Art of the iPhone

iPhone 5 Case Review: the Diztronic, a $12 Case That’s a Solid Value

Diztronic iPhone 5 Case

The affordable Diztronic ($12) is a bestselling case on that averages 4.5 stars from reviewers—but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great case. The Diztronic is a thin, lightweight, soft-plastic case that fits snugly around the iPhone 5 and is available in several colors. I put the Diztronic through its paces the past 3 weeks and below are my impressions.

Video Review:

What It’s Made Of. The Diztronic is made from thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). The material is flexible and feels a bit like soft plastic. The material is thin and barely adds any weight or bulk to the iPhone 5. The case’s surface has an almost entirely matte look (not shiny) and a slight, barely noticeable texture that makes the case feel soft in the hand. It’s pleasant to hold, but doesn’t exactly have an “expensive” or premium feel to it.

Review Summary

Price: $12

Art of the iPhone’s Rating:
★★★★★ (3 stars out of 5)

Review Summary: A thin and flexible case that fits the iPhone 5 like a glove and doesn’t interfere with any of the device’s ports, buttons, and features. The lone downside is that its thin profile means there’s not much shock absorption. At $12, a solid value.

The inner lining of the case is made of the same soft material, so the case itself won’t scratch the iPhone with use over time, a huge plus when it comes to the iPhone 5’s delicate, scratch-prone rim and edges.

Protection. Because the Diztronic is so thin, its shock absorption properties are minimal. The Diztronic is not the case to give to the monkey at the local zoo (or your 2-year-old, for that matter) for a little iPhone 5 playtime.

For the screen, the case has a slightly raised rim that sticks up about a half millimeter. The rim has a slightly different feel than the rest of the case—like a hard vinyl—and has a shiny/glossy black look. This raised rim prevents the iPhone’s screen from touching surfaces when the iPhone is lain of face down. But, of course, it will do nothing if you accidentally drop your iPhone 5 and its screen hits a rock (but very few cases will).

Diztronic iPhone 5 case inside

Fit. The Diztronic fits the iPhone 5 like a glove. The fit is easily the case’s best attribute—they nailed it. When slipped around the iPhone 5, there is no looseness or creakiness—the iPhone 5 feels just as solid with the case on as off, and if you have an iPhone 5, you’ll know its slab-like solidity is one of its endearing design elements.

Diztronic case with volume buttons and mute switch

Accessibility to the iPhone’s Features. All of the iPhone 5’s buttons work as expected with the the Diztronic case on. Likewise, all ports (headphone jack and Lightning cable) are accessible with the case on, with the exception of the SIM tray slot on the iPhone 5, but few will care about that. The case does cover the iPhone’s sleep and volume buttons with its own simulated buttons, but the buttons work as expected when pressed and even maintain some clickiness, a rarity in iPhone cases. There is also a large cutout area around the iPhone 5’s camera, giving plenty of clearance for the flash LED to do its job.

Diztronic iPhone 5 Case bottom

Looks. The Diztronic is available in 6 different colors, including 3 special “glitter” style cases. You won’t win any fashion awards with the Diztronic, although the glitter-style cases do offer a bit of style. That’s not to say these are ugly cases either—just plain Janes.


The Diztronic ($12) is a solid case and a tremendous value due to its low price tag. The Diztronic fits light a glove and leaves all the iPhone’s ports and buttons working as expected. However, it’s much too thin to truly be a good protective case, but enough for everyday wear and tear. I can recommend it for its solid design and great value.

Review: McTube Pro, an App for Downloading YouTube Videos for Offline Viewing on the iPhone & iPad

McTube Pro YouTube client for iPhone and iPad icon

*UPDATE 5-15-2013* The video-caching feature of this app seemed too good to be true, and it was. The latest version of McTube Pro removes the cache video feature in McTube Pro per a request from Google. If you haven’t updated yet to the newer (less useful) version, you may want to back up your current version of the app (instructions) in case you accidentally update it in the future and want to revert back to the old version. If you did accidentally update, you may consider restoring your iPhone from a recent backup (just remember you’ll lose all changes on your iPhone since you made that backup).

