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Silhouetting is one of the most interesting techniques in iPhone photography. By leaving your main subjects in the dark, silhouetting helps you to create a sense of mystery in your photos while at the same time drawing more attention to their subjects.
But more importantly, silhouette photos just look awesome, and it’s very easy to take them with the iPhone. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll know how to photograph silhouettes with your iPhone on your own, and you’ll discover a few simple tips to make sure that they always look amazing.Finding the perfect light
Whenever you shoot against the source of light so that your subject is illuminated from behind, the iPhone will automatically turn your subjects into silhouettes. It really is that easy to shoot silhouettes, as long as you know where to find such light.
To take photos against the source of light, you need to find what is known as directional light, which is essentially light coming horizontally from the side. On sunny days, there is directional light for about an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset since the sun is low above the horizon at that time. If you live at a higher latitude – like Canada and most of Europe – the sun may also be sufficiently low throughout the day in winter.
Since the sun is low, make sure you can actually see it from your shooting location. Large open spaces such as the beach are really good for silhouettes, though you can take them anywhere where you can see the sun when it’s low above the horizon.
In the above photo, I found a small sunlit area when most of the park was already in the shadow because of the numerous trees blocking the sun. And did you notice that I placed the sun behind the tree? I did that on purpose to avoid a blown-out white area where the sun was supposed to be and also to avoid lens flare.
In most cases, light can only enter the scene from the sky. However, sometimes light can be reflected from wet surfaces, and it is also possible to create silhouettes against such reflected light, as seen in the following photo.
In many cases, you can also take interesting silhouettes indoors if there is directional light coming from a window, door, or another architectural feature. In the following photo, I could create a silhouette because the light was entering the room through the glass door.
When your subjects take up a large portion of the screen (as seen above), the iPhone will automatically set the exposure to the subject, thus ruining the silhouette. If that happens, you can fix the exposure manually by tapping on the brightest parts of the scene.Finding the perfect subject
Once you’ve found good directional light, the next step is to find an interesting subject for your silhouettes. While you can create silhouettes from almost anything, the vast majority of my silhouette photos have people as subjects. I like human silhouettes, as they always create a sense of mystery when you try to imagine who those people could be.
I often choose to take silhouettes in popular places such as a busy beach so that I don’t run out of interesting subjects. If there’s a steady flow of people, I might just stay in one place and capture whoever is passing by, as I did in this photo.
Notice how lens flare – seen as a gray circle covering the person on the right – looks great in this photo, and the sun is completely blown-out. This may work well in some photos, but usually, I prefer not to have the sun shining directly into the iPhone’s lens.
At other times, I might be walking around and actively looking for interesting subjects that would look great as silhouettes. That’s how I came across the following scene of a family feeding seagulls, which I knew would make the photo very interesting.
In this photo, two silhouettes on the right are overlapping, which doesn’t really look good. In general, it’s best to keep silhouette scenes simple and avoid such overlapping subjects as they can quickly get very confusing.
If you’re new to iPhone photography, you might not feel comfortable taking photos of people you don’t know. From my experience, it has never been a problem as most people don’t care about being photographed, and you can’t recognize anyone in silhouettes.
Of course, you could just take silhouettes of your friends and family. In general, I find it less interesting since I enjoy the unpredictability of subjects I don’t know. On the other hand, knowing your subjects gives you more control over the scene, and you can take photos that would never be possible otherwise.
On the same note:
You're reading How To Photograph Silhouettes With Your Iphone
Fun With Silhouettes In Photoshop
Written by Steve Patterson.
In this Photoshop tutorial, we’re going to have some fun with silhouettes. By that, I mean we’ll first create a basic silhouette using a technique that will give us the freedom to resize the silhouette as needed without any loss of image quality, and then we’ll see how to fill the silhouette with a fun background to create interesting designs!
I’ll be creating a couple of silhouettes for this tutorial. First, I’ll use the boy from this photo:
The first silhouette will be created from this photo.
