
These days, you probably do a
lot of shopping online, in part
because it saves you paying
the mark-up charged by many
high street stores. You can choose at your
leisure without traipsing around town, then
sit back and wait for your shopping to arrive.
All of your confirmations, invoices and
receipts will be neatly stored in your email
inbox or appear on a checkout screen in your
web browser, from which you can save them
for reference. If you ever need to make a claim
or return an item, you’ll know exactly where to
find the necessary ‘paperwork’, which is rarely
the case when you’re stashing till slips into
folders and envelopes.
However, it’s easy to let things slide, and
tempting to leave everything floating in your
inbox, or to drag out PDFs into what seems –
at the time – an entirely logical folder, until you
realise you can’t find it again when you need it.
Moreover, not all receipts come as a PDF, or
any kind of attachment at all. Some are text in
the body of an email, while others are shown
on a web page after you finish your purchase.
What do you do then? The PDF pop-up menu
in OS X’s Print dialog provides you with a way
to save a PDF of a web page, an email or any
other printable document to a dedicated Web
Receipts folder. The trouble with this is that it
gives you no control over the location of the
Web Receipts folder, which is automatically
placed within Documents in your user account,
out of reach of your iOS devices and, typically,
your other Macs, too.
iCloud Drive
You could just create a folder on iCloud Drive
and save PDFs there manually, but that gets
tedious. Alternatively, you could create a
special shortcut, a symbolic link, to relocate
OS X’s own Web Receipts folder to iCloud
Drive, making its contents available on all of
your Macs, in iOS 9’s iCloud Drive app (turn it
on in Settings > iCloud > iCloud Drive > Show on
Home Screen), and wherever you can sign in
to Here, though, we’re going to
construct a new workflow from scratch, which @macformat
Save receipts online APPLE SKILLS
EXPLAINED… How to use Automator
Actions are
grouped by app
or by category.
Switch between
the two using
View > Arrange
Actions By.
will appear as a new command in the Print
dialog’s PDF menu. This route gives you full
control over how your saved PDFs are named
and where they are saved. So, for example,
you may want to create separate commands
that save your business and personal receipts
in different folders.
Introducing Automator
We’ll do this using an Automator workflow,
specifically in the app’s Print Plugin template.
Of course, you can use this to process many
more things than just web receipts – you could
adapt the technique shown here to save any
other kind of printable document, encrypt
your PDF file, email it, and so on.
Technically, working with Automator is
programming, just not in the traditional sense
of writing code. While Apple has a dedicated
method for writing apps for iOS and OS X,
called Xcode, Automator is its programming
tool for the rest of us. Think of it as a digital
game of Jenga, only in reverse. Rather than
pulling the Jenga tower to bits, you’ll be
stacking it up, with each brick that you add
being a specific action that you’re asking your
Mac to perform. Like a Jenga tower, though,
get one action wrong and the whole workflow
will fail to produce your intended result.
Think of each action as a macro, just like the @macformat
Drag actions into
this area to build
your workflow.
Each action
feeds its output
to the next.
With an action
selected in the
second column,
a description of
it is given below.
If not, click the
second icon at
the bottom.
step-by-step routines you may have used
to accomplish the same task on multiple
occasions in Photoshop or Microsoft Word.
Automator workflows are smarter than
regular macros, as they’re not restricted to
running inside particular apps. Although we’ll
build one that processes output from OS X’s
printing system, turning it into a PDF and then
performing additional tasks on the resultant
file, you can also create workflows that act like
a standalone app, or that keep an eye on a
particular folder and perform actions on any
files dropped into it. Workflows can also
process images imported from a camera using
the Image Capture utility, perform a task when
you give a particular instruction to OS X’s
dictation system, or run when a calendar
event’s alarm goes off.
Apple has already done a lot of the grunt
work for you by providing a library of useful
actions. Each one calls upon the services of
an app, such as Finder, Calendar or Mail, to
give you direct access to its core features,
such as renaming a file, setting up an event,
or sending a new message.
Each action in your workflow takes some
input, which could be a web address, a name
or, in our case, a PDF of a receipt we’ve
received by email or been presented with in
a web page, performs some actions on it, and
Add manual
interactions to
your workflow,
such as clicking
menus and
pressing keys,
by clicking the
Record button.
Jargon Buster
Portable Document
Format (PDF) preserves
a document’s original
formatting and layout
even when it’s moved
between platforms,
such as OS X and iOS.
Genius Tip!
If you’re running low
on storage in iCloud,
you can upgrade to a
larger capacity in the
iCloud pane in System
Preferences, starting at
79p a month for 50GB.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 55
Jargon Buster
The online storage
space provided with
your iCloud account
is called iCloud Drive.
It makes your files
available on all Macs
and iOS devices signed
in to the same account.
then either gives you the result or passes it to
the next action in the chain for further work.
It’s up to you to pick out the actions that
will help accomplish your overall task and add
them to a workflow in the appropriate order.
You can have as many actions as you like,
but each must understand the output of the
preceding one. For example, you couldn’t get
an event from your calendar in one action and
perform colour correction on it in the next, as
there’d be no colours to work with.
Our workflow
In the six steps that follow we’re going to
create a Print Plugin workflow that’s accessed
when you choose File > Print or press ç+p.
It will use the message that’s selected in Mail
or the web page displayed in the browser as its
input but, rather than sending it straight to the
printer, it’ll first convert it into a PDF, give it a
unique name so it doesn’t overwrite any other
stored documents, and put it on iCloud Drive
for safekeeping.
Our workflow doesn’t need any third-party
actions, only those provided with Yosemite
and El Capitan. These systems are required
to access iCloud Drive; if you’re running an
earlier version of OS X, you could amend the
closing steps to save the file to a folder that
syncs with a service like Dropbox or OneDrive,
or to a NAS (network attached storage) drive
in your home or office. Nik Rawlinson
HOW TO Send receipts to a folder on iCloud Drive
1 Make a print plug-in
2 Use a unique filename 3 Add the time
By default, when our workflow saves
a PDF to a folder, it’ll overwrite any file of
the same name already there. To avoid
this, select Files & Folders or Finder in the
first column, then drag Rename Finder
Items action from the second to the third.
Click Don’t Add when asked if you’d
like to add a Copy Finder Items action as
well. In the Rename Finder Items action,
set Format to Hour Minute Second,
Separator to Dash, and Where to Before
Name. Also turn on Use Leading Zeros.
4 Add the date
5 Create a folder
6 Save and test
In Automator, choose File > New, select
Print Plugin, then click Choose. This type
of workflow extends OS X’s Print dialog;
if you use Chrome as your web browser,
press å+ç+p to use that dialog
instead of Chrome’s custom one.
Add another Rename Finder Items
action below the existing one and again
click Don’t Add. This time set Format to
Year Month Day, and the other options as
you did in step 3. Your receipts will be
uniquely named down to the second.
56 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
In Finder, press ß+ç+I to go to
iCloud Drive. Create a folder called Web
Receipts, then return to Automator, drag
the Move Finder Items action into your
workflow, and use the pop-up menu to
select the folder you just created.
Save the workflow, calling it Save to
iCloud Receipts. In Mail, find a receipt and
press ç+p. Click PDF at the dialog’s
bottom-left corner, then your workflow’s
name. A PDF of the receipt will be saved
to the folder you created on iCloud Drive. @macformat
Rescue low-quality videos
Use VideoGrade to improve the colour and quality of your home movies
30 minutes
How to improve the
overall look of videos
shot using your iPhone
or iPad’s camera.
An iOS device
running iOS 9.0 or
later, VideoGrade,
and some video clips.
Besides going
all ‘Hollywood’,
you can make
subtle changes
to improve the
look of videos
One problem with shooting
videos is that the world can
be uncooperative. You might
capture a perfect moment, only
to later discover it looks like your video was
filmed in a cave, or that a serene living room
scene was set on the surface of the sun.
VideoGrade (£4.49) is a tool for applying
colour grading to your video recordings that
can radically alter the way they look. But along
with going all ‘Hollywood’, you can use the app
to make subtler changes: brightness, contrast
and vibrance settings, removing colour casts,
and improving footage by way of adjustments
to shadows, highlights and sharpness.
This is a Universal app, but you’ll most
likely shoot video on iPhone and then edit it
on iPad. That means you’ll need to transfer
videos between devices. If using AirDrop is not
possible, another option is to use iCloud Photo
Sharing. In Photos on your iPhone, go to the
Albums tab, open the Videos album, then tap
Select followed by the videos to upload. Next,
tap the Share button, choose iCloud Photo
Sharing and choose New Shared Album.
Give this album a name, tap Next twice, then
tap Post. If you’ve transferred the videos to
your Mac, you can use the same process in
its Photos app to get them onto your iPad.
Transfer clips another way
If a video imported to your iPad using iCloud
Photo Sharing produces an error message
when you export it from VideoGrade, there’s
an alternative method for getting it into that
app. Upload your video from your Mac to
Dropbox, then select it in Dropbox on your
iPad and tap the Share button, Save Video,
then OK. The video will be exported to your
Camera Roll, which VideoGrade can access.
Note that regardless of how you get videos
onto your iPad, sharing and downloading them
can take time when they’re longer than a few
seconds, especially if you don’t have a fast
internet connection. Don’t throw a load of
videos to a cloud service and expect them to
be immediately available to work with.
Craig Grannell
EXPLAINED… VideoGrade’s interface
Main menu
These buttons
let you export
your graded
video, load and
save presets,
and toggle the
video navigator.
There are 13
filters to work
with. The one
that’s selected
is yellow; any
applied have
a green marker.
Preview menu
Filter settings
On the right
are buttons for
the histogram,
clipping areas
and before-andafter previews.
Tap a filter and
controls appear
just above. Some
filters include a
reset button on
the right.
58 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
3 @macformat
Make video look better APPLE SKILLS
HOW TO Improve your home videos
1 Open your video
2 Test the video
3 Choose a frame
4 Adjust sharpness
5 Remove colour casts
6 Improve lighting
7 Get creative
8 Save and preview
9 Compare and export
Open VideoGrade, tap Start Editing
and grant access to your photos. It’ll find
local and shared videos. Tap an album to
see its videos with their durations and
resolutions. Tap one to open it. (If it’s in
iCloud, there’s a wait while it downloads.)
Older, low-resolution footage can
benefit from being less sharp. Select the
Sharpness filter (a hollow triangle), then
drag the slider’s thumb left. Low-light
videos can benefit from a sharpness
increase – move the thumb right.
Some footage will be too low-quality
to rescue, but you can still make it
interesting. Try using the Monochrome
filter (the chequerboard icon) and Effects
(the photo icon) to turn grainy footage
into charming black and white or sepia. @macformat
Tap the Exposure filter (bottom-left)
then drag the thumb on its slider to
adjust this attribute. When done, tap the
tick (top-left), then Export. If this fails,
use the Dropbox method from the intro
to transfer this video clip to your iPad.
If your footage has a colour cast
(blue is common in snowy shots), tap the
Channel Mixer icon (three circles), select
the relevant channel, and very carefully
adjust the sliders to make the colours
look more natural.
If you make a lot of adjustments,
save them as a preset (tap the fourth
icon down on the left) in case something
goes wrong during preview or export.
To preview your work, tap Video Preview
(the play icon, fifth down on the right).
You can pick which frame is shown
as you try out changes. Tap the video
navigator icon (fifth down on the left),
then drag the video strip to pick a frame.
Note the tools at the bottom left, which
allow you to trim your footage at export.
Outdoor shots can be washed out.
In the Temperature filter (a thermometer)
tap the sun icon. Next, in the Recover
filter (a plaster), reduce highlights. Finally,
tap the crayons icon and boost saturation
slightly to make colours more vivid.
At any point, see how your effects
compare with the original look by turning
on a comparison preview (the third and
fourth icons down on the right). When
you’re happy, export (as in step 2), ideally
at the original resolution and frame rate.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 59
Your ideas
Tap this to go back
to the list of all your
recordings, where you
can add names and
tags to aid looking up
ideas later on.
Your recording
See how the app has
detected pitch and
timing, and drag the
playhead to listen to
different sections of
your recording.
Editing tools
Use these tools to trim
your recording, add a
text note and change
timing and chord
information, and to
share ideas with people
and other apps.
Rhythm section
Tap the bass or drums
icons to toggle those
parts on or off. Hold a
finger on those icons to
pick an instrument and
set the part’s volume
and complexity.
Capture musical ideas
Apple’s Music Memos is a simple way to experiment using your iOS device
10 minutes
How to record ideas,
add accompaniment,
and share your efforts.
iOS 9.1 or higher.
Music Memos.
This clever app
works out the
tempo and
pitch of your
60 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Apple has a good track record
of giving away music-making
apps for next to nothing, or
even entirely for free. Its latest
audio-focussed app, Music Memos, falls into
the latter category and runs on any device
that supports iOS 9.1 or higher. Of course,
recording snippets of sound is nothing new,
but this clever tool analyses what you record
into it and detects both its tempo and pitch.
You can then make some simple edits to your
recording and add some backing parts, thanks
to technology borrowed from Apple’s Logic
Pro software on the Mac.
The accompaniment is partly automatic in
the sense that Music Memos guesses the pitch
and speed information of your recording, be it
guitar, piano or vocals, and adds drums and a
bass part. Either of those can be switched on
or off, depending on whether you want a more
stripped-back accompaniment or a fuller
sound. The really cool thing is it adapts even
when you change key or if you speed up or
slow down a little, thanks to the musical
warping technology in action.
For the drums, you can select one of two
kits, and also whether the pattern uses open
or closed hi-hat cymbals. There are two basses
as well, and for either drums or bass you use
an X/Y pad, dragging the dot on the pad along
its two axes to make the patterns louder or
quieter, and simpler or more complex. It works
whatever the duration of your recording, and
if the app has guessed wrong you can go into
your recording and select new downbeats to
correct the timing of the drums and specify
new chords to modify the accompanying bass
part into the right key.
From raw idea to song
Once you’re done, you can add tags to your
project for easy searching and export the
resulting track either to iCloud or another app,
such as iTunes, GarageBand for iOS or Mac,
or email it to a friend. Although much simpler
than an app like GarageBand, Music Memos is
a fantastic way to capture musical ideas on the
go when all you might have with you is your
guitar and your iPhone or iPad. Being able to
add bass and drum accompaniment after
recording, rather than needing them first for
reference, means you’re free to record at the
drop of a hat. It’s fast, fun, and best of all, free.
Hollin Jones @macformat
Get a song idea started APPLE SKILLS
HOW TO Use Music Memos
Jargon Buster
1 Make a recording
2 Check the results
3 Correct any mistakes
4 Add some drums
Open the app and either connect a special
iOS-compatible microphone or use the mic built
in to your device. Tap the Record button or tap
Auto, which records when sound is detected.
Play your instrument or sing your melody.
If the app has mistaken any chords, tap
the Chord button (Cm7), then any segment, and
then the correct chord below. This also applies
to changing speed using the Tempo button.
You can return to do this later, if necessary.
Tap the Stop button, then play back the
idea. Tap the waveform for a detailed view, and
drag the blue playhead around the recording.
Use the Trim tool (below the play button) to get
rid of dead time at the start or end.
Time and pitch
analysis are where
software looks at a
sound file and guesses
what its speed and
tuning are based on the
shape of the waveform.
Hold a finger on the drums icon to open
the rhythm section. To the left of the X/Y pad,
pick a modern or a vintage kit, and pick a drum
type on the right. During playback, move the
dot on the pad to alter volume and complexity.
Genius Tip!
Connecting a proper
microphone to your iOS
device will give much
better recording quality
and sound isolation than
using the built-in mic.
5 Add some bass
Hold a finger on the bass icon and do the
same for that part; you can choose from two
instruments, and alter volume and complexity.
Using headphones can help, since iOS devices’
speakers don’t always do bass brilliantly. @macformat
6 Share the track
When you’re happy with the results, tap
the Share icon to upload your idea to iCloud,
send it to iTunes to develop in GarageBand on
your Mac, or to that app’s iOS version. You can
upload to Soundcloud if its free app is installed.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 61
Maintain your Mac’s storage
Keep a drive in fine fettle to prevent problems throughout its life
At least 20 minutes
To keep your Mac’s
storage working
fast and reliably.