McTube Pro’s ($1.99) killer feature is that it lets you save your favorite YouTube videos to your iPhone and iPad for offline playback. That’s right, saved YouTube videos can be played back without an Internet connection. And in HD, too, if you’d like. While McTube Pro can be used with any type of YouTube video, it really shines for music. Read on for my full review to find out why.

McTube Birthday Song Offline Viewing

Downloading Videos. McTube distinguishes itself from other YouTube viewing apps by allowing you to store YouTube videos for later playback. McTube avoids saying it “downloads” videos because that would violate YouTube’s terms. Instead, it “caches” them. When you find a video you like, you simply tap the Cache button, and the video downloads, whoops, I mean caches, in the background. Cached videos are stored in the Local folder for later playback.

Review Summary

McTube Pro

Price: $1.99

‘s Rating:
★★★★★ (3 stars out of 5)

Review Summary: McTube works well for storing your favorite YouTube videos and as a way to collect free music from YouTube. But the app is rough around the edges, lacking a way to organize videos and a way to control audio outside of the app. Still, it’s the best YouTube downloader among the several I tried out.

Videos Can’t Be Moved Out of the App. Unfortunately, videos stored in the app stay in the app—they can’t be downloaded to your computer. Allowing you to do this would be against YouTube’s terms, and would likely lead to the app’s YouTube access being revoked. But apparently allowing you to “cache” them is fine. That’s the power of semantics.

Best for Music. YouTube has quickly become the place to find and listen to music on the web. Just about everything is on there, for free. McTube Pro not only lets you save these videos, it has a special MP3 mode where you can listen to the audio-only portion of your saved videos, as if they were mp3s in the iPhone’s Music app.

But that’s not to say McTube Pro is a particularly good music player. It’s not. McTube’s biggest flaw as a music player is that music control functionality (play, pause, forward, back) only works inside the app. You can’t use the iPhone’s lock screen controls to, say, pause a song, and you can’t you use the headphone dongle controls either. You must use the app. Hopefully this will be fixed in a future version. MP3 mode also lets you create playlists, although the interface is crude and clunky.

Mp3 mode in McTube iPhone App

MP3 Mode lets you listen to audio-only portion of videos.

No Folders or Organization Tools. Another big annoyance with the app is that there is no way to organize your saved videos—there are no folders or playlists (except for MP3 mode). Videos just sit there in a big long list in the order you downloaded them. This gets annoying once your library grows.

Offline Cached Videos in McTube

Cached videos in McTube for offline viewing.

Access to Your YouTube Account. You can log in to your YouTube account inside the app and get access to all your Subscriptions, Favorites, Playlists, etc. This is a nice feature if you’ve already done some work collecting your favorite videos. You could simply go through your lists and download them to the iDevice.

Video Review:

Pro vs Free Version. There is also a free version of McTube that only lets you store 5 videos and has advertisements. I recommend checking it out first. The Pro version ($1.99) removes the storage limit and the advertisements.

Settings in McTube

Settings in McTube Pro.

HD and Auto Caching. The app has two useful option in its settings. The first is the ability to turn on HD streaming. If you’ve got good download speeds and lots of storage on your iPhone, I recommend taking advantage of HD video, as the audio quality is so much better. The Auto Cache setting, when turned on, automatically saves every video you watch using the app. It’s a nice time-saving feature—if you’ve got a lot of free memory. The Region setting lets you set a country (Argentina, Italy, etc) as your base for content filtering purposes.

AirPlay. The app also supports AirPlay. Combine this with HD downloads and an AppleTV, and you can put together a pretty sweet music-video party.


McTube Pro’s key feature is its ability to store YouTube videos on your iPhone/iPad for offline viewing later. In this area, it works as advertised. You can even save HD videos. The app also has a special “MP3 Mode” that lets you listen to the audio-only portion of videos, making this a good way to collect free music. But this app is rough around the edges. There are no tools to organize offline videos, and the iPhone’s audio controls (play/pause/forward) don’t work outside of the app. Despite it limitations, I can highly recommend this app for its main purpose: caching YouTube videos for offline viewing. It’s also a great way to collect free music.

