iOS 11 Release – Check before you update

Do not disturb in iOS 11

Apple will release iOS 11 tomorrow, September 19. Before you update, make sure that you check the readiness of your device. iOS 11 is a major update, with new features as well as security updates. New features include:

  • Files app to manage your files on your iOS device
  • Dock available in apps, with quick access to recent apps
  • Better multitasking on iPad
  • Drag and Drop on iPad
  • Inline drawing and searchable handwriting in Notes
  • Document scanner built-in to Notes
  • Inline drawing in Mail
  • New filters built into Camera
  • Customize the Control Center
  • Driving mode so that you are not disturbed while you drive
  • Lane guidance and speed limit built into Maps
  • Quick type keyboard for typing with one hand
  • Automatically set up iOS device from another iOS device by proximity

Check your hardware

iOS 11 is compatible with iOS 5S and newer iPhones, iPad mini 2 and newer iPads, 6th generation iPod and iPod touch. However, be aware that new operating systems can slow down older devices. Just because you can update your device doesn’t mean you should. If you have an older device that you depend on for frequent use, I suggest waiting for later updates of iOS 11, and checking reviews of how it works with your device before you update to iOS 11.

Check you apps

ios 11 app compatibility imageMany developers have updated their apps to work with the new operating system, but some apps (especially free ones) may not work with your device. If you have any of those apps installed, find a replacement for the ones that you use. If there are any apps on the list that are critical for you, you may want to wait for an app update before updating to iOS 11.

To check which apps many not work after you update your device,

  1. Open Settings
  2. General — About
  3. Applications

Check your space

If you’re getting storage almost full messages on your device, it’s a good idea to clean the storage. If you need help, see this article from Macworld.

Other consideration

Before you update, make sure that you know your Apple ID and password. If you have it saved on the device and don’t haven’t it memorized, make sure to write it down temporarily. Also, make sure that your device is backed up to iCloud* (or your computer). If you depend on your iOS device, I think it’s a good idea to invest in iCloud. I pay CDN$1.29 a month for 50GB of iCloud storage.

*Note that iCloud doesn’t back up your apps. It makes note of what apps you have installed on your device so that you can restore them later from the App Store, but it won’t allow you to restore any apps that are no longer available in the App Store. It also doesn’t back up data from the Health app.

If you have a question or need some help, post on my Facebook page or email me at damianne@presidentialtech.com.

Save all Your Photos in One Place

As a teacher, you probably take lots of photos of your students in the classroom. You may even have students or assistants act as photographers. It’s useful to save all those photos in one place. This lets you access the photos from any device, makes it easy for you to share photos and albums with everyone including parents, and protects your images from loss if a device breaks or becomes inaccessible. If your device is running out of space, you may also want to save your photos and videos in Google Photos so that you can delete them from your device and free up space. This is especially important if your school uses devices that only have 16 GB of space.

If your school uses G Suite, Google Photos is a good option, as it is included as an app in your G Suite account. Google Photos works on whatever devices your school may be using. To use Google Photos, you need a Google account. Then install Google Photos on your Android or iOS device, or on your Mac or Windows machine, or access Google Photos on the web. Once you have the app installed, you can setup Backup and Sync for Google Photos on your device.

Note that if you set the quality of your photos to high in Google Photos, your uploads do not count towards your available storage limits. This means that you can save an unlimited number of high quality images (up to 16 mega-pixel) and videos (up to 1080p), which is high enough quality for people who mostly access multimedia in digital formats.

Spring Cleaning for your Mac

cleaning supplies

Sierra has included some new tools to manage storage on your Mac. However, if you have an earlier version of Mac OSX, these options are not available.  Cleaning your Mac is an important step in maintenance, and includes cleaning the hard drive, as well as the outside of your device.

Clean the Hardware

First off, turn off your computer and unplug it from power. Take your computer out of the case. Get a microfiber cloth, dampen it slightly, and wipe down your computer. You can also use the damp microfiber cloth on the screen. If you keyboard is extra dirty (I’ve seen some keyboards that I didn’t want to touch), use a soft toothbrush to get between the keys. Lifehacker explains that you can use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser if you computer is greasy. We also have some LCD cleaning foam in the Idea Lab. Here are the official cleaning instructions from Apple.

