Tech

How To Transfer Apple Care to a New Owner

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I am writing this article because there seems to be a lot of confusion about whether it is possible to transfer Apple Care when you sell or give your device to another person. Why do I say there is confusion? Well, when I called up Apple the other day to transfer the almost year of Apple Care that is remaining on my Apple Watch to the person that bought my Apple Watch from me… Apple told me that I wasn’t allowed to do that. I politely explained that I had a very recent Apple Support Article in front of me that says it was possible. I gave him the article number and in a few seconds he apologized for the confusion, acknowledged that he had made a mistake and connected me with someone who could help.

But the story doesn’t end there. The person he connected me with told me that he could absolutely help me transfer Apple Care to someone else, but he said more than likely it wasn’t necessary. The only reason you would need to have Apple Care in your name is if you called up Apple and wanted a partial refund for the Apple Care (i.e. you wanted to cancel it and get your money back for the portion of the plan that hasn’t been used). Otherwise, it is the device itself that is covered with the Apple Care warranty and who calls the device in to make a claim to get the device repaired or replaced doesn’t matter. There were a few other things I learned from this call as well:

  • You can check whether any Apple device has an remaining Apple Care coverage by going to checkcoverage@applecare.com and entering in the serial number of the device (or device identifier).
  • If you still want to transfer Apple Care to the new owner you will need the following information about that person:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Telephone number
    • Email address associated with their Apple ID
  • Also, at any time after you transfer ownership the new owner of that device can make the request themselves (they don’t need you to do it) to have their name put on the Apple Care, but they need the following information in order for Apple to that:
    • The name of the original person on the Apple Care
    • A valid proof of purchase (unless the device was purchased at an Apple Retail Store)
    • The proof of purchase can have financial information like the last 4-digits of the credit card blacked out (Apple just needs the basic receipt)

The Apple Support Article I linked to above has some of the information I explained above but not all of it so don’t rely purely on the Apple Support Article. Hope this helps.

Why I Chose the 12.9” iPad Pro (Again)

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Its hard to believe it has been nearly 3 years since I purchased my 12.9” iPad Pro. Since that day I have used that iPad Pro as my primary computer to do all kinds of things:

  • Write my master’s thesis
  • Household budgeting
  • Paying bills
  • Write in my daily journal
  • Write and publish post to this blog
  • Write and publish articles at GeekDad.com
  • Sheet music reader for playing piano and keyboards
  • My daughter used it as her digital drawing studio until she bought her own iPad earlier this year
  • Provide me entertainment while I travel (and I did a TON of travel this past year)

That last item is what actually got me thinking that maybe, just maybe I would opt for the smaller 10.5” or 11” iPad when the new iPads were announced. In fact, before I watched the event video I was fully prepared to switch to the smaller form factor. But ultimately there were 4 things that kept me with the 12.9” iPad Pro.

Split View

Because I use the iPad Pro as my main computing device, I end up doing a wide variety of tasks and many of those tasks are much easier if I have two apps open side by side in “split view” on the iPad. When you compare the diagonal dimensions of 12.9” and 11” you wouldn’t think there would be a large screen area difference, but there is. With the 12.9” iPad Pro in landscape you essentially get nearly two 9.7” iPads in portrait mode when using the split view feature. When you are doing something tedious and detailed like a budgeting worksheet that extra size makes a huge difference. This wasn’t enough of a reason for me to absolutely stick with the 12.9” form factor but it one of the factors.

The New Smaller Sizes

The new iPad Pros Apple just announced this past week came with a new smaller more compact size because they eliminated the home button and almost totally eliminated the bezels. So you still get the same 12.9” diagonal screen but in a much smaller overall package. In fact, when it came to the 10.5” iPad Apple was able to keep the same physical size of the device but increase the screen size to 11” (that is why we have a new size this year). In the case of the 12.9” iPad Apple was able to decrease the device size down to something that is just slightly smaller than a standard 8.5” x 11” piece of paper. The main reason I was pretty sure I was going to go with the smaller iPad Pro this time around was because of how much I travel for my day job. I spend a lot of time on airplanes and the original 12.9” iPad Pro was pretty unwieldy for a seat back table or your lap while squeezed into one of those tiny airplane seats. But the new smaller footprint of the 12.9” iPad is just smaller enough to make it an easier fit while using on an airplane. My daughter has last year’s 10.5” iPad Pro so I was able to do a comparison between my current 12.9” iPad Pro, her 10.5” iPad Pro (which is the same physical size as the new 11” iPad Pro) and I used an 8.5” x 11” piece of paper as a stand-in for the new 12.9” iPad. As you can see from the photo below the new 12.9” size is a nice balance between the two devices while not sacrificing anything in terms of screen size.