A Review of One of Those Free Music Downloader iPhone Apps Currently Invading the App Store

Free Music Download Pro app icon

If you search the App Store using the terms Free Music Download, you’ll discover tons of suspicious looking apps all with similar names, whose interfaces all look the same, and which promise free music downloads. What really caught my eye about these apps was that 3 of them are currently in the iTunes top 200 App Store downloads. Is this a case of App Store chart manipulation, or is there something else going on here? I downloaded one to find out.

Free Music Download Pro music iPhone app

Review Summary

Free Music Download Pro

Price: $0.99

Art of the iPhone’s Rating:
★★★★★ (2 stars out of 5)

Review Summary: The app works as described, you can download, store, and playback music offline found on the web, but the interface is crude and generic. It’s likely this app is popular due to use with A drawback is that music files can’t be directly added to the iPhone’s default Music app, but you can download the files to your computer and add them to iTunes later.

Free Music Download Pro – Downloader and Player ($0.99) is from developer Byungsook Oh, maker of other fine apps like Free Video Download Pro and Download All Pro. This app, along with most of the others, is just a boilerplate iOS web browser tweaked to let you download and playback music files, with a few other features thrown in to boot. The interface is as generic as iPhone apps come. But Free Music Download Pro does indeed work in the sense that you can download free music files from websites, store them on the iPhone, and play them back in the app. The app even supplies the ability to build playlists. It’s generic and ugly but functional. Why so popular then? Likely because people are using the app to illegally download popular copyrighted music.

Now, the app in no way shows you where to find illegal music files; in fact, it points you to legal music download sites. Its start screen supplies you with a list of several, including Jamendo and Audio Archive. But another website not mentioned in the app itself (because it would get the app banned) but suggested by several App Store reviewers is If you go to that website using this app, you’ll quickly see why this app and others like it are so popular.

Yes, this app can be a functional way to download, store, and play free music on the iPhone, but there is a catch. Music files that you downloaded can’t be added to the iPhone’s Music app, at least not directly. You can, however, connect your iPhone to a computer and download them to add to iTunes (and thus back onto your iPhone) later, or you can move then into Dropbox using the app.

Free Music Download Pro screenshot 1

LTE and the iPhone 5. With the faster download speeds that LTE brings to the iPhone 5, you’ll likely see a growth in these types of apps, as downloading music files only takes seconds. You can quickly build up an impressive playlist in a few minutes. This would have been an annoying chore on 3G just a few months ago.

Tip: How to Download the Music Files From the iPhone to Your Computer. You can pull the downloaded music files off the iPhone and put them back into Music app. You need to do it through iTunes on your computer. Here’s how. Plug your iPhone into your computer, launch iTunes, click on your iPhone in the sidebar, click the Apps tab, scroll down to File Sharing, click on Free Music Download Pro, and download away. Add them back into iTunes, then sync them back onto your iPhone, where they’ll appear in the Music app.

iTunes File Sharing from iPhone 5


The growing popularity of apps like Free Music Download Pro ($0.99) is likely because of two reasons. First, the apps let you download, store, and playback popular music to the iPhone, and people are likely using these apps for illegal downloading of popular music through sites like Second, LTE on the iPhone 5 is the enabler, making the downloading of music superquick and reliable. All I can say is, Free Music Download Pro does indeed wor, but just don’t expect a user friendly experience.

Also, do not download copyrighted music illegally.

iPhone Tip: A Special Way to Enter Birthdays on the iPhone, and Its Benefits

Birthdays on the iPhone

Birthdays get special treatment on the iPhone. They have their own unique way for adding them to the calendar much different from other calendar events. And it’s done in the…Contacts app? Yep.

This special method may take a little more time, but it has a few benefits. One benefit is that birthdays get a cute little red-and-white box icon next to them in the Calendar app (see image above). The other benefit is that birthdays get their own special calendar, which you can use to show just birthdays in the Calendar app, or conversely, prevent all birthdays from showing.

Check out the instructions below on how to enter birthdays using the Contacts app. Also see the end of this article for more interesting info on Birthdays and the iPhone.

