Simply Mac Blog
Sep 201430

3rd Party Keyboards for your iPhone or iPad on iOS 8

by Shane Roberts

It’s been a long time coming, but finally 3rd party keyboards are available for iPhone and iPad. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the idea of 3rd party keyboards, basically they allow you to type differently, or input different content. The keyboards are available on the App Store, some are free, some cost a dollar or so, and here are some that I’ve used thus far that are worth checking out.


Swype is one of the original 3rd party keyboards that has been available on other phones for a while. Conceptually, it’s rather straightforward. All you do to type is swipe from letter to letter to create the word you’re typing, and Swype recognizes which word you’re typing and enters it for you. Swype works really well, and is rather simple to use with a little bit of a learning curve. The cool thing with Swype, is that you can easily add words to its dictionary, if it doesn’t recognize whatever it is you’re trying to type. Swype is also more customizable with different skins that can be applied to the keyboard, and more to come. Swype has a couple bugs right now, but is a very good keyboard.

Swype is 99¢ and is a great option to consider. Check it out on the App Store by clicking here.


SwiftKey is a great 3rd party keyboard and is similar to Swype. You type the same way, but there are some minor differences with how it works. SwiftKey has a bit of a better predictive suggestion ability than Swype, in my opinion, but it’s not as customizable with just a couple keyboard themes. SwiftKey is much more of a straight forward ‘swipe to type’ keyboard, but it works very well. SwiftKey also employs something called ‘SwiftKey Cloud,’ which will basically let you take whatever settings, habits, whatever, from device to device as long as you’re logged in. Additional features will be coming to SwiftKey, just like Swype, in the coming weeks and months.

SwiftKey is FREE and is a great keyboard. Click here to see it in the App Store.

Riffsy GIF Keyboard

Who doesn’t love to send a good GIF to convey feelings or to make someone laugh. Well, Riffsy GIF keyboard is something you need to add to your keyboard options. Check out this video explaining it…

GIF Keyboard is also FREE and is a must have for people that love to share GIF’s. Click here to see the keyboard on the App Store.

There are other 3rd party keyboards on the App Store, go check them all out, because there are some with different colors, sizes, abilities, etc. All these keyboards work on both iPhone and iPad, all you need is iOS 8.

Sep 201426

Why VoLTE is amazing

by Shane Roberts

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is one of the best new technologies out there right now. Some providers will call it HD voice calling instead of VoLTE, but if you make a lot of phone calls, it’s great.

VoLTE is essentially VoIP (voice over internet protocol), which helps give you better sounding audio calls. If you’ve ever been on a FaceTime audio call, VoLTE calls sound a lot like those, which are clearer overall. When you first hear a VoLTE or FaceTime audio call, it is strange, because you’re used to the distortion that we’ve all come to know with regular phone calls.

The key with VoLTE is that it has to be supported by your cellular provider, so contact  your provider for availability. The feature also needs turned on within the settings of your iPhone. To do that just go into the Cellular section of your Settings app, and you’ll see this:


Where you see ‘Enable LTE,’ make sure you have that flipped to Voice & Data, and that’s it, VoLTE is active at that point! Again, make sure your provider does it, and turn LTE voice & data on in you iPhone. Also, in order for VoLTE to work, both phones need to VoLTE connected phones.

If you can’t do VoLTE just yet, make a FaceTime audio call to someone, and that is what it will sound like – pretty cool, huh?

Sep 201423

Ready to make the switch from Android to iOS?

by Shane Roberts

Now that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are available, maybe some of you with Android out there are starting to get the itch to switch to iPhone and iOS. Maybe the only thing holding you back is moving your content from one platform to another, well, Apple has a handy site now available to help you do just that.

Apple gives suggestions on how to move the following content to your new iPhone, if you decide to switch:

Mail, Contacts, and Calendars 
Photos and videos
Books and PDFs

Most of the process is rather simple and straight forward. With select media, like photos, videos and music, you’ll have to have an Android app on your computer to help you, but nothing too difficult.

To check out all the suggestions and steps on how to move content from an Android to an iPhone, click here!

Sep 201422

Record videos at 60FPS on your iPhone 6

by Shane Roberts

One of the best new additions to the iPhone 6 is the new capabilities in the camera. One of the new features of the camera is the ability to record video at 60 frames per second, but this feature is turned off by default. If you’d like to record at 60 FPS, here’s how you turn it on…

First, go into your Settings app and scroll down to the Photos & Camera section. Once you’re in there, scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see a section that says ‘Camera;’ within that is the on/off slider for the 60 FPS, just slide it on – and that’s it!