OS X 10.11.
Other tools as needed.
As storage
waste, its
can drop off
62 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Storage just stores, but to keep
retrieval reliable it needs to be
cared for. Over the long term,
files progressively get messier
and require periodic tidying. While managing
what’s stored is an important first step in
maintaining storage, that isn’t our focus here.
Instead, we’ll concentrate on managing how
your files are stored and maintaining the
storage medium itself, whether it’s a hard disk,
solid-state drive (SSD), or a combination.
You can, of course, keep most of your files and
their backups in remote cloud storage, but the
cost of leaving others to do your maintenance
is high, and you’re reliant on its availability.
Our overriding concerns are performance
and reliability. Left untended, hard disks can
become progressively slower to access, and
impact on a Mac’s performance in use. This is
becoming increasingly controversial: at one
time many users believed that if they did not
defragment (defrag) the files on their drives
every month or so, everything would grind to
a halt. Improvements in disk systems and the
changing demands of OS X now make this a
questionable practice, provided that sufficient
free space is kept to allow the ready creation
and use of cache and other temporary files.
OS X also performs its own background
defragmentation when possible, and old ways
of forcing it to happen have become more
difficult. If you try to clone your startup disk
to an external drive and back again – formerly
an effective way to consolidate free space –
the result may not start up at all. Only if your
startup volume is a hard disk, and you’re
certain its performance has fallen due to
fragmentation on it, should you consider
trying to defragment it yourself.
Deal with different mediums
Ultimately, all storage systems develop
sporadic errors and may fail catastrophically.
Planning for those events is the basis for
keeping backups, and determines the storage
medium used for them. If you could happily
see all your stored documents and files blown
away at an instant, you do not need a backup, @macformat
Storage health check APPLE SKILLS
DriveDx gives health and performance ratings for your drives, an SSD lifetime indicator, and can email you about problems.
but most of us need good and extensive
fallbacks, for which Time Machine running to
an external drive is usually ideal.
As far as maintenance is concerned, there
are now four main types of local storage: hard
disks; SSDs; Fusion Drives, which incorporate
both a hard disk and an SSD working together
in a Core Storage Logical Volume Group; and
network-attached storage (NAS).
A hard disk spins platters coated with
magnetic materials inside a sealed enclosure,
and is consequently liable to mechanical and
electrical failure, and to data corruption.
It undergoes maximum stress when being
spun up from rest, so tends to last longer
when left spinning constantly. It is also
sensitive to high temperatures, and a disk
running hot is more likely to fail.
Though more usually used as single units,
multiple hard disks can also be installed in
larger enclosures to be used individually
(JBOD) or in concert as a RAID array.
RAID used to be a specialist pursuit, but is
increasingly common. It is not an instant
solution, as there are different levels with
performance and robustness trade-offs.
Many people find RAID 5 across four hard
disks is an ideal compromise, as it allows one
of the disks to fail without any loss of data.
Simple mirroring, RAID 1, provides redundancy @macformat
but may impair performance, especially when
implemented in software. Hardware RAID
implementations are more robust and faster
than software RAID, but also more costly.
Hard disks usually fail once their warranty
period has expired, commonly after four or
more years. Those from the same batch tend
to fail around the same time, so it’s worth
sourcing from different batches when building
an array, or two could fail in a short period.
Hard disks older than about five years can last
longer, but are worth replacing before failure.
SMART monitoring (Self-Monitoring,
Analysis, and Reporting Technology) aims to
detect early warning signs of failure, and you
should always take steps to replace a hard disk
with a worrying status before complete failure
occurs. However, OS X only supports status
Jargon Buster
involves moving each
file – or free space –
stored over several
separate parts of a
disk so that it occupies
one contiguous area.
Genius Tip!
Fusion Drives perform well for their low cost, but they’re
usually hard to repair when they get into trouble.
Frequent light
maintenance keeps
your storage clear
and working well, and
can pick up potential
problems before major
disaster strikes.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 63
EXPLAINED… The tools you’ll use
It’s better to
tidy your drives
manually, helped
by DaisyDisk,
rather than use
a cleaning tool
to abrasively
clear out files.
Drive check
and repair
SMART status
DriveDx is the
best of SMART
status utilities,
providing much
more detailed
information than
Disk Utility.
Jargon Buster
Several disks used
individually are
Just a Bunch of Disks
(JBOD). Used together,
and so presented as
a single volume, they
become a Redundant
Array of Inexpensive
(or Independent)
Disks (RAID).
Genius Tip!
DriveDx and other
SMART tools are able
to check the status
of USB and FireWire
drives after installing
a kernel extension.
64 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
monitoring for internal and Thunderbolt
drives; USB or FireWire drives can only be
monitored by installing third-party extensions.
Disk Utility provides only basic monitoring, and
more thorough checking requires a third-party
tool such as DriveDx (£17.68,
Good status is no guarantee a disk won’t fail in
the next instant, just a statement that the
chances are very low.
Modern storage types
SSDs have no moving parts, but their memory
chips can be written to a set number of times
before they start to fail. In practice, that limit
is beyond the life of most people’s Macs.
However, it’s wise to avoid actions that write
more to an SSD than is strictly needed, and
defragmenting one is pointless and wasteful.
Ensure the TRIM feature is active; it allows
the blocks used by deleted data to be reset to
a fresh state, and improves performance. It’s
enabled for Apple’s flash storage by default;
for other SSDs, the maker should disclose
whether it’s handled in hardware; if not, the
command sudo trimforce enable (in OS X
10.10.4 or higher) enables OS X’s software
implementation for third-party flash storage.
Fusion Drives, fitted by Apple in iMacs and
Mac minis, or made yourself (see MF296, p64)
need care for the hard disk component, but
Disk Utility
is generally
thorough and
reliable, and
works with
Fusion Drives
and other types.
Apps like Drive
Genius have
more extensive
checking and
repair features
than Disk Utility.
OS X should keep them working efficiently.
Many third-party apps do not yet work fully
with them, so disaster recovery can be tricky.
Networked storage normally uses one or
more hard disks but must be managed
through its own software, which often has
very limited maintenance facilities. Apple’s
Time Capsules are managed using AirPort
Utility, which lacks manual check and repair
commands. So, you can do little to care for
them, and failure is usually fatal.
End of life
Storage has a life cycle which must be planned
for from the outset. Careful choice rather than
impulse buying will meet your needs better.
Now that OS X supports huge volume sizes,
there are few benefits to partitioning large
drives into several smaller volumes, although
Time Machine backups are best given their
own volume to guarantee their size and life.
When drives fail or are replaced, ensure no
one else can recover data from them: use Disk
Utility to erase and overwrite them mulitply if
you can spare the time. It’s generally thought
that the more cycles you can manage, the less
likely it is anyone will be able to recover data.
Finally, use a sledgehammer to render a drive
physically unusable before disposing of it.
Howard Oakley @macformat
Storage health check APPLE SKILLS
HOW TO Spring-clean your storage
Jargon Buster
1 Do the housekeeping
2 Check SMART status
3 Run a surface scan
4 Make any necessary repairs
Before tackling anything else, use a tool like
DaisyDisk, in conjunction with using Finder to
browse the folders where you normally store
work, to clear out temporary files and folders,
duplicates, and any other large files that you
no longer need.
If you notice a hard drive is accumulating
errors or bad blocks, consider performing a
physical check of the medium, including a
surface scan. You’ll need a third-party utility
such as Drive Genius (about £84, prosofteng.
com) to do this, and scans take hours.
SMART is a set of
firmware tests and
checks run periodically
by a hard disk to detect
early signs of trouble or
complete drive failure.
Inspect the SMART status and other drive
health indicators of each of your drives using
a specialist tool such as DriveDx. This app also
supports monitoring the status of USB and
FireWire drives – which Disk Utility doesn’t –
if you install the extension provided for that.
Run Disk Utility’s First Aid command on
each drive to check and repair it. This is usually
better with the drive unmounted first, so you’re
best checking your startup disk by restarting
your Mac in its Recovery system (hold ç+r
at the startup sound), if it needs repair.
Genius Tip!
5 Test backup retrieval
There’s no point making backups if they
don’t work, leaving you unable to access files
in them. Open Time Machine, or your preferred
backup utility, and verify that you can browse
your backups and recover a couple of files from
them. Some tools can verify their backups. @macformat
6 Archive important files
Keep an off-site copy
of a RAID 1 mirror by
removing one drive,
taking that away to
safety, and rebuilding
the mirror by inserting
a fresh drive.
Finally, archive important documents onto
removable storage media. For optical discs, you
can use Finder’s Burn command or the likes of
Toast Burn (£14.99, Mac App Store) or Burn
(free, Keep one set of all
essential work off-site in case disaster strikes.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 65
Buy your copy today!
What’s inside
Take paper records
into the digital realm
for easier working
Sage advice to help
you overcome the
worst Mac maladies
Ease your app-fuelled
anxieties and get your
productivity on track
Swipe away your
touchscreen troubles
and love iOS once again
Can I scan itemised bills to
spreadsheets so I can analyse
their contents on my Mac?
I received 30 printed pages of
itemised billing, which I want to
enter into an Excel spreadsheet
for analysis. Asking for this to be sent in
electronic form would incur further and
substantial charges. Do I have to type all
the figures in myself, or is there some way
of scanning them in?
by H E N R Y S T R A G E
Join the conversation
You can use optical character
recognition (OCR) software on
scanned images, which should save
you a lot of time, but must be checked
meticulously against
the original documents.
Several different
apps in the Mac App
Store and elsewhere
could do this well, but
a sound choice would
be FineReader OCR Pro
Although this app is
not cheap, it will save
you a lot of time in the
long run, and it’s able
to export directly to
Get the latest
subscription offers at
It’s crucial to check
there are no mistakes
in scanned docs that
would affect analysis.
Contact us
Email your queries
and your questions to
Keep up to date by
following us on Twitter
Our resident expert
solves your Mac and
iOS problems
Microsoft Excel’s XSLX file format, or to CSV
if you prefer that.
OCR can be quite accurate these days,
but to get the best from it, make sure you get
the best quality scans possible, ensuring every
page is straight. Experiment with one page to
begin with, optimising resolution and format
to minimise errors, then use those settings for
the rest of the pages.
When you come to checking and correcting
the spreadsheet files, set aside plenty of time
and do not rush it and miss errors. If possible,
perform a second pass of corrections, as there
are usually one or two which escape the first.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 67
Mac OS X
Shine a spotlight on sagacious solutions
to your most maddening Mac maladies
Mac OS X
How can I check
the permissions of
a Property List?
> Select the file in
Finder, then choose
File > Get Info. At the
foot of the window that
opens you’ll see Sharing
& Permissions, which
lists access rights only
for what you selected.
Click the padlock at the
bottom-right corner of
the window, provide
your password, then
edit the permissions.
How can I change
the app that’s used
to open a file type?
> Select a file of the type
you want to open with
a different app, on this
occasion and in future,
then choose File > Get
Info. In the ‘Open with’
section of the window
that appears, select the
app you want to use
(choose Other and
browse to the app,
if necessary) then click
the Change All button.
Help! My Share menu looks like
a shadow of its former self
When I tried to share an Adobe
Photoshop CC document, Finder’s
Share menu was a shadow of its
usual self, lacking all the options such as
AirDrop which might have helped. I also
noticed that Photoshop was no longer
offered as an app capable of opening the
document. What has happened?
by A R U N S T E E L E
The Share menu is surprisingly
complex, and some component it
depends on has probably become
broken. When working out which methods of
sharing to include in that menu, Finder first
has to identify the file type, so that OS X can
then establish how such a document could be
shared. The fact that Finder’s Open With menu
didn’t offer Photoshop to open a document in
its own format points the finger
at that part of the mechanism.
If this happens again, try
opening the same Share menu
on a plain JPEG image. If that
shows a similar problem, all you
can do is restart Finder, log out
and back in again, or even
restart your Mac, if necessary,
to restore normal functionality.
If the problem recurs, then it’s
likely caused by a third-party
extension conflicting with this
intricate mechanism, which
restarting in safe mode (see
A should clarify. The difficulty
then lies in identifying the extension that’s
responsible, and updating or removing it.
If things are fine with a JPEG image, the
problem results from something interfering
specifically with Photoshop files, making
Adobe products the most likely suspects.
It’s also worth checking your Mac’s logs in
the Console app, around the time the Share
menu produced unexpected results, to see if
they contain any better clues.
The Share menu is
surprisingly complex,
and some component
it uses has likely broken
If things like AirDrop are missing from
the Share menu, you’ll need to do some
detective work to uncover the cause.
68 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016 @macformat
How can I turn off
irritating animation
in El Capitan?
Why do I need to install Java
when it is already installed?
> There’s no general
control to reduce
motion effects and
other animations
throughout OS X,
despite there being
an option to do this in
iOS. A small number
of apps, including
Photos, provide their
own control to eliminate
these effects, but these
remain the exception,
not the rule. In Photos’
case, you’ll find this
setting in the app’s
General preferences.
I keep seeing an alert that I need to
install Java, although I’m sure it’s
already installed and up to date.
All web content seems to work properly,
so I cannot understand what is wrong, and
cannot make this annoying alert stay away.
Can you suggest a solution?
by I R E N E M U R R A Y
Oddly, Macs can require either of
two quite different versions of Java.
This is because older versions of the
Java runtime environment were maintained
and distributed by Apple, and some apps and
tools still depend on them. However, Oracle
has assumed responsibility for all more recent
versions, which may be required by other apps
and tools. So, if something does decide that it
needs Java, you should have both versions
available, otherwise you may encounter these
irritating warnings.
Apple’s legacy version of the Java 6
runtime environment is officially known as
Java for OS X 2015-001, and is available from Meanwhile, Oracle’s latest
Java 8 is available from
Software that requires Java 8 needs to be run
Some Java apps require Apple’s Java 6, while others
require Oracle’s latest, version 8. You can install both.
Is kernel_task
using 850–900MB
of memory bad?
on OS X 10.7.3 or higher as a consequence of
that version of Java using APIs (application
programming interfaces) that aren’t available
in older versions of OS X.
Thankfully, both Java versions seem to
work fine alongside one another. This should
put an end to those unhelpful alerts at last.
> The kernel_task
process is OS X’s kernel,
the heart of the system.
It calls on memory as it
needs it, and typically
requires more than
800MB of it, and
sometimes over 1GB.
The OS X 10.11.3 update
brings backup woes
I recently upgraded my 15-inch
Retina MacBook Pro (late 2013)
to OS X 10.11.3, which has caused
serious problems with iCloud and Time
Machine. The latter has been unable to make
any backups since that update in January.
Looking in the logs, backups start correctly,
but still seem to be running an hour or two
later, forcing me to restart the Mac. Why are
they not completing properly?
by P E T E R H U T C H I N S O N
Having checked through your logs,
these backups appear to be running
normally, and do not encounter or
report any errors. They are also intended to be
very large: over 20GB, which could easily take
A @macformat
Low-level issues on a drive may get
in the way of Time Machine making
a successful backup to it.
several hours, particularly if run over Wi-Fi
to an already well-used set of old backups.
It is probable that your update did not
‘take’ properly, leaving some parts of OS X,
particularly Time Machine
and iCloud, not fully
functional. The best way
to fix that is to download
the 10.11.3 Combo updater
and install it over the top
of your existing system.
Once that’s complete,
let your MacBook Pro run
its next backup, which may
require that you leave it
running overnight to complete.
It that does not work, your backups may
have become damaged, so it may be worth
checking and repairing the drive using Disk
Utility before attempting another backup.
Errors in Console may then give better clues.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 69
GENIUS TIPS Mac Software
Mac Software
Ease your app-fuelled anxieties and get your
productivity back on track with this advice
Is POP better when
using two or more
email clients?
> No, it would be worse.
POP delivery services
automatically delete
messages from the
server once delivered to
a client. So, a message
downloaded onto your
iPhone would be
removed from the
server, and your Mac
wouldn’t see it at all.