Quick Instructions:

Select a contact in the Contacts app. Tap Edit > Add a Field > Birthday.

Step-by-Step Visual Instructions:

1. Open Contacts app and select a contact:

2. Tap Edit in the top right:

Tap Edit to create birthday

3. Scroll down and tap Add Field:

Scroll down and tap Add Field

4. Scroll down and tap Birthday:

Scroll down and tap Birthday

5. Enter the birthday’s day, month, and year. If you don’t know the year, choose the 3-dash line option below the current year:

Enter in Birthday date

6. Tap Done in the top right:

Tap Done in top right to finish birthday creation

And that’s it, you’ve created a birthday for that contact.

Extra Notes and Tidbits:

  • Note that all birthdays entered with this method will appear in the iPhone’s special Birthday calendar (see image at bottom of post). The calendar can be found by opening the Calendar app and tapping the Calendars button in the top right corner. A separate Birthdays calendar is useful in case you wanted to view only birthdays. To do this, tap Hide All Calendars, then tap the Birthdays calendar so that a checkmark appears next to it. Conversely, you can remove all birthdays from showing in the calendar by unchecking the Birthdays calendar.
  • If you set up the iPhone’s special Facebook integration (found in the iPhone’s Settings), all of your Facebook friends’ birthdays (along with their contact info and email addresses) will be downloaded into the iPhone’s Contacts and Calendar apps. Their birthdays will then show up in the special Birthday calendar. You can prevent this from happening by going into Settings > Facebook and sliding the tabs under Allow These Apps to Use Your Account for Contacts and Calendar to Off. This option will only appear after you have logged in to the special Facebook integration for the first time.
  • If you enter the contact’s birth year and sync with the Mac version of Calendar, the person’s age will show up in Calendar (example, “Anne’s 36th Birthday”). The person’s age does not show up in the iPhone/iPad Calendar app, however.

Special Birthday Calendar

Tip: How to Quickly Add Your Favorite NFL Football Team’s Schedule to Your iPhone’s Calendar

NFL logo

Want to quickly and easily add your entire favorite NFL team’s schedule to your iPhone’s calendar? If you’re reading this on an iPhone or iPad, just find your favorite team in the list below, tap subscribe, then again tap subscribe from the pop-up that appears on your iPhone.

Note that, because these are subscription calendars, they will automatically update every year (as long as the calendar owner keeps them updated). Subscription calendars are also easily removed from your iPhone’s calendar if they annoy you. To delete, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Subscribed Calendars, select the calendar, and tap Delete Account. Also note that some of calendars below have alerts set up for each game. You can turn off the alerts by sliding the Remove Alarms tab to On in the calendar’s account settings.

The subscription calendars below are provided by, where you can find more links to your favorite sports teams.

Arizona Cardinals subscribe
Atlanta Falcons subscribe
Baltimore Ravens subscribe
Buffalo Bills subscribe
Carolina Panthers subscribe
Chicago Bears subscribe
Cincinnati Bengals subscribe
Cleveland Browns subscribe
Dallas Cowboys subscribe
Denver Broncos subscribe
Detroit Lions subscribe
Green Bay Packers subscribe
Houston Texans subscribe
Indianapolis Colts subscribe
Jacksonville Jaguars subscribe
Kansas City Chiefs subscribe
Miami Dolphins subscribe
Minnesota Vikings subscribe
New Orleans Saints subscribe
New England Patriots subscribe
New York Giants subscribe
New York Jets subscribe
Oakland Raiders subscribe
Philadelphia Eagles subscribe
Pittsburg Steelers subscribe
San Diego Chargers subscribe
San Francisco 49ers subscribe
Seattle Seahawks subscribe
St. Loius Rams subscribe
Tampa Bay Buccaneers subscribe
Tennessee Titans subscribe
Washington Redskins subscribe

