ios 7

iTunes Radio

Monday's tip about iTunes Match talked all about how iTunes Match enhances your music library. Another awesome benefit of an iTunes Match subscription is ad-free iTunes Radio.

This Pandora-style app is built right into your iOS device (and iTunes!) and has a very similar feature set. It's great even without an iTunes Match subscription. 

Launch the Music and tap the Radio button. You'll be shown sample stations as well as any that you have created. You'll also see a large pink "+" button to create a new station. To start tap "New Station". You can pick a station from the list of genres or you can search for an artist, album, or song to "seed" your list. If you searched for a seed, select it from the list and your station will begin to play.

Once your station is playing you'll see a few new buttons.

2014-01-10 iTunes Radio Screenshot.png
  • Price (top right): Allows you to purchase the song from the iTunes Music Store
  • Inspector, shown as circled "i" (top center): Here you can start new stations from this artist or song. This screen also has one of my favorite iTunes Radio features: Tune This Station. You can choose whether you want the station to play you the Hits, a Variety of songs, or if you want to Discover new music. iTunes Radio uses your library to help it make decisions once you've made a selection with the slide. Also on this screen you can allow explicit lyrics, or share your station via the normal sharing methods.
  • Star (bottom left): Star this song if you want to hear more songs like the current one playing, or never play it again on this station, if it doesn't fit or you don't like it. Lastly, you can add it to your iTunes Wish List to remember to purchase later.
  • Skip Song (bottom right): Skips the song currently playing, but won't block the song from playing again in the future. As with Pandora, you can only skip 6 songs in an hour.

We love iTunes Radio in our house - we use it for parties or just background music while working. It's new to iOS 7 and included on all iOS devices.

Access Your iTunes Collection Anywhere

If you have a large music collection in iTunes, iTunes Match is awesome! You get high quality copies of all songs it can match from the iTunes Store, your entire collection is avaliable, all the time, from any device, and iTunes Radio is ad-free. The annual cost is $24.99, or less than $0.10/day. This tip will focus on the "match" feature and ability to access your entire library from any internet connection.

You already have access to all iTunes music you've ever purchased, but what about those songs that you aquired from "other" places? Have any ripped CDs, MP3s from old-school Napster, or imported a hard drive with a friend's shared collection? iTunes Match wants to help.

For every song that you didn't download from the iTunes Music Store, iTunes Match will attempt to find a matched copy from the iTunes Music Store. If you have the old Matchbox 20 song "Push" as an MP3, you'll get access to a brand new high quality copy. What about songs that iTunes Match can't match? It will upload up to 25,000 songs to the iTunes servers from your library, and you'll still have access via the iTunes Match service, including from your iOS device. For more info on how to complete this process in iTunes, see the iTunes Match site at Apple.

Once your collection is fully analyzed, matched, and uploaded, you will want to toggle iTunes Match on for each of your iOS devices by going to Settings -> iTunes & App Store. Here you can also select whether to "Show All" music. This will show you all music in your library inside the Music app, even if it's not on your device. At the very bottom you can enable access to Cellular Data to download music.

Inside the Music app, with "Show All" enabled for Music, you'll see your entire collection. Songs that are not stored locally, but still in your library will have the cloud/down arrow icon to the right. Tap this icon to download, or just tap on the song to start it playing immediately.

In the screenshot tracks 1-4 are on the device, denoted by the absence of the cloud/down arrow icon. Track 5 is in the process of being downloaded, and the progress is tracked by the compleiution of the thick inside line of the circle. Tracks 6-8 are avaliable for download from iTunes Match.

This tip works with all iOS devices running iOS 6 or later.

Scanning From iOS

With the great camera that comes built into iOS devices these days, it's really quick and easy to get a great quality "scan" of a document right from your device without a physical scanner or computer. There are many apps in the app store that will help with this, but I've found Readdle's Scanner Pro to be the best.

Documents can be scanned using the camera and taking new pictures from the app, or using images from your camera roll. All documents are output in PDF, and the app will natively upload to WebDav, Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Drive. It will also open the document into any app that accepts PDF files. There is a sync with iCloud to keep all of your iOS devices in sync. It will email or AirPrint a scanned document, and will even fax your document around the world for a small fee, which is paid via In-App Purchase using your iTunes account.

The app does a great job of walking the user through scanning a document, but here's a quick rundown of the process to scan a document using the camera from the app:

  1. Place your document on a mostly solid-color surface. I would recommend not putting it under direct light, and using a darker surface for documents on white paper.
  2. Inside Scanner Pro tap the Camera+ image in the bottom middle of the screen. Use the blue shutter button with the white camera to snap a photo. Try to keep the device as parallel to the document as possible. Don't try to align the document with the edges of the camera, this will be compensated for on the next screen. You can also use the flash if necessary; toggle for the flash is in the top left corner.
  3. Once you've snapped your picture, the next screen will allow you to adjust the edges of the document using the blue dots at each of the four corners. I found that the app does a pretty good job of finding the document edges on it's own if you follow my recommendations from step 1.
  4. The next screen allows the adjustment of brightness, paper size selection, rotation of images, and color type selection (color, black & white, or grayscale).
  5. Tap Save and you now have a scanned document. You can change the name of the document using the Edit button in the top right corner of the screen. If you need to add additional pages, use the camera+ and image+ buttons at the bottom center.
  6. Use the two outter buttons on the bottom of the screen to share/save your document.

This app works with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch running iOS 6.0 or later.

Scanner Pro in the App Store