My iOS 13 setup

I’ve been on and off the betas almost weekly but after my iPhone getting ridiculously hot again on the latest beta I gave up. I’m back on iOS 13 and plan to stay that way until iOS 14 is officially released. Home screen widgets are good but not enough for me at the moment to run unstable software, especially with the current job hunting.

Here’s my apps on my first page, I won’t share the others as they are just dumped anywhere.

  • OmniFocus, yes I’m here again and already feeling more organised. I like the app layout and customisation options.
  • Moderation, a simple way to track my eating habits as I try to lose 14lbs.
  • DayCount, to help me track my habits and keep streaks of how long I’ve owned certain things. If you’re interested I can do a video or post on this one.

I don’t think anything else is new.

Here’s my widget view. I’ve really gotten into Siri App Suggestions one these days as a quick way to launch apps.

Wallpaper is courtesy of Chris Lawley.

Can you run macOS Big Sur with 8GB RAM?

I’m currently running with two different MAC setups in our house a late 2015 5k iMac and a 2016 MacBook, both have 8GB RAM. I’ve also been doing a lot with photos lately and been running into memory limitations and slow performance using the app to manage a large library (>30,000 photos). This already had me thinking about moving the iMac to 16GB RAM but with the impending Big Sur update I’ve done a little testing to see what it runs like on 8GB RAM and the MacBook to see it it’ll be a required upgrade before the software comes to us in November (my best guess).

I’ve had Big Sur running on the MacBook that has a 1.1 Core M3 processor and 8GB RAM and whilst I’m surprised that it doesn’t run much slower than the current latest Catalina build (10.15.6) I am seeing lag in using Photos, Notes and Mail that has me thinking that the UI changes are heavier on the CPU and GPU than before. Given my iMac is much more powerful than this little MacBook it gives me some confidence it’ll run but with the UI changing all over the place I’m hesitant to upgrade any of my setups software wise. It does seem to be more graphics intensive than Catalina so the graphics card will have a big say in this but adding more memory will mean that with multiple applications in use and photo sync in the background the experience will be a lot nicer.

Unfortunately I don’t have a choice with the MacBook as I can’t upgrade it but anything where you can add RAM I’d recommend adding some and making sure you have at least 16GB RAM to run Big Sur.

With this in mind I’ll be ordering more memory for my iMac before release to make sure I am getting the best performance I can in day to day use, especially in these times of more working from home.

Saving money on your technology

I’m really needing to watch my finances now and it’s so easy to forget about or not frequently review your monthly outgoings when it comes to technology if you’re anything like me. When I knew exactly what I’d be having coming in each month I was a bit too relaxed about but in these current times I’ve done a review and saved quite a bit just by looking at my tech.

Your phone call plan

I’d been paying £25 a month for unlimited data and calls etc but when I looked at my usage I’m only around 5GB a month. I managed to switch to an 8GB a month plan for £9! Saving me over £15 a month. Have a good think about your actual usage and see if there’s a better deal out there.

App and cloud subscriptions

This is where I was spending the most. I’ve recently switched over to Google services more and more so this had potential. I’d been paying for lots of apps and have cancelled everything apart from Todoist, which I paid yearly for and have it running for a couple more months.

I moved all of my photos from iCloud to the Google Photos free storage option. This is fine as you get 16GB per image and 1080p for video. I’m not planning on printing anything large or publish any video. This has removed the need for a £6.99 a month iCloud plan and dropped it to 0.79p, nice saving there of over £6.

I’m not currently in a position to support any membership schemes currently.

Music

I’ve cancelled Apple Music as this was £14.99 a month. I’m still deciding what to do but I think I’ll most probably play my Music I’ve bought via the music app and use free Spotify. I’ll have to see how this one pans out when my subscription runs out. There’s also Google Music but I have no idea what’s the current state of play with that service, something to add to my to do list.

TV

I cancelled Apple TV+ already, nothing on there for me and wanted to make sure I didn’t get charged.

Netflix was cancelled ages ago and don’t really miss it.

Prime also cancelled and don’t miss it.

Disney+ has been paid up front for the year but with my love of Star Wars and the upcoming Obi Wan series this’ll continue. I’m excited for all of the Marvel and Star Wars content coming more than the films so will be a must.

NOWTV has been cancelled. This one was £33 a month to watch my favourite sport – Formula 1. In the UK we don’t have many options thanks to SKY but I’ll have to go back to BBC Radio coverage and highlights on C4.

Gear

As of now I’ve got two things on my shopping list, a Nest WiFi and Pixel 4a and I’m not sure if I’ll order depending on how my finances are looking. As I’m getting older I’m getting less interested in getting the latest and greatest. I won’t be dropping £1000 on an iPhone 12 or whatever it turns out to be this year. I have problems with Apples current bullying tactics and to be honest no phone is worth that. I’m more interested in the mid range as there’s a lot to take a look at. My plan here is to not go iOS this year and to pick up a Pixel or Android phone of some sort so I can gain some more perspective into a different ecosystem. I also think it’ll give me something different to write about.

I’m glad I bought a 2020 iPad Pro before my job situation changed, I’m all sorted on that front.

My current Apple Watch is a Series 2 and hardly use it so that’s not a concern for me.

What tips do you have around your tech savings?

An iPhone home screen with purpose

2020 continues to throw stuff at us and for me another one that’s coming my way is losing my day job and starting to job hunt. With this comes more stress and apps to help with both my physical and mental wellbeing. I’ve realised that looking at my home screen now it’s a reflection of purpose and how I’m feeling. I’ve also adjusted my budget and you won’t find many subscriptions anymore.