Preview: iPhone 5 Cases From Speck

Speck Candyshell case for iPhone 5

Speck CandyShell
The Speck Candyshell for iPhone 5 is glossy eye candy. It’s smooth nail-polish exterior will catch the eye, but it’s two-layer construction will catch the bumps and bruises destined for your iPhone 5. The CandyShell’s two layers are composed of a soft-rubber inner layer provides some shock absorption, and a hard-plastic exterior that provides rigidity, and, of course, its glossy good looks. Available in several color themes. Check the case out at the Official Speck Candyshell website.
Speck Candyshell Satin iPhone 5 cases

Speck Candyshell Satin
Everything feels better in satin, even the iPhone 5. Ok, the CandyShell Satin isn’t really made from satin. It’s really just like a regular Speck CandyShell except with a special coating that makes it feel soft and slightly textured. Other than that, you get the same two-layer protection as the regular CandyShell, with a soft rubber lining and a hard-plastic exterior. Available in several colors. Get details at the official CandyShell Satin website.
Speck Candyshell Grip iPhone 5 Cases

Speck Candyshell Grip
Get a grip on the iPhone 5 with the Candyshell Grip. It comes with embedded bands of rubber that give purchase to your fingers. Other than the special grippy bands, it’s a regular CandyShell case with two-layer protection—a soft-rubber interior and a hard-plastic exterior. Check it out at the official Speck Candyshell Grip website.
Candyshell Flip case for iPhone 5

Speck CandyShell Flp
Have a dock? You’re going to flip for the CandyShell Flip. The bottom of the case flips out (but stays attached) to let you dock the iPhone 5 with little hassle. Now all that has to happen is for someone to make an actual iPhone 5 dock. Damn you, Lightning connector. Check it out here at the official Speck CandyShell website.

Speck SmartFlex Card case for iPhone 5

Speck SmartFlex Card
The SmartFlex Card case can hold up to 3 credit cards in a special slot on its back, you know, the same cards you maxed out buying the iPhone 5, iPad 4, and iPad Mini. The slot has a “special tensioning system” to keep the cards (or folded cash money) secure and prevent them from slipping out. The SmartFlex is made of a flexible polymer (sort of like a cross between plastic and rubber). Available in 5 different colors. Check it out
Speck SmartFlex View case for iPhone 5 with stand

Speck SmartFlex View w/ Stand
The SmartFlex View case has a built-in stand that can prop up the iPhone 5 in both portrait and landscape views. Available in 5 different colors, the View is made of a flexible, lightweight polymer that maintains the svelte profile of the iPhone 5. Click it out at the official Speck SmartFlex View website.
Speck PixelSkin case for iPhone 5

Speck PixelSkin
Got rubber? With the Speck PixelSkin you do. All that rubber gives you great shock absorption and all-around protection for your iPhone 5. The PixelSkin’s surface is texturized with large squares to supply your fingers extra grip on the iPhone 5—as if rubber wasn’t grippy enough already. Available in 5 different colors. Check it out hereat the official PixelSkin website.
Speck PixelSkin HD case for iPhone 5

Speck PixelSkin HD
The Speck PixelSkin HD differs from the normal PixelSkin in that it’s made out of thermoplastic polyurethane. This material is more like soft plastic rather than rubber, and thus has a more solid feel to it. The surface of the HD is textured with small squares to improve grip. It’s a thin, durable case that adds some protection to your iPhone 5. Check it out here at the official Pixelskin HD website.
Speck Fabshell case for iPhone 5

Speck Fabshell
“Girl, that iPhone case is just fab-u-lous.” That’s what your snobby hot friends will say when they see your iPhone 5 in the stylish Speck Fabshell case. The Fabshell a hardshell case covered in fabric available in 7 different patterns. With the Fabshell, you can be snobby and hot too! Call me? More info at the official Speck Fabshell website.
Speck FabShell Burton case for iPhone 5

FabShell Burton
The Fabshell Burtons stylish exteriors are inspired by Burton Snowboards, founded by Jake Burton Carpenter. Like the regular Fabshells, the Burtons are hard-shell cases covered in stylish fabric patterns—except these patterns are for ultracool snowboarders like you. More info here at the official Speck Fabshell Burton website.