I’ll also create a silhouette from the girl in this photo:
The second silhouette will be created from this photo.
I’ll be filling both silhouettes with a background, and I’ll be using the background we created in our recent Classic Starburst Background tutorial:
The “starburst” background created in a recent tutorial.
Of course, you can use whichever background you like. If you’re creating this starburst background from our tutorial, you’ll want to make sure you flatten the starburst image when you’re done by going up to the Layer menu at the top of the screen and choosing Flatten Image so that the starburst image is on a single Background layer, which will make things easier later on. As I said though, feel free to use whichever background image you want.
Here’s the final effect we’ll be working towards:
The final silhouette effect.
Before we get started, I should mention that we’ll be using Photoshop’s Pen Tool to create our silhouettes, as opposed to something more basic like the Lasso Tool. There’s a couple of reasons why. First, getting professional quality selections with the Lasso Tool is next to impossible, and silhouettes created with the Lasso Tool generally look sloppy and amateurish. The Pen Tool gives us all the precision we need to create great looking shapes.
The second reason for choosing the Pen Tool is that it allows us to create vector-based shapes which are resolution-independent, meaning we can resize them as needed without any loss in image quality. The Lasso Tool, on the other hand, creates pixel-based selections which are not resize-friendly. They tend to lose image quality after being resized, especially if you need to make them larger. So, for great looking silhouettes that won’t lose image quality no matter what size we make them, we need the Pen Tool!
Having said that, if you’re not familiar with how to use the Pen Tool in Photoshop, be sure to check out our Making Selections With The Pen Tool tutorial first, where you’ll find everything you need to know to get up and running with what is, without question, the single best selection tool in all of Photoshop.
This tutorial is from our Photo Effects series. Let’s get started!
Select The Pen Tool
Open the first image that you want to create a silhouette from (in my case, it’s the photo of the boy) and select the Pen Tool from Photoshop’s Tools palette:
Select the Pen Tool.
You can also select the Pen Tool by pressing the letter P on your keyboard.Step 2: Select The “Shape Layers” Option In The Options Bar
Select the Shape Layers option from the Options Bar.Step 3: Reset Your Foreground And Background Colors If Needed
As I mentioned, we’ll be filling our silhouette with a background image, but let’s first create a more traditional black-filled silhouette. For that, we’ll need our Foreground color set to black, which happens to be its default color (white is the default color for the Background color). If your Foreground color is already set to black, you can skip this step. If it’s not, you can easily reset the Foreground and Background colors by pressing the letter D on your keyboard. If you look at your Foreground and Background color swatches near the bottom of the Tools palette, you’ll see that black is now the Foreground color (the left swatch) and white is now the Background color (the right swatch):
Reset the Foreground and Background colors if needed.Step 4: Draw An Outline Around The Person In The Photo
With the Pen Tool in hand, the Shape Layers option selected in the Options Bar and your Foreground color set to black, begin drawing an outline around the person in your photo, adding anchor points and moving direction handles as needed. Again, be sure to read through our Making Selections With The Pen Tool tutorial first if you need help using the Pen Tool.
You’ll quickly notice a bit of a problem as you work your way around the person. Since we’re drawing a shape, Photoshop is filling the area inside the outline with black as you create it, which in itself is not a problem except that it tends to block your view of what you’re doing. Here we can see that I’ve started drawing an outline around the boy’s head, but the solid black is completely blocking him from view as I work my way around him:
The solid black fill is blocking the boy from view.
To get around this little problem, all we need to do is temporarily lower the opacity of our shape layer. If we look in our Layers palette, we can see that we now have two layers. Our photo is on the Background layer, and the shape we’re drawing with the Pen Tool is on the shape layer, named “Shape 1”, directly above it. The shape layer is currently selected (we know this because it’s highlighted in blue), so go up to the Opacity option in the top right corner of the Layers palette and lower the opacity down to around 40% or so:
Lower the opacity of the shape layer in the Layers palette.
With the opacity of the shape lowered, we can now see through the solid black fill, which makes it much easier to see what we’re doing:
The boy is now visible through the solid black fill.
