Art of the iPhone

iPhone Tip: EarPods Quit Working? They Are Covered By Your iPhone’s 1-Year Warranty

Apple EarPods

A few weeks ago, the control dongle on my EarPods stopped working. Then, yesterday, the right earbud wouldn’t play any sound, quickly followed by the left. I can’t go without earphones, so I quickly placed an order on for replacements. Then I remembered I’ve had these EarPods for less than a year (they came with my iPhone 5). I wondered, shouldn’t Apple cover these with the iPhone’s warranty? Yes, the EarPods that come with your iPhone are covered by your iPhone’s 1-year warranty, along with everything else in the box. So, I canceled my Amazon order, made an appointment at the Genius Bar at the local Apple Store. Once there, the Apple Genius quickly gave me a new pair of EarPods after taking my iPhone 5’s serial number to confirm the warranty.

Note, however, that your iPhone’s warranty does not cover damage, so if your dog has chewed up your EarPods, you likely won’t get a new pair. But except in those extreme cases, you will get a new pair of EarPods as long as there isn’t any visible damage. For example, I’m pretty sure my EarPods stopped working through some kind of damage I did to them—I’ve gone on long sweaty runs with them on, I shove them in my pocket, and generally use them and abuse them everyday—but since there was no visual damage to the EarPods, the Apple Genius quickly swapped me out a new pair.

What if the EarPods break outside of the iPhone’s 1-year warranty? Well, Amazon often sells them $5 cheaper than Apple does.

The 5 Best Waterproof iPhone Cases…That Float!

While there are many waterproof iPhone cases out there, there are very few that also float when dropped in water. Why a floating iPhone case? Because if you work around deep water or are a kayaker, outdoor sportsman, etc, a floating iPhone case could save you some serious money and a lot of hassles if you drop your iPhone in deep water. Below are several of the best solutions from keeping your iPhone from the bottom of a lake.

1. LifeProof Waterproof Case With LifeJacket

LifeProof LifeJacket Floating iPhone Case

The LifeProof case ($79) for the iPhone is waterproof for up to 6 feet, but to make it float, you’ll also need the LifeJacket ($39.99), a buoyant orange casing that fits around the LifeProof as a second layer and will make the iPhone float. The LifeProof even comes with waterproof headphones that will allow you to listen to music as you swim! (See video examples below). The LifeProof is the best and most popular waterproof/floating iPhone case solution for the iPhone, but at around $120 for the combo, it’s also one of the most expensive.

Helpful links:

Official LifeProof website

LifeProof Waterproof case for iPhone 4/4S at

LifeProof Waterproof case for iPhone 5 at

LifeJacket Floating Case for iPhone 4/4S at

LifeJacket for iPhone 5 at

2. EcoPod by Grace Digital

Eco Pod Waterproof floating iPhone Case

The EcoPod ($49.99) is a waterproof iPhone case what will float as long as it has a standard payload (smartphone) inside. Despite its waterproofing, the EcoPod isn’t the type of case you’ll to expose the iPhone to submersion in water for long periods (ie, you can’t go swimming with this case)–it’s only certified to keep water out at depths of 3 feet and for only 30 minutes. Still, it’s good for most outdoor tasks where briefly dropping the iPhone in water is a risk. The EcoPod comes with waterproof earbuds.

Helpful links:

Official website for EcoPod Waterproof iPhone case

EcoPod iPhone Case at

3. Overboard Waterproof & Buoyant Case


The Overboard ($29) is a clear waterproof pouch that is buoyant (it floats). The Overboard is waterproof up to an impressive depth of 19 feet. Another benefit of the Overboard is that, if you already use a case on your iPhone, you won’t have to remove it to place it in the Overboard—you can use both at the same time (unless the case is extremely bulky). The Overboard has a Pro Sport version that comes with an armband and waterproof headphones. There is even a version for the iPad.