Now you can get a smoother looking recording when you record! The videos will likely take more memory, so keep your eye on that.

Sep 201418

iPhone 6 Launches Tomorrow!

by Shane Roberts

Since Monday, we have been highlighting some of the best new features that are coming with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Yesterday, we covered the new updated wireless technology within the devices. Tuesday, we covered what is under the hood of the new phones, including the processor.  On Monday, we covered the new display’s that will be coming with both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.   Today, we are going to cover one of Apple’s newest services, that will debut on iPhone 6.

Apple Pay

Now this feature doesn’t come out until October, but it will be a major addition to iPhone 6. Apple Pay is designed to eliminate the need to carry a wallet around with you. Here’s a description of Apple Pay, straight from Apple:

Apple Pay will change how you pay with breakthrough contactless payment technology and unique security features built right into the devices you have with you every day. So you can use your iPhone 6 to pay in an easy, secure, and private way.

So how does Apple Pay work? First, Apple has installed NFC (Near Field Communication) into iPhone 6, that allows you to hold your phone near a NFC reader to communicate. When you want to pay with Apple Pay, just move your phone close to the reader, and that’s basically step one.

Once you move your phone close to the reader, place your finger on the Touch ID sensor to authorize payment. Touch ID, of course, scans your finger to authorize whatever it is you are doing, securely. Once you feel the phone vibrate, that lets you know the transaction is complete!

That’s it, hold your phone close to a reader, use Touch ID, wait for the vibrate, and you’re done!

Apple Pay also works in apps from participating retailers. For example, when you go to pay for the item, you’ll have the traditional options you’re used to, but you will also be given Apple Pay as an option. Once you tap Apple Pay, you’ll be asked to authorize the transaction through Touch ID, and you’re done! Paying for items doesn’t get much easier!

To setup a card with Apple Pay, you can use the iSight camera on your iPhone 6 and scan the card into your Passbook app, where all of your cards will be saved. The participating credit cards and banks that are participating with Apple Pay are:

Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo. Apple says many more are coming soon. There are also over 220,000 locations that will be accepting Apple Pay, like McDonalds, Subway, Walgreens and more.

Apple Pay is also very secure. Your credit card number is not stored on the phone or with Apple, so if you were to lose your phone you wouldn’t have to cancel any cards, plus you can use Find My iPhone to lock everything down.

The new form of payment will change how people pay for things forever. The only down side is that it won’t be available until an update in October. Apple Pay will be available on iOS 8, only on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Sep 201417

2 Days until iPhone 6 launch!

by Shane Roberts

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 2.56.16 PM

We are now only two days away from the launch of the largest iPhone’s in history, literally and figuratively. Over the past couple of days we’ve been highlighting some of the best features in the new iPhone. Yesterday, we highlighted what is under the hood of the new iPhone 6, and the day prior it was all about the display’s. Today, we are going to touch on some other updated technology coming in the phones…

The cellular and wireless

Obviously, with iPhone, or any wireless device, it’s all about speed and efficiency when you use the device. Apple has helped your internet viewing pleasure by speeding up the iPhone 6’s internet speed capabilities. First, Apple updated the LTE chip in iPhone 6. Now, iPhone 6 can get speeds up to 150 Mbps, when the iPhone 5s would get upwards of about 100 Mbps. With this faster LTE chip, Apple has also added VoLTE – Voice over LTE. VoLTE is a very cool technology, and it has to be supported by your cellular provider before it works. VoLTE is a higher quality voice call that allows the calls to go out over the LTE signal. Some providers call it HD Voice Calling. With VoLTE voice calls are much clearer, very similar to FaceTime Audio calls, if you’ve ever experience one of those. Check your local provider for more on VoLTE availability.

Apple has also added a better WiFi chip to iPhone 6 with an 802.11ac wireless chip. 802.11ac is up to 3x faster than the WiFi on iPhone 5s. Early reviews of iPhone 6 have confirmed that wireless speed has improved, even if your wireless router isn’t 802.11ac. Apple has also added WiFi calling as well, again depending on if your provider participates. Here’s how Apple describes WiFi calling:

iPhone 6 lets you initiate calls over Wi‑Fi using your own phone number. Which helps when you don’t have a good cellular signal. And once you go out of range of your Wi‑Fi connection, your call can seamlessly transition to VoLTE. So when you’re going from your house to your car to your office, your call switches over without any interruption. 

Once again, check with your provider on availability.

Increased reliability and speed is crucial when it comes to these new devices, and these new wireless capabilities will help make the new iPhone the fastest most efficient phone available – if not already.

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