How to Turn On and Use Guided Access in an App (iPhone & iPad Basics)

Guided Access

Guided Access is a powerful new feature on the iPhone & iPad that essentially prevents users from quitting out of an app. Guided Access can also block off areas of the screen from registering touches, and prevent users from changing the volume or putting the device to sleep. Check out the video below for instructions on how to activate Guided Access and how to use it in an app. Also check out the Extra Notes section for extra tips.

Video Instructions:

Quick Instructions:

1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access.

2. Swipe the tab for Guided Access to On.

3. Tap Set Passcode and enter a 4-digit code. This code will be required to quit out of Guided Access once you start it in an app.

How to Use It In an App:

1. Launch an app.

2. Triple click the home button.

3. Circle any areas you want to disable. You can fine tune by dragging the corners of the boxes that appear.

4. Tap Start.

5. To quit out of Guided Access mode, triple click the home button again, enter in the passcode, and tap End.

Extra Notes:

  • In the Settings for Guided Access, you may notice an option: Enable Screen Sleep. When this is set to On, the iPhone’s screen will dim (but not turn off) during periods of inactivity, saving battery. You can also put the iPhone to sleep by pressing the Sleep/Wake button.
  • When you triple click to activate Guided Access in an app, an Options button will appear in the bottom left. There, you can turn off all touches from registering on the screen (this would be perfect for playing a movie on your device in a marketing situation) and another option to lock the screen’s orientation and turn off the device’s accelerometer and gyroscope, preventing the device from registering movement.

Apple Introduces the iPad mini (Details and Pricing)

iPad Mini

Apple today announced the iPad mini, a smaller, thinner, lighter, and cheaper version of Apple’s iPad tablet hardware. The mini shares much of same specifications of the iPad 2, including the same processor and screen resolution, but it’s a much lighter device, and that’s really the mini’s killer feature. Below is a collection of details on the new iPad mini, including pricing and release date.

Screen. The mini’s screen is 7.9 inches diagonally compared with the iPad 3’s 9.7-inch display. The mini is not, however, a Retina Display. It has the same resolution as the now “ancient” iPad 2 at 1024×768, but that resolution is packed into a smaller screen, so it has a higher pixel density of 163 ppi compared with the iPad 2’s 132 ppi, so it will appear slightly sharper. (163 ppi is the same as the iPhone 3GS’ screen.)

Weight. The iPad mini is a much lighter device, weighing a mere 0.68 pounds, 53% lighter than the iPad 3’s 1.44 pounds. As an iPad 1 and iPad 3 owner, my lone complaint has always been the weight—it really starts to grow uncomfortable after 20 minutes of use. The iPad mini is a big step toward solving that.

iPad mini in black and white

Pricing and Colors. The iPad mini comes in either black or white, with 3 different storage sizes, each with Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + Cellular versions. US carriers for the iPad mini are Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint (this is Sprint’s first time on an iPad). See the pricing table below.

iPad Mini Wi-Fi Only Price iPad Mini Wi-Fi + Cellular Price
16 GB $329 16 GB $459
32 GB $429 32 GB $559
64 GB $529 64 GB $659

Preorder and Ship Dates. Preorder starts this Friday, October 26. The Wi-Fi only version ships Friday, November 2. The cellular version ships one week later on Friday, November 9.

Videos. Apple showed off two videos featuring the iPad mini at its event today. The first is a TV commercial (which is great) and the other is the usual video featuring Apple execs explaining the iPad mini. Check them out below.

Other Features:

  • Dual-core A5 processor (same as the iPad 2)
  • Supports Siri
  • Lightning port replaces the old 30-pin connector
  • Thinner bezel on left and right sides. Apple has updated the iPad’s software to cope with the increase in accidental touches the thinner bezel may cause
  • 5-megapixel camera on back with 1080p video recording. Front-facing camera does 720p video and 1.2MP photos
  • 10-hour battery life for surfing web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music (9 hours using cellular)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Wi-Fi 02.11a/b/g/n (802.11n 2.4GHz and 5GHz)
  • New Smart Covers for the iPad mini ($39). Apple already has a commercial for it (see video below).