Helpful links:

Overboard for iPhone 5 at

Overboard Pro Sport Case for iPhone 4/4S

4. Chums Camera/iPhone Float

Chum Camera Float

The Chums Camera/iPhone Float ($9.99) isn’t a case, but it a cheap accessory that you can attach to other waterproof cases to make them float. The Chums Float is made of high-density bouyant foam. Because there are way, war more waterproof iPhone cases and pouches that don’t float than do, purchasing the Chums Float along with a cheaper waterproof iPhone case can save you some money over an expensive all-in-one solution, the tradeoff being this combo is more bulky.

Helpful links:

Official website for Chums Camera Float

Chums Camera/iPhone Float at

5. DandyCase Waterproof Case (Requires a Float for Buoyancy)

DandyCase Waterproof for Smartphones

The DandyCase ($29.99) is an affordable waterproof solution that works with just about every smartphone under 5″ in screen size (all current iPhones fit into the case). The DandyCase is a clear pouch that lets your operate the iPhone’s touchscreen through its plastic. You can also take reasonably good photos with the case on. It doesn’t float by itself but does allow you to attach a floating dongle, like the one mentioned above in this article.

Helpful links:

DandyCase at

6. BeachBuoy by Proporta (Requires a Float for Buoyancy)

Beach Buoy case 2

The BeachBuoy by Proporta ($19) is another affordable waterproofing solution that is a see-through pouch. It is waterproof up to 16-foot. The clear plastic allows you to operate the iPhone’s screen through the plastic, so you can still use apps, send text messages, and take pictures with the iPhone’s camera. The BeachBuoy requires you to attach a float dongle to become buoyant (sold separately). You can often find this case cheaper than the $19 retail price on Amazon. And although it says “for iPhone 5,” it works with most smartphones, or any thing you want to waterproof, for that matter.

Helpful Links:

Official website for the BeachBuoy by Proporta

BeachBuoy for iPhone 5 at

The 10 Most Epic iPad Games for 2013 (With Video Examples of Gameplay)

Casual games are a dime a dozen in the App Store, but what about huge epic games with gorgeous graphics and dozens of hours of gameplay? With actual hardware game controllers coming to the iPhone/iPad in iOS 7, you know epic games are going to be in more demand soon. Well, here are the 10 Most Epic Games for the iPad that will soon have you reaching for those game controllers.

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Be sure to check out more of our App Lists for more great app ideas.

10 Best iPad Cooking Apps (for Recipes and Instructions)

One of the best uses for an iPad is for cooking— prop it up anywhere in the kitchen and follow along to the infinite amount of recipes and videos you can find on the Internet. Below are my handpicked 10 Best iPad Apps for Cooking.

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Be sure to check out more of our Art of the iPhone tips.

The 10 Most Useful Features Coming in iOS 7

The upcoming iOS 7 software update is more than just a fresh coat of paint, there are many new useful features that will improve or enhance our lives. Below, I rank 10 new iOS 7 features that I think will be most useful to iPhone owners.

1. Background App Refresh

Facebook iPhone

In iOS 7, apps will now be allowed to periodically refresh (download data) in the background. This will drastically improve user experience for about a bazillion iPhone apps. For example, wouldn’t it be nice to have an updated weather forecast waiting for you when you open the app—do you know how many times I’ve been fooled by an old forecast in the iPhone’s notification center? Facebook, Twitter, and numerous other apps will be all the more pleasant to use when updated info is sitting there waiting for you instead of you waiting for it. The downside to this feature will be higher data usage, but Apple has a plan for that, too (see #9 in this list).

