Getting voice memos off an iPhone

If you are having problems losing the will to live transferring voice memos saved on your iPhone using iTunes in iOS10, I would suggest you give up following tutorials and fiddling with the sync settings and just get a program called iMazing – you plug the phone in, go to Voice Memos, shade the ones you want, click Export, and choose a directory you want to save them in. (They remain on the phone.)

(There’s a free trial and you can either buy it directly – £35, or it’s in the new SetApp monthly maOS app subscription, which is $10/month but is also in a free-beta period until the end of January 2017.)

Blocking spam text messages on iOS 10

I’m blogging this because the user interface in different parts of iOS isn’t consistent so it’s not immediately obvious how to do it.

Supposing you receive a spam/unwanted text from a particular number (a full number or shortcode, doesn’t matter.)

– open Messages and view the conversation
– Click the (i) symbol in top right corner
– Click phone number on following screen (not the icons, to the left of the screen where the actual number is, you may not think it’s clickable but it is)
– The next screen will have a Block this caller link at the bottom

This is confusing because there are other ways to bring up a similar screen but without the Block option at the bottom.

Tested in iOS 10.1 and 10.2

iOS 10 tips

Updated Fri 7 Oct 2016 with note about Emergency Bypass

  • Avoiding having to manually click/press the home button to unlock the phone when you are viewing the notifications screen (there isn’t any benefit to this on iPhone 6 or 6s).  Go to: Settings > Accessibility > Home Button > turn on “Rest finger to open”.The caption on the lock screen will still read says “Press home to open”, but you only need rest your finger on the TouchID sensor. Note this option is only available if the device has TouchID – if you don’t have a fingerprint sensor, you must click the (mechanical) button manually.
  • (not new to iOS 10) – if you are fed up of accidentally bringing up the Apply Pay / wallet screen because you clicked the home button twice by mistake when the display was off, go to Settings > Apple Pay and Wallet and turn “Double-Click Home Button” off – with this, double clicks will just wake/unlock the phone instead.
  • There’s a new Emergency Bypass setting in contacts.  You can set it separately for ringtones and texts and it’s described as allowing “sounds and vibrations from this person even when Do Not Disturb is on.”Be aware, however, it means your iPhone will sound for that person regardless of the position of the Ring/Silent switch – this may mean you don’t want to use it after all, if you want to guarantee your device will be silent when the switch is set to silent.

    I opened a bug report about it with Apple who closed the radar and marked it as “behaves as intended.”

Narrowing the cause of the iOS Spotlight bug

Preamble: This isn’t a usable solution.

It does work  100% of the time for me, and it is quick, the trouble is the bug typically reappears so soon afterwards it’s not worth the effort if you have to go through this procedure every time you want to use Spotlight.

Normally, I’d only write about bugs I’ve found how to fix. I’m choosing to write about this one primarily to save you wasting your time on other workarounds that won’t help.

The bug: A common iOS 8/9 problem is that Spotlight search suddenly stops —permanently or intermittently — returning any results.  You type in a query and wait (or press Search) and nothing happens; the screen is completely blank.

This is frustrating because when it does work, Spotlight is an extremely time-saving feature, but when it doesn’t you’ve actually wasted your time.

Old fixes (limited success):

  • Reboot (always works but only for a short time)
  • Send an email to yourself (once worked for me, usually doesn’t)
  • Toggle various (or even all) apps on/off in Settings > General > Spotlight Search (very time consuming – you could easily have over 100 apps installed, no guarantee of success)

New fix (100% success so far):

  • Force close every single app.

i.e. double-press Home button, then move through all your apps, swiping up on each.  It won’t take very long. Faster than restarting. Now try a search and it should work straight away.  Losing the history isn’t a great disadvantage; typically, people will only swipe to the last few apps they’ve opened.

Unfortunately, it only takes opening one or two apps for it to break again.  Sometimes opening tabs in Safari trigger it, and terminating that alone will work, often it’s another app or apps.  Quite hard to guess which in my experience.

Speculation as to cause:

  • The good news is this seems to rule out the possibility  Spotlight’s search index has become corrupted. (I wouldn’t waste your time reinstalling / resetting your device.)
  • It feels like it’s a memory issue.  I’m using this on an iPhone with 1GB of RAM. I’d be very interested if you’re using a more recent phone with increased RAM and have/haven’t seen it.  (Note I’ve never experienced it on an iPad.)

I will file another bug report with Apple but I’m not very optimistic given people started seeing this in iOS 8.

Apple Beta Software enrollment bug fixed

There was a bug where if you wanted to enroll (or possibly just re-enroll) an iPhone into the iOS 9.3 public beta, you’d get as far as Step 2 (Download Profile), and on clicking the blue button the server would hang for 10-15 seconds or so then present you with an error message and an MD5 hash.

They’ve fixed it now. So you can install iOS 9.3 in advance of the Apple event on the 21st (the final version might be the same build — 13E5233a — as the current beta and they might release it on Monday, or they might wait until one week later. Who knows?)  At version 7 it’s looking pretty polished now though.