Review: SwitchEasy Tones Case for iPhone 5

SwitchEasy Tones for iPhone 5 Case

The SwitchEasy Tones ($25) is one of the better-looking early iPhone 5 cases thanks to its two-tone color scheme that mimics the iPhone 5’s stylish exterior. In addition to the black and gray version I reviewed, there is a white/gray version and 5 other color combos. The Tones is a thin, hard-plastic polycarbonate case that maintains the iPhone 5’s thin and lightweight feel, and its surface is slightly textured, giving it a comfortable feel in the hand.

No Protective Lining. The one thing I’ve learned from reviewing iPhone cases over the years is that the case itself can scrape up an iPhone pretty well over time. This usually occurs with hard plastic cases that don’t include a protective lining as a buffer against the iPhone’s surface. Unfortunately, the SwitchEasy Tones lacks such a lining. Because the iPhone 5’s rim and edges are unusually susceptible to scuffs and scrapes, the SwitchEasy Tones is not an ideal case for the iPhone 5.

SwitchEasy Tones case for iPhone 5 inside view

Lack of Shock Absorption.The SwitchEasy Tones is much too thin to take on much shock absorption, and its hard-plastic polycarbonate material doesn’t dampen shock energy from accidental drops much. Even though the iPhone 5 is a more durable phone from a shock absorption point of view, it’s definitely not invincible. The SwitchEasy Tones case won’t give you much peace of mind in the area of protection.

Video Review:

Buttons and Ports. It’s not all bad news with the SwitchEasy Tones—all buttons and ports of the iPhone 5 are accessible and work as expected with the case on. The lone problem area is the ringer/mute switch, which requires some finger digging to reach with the case on thanks to a narrow opening.

Review Summary

Price: $25

Art of the iPhone’s Rating:
★★★★★ (2 stars out of 5)

Review Summary: A nice looking case that unfortunately lacks a protective lining to prevent the hard-plastic case itself from scratching the iPhone 5’s delicate rim.

Fit. Another design element the SwitchEasy Tones gets right is fit. The Tones case snaps on tight and fits like a glove. There is no creaking or loose gaps. The iPhone 5 feels just as solid with the case on as without. The fit is impressive considering how fast the Tones came to market after the release of the iPhone 5.

Review Conclusion

The SwitchEasy Tones ($25) is a good-looking case that mimics the two-tone style of the iPhone 5’s exterior, but it lacks a protective lining inside, which means the hard-plastic case itself can scratch the delicate edges of the iPhone 5. A lack of shock absorption and a hard-to-access area for the iPhone’s ringer switch make this case a dud. Too bad, because it’s quite styling.


  • Maintains the two-tone look of the iPhone 5 (available in 7 different color schemes).
  • Tight and slim fit maintains sveltness of iPhone 5.
  • Does not interfere with use of iPhone’s buttons and ports, with one exception (see Cons below)


  • Not much shock absorption.
  • Lack of protective lining means case itself could damage iPhone over time.
  • Ringer switch is hard to access.

iPhone Tip: How to Insert a Photo Into an Email Without Leaving the Mail App

Want to send a photo via email on the iPhone? Apple has now made it easier. Used to be, you had to start in the Photos app (not very intuitive, I know). But now, you can do it right inside the Mail app itself. Here’s how.

Quick Instructions:

In an email, hold your finger down until a pop-up menu appears. Tap the right arrow in the menu, and tap Insert Photo or Video.

Step-by-Step Visual Instructions:

1. Begin by creating a new email message by tapping the Compose button:

Tap Compose in Mail

2. Hold your finger down in the body of the email until you see the following pop-up box:

Hold finger until menu appears

3. Tap the arrow on the right:

Tap arrow on pop-up menu

4. Tap Insert Photo or Video:

5. Find a photo you want and tap Choose:

6. The photo will be inserted into your email. Repeat steps 2 through 5 if you’d like to add more photos.

And that’s it. Just tap send! You may be asked what file size of the image you want to send. Choose one depending on your connection (keep in mind your recipient’s download speeds as well).

Extra Tip

  • You can only insert one image at a time using the above instructions. If you want to attach multiple photos at a time, start in the Photos app. Instructions here.