2. Control Center

Control Center in iOS 7

Control Center will let you quickly and easily control commonly used iPhone features like bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc, (see full list below). We will no longer have to laboriously tap-tap-tap down several layers down into the iPhone’s Settings to turn certain features on and off. Control Center gathers them all in one place, accessible with a single swipe upward from the bottom of the screen, anywhere, anytime. The features you’ll have quick access to in Control Center are:

  • Airplane Mode
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Screen Lock
  • Screen Brightness
  • Music/Audio Controls (volume, play, pause, forward, back)
  • AirDrop
  • AirPlay
  • Flashlight
  • Clock
  • Calculator
  • Camera

3. Spotlight Search Available in More Places

Spotlight in iOS 7

If you’re not using Spotlight to launch apps, you’re working harder than you need to. iOS 7 will bring access to Spotlight to any of your home screens—simply swipe down from the middle of the screen to make the Spotlight search field appear. One of iOS’s most used (and useful) features made easier and more accesible? Yes, please!

4. New Siri Commands and Design

Siri Sound Wave

You’ll be able to tell Siri to do even more stuff in iOS 7, chief among them turning various iPhone features on and off like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi—you can even lower or raise screen brightness by voice command. Imagine waking up at night an telling Siri to “turn on the flashlight.” Siri is also getting a new, more useful look. How can “looks” be more useful? Well, how about a soundwave animation that lets you know Siri is listening. Do you know how many times I’ve talked to Siri only to discover she’s been ignoring me? No longer a problem thanks to the new visual feedback. Siri will also show search results from Wikipedia, Bing, and even Twitter on the same screen, meaning, without kicking you out into another app.

5. New Multitask Switcher

Multitasking iOS 7

iOS7’s new app switcher displays a screenshot of the last state the app was in when you left it, which means you can scan through info displayed by apps more efficiently, which translates into more efficient multitasking. You’ll also be able to force quit apps by just swiping upward in the switcher view. No more waiting for the jiggle, then tapping the small x.

6. Unified Search & Address Bar in Safari

Safari Unified Search Bar in IOS 7

Safari will get a unified search/address bar in iOS 7, meaning no more separate fields to enter URLs and Google searches, both go in the same place. If you already use this in your desktop browser, you’ll know how convenient and simple this subtle but powerful tweak is.

7. iRadio


iRadio may already exist in the form of apps like Pandora, but you can be sure that iRadio will have some benefits over its competitors thanks to being built into the iPhone; for example, like being able to tell Siri to launch a radio station. Another cool feature of iRadio is that you’ll be able to tweak the song mix toward more popular hits or toward discovery of lesser known songs. The “Trending on Twitter” station will also help with music discovery. iRadio will start off with around 200+ preset stations to choose from in addition to the ability to create stations based on artists and songs you like.

8. AirDrop

Airdrop iOS 7

AirDrop will allow for file sharing between iPhones, without the need for a wireless network, meaning you don’t need a Wi-Fi router between you and the other device you’re sharing with. AirDrop will connect directly to another iPhone (or iPad or Mac) using a direct adhoc Wi-Fi connection. I not sure how much use I’ll get out of AirDrop personally, but I know developers will get creative with the functionality—maybe game developers will let you share items like weapons or heroes via AirDrop to add a in-person social element.

9. Per-App Data-Usage Tracking and Control

Per App Cellular Data Usage

In the land of superfast LTE connections, it’s easy to burn through your monthly data allotment, especially if you are a YouTube junkie like me. This new iOS 7 feature will let you find out which apps are burning up your monthly data and even turn off data flow to those apps. Because Apple is letting apps automatically refresh data in the background in iOS 7, per-app data control will be more important than ever.

10. Activation Lock

iOS 7 Activation Lock

Activation Lock will make iPhones less of a target for thieves and thus much safer for everyone to use in a sort of a passive way, simply by making it more difficult for a stranger to make use of a lost or stolen iPhone. Currently, stealing an iPhone is an easy $200-$400 for a thief—all it takes is a reset to factory settings in order for an iPhone to be resold and used by someone else. The new Activation Lock feature will prevent this by requiring the correct Apple ID and password for an iPhone to be reactivated—even if it’s been reset.

