Display Zoom comes to iPhone X, Xs, and 11 Pro in iOS 14

Updated November 1st, 2022.

Many iPhones have a “Display Zoom” setting which enlarges everything on the screen. Not just text, but icons, controls, buttons, everything. It’s really great. That feature, which has been around for years, did not exist on the iPhone X, Xs, or 11 Pro until iOS 14 came out, and there’s a technical reason for that.

The technical reason is interesting, but knowing how to turn on Display Zoom is even more interesting, so we’ll start with that.

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How to use the Back Tap feature in iOS 14

Updated November 1st, 2022.

My favorite new feature in iOS 14 is the Back Tap. The Back Tap lets you trigger an action by double-tapping on the back of the iPhone, and it lets you trigger another action by triple-tapping on the back of the phone. And it works even if your iPhone is in a case, because it’s all about the vibration.

Note: the Back Tap feature requires an iPhone 8 or newer. And it doesn’t work on iPads at all. Sorry about that, Mom.

A double-tap (or triple-tap) can take a screenshot, open the Control Center, raise or lower the volume (or mute it completely). Apple provides several more standard actions that you can choose from.

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2022 College Football schedules for your Mac, iPhone, and iPad calendars

Updated November 1st, 2022.

Note: screenshots are from the 2021 version of this article but all of the links still work for 2022.

These instructions are aimed at people using Apple’s Calendar apps on Macs, iPhones, and iPads but they’ll help you with Google Calendar, Outlook.com, and Office 365 calendars as well.

(You might also like my College Football Bowl Games calendar and my NFL Prime Time Schedule, for Macs, iPhones, and iPads. You also might like my round-up of the best online college football schedules.

I also have the 2022 NBA Playoffs Calendar, updated as games are announced.

Continue reading “2022 College Football schedules for your Mac, iPhone, and iPad calendars”

Celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks on your iPhone and iPad

Updated November 1st, 2022.

It’s the 4th of July, and for Americans like me that means fireworkseven though COVID-19 has canceled almost every live fireworks show. 

Fortunately, you can put on your own pyrotechnics display using the Fireworks Arcade app for your iPhone or iPad. You can get it for free via this link.

Fireworks Arcade for iPhone icon
Fireworks Arcade for iPhone and iPad
Continue reading “Celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks on your iPhone and iPad”

Fantastic special offer on fantastic creative software

Updated November 1st, 2022.

If you do any kind of creative computer work you should know about a company called Affinity. They’ve created three high-quality, powerful, and deep Mac apps: Affinity PublisherAffinity Photo, and Affinity Designer. (Those are Mac App Store links.)

These are fantastic apps and they’re strong competition to Adobe’s InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator, respectively. You can go to the Mac App Store and download these apps for $49.99 each. Not per month, not per year–just $49.99, period. Make a one-time purchase and they’re yours forever. Compare that to Adobe’s $50/month for the Adobe Creative Cloud suite.

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Add airline tickets to your iPhone’s Wallet

Updated April 20th, 2020.

Every iPhone comes with the Wallet app– a really handy app that’s often overlooked. You might think the Wallet is for money and credit cards, which it is, but it’s also for storing tickets to movies, concerts, and airline tickets. It’s all important, but airline tickets are what we’re going to talk about here.

What’s so cool about having airline tickets in the Wallet app?

Airline tickets in the Wallet app have two big advantages over printed plane tickets.

  1. Airline tickets in the Wallet contain everything about your flight: date, time, plane number, and gate– and they update when things change. Paper tickets just sit there, with the old information. If your gate changes, or the departure time changes, or if anything else changes, your tickets in the Wallet will update, so they’re always correct.
  2. Airline tickets in the Wallet magically float to the surface when the time is right and the location is right. That is, when you get to the airport on the day of your flight, a notification appears on the screen, reminding your of your flight… and if you tap it, the ticket shows up, ready to be scanned by TSA and again at the gate. Bonus: the Wallet knows that the scanners work best when your iPhone’s brightness is turned up full blast, so when the Wallet shows your pass it turns up the brightness for you. That way, you won’t be “that guy” holding up the line because he forgot to turn up the brightness.

How to add airline tickets to the Wallet, step by step

This example shows how to add tickets from Southwest Airlines to the Wallet app. Adding tickets from other airlines will be similar but not exactly the same.

First, let’s assume you’ve used the Southwest app on your iPhone to check in for your flight.

(Get the Southwest app at the App Store via the button below.)

App Store button with link to Southwest iPhone app.

Southwest shows you this screen when you’ve checked in. Here we see two flights, and two buttons for boarding passes, because my route is not non-stop. I have to change planes, so I have two boarding passes.

Checked in for my flights in the Southwest app.
Southwest App, showing Boarding pass buttons

If you tap either of those yellow “Boarding pass” buttons you’ll see a pass, as shown below:

Southwest Airlines boarding pass.
Southwest Airlines boarding pass

Sharp-eyed readers will see the white dots at the bottom. They indicate that there are two passes. We can show them by swiping left and right.

Technically we could use this boarding pass at the airport, but we want to add it to the Wallet app so we have all of our tickets and passes and gift cards etc. all in one place. So we look for the little “Add to Apple Wallet” button and tap it. It’s right there on the pass. Here’s an enlarged version of what you’re looking for:

Add to Apple Wallet button

After you tap the Add to Apple Wallet button you’ll see this:

Southwest boarding pass, previewed in the Apple Wallet
Southwest boarding pass previewed in the Apple Wallet

What you see there is a preview– the boarding pass isn’t in your Apple Wallet yet. You have to tap the “Add All” button at the top right. (If you only have one pass to add it will say “Add” instead of “Add All.”) So tap it.

You’re done! A notification about your boarding pass will appear automatically when it needs to. Just tap it and up pops the boarding pass.