 The very bottom is my current 12.9” iPad Pro, the white sheet of paper is the stand-in for the new 12.9” form factor and on top is last year’s 10.5 iPad Pro (the same size as the new 11” iPad Pro)

The very bottom is my current 12.9” iPad Pro, the white sheet of paper is the stand-in for the new 12.9” form factor and on top is last year’s 10.5 iPad Pro (the same size as the new 11” iPad Pro)

Stability When Typing On My Lap

One of the main ways I use my iPad Pro is while sitting in the living room and using it in my lap with the Smart Keyboard. In this “laptop” mode I rely on the extra width of the keyboard to keep it stable while typing on my lap. I tried typing with my daughter’s 10.5” iPad Pro in my lap and it does work, but you have to really pay attention and keep it centered on your lap in order to maintain stability.

Sheet Music Reader

The final nail in the coffin for going to the smaller 11” iPad Pro for me was my use of the iPad as a sheet music reader. I’ve talked about this many years ago when I wrote about switching over to using an iPad mini. These days I end up playing from full on sheet music with melody lines instead of just lead sheets and most of the time I am not on a traditional piano which means the iPad screen is farther away from my face than it would be if I were just sitting at a normal piano. Bottom line…I really need the extra screen size with my aging eyes to be able to effectively read sheet music while playing piano and keyboards. So this one use case (combined with the other 3) is really what put me over the edge to staying with the 12.9” iPad Pro.

Apple Watch Series 2 vs Series 3

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If you are in the market for an Apple Watch, whether it is your first Apple Watch or you are just upgrading, you may be asking yourself:

Should I buy a Series 2 or a Series 3 Apple Watch?

Up until a few days ago I would not have been able to give you much advice on that topic. But now that I have upgraded from a Series 2 to a Series 3 I can tell you there are 3 main differences to consider when trying to answer that question.

The 1st Difference: Siri has a voice

All Apple Watches before the Series 3 reduced Siri to a visual text-based interface only. If you raised your wrist and gave Siri a command or asked a question you would need to then look at the screen of your Apple Watch to get confirmation that Siri acted on your command or to get the answer to your question. That all changes with the Series 3 Apple Watch. Now Siri has a voice. At first glance this might not seem like that big of a deal, especially if you have been using an Apple Watch since they first came out. But in practice this a really big deal. One of the biggest advantages of having a computer strapped to your wrist is that you can access it in situations where it is simply not possible to sit in front of a full computer or even pull your iPhone out of your pocket. But in many of those cases it also isn’t possible or practical to look down at the screen of your Apple Watch. This is especially true if you are asking Siri a question. Maybe you are walking down a flight of stairs or across a parking lot and in either of those cases you really shouldn’t be looking down at a tiny screen and trying to read a bunch of text. Siri’s voice pouring out of your Apple Watch really is a great new feature but you don’t realize how handy it is until you have it and use it.

The 2nd Difference: Cellular Connectivity

This may not be a feature you need, but for some this really handy. I like to go outside on walks and runs for exercise and listen to music and be able to use my phone if I run into trouble. Until I bought the Series 3 this meant I needed to take my iPhone with me on my run or walk. Walking isn’t such a bid deal, but if you are running an iPhone in your pocket isn’t feasible and strapping one to your arm is just a pain. Now all I do is pop my AirPods into my ears and head out the door. If I get a phone call or I need to call someone I can do that right from my watch. The cellular feature also means I don’t have to carry an iPhone around in my pocket at work all day. I leave the iPhone in my bag in my office. This is nice in a couple of way in that I don’t have an iPhone in my front pocket (not always attractive especially in dress pants) and it eliminates the temptation to pull my iPhone out and start checking email or news. But since I have cellular data on my watch I still get important texts and phone calls.

The 3rd Difference: Processor Speed

I saved the best for last and that is a faster processor. I can’t stress this enough, the jump in processor speed from the Series 2 to the Series 3 is staggering. There is nothing worse that lifting your wrist to quickly do something only to have to wait on the watch to catch up. With the Series 2 this would happen almost every time I went to start a workout. I was always waiting on the watch to “unfreeze” the interface so I could select a workout to start. This simply doesn’t happen with the Series 3 watch. There is no delay. Double-tapping the side button to quickly switch apps is also lightning fast and fluid with the Series 3 and with the Series 2 it was very sluggish. All of this might not seem like that big of a deal but you don’t realize just how much it bothers you until you realize you weren’t using the watch to its full potential because it just wasn’t enjoyable to use when it did these things. With the Series 3 I am now using my watch more than ever because it works so much more fluidly now.

Better Change Your Twitter Password

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Just in case you have been living under a rock this week, Twitter had a bit of an "ooops" and left a bunch of user passwords unsecured. How did this happen? Twitter uses a technology that keeps Twitter's sysem passwords secure but this past week it was discovered that this system generated an internal log that spit out these passwords in a format that anyone who had access to the system could read them. Most likely there wasn't anyone that accessed this data for nefarious purposes but you never know. So if you use Twitter go ahead and spend a minute or two and change your password.

Read Twitter's official press release about the whole thing here...