Continue drawing your outline around the person with the Pen Tool. When you’re done, go back to the Opacity option in the Layers palette and raise the opacity back to 100%. Here’s my completed shape around the boy, filled with solid black. I now have my first silhouette:
The first silhouette is now complete.
Create A New Blank Photoshop Document
Choose whatever size you need for your document. For this tutorial, I’ll create a 6×6 inch document and I’ll set the Resolution to 300 pixels per inch, which is a standard resolution for professional quality printing. Make sure you choose White as your document’s Background Contents:
Create a new blank Photoshop document.
The new Photoshop document filled with white.Step 6: Drag The Shape Layer Into The New Document
Release your mouse button and your black-filled silhouette will appear inside the new document:
The silhouette now appears inside the new document.
You can close out of the original photo’s document window at this point, since we no longer need it. And now, if we look in the Layers palette once again, we can see that our shape layer has in fact been copied over to the new document and is sitting directly above the white-filled Background layer:
The Layers palette showing the shape layer now inside the new document.Step 7: Resize And Reposition The Silhouette With Free Transform
Here, I’ve made my silhouette larger and moved it into the top left corner of the document:
Resize the silhouette and reposition it as needed with Free Transform.
Press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) when you’re done to accept the transformation and exit out of the Free Transform command.Step 8: Add Additional Silhouettes To The Document (Optional)
that I want to add to my design, so I’ll open up my second photo, which is the image of the girl:
Open your second image (optional).
Using the same steps as before, I’ll select the Pen Tool from the Tools palette and draw an outline around the girl, lowering the opacity of the shape layer in the Layers palette to around 40% so I can see what I’m doing as I make my way around her:
Drawing a shape outline around the girl with the Pen Tool.
When I’m done, I’ll raise the opacity of the shape layer back to a full 100%. Here’s my image with the silhouette of the girl now complete:
The second silhouette is now complete.
Dragging the second silhouette into the main Silhouettes document.
With my second silhouette now inside the main document, I’ll close out of the girl’s photo since I no longer need to have it open. If we look in my “Silhouettes” document now, we can see that the girl’s silhouette has been added:
Both silhouettes now appear inside the main “Silhouettes” document.
Just as I did before with the first silhouette, I’ll press Ctrl+T (Win) / Command+T (Mac) to bring up Photoshop’s Free Transform box and handles around my new silhouette and I’ll drag out any of the corner handles to resize it, holding Shift as I drag to constrain the proportions of the shape and holding Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) as well to force the shape to resize from its center. I’ll also drag the shape down towards the bottom right corner of the document while I’m at it:
Using Free Transform to resize and reposition the second silhouette.
I’ll press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) when I’m done to accept the transformation and exit out of the Free Transform command.
If I look in my Layers palette, I can see that I now have two shape layers sitting above the white-filled Background layer. The boy’s silhouette is on the bottom shape layer and the girl’s is on the top one:
Photoshop’s Layers palette now shows two shape layers above the Background layer.
Renaming the shape layers in the layers palette to avoid confusion.
Open The Image You Want To Fill The Silhouettes With
Let’s make our silhouettes look a bit more interesting by filling them with a fun background image rather than leaving them filled with solid black. Open the image you want to fill your silhouettes with. As I mentioned at the beginning of this tutorial, I’ll use the starburst background we created in our recent Classic Starburst Background tutorial:
Open the image you want to fill your silhouettes with.Step 10: Drag The Image Into The Silhouettes Document
Drag the Background layer from your background image into the Silhouettes document.
Release your mouse button and the background image appears in front of the silhouettes in the “Silhouettes” document:
The background image now appears inside the Silhouettes document.
You can close out of the background image once you’ve dragged it into the “Silhouettes” document. If we look in the Layers palette, we can see that the background image now appears on a layer named “Layer 1” above the other layers in the document:
The background image appears on its own layer in the Layers palette above the other layers.