Notification about a flight

How it looks in the Wallet

You don’t have to do anything else but maybe you want to have a look at your tickets anyway. So, let’s find the Wallet app and open it. The icon looks like this:

The Apple Wallet app icon.
The Apple Wallet app

The Wallet does lots of stuff so you’ll have to scroll past some things…

Apple Wallet app
Apple Wallet app

Scroll down until you see your tickets:

Lots of plane tickets in the Apple Wallet! Sorted chronologically, oldest at the bottom
Lots of plane tickets in the Apple Wallet! Sorted chronologically, oldest at the bottom

Tap a ticket and you can see all about it, like so (flight 935, Los Angeles to San Antonio)…

Boarding Pass in Apple Wallet
Boarding Pass in Apple Wallet

Or flight number 2, Phoenix to San Antonio The gate number for my connecting flight is right there on the pass, so when I arrive in Phoenix I don’t have to look around for a video screen with a listing of departing flights and gates. I’ll already know where to go.

Phoenix to Los Angeles
Phoenix to San Antonio, Gate C4

Odds and Ends

  • If you tap a pass that’s expired the bar code will be grey and you’ll see the words “This pass has expired.”
  • If you want to clean things up there’s an Edit Passes button at the very bottom of the list of passes.
  • The Wallet can hold gift cards, credit cards (for use with Apple Pay), evite invitations, Starbucks cards, movie tickets, membership cards, sporting event tickets– almost anything that can go in a real wallet can be stored in the Apple Wallet.

Next time you get tickets for anything online, look for an opportunity to “Add to Wallet.” Once you’ve gotten familiar with it you’ll see the value and really come to appreciate it.

XFL Schedule for iPhone, iPad, and Mac Calendar apps

Updated April 20th, 2020.

I made an iCal-format 2020 XFL Schedule which you can add to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac with just a couple of clicks. Click here to get it. The calendar works with Google calendar also (see below). Includes teams, times, TV station, and stadiums. Updated with scores as the games are played.

The listings for the games have little football icons in front, as shown below, so you can quickly pick out the football stuff from amongst your other appointments.

XFL Calendar on iPhone 8 Plus, in Apple's Calendar app

Here’s how it looks on a Mac, macOS 10.14.6:

XFL Calendar on Mac Calendar app.
XFL Calendar on a Mac, in the Apple Calendar app (month view)

Pretty handy to have the games integrated with your regular Calendar app (in their own calendar/category of course). You don’t have to do anything to get the updates– they’ll come in automatically. See the info below about how to properly subscribe to the calendar.

Assuming the XFL has a second season (I hope!), your subscription to the XFL calendar will automatically update with the 2021 season’s games

How to add the XFL calendar to your Google calendar

Just right-click this link and copy it, go to Google Calendar (that is, use a web browser to go to gmail.com, sign in if necessary, then go to the Calendar section), and click the stack of three dots to the right of “Add calendar.” Choose the option to “Add from URL.” Paste in what you copied and you’re all set.

Adding a calendar to Google Calendar, via URL
XFL Calendar on Google Calendar, week view
XFL Calendar on Google Calendar (week view)

Google can be very, very slow to update iCal-type calendars (which is what the XFL calendar is). It’s been this way for years (read all about it, here, and here). This means you may not see the calendar updating as I modify it to show the scores. The only practical solution for you is to unsubscribe from the calendar and then to re-subscribe to it again. Important: you need to add something new to the URL when you resubscribe or else you will get the older version of the calendar, which Google has cached. Just add “?noCache” to the end of the URL. Google Calendar will see this and pull in the new info, and you will be all set. Contact me if you need help, or read this excellent article by Andrew Martin.

More Info

On iPhones and iPads and Macs, if you’re asked where to import the calendar, choose “New Calendar.” (You probably won’t be asked. When things go right, the calendar is named “XFL” automatically and it’s completely separate from your other calendars.) When you’re asked whether you want to subscribe to the calendar, the answer is YES, you want to subscribe. That way you get updates when I change something. Also, if you subscribe you will get updates next year, and the next year, and so on. Subscribing is free, and you don’t have to give me your email address or anything like that. And of course you can unsubscribe if you want. It would be cool if you shared the calendar on your various social media platforms.

Here’s how it looks if you subscribe using your iPhone. Two steps after you click the link.

Step 1 of subscribing to the XFL calendar on iOS.
Click “Subscribe.”
Step 2 of subscribing to the XFL calendar on iOS.

Here’s how it will look as you click through subscribing on a Mac.

Step 1 in adding the XFL calendar on a Mac.
Step 1, after clicking the link. Click “Subscribe.”
Step 2 in adding the XFL calendar on a Mac.
Step 2. Just click OK.

It would be smart to set up your calendar like this, if you can. For sure turn on the auto-refresh as information is added to the calendar as the information becomes available.

The calendar is called “XFL” and you can simply uncheck it if you don’t want to see it. Subscribe once and you’re all set, for this year and the next and the next etc. I’m not planning on stopping.

Game times should be correct for your current time zone, unless you’ve done something special in your Date and Time preferences.

I’ll update the calendar with the scores of the games as they happen. You can subscribe to the calendar now and just let me update the source as the info becomes available. Your calendar app will always show the latest info. Click the link, remember to tell it to refresh (recommendation: either daily or hourly), and you’ll have the information at your fingertips. Or at least on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Enjoy.

Note: I made this calendar because I couldn’t find one online. Yes, I could find a web page with the games, but no, I couldn’t find a calendar that I could import into my iPhone’s Calendar app. It’s way better to see the games listed right there with your other Calendar appointments than to be flipping back and forth between the Calendar app and a listing on a web page. I couldn’t find what I wanted elsewhere– so I made it myself.

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