Some email services
provide an option to
keep messages on
the server, though.
Would running my
own server deal
with these issues?
> Not really, as the
server would still have
to run the standard
IMAP protocol. OS X
Server is inexpensive,
but it’s not trivial to set
up as a mail server, on
top of which you would
have to keep your Mac
running and connected
to the internet at all
times for it to work.
Email is one of OS X Server’s
more complex features.
70 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Why are messages deleted using my
iPhone also removed from my Mac?
I have an iPhone 5
running iOS 9.2.1 and
bought a new iMac
running OS X 10.11.3. When I
perform any actions in Mail on
messages in my BT Internet
mailbox, such as deleting one,
that is replicated on the other
system too. I often read and
delete emails on my phone,
only to find that they have
also been deleted on my Mac.
How can I fix this?
by D A V I D P A R R Y
The behaviour you
describe is correct for
IMAP, the protocol you
are using to connect to your BT
Internet account. IMAP servers
store messages on the server,
enabling you to access the same
mailboxes from any device you’ve configured
to access your account, such as your iPhone
and your Mac. When one mail client, such as
Mail on your iPhone, tells the server to delete
a message, all devices which access the same
account see the change and the message is
deleted on all of them.
For anything different to happen would
require each device to see the mailbox
differently, which would rapidly become too
When one device tells
an IMAP server to delete
a message, the change
propagates to all others
Moving messages to a local mailbox on your Mac lets you
keep copies while getting rid of them from other devices.
complex to understand: you might have to
delete a message several times before it would
finally disappear from all of your devices.
If you want to retain a message for access
later using a different device, you have two
options: you can leave it where it is, and deal
with it on that other device later on, deleting it
when you’re finished with it; or you can move
the message to another mailbox, from which
it’ll be accessible on the other device. You can
also create local mailboxes to store messages,
which removes them from your IMAP mail
server and so hides them from your iPhone. @macformat
Mac Software GENIUS TIPS
As Photoshop
Elements doesn’t
work with Photos,
what would work
best instead of it?
Photos is not yet mature enough to start using with huge
image libraries, though it’s okay for smaller ones.
The app lets you time-shift the dates of multiple selected
images, which should deal with how scans are ordered.
> You’ll need an app that
supports El Capitan’s
Photos extensions. The
best all-round editor is
Affinity Photo (£39.99,
see review in MF291); it
provides a smooth and
rich workflow for both
JPEGs and raw images.
How can I use Photos and iCloud
to store my 73GB photo library?
How can I insert
Unicode characters
into markup text?
I have started using Photos and
iCloud Photo Library for my 73GB
collection of pictures. Photos does
not let me keep my old folder structure, so
I’m having to create albums in its library,
but they appear in the order in which they
were scanned, rather than by the year of the
original image. How can I deal with that?
> If the markup doesn’t
support Unicode text,
which is the simplest
solution, the Emoji and
Symbols window gives
the UTF-8 encoding
that can be inserted in
the text, provided UTF-8
is supported by the font
being used.
by M A R T I N T U C K
Photos is unlikely to be a good
platform for your library, which is
large even by professional standards,
and remote storage will be expensive; you’d
need iCloud’s 1TB storage plan, which will set
you back £6.99 per month.
Since Apple killed Aperture, the remaining
equivalent is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom,
available in a range of packages, most based
on a monthly subscription. Even that app can
struggle with very large libraries, for which
a full-blown digital asset management (DAM)
system such as Extensis Portfolio (extensis.
com) is better, although it isn’t cheap.
Even by professional
standards, a 73GB library
is large and Photos isn’t
the best for managing it
You can look up UTF-8 codes
to use in markup such as HTML.
HOW TO Use unusual accented characters
1 Access emoji & symbols 2 Locate the character
Although you can hold a key to access
common accented forms of its letter,
instead go to Keyboard preferences and
turn on the character viewer in the menu
bar to access more of them. From the
new icon, choose Show Emoji & Symbols. @macformat
If you’re looking for the Š character,
say, click in the viewer’s search box and
press s then ®. The Related Characters
pane will show a more complete range of
different accented versions available in
Unicode, including the one that you want.
3 Insert the character
To enter it into your text, place the
insertion point where you want the letter
to go in your document, then double-click
on the desired character in the viewer.
The character is added to the Frequently
Used list so it’s simpler to use again.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 71
iOS Software
Swipe away your touchscreen troubles and
rekindle your love of Apple’s mobile devices
iOS software
What’s the best
way to sync and
read PDFs on iOS?
>To read PDFs using the
iBooks app, load them
into the OS X version of
iBooks and sync them
using iTunes. For more
ephemeral use, there
are many apps which
will read PDFs loaded
via iCloud, including
the official reader from
Adobe, GoodReader
and PDF Expert. With
iOS 9.3 and OS X 10.11.4,
PDFs and ebooks can be
synced to iBooks on all
your devices via iCloud.
How can I back up
my iPhone fully
without iCloud?
> The official alternative
is to connect your
iPhone to a Mac or PC
over USB, then use
iTunes’ backup feature.
Third-party tools, such
as Syncios, only work
with certain models, and
their backups may not
be as complete.
72 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Changing the
standard template
for new contacts
I have an iPhone 6 running iOS 9.2.1.
Whenever I add a new contact on it,
the default phone number label that
appears is for ‘home fax’, which is the most
obscure of all the options. Each time I do this
I have to manually select ‘mobile’, which is
my most common choice. I cannot see how
to change the defaults. Is there a way?
by M A L C O L M P A I C E
Yes, but you will need to do this using
a Mac running a recent version of
OS X, such as El Capitan, as iOS does
not currently offer any more direct solution.
Instead you must edit the default template
using Contacts for Mac. This also assumes you
synchronise your contacts between your Mac
and iPhone using iCloud.
In Contacts on your Mac, open the app’s
preferences, click the Template tab, then edit
the template, which is used as the default both
Edit the default template
on your Mac, which can
sync your label choices
to iOS using iCloud
on your Mac and your iPhone. In your case,
select ‘mobile’ to make that the default label
for a person’s telephone number. While you’re
here, also check the address format given at
the foot of the template: click its label, place
the pointer over Change Address Format, and
ensure that United Kingdom is chosen so that
details are presented correctly.
Currently, iPhones and iPads cannot edit the template
used for new contacts. That has to be done on a Mac.
Close the Preferences window to save your
changes, quit the app, and allow iCloud a few
minutes to catch up with this. You should then
find the field choices you made on your Mac
have become the default on your iPhone.
However, we’ve had mixed results among the
team, with some people’s iOS 9 devices not
picking up the change, though it has worked
fine for others. Let us know how you get on. @macformat
Learn the basics of
black and white for
powerful painting
BACK ISSUES Collect them all
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74 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016 @macformat
What’s inside
Inspiring ideas for
revamping old
Apple kit
Turn an iPad into a
time machine to play
classic 1980s games
Find out how to saw,
drill, screw and glue
your cabinet together
Add a physical joystick
to your touchscreen
and recapture the
magic of the 1980s
video game arcade
or as long as they’ve existed, I’ve wanted to own
an original cabinet for Defender and Gauntlet.
They were the best video games of their time,
1981 and 1985 respectively, by a wide margin. Every 10p
I had as a teenager went into them. Eventually, home
video games overtook the arcade, but the nostalgia value
of those early masterpieces left its hooks deep in my brain.
Those cabinets go for around £2,000 on eBay, but there
are too many amazing new toys to buy without chasing
every childhood dream as well. On the other hand, my old
first-generation iPad takes up little space and has more
computing power than an entire
1980s arcade. Instead of selling it
for £50 and putting that towards my You can play Gauntlet on
a touchscreen, but it’s
next frivolous indulgence, it can help much better with a real
joystick and buttons.
me scratch a 30-year-old itch.
Contact us
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subscription offers at
I was given a ‘strawberry’ slot-loading iMac G3 in 2000
by a friend who was chucking it out because it wouldn’t
boot. I replaced the hard disk and reinstalled Mac OS 9, and
for the next five years it sat in the kitchen on a shelf as an
impromptu ‘looking things up on the internet’ computer.
I liked it partly because of the curvy, wipe-clean case, but
mostly because the pink colour clashed gloriously with the
green walls of our kitchen at the time.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 75
LOVE YOUR MAC The original iPad
How do I find apps
compatible with
older iOS versions?
> Apps on the App Store
state the minimum
version of iOS needed
to run, but there’s no
way for you to filter
search results to show
only those that work
with a specific version.
However, findoldapps.
com will let you search
back as far as iOS 3.1.3.
Each result links back to
the App Store, so it’s
easy for you to install
the desired app directly.
Is there an iPad
joystick cabinet
I can buy instead?
> Yes! At least there
used to be. Ion Audio
doesn’t make the iCade
anymore, but you can
still find refurbished
models easily on eBay
for around £40.
It uses Bluetooth
to communicate with
the iPad, and has eight
buttons and a joystick.
The Midway Arcade
app gained iCade
compatibility in 2012.
76 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
iPad arcade
Give your iPad a physical joystick
that won’t come unstuck
he first generation iPad isn’t
entirely obsolete just yet; it won’t
run YouTube’s app any more, but
you can still use the mobile version of the
site ( in Safari, and the iPad’s
okay for a lot of other sites and email, too.
The real problem is apps. The original iPad
can’t be updated past iOS 5.1.1, ruling out a lot
of things in the App Store, especially games.
Midway Arcade is a very worthy exception.
It’s a collection of 1980s coin-op games
faithfully recreated on the iPad. For 79p, you
get the solid gold classics Joust, Rampage and
Defender (plus some mediocre filler games),
and for another 79p you can unlock a singleplayer version of Gauntlet, which is incredible
value. These are arcade-perfect conversions
The quick reactions needed to play Defender
are still better on an original cabinet, though
our home-made one’s joystick still works
better than virtual controls.
and, amazingly, they only need iOS 4.3 or
better to run. However, there is a catch: the
on-screen joystick controls make the games
totally unplayable. Now, you can buy a physical
iPad joystick for about £9 on Amazon. It works
by means of a conductive foam pad on the
base that simulates a finger touch as you tilt
the joystick left and right. This is better, but
it’s still unplayable because the suction cup
that holds the joystick against the screen
gradually creeps during play, until the physical
joystick is no longer correctly aligned with
the on-screen control area. By ‘gradually’,
I mean within about 15 seconds.
Fixing the joystick
My idea is to put a sheet of clear acrylic over
that corner of the screen, with a hole in it for
the joystick. This will stop the joystick base
iPad arcade cabinet LOVE YOUR MAC
35 years later, Joust is still brilliant fun to play – with
the right joystick rather than touchscreen controls.
from sliding relative to the screen, while still
allowing it to tilt freely. The acrylic won’t cover
the rest of the screen, so I can still hit the
virtual buttons and, being transparent, it
shouldn’t get in the way of the action. To hold
the acrylic in place I need a frame around the
iPad, and if I’m doing that, I may as well put it
on a slight tilt to make play more comfortable.
The ‘proper’ way to design this would be to
use CAD software to draw a 3D model and use
this to make a template for cutting out each
piece with a table saw or laser cutter, but I
don’t have the carpentry equipment, skill or
patience for any of that. So I made a prototype
out of cardboard, just cutting and sellotaping
bits together until it looked about right. Then
I used the cardboard prototype to make flat
cardboard templates, drew round them with a
pencil on a sheet of 5mm MDF, and then cut it
with a hand saw on my kitchen table. (Sure,
the table acquired a few extra gouges in the
process, but I choose to believe that these
battle scars just add character.)
The basic design is an open-sided box.
The sloping side pieces each have another
smaller piece on the inside with the same
slope, so that the iPad rests on them like a
shelf. At the front, a length of wooden batten
reinforces the inside corners to stop the iPad
sliding forwards. The sides and bottom were
screwed to the batten with countersunk, 15mm
chipboard screws, and all the wooden pieces
were also glued with PVA adhesive.
Melted acrylic
I bought the acrylic as a 5mm thick A4 sheet
(£7 on Amazon) and cut the hole using the
32mm hole saw attachment for my drill.
To cut out the rounded corner shape, I used
my Dremel with the router drill bit. Cutting
acrylic tends to generate enough heat to @macformat
In Rampage, you play a monster that’s trying to knock down cities across North America!
actually melt the plastic, which creates a wide
fringe of melted shavings stuck to the cut
edges, but if you’re quick you can pull them off
with your fingers before they set hard again,
and save yourself a lot of filing afterwards.
The Mark 1 version of my iPad arcade
cabinet just had this single layer of acrylic
hot-glued to the corner of the MDF box. But I
found this still allowed too much play for the
I don’t have the tools,
skill or patience to do
this the ‘proper’ way
Modern Pac-Man games are
designed to work well with
a touchscreen, but only a
joystick gives a feeling of
authenticity in the original.
joystick base. So, I cut a second collar from
acrylic and glued it on top of the acrylic
platform to create a deeper well for the
joystick. This still allows enough movement
to register in the game but makes it much
harder for the base to come unstuck during
frantic gaming sessions.
At this point the deficiencies in my
carpentry skills were pretty apparent
from the rough corners and small gaps
everywhere. I ‘fixed’ this using some
bathroom tile grout whitener that I had
lying around. Skimming over all the
joints with this filled in the gaps
nicely and covered over the screws
as well. Once it had dried, I gave it a
quick sand with fine sandpaper. To
pretty it up a little, I applied a coat
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 77
LOVE YOUR MAC The original iPad
HOW TO Build an arcade cabinet for your iPad
1 Cut the frame
The box’s base is 25.8x19.7cm, with
sloping sides that are 3cm high at the
front and 7.5cm at the back. Each side
has another piece 1cm lower attached to
it, to create a shelf for the iPad to rest on.
The batten at the front is screwed to the
base, sides and front for strength, and all
the sections are glued as well.
2 Drill the acrylic
Acrylic scratches easily, so keep the
protective film on both sides until you’ve
cut it. You can cut it quite easily with a
hacksaw or router drill bit. A hole saw
attachment makes a neat circle. Remove
the off-cut circular piece from the middle
of the hole saw while the acrylic is still
hot, as it’s much harder afterwards.
3 Fit the joystick
Hot-glue the acrylic into the corner
of the box. The joystick sticks to the
screen using a rubber sucker, which also
acts as the pivot. Cutting a second small
collar of acrylic helps reduce the amount
that the joystick wobbles in the frame.
You can glue this to the larger acrylic
piece with hot glue or vinyl adhesive.
of grey spray primer (after carefully masking
off the acrylic section, of course) and then two
coats of black spray paint.
Arcade perfect?
The end result still isn’t quite as good as an
original arcade cabinet, obviously. The screen
is a little smaller than the original CRT display,
and the on-screen controls cover a bit of the
play area as well. My acrylic joystick bracket
Game selection in Midway
Arcade even goes so far
as to recreate the cabinet
designs in a virtual arcade.
Next Issue!
Luis cracks open
the chest of a 2008
MacBook Air for some
transplant surgery to
make it useful again.
Hand me the paddles,
nurse! Charging!
78 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Construction kept me
busy for a couple of
happy afternoons
covers a corner of the screen entirely, so you
have to slide the iPad out of the box to reach
the ‘back’ button in that corner if you want to
change game. It’s also very easy to knock the
sleep/wake button when sliding in the iPad.
I may cut small slots into the sides to cater
for this, and the headphone and charging
ports. Overall, I’m quite happy with it.
The hardware cost was under £25,
and construction kept me busy for
a couple of happy afternoons.
The translucent acrylic joystick
mount still lets you see the action
on the screen underneath.
Trying to feel your way around eight-position directional
controls on a touchscreen is an exercise in frustration.
Defender is still a bit too twitchy a game for
a makeshift cabinet like this. Its Hyperspace
button is easy to miss without the tactile
feedback of a physical button, but Joust and
Gauntlet are surprisingly fun to play, and this
might just give me enough of a fix to keep me
from any rash eBay purchases any time soon.