The reason why the image appeared above the other layers is because Photoshop automatically placed it directly above the layer that was currently selected. In my case, I had the “Girl” layer selected, so Photoshop placed the background image directly above it. If the “Boy” layer had been selected, Photoshop would have placed the background image between the “Boy” and “Girl” layers.Step 11: Create A Clipping Mask
At the moment, the starburst image (or whatever image you’re using) is blocking both of my silhouettes from view. Obviously, that’s not what I want. What I want is for the starburst to appear inside one of my silhouettes. For that, we need to create a clipping mask, which will “clip” the starburst image to whatever is on the layer directly below it. In my case, the girl’s silhouette is directly below it, so when I create the clipping mask, the only part of the starburst image that will remain visible is the area that falls within the silhouette. This will create the illusion that the silhouette is filled with the starburst pattern.
To create the clipping mask, make sure you have “Layer 1” selected in the Layers palette, then go up to the Layer menu at the top of the screen and choose Create Clipping Mask:
Select “Create Clipping Mask” from the Layer menu.
With the clipping mask created, the starburst image becomes clipped to the silhouette directly below it, making it appear as though the silhouette is being filled by the starburst:
The starburst image is now clipped to the girl’s silhouette.Step 12: Resize and Reposition The Background Image If Needed With Free Transform
Use Free Transform to resize, rotate and move the image inside the silhouette as needed.
Press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) when you’re done to accept the transformation and exit out of the Free Transform command. We now have our first background image-filled silhouette:
The background image now appears the way we want it inside the first silhouette.
Duplicate The Background Image And Move It Above The Second Silhouette
Hold down Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) and drag “Layer 1” down between the two shape layers.
Release your mouse button when the black line appears. A copy of “Layer 1” now appears in the Layers palette directly between the two shape layers:
The Layers palette showing a copy of “Layer 1” between the two shape layers.
If we look in the document window, we can see that the background image is now once again blocking part of the design from view:
The copy of the background image is now blocking part of the main image from view.Step 14: Create A Clipping Mask
We need to clip the copy of our background image to the second silhouette so that it appears inside the silhouette, just as we did a moment ago with the first silhouette. Go up to the Layer menu at the top of the screen and choose Create Clipping Mask:
Select “Create Clipping Mask” from the Layer menu.
This clips the copy of the background image to the second silhouette, making it appear as though the background image is inside the silhouette:
The copy of the background image is now clipped to the second silhouette.Step 15: Resize And Reposition The Background Image With Free Transform
Press Ctrl+T (Win) / Command+T (Mac) to bring up Photoshop’s Free Transform box and handles around the background image inside the silhouette, then resize, rotate and/or move it into place as needed:
Use Free Transform to resize the image inside the silhouette and move it into place.
Press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) when you’re done to exit out of the Free Transform command.Step 16: Add A Stroke To The Silhouettes
Select Stroke from the bottom of the list:
Select “Stroke” from the list of layer styles.
Sampling the orange color from the starburst background inside the boy’s silhouette.
The orange stroke has been applied to the first silhouette.
To quickly apply the stroke to the second silhouette, go up to the Layer menu at the top of the screen, choose Layer Style, and then choose Copy Layer Style:
And just like that, the stroke is now applied to the second silhouette as well:
The stroke has now been applied to both silhouettes.
I’m going to finish up my design by adding a few scattered stars around the silhouettes. I’ll do that next.
Create A New Layer Group
Enter a name for your new layer group in the dialog box.
A new layer group named “Stars” has been added in the Layers palette.Step 18: Select The Custom Shape Tool
Select the Custom Shape Tool.Step 19: Load The “Shapes” Custom Shape Set
Select the “Shapes” custom shape set from the menu.
Selecting the “5-point star frame” shape.
Sampling the orange color from the starburst background.Step 20: Drag Out The First Star Shape
Drag out your first star shape.Step 21: Rotate The Star With Free Transform
Use Free Transform to rotate the star shape.