Tip: The Quickest Way to Take an iPhone Photo, From Your Pocket to Snapping a Picture

If you want to capture a fleeting moment with your iPhone’s camera, there is actually a way to do it in just a few seconds. You will not need to unlock your phone, enter in a passcode, etc. Just one quick swipe, a press of a button, and you’ve snapped a photo. If you practice it, you can actually get quite fast. Here’s how.

1. Press the home button once to wake the iPhone’s screen:

Press home button to wake screen

2. Slide your finger upward from the camera icon in the bottom right:

Slide up from camera icon

3. As you grip the iPhone in your palm to steady it, press either volume button with your pointer finger to snap a photo:

iPhone 5 volume buttons and camera app

And that’s it, you’ve snapped a photo. This method takes me around 3 seconds to snap a photo from home button press to photo capture. Of course, if the iPhone is buried in your pocket/purse, that can add a few more seconds.

It may also take a moment for the iPhone to autofocus on an object. To help the iPhone’s camera focus on the desired object, tap the area of the screen where the object is displayed. This tells the iPhone where to focus.

Be sure to check out more our Art of the iPhone Tips.

8 iPad Apps That Stream Free Full Episodes of TV Shows (Part 2)


Below is a list of 8 apps that deliver free, full episodes from TV networks in the US (make sure to check out Part 1 here). Most of the apps below deliver only a few episodes of a handful of shows from a specific network—thus, the apps aren’t replacements for watching your favorite shows on cable TV or over-the-air television. But they may be good for discovering new shows or watching the latest of your favorites. And hey, they’re free, so no complaining.

1. CBS

CBS iPad app screenshot

The CBS app (free) is one of the best iPad TV apps because it offers a lot of free content from some of its best shows; in fact, there is a least one episode for just about all of their shows. And yes, there are full episodes, with commercials interspersed throughout. Shows currently streaming as of this writing are:

  • The Amazing Race
  • Survivor
  • NCIS
  • Elementary
  • David Letterman
  • The Good Wife
  • Rules of Engagement
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • And more…

2. History Channel

History Channel app

The History Channel (free) is another app with a ton of content inside. The History Channel may not feature much actual history anymore, but its shows are still pretty entertaining. As of this writing, there are 59 episodes of Axe Man available in the app (wow!). Other shows don’t feature quite so many, but most offer 4-6 episodes for streaming inside the app. Other shows with full episodes currently available in the app are:

  • Vikings
  • Pawn Stars
  • American Restoration
  • Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy
  • Counting Cars
  • Swamp People
  • American Pickers

3. A&E

A and E iPad App

A&E (free) also offers several shows with free full episodes. Storage Wars, for example, features 12 full episodes for your viewing pleasure (as of this writing—it could change week to week). Other shows with full episodes available inside the app are:

  • Bates Hotel
  • American Hogger
  • Duck Dynasty
  • Hoarders
  • Intervention

4. LifeTime

LifeTime iPad App

LifeTime (free) has a good amount of free episodes available, but it varies from show to show. For example, Client List only features the latest episode, but The New Adventures of Old Christine has 5 full episodes available for streaming. There are also a few Lifetime made-for-TV movies available to watch in the app. Shows offering free full episodes are:

  • Preacher’s Daughters
  • Project Runners
  • Dance Moms
  • How I Met Your Mother

5. Discovery Channel

Discovery Channel HD app

Discovery Channel HD (free) offers only a few free episodes in the app. There are tons of video clips from shows, but few episodes. In fact, there are currently only 5 free episodes total from the following three shows:

  • Pot Cops
  • Bering Sea Gold
  • Weed Country

6. TLC

TLC iPad app

TLC (free) has tons of clips from popular shows like Honey Boo Boo, but sadly there is currently only 1 free full episode in the app, and it’s from the show Welcome to Myrtle Manor. Of course, many of these apps add and remove content periodically, so perhaps this is just a dry spell, but as of this writing, there’s very little full-episode content in the TLC app.