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MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 79
Do more with Photos
The Mac’s built-in photo library and picture editor is still quite young, but
it has come a long way in just over a year. Alan Stonebridge shows you
how to make the most of it on your Mac.
hen an established app is replaced
by a ground-up rewrite, disruption
is pretty much inevitable. That’s
true even of something seemingly
innocuous like software that
organises and edits your photos.
Though Photos was a capable app in its initial form,
it lacked some important features that were present in
its predecessor. Apple has since remedied several key
criticisms, even going so far as to allow developers to
augment the app with new editing tools, but even
now the workings of features such as iCloud Photo
80 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Library can seem obtuse. Make a small change to one of
Photos’ preferences and suddenly things no longer work
as you expect.
We’ve distilled the essential info about the app and
its connections to iCloud to help you get to understand
the capabilities and the foibles of the latest version,
which is bundled with OS X El Capitan. If you’ve
avoided migrating from iPhoto or Aperture to their
replacement, now’s a good time to reconsider your
decision. And if you’re bewildered by the differences
between iCloud Photo Library and My Photo Stream, we
explain why you may actually want to use both of them. @macformat
a little lost?
If you don’t see everything
you expect when you click
Photos, Shared or Albums,
click again to go to that
view’s top level.
Take a quick tour of Photos
Choose a view
Make previews larger
Search for things
Use these to switch
between views of your
library. The first, Photos,
groups pictures by year,
then breaks them down
into collections and then
moments (pictures from
a similar time and place)
as you dig deeper. Shared
contains albums you’ve
made available for others
to view or add to, albums
shared with you, and an
activity summary. You can
collate photos as you want
in albums by clicking the +
on the right. The Albums
view also collects all of
your panoramas, videos
and other special items.
Most of the window is taken
up by photos from the view
you’ve selected in the
toolbar. When viewing a
collection, an album or an
individual photo, a slider
appears at the left end of
the toolbar. Drag its thumb
to resize the previews or
zoom in or out of the photo.
This view hosts all the
creative projects you build
from items in your library.
To start one, click the + to
the right. You can make
books, calendars, cards,
and prints, and have them
printed professionally.
(In Photos’ preferences,
check the store for this is
set to your country.) You
can also create slideshows
using various precreated
visual themes, customise
their duration to last a
certain length or to match
a soundtrack, and export
them as videos to stream
to Apple TV, put on an iOS
device, or publish online.
When manual browsing
fails to find what you want,
type here to search for
photos by title, description
or keywords. If your
camera has a GPS sensor,
or you add location data
by hand, you can search
using country, city or
other place name details. @macformat
Import appears when a camera’s
attached. It contains a setting
to stop Photos auto-opening.
When viewing a photo, click the
button left of the slider to show
a sidebar of others in its album.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 81
FEATURE Do more with Photos
What’s new in El Capitan
Upgrade your system to benefit from essential improvements to Photos
ince Photos’ debut on the Mac,
Apple has addressed some of the
deficiencies that discouraged some
people from switching from iPhoto.
Notably, you can now add location data to
photos that don’t have it, and edit it on
those that do if you find your camera’s GPS is a little
off. Select one or more photos, choose Window > Info,
then click Assign a Location at the bottom of the Info
window (if there is no existing location) or click on the
row above the miniature map (if there is). Enter the
name or postcode of a location, then select the correct
one from the list of matching places. If you want to
explore a location in more detail than the Info window
allows, grab the Get Selected Photos Items and Show
Location in Maps actions for Automator from, add them to a
Service workflow in that order, save the
workflow and, optionally, assign it a key
combo under Shortcuts > App Shortcuts
in your Mac’s keyboard preferences.
Much like you can assign the same
location to multiple photos at once, Photos
in El Capitan lets you set the same title,
description or keywords for multiple
pictures at the same time. Doing so for
keywords is perhaps the most useful as it helps speed
up categorisation of your photos, which encourages
the use of Smart Albums to find library items that
match certain criteria (File > New Smart Album).
Faces used to be a chore because you had to identify faces one at a time. Now you can
whizz through confirming or rejecting the app’s attempts to pair them with names.
El Capitan’s version has two date
options, enabling you to put either
the newest or oldest photos in an
album at the top. You can also
choose to sort albums by title,
which gives you a way to serialise
photos using the same title
followed by a number. However,
note that the ability to batch
rename photos doesn’t offer a way
to add numbers automatically, so you have to do it
manually. Doing this means you can instantly get
photos back into whatever narrative order you’ve
established for an album, whereas that order would
be lost if you were to manually arrange items and then
choose one of the date options.
Photos could already detect faces in images, but
identifying them was a chore because you could only
select one at a time, which resulted in a lot of clicking.
You’re now able to select multiple photos at once,
making this a far quicker process, and consequently
you’re more likely to be bothered to use it.
The Faces feature
is quicker to work
with, so you’re
more likely to use it
Just the way you like it
Photos in Yosemite allows you to drag the contents
of albums into whatever order you like, or you could
sort them by the date on which they were taken.
Recover from mistakes
El Capitan’s version of Photos dispenses with the need to add location
data to pictures before you import them into your library.
82 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Accidentally removing a photo from your library
could cause panic before now, if you somehow pressed
∫ then ®, or ç+∫ to skip the confirmation dialog.
Photos already provided a way to recover photos for
up to 30 days after ‘deletion’, but you had to be aware
of this feature’s presence in the File menu. It’s now a
persistent item in the Albums view. Go there, then
proceed as you would before: select items to put back
in your library and click Recover. @macformat
Do more with Photos FEATURE
Extend Photos’ capabilities
Make Photos even better by adding new tools to its repertoire
ne of El Capitan’s
biggest enhancements
to Photos is the ability
to use third-party
editing tools in it.
This doesn’t work with
every picture editor, though; each one
must provide an editing extension to make
its services available in Photos. To see if
any of your apps include one, open System
Preferences, click Extensions, then select
Photos in the list on the left. Put a check
mark in the boxes next to those extensions
you want to make available in Apple’s app.
Next, open an individual picture in
Photos, click Edit in the toolbar followed
by Extensions at the bottom of the list of
tools on the right, and choose from the
list of those you enabled. (Picking the
More item here takes you directly to the
Extensions pane to manage them.)
Extensions make certain tools from
their parent app – either a specific feature
or a subset of the app’s toolset – available
without you having to leave Photos at all.
So, you might find yourself applying a
filter that achieves a particular look in an
Affinity Photo and DxO OpticsPro each provide a haze removal tool. This is Affinity Photo’s, running within
Apple’s app, complete with a draggable slider that lets you see before and after views of any part of an image.
instant, or using more interactive tools
that manipulate images in ways you’d
normally expect in apps like Photoshop,
Pixelmator or Affinity Photo. Edited
versions of pictures created using
extensions are synced to iCloud Photo
Library (if it’s enabled) and appear on
your other devices, just like the originals.
The originals are still there, though, and
you can revert them on any device, too.
Get started with these great extensions
Affinity Photo (£39.99) is the darling
of Mac photo editors at the moment.
It comes with six extensions, each
devoted to a different type of edit.
They include: monochrome and haze
removal tools; Miniature, for making
a scene look like a tiny model; Develop,
which fixes various colour issues;
Liquify, which enables you to move
pixels around using various distortion
effects; and Retouch, with which you
can brush in changes selectively.
Similarly, the six apps in Macphun’s
Creative Kit collection range from @macformat
Are Photos’ colour tools falling short? Install an
app that includes a more capable extension.
preset looks and manual colour
controls in Intensify, to correcting
blemishes or erasing entire features
from photos in Snapheal. They are
available individually (from £34.99),
or at a discount in various packs.
DxO OpticsPro (£15.99) can also
perform colour adjustment, exposure
correction and haze removal. However,
it’s the ability to remove distortion and
other imperfections that result from
physical properties of your lenses that
makes it stand out. You may not even
be aware of the severity of these
things until you see the perspective
lines of a landscape straightened out,
but once you do, it becomes hard not
to spot these defects in your images.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 83
FEATURE Do more with Photos
What is iCloud Photo Library?
Your complete collection of photos, available on all of your devices
lthough you can use Photos in
isolation on your Mac, it becomes
something special when you connect
it to iCloud. The point of iCloud Photo
Library is that you shouldn’t have to
concern yourself with which device you
used to take a photo, or into which one’s library you
imported some pictures; every photo is available to
download and edit on any and all of your devices.
Photos, and videos too, are automatically uploaded
to your online library at their full quality, editing
decisions are replicated across all of your devices,
and you can roll them back on any device as well.
You need to consider the implications of free space
dwindling on your devices and in iCloud. On the
iCloud side, Apple’s simplest solution is to offer you
additional storage beyond the 5GB it provides for free,
ranging from 79p for 50GB to £6.99 for 1TB per month.
Whichever tier you pick, bear in mind that the space
is shared with other iCloud features, notably email
and iCloud Drive. If you aren’t willing to pay for as
much space as it takes to store your entire library
When you turn on iCloud Photo Library on your Mac, it will begin uploading your photos at
full quality. You can suspend the process if you need the bandwidth for other tasks.
online, you can fall back on Photos’ ability to work
with multiple libraries and be selective about what’s
uploaded. You’ll need to be content to work in a more
old-fashioned way, switching to the appropriate
library, and manually import photos and videos from
your camera to your Mac.
When it comes to local storage,
Photos has a setting, which is applied
on a per-device basis, that determines
whether a device stores the full-quality
originals of all photos, if it has room, or
versions that are optimised for it. With
Time Capsule to exclude folders or
drives from its backups.
To create a new library, hold å
while opening Photos. The dialog
that then appears lists known
libraries on your Mac, and contains
a button to create a new library.
Once you have multiple libraries,
you can switch between them just
by double-clicking one in Finder.
the latter option, editing a photo
downloads the original so you can
work with the best version available.
It’s a smart idea to have at least one
Mac set to receive photos at their full
quality, and to maintain an offline
backup of that library in case anything
bad happens to your iCloud account.
If space on your Mac’s startup disk is
limited, you can move your System
Photo Library to a larger, external
Photos’ alternative startup method reminds you which
are the System Photo Library and the last opened library.
drive to accommodate this.
Work with multiple libraries
You aren’t restricted to storing all of
your photos in one library – by which
we mean the library file you see in
Finder; you can have only one iCloud
Photo Library. So, you could use one
library for family snaps and another
for competition entries.
You can make use of this as a
remedy if your whole collection is too
large to fit in your iCloud storage,
though it means making some hard
decisions about what gets uploaded
and, consequently, is available in an
instant on all of your devices. Only
one library file on your Mac can be
designated as your System Photo
Library, which is the only one that
will sync with iCloud. Others simply
won’t do it. You can’t work with a
single library on your Mac and tell
Photos to exclude certain things from
it going to iCloud, as you might tell
84 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
It’s smart to keep
an offline backup
in case problems
occur in iCloud @macformat
Do more with Photos FEATURE
What’s Photo Stream?
Keep older devices in the picture with this connection to the cloud
Alongside iCloud Photo Library in
Photo’s preferences, and in Settings on
your iOS devices, is My Photo Stream.
This is an older method of getting
photos taken with your iOS devices onto
your Mac without using a cable, and it
remains useful on older devices that
can’t use iCloud Photo Library.
You can think of My Photo Stream as
a legacy feature, but it isn’t defunct yet,
and won’t be for some time. If you aren’t
ready to install at least OS X Yosemite
on your Mac, or you have an device
that’s stuck on a version of iOS prior to
8.3, it allows you access to your recent
snaps, just in a way that’s slightly less
convenient than iCloud Photo Library.
It can be used as the screen saver on
second-generation and later Apple TVs.
The feature differs from iCloud
Photo Library in that its contents are
ephemeral. Photos uploaded to it persist
there for 30 days, and it contains only
1,000 items at a time. To keep a photo
on a device, you have to manually save
it to an album within that window.
Contrast that with iCloud Photo Library
being a persistent online copy of all your
photos at full quality, available on all of
your devices at any time. However,
where iCloud Photo Library can use as
much online storage as you pay for,
My Photo Stream doesn’t count against
your quota. It’s also important to note
that videos recorded using your iOS
devices aren’t uploaded to your stream.
Also, while your Mac will receive
full-resolution copies of your photos
from your stream, iOS devices and
Apple TVs always get a version that’s
optimised for their display. So, if you
want to keep a photo from the stream
at the best quality possible, you’re best
off saving it on your Mac.
It’s still partly automatic
New pictures added to your iOS device
are automatically uploaded to My Photo
Stream when the Camera app isn’t open
and the device is online using Wi-Fi,
while your Mac can be online over Wi-Fi
or Ethernet. It may seem unnecessary
to turn on My Photo Stream on a Mac
that’s connected to iCloud Photo
Library, but it ensures any pics added
to your complete library there also go
to your photo stream, and then to your
older (likely iOS) devices.
Devices need to run at least iOS 8.3 to use iCloud
Photo Library. As long as they can run iOS 5.1, they
can fall back on My Photo Stream as an alternative.
Set up iCloud Photo Library >
1 Use the correct library
If you already use multiple libraries
with Photos and the most recent one
opened isn’t your System Photo Library,
hold å and open Photos, then choose
the System Photo Library from the list. @macformat
2 Enable it on a Mac
In Photos’ iCloud preferences, turn
on iCloud Photo Library. You can check
on upload progress here, and pause it for
a day if, say, you need to switch from
broadband to a mobile data connection.
3 Enable it on iOS devices
Go to Settings > iCloud > Photos and
switch on iCloud Photo Library. If your
device has little free space, switch the
setting below so that the device receives
photos at a quality that’s optimised for it.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 85
FEATURE Do more with Photos
Important settings
Understand exactly what each of Photos’ preferences does
xplore Photos’ preferences and you’ll
discover a bunch of useful options,
listed under General. With ‘Summarise
photos’ switched on, collections and years
show thumbnails for just some of their
contents. Turn it off and you can scrub
along them to see thumbnails of everything in them.
There’s also an option here to strip out location
info when you publish photos, helping to preserve
some privacy. The ‘Reduce motion’ item is intended to
make Live Photos easier to view, though you can use
it to speed up navigation, as it gets rid of many of the
app’s fussy animations. The current library’s location
is shown here, too. Even with one library containing
all of your photos, you may want to move it off your
startup disk to give yourself plenty of free space there
and the library more room to grow.
Unexpected iCloud settings
Despite the iCloud preferences tab, a couple of items
under General have a profound effect on iCloud Photo
Library. The button that
sets the open library as
the System Photo Library
revokes that special status
from the existing one.
Photos already in iCloud
then download to the
newly designated one,
and its contents upload.
Despite being located among General preferences, it’s important that you don’t turn off
the option to copy items into the library package if you want to upload photos to iCloud.
Copying photos into
the library is vital if
you want to sync
them with iCloud
Also, the option to copy imported items into
Photos’ library is of critical importance. You may be
tempted to turn it off if you use a standalone camera
and like to organise snaps taken with it in a folder
hierarchy you’ve devised, independently of whatever
albums you create in Photos, and have the app’s local
library merely reference their external location.
Sadly, this scenario is incompatible with iCloud Photo
Library; Photos will only upload items to iCloud if
they’re stored in its monolithic library file, which is
where they are placed if this setting is on.
Share photos with family >
1 The Family album
If you enable Family Sharing (see
MF297), you’ll have an album that all of
your immediate family can view and
contribute to. You can only publish to this
album from your System Photo Library.
Switch to the Shared tab to view it.
86 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
2 Select and share items 3 Configure notifications
In the Photos or Albums view, select
an album or one or more photos (hold ç
to build a multiple selection), then click
the Share button in the toolbar and
choose iCloud Photo Sharing. Your Family
album will be a possible destination.
Shared albums – the Family one and
others you create – send you notifications
whenever a photo, video or comment is
added. To disable this for an album, open
it, then click the silhouette of a person in
the toolbar and uncheck Notifications. @macformat
Do more with Photos FEATURE
Share with
other people
Share elsewhere
and in other ways
Publish on social media or send pics directly
1 Make a new shared album
To share beyond immediate family,
click the Share button, choose iCloud
Photo Sharing, then New Shared Album.
Name it, then click + next to Invite People
or enter email addresses in that box.