Press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) when you’re done to accept the rotation and exit out of the Free Transform command.Step 22: Add Additional Star Shapes
Add additional star shapes by repeating the last couple of steps. First, drag out the shape, then rotate the shape if needed with Free Transform. Here’s my image after adding a few more stars:
Add more stars to the design, rotating them as needed.Step 23: Select the “5 Point Star” Shape
Add more stars to the design, rotating them as needed.Step 24: Add More Stars
With the “5 Point Star” shape selected, follow the same steps to add more stars, first dragging them out and then rotating them with the Free Transform command. If we look in our Layers palette now, we can see all of the shape layers we’ve added, each one containing one of the star shapes. Notice how they all appear inside the “Stars” layer group:
All of the stars appear in the Layers palette inside the “Stars” layer group.
And here’s my final silhouette design after adding a few more stars using the “5 Point Star” shape:
The final silhouette design.
And there we have it! That’s how to create fun, interesting designs with images and silhouettes in Photoshop! Visit our Photo Effects section for more Photoshop effects tutorials!
With Screen Time for iOS, you can get a better understanding of the amount of time you’re spending each day using apps, visiting websites, and more on your devices. Here’s a look at how to use it and why it could become beneficial in your life.Keep your iPhone usage under control
The Screen Time tool allows you to keep track of the amount of time you spend on your devices each day. You can also use the tool to track your kids’ time online.
To use Screen Time to track and manage your device:
1) Go into the Settings app on your iOS device and tap on the Screen Time option.
On the main Screen Time page, you’ll notice three main sections. In the first, you’ll see a chart showing the amount of time you’ve spent on your device today and how. The second section includes tools you can use to customize and restrict your device usage. The final section is where you will find monitoring tools for your kids’ devices.
Let’s take a look at each of those sections.The Screen Time Chart
The chart on the Screen Time page offers a breakdown of how much time you’ve spent on all of your iOS device where the tool has been activated.
1) Tapping on the chart reveals further usage information, including:
The category of apps you’ve been using on your device the most, such as Gaming, Productivity, or Reading & Reference apps.
The longest amount of time you’ve spent on your device in one sitting.
The apps you’ve used the most by time or category.
The number of times you picked up your device today.
How many notifications you have received and by which apps.
Note: You can view Screen Time data for Today or for the Last 7 Days.
As you can see in the example below, iPhone usage across all devices today totaled one hour and 53 minutes. For the week, Screen Time totaled seven hours, 38 minutes. At the bottom, you can see a breakdown of the time spent by category.
The most used categories apps or websites were Settings, Safari, and the LongScreen app.
Meanwhile, pickups totaled 16 per hour, or 194 during the day, while notifications numbered 752, or around 63 per hour. (Yes, this is a lot of iPhone usage.)Customization and Restrictions
On the next section of the Screen Time page, you’ll see four settings: Downtime, App Limits, Always Allowed, and Content & Privacy Restrictions.Downtime
During Downtime, calls, messages, and other apps you want to allow can still be used. Everything else, including notifications, will be turned off. Ideally, think of your Downtime schedule as the time you plan on being in bed each night.
2) Once you activate Downtime, you’ll be asked to create a Start and End time.
In the example below, the Downtime is between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.App Limits
Next, you’ll see the App Limits page. From here, you can set daily time limits for apps and categories you want to manage. After the limit has been reached, your permission will be required to allow more time.
1) To get started, tap App Limits from the main Screen Time page. Next, select Add Limit.
In the example above, the Entertainment and Social Networking categories are limited to two hours of use per day.Always Allowed
Under Always Allow, you’ll find a list of the apps that you want available even during Downtime. By default, the allowed apps are Phone, Messages, and FaceTime.
In the above example, the apps 1Blocker and Activity were added to Allowed Apps while FaceTime was deleted.Content & Privacy Restrictions
Finally, you’ll see the Content & Privacy area. In this section, you can restrict explicit and mature content in the iTunes and App Stores, Music, and websites.One final note
Obviously, you don’t have to use Screen Time. Nonetheless, it’s an eye-opening experience that might make you think twice before picking up your iPhone yet again today. Seeing your iPhone usage each day might be just enough of a push for you to consider cutting back. And isn’t that’s the point?