  • Sticking with stock Calendar app, it’s free and does the job
  • Photos, I’m paying £6.99 a month for iCloud so I’m keeping my images there for now
  • FaceTime, I do more FaceTime calls than ever
  • Mail, free and does the job
  • Notes, as above
  • Activity, I have strapped my Apple Watch on in a bid to help me lose some weight and get more active
  • WorryTree, Moodpath and Calm are all about mental health and keeping myself in check
  • DayOne to journal my day, not paying a subscription. Keep it all local.
  • Slack, Tweetbot and Apollo to help me keep in touch with friends and info relevant to me (I don’t check the mainstream news)
  • Overcast, whilst I’ve trimmed down my podcasts I do still have it on there when I’m travelling in the car (obviously doesn’t happen much at the moment)
  • Music, cancelled my Apple Music subscription and just listen to the music I already own
  • Halide, darkroom for photography
  • WordPress, I’m sticking to blogging
  • Moderation to keep a simple track of if I’m eating health or not
  • Reeder for RSS
  • LinkedIn for my job searching

How’s your home screen? Does it match your current mood?

Lost trust in (and deleting) Apple Reminders

I’ve been switching to do apps a lot whilst testing iOS 14 (I’m back on iOS 13 BTW) and I’ve finally decided to dump Apple Reminders – why?, we have trust issues.

You’re lying to me

You can see from this screenshot it doesn’t have a clue, no items in my database but it’s reporting 3. I rely on counts to see the number of items I have to do on a given day, this is fundamental and it hasn’t been working consistently.

Pushing iCloud

iCloud is something for me that look to work but as soon as you push it a bit it breaks or shows it’s weakness. I’ve been creating and deleting items since testing and I’m finding that repeating reminders that I deleted don’t appear in the app anymore still come through on their due date. I’ve had to just keep deleting them when they come back. My remedy to this is to delete the Reminders app and pretend they don’t exist, which doesn’t work if you wear an Apple Watch occasionally like me.

Out of sync

Across my iOS devices it’s ok, macOS shows items and my watch is months out of date. So all of my devices (apart from iPad/iPhone) don’t match up.

So ultimately I’ve deleted Reminders everywhere I can and I’m now testing Things 3.

Remember, iOS 14 is still beta

The betas have moved to weekly and beta 5 was great but (for me) beta 6 has been less than stellar. My iPhone 11 Pro is constantly overheating, widgets aren’t working, apps can’t be removed from the Home Screen and it’s a reminder we are still in beta. Please have a think before you go all in, for me all my data is in the cloud so moving between versions is pretty straightforward for me.

A Pixel 4a running iOS

The more I see the Google Pixel 4a the more I look over in envy. As much as I like the camera on my iPhone 11 Pro I hate the size and construction. Two of my favourite iPhones were the 5c and 7 in jet black, both either made of plastic or felt like it. I hate cases but even though I resist using one it feels like I almost drop this one weekly.

Thinking about my dream iPhone it would be the 7 in jet black with modern cameras. Actually if the SE 2020 had the 2x zoom it would be my phone of choice at the moment.

That got me thinking about how great the Pixel 4a (my current hardware want) running iOS 14 (my current favourite mobile OS) would be. It’ll obviously never happen but it’s a fun thought experiment. When I owned a 3a I loved the hardware but couldn’t get on with using Android on a daily basis. Plastic hardware and back mounted finger print sensor it was a joy to use everyday and reminded me a lot of the 5C.

So this is a ramble but just wanted to share my thoughts on what I’d love to be using as my daily phone

Using Google apps on the iPhone

I’m really experimenting with my setup at the moment and with me losing some faith in iCloud I’m making use of the Google Drive space I got for free to help me save some money. Now I’m in a different position work and money wise I’m really looking at using free services and Apple services are suddenly looking out of my budget for the time being. I think I got a free 10 GB with helping maps or something but either way I’ve got 15 GB to use.

The apps seem good so far and unlike the Microsoft ones I tested I could log in on the first try.

The plan is to put my photos into Google Photos via my Mac then start to let my iPhone upload.

Sheets and Keep are good Pages and Notes replacements for my use.

The Google Calendar widget is why I use that app.

Hangouts is where I chat to all my Android friends.

Todoist is on its way out as a way to reduce my subscription costs.

Why I stopped trusting iCloud

iCloud i thought had been reliable just letting it work away in the background but when I started to look at clearing down my data to reduce my plan I rediscovered some of the old trust issues I used to have with it.

Photos

A big part of my storage is photos. I started there and using Photos on the Mac I started to go through and remove ones I didn’t want to keep. I reduced it by 20,000 in the end but when I did I found

  • Duplicates
  • An altered non ordered timeline

Files

This is biggest issue for me and the main reason for this post. Reviewing the Files app and iCloud Drive it doesn’t hang together.

Day One is showing as 23.2GB but when I look at the data.

It’s 1.2 GB. This is a big chunk I can claim back but I can’t. Even when saving this backup off and deleting data it doesn’t do anything.

Here’s another one where GarageBand is 700 MB but you drill in and there are no files whatsoever.

I just want it to be like an external drive I access.

Alternatives

The only real alternative is Google Drive for me so I’m going to give it a test. It’s also cheaper for the 200GB plan so I’ll keep you updated on my progress.