7. Animal Planet

Animal Planet for iPad

Animal Planet (free) currently offers full episodes from 3 different shows. My Cat From Hell even has 6 episodes available to watch. All available shows (as of this writing) are shown below.

  • My Cat From Hell
  • North Woods Law
  • Gator Boys

8. Adult Swim

Adult Swim

Adult Swim (free) offers a mix of free full episodes and “gold” content which is only available by signing in via your cable provider. The good news is that there is a ton of free episodes available for streaming in the app. Shows currently available for streaming in the app are:

  • The Venture Bros
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force
  • Metalocalypse
  • The Boondocks

Apple Builds Support for Audiobus, a Third-Party App, Into Garageband (Audiobus Now 50% Off in Celebration)

Audiobus icon

Independent developers A Tasty Pixel have just received the rarest of honors from Apple today. Apple has built in support for their app Audiobus ($9.99, on sale for $4.99) into the latest version of Garageband for iOS ($4.99), essentially making Audiobus the standard for piping sound from one music app into another.


Audiobus is a middleman app for music-making on the iPhone and iPad. It essentially functions as a pipeline for moving sound created in, say, a synthesizer app like Animoog into another like Garageband so you can record it, or manipulate it with more filters, etc. It also makes it easier to switch between music apps with just a tap, and to start/stop recording in app while playing in instrument in another.

To non-musicians, it may sound a bit benign, but it solves a lot of issues on iOS for making and recording music. Without a doubt, Audiobus is currently the most powerful music-creation app for iOS out there, even more so now that Apple seems to recognize it as a protocol—highly unusual because Apple usually likes to control these things. Developers have to build support into their apps for Audiobus (the long list can be found in the official app description in iTunes here), so it’s a little funny to see Apple join the crowd. Apple must be Audiobus fanboys, too.

Audiobus announced via Twitter (see the tweet below) that the app is currently half off ($4.99) in celebration of Apple’s move.

We recently chose Audiobus as one of our Most Essential iPad Music-Creation Apps, which you can view as a slideshow here (Part 1, Part 2) with example videos.

10 More Essential iPad Apps for Music Creation (With Video Examples)

Make sure to check out Part 1 here. Musicians are quickly discovering that iPad apps are some of the best values in music creation tools today. Where it can costs hundreds of dollars for a real-life hardware synthesizer, the iPad’s multitouch screen can recreate all the knobs, switches, and other features without the cost of manufacturing, leading to ultra-cheap apps that deliver nearly identical sound—hook up a MIDI keyboard and you get the same playing experience as well. The iPad is a pretty amazing revolution in music creation and recording tools. Check out my list of 10 More Essential iPad Music-Creation apps below to get an idea of some of the best apps available.

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Tip: How To Add Your Favorite MLB Team’s 2013 Schedule to Your iPhone’s Calendar

If you’re on an iPhone or iPad and want to easily add your favorite Major League Baseball team’s schedule to your calendar, just tap your team’s name in the list below, then tap Subscribe from the pop-up box. These are the official schedules from MLB’s website. Please note that you can easily hide all 162 games from view, as all those games can clog up your calendar (see instructions at end of post).

Arizona Diamondbacks
Atlanta Braves
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Cinncinnati Reds
Cleveland Indians
Colorado Rockies
Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Los Angeles Dodgers
Miami Marlins
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins
New York Mets
New York Yankees
Oakland Athletics
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Seattle Mariners
St. Louis Cardinals
Tampa Bay Rays
Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays
Washington Nationals

How to Hide the Games in Your Calendar

To hide the games from your calendar, go to the Calendar app, tap the Calendars button in the top left, then tap the checkmark next to the team-schedule calendar to uncheck the calendar and remove it from view. You can delete the calendar by going into the Settings app > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Subscribed Calendars, tap the calendar and then tap Delete Account.