The new Sonos[iTunes Link] Controller for iPhone app has really got me thinking about all the cool things we are going to be able to do with the iPhone. I’ve compiled this list of things you can manipulate with your iPhone.Controlling your Car
Delphi has come up with a really cool app that lets your lock and unlock your car, power automatic doors, and even remote start your car. Although it is just a concept, it was demo’d at CES 2008 working with a GMC Acadia vehicle. It works with a blue-tooth enabled key fob that can work from up to a mile a way. This software also allows users to monitor and control several aspect’s of a vehicle’s system, including temperature, tire pressure, gas levels, oil levels, and can detect break ins.Controlling What You Watch on TV
I already wrote about controlling your DirecTV DVR to setup recordings, but you can also control Tivo interface.Believe it or not, You Can Use Your iPhone to Fly an Aircraft
The clever folks at UC Berkeley have developed a system to issue commands to unmanned aerial vehicles using a device we all know and love: the iPhone.
While the iPhone is specifically restricted from piloting the drones themselves, the team uses Mobile Safari on the iPhone to enter coordinates and select tasks for its airborne fleet. A web server then relays the tasks to the aircraft mid-flight.
The video shows, in real time, an exercise where a remote-controlled airplane is instructed to photograph a particular area underneath it. The photo is then transmitted wirelessly back to a workstation at ground control.Controlling Your Home
There have been several different home automation applications for the iPhone. iPhone Home Controller lets an iPhone User set up a home automation scheme using x10 automation hardware and a Safari/iPhone/iTouch optimized web interface controller. Crestons Home Automation iPhone Application elegantly enables wired home owners to control lighting, temperature and all sorts of other things via WiFi or 3G, at home or anywhere else in the world. Users can even program in settings for multiple houses, enabling them to turn the AC on in Orlando while blasting the heat in Jackson Hole. You can get the source code for a home grown X-10 iPhone app as well.Controlling your Bathomatic Bubble Bath Tub
You can even regulate the bubbles in your whirlpool tub with an iPhone. Now that is luxury.Controlling a Radio Controlled Car
A guy having fun figured out how to use the iPhone to control his RC Car. He set up an interface and leveraged the accelerometer to steer it.Controlling your Music At Home
Sonos is a wireless digital music player that plays digital music files from your PC or networked hard drive anywhere in the home. The Sonos Controller for iPhone™ is a free application that turns your iPhone (or iPod® touch) into a full-fledged Sonos Controller. I am really excited because I have been eyeing their system for years but didn’t want to spend the $900. Their new iPhone app will let me buy just the ZonePlayer Base and I can use our iPhones and iTouches to control it around the house.
Remote, the well known free Apple app that lets you control iTunes and pipe music throughout your house. I described how to do this here.Controlling your Music Jam
There are iPhone Applications that use your iPhone / iTouch touch as new generation midi controller for your favorite audio DAW or VJ performance tool. iTM MCU [iTunes Link] is the latest iTM release Mackie Control Emulation for your iPhone or iPod touch ITMMidi [iTunes Link]. ProRemote [iTunes Link] is a product that runs on the iPhone and iPod Touch that uses your existing wireless network to control professional audio products such as Digidesign’s ProTools and Apple’s Logic Music production systems.These apps free you up so that you can sit at your instrument and make changes to your setup without stopping and walking across the room every few minutes.Control Your Computer Controlling your Digital Picture Frames
Now that Wifi digital picture frames are becoming more available, I expect to see more of this, but right now I could only find one company that let you do this: Control your digital picture frame with your iPhone. eStarling frames lets you use the application by SeeFrame [iTunes Link], to send photos from your iPhone to wifi connected picture frames.
Your iPhone has a ton of sensitive and private information. This includes your photos, videos, audio notes, bank apps, notes, passwords, contacts, and more. Therefore to ensure your valuable data isn’t misused, stolen, or hacked, you must take measures to keep your iPhone secure.