2 Manage album settings
You can add or remove people from
a shared album at any time. There’s also
an option, enabled by default, that
determines whether people other than
yourself can add things to the album.
ou can share photos on
various social
networks or other
methods. To post on
Facebook, Twitter, Flickr
or Vimeo, first make sure
you’ve signed in to your accounts for
those services in the Internet
Accounts pane in System
Preferences. Next, return to Photos,
select an album or some pictures,
click the Share button and choose
one of those networks.
The Share menu also includes
a bunch of other common ways to
share privately. At some point, you
may want to send high-quality
copies of photos to a family member
or a friend for their library using
email, probably because they don’t
have an Apple device and find a
direct email is less bothersome than
downloading from a shared album
at Of course, Photos lets
you share in this way, and you don’t
even need to pay attention to the
total size of images if you first enable
the Mail Drop feature in Apple’s
email client, assuming you use that.
In Mail, go to Mail > Preferences >
Accounts, select an account, click
Advanced, and enable Mail Drop for
that one. (If you want to use it with
all of your accounts, you’ll have to
repeat this for each of them one at a
time.) Now if you send more than
20MB of photos, Mail will replace
them with a download link, from
which they’re available for 30 days.
This ensures the recipient’s mail
server doesn’t reject the message
due to its total attachment size. See
MF298 for more about Mail Drop.
Take care with Messages
You can send photos using the
Messages app too, but consider
whether the recipient has an Apple
device. If your Mac and iPhone are
configured to use the Continuity
feature that relays MMS messages
through your phone (see ‘Set up SMS
and MMS with Continuity’ at apple.
co/1RLIoj0), which is the method
that’ll be used if the recipient isn’t
using (or can’t use) iMessage, they
may incur charges separate from
their call plan’s data allowance.
You can publish directly to
the big social networks, and
to others if they provide a
Share menu extension.
3 Go public
Turning on Public Website reveals a
web address people can use to view the
album in a browser. Though the page
would be hard to stumble upon, note that
you can’t restrict access with a password. @macformat
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 87
Worth the
Master your tablet’s apps and system features
EACH ISSUE JUST £2.99 / $4.99, SUBSCRIPTIONS FROM £1.99 / $2.99
What’s inside
A trackable padlock,
a 360° wireless speaker,
and other great kit
Keep an eye on who’s
in your home with one
of these IP cameras
Our revamped reviews
help you make more
informed choices
Write a journal, get on
top of tasks, and explore
the great outdoors
A great new iPhone
email app, and a way to
get more from YouTube
Manifesto – our ratings explained
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and your questions to
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Our reviews are totally
independent; we’re not
affiliated with Apple or
anyone else, nor are we
influenced by advertisers.
You can trust us to give
an honest assessment
of a product’s worth.
The prices quoted for
products are correct at
the time of writing and are
the best we can find from
a reputable online dealer,
excluding delivery.
Worth considering, though
there may be better options
A brilliant thing in all regards,
and worth every penny
Fundamentally flawed; look
at alternatives as a priority
Strongly recommended; any
flaws are only minor concerns
A waste of your money and
everyone’s time; do not buy!
Awarded to a
five-star product
we believe is truly
exceptional in its
category. Given solely at the
discretion of the Editor.
Given to a
hardware or
software product
that might not be
the very best in its category,
but is a noted for affordability.
Our group test
winner gets this
award for being
the best of its
kind when pitted against
other comparable products.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 89
Libratone Zipp
Sonos could learn a few things
£289 FROM Libratone, FEATURES Touchpanel
control, carry handle, Bluetooth/AirPlay/Spotify Connect
anish audio firm
Libratone has
impressed us
before with good sound
quality and style, but can it
win at multi-room setups?
The new Zipp and Zipp
mini carry on Libratone’s
philosophy of a wireless
speaker that’s made to
be easily moved between
rooms. They sound great and
room-filling for their size.
By supporting AirPlay with
Apple Music, Spotify Connect
and Bluetooth, your playback
methods are all catered
for, but it’s the freedom of
what they now offer that
A stunning portable
system with a superb
way of achieving
multi-room nirvana.
Great 360° sound
Multi-room is brilliant
The more costly Copenhagen
editions have aluminium bases
with wool covers.
makes these speakers first
class. It’s all about creating
SoundSpaces through the
Libratone app – a new way of
grouping speakers. Register
each Zipp and they show up in
the app as circles. Then drag
one onto another to form a
group (maximum of six) that
will play the same music. You
can then tweak each speaker
individually in the app. It’s
seamless, and when coupled
with physical actions on the
speakers, such as tap to hush
one speaker, it’s a winning
multi-room system.
As for finish, the standard
Zipps are white plastic and a
little cheaper than the newer
Cophenhagen models we
looked at, but these ones are
a little more ‘Mac’ with the
aluminium housing instead.
Combining portability
with the simplicity and power
of a more expensive wireless
speaker is a hard nut to crack,
but Libratone has done it.
Sugr Cube
Just don’t dunk it in your tea!
¤139 (about £107) FROM Sugr,
FEATURES Motion controls, AirPlay/Spotify Connect
his little portable
speaker is really
nicely made, and
comes packed with some
great features.
Its wood-finished shape
mimics iOS app icons (and, for
good measure, its own app
matches the look of the
speaker); it connects to Wi-Fi
networks for wireless audio
streaming; and it has cute
gesture controls: when
music’s playing, you can tap
its top to pause or play, or tilt
it 45° to skip tracks. It’s easy to
set up via its accompanying
iOS app, which also gives you
access to a number of the
A finely made, wellfeatured speaker, but
best if you stick to
voice playback.
Lovely design
Music quality isn’t
all that great
90 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
It’s small and pretty
but just can’t match
the sound quality
you’d expect.
streaming services it
supports, including Pandora
and internet radio station
options. These are decent –
the app works well enough
(though we’re not sold on
swiping to navigate through
its services), but it won’t win
any design awards.
But the key thing is that it
supports AirPlay, so you can
play pretty much anything to
it. (It also supports Spotify
Connect.) All this combines
into a seemlingly great
package, with one problem:
the sound isn’t impressive. It’s
good in the mid-range,
especially for speech, so it
works well for talk radio. But
the bass is weak, and the
treble is severely lacking in
detail. You simply don’t get
the most out of your music
when listening on this – and
that’s a problem when you’re
spending over £100.
MATT BOLTON @macformat
Canon PowerShot
G5 X
A high-end compact cam with
an impressive sensor and screen
Reviewed by AMY DAVIES
£650 FROM Canon, FEATURES 20.2MP, f/1.8-2.8
lens with 4.2x zoom, Wi-Fi, vari-angle flip-out touchscreen
Creative Shot
mode applies
different crops
and filters to
your image
The G5 X is an
excellent compact for
anyone looking for a
first ‘serious’ camera,
or as a backup.
Large image sensor
Very impressive
touch-sensitive screen
Built-in Wi-Fi
Hybrid Auto mode @macformat
anon’s G5 X offers
controls in a pocketsize camera with an
electronic viewfinder. Its
styling is pretty old-school and retro, with
an angular design that probably won’t be to
everybody’s taste, but it does mean the dials
and buttons feel sensibly arranged and
within easy reach.
Pushing the retro theme is a control dial
around the lens. This can adjust a number of
different settings, which you can customise
within the main menu. There’s also a
dedicated exposure compensation dial on top
of the camera, within easy reach of your
thumb. Just below the shutter release is
another smaller dial, which can also be
customised for different settings such as
aperture, ISO or white balance. Once you
have the controls set up, they allow quick
and fluid settings changes.
The one-inch sensor, which covers 20.2
million pixels, is larger than can be found in
most compact cameras, and it’s been coupled
with a fast f/1.8-2.8 lens which is great for
creating shallow depth of field effects with
wide apertures, especially when shooting in
low light. Pre-processed JPEG images directly
from the camera display a lovely amount of
saturation and warmth. Raw files can be
opened and tweaked using Adobe Camera
Raw, or you can download Canon’s free
Digital Photo Professional software to open
and edit raw files.
The lens offers a 4x zoom with a focal
range equivalent to 24-100mm and a
maximum aperture range of f/1.8-2.8, which
ensures reasonable control over depth of field.
The G5 X marries modern
specs with retro charm.
Meanwhile, the OLED electronic viewfinder
has a generous 2.36 million dots and shows
100% of the scene, with a 120fps refresh rate
that makes it easy to follow moving subjects.
The three-inch touch-sensitive screen on the
rear is mounted on a vari-angle hinge too. The
screen is very responsive to touch, and
moving your way through menus with it feels
natural, especially if you’re used to using an
iPhone or iPad.
Movies, crops and filters
For those who fancy dipping into video
shooting there’s a Hybrid Auto mode, which
shoots two seconds of video before each shot
is taken and then compiles them together as a
“digest” movie. There’s also a Creative Shot
mode that shoots an image and then applies a
number of different crops and digital filters,
although weirdly you can’t actually specify
which of these you want to use.
Tiny niggles aside, the G5 X is a great
package for anyone looking to make the step
up to pro-level shooting. It has a fantastic
sensor and the lens is extremely versatile,
with a wide maximum aperture throughout
its range. The camera also boasts raw format
shooting and manual control, and the screen,
being fully articulating and touch sensitive, is
great for shooting from awkward angles.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 91
D-Link Wireless AC750
Flaky broadband? Try this
£60 FROM D-Link,
FEATURES 802.11ac, Gigabit LAN port, traffic prioritisation
lthough it looks
like a rather
standard black
box, the DWR-118 has a
little trick up its sleeve.
It can share a 3G or 4G
connection as well as the
more standard Ethernet that
you might get in an office or
from a cable modem. Rather
than have its own SIM slot,
the router enables you to
plug in a USB mobile
broadband dongle. There are
two reasons you might want
this duality – as a backup or
second connection if your
broadband is flaky or slow,
or to share your 4G mobile
An inexpensive
backup connection,
but a mobile hotspot
may be better value.
Fast connectivity
Do you need it?
There’s a handy USB
port for plugging in your
compatible 4G dongle.
connection between several
devices in a home, shared
space or office (but only pay
one 4G contract). However,
if you’re only after the latter,
you might as well just buy
a portable mobile hotspot
even if it is unlikely to offer
the whole home coverage
we experienced with this
D-Link solution.
Often you can get these
for a minimal outlay when
you take out the 4G data
iQunix Zand
contract, and what you’re
really doing with the
DWR-118 router is just
increasing the hardware cost
even if it is a more flexible
device. But we liked the
clever load sharing (meaning
two connections can be used
to boost your bandwidth),
and the 4G seamlessly takes
over if the wired connection
should fail (or, like us in
testing, you rip the cable out).
The Zand works well
but won't leave sticky
marks on your iPad.
A stylish, sticky stand for your iPad
$29 (about £20) FROM iQunix,
FEATURES Micro suction cup-based pads, aluminium body
his is a simple
idea that works
surprisingly well.
It’s a very well-made
aluminium iPad stand
that holds your tablet
using a sticky pad. But it’s
not a chemical adhesive – it
uses micro suction cups to
hold the smooth back of your
iPad tight just using physics,
so it leaves no nasty residue
afterwards. Just press the
iPad to the black pad (fairly
firmly, but it doesn’t take
much effort) and it will stay
right there – this means it
works with any iPad, even
the Pro. Getting your iPad
A lovely iPad stand
that's smart looking,
well made, secure
and versatile.
Aluminium build
Effective sticky pad
92 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
off easily requires learning
a bit of a technique (pulling
from one corner first), but is
no hassle. It’s also got a pad
on the stand’s base, keeping
it firmly in one place on your
desk (this takes a solid pull
to dislodge, resulting in a
pleasing/alarming ringing
sound). The stand can also
lie with the main pad facing
down to hold the iPad in a
flatter position, for typing
and so on, again with the
sticky area keeping it stable.
You will find that the pads
become less sticky over time
as they pick up dust, but a
wipe with a wet cloth fixes
that. MATT BOLTON @macformat
Synology DiskStation 216+
A smart NAS drive that bends –
but doesn’t break – the bank
Reviewed by NICK PEERS
£273 FROM Synology, FEATURES Celeron N3050 1.6GHz
processor, 1GB RAM, 2x SATA II/III HD bays (max 16TB)
The DS216+
should be well
supported and
developed for
a long time
to come
The DS216+ is
versatile, powerful
and quick, making it
a good choice for
high-end users.
Powerful and fast
Quality construction
Software support for
various usage scenarios
Quite pricey for less
demanding users @macformat
he Synology DiskStation range
is aimed at people looking for a
network hard drive that does
more than provide a convenient place
for everyone to back up their files to.
You do have to factor in the cost of supplying
your own hard drives, but in return you get
a NAS that’s more of a mini computer than
a simple hard drive.
Synology’s rather large range is split into
four, and the DS216+ sits at the bottom of its
second tier, the Plus Series. It’s aimed at
demanding home users and small offices,
with a price tag to match. The drive itself is
black, rounded and sleek, and made from
toughened plastic. A solitary front-mounted
USB 3.0 port is joined by a power button and
handy ‘C’ button for one-click copying from
any attached drive. Around the back there are
two additional USB 2.0 ports and a single
eSATA port for attaching additional drives
and other supported peripherals, such as
printers and security cameras. The cleverly
designed plastic front plate pulls away for you
to slide out the plastic drive enclosures. It’s
simple – just like the set-up process.
The DS216+ uses Synology’s DiskStation
Manager (DSM) software, which works in a
similar way to a Windows PC’s desktop, with
shortcut icons, a Control Panel for basic
administration and a Package Manager for
extending the drive’s capabilities. Here you’ll
find over 70 packages covering a range of
server and online uses. DSM 6.0 has just been
released, and because it’s used across the
entire Synology range, you can be confident
that it’ll be well supported and developed for
a long time to come.
The premium you pay is money well
spent: the dual-core Intel Celeron CPU and
1GB RAM outclass all of the cheaper drives
we reviewed back in MF294’s group test. You
have a choice of Apple File Protocol (AFP),
The Synology DiskStation DS216+ is proof that sometimes
you really do get what you pay for – in a good way.
NFS and SMB connections, but you’ll want to
restrict AFP to Time Machine use only, as
QuickBench benchmarks reveal far superior
SMB performance. When connected via SMB,
QuickBench recorded 54MB/s and 45MB/s for
standard read/write transfers (compared to
just 23 and 21MB/s over AFP), plus consistent
read/write speeds of 106MB/s and 109MB/s in
the large and extended tests.
Plex Media stress test
We like to stress test NAS drives by installing
Plex Media Server, and while the DS216+ was
understandably less responsive than our
quad-core Mac mini media server, it’s a
definite step up from budget drives, capable
of transcoding HD streams as well as being
nippy and responsive when accessing media.
The drive hum is noticeable, and it’s a
shame the rear USB ports aren’t USB 3.0. The
flashing LED lights can be distracting too, but
you can easily rectify this via the Control
Panel. The price tag feels a little steep given
the Zyxel NSA520 offers 1GB RAM and a
dual-core processor for around half the price,
but the Intel Celeron CPU is a definite step up.
Ultimately, the DS216+ has found a niche:
it may be pricey, but it’s smart, agile and
powerful enough to fulfil your network
storage and server needs for years to come.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 93
Dog & Bone
The keyless trackable padlock
£63 FROM Dog & Bone,
FEATURES Bluetooth, 128-bit encryption, weatherproofing
ith the rising
popularity of
smart home
accessories that apply
wireless functionality to
relatively mundane items,
it makes sense that the
humble padlock would be
next. And so Dog & Bone
has created a keyless
Bluetooth padlock that you
can unlock with nothing
more than your iPhone.
The lock itself is a hefty
piece of kit, with a tough
stainless steel shackle and a
Dog & Bone’s
LockSmart is an
impressive device, if
not a perfect solution.
Very easy to use
Rather costly
LockSmart will notify
you every time it is used.
die-cast Zamak-3 zinc alloy
body, giving the padlock
high tensile and impact
strength. On the bottom is a
red rubber flap that opens up
to reveal a micro-USB port
for charging the device, as
well as a button that you’ll
need to press to sync the lock
to your phone or wake it.