Is Workflow For iOS Dead As We know It?

Is Workflow For iOS Dead As We know It?

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Ever since Apple bought the iOS app Workflow in March of 2017 it has lead many of us in the Apple community to speculate about the future of the app. Will Apple continue to update the app or will they spend all of their time integrating the underlying technologies into iOS? This “unknown” future hanging over the Workflow app has driven many people to stop using the app all together. The thinking is...don’t rely on powerful automation features that might go away any day now.

The other side of that argument is that we shouldn’t be ignoring powerful automation when it available to us. The Workflow app is still being updated by the original developers (who I believe are now Apple employees), so why not continue to use Workflow? This was exactly my take on the whole situation, but all that changed this past January.

I attended CES this past January in support of the other blog I write for (GeekDad.com), so I was covering the event as press. One of the things I was doing was publishing a daily article about some of the highlights I saw at CES that day. That meant I needed to take an hour or so out of an already jam-packed day and write and publish an article. The best way for me to do this was to use my iPad Pro. After all, the iPad Pro is my main computing device when I am at home so why wouldn’t I use an iPad at CES?

As I was getting ready to publish my first daily highlights article while at CES and I ran into a bit of a problem. When you publish an article for a website you tend to have to format your images a certain way, both for consistency across the site as well as for compatibility reasons. So as I was formatting the images I wanted to use for the article the app I used to do this editing kept crashing on me. Yup, you guessed it...I was using the Workflow app. Workflow is great to use for this purpose because it can take a photo you have taken with your iPhone, crop it, re-size it, rename it and put it in any location you choose. Except this time when I ran my photo editing worflow in the Workflow app the app would crash. No problem. I figured I must have done something to workflow I had written for this specific task, so maybe I will start from scratch. No luck. Creating a brand new worflow and doing just a basic image edit still resulted in an app crash. So next I downloaded a basic example workflow from the app’s worflow gallery. Surely a workflow that is published as an example in the Workflow app example gallery would work right? Nope. That’s when I knew something was definitely wrong. So I first emailed the developer and then after a day or two of not getting a response I reached out to Apple (after all Apple bought Workflow and the Workflow developers work for Apple now).

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You have to give Apple credit here as they reached out to me right away. They directed me over an Direct Message on Twitter and we continued to communicate:

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So Apple essentially pointed me right back to the Workflow developers. So I emailed them again and heard nothing. I went through the rest of CES without the ability to do what I needed to do to my photos to prep them for publishing. Luckily the people I work with at GeekDad are awesome and they did my photo editing for me while I was at CES.

Finally on Feb 11 (exactly 1-month after my initial email to the developers) one of the Workflow developers emailed me back and said the crash was due to an issue with the “Edit Image” action and that they were working on a fix. It is now March 2nd and the Workflow app has not been updated for 3-months. I took a look at the history of Workflow app updates and the app was updated 3 months ago, 6 months ago, 9 months ago, and 11 months ago. So it looks like they are on about a 4 times a year update cycle. That’s ok for minor bug fixes and feature additions but when you have a major component of your app like the Edit Photo action that not only doesn’t work but actually causes the app to crash you would think they would push out a fix as soon as possible. Nope.

I don’t know what the right answer is as far as whether we as a community of iOS automation users should be using the Workflow app going forward or not. For me personally, I can’t continue to use the app for work critical items anymore. I just can’t. I choose my hardware and software tools very carefully because my time is very constrained. My day job as an engineer is enough to make most people claim that as a full plate, but in addition to that I maintain this blog and I am a core writer for GeekDad.com. So every little bit of my time counts. I like using apps that have a revenue model that supports long-term usage...meaning the developers are making money and I can count on the app being around for a while. Workflow is no longer one of those apps for me. If you publish an example usage of your app in an example gallery that crashes the app and it does this for 3-months you are sending a pretty clear message that maintaining that app is not the priority. I’m sure there will be an update coming very soon for the Workflow app and that it will fix this particular issue. But as we all know Apple tends to cater to the average user. The average iOS user is not a “power user,” so if we as a community of iOS automation users are hoping that Apple is going to take the engine of Workflow and give us powerful built-in automation in the near future I fear we will be disappointed. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Apple will do just that, but with Apple all but abandoning the Automator app on the Mac and getting rid of Sal Soghoin (the Product Manager of automation) I think it is safe to say that the future of automation at Apple is in flux.

Right now I have about 30 custom workflows inside the Workflow app and I will continue to use some of those workflows going forward. But there are several workflows that I rely on to get work done. They are critical to me being productive. The next Workflow app update may fix the Edit Image action but break something else and I can’t afford to lose another 3-months of productivity to that kind of uncertainty. For me the Workflow app is no longer a “go-to” tool. It can’t be because I can no longer trust that it is going to work for me. I will continue to use the app for small automation tasks that are not work critical items, but for important tasks I will be looking elsewhere even if that means a less efficient solution. Because in the end it just has to work.

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