In this guide, we give you 17 tips that will help you further strengthen your iPhone and keep its data safe.
1. Add a strong alphanumeric passcode
You should never keep your iPhone without a passcode. And even the passcode you set should be long and difficult to guess. This will make it almost impossible for anyone else to guess your passcode, even if they happen to get physical access to your device.
2. Add additional app-specific passwords
Many chat apps, bank apps, payment apps, notes apps, etc., offer an extra option to add a password lock. Dig inside the respective app setting and enable that. If an app doesn’t have one, you can contact its app developer and request such a feature.
3. Don’t let apps unlock with Face ID or Touch ID on shared iPhone
Have you added a second Face ID or Touch ID of other people on your iPhone? If yes, they can get inside your iPhone and your apps that are unlocked by biometrics. To address this, set up your concerned third-party app to open via passcode and not Face ID or Touch ID.
Alternatively, you can also remove extra unnecessary fingerprints or face from Face ID.
4. Remove fingerprints and Face ID of other people
You can add up to five fingerprints to iPhone’s Touch ID and two faces to Face ID.
When you got your iPhone, you might have excitedly added fingerprints of multiple family members or set up a second face to Face ID.
Tip: When you’re on the Touch ID screen and place your finger on the Touch ID button, it will highlight the added fingerprint corresponding to that finger.
5. Make sure Find My iPhone is enabled
Find My service lets you know the location of your iPhone, lock it, display a message on the Lock Screen, play a sound, and erase the device in case it’s misplaced.
6. Remove unknown and unnecessary configuration profiles
If you aren’t using the beta version of iOS or your iPhone isn’t given to you by your organization/school or not managed by them for special settings, apps, etc., then ideally, there should be no configuration profiles on your device.
7. Set a shorter auto-lock duration
8. Use two-factor authentication for all supported services
Two-factor authentication acts as an extra wall of protection. Almost every major service, from email, and social media, to banks, support this. Dig inside the privacy and security settings of the concerned service to find the two-factor authentication option.
9. Prevent sensitive information from appearing on the Lock Screen
10. Control app notifications on the Lock Screen
If you have some sensitive apps, you can prevent their notification from showing on the Lock Screen. This will ensure that any onlooker can’t see a preview of these notifications.
11. Review app location access
Some apps like Uber must have access to your location to function. However, several apps request your location but can work perfectly fine even if their location privileges are withdrawn.
12. Double-check other privacy settings
App developers regularly publish updates to fix bugs and add new features. The newest version of an app is generally better with security patches and improvements.
14. Install the latest version of iOS
15. Prevent your iPhone from auto-joining Wi-Fi and hotspots
You can stop your iPhone from auto-joining open Wi-Fi networks and hotspots as these can be easily exploited (and are deployed publicly in many cases) to steal your data.
Besides that, you can tap (i) next to a previously joined network and turn off Auto-Join or tap Forget This Network if you don’t plan on using this Wi-Fi network in the near future.
16. Don’t unnecessarily use free VPN
Free VPNs have to find a way to make money, and most of the time, it’s with your data. If you must use a VPN, it’s better to research and get the paid version of a reputable VPN. And if you don’t want to do that, make sure you use free VPNs sparingly.
17. Don’t download just about any app, and do your research first
App Store is well regulated, and Apple has checks and balances in place. Still, there have been ample cases of imposter or insecure apps making their way to the iOS App Store. Therefore, when you wish to download an app for a particular task, do your due diligence and get apps that have seen regular updates, have good ratings & reviews, etc.
And even when you open an app, don’t go about tapping “Allow” on every popup it presents. Read the alert and allow the app to access your location, contacts, microphone, etc., only if you think necessary.
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Let’s be honest, Siri isn’t the best virtual assistant out there. Despite the efforts like offline Siri in iOS 15, Siri has always been behind a few assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Searching the web, answering questions, maintaining context, or even controlling smart home devices, Siri isn’t the most reliable AI assistant. And, when it comes to smart home products, who can beat Amazon Alexa?