In terms of security,
it provides 128-bit advanced
encryption, as well as a
256-bit cloud-generated
private key. Using the
LockSmart app on your iOS
device, you can lock and
unlock the padlock via
Bluetooth, with optional
support for multiple users
and Touch ID plus it can
send you notifications each
time the lock is used. It turns
off completely when not in
use to conserve its battery,
which has a life of two years,
according to the makers.
WD My Passport
For Mac 3TB
Tons of storage to go
£124 FROM Western Digital,
FEATURES 256-bit AES hardware encryption, USB 3.0
estern Digital’s
My Passport
drives have been
around for a while, but
this latest update includes
a 3TB model that makes
it one of the highestcapacity portable drives
that we’ve seen so far.
The drive also gets a bit
of a redesign, with a smart
black-and-silver case that
feels solid enough to cope
with the occasional bump
or bruise. And, despite the
impressive storage capacity,
The My Passport is
ideal if you need a lot
of back-up storage
out and about.
Lots of storage
No Thunderbolt
94 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
The 3TB My Passport drive is
very compact given its capacity.
the My Passport measures
just 2.1cm thick, so it’s still a
highly portable device to
carry around on the go.
It uses USB 3.0 (not
Thunderbolt) to connect to
your Mac, and when backing
up a 5GB batch of music and
video files from iTunes, it
achieved read and write
speeds of 125MB/sec and
89.3MB/sec respectively.
That's pretty respectable for
a conventional hard drive. Its
also made specifically for the
Mac, so doesn't need to be
formatted first. As well as
that, it's compatible with
Time Machine, comes with
256-bit AES hardware
encryption, and also comes
with WD's diagnostic and
security software.
If you don’t need quite so
much storage on the go, then
there’s a 2TB model available
for £88, or 1TB at £63.
CLIFF JOESEPH @macformat
Tile (Gen 2)
Discover where you left your stuff
with this square proximity device
£20 per Tile FROM Tile,
NEEDS Bluetooth 4.0, iOS 7 or higher
Fob features and types +++++
Tile comes in just one type and colour: a square, white key
fob. It’s both slightly larger and thicker than the circular
TrackR bravo. Cleverly, its only button is the ‘e’ in its logo,
which can be double-tapped to act as an iPhone finder.
Alert effectiveness +++++
Tile (Gen 2) is louder than the original at 90 decibels,
so it’s still audible when buried at the bottom of a bag,
as long as ambient noise levels aren’t too high. We
preferred its musical tone over TrackR’s pulse, too.
Range and findability +++++
For the Find Your Phone alarm to work, you need to be in
Bluetooth range (around 100ft); you would already have
located it roughly on the map, so that distance is ample.
The app enables you to pinpoint your iPhone as well.
Other features +++++
Tile’s app is superior with its List and full-screen Map
views, as well as crucial info such as the time last seen and
a clear status indicator (a green ring) of whether your Tiles
are currently connected and in Bluetooth range. You can
also add photos of your belongings to identify each Tile.
It’s a close call, but Tile wins thanks to its
better app overall and shortcut to its Find My
iPhone-like feature. It also costs a little less.
TrackR bravo
Track your gear using a key fob
or even a sticker with this system
£25 per TrackR FROM TrackR,
NEEDS Bluetooth 4.0, iOS 8 or higher
Fob features and types +++++
The bravo is TrackR’s direct equivalent of Tile, but it’s
a round key fob instead. Its smaller presence is a boon.
TrackR has a range of other fobs, and even stickers,
that better suit some belongings though.
Alert effectiveness +++++
We preferred Tile’s tones, but TrackR lets you turn on
a separation alert if it strays out of range of your iPhone,
and can also message your iPhone with the alert. Alarm
duration can also be changed, unlike Tile’s sounds.
Range and findability +++++
Despite using the same embedded Apple Maps for locating
your belongings, we found TrackR less accurate than Tile
(albeit by a tiny difference). Tile displays a range circle,
whereas TrackR’s icon can obscure the device’s location.
Other features +++++
There’s little wrong in terms of UI, but it’s not as pretty as
Tile’s app and can be vague in descriptions like ‘Near’ and
‘Close by’, when a time last located would be more helpful.
There’s also no Apple Watch companion app – unlike Tile,
which offers a very clear way of tracking items at a glance.
A very good proximity device and a slightly
nicer key fob, but the app needs some work
and is missing some really helpful info.
+++++ VERDICT +++++ @macformat
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 95
Protect your home and possessions
with a smart home security device
Reviewed by NICK PEERS
ow secure do you feel in your
home? If the answer is ‘not very’,
then a home security camera is
probably a good investment. Today’s smart
cameras are capable of much more than
simply providing you with a live feed of your
home while you’re away (or in another room),
with security-conscious features like motion
detection, alerts and easy access to the
camera through your smartphone.
These modern functions are joined by
other potentially useful tools like nanny cam
features for looking after babies and toddlers,
plus temperature and air quality monitors.
You have 24/7 access to your cameras
through an app on your mobile, and in some
cases you can also monitor through a web
browser on your Mac. Many cameras also
allow you to tweak settings to fine-tune your
camera to your personal needs, while some
make use of your phone’s location capabilities
to switch themselves on or off depending on
whether or not you’re at home.
96 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
To help you decide which smart camera
is best for you, we’ve picked out six cameras
from reputable manufacturers with a median
price point of £150. As you’ll see later, you
may also need to factor in additional monthly
costs if you plan to store recordings online,
but unless you’re desperate to look back over
weeks and months, you’ll probably find the
free plans more than sufficient. And if you’re
We’ve picked out six
cameras from reputable
manufacturers with a
median price point of £150
queasy about relying on a cloud storage
provider, you’ll be pleased to see we’ve
sourced one model that stores your footage
locally on its own microSD card or on your
own FTP server.
So, let’s get testing. Note to family and
friends: big brother is watching you…
How we tested
We set up all six
cameras in two separate
locations to test their
features and see how
they compared to each
other. Although we
tested each camera’s
full set of features, we
focused mainly on those
that are designed to
protect your home from
intrusion, such as
motion detection,
facial recognition,
customisable alert
levels and more. @macformat
Security Cameras APPLE CHOICE
Withings Home HD
Netgear Arlo Q
Netatmo Welcome
Logitech Logi Circle
Kodak CFH-V15
Things to consider…
Everything you need to know before getting started
Storage costs
All six cameras offer live streaming, but
when it comes to storing footage for review,
five of them require you sign up for cloud-based
storage. All five offer a limited free plan, but if
you want to store days at a time, you’ll need to
shell out for an additional monthly subscription.
Set-up considerations
Of the six on test, only the Netatmo
Welcome requires a Mac to set up. The Arlo Q
can be set up using your Mac or mobile, but the
other four only work with a mobile or tablet.
Camera placement
All six cameras only work indoors, and
while some can only be mounted freestanding, @macformat
others come with wall mountings. Five of the
six also require access to a conveniently placed
power socket – only the Logi Circle comes with
a rechargeable battery for portable use.
Motion detection
All six cameras alert you when they
detect motion. The better ones allow you to
fine-tune sensitivity, while some also let you
create schedules, work only when you’re away
from home and even use facial recognition.
Netgear’s Arlo Smart
Home Security System
costs £280 and
includes two portable
weatherproof cameras
with 4-6 month’s
battery life.
All cameras can alert you via your
mobile’s notifications, but some models go
further – Kodak and Netatmo both support, for example, for greater flexibility.
…or lower?
Motorola’s Focus 66b is
a 720p HD camera for
under £50, but you’ll
need to pay at least
£2.99 a month to make
use of any of its cloud
recording capabilities.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 97
Test 1 Ease of use
Test 2 Core features
Easy to set up and use?
The stuff that matters
All six cameras follow a similar
set-up process, but differ in how they
get connected to your Wi-Fi network:
the Kodak requires you to connect
your mobile to its own internal Wi-Fi
network for the initial connection;
the other five cameras make use of
Bluetooth, although you can also
plug in the Netatmo to a spare USB port on your Mac to set it
up. Both Canary and Arlo Q add an additional verification step
involving an audio cable and QR code respectively.
All six mobile apps work differently to each other – we
found the Kodak’s iSecurity+ app looked somewhat dated and
clunky in places, while the Canary app was only optimised for
iPhone. The other four apps were all well-designed and put key
features within easy reach, but the Logi Circle deserves special
praise for its fast, responsive and uncluttered interface.
All of the cameras on test have the
core functionality you’d expect from
a security camera: the ability to live
stream, so you always know what’s
happening, plus night vision for unlit
rooms and the ability to configure
motion detection to alert you when
something happens in the room.
All six also present past events on a timeline, allowing you
to go back as far as your cloud storage plan allows you – in the
case of the Netmato, footage is stored on its internal microSD
card or your own personal FTP server. Each camera presents
things differently – the Netatmo shows you a list of detected
faces, for example, while the Withings camera automatically
plays key frames from a recording as a preview. The Logi
Circle has a clever ‘Day Brief’ view, which shows a sped-up
view of everything recorded in the past 24 hours.
Kodak CFH-V15
Logitech Logi Circle
Netatmo Welcome
Netgear Arlo Q
Withings Home HD
Kodak CFH-V15
Logitech Logi Circle
Netatmo Welcome
Netgear Arlo Q
Withings Home HD
Test 3 Security
Test 4 Extras
Extra protections revealed
What else is on offer?
There’s a lot to differentiate the
cameras when it comes to security.
The Netatmo is unique in offering
facial detection, but make sure you
keep motion detection enabled as it’s
easy to bypass by covering your face.
Elsewhere, the Canary, Kodak,
Withings and Arlo Q offer adjustable
motion sensitivity settings, with the latter two also capable of
adjusting audio sensitivity.
The Arlo Q goes further again with its support for finetuning camera behaviour using rules. You can also define up to
three motion detection zones within the camera’s field of view
for more granular control. Both Logi Circle and Arlo Q allow
you to switch off their status lights so they appear dead. The
Canary deserves a special mention for its wide field of view
and 90db siren, which you can trigger remotely.
The Logi Circle is the only portable
camera on test – charge it up, then
detach it from the magnetic charging
base for up to 12 hours’ use anywhere
in your home. There’s also a two-way
mic so you can talk to people at the
other end of the feed, similar to the
Arlo Q and Withings Home HD.
The Withings takes this nanny cam approach to another
level, throwing in an option to play music and provide soft
lights via its magnetic base to soothe a baby to sleep. An air
quality monitor adds reassurance, something also provided by
the Canary, which has temperature and humidity sensors too.
Kodak’s camera is the only one offering pan-and-tilt
capabilities, controlled from your mobile app to give you a look
around your surroundings. It also has a two-way mic and can
act as a Wi-Fi range extender too.
Kodak CFH-V15
Logitech Logi Circle
98 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Netatmo Welcome
Netgear Arlo Q
Withings Home HD
Kodak CFH-V15
Logitech Logi Circle
Netatmo Welcome
Netgear Arlo Q
Withings Home HD
+++++ @macformat
Security cameras APPLE CHOICE
THE WINNER Logi Circle
There’s a security camera for everyone
hoosing a winner was harder than
we thought, with no one camera
dominating the rest. Every camera
here has features that will appeal to someone:
the Netatmo’s use of internal microSD storage
means you’ll never have to pay a penny in
cloud storage fees, for example, and its facial
detection features might have won it the day,
but for the fact we were able to circumvent
them. Security conscious folk might like the
The Netatmo’s use of internal
microSD storage means
you’ll never have to pay a
penny in cloud storage fees
Canary’s ear-splitting siren, while others may
approve of the Kodak’s ability to change view
remotely using its pan-and-tilt camera.
If you’re looking for a baby monitor and
security cam rolled into one, then the
Christian says…
Ever since we tested
the Withings Home back
in MF286, I’ve been on
the lookout for the
perfect home security
cam. While it’s great
that every camera
tested here offers
something different, it
means I’ve got even
more to think about
before I take the plunge!
Unclip the Logi Circle from its charging station and you can
place it anywhere for inconspicuous, wire-free surveillance.
Withings Home HD will prove hard to resist.
Netgear’s Arlo Q camera looks ugly, but
boasts the most granular security settings of
all for those who want fine control, but
ultimately our gaze fell on the Logi Circle. It’s
a strong all-rounder, but its killer features –
its portability, discreet nature and beautifully
simple app – give it the edge.
do they
Logi Circle
Welcome Camera
Arlo Q
Home HD Camera
€ 149 (about £115)
Cloud: 12 hours (free);
2, 7 and 30 days
($4.99, $9.99 and
$29.99 per month)
Cloud: 24 hours (free);
Cloud: 24 hours (free);
14 days ($9.99 per month) pricing plans TBA
Internal microSD card
Cloud: 7 days nonCloud: 48 hours (free);
continuous recording
7, 30 days ($7.95,
(free); 30 and 60 days
$19.95 per month)
(£6.49, £9.99 per month)
1080p (720p video)
57° (horizontal),
31° (vertical)
350° pan, 105° tilt
(remote control)
110° tilt (manual)
Manual pivot
Freestanding or wall
mount (screws)
Freestanding or wall
mount (magnetic)
Freestanding or wall
mount (screws)
Ethernet, Wi-Fi
Ethernet, Wi-Fi
Ethernet, Wi-Fi
FINAL VERDICT @macformat
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 99
Day One 2
Journals galore, but how secure?
£22.99 FROM Bloom Built,
NEEDS OS X 10.10 or higher
ay One has had
an unassailable
lead over other
journaling apps for five
years, thanks to its elegant
approach to digital diary
keeping. Day One 2 tries to
improve on the original’s
tag-based organisation and
metadata smarts with some
welcome new features, but it’s
not all good news.
The overhauled interface
loses the big-buttoned sidebar
and moves all functions to the
top of the journal window for
a cleaner, Evernote-like look,
but the big change is an option
to keep multiple journals,
It’s unlikely to sway
existing users, but
Day One 2 should
please newcomers.
Multiple journals
Unproven cloud sync
Individual journals can
be assigned identifying
custom colours.
which live in a collapsable lefthand pane. A new Photo view
option sits above the entry
pane and lets you browse
journals visually (you can
now use up to 10 photos in a
single entry), while additional
timeline filters and a multiple
entry selection option add to
the ease with which you can
manage your thoughts.
The app uses a proprietary
sync service, but drops the
iCloud and Dropbox support
of Day One. Users who have
been victims of data loss may
applaud the move, but Day
One Sync currently lacks
end-to-end encryption, so it
feels like a backward step.
But overall this is a solid
sequel. Asking £23 from
existing Day One users is
harsh, but if you’re new to
journaling and happy to trust
your data to an unproven sync
service, Day One 2 is a charm.
Chaos Control
Get on top of your tasks with GTD
£18.99 FROM Tarasov Mobile,
NEEDS OS X 10.6.6 or higher
reelancers and
small business
owners will be
familiar with juggling
multiple projects, which
can take up a good chunk
of their working week.
Chaos Control aims to
tame the madness, having
recently made the leap from
mobile devices to the desktop.
There are four key areas here.
The first is the ‘Chaos Box’, a
dumping ground for whatever
needs to get done without
having to worry about the
details at that moment. It’s
similar to other to-do
applications, and tasks
Helps you get on
top of multiple
projects, but missing
a few useful features.
Quick task capture
No Project subfolders
100 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Chaos Control syncs
across platforms, but
lacks iCloud integration.
entered here also show up on
Apple Watch, where they can
also be marked as complete.
Daily Plan displays a
calendar view of everything
in the Chaos Box, with
shortcuts for Today and
Tomorrow, but there’s no
option to sync existing OS X
Calendar or Reminders data.
Finally, Projects and Contexts
are used to organise tasks into
ongoing plans, or make them
easier to find with tags.
The app makes good use of
desktop space, with fullscreen
support and a tree-style visual
display. The navigation pane
can be hidden too, but folder
management is limited: you
can rearrange tasks and
folders, but subfolders aren’t
supported. A manual would
be nice, as it’s not immediately
obvious what some functions
do, but GTD veterans should
feel right at home.