Update your Software

Now’s a good time to update your software as well. I usually recommend that people do security updates as soon as they come out. Update your apps in the App Store, as well as your operating system, if your hardware is compatible.

Also, clean up your login items, those are the applications that automatically open when you start your computer. Go to System Preferences | Users and Groups | Login items, and delete the items that you don’t want to automatically open when you start your computer.

Make Space on your Hard Drive

  1. It’s okay to delete apps that you never use on your laptop. You may have installed something for testing, or for a short time, and kept it installed. If you no longer need it, delete it. You can do that by dragging them to the trash can. For a cleaner uninstall, you could use an app like AppCleaner.
  2. Clean out your old photos and videos, remove duplicates, and empty your Photos’ trash.
    • export old photos to an external drive
    • save old photos to Google Photos or to iCloud with optimized storage turned on (only available in Mac OSX Sierra)
  3. Clean out your download folders. Either move files into Documents or delete them.
  4. Organize your desktop. Delete saved screenshots that you no longer need, and move files into folders in Documents. If you can’t see your desktop, it’s a good idea to clean it up. If you want to move a file but be able to quickly access it from the Desktop, make an alias to the file on the Desktop after you move the file.icon for alias
    • To make an alias, click on the file with two finders and select Make Alias.
    • Drag the alias (it’s not a real file, just a pointer to a file as seen by the arrow on it) to the Desktop
  5. Use an app like Disk Inventory X to see the size of folders, or use the Finder to find large files.

To use finder to find large files:

  1. Open Finder, 
  2. Go to File | Find (shortcut CMD – F)
  3. Change Kind to File Size.
  4. Set the minimum File Size requirement e.g. 100 MB

find large files gif

Back Up

Use Time Machine to back up your hard drive, or copy your necessary files over to a back up hard drive. It’s a good idea to schedule a weekly back-up time in your calendar. I encourage you do that now, if  you haven’t done it before.

Cloud Storage Using Google Drive

ISP assigns Google Apps accounts to children from Grade 3. This automatically provides each child with a storage space in Google Drive. We could use Google classroom, but we’ve continued our legacy processes. Here’s how we set up storage:

  • Each student creates a class folder with subfolders for each subject
  • The class folder is shared with the classroom teacher with edit privileges
  • Folders for single subject/specialist teachers are shared with them with edit privileges
  • Each teacher creates a Class Students 2015-2016 folder and adds each student’s folder to it
  • The teacher creates a folder to share work with students (read only by students)
  • The teacher creates a folder where students can share items with each other or with the teacher

Naming conventions are very important when using Google Drive. They enable users to search and find files more efficiently. We use the naming convention of Class Firstname Description e.g. 4P Damianne Math. When there are 2 or more students with the same first name, we append the first initial of the last name e.g. 4P DamianneP Math. Get in the habit yourself and get students in the habit of naming files and folders accurately when they create them, and putting them in the correct folder from the start.

If you do this in Google Classroom, and find the process to be more streamlined with a similar setup, please let me a comment.

Cloud Storage using Shared Devices

There are many different tools that you can use for digital storage on shared devices. I’ve been reading about Seesaw, a digital portfolio tool, various blogging platforms among other options, Box, etc. At ISP, we subscribe to a paid Dropbox account that is shared between Kindergarten and Grade 1 classes using shared iPads. A free account only gets you 2GB free, but you can gain more space through referrals and other invitations on the Dropbox website.

There are different options of how to set up your Dropbox. First, you have to decide if you’d like students to have individual folders for their work, or if you’d like students to store work by subject.

Whichever option you choose, students will invariable save something in the wrong place at some point. They may also move folders accidentally. For that reason, I suggest following a naming convention for example:

  • Every file or folder name begins with the class e.g. 4R or Room206 (even though my images do not show this).

This way, if something gets moved accidentally, it can be identified by anyone who finds it.

It doesn’t matter what tool you use for students to save their work, but it may save you some stress if you think about how you want to set up any shared spaces, and how students should name files for ease of identification, as well as searching.