In this article, let’s learn about how to download, set up, and use the Alexa app on your iPhone.
How to set up Alexa on iPhone
Unlike Siri, Amazon Alexa isn’t available as a built-in assistant on iPhone. Currently, there’s no way of installing any third-party assistant on iOS or iPadOS. So, to get Alexa on iPhone, you’ll have to use its app.
Here’s how to set up Alexa with your iPhone.
After the setup is complete, you’ll enter the main screen of the Amazon Alexa app.
How to use Alexa app for iPhone
On the Alexa app, you’ll see five tabs: Home, Communicate, Play, Devices, and More. In the section below, I’ve explained the use of each tab.
Home screen – Set an alarm, create a shopping list, and more
This is where the magic happens. Tap the Alexa icon on top to summon it. Summoning it for the first time will prompt you to enable location access. Next, use the hot word “Alexa” to call it.
Under the Alexa icon, there are a bunch of suggestions, such as setting up an alarm, music services, creating a shopping list, etc. You can tap any suggestion to enable it quickly.
For example, you can set up a preferred music service so that when you ask Alexa to play some music, it will play from your desired music streaming service only. And yes, you can ask Alexa pretty much anything to look up from the web by tapping the mic button on the top!
Moreover, you can add some skills to Alexa. Like, add a skill called Amazon Storytime, which features a collection of bedtime stories, including some originals from LEGO for kids. Now, your kids can ask Alexa for a bedtime story.
Pro tip: Alexa is a little better than Siri in surfing the web and collecting answers.
Communicate – Call directly, announce messages
If someone in your contacts happens to have an Amazon Alexa device or app, you can call or text them directly from this section. There’s a feature called Drop In that makes all your Alexa-compatible devices act as an intercom.
Say you’re in a supermart picking up things for your home, kids aren’t picking up the call, and you want to ask them if you’ve to bring anything from the mart.
You can Drop-In into the Echo of your home from the iPhone’s Alexa app and say your message. It’s truly a worldwide wireless intercom.
Moreover, there’s a feature called Announce that lets you, well…, announce messages to all the Echo devices at once.
Say you’re late from the office and you want to let your family know, you can just Announce, ‘I’ll be late home for dinner,’ and Alexa will ping each device on your network. It’ll send a notification if someone’s using Alexa for iPhone.
Play Music – Play music, listen to Kindle libraries
If you’re subscribed to Amazon Prime, you’re in for a treat. Using the Play tab, you can ask Alexa to play any music in the world.
You can even tune into your local radio stations and listen to a whole list of Amazon Kindle libraries. And yes, you can link Apple Music and Spotify as well.
Devices – Manage multiple devices
With an increasing number of smart home devices around us, everyone owns at least one smart home controller — like a smart speaker or a smart display.
If you happen to own an Amazon Echo device, you can manage everything related to the device in the Devices tab. Along with adding new Echo devices to the app, you can combine multiple Echo speakers to act as a stereo speaker directly from the Devices app.
More – Manage your Alexa account
Though self-explanatory, More is a place where you can manage everything related to your Alexa account. You can link your account to TV streaming services, add reminders, set alarms, change language, and more.
Add Alexa widget to your iPhone home screen
Despite Alexa having such an interesting app, the primary use only comes up when we ask something.
However, opening the app, tapping the mic button, or summoning ‘Alexa’ is a hassle. Thanks to a new update, Amazon Alexa has gained support for widgets on iPhone. Now you can summon Alexa right from your iOS Home Screen with a single tap.
Download or update the Amazon Alexa app to the latest version.
Long-press an empty space on the Home Screen to enter the Jiggle mode.
Now, tap the + button at the top left.
Scroll the list and select Alexa.
Finally, place the widget wherever you like.
Now, when you tap the widget, your iPhone will fire up the Alexa app with the microphone activated to say the command quickly. This certainly brings Alexa one step closer to Siri on iPhone — in terms of ease of access.
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