J.R. BOOKWALTER @macformat
Photo Editor
Surprisingly powerful,
ultra-cheap photo editing
£3.99 FROM Polarr,
NEEDS OS X 10.10 or higher
Polarr has an
extension for
using its tools
from within
OS X’s Photos
pplications such as Photoshop
and Affinity Photo offer users
vast numbers of tools that often
go unnoticed. Even the more streamlined
Lightroom offers plenty of high-end features
that many occasional hobbyists won’t use.
On first glance, Polarr looks a lot like a
cut-down version of Lightroom. Gone are
the library, web gallery and book creation;
instead you get over 60 pre-baked filters and
a set of more advanced tools. Photo editing
standards such as curves, sliders for hue,
saturation and luminance, and controls for
contrast, vibrance and saturation all make an
appearance. Anyone coming from Lightroom
should feel familiar with the controls – Polarr
even includes a Dehaze tool. You also get
Lightroom staples such as the useful gradient
filter, as well as a radial mask. For those shy
of experience, a series of tutorials walk you
through colour-correcting and perfecting
images to get you started. The benefits for
beginners continue with the Adjustments
Guide, a set of samples showing your original
image, plus what would happen to it if you
used sliders such as Temp, Tint and so on.
A fast, decent photo
editor with more than
enough options for
Clear interface
Fast performance
Stone-cold bargain
Lacks pro features @macformat
Unlimited undo steps should make Polarr attractive to
beginners and encourage fearless experimentation.
Tools across the top let you see your image
compared to its original state, while unlimited
undo steps encourage experimentation.
Attention to detail
It all works really well. Performance is
excellent, with our chosen changes applied
almost instantly. It pays to be attentive to
detail, though: some of Polarr’s tools are
prone to creating halos around certain
photographic elements, while dehaze can be
problematic. But all photo editors can produce
dodgy-looking images if used cack-handedly.
Reaching the limits of Polarr will take
some time, particularly if you’re looking for
more horsepower for editing iPhone photos.
But for the more ambitious, certain missing
controls make their absence felt. DSLR users
will miss a dust spot or healing tool. You can
crop an image freely – without selecting an
aspect ratio – but there’s no facility to enter a
custom ratio. The missing tools won’t be a
huge blow to hobbyists, but would-be pros
might find themselves frustrated.
Images that are imported when you close
the app are saved in Polarr’s cache, so you can
begin working on a shot and return to it later.
You can open multiple images at once but you
can’t apply the same filter to them at the same
time. You can, however, open multiple images,
edit them, and export them as a batch. Polarr
also comes with an extension for OS X’s
Photos app, so you can edit directly from
Photos without opening the main app.
For advanced users, Polarr’s feature
limitations will likely mean it won’t quite fit
the bill. But if you’re a Photos user looking for
more power and flexibility in your editing,
Polarr should certainly deliver.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 101
Mountain Duck 1.1
Access cloud storage using Finder
£29.99 FROM iterate,
NEEDS OS X 10.7 or higher, a supported online storage account
ountain Duck is a
tool with limited
appeal – web
developers will get more
from it than anyone else,
we suspect – but what it
does, it does pretty well.
It’s designed to integrate
online servers and storage
into OS X itself, by mounting
them as virtual drives in
Finder, providing systemwide
access to their contents.
Mountain Duck is from
the makers of Cyberduck
(, which is an
open-source tool that gives
you easy access to FTP, SFTP,
WebDAV, S3 and OpenStack
An effective, if
expensive, tool for
connecting to online
storage in Finder.
Great with Cyberduck
Fairly expensive
This app is a convenient way to
access your online storage.
Swift server storage through
the app itself. While this new
app works independently of
Cyberduck, they’re best as a
pair: create a connection using
Cyberduck’s user-friendly
front end, then bookmark it –
this is shared with Mountain
Duck, so you can easily
connect to your online storage
through its menu bar icon.
Once connected, your
online storage is mounted as
a virtual drive, and appears
under Favorites in Finder’s
sidebar. A glitch occurs if you
set the app to run at startup
but don’t close it before
restarting; it’ll create copies of
your shortcuts in Favorites.
Performance depends on
the speed of your connection,
but the app is simple and
pretty stable. It’s overpriced
for what it does and there
things to fix, but Mountain
Duck certainly does what it
says on the tin. NICK PEERS
Rekindle your love of the outdoors
£14.99 FROM Campo Santo,
NEEDS OS X 10.8 or higher
enry’s life has gone
off the rails, so
he’s signed up for
a summer as a forest fire
lookout to escape from
routine while he gets his
head together. He’s inducted
into the role by Delilah, who
instructs him by radio from
her nearby tower, which is the
perfect excuse to guide him
through a painterly rendering
of the great outdoors.
Firewatch is less a game
than an interactive novel.
Against the solitude of
its setting, conversations
between Henry and Delilah
give you an insight into their
Minor blemishes
don’t detract from
what is a gripping
outdoors mystery.
Top-notch acting
Short on wildlife
102 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
There’s not enough freedom to
roam, but it’s still gorgeous.
personal lives, endearing
them to you with some of the
best voice acting we’ve heard
in a ‘game’.
The backdrop isn’t wholly
convincing, though; an initial
sense of roaming gives way
to some parts feeling very
much like gaming constructs,
and later on things feel very
carefully guided. Even so, the
dialogue seeds intrigue that
sets your mind racing almost
all the way to the end.
Firewatch speaks about
middle-aged concerns in the
way Stephen King’s Stand by
Me speaks about adolescence.
It’s a page turner, a journey
of self-discovery. Ultimately,
it left us with mixed feelings.
After about four hours of play,
we wanted to follow Henry
and Delilah beyond our
inevitable parting of ways, yet
we felt a little underwhelmed
by some of the resolution.
Watch YouTube picture-in-picture
With a couple of taps, you
can be watching YouTube
videos while you do other
things on your iPad.
£2.29 FROM Tiny Whale Pte,
ne of the best
features of iOS 9
is the ability to
play videos in a floating,
scalable window while you
use other apps. Called
picture-in-picture, it’s only
supported on the iPad Pro,
iPad Air or later and iPad
mini 2 or later, but if you have
one of those devices, it’s great.
Or at least, it’s great for
those apps that support it –
by default, that’s FaceTime
and anything that uses the
standard iOS movie player.
YouTube, though, doesn’t,
so you can’t watch YouTube
movies using the feature.
Handy for watching
music videos, how-to
guides and more
as you work.
A little friction
CornerTube solves this,
and though it’s not always a
frictionless experience, that’s
usually the fault of how other
apps expose their links.
You can search the
YouTube catalogue from
inside the app, but you’d
more usually copy a link and
then launch CornerTube
from its Today widget, or
send a YouTube link to
CornerTube using an action
in the standard share sheet.
And these work – though
anything an app does to
mask a YouTube link (such
as wrapping it in a short
URL on Twitter) can stop it
being recognised.
It’s not always smooth, but
it still does what it promises.
If you need the feature rarely,
you could wait and hope
Google adds it to its YouTube
app, but £2 isn’t much to ask if
you’re likely to use it lots.
Airmail for iPhone
The best email program on iOS?
£3.99 FROM Bloop,
MADE FOR iPhone, iPod touch, Apple Watch
mail is rather like
capitalism: it’s
pretty awful, but
the alternatives are all
worse. But it needn’t be a
burden. All you need is the
right tool – and on the iPhone,
that tool is Airmail.
You may already know
Airmail as an OS X app
with powerful filters and
customisation. On iOS it’s
much the same, with support
for multiple accounts (Gmail,
Exchange, IMAP and POP3),
integration with third party
services such as Evernote,
Wunderlist and Dropbox,
HTML composition and PDF
Fast, flexible and
very customisable,
mobile email doesn’t
get much better.
Multiple accounts
Huge feature list @macformat
Airmail lets you filter emails and
customise how they are displayed.
creation. It supports 3D Touch
for quick actions and viewing
content, syncs with the Mac
version via iCloud and uses
the iOS 9 search API so you
can quickly find documents
and messages.
Airmail is packed with
every conceivable feature you
might want, offering
exceptional levels of filtering
and customisation that can
tame even the most irritating
inbox. For example, instead of
just offering swipe to delete,
Airmail lets you choose what
long swipes and short swipes
do from the left and from the
right. You can snooze emails
so they disappear until a set
time, or create a To-Do and
redirect it, bounce it or view
the message source. You name
it, Airmail can do it. It takes a
bit of time to set up, but it’s
worthwhile and makes email
management a lot less effort.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 103
OCT 2015
LATE 2016
Your complete guide to the
best Apple hardware and
third-party accessories
elcome to MacFormat’s Store Guide, the place to go to find out
about all the Apple kit that matters – updated this issue to
include the new iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro. We’ve chosen
our top products from Apple’s product line-up, plus the best third-party
kit that meets our quality standard.
Whether you’re a recent convert or a seasoned Apple user, we highlight
a model of each product that’s ideally suited to your needs. So, check our
handy tables to see which Mac, iPad or iPhone is best for you. We’ve also
highlighted the gold standard in audio, storage, cameras, and many other
categories to complement your Mac or iOS device with the best accessories.
Who’s it for?
You’re just getting
started in the world
of Apple and need to
know where to begin.
A firm Apple user,
you’re ready to move
on and get even more
from your tech.
Apple is your life.
You prize quality and
want the best that
money can buy.
Ever since the famous Bondi Blue iMac debuted
way back in August 1998, Apple’s all-in-one
desktop computer has been setting standards
in gorgeous design and powerful performance.
Apple’s spirit of innovation was as clear back then
as it is today – the iMac was the first Macintosh to
abandon the floppy disk in favour of USB ports,
and its bright, colourful aesthetic set it apart as a
playful pretender in a world of staid beige boxes.
These days Apple is again pushing boundaries
with the iMac, blessing all of its 27-inch models
with the world’s best display, which has a massive
5K (5120x2880) resolution. Add in a quad-core
Intel Core i5 processor (configurable from 3.2GHz
up to 4.0GHz), 8GB of RAM, a fast and capacious
Fusion Drive, and a powerful AMD Radeon R9
graphics processor – and the large iMac is the
desktop system to own. In 2015, Apple lowered the
price of the top-spec 27-inch model by £150 and
introduced the first 21.5-inch iMac with a Retina
4K display. All iMacs (except the entry-level,
21.5-inch model) have a quad-core processor.
Choose an iMac
Monitor ........................................107
Ultra HD monitor .............107
Portable storage..............107
Network storage..............107
Wireless router...................107
Thunderbolt dock ...........107
MacBook stand..................107
MacBook bag........................107
104 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Wireless speaker.............108
Desktop speaker ..............108
Portable speaker .............108
On-ear headphones.....108
In-ear headphones........108
Portable battery...............108
IP camera..................................108
iPhone stand.........................108
Apple Watch stand ........108
MacBook ...................................105
MacBook Pro ........................105
Mac Pro .......................................105
Mac mini .....................................105
iPad Pro.......................................106
Apple Watch...........................106
Intel Core i5
RAM 8GB of 1867MHz LPDDR3
GRAPHICS Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200
STORAGE 1TB (5,400rpm)
DISPLAY 1920x1080 (IPS, sRGB gamut)
ALSO Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard
Inside your buying guide…
Intel Core i5
RAM 8GB of 1867MHz LPDDR3
GRAPHICS Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200
STORAGE 1TB (5,400rpm)
DISPLAY Retina 4K (IPS, P3 gamut)
ALSO Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard
Intel Core i5
RAM 8GB of 1867MHz DDR3
STORAGE 2TB Fusion Drive
DISPLAY Retina 5K (IPS, P3 gamut)
ALSO Magic Mouse 2, Magic Keyboard
£1,849 @macformat
MAR 2015
Q2 2016
MAY 2015
Q2 2016
DEC 2013
MacBook Pro
Mac Pro
The baby of Apple’s laptop family,
the MacBook is a marvel of compact
design and ultra-portability. Weighing
in at just 0.92kg, it’s Apple’s most
lightweight laptop and easily stows
away in a backpack for use on the
move. The pixel density of its 12-inch
Retina display stands at 226ppi, which
is almost as high as the MacBook Pro.
The MacBook is powered by an Intel
Core M processor (at 1.1GHz, 1.2GHz or
1.3GHz), which doesn’t require a fan to
keep cool, so the MacBook runs silently.
It was also the first Apple notebook
to feature a Force Touch trackpad,
which can trigger different responses
as you apply more pressure. All models
come with 8GB of RAM and Intel HD
Graphics 5300, while there are options
for either 256GB or 512GB of flash
storage. It’s available in three colour
options: Silver, Space Grey and Gold.
Following hot on the heels of the
MacBook, the MacBook Pro recently
gained a Force Touch trackpad. At the
same time, the MacBook Pro range saw
small boosts to its Intel and graphics
processors. The top-of-the-line model
is currently the only one to offer a
discrete graphics processor, in the form
of the AMD Radeon R9 M370X – the
other models have an integrated Intel
Iris or Iris Pro graphics processor.
All except the entry-level MacBook
Pro are equipped with a Retina display,
in either 13-inch or 15-inch sizes. They
also have two Thunderbolt 2 and two
USB 3.0 ports, an SDXC card reader,
and their flash storage ranges from
128GB to 1TB, depending on the model
you pick as a starting point. Battery life
is also improved, with the 13-inch model
lasting 10 hours and the 15-inch model
going strong for nine hours.
If you need power – and we mean
serious power – this is the computer
for you. Even the entry-level model
comes with 12GB of RAM, a quad-core
3.7GHz processor, 256GB of speedy
PCIe flash storage and dual AMD
FIrePro D300 graphics cards. However,
with a price point to match, it last being
updated in 2013, and Thunderbolt 3
just around the corner, consider
holding out for the next version.
RAM 8GB of 1600MHz
Graphics 5300
Intel Core M
RAM 8GB of 1600MHz
Graphics 5300
Intel Core M
RAM 8GB of 1600MHz
Graphics 5300
SSD 256GB or 512GB
£1,419 @macformat
Intel Core M
Intel Core i5
RAM 8GB of 1866MHz
Graphics 6100
Choose a MacBook Pro
Intel Core i7
RAM 16GB of 1600MHz
GRAPHICS Intel Iris Pro
Choose a MacBook
Intel Core i7
RAM 16GB of 1600MHz
R9 M370X
OCT 2014
LATE 2016
Mac mini
A welcome update in 2014 brought a
£100 price drop to the most affordable
Mac. The mini has some interesting
talking points: the entry-level model
has a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
processor and 4GB of RAM, making it
akin to the entry-level MacBook Air
but with a 500GB hard drive and no
display. Higher end models come with
1TB storage (a Fusion Drive option is
available), 8GB of RAM, a better
graphics processor and either a 2.6GHz
or 2.8GHz Intel Core i5 for £569 and
£799, respectively. Those models can
be upgraded to Core i7 processors,
though there are no quad-core options
available – you’ll need an iMac for that.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 105
SEPT 2015
Q3 2016
MAR 2016
SEPT 2016
MAR 2016
Q3 2016
iPad Pro
Apple brought 3D Touch to the iPhone
with the 6s and 6s Plus, providing extra
interactions depending on the level of
pressure you apply to the screen. For
example, a light press on an email lets
you ‘peek’ at its contents, so you can
decide whether to delete it or, with a
firmer press, ‘pop’ it open to reply to it.
While the new iPhone SE lacks 3D
Touch, it matches many features of the
iPhone 6s, from a 12MP rear camera
and 4K video recording to an A9 chip
and M9 motion coprocessor. All that
comes in a compact 4-inch case, so it
has plenty of power and is perfect for
anyone put off by the larger iPhones.
All models have front-facing
cameras for video calls. There’s also
Live Photos, which capture the
moments before and after you take a
photo to make a short video, plus all
feature high-quality Retina displays.
Aside from the beautifully gargantuan
12.9-inch iPad Pro (see right), there was
a small but very welcome change to
Apple’s tablet line-up last September
with the addition of the iPad mini 4,
which is essentially an iPad Air 2 in
a smaller chassis. The Air 2 hasn’t
changed since late 2014, though.
