iOS 8 How-To: Use Siri to search the App Store, iTunes Store and iBooks
Sometimes searching the App Store can be an overwhelming task. You might already know what you want to download, or other times you might get distracted when you open the store and forget why you were there, and typing in what you want to download is old fashioned now. With iOS 8, you can use Siri to search the App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and more for you. It’s all a matter of asking Siri with the right commands.
Press down and hold on the home button for two seconds for Siri to appear.
For example you can say something like, “Search the App Store for sports apps,” and Siri will open up the App Store and bring you to the search results of sports.
You can also say things like, “Download MyFitnessPal,” or “Search for The Beatles in iTunes,” and Siri will open up the App Store to MyFitnessPal, or Siri will open up iTunes and search for The Beatles. The same commands for search, or even downloading, work on the iBook Store for finding books to read and add to your iOS device. For more examples like this, hold down your home button and activate Siri, then tap the “?” icon on the bottom left corner to see what else Siri can do.
How to Show a Paper Tape in Calculator App for Mac
If you find yourself adding up many numbers or just performing a continuous string of math that is critical to keep track of, you should know that the Mac Calculator app includes a paper tape feature. For those who aren’t familiar, a paper tape keeps a running trail of each item entered into a calculator, making it easy to follow and audit anything in the calculation. Obviously useful for many occasions, the deceptively simple Calculator app in OS X includes this ability, and you can also save and print the generated number tape if desired.
There’s not much complexity to using this handy Calculator feature, but it’s so useful that you’ll wonder how you functioned without it, and if you’ve been relying on the Spotlight Calculator you should make the switch to this.
- Open Calculator app from /Applications/
- Pull down the “Window” menu and choose “Show Paper Tape” (or hit Command+T)
- Perform calculations as usual, the paper tape will now keep track of each number entered.
When you complete a set of calculations that you want to keep a record of or save for whatever reason, you can then choose to print the paper tape, or save the paper tape as a file.
Silence an annoying group thread in Messages
Want to shush an annoying group thread? Open the message thread, tap Details, then flip the Do Not Disturb switch.
Ever get stuck on a group text-messaging thread that just won’t stop? If you’ve got an iPhone or iPad running iOS 8, there’s an easy way to shush the chatter.
Open the group thread that’s bugging you, tap the Details button in the top corner, scroll down and flip the Do Not Disturb switch.
Ah, the sound of silence.
Working with the Mac’s menu bar
If you don’t care for the way icons are arranged in the menu bar—you want the clock to appear all the way to the left, for example—just hold down the Command key and drag the item in question to a new position. Be careful to not drag it outside the menu bar, however, as doing so can cause it to evaporate. This trick doesn’t work with the Spotlight or Notification menus.
Using the Option Key in the Mac’s Menu Bar
The Option key is helpful when using the Sound menu. When you click on this menu without holding down Option, you find a volume control. But hold down Option and all your audio input and output devices appear. I use this all the time when I want to quickly switch from my desktop speakers—attached, in this case, to an AudioQuest DragonFly USB audio interface—to the headphones jacked into my Focusrite Scarlett audio interface.
You’ll also find the Option key useful with the Wi-Fi menu. Without Option held down you see something like this—a list of local Wi-Fi networks. But if you hold down the Option key and click the menu you learn some important things about your network (some of which I’ve obscured for my protection). You also have easier access to the Wireless Diagnostic app, where you can gather information about how your Wi-Fi network is behaving. The resulting information is dense, but if you’re of a geekish bent you may find it helpful.