On the software side, iOS 9 has
brought multitasking features, which
are a boon for productivity. You can
slide a second app over the right side
of the one you’re working in (great for
quickly checking email), then dismiss it
to get back to work. Picture in Picture
enables you to watch video in a corner
of the screen – but it may be a bit too
small on the mini. Those two features
work on the Air 2, mini 2 and Pro and
newer models. There’s also Split View,
on the Air 2, mini 4 and Pro, which lets
you work on two apps side by side.
The iPad Pro now comes in 9.7-inch
and 12.9-inch sizes, packed with either
32GB, 128GB or 256GB of storage.
All models except the 32GB, 12.9-inch
one are available with the option of
mobile network connectivity. The Pro’s
A9X chip is the most powerful in any
iOS device, and it has an impressive
four-speaker sound system, too. Adding
the pressure-sensitive Apple Pencil
makes it an accomplished drawing tool.
iPhone SE
CAMERA 12MP photos,
4K video recording
iPhone 6s
CAMERA 12MP photos,
4K video recording
iPhone 6s
CAMERA 12MP photos,
4K video recording
106 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
iPad mini 4
iPad Air 2
Choose an iPad
Choose an iPhone
iPad Pro
SEPT 2015
MID 2016?
Apple’s first foray into the world of
high fashion certainly turned heads
when it arrived on the scene. Apple has
since released a slew of updates in the
form of watchOS 2, which expands the
capabilities of third-party apps, as well
as a range of new case colours and
strap options (although hardware
specifications are unchanged).
Among the new straps are several
Woven Nylon models in various vibrant
colours, plus a snappy yellow Sport
Band made of comfy fluoroelastomer.
The Watch comes in aluminium,
stainless steel or 18-carat gold cases,
the first of which now has Gold and
Rose Gold colour options. @macformat
Mac Hardware STORE GUIDE
BEST BUYS… curated picks of third-party kit
ViewSonic VP2772
Samsung T1 SSD
From £88
If you’re not fussed
about 4K but still want
exceptional image quality,
this IPS display is truly
superb. It offers 99%
coverage of the Adobe
RGB colour space, 10-bit colour and a
2560x1440-pixel resolution. It has HDMI
1.4, DVI and Mini DisplayPort connections,
and four USB 3.0 ports for expansion.
The recent winner of
our 4K displays group
test, this 32-inch screen
is a joy to work with, and
a monitor of this size is
the perfect setting for 4K
to really come into its own. From stunning
picture quality and top-notch contrast
ratio to the reasonable price for such a
wide display, it’s a winner all round.
Light, speedy and
astonishingly small,
the Samsung T1 is the
definition of portable SSD
storage. As well as having
an attractive design, it is
among the best-performing drives of its
kind that we’ve tested, features AES-256
hardware-based encryption, and is more
affordable now than when we reviewed it.
Western Digital
My Cloud Mirror £255
Netgear Nighthawk X4S
Elgato Thunderbolt 2
Dock £180
Winner of MF294’s NAS
group test, the My Cloud
Mirror provides Apple-like
ease of use – but it’s no
Time Capsule knock-off;
with top performance
(thrashing its group test rivals when it
came to writing large files), whisper-quiet
operation and a good range of features,
it’s great if you want more from a NAS.
This aggressively-named
router may be expensive,
but it’s one of the best
that money can buy.
Sporting four aerials, the
Nighthawk boasts four
separate signals for a total speed of 2.5
gigabits per second. And with dual-band
802.11ac Wi-Fi, AirPrint support and an
excellent app, it’s one powerful router.
The most affordable
Thunderbolt 2 dock in
MF285’s group test was
also the best. Unlike some
docks, it provides a useful
drive ejection utility. With
three USB 3.0 ports and a passthrough
Thunderbolt 2 port (which supports a 4K
display), its combo of impressive features
and a good price is a mighty strong draw.
Samsung Xpress
SL-M2026 £50
For simple home printing
at an affordable price, you
just can’t beat this mono
laser printer. For £50, you
get 20 pages per minute
printed at great quality,
plus a rack of eco-friendly options, beating
its main rivals at this price point. It doesn’t
print colour, but if that’s not an issue for
your documents then this is a no-brainer. @macformat
Henge Docks Horizontal
€449 (about £325)
Knomo James
This is a seriously
powerful dock. With more
ports than you can shake
an Apple Pencil at (13, to
be precise), thermal vents
to keep your MacBook
cool, plus an elegantly simple design, it’s
useful as well as beautiful. You can add up
to three displays, two audio devices, six
USB 3.0 devices and much, much more.
A beautifully made bag
with a surprising amount
of space inside. You’ll love
the little touches, such as
its big chunky zips and
flashes of colour. It’s easy
to turn the Knomo James into a smart
office bag by removing the backpack
straps, and Knomo provides each bag with
a tracking ID in case yours goes AWOL.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 107
STORE GUIDE Mac Hardware
BEST BUYS… curated picks of third-party kit
Bowers & Wilkins
Zeppelin Wireless £499
Roth OLi POWA-5
Kef Muo
This airship-inspired
speaker is certainly
striking, but it’s more than
just a looker, with crisp,
clear treble and refined
bass output over previous
Zeppelin models. Support for Bluetooth,
Spotify Connect and AirPlay makes for
plenty of connectivity, and dynamic EQ
ensures controlled bass at all volumes.
Just one listen to these
desktop speakers will tell
you they’re in a class of
their own. Their firm bass
and detailed, rich sound
packs a punch thanks to
80W output, and they feature Bluetooth
streaming and a wide range of analogue
and digital inputs. Hi-fi quality audio for
£200? Sounds great to us!
Hi-fi king Kef brings its
audio know-how to the
portable speaker world
and blows away the
competition. Firm bass,
a rich, detailed sound
and sturdy build combine to form one
impressive package, while you won’t be let
down by the solid battery life. It’s one of
the best portable speakers you can buy.
Plantronics Backbeat
Pro £125
RHA MA 750i
Apple iPhone 6s Smart
Battery Case £79
Wireless headphones
are often blighted by
meagre battery life, but
not so with these cans,
which run for more than
25 hours. They offer
active noise-cancelling, brilliant wireless
range, superb comfort and a huge range
of intuitive touch controls, making these
the wireless headphones to beat.
These in-ear buds
impress on nearly every
level. They come with
easy-to-use inline controls
and a steel-reinforced
cable, while faultless low
and mid range reproduction and a crafted,
premium feel make them earphones of
distinction. They are a world away from
Apple’s cheap earbuds.
Despite that silly-looking
hump on its back, the
official battery case for
the iPhone 6 and 6s is
impressive. It’s easy to fit,
the buttons feel great,
and the soft inner lining protects against
scratches. It isn’t the largest capacity case,
yet it has more than enough juice for busy
days, and the bump is surprisingly comfy.
Logi Circle
Just Mobile AluBolt
Nomad Stand for
Apple Watch £50
Winner of MF299’s
group test, the Logi Circle
is packed with features.
It’s so easy to use and can
be powered by batteries,
making it highly portable.
With a wide 135° field of vision, it captures
plenty of detail, and is very affordable. The
Logi Circle is a barnstorming all-rounder,
and looks great on your mantlepiece.
Charge your iPhone in
style with this simple yet
elegant stand. From the
curved backstop to the
rounded aluminium base,
it oozes Apple-esque
design chops and will fit right in among
your other Apple kit. The Lightning
connector can be tilted to help mount
your iPhone on it, which is a nice touch.
Nomad’s stand is an
absolutely gorgeous
Apple Watch charging
dock – carved from a
single piece of curved
aluminium, it looks like
it could have been designed by Apple.
Its weighty base keeps everything in place
and the cable management is so tidy that
it looks like there’s no cable there at all.
108 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016 @macformat
The home of technology
MacFormat, Future,
Quay House, The Ambury
Bath, BA1 1UA
Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244
Managing Art Editor PAUL BLACHFORD
Digital Art Editor SETH SINGH
Production Editor ALAN STONEBRIDGE
Commissioning Editor ALEX BLAKE
For MacFormat’s biggest milestone
we bring you our biggest-ever feature!
300 of the best tips for OS X.
Discover how to use HomeKit
Make your own AirPrint receiver
Smart gadgets for the garden
Reviewed: the new iPhone and iPad
10 MAY
Our print and digital bundle gets you the
paper magazine as well as our iPad edition
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EDITORIAL: Adam Banks, Matt Bolton, J. R. Bookwalter,
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The registered office of Future Publishing Limited is at Quay House, The Ambury,
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is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept
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Get in touch CONTACTS
Contact us
Have your say on all things Apple!
I have a number of small Access databases from
a Windows computer, which I would like to be
able to open, edit, run queries and print on my
MacBook Pro. I have searched through the Mac
App Store and various forums but have not found
a definitive solution to this problem.
Can you offer any suggestions or advice as to
which is the best app or solution? This is not
something that I use regularly, so I don’t feel the need to spend too much. I do
have Microsoft Office 365 on my MacBook Pro, but this does not offer Access
as part of it. Any help would be appreciated.
by D O U G S P O O N E R
CHRISTIAN SAYS… The real question is what version of Access are you running?
There are apps available that will let you access those databases on a Mac, but
they are quite fussy about the original version of Access they were made in. In the
Mac App Store itself you’ll find apps such as MDB Tool (£4.49), but these tend to
allow read-only access. Your needs are greater, understandably. Another Mac App
Store item, Access Database Manager (£7.99), allows some editing functions after
an in-app purchase. Then there’s MDB ACCDB Viewer (£13.99) which has read-only
access but allows for export to Numbers, enabling you to essentially migrate all
your databases to there and begin to work on them in a more robust app. As with
anything involving this kind of conversion, it might not be entirely free from errors,
and there may be a loss of some functions, but at least the options are affordable.
I want to buy an Apple laptop. I have
read at some length the technical
specifications of these items but, not
being computer literate, I have no idea
what they mean. I am long retired and
so this laptop would only be used for
things like online shopping, storage of
photos, email and word processing.
I think that the MacBook is a little small
for my needs, which leaves the MacBook
Air and the MacBook Pro. Please help!
by R O B E R T R U S S E L L
CHRISTIAN SAYS… As your needs are
modest, Robert, you would be looking
at a lower-end model. The non-Retina
MacBook Airs are your cheapest option @macformat
(from £849 for the 13-inch), but the
12-inch MacBook has a Retina display,
which means you can have better clarity
even though the screen size is smaller.
Have you considered an iPad perhaps?
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro (from £679)
would also serve you very well. Check
out our Store Guide on page 104 for
more details of Apple’s current line-up.
Can you help with an AirDrop
question? I’m teaching Spanish for
charity and want to use my iPad mini 2
to play MP3 files to my students. I can
do it if I export them to iTunes, but
when I try to AirDrop them for use
Email your queries
and your questions to
with the WavePad app they come into
the iTunes U app, which allows me to
play them but not with the flexibility
I need. WavePad allows me to halt,
enlarge and replay minute sections,
which is what I need. Is there any way
to force AirDrop to place them where
I actually need them?
by D A V I D S I M P S O N
ALEX SAYS… WavePad doesn’t appear
to support what Apple calls inter-app
communication to work with AirDrop.
You’ll have to continue using the long
route of iTunes, or substitute another
app that has these capabilities.
I have successfully installed an SSD
drive in my 27-inch iMac. I did this as a
personal challenge to see if my 81-yearold brain could do it! I now have two
internal drives, and with my limited
knowledge I’m unable to work out how
to configure them to work as one. That
is to say until I read the article about
Fusion Drive in issue 296. After fitting
the SSD, I copied the OS (El Capitan) to
it, together with my apps. This gives me
speedy startups and access to apps, but
I feel I’m driving two systems instead
of one. I realise that I can’t follow your
article verbatim, but could it be the
basis, with a little amendment, of the
procedure I need to realise my goal?
by R O Y L U N D
ALAN SAYS… Yes, it can be. Make a
complete backup of your startup disk
using Time Machine, and an OS X install
disk as described in MF296. Check the
backup is picked up by the install disk’s
option to restore from Time Machine,
but go no further. Instead, configure the
Fusion Drive, put a clean installation of
OS X 10.11 on it (to add a Recovery
system), then restore the backup over it.
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 111
PHOTO STREAM Shot of the month
The iPhone is the world’s most popular
camera, but it takes a bit of work to get
a truly excellent shot. Why not show
us your creations? Simply email us at and your work
could be showcased on these pages!
by J O H N B A R T L E T T
So easy to shoot and so
convenient, this was taken on
the spur of the moment from
the stern of the MS Zaandam
in Antarctica in February
2016, with no tweaking or
editing. I normally shoot
video with a semi-pro
camcorder, but I decided to
try a pano shot on my new
iPhone 6s. I’m delighted
with the result. For me,
it captures the magnificence
of a location that few of us
have the privilege to visit.
The colours are sharp and in
focus, and other passengers
with very expensive cameras
couldn’t believe the shot was
from an iPhone! I feel a bit
of a fraud – I rarely take
photos as I prefer video.
The photo of me was also
taken in Antarctica, with
the iceberg behind me!
112 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016
Panoramas work best when
the landscape is wide enough,
and free of obstructions that
disrupt the flow.
John shot from one end of
the boat to another, leaving
two distinct start and end
points to the image.
The incredible vista helps,
of course, but the inclusion of
the leading lines out the back
of the boat looks great.
This is great if you want to shoot
a 360° panorama. I’ve had great
results using this cheap app, and
it really shows off the power and
flexibility of the iPhone’s camera.
I use this for timelapse videos, from one second to
a whole day! They’re fun to make,
and this app makes it so simple.
I’m more of a video maker than
a photographer, so I use it a lot.
This is a really fun
app if you want to slow down an
iPhone video. It’s particularly good
for action videos where you fancy
slowing it all down after the event,
even simulating up to 1,000fps. @macformat
Your pictures PHOTO STREAM
Get the look...
1 Panning direction
Choose which direction to pan. The
Camera app will prompt you to pan left to
right by default, but you can tap the white
arrow in the centre of the screen to switch
the panning direction around.
Learn how to get fantastic iPhone shots like the pros
2 Keep it steady
Tap the Shutter button and slowly
move your iPhone continuously in the
direction of the arrow, keeping the arrow
on the yellow line as you do so. You’ll be
given a warning if you move too quickly.
Photo album
Great shots that make it into our image gallery
3 Trim or clone out errors
If you end up with jagged black areas
at the top and bottom of your panorama
and you can’t retake, you’ll either have to
crop them out or, if you’re up to it, use a
tool like Pixelmator for iOS to clone it out.
Keld, Yorkshire Dales
Photos and Snapseed on iPad were
used by Kris Watson to spruce up this
iPhone 5 shot of some Yorkshire ruins.
The Beach, Brighton
Andrew Cameron’s iPhone 6 shot of a winter sunset is gorgeous. @macformat
MAY 2016 | MACFORMAT | 113
Classic Apple kit given a unique makeover
Far Left: The Retro keyboard
features the same rainbowcoloured logo as the rest of the
nostalgic ColorWare range.
Left: The keyboard and mouse
come as a bundle and share a
memorable putty colouring.
The Retro iMac
The iMac goes all Macintosh with this retro paint job
We love retro makeovers here at MacFormat and we swooned over ColorWare’s reinvention
of the iPhone 6s last year, made up to look like a classic Macintosh with its beige casing and
rainbow Apple logo. Well, now it’s the turn of the iMac, and wow, you’ll really want to own
one of these – there’s only 25 being made though, so hurry! Okay, so at $3,799 it’s not your
most affordable 5K iMac, but hey, who cares? This is a serious bit of retro Apple indulgence.
ColorWare has brought back the Macintosh theme with this 27-inch iMac Retina 5K, not
to mention the retro wireless Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2. The peripherals include
a rainbow ‘Retro’ logo along with that memorable putty colouring that somehow still
manages to look fresh today. The keyboard and mouse are available as a separate
bundle for $399, but the production run is a strictly limited edition of 100. Interested?
$3,799 (about £2,680) WEBSITE DIMENSIONS 51.6x65x20.3cm
MACFORMAT #300 ON SALE Tuesday 10 May 2016
114 | MACFORMAT | MAY 2016 @macformat
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